Sleep and Dreaming
by Starcat with BlackLion
When you are doing creative work, whether it is making art or living an intentional life, it is important to support that work with restful sleep and fruitful dreams. You can use several techniques to ensure that your nighttime rest is in line with your waking intentions. By using these methods, you can enrich your connection with yourself and the universe.
The most basic ways are common sense. Leave yourself enough time each night to get a full 7 or 8 hours of sleep. Make sure your bed and sleeping area are comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. Minimize any electronic equipment, such as a TV or computer, in your immediate sleeping area. If you have trouble sleeping, try playing some soothing music at a low volume and make sure you have a dark enough space to sleep. An hour or so before you wish to fall asleep, begin to relax by reading, doing breathing exercises or practicing yoga. You may wish to stick to a particular routine each night so your body is used to your method of relaxing and signaling when it is time for sleep.
To foster constructive dreams, use visualization and set intentions when you are still awake. Relax and go into a meditative state, perhaps just before falling asleep, and picture in your mind’s eye a place you would like to visit in your dreams. Create it in as much detail as possible. For example, say you would like to visit a forest glen and connect with the faeries. Picture yourself standing in the clearing with trees around and above you. Feel the cool breeze on your face, smell the pine and spruce, and listen to the birds singing in the treetops. Once you have fully envisioned your magickal space, let go of the images and allow your intentions to do their work. Practice this each night for a week or two and it will become part of your dreamscape.
Whether or not you remember your dream adventures is a matter of practice. Your body has a natural rhythm, flowing between deep sleep and dreaming and back again. Remembering dreams becomes easier if you awaken naturally rather than artificially from the dream state. At least a couple days a week, don’t use an alarm clock, but instead let yourself awaken slowly and gradually. Keep a notebook or journal by your bed and jot down your dream images as best as you can. Personally, I don’t write down my dreams every night, but only when they feel especially significant or vivid.
Be patient with yourself as you learn to dream intentionally. Don’t put any expectations on your dreaming, but let it unfold organically. [No pesticides! BL] Here are a few signposts to notice as you practice progresses. You may meet dream allies, friends who you know only on that plane. You may encounter people from the waking reality as well, who become part of your dreamscape, deepening your relationship with them in the waking world. If the person is receptive to it, you could mention that you met them in your dreams. It is likely that you will visit certain dream locations multiple times. It may be the place you visualized or someplace you never imagined before. In waking life, moments of déjà vu may resonate as something you have dreamed.
If you desire to interpret your dreams and their psychological significance, I recommend developing your own system of meanings rather than relying on a dream encyclopedia or dictionary. Your symbolism is going to be unique. Use these books as guides if you wish, but make your own notes about your recurring themes. Be careful not to overanalyze your dreams. Sometimes dreams are only meaningful within their own context.
The wisdom of the universe is channeled more easily when you are most open to its messages, such as when you are in the dream state. If you are pursuing creative work such as painting or writing, use your dream imagery as inspiration. Often, the most creative ideas come to you in dreams; I would include daydreams in this category. Before sleeping, set your intention of finding a creative inspiration or perhaps a creative solution to a problem or issue you are working on.
As spiritual people, we often talk about the importance of sleep and dreams, but in practice, we tend to cram too much into our lives. We tend to forget to incorporate this important aspect of our down-time. Make a commitment to yourself to try some of these methods. Be aware that you are not “wasting time” but rather allowing your waking life to be enriched by the support of your unconscious realities.
Sweet dreams and blessed rest!