Dreaming Thresholds, Dreaming Crosstroads

Artwork by Vladimir Kush http://vladimirkush.com/
Artwork by Vladimir Kush

Just as the seeds of new life deep down in the soiled memories of the earth are being darkly and secretly dreamed anew, so too, our lives are stirring once more as we launch yet again upon the unknown journey of the New Year.

The period of time, which we now call “the Holidays”, once known as and referred to as “the Holy Days” has seemingly passed and many of us will now return to the actions and duties of daily life and work. Some have rested, many have supped, gifted, socialized and still others have withdrawn or retreated. Many have also been dreaming and remembering, day and night, paying attention to the surrendered visions of experience that form behind the eyelids as we sleep and restore ourselves during long winter nights, the darkest nights that are even now once more shortened and brightening, following a full yet perhaps briefly held moment of stark depths.

No less, as we go now, the call to reflect can still be heard upon the silvern wafts of moonlight sailing upon the winter winds in the oceans of sky just outside our doors and on the other side of the windowpanes knowingly navigating through the ethers of night and early mornings.

Symbolically and mythically, naturally and cosmically, this time of seasonality evokes the living energy of the threshold. Threshold gateways appear in dreams as doors, bridges, windows and portals, and more, among other deeply cloaked situations and scenarios that bespell the energy of ‘the crossroads’.

This is the archetypal resonance of a needed rite of passage in the human and the world soul. Ancient and traditional as well as contemporary cultures have marked the turning of the New Year in various ways at specific calendrical moments for ages. What lies behind is, on some level, let go of and finished, when what has passed is no longer vital or needed. What lies ahead is very likley unknown and uncertain. It’s as if the darkness itself mirrors the rich potentiality of that which falls away into the void and the stirring possibilities for what may yet emerge.

Threshold times can be times of great tension, as the craving for some sense of what is and what is to be done grips us in the midst of a great turning towards and through an invitation for emptiness, solitude and renewal.

In the dreams of many individuals, death, dying and darkness appear as echoes of this energy at this and other times. In the metaphoric and symbolic language of dreams, the people we have been, and whom we may have relied upon, are shown to “pass away” in the dreaming, as energetic and actual experiential events showing that the psyche, and the soul of individuals and the collective are in need of transformative and resuscitating movements.

The word “threshold” itself hails from the old farming practice of separating the “chaff” from the “wheat” – the valuable from the less-than-necessary portions of the harvest. To stand upon the threshold is to exist within the quality of this form of separation, and to trust that what has gone before is now falling away, while that which will come is still yet to arrive. On the threshold gateway, it may be felt that the only thing we can know is that we are “betwixt and between”. The need for certainty may be asking to be sacrificed at this time and in this place, that is to say, to be made sacred.

The tendency in modern times may be to rush ahead or back into comforting activities of the daily world, the routine of what is known, the familiar. However, we might pause once more before re-engaging our lives and projects and seek to honor this passage over the threshold of time-bound reality amid the palpable wisp of the eternal passing over the lips of the Old and New Year, to feel into the dream of our lives, the earth, the animals, the elementals and the stars for creating some vital, true spaces for the new dream to be fashioned by the divine forces that act deeply within us and speak to us through the unexpected voices and occurrences in our waking visions and sleep dreams.

As we move into the cadence of life “as we know it” we might renew our awareness around the depths of our soul’s desires by simply seeking to reflect once more upon the energy and meaning of how it feels to make the crossing yet again, from the past year into the renewing times ahead. As we do so, the wise energies in our dreams and our imaginings will be seen and felt to offer surprising and rich forms of guidance and mystery that can and will betoken the winds of change that lie just ahead on the pathways of our individual and shared lives, blessing body, spirit and soul.

Dreaming into the New Year, Janus, the Snakes of Yesteryear and the Horses to Come

(c) Paintings Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Dreamers over time have attributed many characteristics to the dreams that inform us as we sleep, vision and imagine what is possible for our lives and our world. There are as many kinds of dreams as we can “dream up” and more. We speak of “Big Dreams”, “Little Dreams”, “Dreams of a Lifetime”, and “Dreams of Hope”. All sorts of people and cultures over time have recognized that there appears to be an actual yet mysterious source that is responsible for supporting, fashioning and delivering our dreams. Across the planet, diverse folks have identified a wise intelligence that is much more encompassing than we humans mostly experience our selves and our lives to be. Call it the Divine, the Dreaming, God, Goddess, Morpheus, Source, the Friend or by any name that works for you. Despite what we cal it, it is what it is and its diversity seems quite clear.

Aboriginal and ancient cultures, and even some contemporary folk of a certain bent, have also spoken of the dreams of the earth, the ancestors, the animals and the weather spirits. In my own experience, Nature itself does appear to dream and embody spiritual-soul energies, which also possess, maintain and display forms of consciousness.

Amid the shortened days and the lengthened nights, as the Old Year ends, and a New Year begins, we might turn to asking the question of what “The Dream of the New Year” will be for us as individuals, as well as for the collective cultures we find ourselves crafting a life around and within.  As we pause to reflect and look back, what has “The Dream of the Old Year” presented and how have we engaged it, shaped it and informed it through the waking hopes and visions we’ve held, in addition to the sleep dreams we may have paid close attention to as the year unfolded. How has this recent time also shaped us? What dreams have formed the vital hopes and desires that feed the fire in the furnaces of our souls? How close are we to the depth of longing to be found in the visions we hold for our lives? In the many pools of inner reflection in which it is possible to gaze, what are the images of being that come floating back that give us a true sense of how loyal we’ve been to forming the connections between what is known and what has been discovered in our unique quests for meaning, fulfillment and wholeness? And what might this future time be asking of us as we now start to look ahead to the next unknown horizon?

One of the favorable qualities of sleep dreams is the way they surprise us with their unexpected messages and gifts of experience. Perhaps this New Year will also surprise us with unexpected visitations of unanticipated twists and turns of experience, challenge, renewed vision and grace.

Mythically and symbolically, it can be useful to consult astrology to seek to honor the dream of the seasons as they shift. In Chinese Astrology, we are now passing from a year of the Snake into a year of the Horse.

From this view, we are now witnessing the tail end of the serpent energy as it makes its last pass through our lives on its cyclical passage through cosmic and temporal time. Snake is an archetypal energy of a very ancient shade, which embodies mystery as well as instinctual qualities that can be understood to describe layers of raw physical being. Spiritual aspects of snake energy also abound. Serpent is a lowly creature, close to the earth, cold, calculated, shrewd and focused on predatory survival issues. As a reptilian character, snake evokes a reality of physical existence based on a precision of predation and instinct. Snake’s is an energy that travels into the earth to create its home out of fellow creatures burrows. In alchemy and a multitude of mythological traditions, snake reminds us that cycles of birth and death are part of the rounds of life and that the shedding of former skins during times of inner and outer quietude are symbolic of our own deep natures. Snake speaks to the ability to die and rebirth while also evoking a respect for fears, physical strength and the ability to manifest power in order to feed oneself and be fed by the available sources of nourishment to be found in nature.

Transitioning into a horse year, we are invited to shift from the predatory natural tone of snake to that of a prey animal power. Horse is a creature energy that lives upon yet above the earth, and which involves aspects of freedom, independence in relationship to the herd and a wandering wild spirit as well as a slightly elevated essence, contrasted with that of the serpent. Long revered for their wild souls and enormous physical prowess, horses also hold a strong representation of workforce and patience, which demand respect and admiration. Horses sense danger instinctively and won’t put up with behavior or situations that don’t suit their natural inclinations, needs and desires. When attacked or hassled, horses flee with a wildness to the nearest safe and vital haven. These hoofed beasts spend much time feeding on the simple fruits of the field and the reward for their lengthy attention to nourishment is long life, strength and vitality.


In the Roman calendar, the New Year in the West is marked by the turning of the month of December into January. Janus is the double-faced God for which the first month of the year is named. With his two faces, one looking forward and one gazing behind, Janus is the spirit of marking the past and anticipating the future from a present standpoint. This archetypical energy reminds us that we may benefit from momentary glimpses into what has been and what is becoming, so that we might situate our efforts in favorable ways in relationship to what we have learned and what we have yet to encounter.  At least a little dose of Janus energy is always to be found in our dreams, in the sense that dreams embody all times at once. This is what is meant by the Aboriginal Australian word “Dreamtime”, all times happening now, all-at-once. Dreaming, we are invited to review the past, exist in this present and be aware of the potentials of the unfolding future before us.

By seeking to honor the essence of the yearly divinities as embodied in these astrological-mythological energies, we might find a way to work with their tones and vibrancies. To do so, we may ask ourselves, what is our instinctual nature in relation to the character of the animal power or mythic flavor that is now understood to be present. As always is the case, we may also pay close attention to our dreams and reflect upon them alone and with one another to seek to further notice if these energies are showing up in clear ways in our dreaming adventures and to locate ways to act and create on the basis of their messages of import and immediate experience in our lives.

As this time unfolds, may the truest and most favorable dreams of our lives open to us and open us to the deep well of fulfillment within and without! Joyous New Year, Travis Wernet

Online Community Dream Work, “Across Space and Time”

MirrorWolf-2Image Credit – by www.thisiscolossal.com

When I started participating in and leading dream groups, about twenty years ago, the World Wide Web had just barely begun to be a venue for many of the activities it is used for presently. Today it’s possible for dreamers to meet from the comfort of our own homes and to call in over video to do this deeply intimate and fun work together online. There are a number of folks doing dream work in this fashion currently around the world.

Not much of a “techie” over the course of my life, the thought of doing group work with dreams over the Internet did not appeal to me very strongly at first. Having done a hefty amount of various types of group work in a wide variety of venues, I thought that it would be crucial to be in the same physical space, in order to read body language and the like. Thankfully, I was persuaded by a host of friends and colleagues to try it out, and I have to say my mind and heart have been changed on the matter.

The way myself and several of my colleagues work with dreams supposes, on the tested basis of experience, that all we can really do, honestly, is imagine another person’s dream for ourselves – the fairly well-known “if it were my dream” approach credited to both Jeremy Taylor and Montague Ullman.  It turns out that working online appears to support a further invitation to use, involve and honor our living imaginations: yet one more opportunity to also own our unconscious projections.

Online work affords many advantages: we save time, resources and money by not driving someplace physical to meet, there’s a “come as you are” element involved, it’s possible to refer to typed written records and helpful pertinent images while working and folks can even look up further info, via Google, to seek to expand the available connections of meaning while engaging with one another during a meeting. It’s as if, symbolically, we are extending the dream into a whole new arena, while we are awake, as well, dreaming the dream further and more expansively.

The experience of being online itself involves a symbolic attention to the imagination that also includes a sense of paradox; even though we are far away, we are and can be close together, intimate across space and time. On the deeper levels of the dreams themselves, to my awareness, we do seem to be connected at a distance and dream motifs of collective synergy often reveal themselves in clear synchronicities during this work. So, the two experiences are uniquely related and encourage the fostering of a deeper kind of connection, albeit perhaps ironically, at a relative distance which fosters a vital closeness of connection, nonetheless.

Participating in and hosting online dream groups appears to be one way that we may avail ourselves of the current technology, in a quality fashion, to support evermore deepening levels of authenticity and rich inner wisdom to come  more clearly into action in the waking world.

My current online group meeting takes place every other Tuesday from 10am to Noon PST, U.S. and we’re accepting new members. Please go to the groups page here to get more information and contact me to register.

Dreaming On, Travis Wernet

Egyptian Dream Balloons and Flying Dreams


*Well aware of the fairly recent tragedy involving and affecting the victims, family and friends of a group of balloon travelers in Luxor, Egypt, I respectfully offer this piece along with on-going prayers for liberation, healing, true solace, peace and wisdom. In the words of the poet, “death is not the end”… TW *

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve attended to a series of evolving dream experiences featuring flight. In these sleep dreams a commonly reported and therefore universally archetypal motif has popped up time and again: power lines appear, seemingly “out of nowhere”, as I find myself rising up into the Great Beyond. This phenomenon has bled over into conscious waking life in such a fashion that it has even illuminated my actual purpose in this lifetime. As pay-offs for remembering and recording one’s dreams go, this particular benefit is what I would call “not-too-shabby”!

As fate would have it, I was invited to travel with a group of soul-seekers to Egypt for three years running, starting back in 2010 to lead ceremonies and offer dream work sessions. The first year I traveled there, I was graciously invited by our kind guide Raafat Fergani to accompany a group who had signed up for an early morning balloon ride over the Nile River in Luxor. How could I say no?

On this day, the enchanting sound of morning prayers drifted through the dawn as the muezzin sang their haunting calls. Our group gathered, and was shuttled over the river in a passenger skiff, with ever-courteous pleasures of tea, coffee and cookies on offer while we reverently witnessed the rebirth of the sun on the eastern horizon.  Upon arriving at the take-off point, a great stir of small buses, people and gatherings greeted us as the rhythmic pulse of blasting fire belched from the engines of wicker cockpits giving buoyancy to what appeared as giant lop-sided jellyfish, in a golden field of grass amid rapidly disappearing dawn shadows. We booted it across the plain to our balloon, jovial in anticipation towards the promise of adventure.

Piling into the enormous basket, we received brief yet thorough instruction on the “do’s and don’ts” of how to hold our bodies during the flight and upon eventual landing. Preparations complete, our charismatic pilot delighted us with repartee and we lifted up silently, leaving the ground behind. A stark presence of elements punctuated that delicious moment, the slowly departing terra firma, the precise, powerful sounding flames responding to the captains occasional pull on the heating element filling the delicate yet strong tissue of intricately rainbowed fabric above our heads, the nearby ancient river majestically flowing North through eddies and currents whispering of ancient truths and mysteries in the intensifying light of the new day. The pilot informed us that because of the direction of the gentle gusts on this specific morning we would easily blow across the river as well as part of the Queen’s Valley, wending further North where we would eventually be drawn back down to the earth.


But at that moment, landing was not on my mind. A spirit of lucidity and the remarkably present sensation of alighting towards the heavens wonderfully filled my awareness and elevated my body. Flying took on a whole new, full-blooded, flavor as we gracefully raced through the air. Companion balloons drifted nearby, and we rose ever upward while also heading for some power lines in the near distance. This novel experience felt like the most accurate sense one could have of what it is like to be airborne, as birds do, as butterflies and other winged beasts who know this sensation of weightlessness must.

Yes, it’s true, I did mention power lines in the above paragraph, and this does tie in with those previously mentioned moments regarding my own oneirautical sleeping dreams. This is something I realized, in actual point of fact, as we took off in that hot air balloon in Egypt, over the tops of modest brick and mortar homes belonging to native Egyptians who were spirited enough to wave and smile at us as we peered down into the uncovered privacy of their chicken and goat-laden living quarters. In a place where it hardly ever rains, and only does so in such miniscule amounts that some houses don’t even have roofs, we soared through the ethers, nearing the sacred famous river, sky-walking observers of the everyday rituals of people who live alongside this drama each morning as they awaken to their own earth-bound existences.

I looked over at our pilot, a mischievous smile on his face and a glint in his eye. Already others in our group were commenting on the apparent likelihood that we were about to collide with said power lines, attached to mighty poles and strung high up here in the spacious domain of seemingly random hot-air balloon travel arcs. In the true spirit of our voyage, I didn’t want to hear that we would or would not clear the lines themselves. My strong intuition told me not to be overly concerned. It was all happening just like in my life-long dreams, first the stirring pleasure of defying gravity, then the impending danger of the approaching thick electrical conduits. For a moment, I wondered if maybe I had dreamed this scenario so many times previously as a kind of warning about a future impending disaster. Had I dreamed this future? With each deft adjustment, the commander of this airy craft seemed to anticipate well ahead of time what exact operation would be required so that our quest would succeed unhindered.

In this way, we cleared those lines of power adroitly, gracefully, and began to cross the river to the other side. The feeling-sense I have most often witnessed in the dreams, as well, has been to doubt for at least one brief instant as I ascend higher and higher, barely able to believe I am flying, that I would really clear the lines without entanglement or tragedy. This apparent dream obstacle has shown up at just that juncture of having the thought, “Can I actually do this? Am I really flying? Is it safe?” This is not an isolated dreaming experience. Dream literature discusses this crossing of paths between the flying dreamer and power lines as a universal confrontation, within the psyche, with one’s own deep creative powers and abilities, at the very least. One clear symbolic metaphor applicable here is one of approaching and embodying the deep layers of uniquely personal and collectively transpersonal power within. These dream power lines are like cords that transmit the juice of psychic and actual electricity from one place to the next in the vast network of the subjective and objective psyche, the subtle yet real domain of consciousness.

As we continued to glide onward in waking life, a feeling of accomplishment and relief came upon not only myself, but based on the remarks of my fellows, several others in our merry band.

To make such a connection to my own dreaming and the reported experiences of so many others, while awake, has gifted me with a great level of meaning in my dreaming and waking life. One of the boons of flight is that of being able to view matters from above, to get a bird’s eye view. In the midst of this synchronistic moment, I was literally and symbolically living a dream come true. Along with so many other realizations that grew out of this highly condensed event, came the vital understanding and felt confirmation that I was in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing. Evidently, yet mysteriously, I’ve been shown by some force greater than the “me” which I normally identify with, that agreeing to go places, at home or abroad, and share dream work, sound healing and ceremony with others is to accept my apparent role as a facilitator of these practices, which are clearly connected to my own personal power. It is a way that I can actualize the flow of my own deep potential and purpose in this lifetime. Doing this is my way of flying, creating and accessing a network of “electrical energy” that puts me in touch with others. At the same time, it also became what we can call a grounding activity. The old axiom of physics and flight rings true here also, “what goes up must come down”.

Our enlivening early morning flight went on for a time and was glorious. “Oohs” and “Aahs” were had by one and all. The stunning colors of the desert were revealed to our senses as we gazed upon ancient burial tombs of Queens and Kings of antiquity and were given to reflecting on the ancient mythology of a culture and a people who understood that each day is a resurrection, each night another embarking into the darkness of the underworld. For a moment, at least, I imagine we felt ourselves as an integral part of the larger-than-life inhale and exhale of the breath of the cosmos.

Following this reverie, an invitation to recognize some portion of the presence of eternity within our own time-bound earthly frames of reference, we kissed the earth with our vessel once more as the mighty balloon descended in what is known as “the Egyptian landing”, smooth, with no bumps and no hassles. And like with so many adventures in Egypt, the magic of the moment came, offered its’ gifts and then disappeared again around the next wind-blown desert vista, leaving us with stories to tell and reflections to ponder.