That Help Us Make Important Decisions
by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, PhD
One of our greatest allies in life is our dreams.
Whatever we seek to be, do or accomplish, our dreams can
help us in reaching our goals.
Dreams have meaning, and when we pay attention to
dreams their meaning bursts upon us in profound
insights. Dreams validate the intuition, present
solutions to problems, inspire creativity and bring
healing. Since ancient times, dreams have been seen
literally as a "hotline to God" for divine
guidance in all matters of life.
When we are faced with important decisions, such as
changes involving home, job and relationship, we often
don't know which way to turn. We draw up lists of pros
and cons, sit on the fence and second guess ourselves.
Our dreams, however, cut straight through confusion with
guidance that is crystal clear. Sometimes the dream
guidance confirms what we already know and helps to end
vacillation. Sometimes the guidance is unexpected--and
we are put to a test of faith to follow it.
Dreams speak in symbols, which always have personal
meaning within the context of the dreamer's life. Many
symbols also carry larger-than-life, or archetypal,
meaning. Each dream is unique to the dreamer, and any
dream can provide the guidance or "aha!" that
the dreamer needs. However, there are some symbols that
appear often in guidance dreams. For example, maps,
paths and instructions from voices and guide figures
point out to us the road ahead. Unusual lights over
places, landscapes and signs also mark the trail we need
to take. Magazines tell us what we need to know. Bridges
and gateways take us to new places. We navigate rivers.
In these and similar symbols, the dreamworld is saying
to us, "Here--this is the way that has been
prepared for you, this is the way you must go."
The following are some examples of dreams that
provided significant and life-changing guidance to the
dreamers. You may see some similarities and resonances
with your own dreams. If so, your Dreaming Self is
inviting you to take a closer look: explore your dreams
more, and learn how they are speaking to you.
Career and Relocation
Choices at the dream airport
Carol E. Parrish-Harra is a renowned metaphysical
teacher and the founder of Sancta Sophia Seminary and
the Light of Christ Community Church in Oklahoma. The
school and church are part of an intentional community
called Sparrow Hawk Village, located on Sparrow Hawk
Mountain near Tahlequah. The Sparrow Hawk community and
its church and school exist because Carol was guided to
Oklahoma by meditation, dreams and a waking vision.
In the late 1970s, Carol and her husband, Charles
Harra, were living in Sarasota, Florida, where Carol had
a thriving ministerial preparatory program and a
Although Carol and Charles loved Sarasota, Carol
began to feel a pull to move. In 1979, she was told in a
meditation that in five years she would not want to be
in Florida. It was hard for her to believe--but she also
believed in following one's guidance. She considered
moving to Sedona and to Rapid City, South Dakota, but
took no action. Three years went by in which she
remained undecided. Then Carol had these experiences:
...I had a clear guidance dream. I was in an airport
and about to go through security check. There were three
gates from which to choose. The first to the left, wide
and attractive, was labeled "Sedona." The far
right, again wide and attractive, was labeled
"Rapid City," the middle was small and plain.
The sign over it said "Other." With a feeling
of resolve I lowered my head and went through the middle
check area. I awakened knowing it would be neither of
the places I was considering.
Soon thereafter the guidance came. In my vision I was
in a large room with maps on all four sides. In front of
me a map of the U.S. filled the entire wall. My inner
teacher stands behind me and reaches over my right
shoulder, his finger directly on a spot on the map. It
seems I am standing too far back to see where he points.
I step up closer. I am stunned as I see the state of
Oklahoma with the name printed clearly across the state.
His finger is in the northeastern corner of the state.
My heart seems to stop. I cry out, "Oh, no, not
Oklahoma ... not OKLAHOMA!" I snap out of the
vision. My heart aches. I can't believe it. I've never
been in Oklahoma in my entire life.
Carol's guidance also gave her the name
"Tahlequah" as the place to find. She'd never
heard of it. A check on a map confirmed that Tahlequah,
a town of about 10,000 persons, did in fact exist.
"My heart was the heaviest," Carol
acknowledged, "because I thought that Sarasota was
at least on a par with heaven. But I knew this was an
opportunity to do something in keeping with a plan that
I had envisioned."
Carol and Charles traveled to Oklahoma. When they saw
Sparrow Hawk Mountain, located in the Ozarks foothills,
they knew they'd found the right place. They purchased
332 acres and began to build Sparrow Hawk Village and
create the seminary.
Answer in a magazine
Jeffrey Mishlove's name is synonymous with intuition
and psi. Mishlove, who holds a doctorate in
parapsychology and is a clinical psychologist, is the
host and co-producer of a popular national public
television series called Thinking Allowed, in
which he interviews the leaders of consciousness
exploration. In 1993, Mishlove became the director of
the Global Intuition Network, an association of diverse
professional who are interested in the practical
application of intuition. He also serves on the
editorial advisory board of Intuition magazine,
writes books and lectures. His book The Roots of
Consciousness, first published in 1975 and since
revised and expanded, is considered a classic.
Intuition, psi and consciousness and broadcasting
were not his original choices for a career. In fact,
Mishlove's career choice was influenced by a guidance
dream he had in 1972, while he was a graduate student in
college. He was studying criminology.
My interest in criminology reflected my fascination
with human deviance. However, I was feeling very
uncomfortable studying only negative forms of deviance.
I deeply wanted to reorient my career focus. One evening
I felt inspired to tell myself, and to accept without a
doubt, that I would have a dream which would provide an
answer to my career dilemma. Then I did have such a
I dreamed I was visiting some friends in Berkeley,
who were not at home. Knowing where they hid their house
key, I took the key and let myself into their apartment.
I walked into the living room where I found a magazine
sitting in the middle of the floor. In the dream it was
called Eye (a popular magazine at the time. I
picked it up and began paging through it. While I was
dreaming, I had a distinct feeling of elation. I knew
that somehow the answer I was seeking existed in that
I awoke early in the morning and...felt drawn to act
on the inspiration of the dream. Immediately I dressed
and ran four miles across Berkeley to the apartment I
had dreamed of. My friends were not home, but I did know
where they kept their key. Breaking the bounds of
conventionality, I let myself into their home. To my
delight, there was a single magazine in the middle of
their living room floor. It was not called Eye,
it was called Focus. And this magazine literally
brought focus to my life. It was the magazine of
listener-sponsored television and radio in San
As I sat there paging through Focus magazine,
I was struck with the idea that I would redirect my
career through involvement with public broadcast media.
I applied to volunteer at KPFA-FM, Berkeley's
listener-sponsored radio station--and within three weeks
I was asked to host and produce a program twice a week
called "The Mind's Ear."
Suddenly, I found that my life was transformed. Every
Tuesday and Thursday I had the opportunity to hold
intimate, hour-long, uninterrupted discussions with
leaders of the human potential movement, yogis,
scientists, psychics, psychologists, visionaries,
humorists, etc. I felt as though I had found my home in
This experience gave me the confidence to pursue a
unique doctoral diploma in parapsychology at the
University of California, Berkeley, and to write the
first edition of The Roots of Consciousness.
The inspiration of that dream still motivates my life
twenty years later as I produce the Thinking Allowed
television series and prepare this revised edition.
My own dream experience certainly does not reflect a
contact with higher intelligence in the romanticized or
stereotyped manner characteristic of theosophical and
Rosicrucian legend. It does suggest a synchronistic
connection (which implies some higher intelligence) that
has been integrated into the movements and actions of my
By asserting that he would have a dream that would
address his career dilemma, Mishlove initiated a dream
incubation. His resulting dream has elements of
lucidity: the elation and the realization in the dream
that his question is answered. Furthermore, Mishlove
took the most important step: he acted on the dream.
If not for the dream, would Mishlove have taken this
course? "Might have been's" are impossible to
predict. But the dreamscape responded immediately to his
need, and laid out the answer clearly so that he could
proceed without delay.
On the map
Some years ago, a map dream helped me to move forward
with a decision about moving to a new home:
I am given certain items of jewelry--they are ones I
already own, but have been transformed somehow. The gold
ones--earrings, ring--are shinier and have a brighter
glow. Most significant is my watch, which was black and
is now all gold, including the band.
In the dream, I see these pieces laid out on a map
which shows what appear to be Connecticut townships. The
pieces are on top of one of the townships where we have
been looking for a new house. I take the pieces of
jewelry and put them on. The watch feels the most
I interpreted the dream as both predicting and
confirming my feeling that I and my then-husband would
move to a particular community. We had looked at many
houses in several communities, including the one
depicted in the dream map, but I was afraid of making
the wrong decision. The watch symbolized that time was
at hand for a transition. The shiny gold jewelry also
gave me the feeling that the move would bring about a
spiritual renewal. There is an alchemical symbolism here
in the transformation of the watch from black to gold.
In alchemy, the nigredo, or blackness, must come
first before the gold of enlightenment can be attained.
Laura B. was unhappy in her marriage but didn't know
what to do about it. One night she had a dream in which
she was given advice by a wise man. The man was someone
she knew in waking life, but in the dream assumes an
archetypal role of the Wise Man. Her conversation with
him enabled her to crystallize her growing anxieties
about her marriage and take action.
In 1977 I had just completed my Ph.D. in religious
studies from Duke University and was teaching at the
University of North Carolina at Greensboro as a one-year
Visiting Assistant Professor. I had been married for
three years to a struggling young lawyer who was
unemployed at the time. While I loved him deeply, I was
beginning to sense that there were deep differences
between us which could not be spanned. Then I had the
I was in a large, old, dark house. In every room
there were parties going on. I would wander into a room
and try to enjoy the party. But after a little while,
something bad would happen and I would have to leave. I
don't remember what the events were--perhaps just a
drunk getting out of hand or a sinister mood descending.
In each room I would get the feeling that I had to leave
right away. So I careened from room to room, each time
being driven out by something painful or vaguely evil.
Then I found myself in the very center of the house,
in a room where I hadn't been. It was stark white, with
a single bare light bulb hanging from the middle of the
ceiling and reflecting off the white glossy walls. It
was a small room, like a bathroom, but I remember only a
single wooden chair, in which was sitting a college
professor of mine, a Jewish professor who had taught
Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Old Testament. While I
had not been his student, I had admired him and thought
very highly of him.
He looked at me and said simply, "Don't you
realize you are married to two people?" In the
dream at once I realized that he was right. How could I
have forgotten? That was why I couldn't linger in any of
the rooms. I had to go back and put myself/house/life
back in order.
I woke up then, with the sure knowledge that I was
going to have to leave my marriage. It took a year, and
was nasty and painful all around, and I cried regularly
for an hour a week for three years before I could heal
the pain and guilt of leaving. But a few years later I
remarried, left the state, had children, bought a house,
got the kind of teaching job I had always wanted, had a
religious conversion, and started on the spiritual
journey I am still on. My first husband had been a
Marxist atheist who did not want children and could
never have affirmed my present spiritual self.
At the time I thought that the dream meant that I was
"married" to both my husband and my career.
After twenty years I think that interpretation was
mistaken. I didn't have to choose career or marriage. I
ultimately chose both, although neither one was the sort
I had fantasized about. Instead, I think the dream meant
that I had made incompatible commitments to two people:
to my husband and to myself, and in the end I could only
honor my commitment to self. I had to find someone who
could commit to loving the self I was committed to
becoming. Fortunately, I did. We've been married for
nearly seventeen years now.
Laura's dream wisdom could apply to any of us: we
must honor our commitment to ourselves in order to honor
commitments to others and to our purpose in life.
Start Your Own Dreamwork
In order to receive the full benefit of your dreams,
make a commitment now to understanding them. Start
recording them in a journal. Read books on dreams and
attend dreamwork groups or seminars. It's easy to learn
the language of your dreams. You will find complete
dreamwork programs in my books Dreamwork for the
Soul, Dreamspeak: How to Understand the Messages in Your
Dreams and The Encyclopedia of Dreams: Symbols
Our dreams provide us with constant guidance, whether
or not we consciously ask for it. Regular dreamwork will
ensure that none of your inner wisdom will be
overlooked. Our dreams show us truth, and give us the
validation and courage we need to act.
Visionary Living, Inc. 2001. All Rights Reserved. This
article is adapted from Dreamwork for the Soul by
Rosemary Ellen Guiley, PhD, published by Berkley Books.
Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Ph.D. has been a lay
dreamwork facilitator for more than a decade. Her
books about dreams are Dreamspeak: How to Understand
the Messages in Your Dreams,
Dreamwork for the Soul: A Spiritual Guide to
Dream Interpretation, and The Encyclopedia
of Dreams: Symbols and Interpretations. For more
information on Rosemary's writings and presentations,
visit her website, Visionary Living, at www.visionaryliving.com.
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