month, Dana Reynolds shares her life-transforming
thoughts, ideas, and sacred imagination based around our
"theme of the month." Dana is a visionary Spiritual Midwife, who
devotes herself to helping women birth their creative
gifts into the world.
Entertaining the Dream Visitor
visions, and feelings—so entirely inner and mine—have
nothing to do with soul unless they be recollected,
recorded, entered into history. Inner images and feeling
(so-called soul stuff) are free for grabs, nightly at
the oneiric fair, simply giveaways from the tunnel of
love and the chamber of horrors unless they be put
through the qualifying intelligence, the history-making
of the psyche, sifted and weighed in the disciplined
reflection of loving, of ritual, of dialectics, of an
~James Hillman, Healing Fiction
Recollecting and recording our dreams,
creating ritual, and making art from the stuff of our
nocturnal internal wanderings is sacred practice. Our
dream-lives provide creative clay for our waking lives.
If we can harvest the clay we create while we’re
sleeping and sculpt it during our waking-lives we will
craft our souls into new ways of being.
In many cultures dreams are honored as
wisdom stories, as visitations by spirit teachers, and
there are special shamans in the tribe to interpret the
dreams. In our culture, dreams seldom receive this kind
of honoring and recognition. Paying homage to your
dreams through recall, exploration, and expression
enriches your dream-life and brings revelations and new
potential for soulful living to your waking-life.
This month I would like to offer you
an invitation to creatively explore your dreams. Here
are a few ways to bring your dreams into two and
three-dimensional forms to anchor them into waking
reality for a closer look. Think of your dreams as
visitors, bringing sacred clay to your door. In order to
acknowledge the gift within each dream you must
entertain it, invite it to stay, and pay close attention
to what it has to tell you.
Romancing your dreams. . . Creating
an environment to welcome dreaming is the first step
towards discovering the clay you carry in your soul.
When you put your head on the pillow at night look
around your bed. Do clutter and the shards of the day
surround you? Your bedroom should be a place of
tranquility, a place that offers peace and serenity.
When you cross the threshold into your "sleep
chamber" you should feel a sense of relaxation.
Before sleep it is important to empty
yourself of the dust of the day. Just as you remove your
make-up or step out of your clothes as you prepare to go
to bed, you must also make a shift on the inside. When
setting your alarm for morning, try tuning the radio to
a classical music station. Awaking gently and slowly is
very important when you are trying to capture your
dreams. Taking a warm bath imbued with lavender oil,
playing soft music, climbing into fresh linens, and
releasing anything troubling into the pages of your
journal before going to sleep helps to clear the path
for nightly meandering in the dream world. You have
prepared your home and yourself for your "dream
Inviting your dream to stay awhile...Have
a blank book for recording your dreams and a pen handy
for writing in the morning. If you should awaken in the
night and be full with a dream, record it. Nighttime
visitors have a way of leaving without saying good-bye.
Chances are you won’t remember it when you awake.
As the light of day returns you to
consciousness, lie quietly and be aware of any images,
thoughts or feelings that are in your awareness. Next,
notice the position of your body. Are you curled into a
ball or stretched out like a cat basking in the
afternoon sun? What can your body tell you about your
Slowly reach for your dream journal.
Record the date and time and then write anything you can
recall about your dreams. Write in the present tense as
though you are reliving the dream. You are inviting your
dream to stay to become better acquainted.
Engaging the interpreter...Dreams
speak in the language of symbols. Decoding your dream is
really a question of discovering a way of translating
the dream’s symbolic language into a tangible and
Engaging your creative
sacred-imagination as interpreter will assist the
process. Have a few simple art supplies handy as the
first step towards dialoguing with your dreams.
In a basket near your dream journal
keep some colored pens or pencils. Making a quick sketch
of prominent dream symbols is a good starting point for
creative exploration of your dreams.
Honoring your dream...Taking
the time to get to know a dream is a kind of honoring of
your symbolic life. Making a collage to represent your
dream’s story is a powerful creative process that will
yield deeper understanding through a two-dimensional
Look through magazines with a soft
focus for images that represent the prominent symbols
you have identified in your dream. Remember you are
looking for representations not the identical image you
experienced in the dream, although many times these
images do present themselves in the waking world.
When you have accumulated the
important pieces, choose the one that is the most
powerful for you. Glue it with a glue-stick to the
center of a piece of poster-board. Begin to surround the
central image with the other supporting images. Write
your responses and insights in the margin of the
You might want to purchase a large
sketchbook for your dream collages or work on
paper/poster-board that is no larger than 11" x
17". When your collages are complete you can take
them to your local copy center and have them color
copied and reduced in size to paste into your dream
Keep the finished collage nearby where
it is visible to glean deeper revelations and
understandings of the symbology. You may want to create
an altar to honor your dreams. Use the collage as an
altarpiece and add touchstones and objects to support
the dream’s story. Light a candle and pray for
guidance and deepening revelations as you sculpt the
clay from each dream.
Dreams as Inspiration. . .Keeping
a dream collage journal will provide you with
steppingstones for additional creative processes such
as; poetry and short-story writing, clay creations, and
drawings or paintings. After you have completed a dream
collage have a color copy made to size to fit in a large
sketchbook. Glue the collage on the left page so that
the right page is free for drawings or writings that
emerge as a result of the collage’s inspiration. Using
clay or play-doh, create a three-dimensional
representation of a dream image that is particularly
powerful for you. When the clay has dried, paint it with
the colors of your dream and place it on your dream
Some closing thoughts. . .Honoring
your dreams in the ways I have described can become a
form of meditation. The process of writing your dreams
first thing in the morning, gathering a few images, and
placing them together to create a visual sketch of your
dream is a three-step process that will center you and
take you to a deeper level of internal/spiritual
Spend time with your dreams. The more
you engage with your "stories of the night"
the more wisdom you will cultivate from your nocturnal
garden. As you create from the clay of your dreams you
will begin to discover that you are blessed with a
wellspring of nourishment for your sacred imagination.
Sylvia Brinton Perera in the book Dream
Design shares this, "Both dreams and the ritual
arts manifest and mediate transpersonal energies. Both
are forms of enactment, expressing the depths of
existence and the energies flowing from the source
through life. . .To use processes suggested by one to
illuminate the other may permit us to relate to the
dream in terms that do not lurch it from its matrix, yet
facilitate and develop participant witnessing in the
May your dreams bless you with endless
illumination and new highways to your soul.
invited to submit your story and accompanying
photos to be considered as a feature for the Sacred
Imagination column. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright© 2001 Dana
Dana's Past "Sacred Imagination" Columns:
2001 - Embracing the Whole:
Choices for Conscious Living
2001 "Nourishing the Souls of the Children"
2001 "Opening the Senses to Beauty"
2001 "The Eyes of Love"
2001 "Patterns of Authenticity"
2000 "Finding Peace in the Fields of Time"
2000 "Cultivating Gratitude: Heart-Hugs and Prayer
2000 "Journey to the Center - The Sacred Mystery of
2000 "The Heart and Craft of Healing"
2000 "Transforming Life’s Challenges into Beauty and Story"
2000 "Sacred Spaces Invite the
Muses of the Soul"
Dana's Soulful Living Feature Articles:
and the Sacred Imagination: The Dance of Co-creation
For ten years, Dana Reynolds has
been facilitating women’s spiritual presentations and
retreats nationwide. Her work as a Spiritual Midwife,
one who assists women as they birth their creative gifts
into the world, is the foundation of all her endeavors.
Her background as a visual artist and writer enriches
her Spiritual Midwifery: Birthing the Feminine Soul
As the creator of an art making
process known as visual prayer, Dana teaches
women how to combine ritual with sacred intention to
create altars, collages, spirit dolls, and other
touchstones. The creation of sacred spaces is also
paramount to the Spiritual Midwifery experience. Her
offers samplings of her visual prayer collages, poetry,
and a workshop catalogue.
Dana is the author of the
whimsical and colorfully illustrated book, Be An
Angel, a co-creation with illustrator and graphic
designer, Karen Blessen, (Simon & Schuster). Her
essay, Visual Prayers is included in the
anthology, Our Turn, Our Time: Women Coming of Age, edited
by Cynthia Black, (Beyond Words Publishing).
A trained labyrinth
facilitator, Dana incorporates the labyrinth and other
spiritual wisdom into her retreats and workshops. She
recently traveled to Chartres and Vezelay Cathedrals in
France to gather information pertaining to ancient
sacred mystical traditions. She currently lectures on
such topics as spiritual midwifery, sacred journal
keeping, feminine spiritual wisdom, and the early
Christian women saints and mystics.
Dana’s life follows the
spiral path from rim to center and back again. She looks
for the sacred in forgotten places and openly embraces
the great Mystery of life. Guiding women to the
discovery of their creative inner gifts is the passion
that fuels her soul.