Many years ago, I was drawn to learn the language of the dreams and the way they spoke to me. Over the years, sitting in circles with women and listening to dreams, I came to understand a feminine way of being with dreams.
The images that come to us are unique to us – our ancestry, our cultural heritage – for we are each so individual. If we can trust and be patient and not quickly impose and try to decipher an image, then it will unfold in our lives.
I have always felt that the dreams taught me how to listen to them. How to hold a dream. How to receive it.
I learned that it might be days, months, sometimes years, but the meaning and energy contained in an image will be true to our own makeup. I’m convinced that we have this knowledge inside of us that knows how to be receptive to an image, knows how it will speak to us.
Listening to a dream, welcoming it, aware that it doesn’t have to be understood right away. Looking back on it, reflecting on it over time, it will unfold. Dreams have their own rhythms. Give them some space. Allow them to touch your heart.
What if we listen to our dreams in this way? What if we hold a dream with care and attention, and not make it into anything? It’s a very feminine way to work with dreams. Just to listen. To hold it in our heart, like prayer. I wait. I listen.
One of the early origins of the word ‘hold’ means to keep, to tend, to watch over, as you would with cattle, or sheep.
Holding an image that comes in a dream, you will how it comes alive. Even if we can’t remember the whole dream, just holding an image can bring into life a thread, a feeling, a quality, that mysteriously becomes woven into one’s life.
Leaning into holding a dream is strengthening, so that with the anxiety and uncertainty of these times, we seek less outwardly, and garner a deeper understanding, a knowing, within.
Our relationship to this deeper knowing, a deeper wisdom that allows for change within ourselves, that allows for healing, is deeply connected to the greater web of life and to being of service to the whole. It’s difficult to comprehend with the logical mind but it is understood in biology and physics, of our wholeness, of our inter-connectedness in our own lives to something much bigger.
Just as one tree can nourish and inform surrounding trees through an interconnected root system, this healing work is much bigger than we can ever imagine. If we want to be of service in our own lives, in the greater life, it means knowing that our day-to-day life, our deeper understanding, has implications to a larger healing.
I love what Helen Luke wrote about the simple things of daily life. Through her writing you can feel that she’s describing a similar quality of attention for one’s everyday life too. She wrote:
In my life-long impatience, how much I have missed. Last night, washing the dishes, I really looked at my iron frying pan in the dishwater. The light made visible for a moment a tiny rainbow—a light through water revealing all the colors of life. It is so easy to miss the tiny symbols. Finding them is quite different from the business of trying to hatch up big symbolic experiences. It is recognition, not pursuit, of meaning—recognition of the sacramental, of the intersection of the two worlds, breaking through unsought because one is attending.
“You are a mediator between the worlds,” I once heard in a dream. Being a mediator is not rare, but belongs to each of us. We watch over, we hold a dream, like tending sheep in the fields.
This way belongs to a natural, feminine wisdom.