Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Dreamwork sits on the borders of regular occultism. Dreams are sometimes predictive, but rarely so for most of us. Similarly, the messages they contain are informative, but only to the extent that we accept they come in a ‘language’ that isn’t like spoken words. Dreamish is a hard language to learn.
The level(s) of subconsciousness that produce most of our dreams can take a broad perspective, but one that’s essentially focused on human survival. The dreaming self is aiming to balance, to reflect anomalies and obsessions, and to push us towards correction. Subconsciousness uses symbols (primarily images or groupings of imagery) and grasping these leads us to understand more clearly the machinery that lies behind all our conscious attitudes.
It can be confusing that there’s not really a vocabulary of morality built into Dreamish, only a reflection of how the subconscious sees morality, the way you or I might see a ceremonial Navajo dance, without much actual grasp of what’s happening. For example, I sometimes see shadow-characters in my dreams as dark. It doesn’t mean my psyche is racist, simply that it views things in terms of light and dark, visible and non-visible, and some things appear obscure to it so it makes them appear dark. Racism is itself merely a crippled form of morality, and as a troubling concept, it might itself appear in a dream as a dark person.
The critical thing, of course, is that each character in a dream you have, and each situation, is part of your own self or self-concept. And it represents your involvement with, and relation to, that thing. There is core-You, the observer; and there are the various sub-Yous who comment and criticise, worry and hope; for you, with you, and in you. And there will also be characters that embody ideas you internalised from your parents or teachers or other people.
Subconsciousness keeps trying to represent these factors and forces, using the Dreamish “words” it knows: image-symbols. And even when language is used, it often has a symbolic meaning, or a connection to a broader category of thoughts. One word in a dream, usually, equals three regular, tacit assumptions.
All worldly events are symbolic to the subconscious; it doesn’t concede that the outer world is any more real than the inner one. As conscious ego-selves, we see things the opposite way, and think the dream-world is a little crazy. As a result, we have to re-educate ourselves to learn Dreamish, to recognise finally that what is within us conditions all our experiences, and leads us towards certain types of encounters and reactions in life. And further, to see that dreams guide us to the threshold of another world of different significances, values and goals.
It can take a heroic effort to face our conditioning and start to “listen” in Dreamish. Over-valuing dream symbols can lead to an aggrandised view of our own importance as intermediaries with the Inner Planes. Dismissing them as irrational and simply epiphenomena of brain activity is equally an error; our prized rationality, usually, comes from past conditioning and a bunch of cultural assumptions, with rarely much connection to logical analysis in the more Aristotelian sense. We think what we think, and assume we think it because it’s the right stuff to think, since we’ve always thought it. Our dreaming selves are also creatures of habit in their way, but with fewer inhibitions about embracing difficult ideas.
Occultists, who are trying to probe deeper meanings that are occult – hidden – need to learn Dreamish in order to make sense of what they are. Understanding of unconscious forces, and the subconscious processes and activities they lead to, is what makes an Adept an Adept.
Now, once in a while we have what Jung called a great dream. This will probably be no less mysterious than the usual kind of dream, and could well be more opaque, or inscrutable. Some of Jung’s were, as he outlines in Memories, Dreams, Reflections. The imagery will be more haunting, more disturbing or more exalted. Where much dream material comes from the level of the vital soul, the Nephesh, that sense of power and awe involved in a great dream is due to its coming from Neshamah, the supernal soul: “God,” for most practical purposes. It will be offering a fundamental correction, or perhaps we should say, a profound encouragement, to our mundane mentality.
Those dreams need more careful interpretation and reinterpretation, and possibly over an extended period of time. Dreamish uses symbols as means of communication because any symbol has multiple meanings, and multiple levels, too.
Dreamwork should be included as part of the magical diary, since it’s a key aspect of the ongoing and evolving dialogue with the Holy Guardian Angel. Dreams need to be recorded the moment you wake, so you need a pen and notepad or a recording device beside the bed. Wait five minutes, and you’ll find your conscious outlook has begun to impose its own moral attitudes on the dream material.
Interpreting the recorded dreams on your own is a meditative exercise, where you open yourself to inspiration, as the preconscious mind offers up interpretations of the dream. Here you’ll be “speaking” pidgin Dreamish, as a more verbal symbol-set “explains” the dream symbolism, which must still be allowed to retain its significance and potency, and not minimised or edited in some fashion. One translation method is to employ a talisman – a crystal or semiprecious stone, a pendant, or perhaps the Priestess card of the Tarot (which represents the royal road to the deep unconscious) – as an interlocutor. Each person needs to figure out their own preferred method, which will in time evolve into a small ritual.
One thing to avoid is imposing standard systems onto your dreams. I’d always hoped to find rich Jungian symbolism in mine, with animas and wise old men and mystical castles and such, but they rarely show up. Similarly, while I find some Qabalistic and Hermetic ideas show up in my dreams, I let the interpretation I get tell me what I need to know, and I only reinterpret things Qabalistically later on.
The key advantage of dreamwork is that over time, dreams can become more expressive and more pointed in their “remarks.” We not only learn more about what makes us us, we also learn more about how our own attitudes to ourselves – repressions, ignoring of phobias, no-go zones, things that we feel make us look stupid – shape what our lives become.
Love is the law, love under will,