6 Card Dream Interpretation Tarot Spread

Use the following tarot spread to analyze your dreams on a deeper level, to untangle reoccurring dreams or enrich your dream work.

Roughly six years of your life will be spent dreaming.  The amount time you dwell in the surreal world of your unconscious mind makes it as important as the world of your waking life.

If you have a choice of decks, select one with surreal or dreamlike symbolism.  I chose the strange and beautiful Ceccoli Tarot deck, which I fell in love with on my recent trip to Salem, Massachusetts.  The hypnagogic quality of the imagery in this deck fits nicely with the theme of dream interpretation.

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Position 1:  Your Waking Life.  This card symbolizes how the events, emotions and conscious thoughts in your waking life underlie your dream life.

Position 2:  The Primary Message.  This card represents what the spirit world is trying to communicate to you through your dreams.  If you are reading for yourself, try using as much objectivity as possible.  Often, we dream about things we don’t want to acknowledge consciously, which sometimes makes this card difficult to confront.

Position 3:  The Bridge.  Stands for the link between your conscious mind and your unconscious mind.  Concentrate for as long as necessary before leaping to any conclusions about this card.  Untangling your conscious mind from your deeper reality challenges even the most self-aware person.  Take your time.

Position 4:  Your “assignment.”  Look to this card for a message about what actions to take in your life to remedy any blockages that cause reoccurring themes in your dreams or prevent you from moving forward into a higher plane of thinking.

Position 5:What to meditate on before falling asleep.  The time just before falling asleep is a period of heightened sensitivity for meditationLook for messages or themes to focus on during this period to enhance your dream experience.

Position 6: What to look for in your future dreams.  This card signifies upcoming themes in your dreams to watch out for and pay careful attention to.

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Dark Moon: Dream Work for Beginners

There are few opportunities for spiritual experience in daily life more accessible than the land of dreams.  Our deepest desires and our darkest fears are exposed to us, unlocking the mystery of our inner nature on a nightly basis.

These nightly encounters are our regular appointment with the unbridled wilderness of the soul.

During the dark or new moon phase, conditions for dream work are ripe.

As we enter this phase tonight, I submit to you a few ways to use this time to actively engage your dream life.  Given that we spend a third of our lives sleeping, this kind of experimentation can be extremely rewarding.  Dreaming with a purpose enriches a landscape in your life that is completely, totally and uniquely yours.

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1.  Bless your dream journal.  You may choose a simple composition book from the grocery store, or opt for an elaborate blank book adorned with beautiful artwork, but unless you already have a journal dedicated to dreaming, start with a fresh one.  Bless your journal on the night of the dark moon.  How you bless it is up to you.  Here are a few suggestions.  You can use one of them, all of them or some combination.

-Surround your journal with purple candles.
-Anoint the first and last page with lavender oil.
-Smudge it with a sage bundle.
-Place a piece of amethyst on top.
-Surround your journal with circle of dream herbs like lavender or chamomile.

2.  Create a bedtime ritual.  This might be as simple as playing soft music or smudging the space before you lay down.  A simple act of cleansing to raise spiritual energy in your room goes a long way

3.  Every morning until the next full moon, write down your dreams.  Do it immediately after you wake up.  The moment you are fully conscious, the details of your dreams are already beginning to fade.  Your recollection is the most vivid in the moments after you surface from sleep.  Include everything you can remember.  People, colors, scents.  Keeping a dream journal is certainly not a new idea, but it’s the best way to get in touch with your dream experiences, which are fleeting but extremely valuable for personal insight.  We’re going to use this tried-and-true technique in a new way.

4.  Don’t look back at what you’ve written until the full moon.  Write down your dreams, turn the page, and forget about it for the time being.

5.  Leave a blank page in between each written page. We’re going to use it later.

6.  On the night of the full moon, review your dreams.  You will find that your dreams have patterns in them.  Even if you didn’t have any nightmares between the dark moon and the full moon, you probably had some unpleasant ones related to your underlying fears and anxieties.  Dream researchers have discovered that rewriting your dreams has a profound impact on their quality.  The night of the full moon, go through each dream and rewrite it to “smooth over” the anxieties and fears in them.

7.  As the moon wanes, repeat step 3-5 until the next new moon.  By the end of this step, you’ll have been recording your dreams for a complete moon cycle, from one new moon to the next.  When you go through your dreams this time, notice the reduction in anxiety and fear-based dreams.  Anyone knows that your dream life is influenced by your waking life, but few people consider that the opposite is true as well: changes in your dreaming are also reflected in your waking life.  You’ll notice that as your anxiety levels decline in your dreams, they will also be lowered in your waking life.

Try it!

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Book Review: Pagan Dreaming by Nimue Brown

Pagan Dreaming:  The Magic of Altered Consciousness

Full Title  Pagan Dreaming: The Magic of Altered Consciousness

Author:  Nimue Brown

Publisher:  John Hunt Publishing

Pages:  220

Release Date:  August 28th, 2015

Please note:  This is NOT a sponsored post.  I receive no compensation for my book reviews other than a courtesy advanced copy from the publisher, to whom I make no promises regarding the ultimate inclination of my summary.  The freedom to hand-select books and discuss them honestly without feeling pressure to “color it rosy” is considerably more valuable to me—-and hopefully, to you.

What makes this book interesting:

Pagan Dreaming fills a conspicuous void in pagan-specific literature for a new, interesting book about dreaming that addresses spiritual matters in a way many modern practitioners will find uniquely relatable.

It’s hard to fill a book about dream interpretation with things that haven’t already been said by a hundred other authors.

But Brown freshens a tired subject with inspired insight.

The author successfully breaks away from the well-worshiped Freudian model of universal one-size-fits-all dictionary-style dream interpretation, inviting the reader to instead examine dreams on his or her own terms from a personal, spiritual and necessarily subjective perspective.

Rather than identifying specific symbols in dreams, Brown categorizes dreams broadly in ways most of us can readily apply to our own dream experiences.  “Anxiety Dreams,” “Death Dreams,” and “Desire [Lust] Dreams” are all accessible dream archetypes we can immediately relate to, almost without further explanation.  Brown argues that this broader approach is both more meaningful and more useful than trying to dissect exactly why you might have dreamed there was a lizard in your bathroom sink last night—-and I agree.

The author’s most luminous passages by far are in the last half of the book, particularly the chapters titled “Developing Dreamwork” and “Dreams and Magic.”  It is on these subjects that Brown shines most brightly, especially in discussing her personal experiences with dreams, and the spiritual nature of them as she sees it.

Overall, her insight into the relationship between dreams and the modern pagan experience are enlightening, honest and refreshing.

Where the book falls short:

The author readily admits she has no relevant credentials in dream study or applied psychology.  Her lack of clinical experience does not bother me at all.  Clinicians often make very boring authors, and not necessarily insightful ones.  But I think it would have been better for her to stick to a purely spiritual perspective.  Pagan Dreaming seemed to have something of an identity crisis:

Is this a book about the spiritual nature of dreams, or the psychological one?  The integration of these two perspectives wasn’t quite seamless.

On the subject of lucid dreaming, the author seems surprisingly closed-minded.  I was somewhat disappointed to read a book about dreaming in the spiritual context that so readily dismisses the value of lucid dreaming as an exercise in egotism rather than the humbling, awe-inspiring experience so many others have found it to be.

At times, Pagan Dreaming is tedious in its repetition.  The author also reminds the reader repeatedly of obvious commonsense notions like “The dreaming mind is . . . a reflection of our waking lives” or that if you feel the urge to pee in your dream, it probably means you really need to pee.  This gives the impression of filler content devoid of any really valuable information.  Pagan Dreaming might easily have been pared to a long essay rather than a full-length book.

Final Verdict:  Worth a read, particularly for those interested in incorporating dream work into their practices.  Most of the book’s blunders are forgivable when taken in consideration with the wealth of fascinating and useful material that accompany them.

Pagan Dreaming is scheduled for release later this month.  If you’re looking for a bedtime book to snuggle up with under the covers this fall, grab this one and a read it with a cup of chamomile tea.

Full Moon Dream Spell

This month, during the Wolf Moon, my spiritual focus has been on dreams, intuition, and inner reflection, themes that have long been associated with the cold air months on the Wheel of the Year.  While the warmer seasons are about outward relationships, life outside the home and outdoor adventures, the winter months promote a more introspection and deeply personal mood.  As we retreat indoors to the quiet warmth of home, it is a perfect time to delve into the world of dream magic.

This full moon, I decided to do a dream box spell.  I love this kind of folk magic for personal discovery and spiritual expression.

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Of course, your own working altar is a reflection of you.  Personally, I like to work with color a lot in spell work.  I chose this soft lavender color because it is traditionally associated with dream work, but also because I think it’s a soothing color conducive to relaxation and insight.

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I always put a lavender bundle on the altar during spell work.  This one is from my summer garden.  So far, this is the first year I’ve had my own lavender supply last so long!  I’m hoping for an even bigger yield next summer.

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The foundation of a dream box spell is, of course, a box.  I recommend taking some time to carefully select one or decorate it yourself.  You can write dream symbols in it, or adorn it with flowers and charms.  I chose this one for its beautiful, intricate embossed pattern.

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You can adapt a dream spell for many purposes.  Perhaps you are working on the art of lucid dreaming.  Maybe you’d like to dream about a loved one who has passed.  Whatever your purposes. an easy way to make your intention clear is to write it down, roll it up, and throw it in the box.  I threw in a piece of amethyst and a handful of dried, loose lavender.  What you choose to include is up to you.  A few drops of essential oil, a photograph, a tarot card or whatever has meaning for you.  I like this spell because it is so customizable depending on your needs.

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I smudged the box using a floral smudge stick.  You can make your own, or to save time, there are some available here.

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I like to use the full moon energy by leaving spell boxes open by a window overnight to charge under the light of the moon.

Then, simply place under your bed and start paying attention to your dreams!! This is an excellent time to start a dream journal.  I promise, you will discover so much about yourself.  You’ll be surprised by all the reoccurring themes and the meaning they have to your inner life.

I like to unwind after this kind of spell work with some kind of aromatherapy.  A few drops of lavender will do in a pinch, but I like to use my own dream salve.  You can make some yourself, or there is some available here.

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