Creative Dreaming, written by Patricia Garfield Ph. D. published in 1974, is still in print. There is a reason for it. This blog will give you three reasons to get creative with your dreams.
Creative Dreaming tip #1:ask for a gift
When I read this book about 30 years ago, I finished it at once. I was still living in my parents’ house and I secretly left on the light. I had made a canopy bed for myself, so I could close the curtains surrounding my bed and read it using my flash light. The thing that thrilled me at the core of my soul was that it tought me I was able to use my dream to solve problems in a creative way. Up till that time, the only thing I knew about dreams is that you had to tell them to a therapist, who would listen and shake his head. This book told me that I should ask each dream person for a gift. By the time I read it, it was already 03 am in the morning and I dozed off to sleep…
In my dream I see my godmother Anne. I greet her with a smile, because she has been dead for many years and I am delighted to see her again. I embrace her and hug her tight, while I enjoy the feeling of love flowing between our hearts. In a magical way I feel how the love and affection between us communicates in ways that are so familiar to me. But waking up, I still can not find words for this feeling of flowing connection. I ask Anne for a gift and she gives me a yellow rose.
When I woke up I felt like a million bucks. I told my father about it, because Anne was his older sister. Only years later, when I studied psychology at Tilburg university, one of my classmates told me that a yellow rose is a sign of friendship.
Creative Dreaming tip #2: Senoi dreamers
For the first time in my life, I found out about a tribe called “The Senoi”. A group of Malaysian Hunter gatherers who used their dreams in a particular way that was of great benefit to their society: no wars, no arguments, no murders. They created a paradise. Kilton Stewart was the first person to write about Senoi dreamers in his book “Pygmees and the Dream Giants“. The Senoi dreamers had a clear and sensible set of rules:
You have to search for dream friends and ask them to help you in times of trouble.
You have to defeat each enemy relentlessly.
Each enemy is only an enemy as long as you fear him.
Always search for pleasant experiences in your dreams.
You can never ever experience too much love.
(There are more of them in the book) Those were simple and pleasant rules. And because it immediately worked for me I was addicted to dreaming from that moment on. It was one of the main reasons I choose to study psychology. I felt relieved to be given permission to fight with enemies. And it did make me a stronger person in waking life.
Creative Dreaming Tip #3: dream creative
Patricia Garfield is a very creative person. Using dreams to paint, create and write poetry. In one of the dreams she describes in Creative Dreaming, she looks in the mirror and sees that out of her head grow branches. This dream she calls “Branching Woman”. Soon she finds out this is an ancient moon related symbol of the crescent moon. The dream is the start of a wonderful career as a dream expert. She wrote a beautiful poem about this dream:
Great Matriarch! Mother of dreamy
life paths that diverge and reach
like trees into the future, hear me.
Come, as when I first saw you shake
your shimmering limbs into reveal
the finest course for me to take.
Full-crowned, your grand branches traced
parting routes, like antler-thoughts,
feeling our the choices faced…
Blaze again, Mighty Mother! Stir your boughs.
Shake your horns, Point out the branch
to advance to fullest life that time allows.
Patricia Garfield as inspiration
Patricia Garfield has been an inspiration for me. She supported my dreams and health research and participated my “Healing panel” on the IASD conference of 2014: “On The Golden Gateway to Dreams” together with shaman Paul Overman, Sandy Ginsberg M.S., M.F.T. and me.
And even though Patricia Garfield has so much more knowledge and wisdom when it comes to dreams I feel we are kindred spirits. Just like her, I had a “branching dream” in which the branches grew out of my belly.
I admire her for her loving presence and her kindness. Readers who have not yet read Creative Dreaming should treat themselves to a copy. You will not regret it.