Great Dreams That Guide Us

Great dreams usually only arise when we have tried our best to find out who we are, to cut through to the central YOU. This is a bit like the journey to the centre of the earth.

The journey to the centre of the world, your world, has been the aim of heroines and heroes of all cultures. Myths from all ages tell of the search for that precious something that the hero/ine risks all for. It might be the pearl of great price, the Golden Fleece, or the love of someone.

But you are the hero/ine of your own life. You brave great dangers, face monsters, pass through difficult initiations. Fundamental to the whole drama of the hero/ine is the emergence of your own identity from the depths of unconsciousness in the physical process of conception, through to developing self awareness as an adult. From the great ocean of collective culture, language, and society, you move toward the possible emergence of yourself as a mature individual. To do this you face death and rebirth several times when you metamorphose from baby to child; from child to adolescent; from adolescent to adult; from adult with youthful body to ageing body. It is such an incredible journey, so heroic, so impossible of achievement, so fraught with dangers and triumphs. It is the greatest story in the world. It is YOUR story. See Archetype of the Hero/ine

The adventure of your life faces you with challenges and threats to your survival not just physical survival but the survival of your soul. Look around you. How many people have given up their own will to alcohol, drugs, medications or a leader figure? How many people have pulled back from the challenge of deeply and creatively meeting their life? How many of those around you live in a tiny worldview of beliefs and opinions, unable to venture into any depth of personal experience? 

To find your way through to a wider life you need courage. To survive the pitfalls, temptations, and dead ends of the journey you need all the survival skills you can gain. Opening the windows of your extended faculties is one of the greatest of survival aids and a doorway to creative expression. If you doubt that read the accounts left us by our forebears who lived amidst a much more dangerous physical world than ours. To find food in difficult times they looked to their wider awareness, their intuition, and visions. After all there were no newspapers or yellow pages to help them no police to fend off dangers. When there was sickness they sought help from within to understand the herbs and animals around them. What else was there? In facing the future, they prayed for guidance from their widest awareness to help them take the best pathway through the uncertainty of the years ahead. The ‘holy’ that they approached was not an abstract God living only as a concept or expressed in the dogma of religion. It was a sacred experience of Life itself and help in times of need. See  Using Your Intuition – Going Beyond – Dimensions of Human Experience


Perhaps your dangers are not hungry predators or lack of food. But we still live in a jungle. There are still enormous dangers. Moving toward emotional and physical independence is possibly more difficult now than it has been in the past. Certain aspects of experience which are necessary to meet during personal growth were ready made in older cultures; this despite the fact our society apparently holds the ideal of independence more than past cultures.

In smaller communities, in groups with a stronger national, religious or family identification, there was less need to be independent in forming an identity and role for oneself. At times, one’s surname or tribal name alone was a ready made statement of who you were, your background, beliefs, caste, and what quality of person you might be. Whether one was enemy or friend, marriageable or taboo, was clearer. Decision making was easier because most groups had a more unified set of customs or religious practices; therefore, there was less pressure on individuals to make personal decisions. In fact, being different was not good form. Those who stuck their head up above the group often had it taken off. You were even helped to leave parents and move into a sense of kinship with a partner via initiation ceremonies and trials. Today, educational, professional and university qualifications are not quite the same thing. On the street, your name may mean nothing; there is no ready made role for you; social security or state aid may in fact develop in you a sense of being a second class citizen. Being out of work can even rob you of the identity and social acclaim gained through employment.

Today’s initiation into adulthood does not consist of recognition or ceremonies like bar/bat mitzvah or acceptance into womanhood by the tribe. It most likely occurs when you confront the impact of the world, its uncertainties, and then manage to carry on life with your head up. This courage might mean becoming aware of the forces of illness waiting in the wings for their chance on you; seeing how much of a nothing you are when viewed against the billions of other humans, and what competition exists in whatever your chosen direction; confronting your own internal world of fears, angers, pains and destructive habits; meeting the fact of death, fallibility and the infinity of your ignorance; recognising and accepting the variety of human beings, their experience, life or beliefs. See Individuation; Meeting yourself

 You need all the help you can get

The universal themes appear again and again in both dreams and waking encounters with the unconscious. When these are experienced they are usually not seen simply as a static physical object, but are full of meaning, movement, and power. Common symbols met are in the form of a mandala, the crux ansata, various forms of the Shiva lingam, jewels, shining objects or animals, or the wheel of life such as shown in Buddhism and in Native American rituals.


The dream is that of a man in his mid forties.

“I am walking along a cobbled road going slightly down–hill. I know as I dream that I am in Italy. I do not feel a stranger in this land, and am learning the language.” Ron.

Ron found so much information in his dream, I have to shorten it – but for the long version see The Conjuring Trick – Here is a short version.

I realised that my father was very distant or cautious in his dealings with the market salesmen and porters in the fruit market. A distinct and overall realisation arose out of the many memories and impressions; it was that my father was expressing a particular type of caution in all his dealings with other people. I saw this as keeping who he was secret – keeping his head down.

As I saw this in my father it hit me with great power that this attitude had passed to me, and although I expressed it in a different way, I had inherited it with equal strength. Why? And, how?

I saw that just as a fox cub ‘learns’ how to hunt from its parents without words, so we absorb the deeply etched survival strategies of our parents simply by being around them. If genes come into it anywhere, they perhaps create the reflex response that instinctively draws in the survival tactics that perhaps even our parents themselves have never really been aware they live by. In doing this the higher animals learn what cannot be passed on as instinct, what is not ‘hard wired’ into them. This holds in it a tremendous advantage because ‘hard wiring’ takes a long time. Through this faster method we learn what to be afraid of, what to eat, how to hunt, because the lessons learned by pain through many generations are exhibited in our parents behaviour in dealing with events. Unfortunately, we absord all their bad survival techniques as well as positive ones – depending who your parents are/were.

So what did my father pass onto me – and what did you unconsciously pick up from your parents?


A woman wrote to me about a recurring dream in which she discovered a door in her house she had never seen before. Beyond it was a whole apartment she has never known or used. It was obviously an area of her life she had never lived in, but she had no idea what.

So I suggested to her to use her imagination and enter the room and allow any spontaneous feelings and images to arise. A soon as she imagined entered the apartment she began to remember and feel again things that had happened in her childhood. Her mother and father had separated when she was very young, and her mother had constantly presented her father as weak and of no value. But the feelings that arose were of the love of beauty and art that her father had shared and helped unfold in her. But she had kept that part of her closed because of what her mother had said. Now it was open to her again and she could allow it to unfold further in her life. An important point here is that the woman did this working alone on her dream, not with professional help or supervision.


Early this morning I dreamt of meeting  a woman dwarf in a building. I had the sense of knowing her for a long time, but we had not met for ages. She was leading me into the building as if we had just entered it. She went through a door, on the left of a corridor, into a room.

The woman dwarf had features that, even in the dream, reminded me of someone. Once in the room with her I felt more strongly I had known her for many years. She told me she was going to look in her crystal ball to tell me what she could see for me. I realise the woman has never been made love to, and I feel compassion and love for her. I pick her up and hold her lovingly. I do not have an awareness of penetrating her, but the charge of sexual feelings flows into her. She transforms into a beautiful female and I know she will always love me – be a haven of love.

My beautiful friend looks into the crystal. It is not a thing made of glass, but a great dimension of mind which appears to open in the room, hanging in the centre of it, about eight feet across. She tells me I am already touching something that is beginning to happen in the world. My life will become involved in it. I will play my part – by no means a key or leader, but one which I will gain great satisfaction and love from.

The man whose dream this was had the dream in 1991, while he was starting a new  and different project. He was full of doubts, but the dream became stronger help as the years fulfilled the dream. It was so true, every part of it.


Very often profound understanding flows through dream symbols to the person meeting them. An example of this is as follows:

I looked over at a plain wall in the room. It was light green. To my amazement, a huge living and wondrous circle appeared on the wall. It was full of movement, everything dancing in time to music. At the very centre of the circle was emptiness, nothing, a void. Yet out of this nothingness all things emerged. There were plants, animals, people, hills, rivers, and mountains all coming to birth. They danced out in their own individual movement, yet each unknowingly was part of the whole wonderful and intricate dance which made a great pattern and movement in the body of the circle. All danced to the periphery and there turned and moved, still in their ballet, back to the centre. At that centre they plunged into its oblivion again. But at that very moment new life sprang from it to dance once more.

This experience has stayed with me over the years and continually enlightens me about the essence of life. We emerge from something that is beyond any form, yet is potentially everything. We dance our life, and without knowing it are part of the whole movement of creation, of life and death. Then we move back to our source, lose ourselves in it, only to be brought forth again in a new and unique form.

Grof noted that people experiencing such dynamic symbols, often learned whole systems of thought and insight from the experience. They felt them to be glorious living doorways to the cosmic mind. In one such meeting they would understand the whole structure and meaning of the system it depicted. It seems probable to me that some of the great symbolic systems such as astrology, the chakras and the I Ching were originally grasped from this type of visionary experience. See Masters of Nightmares; Grof


 There was a gate leading to a path, and somehow I had the feeling that I wanted to put a warning sign over the gate saying something like, “Give up hope all you who enter here”! The path led to a hill, and when I reached the top I was on the edge of a precipitous drop. The view was extraordinary, like looking into a vast void. It was like seeing into everything, and with a sinking heart I could sense no being, no God, just a huge impersonal space.

The feeling floored me and I sat there and gave up on any hope of finding what I had hoped for – a sort of wonderful welcome. But as I sat a deep quietness grew in me – I had given up! And that was when a quiet bliss grew in me, and I realised that many others had got to the same spot and sat there. I also realised that I had been seeking an external god, and in giving up my search and becoming quiet had found the inner god that we all are.

And in my quiet bliss I turned my head and looked to my left there was a path leading up a mountain and I know that it was a path others had taken after they knew the bliss, and I would take it also. I realised that the bliss I experienced was what many people call enlightenment, and I saw or realised that this was not an end, but the beginning of a climb.

I looking at the dream, I realised the mountain was the path I have taken over the years. I got to that spot on the hilltop where I just sat, as if there is no way onwards. This path has led me to drop my ambition, let go of my desire to lead or be a creator of something special to bring me acclaim. But it doesn’t stop me seeing the tragedy of the world and wanting to do something about it. So I feel like putting the image of the mountain path into the world and seeing if people who have also climbed that path and faced the void, who also have sat there and realised freedom, will collect under that image as the dream suggests, to create practical action in the world.

Slowly another possibility clarified – freedom within limitation. An amazing sense and experience of this freedom came upon me. It was more rewarding than Ananda/bliss, and with infinite possibility. Life could begin in an entirely new way. Relationships could be things of depth, variability, and beauty, once freed of the shackles of the eternal buzzing desire to fuck.

Yet buzzing is not forbidden. Work can become a joy and a game instead of a struggle and a task. It is Life itself facing experience naked. Was that really it? I could hardly believe it. Surely an anxiety, problem or injury lay underneath. Perhaps I was still defending. I would dwell deeply in the ache and see.

As I did so the colours got lighter and lighter. It felt as if something was going faster and faster. Yes, kaleidoscopic patterns were moving and changing faster, speeding up and getting lighter. First of all just colour, movement and intensity, then it burst into a direct awareness of energy in my being vibrating faster and faster. I could feel it moving each side of my spine, actually vibrating. It got more and more intense until suddenly it felt like the energy had cleared all its pathways and was vibrating at tremendous speed without barriers. It was an incredible experience yet at the same time not at all strange.

I had read about this, and expected bliss, strange awareness, entrance into other dimensions, contact with nonphysical intelligence’s, or a view of life that was goal oriented. Something like – Aha, so life leads to this wider awareness – or meeting other minds – or fresh worlds – but no. It was all very ordinary in an extraordinary way. There was the energy. It was vibrating in a physically apparent way, just as it does when I sleep, only faster. It had reached a point where it seemed to clear out last remaining obstacles to stream freely. But it didn’t put me in touch with disincarnate entities, other dimensions, bliss, or a hidden life, or divine purpose.

What it did do was to increase what I already had. It gave more. This incredible energy I saw, experienced, that it didn’t do anything in particular, but on the other hand it would do anything. If I turned my energy into fear or self-destructive patterns, then I could be a lot more frightened and self-destructive with that amount of energy. Like a man who drinks and one who paints. With more money or energy they could respectively drink or paint a lot more. If I used my energy toward creativity and life enhancement, then that’s what the energy would do. It could heal or cause illness, give peace or restlessness, wisdom or folly. It would fill whatever one put before it. In my case it was being used to look at life and myself and cleanse body and consciousness of sickness and limiting painful or anxious attitudes, and that was what it was doing.

In fact it cleared so much pain, darkness and anxiety out of my soul, I felt a peaceful joy shining from me and obstructed by the anxieties I have felt of late. It brought clearness, calm confidence, and open warmth. It brought more, in the same sense light brings more in a dark room. Consider this. The room we are in is in darkness. With a little light vague shapes are apparent but no colour. With more light shapes begin to take on meaning as to what they are, and dim shades of colour appear. More still and hidden details in the shapes become obvious and colours begin to blaze out. More still and things hidden in the colours show. The room has not changed. No other doors have opened on fresh dimensions. No other intelligences met. The room changes only in the appreciation and awareness we have of it.

The colour was always there, but we see it more and more, and what has always existed and been experienced opens up to us more fully. So this flood of energy gives more in the same sense. No new worlds within the same world, but with much deeper appreciation and awareness. True the whole world changes, but only because of heightened awareness. As for goal orientation, I wondered, is this where man is destined to evolve? Is this where yoga leads? But really it was not like that. The energy did not lead anywhere. There was nothing to it or beyond it to reach. There was nowhere else to go. That realisation was repeated over and over. There is no divine purpose, higher world, meaning, or future evolution to escape into. There is only me, here, now. I have to be self responsible and self creative or be unconscious, driftwood on the sea of life.

This was all experienced while in a state of waking lucid dreaming – Waking Lucid Dreaming;  Integration – meeting oneself – Life’s Little Secrets  

The Garden of Life
In my dream I was in the garden of a large house.
To the right of the house, my right that is, I saw the garden had been changed. I realised that I knew the garden from childhood, and there used to be a large pool by the house in which we all bathed when young. The ground sloped up from the house and was rough, but part of it had been dug over.
The care and skill with which this had been done deeply impressed me. Allowing my mind to roam freely and show me out of what images and feelings the dream had been fashioned. There were no direct associations I could make with the house or the pond, so I started allowing spontaneous material to enter into the dream, allowing my mind to roam freely and show me out of what images and feelings the dream had been fashioned.
I started with the pond, and had the most unexpected set of fantasies and feelings bubble up from within. The garden when we were children referred to a condition of mind, which I now experienced, in which a group shared a common awareness, and felt at one with their environment. In other words there was no separate identity. No one in the group knew themselves as one individual. I knew as I experienced this that it was about the early condition of human beings, and was represented in the Bible as the Garden of Eden. It was about the history of our development as human beings. It showed me that in the early stages of evolution all human beings lived in a state of awareness in which they had no sense of separation from nature itself.
They had no sense of individual existence either, but lived in a sort of paradise where there was no idea of birth or death or right or wrong. They felt at one with each other in their small groups and with the forces of nature.


-John Hodgson (@bristoljohn) 2017-07-26 6:25:27

This is a profound article. Your voice, coming from a life’s experience of inner and outer exploration, informs the clarity and power of your writing. How rarely one encounters another human being who looks inward and writes with perception and honesty about the endless difficulties of facing the world and coming to maturity.

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