Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dreaming with the Gods

I uncovered early on in my studies that one of the ways that I was able to easily talk to my subconscious - and later the Gods - was through the use of dreams. People with many years of study can use other methods such as Journeying or Path Walking to achieve these goals where they meet the Gods face to face, but I haven't really had that luxury. Every time that I've tried to read something about the specific details on doing such a thing, I feel a slight pressure on my chest and clear words such as "Now is not the time." This can feel frustrating at times, but there are some concrete reasons why my patron deity wouldn't want me wandering off on my own at this given point, except under the supervision and training of a teacher.

In the meantime, dreams have been a big part of my experiences with the Gods. Some of them have been mere introductions, some come bearing some intense information, and others have been extreme warnings for things that will happen.

Why use dreams to communicate with the gods? Sleeping can be one of the most receptive time for our minds to listen and interpret the subtle cues in our universe, such as those from our subconscious or from other sources. While we allow our body to rest from the trials of the day, our mind sorts through what it learned the previous day and categorizes it for easier recall. When this is happening, the rest of our mind can pick up on clues from our physical bodies, our mental sorting, or through the whispers of the subconscious or deities. What can be hard to hear in the business of the waking world can be audible when we're at rest.

An example from the author's own dream journal:
I was in a grove in a forest, late spring. I'm approached by what appears to be a man, dressed mostly in green, with a headpiece that has antlers. I have the feeling that it's Cernunnos - when I usually see Arawn, he's on his horse and accompanied by his white hounds with red ears. Cernunnos tells me that we're to go hunting, for what he wasn't specific. All through the night we travel to many different forests, hunting our prey. He's usually the one to make the kill and skin it, as I'm still learning and he'd rather me watch him in action. From each kill, he carves out something from the animal - a leg muscle from one, the bone of another. He then places this in my body, usually removing something before doing so. After our hunt has concluded, he tells me that I'm to start studying as soon as possible for what The Gods have in store for me, and to only eat "of the earth" for the next couple days. I ask him what this is, and he refrains from telling me, saying that I'll find out in time.
The day or two after the dream, a health scare came up in the family, as well as the loss of many friends in a falling out. Before this time, though, the advice was heeded, and the appropriate studies and steps - some which would have taken many days to do - all seemed to happen within the span of a couple of hours.

I wasn't always able to remember my dreams, it took a lot of training and diligent practice. There were several reasons that I became interested in dream recall, such as creative outlets, depression therapy, and lucid dreaming. All three of these reasons have the same first step to dream recall - keeping a dream journal.

A dream journal is a place where you can keep a collective of your dreams - it can be a simple pad and paper or could even be a file on a laptop. Whichever media you use, it needs to be easily accessible and within reach upon waking up. The goal for the dream journal is to write an entry every day, in which you describe your dreams. In the case that you simply can't remember the dream, you still write an entry - this will imprint the suggestion that you want to remember you dreams into your subconscious, which will be triggered the next couple times that you dream. Keep this journal for at least 30-90 days. Once this is achieved, it's fairly easy to remember one's dreams automatically. In the case that your recall is slipping, you can always start the journal up again where you left off.

Once a dream journal is started and dreams are written down, it can become easy to find patterns in your dreams, and even find out which ones are the most important for you to pursue. There are some dreams that I have that can be downright terrifying, but by writing them down and analyzing them, you can find out their purpose with your relationship with the gods. I recently had that experience less than 24 hours ago, where I even had to go as far as having the gods summon me and doing a divination to get more clarification into the dream.

An example of another dream:
I was outside of a house - at least it seemed like my house, I had never seen it before. I picked up my laptop from the table and walked inside. The inside of the house was extremely bright, with multi-colored strands of Christmas lights stringing along the walls. Many shiny knick-knacks littered the shelves and tables, and I walked through the room in a daze. There's a man there, also shining, who simply points to a trap door in the floor. I open the door, and it leads to a steep staircase into darkness.

I let my eyes adjust to the darkness, and I see what looks like sleeping quarters. As I sit on the bed and allow my eyes to adjust further, I see darker forms floating in the shadow. The more that I look at the dark forms, the more they resemble mirror images of myself, so I stop looking at them and retreat from the basement.


I'm still wandering the area, excavating the bones of a long lost relative. I can't remember the reason why we were doing such a thing, but the only people that are here with me are my dead relatives. They keep rambling about something being unfair and untrue, all while accompanying me, trying to find one last skeleton.

I'm searching through a populated area of some sort, and I recall a denizen stopping me and asking me what was wrong. I hear the words flow out of my mouth: "My sister is dead. We're trying to find her."
At first glance, a lot of people would read such a dream and question what the meaning of it would be. By following these steps, one can achieve clarification.

  • Writing down the dream in the dream journal, with as much detail as possible.
  • Try to replace common themes and objects with symbolism. Animals can easily be replacements for either friends or current troubles, depending on their disposition.
  • Look at contradictions carefully. If something exists in the dream that is contradictory to waking life, examine it. For example, consider the implications of a only-child dreamer who dreams of a sister.
  • When stuck, ask for help. There are plenty of resources out there for dream interpretation, but don't rely too heavily upon them - you and the Gods are the final authority. Ask your deity or the gods through divination if necessary, they may tell you more of what's going on or provide clarification.
With this important tool, one can communicate more with their Gods, find out more about themselves, or experience lucid dreaming. I hope this helps out those who want to use dreaming as a viable communication tool with their deities.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Empathy in Groups

One of the talents that I'm still in the process of controlling and understanding is Empathy. I've made progress in the last half year with empathy, but I'm quickly discovering that with most things, the more questions I answer, the more questions crop up. A particular conundrum that I've recently focused on is the role of empathy in a group setting.

Empathy in a group setting, unlike empathy in a crowd setting, can be a unique animal. While working in a group, synergy and coordination are often sought out in order to accomplish a goal. it's usually in this situation that it's advantageous for me to turn down any empathic shields that I have so that I can pick up on the subtle clues of the group. It works really well in a work setting, when you can pick out a nuisance before it becomes a problem. In my recreation, it's nice to know how the other four, or nine, or twenty four people are feeling - it allows me to focus more on my own job since I usually play a healer role. (On that aspect - I've prohibited my group from yelling out for additional heals, since not only can I pay attention to the group, but I already innately know who needs the healing.)

This can have some huge pitfalls in practice, though. Sometimes along the way, I'll pick up cues that in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have picked up. It's easy to pick up on feelings on lying, duplicity and feeling projection. It makes precognition a hazard - where I'll suddenly start feeling extremely irate and angry for "no reason", when I'm instead picking up events that will happen in a couple hours, or even days. I'll have people ask me "Why are you upset?" or "Why are you so mad at X?" and I find myself scrambling for real reasons when I really just want to say "I'm picking up things that haven't happened yet."

Another pitfall that affects me the most is a sudden group feeling. This can be in many forms - an example everyone recognizes is "classroom nervousness" when a teacher asks a question and the entire group freezes in nervousness. This can be extremely traumatic for empaths, even when shielded - the sudden influx of nervous feelings from 5 to 50 people is a huge weight crushing down. A more dangerous one is the combined sudden anger or rage of a group reacting to something that they all think is offensive. Sadness and nervousness can result in inactivity, but anger can be extremely dangerous in that it can lead to insatiable wrath. My own anger can be alleviated by reacting in certain ways, but this does *not* work with other people's anger. A very wrathful empath can easily continue to do extremely hurtful things all while waiting to be sated - something that will never come - which can irrevocably hurt the empath and any on the warpath.

Some of these can be alleviated fairly easily with the following methods:
  • Grounding, centering and shielding.
  • Raising one's empathic shields again. I usually envision mine as a dial (mine goes up to 11) that I can globally lower and raise my shields. I'm slowly working on having people-specific dials.
  • Tensing/Relaxation techniques. This can really help in stirring up and then dispelling any extra energy that you have from other people's emotions.
It can be hard to determine whether or not one's feelings are their own or someone else's. The best way that I've found to do this is to write down the feelings that you're experiencing. If one's angry, write a huge rant. If sad, write out one's sorrows. Once this is done, compare how you feel now compared to how you were before the writing. If the emotion is mostly gone or feels diffused, then it's most likely your own. If you're still feeling that emotion strongly, then it could be from someone else, and you should focus on the techniques above.

Mindfullness is the key here - interrupting a pattern before it spirals out of control is very important. This is especially true with angry feelings. Wrath can be a very seductive emotion in that it makes one feel extremely powerful and omnipotent while dishing it out. It's not until later that one realizes the damage that can be one, especially when it cannot be sated.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

First Post

I've decided upon some thought to separate my spiritual writings from my normal blog. The reasoning is threefold.

- Gain some focus into what writings of mine are spiritual vs. more conversational.
- Allow a central location for me to compose my writings so that I can easily search through them for my own personal reference.
- Easier access to it in the case that I want to hook this journal to a circle of other pagan journals.

My spiritual biography is fairly short, which I'll elaborate in a later post. Suffice it to say, I'm a Celtic/Welsh Pagan and a follower of Arawn. I've only recently started on my path, after much poking and prodding from the gods and the universe. I've still much to learn, and as I discover my way, I hope that my writings will inspire others and serve as a guide as I uncover the joys and possible pitfalls of this journey.

I invite you all to join me on this path of discovery.