Dreams of power for teaching dream work

Escrito por Maria Volchencko
Maria Volchenko, Ph.D.

This paper presents the results of the author’s experience in the use of personal dreams of power presented as guided meditations aimed to empower visualization skills of dream seminar students. I would like to share this experience, because of its effectiveness in the development of dreamworking skills in my students.

First, I would like to explain what dreams of power are to me. Dreams of power are a natural consequence of the shamanic initiation rituals in which I have been involved, and my own shamanic approach in personal dream work. There are no mystical secrets in this. I simply try to recognize and to solve (if possible) my personal problems, connected to health, relationships, work, and so on by moving the wisdom and energy of the dream space to my waking life. To support this work, I purify my energy and balance my emotional state through a simple ritual before sleep. If possible, I make these purification rituals for myself in natural settings. I’ve received a powerful initiation into this kind of dreamwork, and am further supported in it by communication with authentic shamans in their natural environment and in my dreams. Unfortunately, the city environment decreases human energy and suppresses dreams of power.

Dreams of power are dreams that need no interpretation. I am sure that I remember these dream stories from the very beginning to the very end. These dreams are clear, complete, and give important information concerning healing, rituals, inner transformation, life and death. Probably they awake a kind of deep archetypal memory and reconnect the dreamer to Nature. These dreams are almost photographic in their image quality and can be easily recalled and painted in detail. Sometimes a dream of power offers also a text (chanting) that completes a ritual revealed in the dream. Yet, even dreams that seem to be clearly for self-healing cannot be considered as just personal. They bring information that could be important for other individuals and a community. Another important quality of the dreams is that when I wake after such a dream I feel extremely healthy, energized, and creative.

The information that comes through these dreams can be used for the following purposes:

  • The dreamer’s self-healing and self-development
  • For the benefit of another (the dreamer’s client, patient, friend, or family member)
  • For a group of people (a tribe or community)
  • For Nature (the spirit of a place)
  • For the whole Earth

After participating in shamanic work from the inside, I learned the real importance of my dreams of power, and how to use them for others. Now I consider my modern city reality to be a shamanic one, and this attitude greatly influences both my dream content, and my day awareness. It makes me more conscious about any opportunity, any danger, new people, new problems, and new places.

The story of my experience began when I decided to pick up and to input into my computer all my dreams of power. The next day I conducted my regular weekly dream group. Suddenly a student told me, –“We always discuss our dreams, and we have never heard a dream of yours!” –“I always felt that our class is for your dreams, –I replied, –But if you would like to listen to a dream of mine, then here they are,” –and I showed the printout of my dreams. Conscious dreamer’s reality often offers this kind of synchronicity. At that moment I decided to offer one of these dreams as a guided meditation. I thought that it could be a good test for both my students and myself, whether I could teach them to ask right questions about dream content. An unexpected result was what they told me right after the meditation, –“We have never had such a bright and clear visualization before”.

Since then (for over a year) I have been using my dreams of power for teaching. I worked this way with three different groups of students:

  1. My advanced group. Some of these students have begun to do dream work themselves, and I hope that the majority of them will do what I do now.
  2. Students of the Baltic Academy of Pedagogical Science. They study Psychology as a second education. Dream work is an absolutely new course included in their official program this year. Some of them had never remembered their dreams before, and had no interest in it.
  3. Psychologists and Psychotherapists who take two years certification program in Tanatotherapy. Some of them also had no interest in dreams and dream work before, but they had to visit my lecturing on Dreams and Death.

I use different dreams for different groups of students. Thus, for instance, I pick up a dream characterized by especially bright colors for beginners in dream work, especially if there are people who do not remember their dreams at all. I used my dreams connected to information on death for the students of the Tanatotherapy Institute. I offered all these dreams to the group of my advanced students, who are more and more becoming colleagues rather than just pupils.

An important part of my work with my dreams of power is painting them (I wish I had more time for it!). After guided meditation I offer students to ask me two types of questions:

– Questions concerning details of my dream picture, which were missing in my description of it. – Questions aimed to check their precision of visualization. I might purposefully skip mentioning a color of an important object from my dream story. One student might ask, –“What was the color of it?” –while another one more experienced in visualization asks, –“Whether this object was of bright yellow color?” It no longer surprises me when the guess of the second student appears to be quite right. I also shared a dream of mine that had very simple landscape, but super bright colors. After guided meditation I asked my students to paint this dream as their home task. I did not show my own picture of the dream until our next class.

Here I would like to describe in brief some of my dreams of power used for teaching dream work. I begin with the last dream mentioned above.

The rise

I am going to climb up a high mountain. I have to do it alone. My friends stay at the bottom and wait for me there. I walk up following a narrow path along a steep slope. Sometimes I rest on a thin walking stick. Daytime is nearly over. Sunset is coming. The colors of the sky and the opposite mountain remind me of Roerich’s painting: the rays of sunset give dark red color to the mountain, the sky is a bright intense blue, narrow white clouds are pink at the bottom. It is getting dark. I make a bonfire on a ledge (terrace) in order to give a signal to my friends left at the bottom that I am OK. Then I continue to walk up the mountain and reach the level of snow cover. It is dark at the bottom of the mountain, but here snow is shining in the sun’s rays. From this place the narrow steep path is changed to a wide sloping road that is easy to walk. I see skiers sliding down. It is dangerous but it looks like they do it because they like risk. I ask one of them how to get to the top of the mountain. He tells me that I am on the right path and indicates the direction with his arm. I continue to walk up along snow. It is very easy to walk. I feel that I am very close to the top.

Bird of death

It is a sunny summer day. I’m in a forest on the bank of the river. I am in a new wooden house with big windows. There are some other people in the house, but I do not feel connected to them. Suddenly it is getting darker like before a rainstorm. A huge bird appears and flies in circle over the house. Its shadow on the ground looks like the Egyptian falcon with widespread wings. I know that it is the Bird of Death, and it comes to take human souls. All the people leave the house in a hurry and run to the bank of the river. I feel no danger for myself. I walk slowly to the river to watch. I stay under the trees on the bank, and at the same time I watch the whole scene ‘from the top’. People rush about in panic. From time to time the Bird flies down and take one of them. I understand that these are not people but souls lost in panic. I feel no fear, no danger. I know that the Bird will not touch me. It is getting lighter.

Worshipping river

It is twilight. I am in the bank of a river. The river is wide, quiet, shining in moonlight. I and my friend stay with a group of other people between trees. We came to watch a ritual. A tall beautiful woman comes closer to the water. She is to play the role of the spirit of the river. She has deep beautiful voice. She begins to speak: Look at me I am the river in front of you I am so wide that another bank is hardly seen I am beautiful, My surface is shining in the sun in daytime It reflects moon and stars at night My water flows sublimely as a powerful flow. In her clothes (a coat over a long dress, a scarf covering her long hair) the woman walks into the water and continues to speak. Then she dives and swims beautifully under the transparent water along the bank. Following a sudden impulse I also walk into the water in my clothes, dive and swim after her. I feel wonderful freshness, purification, and health improvement. I get out of the water. My clothes and hair are nearly dry. I feel no wet stuff on me. After swimming I have only a pleasant feeling. I come to my friend and say, - “It is a pity that you did not do the same. This diving was the best thing to do. Now all my body and my head feel much better”.

Fire dance

It is a dark night in mountains. There are big bright stars in the sky. I walk alone and come into a huge cave. Inside it looks like a castle hall. It is so big that I cannot see its opposite wall. Numerous small ‘flames’ placed as two huge circles on the floor are the source of light. People are standing next to walls around the circles. There are probably hundred people or more, and I am one of them. A certain rhythm begins to sound, and we begin to move in two circles around lights. At first, two circles are moving independently in different directions. Then there is a moment when these ‘flames’ are not on the floor any more, but we keep them in our hands. Two circles of people create intersection, and we move in a giant ‘figure-eight’. People get from one circle to another moving one by one at the intersection. At the end I see the whole picture from the top. The movement recreates a giant symbol of eternity.

When I began to use my dreams of power as texts for guided meditations in my advanced group, it had the following effect. All the participants of this experiment said that they had never had such bright and detailed visions. They all had very good experiences of relaxation, and they reported more interesting dreams afterwards. During other experiments they painted their visions and compared them. The most productive work took place when they compared their visions to my picture of my dream used for the meditation. They immediately saw weak and vague spots in their personal processes of visualization that led to radical improvement of their dream recall and their skill to put questions to dream stories of others.

Common results of the use of these dreams as guided meditations are the following:

  • opening dream memory for people who never remembered their dreams;
  • improving memory and visualization of details of dream stories for advanced dreamers;
  • students learn to see what they really accept from another person’s dream story, and what is nothing but their own fantasy and projection;
  • they learn how to reconstruct a picture of a dream from the dream story;
  • they see a possible future of their personal dream practice.

This work with dreams of power adds a lot to my private practice and my development. Each dream of power is of special content, and I see new aspects of it each time I use it again. In my case these dreams do not happen often, and are not a product of conscious tuning or intention. To me each of them is a gift, a priceless present from the Source of Dreams.

10/08/2002 E-mail: socol_mv@hotmail.com