I’ve had the habit of writing down my dreams for more than 40 years. I kept a journal from the time I was in grade six and jotted bits of dreams in the pages. During high school, I was taking my dreams more seriously because I recall that I wrote my dreams on loose leaf pages and kept them in a binder separate from my journal. I don’t remember what influenced me to start doing this, but I would guess it would have been something from my English classes, maybe information about Freud or Jung and the significance of dreams. Apart from writing them down, I didn’t work with them, but for a very long while, writing them down was enough.
A huge turning point in my journey with dreamwork came when I entered therapy in my mid-twenties after burning out during my MA. I was blessed with the spectacular synchronicity of being taken on as a client by Trish Grainge at a reduced rate for sessions. I didn’t know anything about therapy, so at the time I had no idea how lucky I was. Trish was a Jungian drama therapist, among other things, and working with her brought my spiritual life back from the grave, opened my vital creative channels again, turned my life around, and put me on the path that I am on today.
I recall bringing a dream to a session with Trish after biking up the huge hill to her Vancouver home office. It was about a conflict with my brother. I was surprised when she suggested that we role play the characters. I hadn’t considered my brother as a “character” in my dream. But by playing around and reversing our parts, I learned a great deal about myself. Trish taught me that the figures in our dreams can sometimes be interpreted as parts of ourselves no matter how much they seem to be the actual people in our lives. Things were never the same in my dream life again, and I entered a new phase in my dreamwork apprenticeship.
Approaching a dream as if every character, scene, and object is a part of oneself is a rich path to insights and self-awareness, but I now know that it is only one of many ways to approach our dreams and connect with the wisdom within them.
Dreams, creative expression, and soul are inseparable. They operate on an endless cycle. Each plays a crucial role in your inner life. Each needs, nourishes, and leads into the other. Treat each with the quiet, curious, and loving respect it deserves.Jill Mellick