If you have had the opportunity to see a homeopath for a consult, you will likely have been asked at some point about your nighttime dreams. Dreams can be a way to enter into your symptoms at a deeper level. Dreams have a way of taking us beyond our physical reality and putting us in touch with our unconscious ways of perceiving the world.
Symptoms, similar to our dreams, are a way of communicating energetic changes within. Kind of like keeping checks and balances as we live, work and play in our world. Sometimes our symptoms are confusing. How is it that we are sick? We look for help outside ourselves to make sense of what is happening. Our invisible vital force is simply showing us through our symptoms that something is out of balance.
So too, our dreams are communicating something that is affecting us in the waking world. Sometimes our dreams are confusing too! Ever had the experience of waking up and then sharing with your spouse, friend or colleague the ‘weirdest’ dream you had the previous night?
From Inner Work: Using Dreams & Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Robert A Johnson:
“Every person must live the inner life in one form or another. Consciously or unconsciously, voluntarily or involuntarily, the inner world will claim us and exact its dues. If we go to that realm consciously, it is by our inner work: our prayers, meditations, dream work, ceremonies, and Active Imagination. If we try to ignore the inner world, as most of us do, the unconscious will find its way into our lives through pathology; our psychosomatic symptoms, compulsions depressions, and neuroses.”
It might seem a bit odd at first sharing your night dreams with your homeopath. However, with a skilled practitioner, you can together, come to new insights. Homeopaths approach dreams differently from the way a psychologist might. As homeopaths, we are interested in how you feel in the dream where a psychologist will be interested in the symbolism, the archetypal images and what the dream might mean in the context of your therapy process.
What You Say is a Clue
Repetition of certain words at different levels can be meaningful for the homeopath as they listen to you talk. From physical symptoms to emotional symptoms and to the words used to describe dreams, a homeopath is always listening for anything repeated.
Here is an example from Dr. Rajan Sankaran’s work:
“We had a patient, an old man with a long-standing skin allergy. Asked to describe the sensation, he graphically described needles poking, sharp, pricking etc. and all his words were synonyms of this sensation. Having established that this was the sensation of the case, I tried to confirm this by going to a completely different area. I asked about his dreams. He mentioned that he had dreams of shit. Dr. Paresh looked at me with a question in his eyes, as if asking me how it would be possible that this dream would have the same sensation. It was difficult to imagine that this was possible. Yet, I was convinced that ultimately all expression of the person come from the same sensation. With this faith, I looked at Dr. Paresh, indicating that he would see how it would come to the same thing. It felt that this would be a test case of the whole idea.”
R: Tell a little more about this dream.
Patient: (laughing) What more can I say about shit? Every one knows shit.
I persisted and asked him the same question again.
R: Tell me more about it.
P: I should not dream of shit.
R: Tell me about this “I should not dream of shit.”
P: They say that to dream of shit means impurity.
R: Tell me about impurity.
http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/8190337874/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=15121&creative=390961&creativeASIN=8190337874&linkCode=as2&tag=powersofhom00-20P: Impurity I should never, never, never have. Then you go to Hell.
R: Tell me about hell.
P: I do not want to go to hell, so much suffering.
R: Tell me about suffering.
P: They take these needles and poke and poke you.
Sensation Refined by Rajan Sankaran
I Dream of a Seal
Last night I dreamt of a seal. She had been injured and was almost recovered. Recovered enough that she was finding her way back to what seemed like a group, a family, a bunch of kids and back to me. I was looking forward to her arrival: sad that she had been wounded and hurt but grateful that she was alive and that her instincts were driving her back to us.
We were so glad to see her. I petted her, stroked her ears and head. She slipped into the water – ready to play and finish her healing with us.
That is my dream and a dream that I will share with my homeopath. I have worked with my dreams for several years with a psychologist and because I am intrigued about what might be happening at an unconscious dream state, I enter into them gladly for the wisdom that they offer.
One way to work with your dream is to have a dialogue with the characters or objects in the dream. This might feel very strange at first. The first time I did this I found my inner critic saying things like ‘you’re just making this up. This isn’t real.” But if you are willing to trust the process, a method called Active Imagination, like the dream, can open up meaning for you.
As I write in my journal after recording the dream I am drawn to ask her – how did you get hurt?
I was captured. Taken from my home in the sea and put in a concrete pool – no different really than the one we share now. But there, I was not free and I was not loved. I liked learning the new tricks but there was no love. Fish rewards – but no love. I grew sick. Then I decided I must return home to you even though it meant rough rocky patches on land that tore my skin and fins. I was so dry and thirst. Then I found the stream to you. I am home.
This is how I work with my dreams. For me, seals have a special meaning. In my storytelling days, I was captivated by the Celtic legend of The Selkie. So I looked up the story once again. Here is a wonderful retelling of the tale.
From the cover of Mara Freeman’s CD Celtic Tales of Birds and Beasts
I also have a book called Animal Speak by Ted Andrews and in it I found the meaning of the appearance of a seal as a messenger in nature.
Having a seal or sea lion in your consciousness whether in a dream or sighting is all about Active Imagination, Creativity, and Lucid Dreaming. Here are some highlights that were meaningful to me as I read Andrews description:
“The sea lion has external ears. Ears are the center for hearing and balance, and this significance should be applied to your own life. …if a seal or a sea lion has shown up as a totem, it is time to do some questioning. Are you getting out of balance? Has the imaginative faculty opened so much that you are not staying grounded? Are you listening to things and people that you shouldn’t? Are you not listening to that which you should? Are you listening to the inner voice (especially in the case of a seal totem?)? Are you following the words of other rather than your own?”
More good questions to ask of myself!
The dreams that you have are unique to you. Each character and object is a part of you or has a special meaning to you.
“Individuation is the term Jung used to refer to the lifelong process of becoming the complete human beings we were born to be. Individuation is our waking up to our total selves, allowing our conscious personalities to develop until they include all the basic elements that are inherent in each of us at the preconscious level.
…if we work at individuation, we begin to see the difference between the ideas and values that come out of our own selves and the social opinions that we absorb from the world around us. We can cease to be mere appendages of a society or a clique of people: We learn that we have our own values, our own ways of life, that proceed naturally out of our inborn natures.
…One begins to understand that it isn’t necessary to struggle to be like someone else, for by being one’s own self one stands on the surest ground. We realize that to know ourselves complete and to develop all the strengths that are build into us is a lifetime task. We don’t need to make an imitation of someone else’s life. There is no further need for pretensions, for what is already ours is riches enough, and far more than we ever expected.”
My dream of the seal is the beginning of something new, and I will have the joy of working with this energy in the months to come. Timely as my work with the magazine is creative and requires me to listen and keep my balance!
What are your dreams telling you? If you listen to them, you too will have the joy and wisdom that comes with working with them. Your own images, your own feelings, your own meanings. Becoming who you are does make the world a better place. And do share your dreams with your homeopath!
Yours in health and healing,