Music and dreams

Sometimes I wake up humming a song. Sometimes I sing in me dreams. I wrote a mindfunda about it earlier (click to read it). But because one of my friends is a dreamer and a musician, I asked for his expert advice on the subject of music and dreams.

Music Dream Ceremonies

Todays Mindfunda is written by Travis Wernet, Dream Teacher, Author, Breath Worker and Unitarian Universalist Minister.
Travis has worked for 20 years offering online and local groups as well as workshops, ceremonies and private sessions based in “inner work”. He has a private practice and worked for 10 years in the Community Mental Health Field in California.
He has traveled co-leading musical dream ceremonies from Northern India to the Great Pyramids in Egypt and did a coastal tour of Australia. Sound, breath, dreams and music support learning from deep wisdom sources about what we don’t already know. Workshops featuring these practices have been presented by Travis at International Association for the Study of Dreams Conferences. He is a musician with three albums to his credit, and articles published in Dreamtime Magazine, Dream Network Journal and Depth Insights E-Zine.

Dreams and music have much more in common than we may realize. For one, any time we listen to a song or piece of music, we’re invited to enter the alternate space of reality that is evoked by the collage of sounds that are gathered there. You could say that when we listen to a specific piece of music, we’re seeking to create a certain kind of dream.
Both dreams and music arrive in a sort of invisible fashion. That is to say, even though we may become lucid in our dreams, and we experience them in a perceivable visionary state, there is something elusive and hard to pin down about our nighttime journeys. Music itself is experienced as a kind of spirit, due to its invisible nature.
Sound is heard – audible – and even though we know it exists, we don’t exactly see it. There’s a subtle connection here that shows similar qualities of each experience.
It’s been my experience in my work that certain kinds of sounds support, invite and honor our dreaming capacities. Ancient cultures have known this for ages, and this is why in most – if not all – traditional communal settings, music is a part of any ceremony or rite. Such activities help to “bring the dream alive” in a manner of speaking.
Folks who work with dreams often think of the experiences and content in the form of visual images. When we work with our dreams we also may become aware of certain mythic patterns that prevail within them, often referred to as “archetypes”. Just as images can symbolically portray deep and transpersonal, timeless forces of energy, so too might we receive and be influenced by these powers through sound. In other words, sound and the colors it creates may also be understood as an archetypal reality.
Listening to or making certain tones puts us in contact with the mythical forces of the cosmos. It’s been shown that the major archaic cultures in Greece, Egypt, and even ancient Ireland all had some form of dream incubation practice based on meditative ritual that involved sacred music. We know today that certain sounds produce very exact effects, in the body and I suspect, also in the psyche.
In the following piece of music, a song I co-wrote with internationally renowned producer Ben Leinbach under my musical moniker ‘Outlaw Dervish’, we intentionally sought to create a piece of music that could open the awareness to the depths and multiple realities of the psyche.
I invite you to listen just before going to bed at night, when you are perhaps already a little sleepy, and to play with this musical offering as a potent tool for your own dreaming incubations. You might consider using this when you are hoping to receive a particular dream in response to a specific question or request for support.

You can find the song and the full album at iTunes:
More info at



What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Spirifunda:
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    5 thoughts on “Music and dreams”

    1. This is so powerful, Travis. Thank you! Your insights into the transformative effect of sound/music speak to me, and your music itself is a gift. The "altered states" that music and dreams evoke can extend our understanding of "ordinary consciousness," and give us a sense of meanings beyond words and images. I wish I were more of a music-maker myself, and greatly appreciate the dimensions you add to my dreamwork with your wisdom.

    2. Thanks for reading and listening and also commenting Velva Lee Heraty, I so appreciate it and trust you may find something useful here – thanks as well for all your work and offerings, All the Best, Travis!!!

    3. Thanks for helping to share my work Susanne!!! I love what you say about waking up humming – I also often hum while I am falling asleep which can also create a wonderful state for entering the Dreamtime… so grateful to be part of Mindfuda's rich and vital offerings, thanks to folks for reading and listening as well, All Blessings, Travis Wernet

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