By Michelle McLemore
First published December 23, 2022 in Crazy Wisdom Bi-Weekly.
The winter solstice will occur on Wednesday, December 21, eastern standard time in the northern hemisphere. It officially marks the beginning of winter with the shortest amount of daylight and thus the longest night. Children and anyone struggling with depression or anxiety may see the lengthening darkness as something to dread. However, it could be viewed as a rich opportunity for self-discovery and fun.
How we view night, sleep, and more specifically, dreaming, is initially shaped by our family. Some cultures and faiths have been overt in honoring the act of dreaming. They have explored dreams for wisdom for centuries.
Father Paul Ragueneau journaled what he learned about dreams from indigenous interviews in 1648: “The Huron believe that our soul has desires other than our conscious ones…made known to us through dreams which are its language. …Most Hurons pay attention and address the messages first thing on awakening.”
Did you grow up discussing your night’s dreams over breakfast?
Other people barely contemplate dreams nor practice their recall. This leads them to the fallacy that they rarely dream. Consistently, sleep studies record a generally healthy person has four to six dream segments nightly in the R.E.M. state alone. If you’ve ever watched a dog or cat sleep, you can tell when it is dreaming by its body movements, changes in respiration, rapid eye movement, and vocal utterances. The benefit we have over our furry dreaming friends is our ability to reflect on the dreams and discern gifts from their occurrence.
• At base level, dreams can be entertaining. Have you ever dreamt you were in a foreign country and yet spoke, and understood, the language perfectly? How about dreaming in a musical format? Groups literally breaking out in song or dance? Or perhaps you’ve had one of the most common dreams—flying, gliding effortlessly over valleys, lakes, or towns? It’s even possible to have high tea with a dragonfly or be teased by faeries.
• Processing dreams are another benefit. Elements from your day, or emotional and mental concerns may present themselves. You may find yourself in a similar dilemma that is occurring in your waking life, and then within the dream state, you are enabled to act either in a way you never would in real life (to vent or release emotion) or to actually try out potential solutions. Perhaps you crave comfort. You might dream of being held in an embrace or engage in playtime with a fluffy pet.
• A dream may literally supply you with art, stories, songs, and inventions. Author Richard Bach claims the entire narrative for Johnathon Livingston Seagull played out for him like a movie over the course of two nights.
• Finally, dreams can enable communication with others in the same physical realm as well as in other dimensions/planes. You might see, hear, or get a hug from a deceased loved one. Or you might have a dream meet-up with someone still alive.
Some people purposely avoid dreams because of distressing scenes. If this is your case, you need to understand that the body and mind are always working toward homeostasis and better total health. This means the subconscious will keep bringing the visions needed to encourage you to find truth and peace regardless of if you consider them nightmares. A dream coach, or a psychologist versed in Carl Jung’s theories, can help you find the meaning of dreams, create understanding, and move beyond a particular nightmare.
If you haven’t given much merit to dreams in the past, you can start today and build supportive habits.
• Talk about the benefits of dreaming and set an intention to remember. Honor the visions or messages.
• Read or discuss others’ dreams, and how they analyzed and utilized them. You can use religious, indigenous, or friends’ text examples, or even examples from movies. (Though, I’d avoid the movie Inception…at the start.)
• Institute consistent, healthy sleep preparation to increase recall along with the benefits of quality sleep for overall health.
• Create or buy journals or find other recording devices. For someone who doesn’t like writing, a voice recorder or voice-to-text app could be useful.
• Prioritize time to briefly record dreams first thing upon waking. Sketches or key
• Dig deeper by reflecting upon personal, familial, cultural, religious, and national symbols possibly present in the dream. Consider colors, time of day, locations, objects, characters, etcetera.
Honoring dreaming can increase your personal insight and energetic frequency. You are being given information around the clock. Acknowledge it. Contemplate it. Utilize it, as you were meant to, in order to live your best life.
To learn more about dream states, interpretation, how to nurture a more effective dream state, or use dreams to improve your waking state, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 517-270-0986 to work with Michelle. She synthesizes her training in psychology, energy therapies, and various wellness modalities to personalize sessions for each of her clients.