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Conscious Dreaming by Robert Moss | BYB

February 17, 2008 on 7:54 pm | In Active Dreaming, Dream Books, Dream Journals, Future Dreams, Healing Dreams, Interpreting Dreams, Lucid Dreams, Message Dreams, Prophetic Dreams, Shaman Dreams | No Comments

Conscious Dreaming by Robert Moss is currently my favorite book on dreams and dreamwork. You can see that my copy is pretty battered. I not only use it; I also carry it around and share it with others.

Conscious Dreaming, by Robert Moss.

Born in Australia, Moss has recorded, studied and followed his dreams for decades. His dreams led him to England and then to the United States, from a career as a successful journalist and best-selling novelist to a teacher of dreamwork and author of dream books.

His dreams even led him to buy a particular house in a particular town in Upstate New York. Then they led him to Native American elders who could help interpret them. The elders told him that he was dreaming the traditional shamanic dreams of their people.

Moss’s books are clearly and simply written, easy to read, and filled with vivid, true stories of people and their dreams. There are lucid dreams, shamanic dreams, and dreams of future events.

Best of all, he explains clearly how to work with our dreams, how to help others interpret their dreams, and how to work actively with dreams, going back into the dreams to get more information. It is amazing how so much information and instruction can be so entertaining to read.

Moss and his dream groups use a nine-step program for understanding and working dreams. They use contemporary techniques derived from indigenous cultures around the world. His method helps you understand your past, shape your future, get in touch with your deepest desires, and receive guidance from your higher self.

Moss believes that dreams prepare us for future events, so that we can avoid disasters or at least be prepared to cope with traumatic events. And he tells some compelling stories that seem to prove his point.

His skills as both a top journalist and a best-selling author show through in his writing. It is clear and easy to understand. You won’t notice his skill perhaps—this is not showy writing—but you will enjoy the book more and understand the concepts more easily because of it.

He takes ancient wisdom and methods that have stood the test of time and makes them easy for modern people to understand and use. That is quite an accomplishment, and he can do that because he has experienced it himself.

Robert Moss is not just reporting on other people’s ideas and experiences. He is a master of dreamwork (though very unassuming about it), and he is able to explain it so that we can understand it.

After reading any of Robert Moss’s dream books (and you’ll be happy to know there are others), you will probably want to gather a few people into a group to work with dreams together. By following his instructions, you can do that—and have fun doing it.

If you do start your own dream group, or if you have one now that you work with, please stop by and leave a comment to let us know what you are doing and how it is going.

I hope to someday be able to take one of Robert Moss’s dream workshops. Now that would be blessing! Meanwhile, I feel wonderfully blessed just to be reading his books.

Here’s Something to Dream On | BYB

February 10, 2008 on 12:27 pm | In Dream Books, Dream Symbols, Dreaming True, Dreamscapes, Dreamwork | No Comments

Recently I got an email message about a special “Dreaming” issue of a wonderful art zine called Astarte’s Mega-Zine. You may not have heard of it. It’s fairly new and probably not on the newsstands. But the writers include well-known artists and authors such as Lucia Cappaccione.

In looking at past issues I have recognized most of them from their bylines in national magazines. I’ve even taken workshops from some of them.

I’m very excited that this innovative visual and written arts publication is devoting a whole issue to dreaming. If you go to the website and see what the issue includes, I think you will be, too.

Just as studying symbol systems helps your subconscious mind communicate with you, viewing and reading vivid imagery—visual and written—can also enrich your dreams.

Following is the entire message, links and all. I didn’t want to wait till I got my copy of the magazine to tell you about it.

We all need dreaming in our lives.

When I set the theme for issue 5 of Astarte’s Mega-Zine as
“Dreaming”, I never expected the enthusiastic response I got
from the Go-Make-Art Panel of Experts and other contributors.
Wow. Have we ever got some inspiring reading and projects
for you!


Also new on our site this month:

- Jacqueline Sullivan audio interview
- Hanna Andersson art in The Spotlight
- New Panel of Experts members: Seena Frost & Clare Goodwin

… and the Dreaming issue, of course.

Check it out:


If you aren’t a subscriber yet, perhaps it is time.

Go-Make-Art. It’s good for you!


PO Box 801
Marshfield, Wisconsin

I hope you will take a look at the Astarte’s Mega-Zine website, order the “Dreaming” issue (or subscribe), and share your experiences after reading it and absorbing the imagery.

When the email arrived, announcing this “Dreaming” ezine, I considered it a blessing. I hope you do, too.

Let us know how (or if) it affects your dreams.

Dream Symbols and Living Spirits

February 6, 2008 on 12:57 pm | In Dream Symbols, Interpreting Dreams | 2 Comments

Dreams and symbols are both vast and interesting topics. There is a lot to think about, and both subjects touch on many disciplines: psychology, anthropology, mythology, and so on.

Cyber Celt wrote an interesting comment Sunday on my post about dream symbolism. This comment made me stop and think:

As you study symbols, do you notice how many are similar across different cultures. The raven, the wolf, the whale, the sun . . .

Well, I consider Raven, Wolf, and Whale to be spirits, not symbols, so cultures that actually interact with them both as real animals in nature and as spirits might have similar impressions of them.

The Sun, another spirit, shows very different faces to different cultures. She was the harsh and fearsome lioness to the predynastic Egyptians, a lovely female spirit to the ancient Japanese, and a dazzling young man to late pre-Christian Mediterranean cultures.

In modern cultures it appears that the spirits get turned into symbols, and the symbols often stray far from actual experience. Sadly, modern people don’t seem to realize that—or even miss having actual experiences, as opposed to making assumptions based on abstract ideas or commonly accepted symbolism.

Also, one symbol set is often derived from another, as symbols are passed from one culture to another, and as the needs of cultures gradually evolve.

So, yes, I do see similarities among some sets of symbols, but I try to accept each symbol set as a whole system, on its own merits, and not assume that the meanings that appear similar to me are universal—or even related to each other—if that makes any sense.

Archaeologist Mariya Gimbutas wrote some interesting things about the difference between living spirits and symbols (though not specifically about dreams) in her final book, The Living Goddesses.

It seems to me that most books and most of what is taught in school are too oversimplified. They make so many assumptions of universality (conveniently skipping the many facts that do not fit), that they are very misleading. The simplest cure for that, I guess, is to read the authentic teaching stories and mythologies of many cultures from every part of the world.

But if you read anthologies, you are often reading stories that were chosen (perhaps unconsciously) for how well they fit into the belief system of the author. So naturally they seem similar. And often the stories are also “retold” to make them fit even better.

I recommend reading books and papers by anthropologists and folklorists who go out and interview actual members of each culture and translate the stories as accurately as they can, without “retelling” to suit themselves.

A recent favorite book is Singing Story, Healing Drum, by Kyra Van Duesen, a folklorist who spent years interviewing shamans and storytellers in several different cultures and language groups in Siberia, letting the people speak for themselves. Siberia is a vast region of Asia that includes quite a few countries, some of which come from entirely unrelated language groups, so the cultures are different as well.

Van Duesen seems to have done a good job, as both the essentials of shamanism, shared by many cultures, and the specifics of the different cultural groups shine through. I love that book and highly recommend it.

Another great book on symbolism and spirits is The Spell of the Sensuous. One of the essays is on how becoming literate completely changes the way cultures think. The author shows how the thinking and the language changed rapidly even between the time of Socrates, who taught orally, and his own student Plato, who was a writer.

The author points out that preliterate cultures think concretely, based on actual experience of the senses, while literate cultures become more and more abstract, farther and farther from actual experience. That makes sense to me.

It is very hard to enter into the worldview of another culture. In many cases, you would have to learn a very difficult language and actually live with the people for years, participating in their culture, to begin to understand their reality. Without doing that, there is no way to know for sure if what appears to be the same dream symbol actually means the same thing.

For example, to some cultures the spider is a male trickster, called Iktomi by the Lakota and Anansi by some African peoples. Does that mean he has all the same characteristics? Not necessarily.

The nomadic peoples of the Great Plains observed the trap door spider, which tricks its prey into falling into a hole. I don’t know what kind of spider the Africans had observed, or how what they saw fit into their way of thinking.

To cultures that weave cloth, the spider is often female and benevolent. For example, to the Pueblo peoples, the Navajo, and ancient Greeks, spider is the weaver of the world (Grandmother Spider) and the patroness of weavers (Ariadne).

But there again, we are talking about spirits, not just symbols. The people believed that the spirits actually spoke to them in dreams and visions. They didn’t consider them to be symbols, though they often used symbols to represent the individual spirits.

Wow, this stuff is complicated to discuss…but it is the kind of stuff I think about much of the time. I love it!

Thanks, CyberCelt for your thought-provoking comment. I originally replied in another comment, but I ended up writing so much that it was too hard to read (because I can’t format comments properly with this blog theme). So it seemed best to just make it into a post.

I love it when blogging becomes a conversation, and I hope there will be more of that here. Dreams and dreaming should be discussed from many perspectives.

Symbols to Feed Your Dreams | Blog Your Blessings

February 3, 2008 on 12:18 am | In Dream Symbols | 4 Comments

The subconscious mind speaks to us largely through symbols. Because our dreams serve partly as a way for our subconscious mind to communicate with us, if you feed your subconscious mind more symbols, it can communicate with you more clearly.

You can add to the ability of your subconscious mind to reach you by studying vivid, complete systems of symbolism that add to the vocabulary of your mind, and your dreams, in a coherent way. That makes it easier to interpret your dreams.

Religions have their own symbol systems. So do certain mystical or esoteric groups inside and outside of religions. There are other symbol systems, some quite elaborate, that are more culturally based.

Some symbol systems will speak to you personally more than others. They will fire your imagination and give you feeling of understanding. Those are the ones to look for.

Back in the 1980s there was a fad for studying the Norse or Germanic runes. You may recall that there were a lot of popular books and oracle systems based on them. Some became mainstream best-sellers.

Some people studied the Celtic ogham system. But the ogham marks are quite linear and were only used for inscriptions on monuments, so that was less productive.

Still, the ogham were supposedly based on a Celtic symbol system that assigned meanings to various trees and other plants, and many people found that the so-called tree calendar spoke to them intuitively.

Over the centuries many people in the West have studied the tarot. While its origins are mysterious, the tarot is still in use because the symbolism speaks deeply to people of European heritage–and to many others.

The tarot has developed into a complex and useful symbol system that only reached full flowering in the Rider-Waite tarot deck about 100 years ago. It continues to flourish because it helps the subconscious mind communicate.

Tibet, India, Japan, China, and other Eastern countries have immensely old, complex and effective symbolism that still speaks to dreamers today. People in the East developed Buddhist iconography, Hindu and Buddhist mandalas and other intricate symbol systems that have been perfected and proven valuable over thousands of years.

The even older shamanic symbols of the huge Siberian region have spread throughout much of the world. They have become part of the symbol systems of many cultures.

Nowadays shamanic symbolism is making a huge recovery since the fall of the Soviet Union. In a region with many cultures, nationalities, and languages completely unrelated to each other, the shamanic dream practices and symbols are amazingly widespread and similar.

The symbol systems of the Americas are widely diverse, including the Mayan calendar, the mysterious Olmec heads, thousands of Native American teaching stories representing hundreds of different languages and belief systems, medicine wheels, animal spirits, and many other sets of symbols.

Africa offers infinitely deep, rich and complex symbolism. Just a few examples are the hundreds of beautiful and meaningful adinkra symbols of Ghana and surrounding areas, the hieroglyphics and religious symbols of ancient Egypt, and the intricately beautiful Tuareg symbols representing each of the main oases on the caravan routes. And there are many more.

All over the Pacific Ocean area there is a wealth of symbolism: from the intricate totem poles of the far north to the giant Easter Island statues to the paintings and songs of the Australian Aborigine peoples and the intricate tatoos of the Maori of New Zealand.

Did I mention the Kabbala? And the beautiful carvings and temples of Southeast Asia, Malaysia, and Indonesia? What about the music of Madagascar, Africa, and the Near East?

With a little web surfing or a trip to the library, you can find as many more examples as there are cultures in the world. Many of those cultures have quite sophisticated and precise methods for working with dreams.

Ancient peoples throughout the world mastered many kinds of dreamwork-–including dream incubation, dream interpretation, active dreaming, lucid dreaming, and out of body dream travel. Today you can feed your dreams with the intuitive wisdom and subconscious knowledge of the ages.

The whole dreaming world is blessed with an immense store of evocative symbol systems. May they enrich your dreams, too.

One Way to Work with Dreams | BYB

February 1, 2008 on 1:01 am | In Answer Dreams, Dream Types, Dreamwork | No Comments

People who work with dream journals sometimes notice that certain illnesses and injuries correspond to messages from their subconscious that they have not recognized or heeded. That is, if your subconscious mind is trying to get a message through in one way, and that fails, it may try another way—illness or injury.

Hay House publishing company was founded upon the recognition by author Louise Hay that illnesses are often symbolic ways of communicating emotional or mental issues. For example, she noticed that people who come down with severe colds often are in the midst of trying to make a difficult decision and are in need of some downtime.

Sometimes the messages are obvious, such as tennis elbow, which may be telling you to get some rest or improve your technique.

Often, though, the message is a unclear. You have a sense that an illness means something, but try as you might, you can’t figure out what that is.

That is a good time to turn to dreams. If you keep a dream journal, read back over the last couple of months to see what your dreams may have been telling you. Look for what you may have missed that could possibly relate to the illness or injury you are coping with.

Sometimes the message will just jump out at you from the pages. Other times it may require a little thought. You may have to meditate or ask for clarification.

If you have not been keeping a dream journal, or you can’t recall any dreams that seem to apply to the situation, try incubating one. That is, during the day, and before falling asleep, ask your subconscious to give you the message in a dream.

How to incubate a dream:

  1. State that the illness or injury has not conveyed the message so that you can understand it.
  2. Ask for the illness or injury to be healed immediately.
  3. State that you are open and ready for the message now and are paying attention.
  4. Ask to receive the message in a harmless and easily understandable way such as a dream.

I did that the other night, and I had a vivid dream that seemed to apply. Of course, now I have to interpret the dream. But that’s different story for another time.

At least I’m feeling better. The process does work, if you let it. Why not give it a try?

Becoming aware of the communication from our subconscious minds and how to access it is worth working on. It can save a lot of time, mistakes, illness and heartaches.

Receiving and being able to act upon information from our dreams is a valuable skill. And it is potentially available to all of us. I’d call that a blessing. Wouldn’t you?

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