Today I found myself going through old dream journals, making another dent in my ongoing project of typing up years’ worth of dreams into my own intricate (and searchable) catalogue. I found myself full of gratitude and wonder at what this practice has yielded now — not just the fruits of the day-to-day practice, nor even the season-to-season, but the long arc of adventure and transformation available for me to lovingly leaf through, from here, offering new lessons and perspectives still.
From here, I envision this blog as an experiment in and companion to my deep love and respect for dreams, the development of local dream circles, the growth of COM|PASSionate REVOLT, this ongoing personal catalogue project, and the interweaving of my therapeutic and community projects. So, getting ready for this first blog, I thought: what better place to begin than with the container itself, the dream journal!
Act, practice, ritual, scrawling ground — psychic dump and minefield, laboratory and garden, switchboard and library, a dream journal is many things. A dedicated place to record one’s dreams, it need not be even be a journal. A dream journal can be a notebook, a ream of loose papers, a file of voice recordings, a series of canvasses, a shelf of figures and sculptures, a collection of music, a choreography of movement — anything physical and creative that houses both your dedication to engaging consciously with your dreams and your regular practice of that art. It can be as fancy and decorative or as simple and easy as you wish. Likewise, it need not engage only night dreams — daydreams, fantasies, waking visions, synchronicities, meditations, musings, all are welcome. The dream realms are vast and various. Your journal is your personal dreamboat, the craft you ride along in as you explore whatever psychic territory you find yourself in today.
And as all kinds of sailors know, it can certainly help to keep track of the rhythms at play in each territory — there are ways to navigate and orient, to chart one’s course. Practicing mindfulness of these rhythms is complementary to the dream journal, and can be a powerful addition to the journal itself. Rhythms to note might include cycles of the moon, menstruation, work, sleep, mood, eating, drinking, medicines, drugs, relationships, travels, anniversaries, times of transitional life changes, themes of the day, synchronicities, omens, or divinations, to name a few. Tracking any of these rhythms along with our dreams evokes a powerful awareness of how our psychic rhythms intersect with those of our bodies, of our neighborhoods, of the earth and the cosmos, the present and the past and even the future.
Using your journal can be as quick and disciplined as switching on the light in the middle of the night to scribble something down while it’s fresh — or as languid and elaborate as a comforting ritual with a special place, a special brew, a special pen. Or any other million ways to do it. Reading and rereading your entries, you may begin to recognize a particular voice, a particular way of reporting your dream adventures. You may notice a kaleidoscopic strangeness, with gleaming flashes of voices and images you know you wrote and yet don’t quite recognize. We’ll have time to explore a lot of these scenarios, but first it’s time to start journaling…
Do you have a dream journal already? We’d love to hear about it — how do you use yours? Do you like color? Pen? Pencil? Do you record by voice? Do you use words, pictures, or both? What is your favorite part of dream journaling? If you’ve never recorded your dreams before, what’s drawing you to start now?
Til next time,