Cover image for The woman's book of dreams : dreaming as a spiritual practice
Title:
The woman's book of dreams : dreaming as a spiritual practice
Author:
Kaplan, Connie Cockrell, 1948-
Publication Information:
Hillsboro, Or. : Beyond Words Pub., [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xxi, 238 pages ; 23 cm
Language:
English
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9781582700083
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library BF1099.W65 K36 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Explains how women's dreams are unique, describes the thirteen kinds of dreams, and offers suggestions for directing one's own dreams.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One Dream Lines In the beginning was the dream. Through the dream all things were made, and without the dream nothing was made that has been made. Thomas Berry The Dream of the Earth HONORING THE MOON TIME It was early January when I made first trek to meet Minisa Crumbo-Halsey, a Creek-Potawatomi medicine woman living in the hills above Malibu. The day was crisp and cold--Southern California cold: the sun was warm but the air was chilly. The road was winding and unfamiliar. I felt like I was truly on a medicine journey. I had butterfly stomach and sensed I would never be the same after this meeting. I was right.     Minisa asked me to sit on the ground. We were high on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. She bent me into a position so miserably uncomfortable that my body dominated my attention and screamed for relief. I stayed in the position because I knew that my body's pain was making my mind take a back seat. What Minisa had to say must bypass the mind.     Minisa reminded me of the sacred connection between a woman and the moon; a woman's very life depends on the moon's pull over her body. She explained how the moon controls a woman's cycles just as surely as it controls the ocean's tides. She told me that the ocean is Mother Earth's cyclical waters and that menstrual blood is mine. My body remembered that it was from the earth. That day, the earth became my mother, and I understood my body as a mini version of her.     The following paragraphs are my journal entry from that day--my memory of what Minisa said after I digested it, drove home, and wrote it down: The Women's Teachings Women are life givers. Men are life makers. Women dream the dream and give the gift. Men manifest and focus the dream. As women, it is our sacred charge to purify and re-dream the world. We are responsible for dreaming the dream made manifest in waking reality. In the white man's world, we believe we dream about our waking life at night, and through dreams, we gain an understanding. This is backwards. In women's teachings, first we dream the dream, then we bring the dream into manifestation, and then comes understanding. Since we are responsible for the dream, it is our most sacred duty to free ourselves from any blocks to our visions. Emotions held in our bodies block dreaming and prevent us from owning our power. A sacred and timeless woman's belief teaches that a periodic cleansing is the way to honor our power and meet our responsibilities to the universe. Our bodies are micro-universes: bodies have the seven stars of the Pleiades (chakras), the planets (organs), and moons. Women's ovaries make little moons. When each little moon is released into the system, women give the universe their bodies' creative power. As the little moon makes its way through the tubes, it does not know its destiny. The little moon is simply all potential: it has no wants or needs. This is a time of all possibility for women. The key to honoring our woman power is pledging to become the dreaming women we came here to be. Make the pledge to be that woman, and begin honoring your moon time.     Though I had never heard Minisa's words before, they stirred an ancient memory in me. These words were part of the strawberry spirits' imperative, "Remember to remember." THE DREAMING LINES Not long after my meeting with Minisa, I sat in ceremony with some friends. The experience I had that night changed my life and seeded the information of this book. The following is an entry from my journal. This particular experience was essential to the development of my dream work. Dream Lines Last night at a ceremony, a medicine woman used a deer rattle to send each participant into an altered consciousness. By the time she came to me (I was the sixteenth person), I was already deep in trance. I knelt down. The medicine woman began rattling. I felt crackling and popping in my spine. The rattle sounded like crystals on the floor of a cave. Suddenly I saw that women have points of light circling their wombs. The points extend into gossamer lines that connect with the moon. As the moon moves through the signs of the zodiac, it plucks the light lines like harp strings. This action awakens a specific dreaming vibration in the dreamer's womb and determines the type of dreaming she will have on a particular night THE WOMB IS THE DREAMING ORGAN My "vision" was unusual because it was also a mental experience. I "saw" the lines shooting out of women's wombs. I simultaneously felt the lines emanating from my womb. I "dream knew" what the lines were and how they had worked for ever and always. Memories seemed to be pouring forth from some very ancient women's tradition. I felt that I had been temporarily thrown back to a Neolithic village temple, and the training reconstructed itself in my awareness. The memories may sound familiar to you, too.     The womb is the dreaming organ. Dreaming comes to us through the internal, secret knowledge of the womb. There are incredibly subtle energies connected to a woman's womb that she does not necessarily understand unless she goes through very exhaustive training with a female shaman or sorcerer. Just as a woman who gives birth to a child does not know the biological processes in the womb that create those perfect toes, fingers, and a precious little nose, neither does she fully understand the subtle spiritual dreaming energy connected to the organ.     The relationship between the womb and the moon controls every aspect of dreaming. A woman's cycles and her dreaming are inextricable. Even women who have had hysterectomies, or for any other reason no longer bleed, still have the cyclical relationship to the moon and the light lines connected to her. The moon moves across the sky and interfaces with an invisible force field called the Dream Weave. The Dream Weave is known to all indigenous peoples. It is the invisible pattern of connection that links human thought to form, and possibility to awareness. Physicist Fritjof Capra calls it the web of life consisting of networks within networks of increasing possibility. The gossamer lines connected to each dreamer also connect to the Weave. The moon, which is a part of the Weave, sends specific types of dream information into the womb of the dreamer. The information sent depends on where the moon sits in the heavens that night.     Interestingly, a menopausal woman's lines of light disconnect from the moon and reconnect to the sun (hot flashes). Her relationship with fire becomes stronger, and in many ways, her dreaming becomes more sophisticated. Yet her dreaming still relates to lunar cycles, and she still recognizes her dream patterns in the same way as before menopause.     You may wonder about male dreamers. I have not seen the lines of light coming from a man, but some males' dreams convince me that some men dream like women dreamers. Men also have lunar cycles, and certainly those cycles are energetically traceable. Each gender has specialized energies that create preferences for certain kinds of life experiences. Both men and women have potential for and access to all the energies of the universe, but both men and women have specific dominant traits. Men, of course, can be just as powerful in their dreaming as women. However, my dream circles and I have found that men's dreams tend to be more concrete and personal. Men, for example, often have great power to encounter personal aspects of themselves or to reach deeper understandings of their abilities in dreaming. Women's dreams are often more relational and collective. Women have a stronger sense that the womb is the source of all life, whereas men, not having wombs, are more connected to their own individual lives. It is more difficult for men to imagine that their dreaming is connected to the universe.     The womb is the door of birth, the door of creation, the door of a dreamer's energy. By perfecting the use of the womb's creative energy, one becomes ecstatically alive; one perfects the ability to love and to dream. WHAT IS A DREAM? I define dreaming as a direct encounter with energy in the dimension of truth. Dreaming may occur in both waking and sleeping consciousness . A dream exists beyond language. By the time you put words and descriptions on a dream, you are already several generations removed from the actual experience. The experience of a dream is primal and incomparable. It is preverbal and presensual.     This definition of dreaming combines both indigenous teachings and the understanding I have gained directly through dreams. It expands the scientific rapid eye movement definitions but certainly does not contradict them.     Let me explain further. When we first go to sleep, our consciousness moves on the lines of light extending from our wombs into a void space. In those moments, there is no sense of ego or personality, no thinking or feeling. Our personal will relaxes. We experience a period of complete rest in the familiar blackness. During this time, the dreamer floats freely in consciousness. She is in direct relationship with all potential energy and in direct relationship with her own soul purpose--the reason she exists. This is the dream. We all reach the dream state automatically as we drift toward deep sleep.     For a while, the dreamer stays in this comfortable, all-nourishing blackness. During this time, the physical body is regenerated. Soon, though, the energy of the dreamer strengthens, and the rested dreamer magnetizes a specific experience--something she needs to "remember" about her soul's intent. This is the dream--this deep energetic connection to her soul.     When the energetic experience becomes definable, the mental body of the dreamer "awakens" within dreamscape and begins assigning meaning to the experience. It is the mind's responsibility to make sense of things, after all, and the freshly rejuvenated mind of the dreamer is ready for action. The mind pulls from a giant lexicon of personal and collective symbols to make a story line representing the energetic experience so the dreamer can (hopefully) remember. This is when the eyes start wiggling and rapid eye movement sleep occurs.     Ideally, the dreamer awakens into ordinary consciousness out of the dream experience, remembers the story line, and uses the information in daily reality.     Every time we return to ordinary consciousness from dreaming, we awaken changed. Through dreams, we encounter new information from the dimension of truth. We can choose whether--and how--to integrate that change into everyday life. We can opt to return to yesterday's limited understanding of the world, or we can move into today's expanded understanding. We can choose to be exhilarated and augmented by a dream, or we can dismiss it as "just a dream."     Whatever our choice, we have traveled on the dream lines, we have received the influence of the moon, and we have changed. Each time we awaken, we awaken to new possibility. The dreamer's free will and personal integrity determine how the dream will be manifested. GREAT DREAMER AND THE DREAM WEAVE As we dream, we are also being dreamed by an unfathomable intelligence. This concept is the crux of understanding dreaming. Whether one calls this intelligence Great Dreamer, God, Universal Mind, Great Spirit--or Bernie, for that matter--every dreamer must realize that she is being dreamed by a larger, more omniscient energy than herself. I personalize this omniscient energy as Great Dreamer, because it makes the experience of being dreamed richer for me. Great Dreamer is the matrix of the universe that holds creation. The matrix is the invisible force , the Spirit, that motivates creation and evokes evolution. We are indeed governed and nourished by the unseen as well as the seen. If I can understand myself as an extension of that matrix, I can then begin to remember who I am in the story of creation.     There are dreamers from all dimensions of this universe. All sentient beings dream. We human earth dreamers are partners with other dreaming beings. We are all dreaming together. We are all creating the Great Dream, the universal consensus. We all meet in dreamtime on the dimension of truth. Together, we are co-creating the potentials that exist within the laws of truth. Great Dreamer simultaneously feeds us dream information and receives our dreams. She and we are a part of the wholeness of the universe.     All sentient beings have their own layer of consciousness-their own spectrum of perception. The overlay and interfacing of those spectra create the Dream Weave. A single species or single layer of sentience cannot perceive the totality of creation. That is Great Dreamer's job.     Collective dreaming creates a tapestry of possibility. When we join other dreamers, both of this planet and of the cosmos, we build a consensus for reality. This consensus is the unseen pattern ultimately governing form. This pattern is the Dream Weave. I sometimes visualize the Dream Weave as a giant invisible jungle gym stretching multidimensionally throughout the galaxies of the universes. The Dream Weave holds all possibilities. It is the infrastructure where all laws--cosmic, galactic, physical, and natural--begin. The Dream Weave is truth flowing through space-time.     Picture children at play choosing various bars from which to hang as they, scamper across a jungle gym. When a child's hand grabs a bar, picture the bar lighting up and coming to life with color. This is how I see dreamers selecting various threads on the Weave as they dream potential into manifestation. When a dreamer grabs onto a possibility, she gives it life, awakens it, enlightens it, densifies it, and dreams the potential toward manifestation.     We dream our world into being by playing on the Dream Weave--selecting potentialities existing in the infrastructure of the Weave and pulling them toward life. We interweave our gossamer lines with the lines of other dreamers and create a blueprint for all possibility.     Our governments change, because we dream them to change. The Berlin Wall came down, because we dreamed it down. Apartheid ended, because we dreamed it away. Changes occurring in dreams are literal and very real.     Simultaneously, we are being dreamed. As we make choices for life and peace on our planet, Great Dreamer dreams us toward life and peace. Conversely, if we make nonbeneficial choices in dreaming, Great Dreamer assists us in experiencing the consequences of our choices. When we play on the invisible jungle gym, we receive a nurturing life force. Dreaming enlivens us.     Goethe informed us of how life works when he said, "The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred." When we dream the dream and commit to it, Great Dreamer moves enormous forces to manifest the dream.     Scientific research concludes that dreaming is a necessary part of living, although most scientists admit they do not know why. I suggest that this is because scientists ignore the opposite side of dreaming: being dreamed . My experience is that the dream dreams me as surely as I dream the dream. The dream feeds me. The interdependence of the dreamer and the dream is inseparable. One must deeply understand the interrelationship to truly understand dreaming.     The first thing a dreamer knows is that she is being dreamed. She understands herself as a vital part of a great wholeness that empowers her as a creative being. When the dreamer knows this, she is on her way to mastery. The dreamer literally falls in love with herself and with all life. The dreamer trusts herself and her dreaming. She becomes the embodiment of the Weave. THE VESSEL The womb is the dream vessel. The moon sends dream food in the form of images in dreamtime. The dreamer contains the images and holds the juice. The dreamer is the chalice.     When working on a potter's wheel, one uses resistance to build a vessel. One must know how to surrender to the clay, yet at the same time one must know how to evoke the shape. One senses what the clay wants to do, yet one finds the centering place that makes the clay's form aesthetic and useful. Similarly, as dreamers, we have to surrender to the Great Dream, but we also have to ruthlessly create ourselves as the vessel that contains the Great Dream. If the vessel is weak, it will not hold the dream.     We must be strong and clear vessels. When we know our cycles and patterns, we can learn to be intentional vessels. We can learn to dream into manifestation a reality that benefits all living creatures, the planet, and the universe. The goal of all dreamers is to co-create a life that is in alignment with the soul's divine plan.     We are both the pot and the potter. We are the container for the dream fluid, and we give form to the dream material that comes our way. Some of us write the dream material down or speak it at dream circle. Some of us act the dream material out through our lives--our art, parenting, or careers.     I have found that using a "dream bowl" is a profound way, both metaphorically and concretely, to enhance dreaming. Dream Bowl A teacher came to me and asked me to bring her the "dream bowl." I saw a terra-cotta bowl about the size of two hands with a midnight blue interior and crystals in the four directions. I could see energy swirling into the bowl. I found a blue feather that I knew was to hang off the bowl's north crystal. I tried to wake up holding the feather, but I dropped it when the phone awakened me.     This dream came long before my first pottery class. I tried to make the bowl with modeling clay from a children's hobby store but was highly disappointed with my results. Fortunately, a few weeks later, I found and bought a bowl that worked with some moderate revisions. I put the bowl by my head when I went to sleep. I began to see clearer colors and sharper images in my dreams. Since then, I have made dream bowls for other dreamers. The bowls have amazingly helped people contain and remember their dreams. Dream bowls serve as external reminders of who we are.     We are the chalice, the earthen cup. Our wombs are the bowls into which the dream images pour. We are the vessels of the dream. Our gossamer lines of light deliver images to us. We contain the images, bring them to life, and give birth to them. This is the nature of dreaming. Excerpted from the Woman's Book of Dreams by Connie Cockrell Kaplan. Copyright © 1999 by Connie Cockrell Kaplan. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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