The IASD Conference in Berkeley Ca


            Symbolically and otherwise, the San Francisco Bay is a magnanimous locale for holding an international conference on dreaming. The International Association for the Study of Dreams will once again be holding their “Pow-Wow” for Dreamers, Dream Artists, Dream Work Practitioners and Dream Researchers in 2014 at the Double Tree Hotel in Berkeley CA.

            Viewed from the lens of dreaming awareness, the gathering brings together a cornucopia of supportive elements, drawing on the soul of place as a spirit-fuel of deep and expansive exploration. The “Dream of the Conference” takes place on the edge of the place Indigenous People have called Turtle Island, aka North America. ‘Berkeley by the Bay’ is the land of the setting sun, the furthest reach of land describing the vision of the western horizon, a kind of waking portal into ‘the World Beneath the World’.

            Across the calm waters of the Bay lie the legendary Gates of Gold, also known as the Golden Gate Bridge. Bridges stretch between disparate locales and connect them, born out of a spirit of vast creativity and an inclination to bring together formerly split apart geographies. People have gathered here in multitudes, magnetically pulled towards the vast beauty of this place near the water, at the edge, where the sun forges its occasional mighty announcements of glory and splendor mere moments prior to descending into the eternity of night. In Buddhism, as I understand it, “the golden gate” is a symbolic, actual, and metaphoric name for an experience, a moment and an illuminatory passage towards enlightenment. What better images and realities to accompany us as we dreamers and conference-goers coalesce to share, learn, dream, teach and enter the realms of the great unknown together?

            One of the many aspects I have come to love and appreciate about the IASD Conference, and the organization itself, is the way that multitudinous aspects of dreaming are highlighted and explored. When I attended and presented at the conference in 2012, I was witness to the diversity of topics, presenters and subjects on offer. At the conference one can easily meet and learn from neuro-scientists, sleep researchers, therapists, poets, painters, sculptors, writers, ministers, business-people, and dream-fans.

            This feels “true” to me. A diversity of ideas and theories, practices and teachings about dreams reflects the actual multiplicity of dreaming itself. No one theory or experience is necessarily more valid than any other. Like dreams themselves, the conference operates on the experiential and philosophical premise that dreaming and waking reality mirror to us each day and every night showing us how varied, full and expansive life really is and can be.

            In my experience working with and tending dreams over the past twenty years, dreams are physical, spiritual, emotional, creative, nonsensical, deeply instructive, soulful, mythic, biological, time-specific, quizzical and eternal – “all of the above” and so much more.

            This year at the conference I will be presenting on my own work with sound and dreams, from a projective-style standpoint. My presentation will illustrate how my work with dreams and dreamers focuses on how the imagination – a very real, and most vital creative ability which even scientists draw upon – is at the root of our experience of dreaming. Through the invoking of sound and music, it’s possible to enter the energy of dreams and the imagination via the universal resonance that felt frequencies vocalize. Using a variety of instruments that are made from organic and wild materials, such as Didjeridu, Native American Flute, Tibetan Singing Bowls, Shamanic Drums and Rattles, I will present on ways to incubate dreams while we’re awake and invite a depth of dreaming while we’re asleep. We’ll also practice the group model for sharing dreams that I teach in on-going group meetings and individual work with folks that Jeremy Taylor has written about (in his “The Wisdom of Your Dreams”) and taught throughout the world for the past fifty years – “Projective-style Dream Work”.

            For anyone interested in learning more about dreams, the conference this year will not fail to deliver. There are a bevy of great discussions, networking opportunities and presentations on a wide variety of topics from clinical to poetic views and practices for working with dreams. There’s even a Dream Art Display and a Dreamer’s Ball!

To find out more, please check out the IASD website:

May Your Dreams Find You and Gift You with a True Inner Gold!

All Blessings, Many Thank Yous, Travis Wernet

Creativity and Dreaming, “The Genie in the Bottle”…


Dreams arouse creativity by simply being dreams. By their very nature, the experiences we have when we’re dreaming show us unexpected, innovative ways of representing and engaging with reality.

            Reflecting on and paying attention to our dreams is, itself, a creatively inspiring and supportive act. Witnessing dream energies opens us to the imaginative domain of a consciousness that says, by example, that we can do things like fly, shape change and breathe underwater in the dream world.

            Because dreams appear to us the way they do, revealing previously not thought of or seemingly impossible scenarios and combinations, they provide a rich source for influencing and informing our creative lives while we’re awake.

            By apprenticing ourselves to the spirit of our dreams, we connect with perceptions, energies and feelings that can easily spark off ideas for how to cast similarly vibrant states of being, images, writing and forms of music in the waking world.

            One way to invite the energy of the dreams to inform our creative endeavors is to look into the dreams to see if they are addressing our waking life creative projects and desires naturally. Dreams will often spontaneously offer up experiences that readily weave into the efforts we’re making while awake. This happened for me when I was recording my meditation and dream incubation album, “Yoro Yoro”.

The night before going into the studio to record tracks for the album, I had a dream that allowed me to inhabit a spirit of the feeling that we wanted to express with the music. The more one is engaged in creativity in waking life, the more the dreams will stir in their own unexpected products, experiences and images related to that endeavor.

            Perhaps you are looking to the dreams to motivate and unlock creative juices that aren’t currently running freely. In this case, it can be helpful to incubate dreams that can assist in the movement of creative energy within and without. To incubate a dream is simply to ask for a guiding and helpful experience in the dream state, before going to sleep at night that can help point out ways to liberate the creative energy flow. In this case, the dream might show an inner obstacle that is in the way of making forward progress and provide a hint or clear example of the next step.

For instance, if I’m experiencing “writer’s block”, the dreams will (at the very least) show my various inner attitudes or waking impediments to allowing the muse to come forward. Maybe the dream will show that I have an old judgment about the worth of my abilities or the value of writing itself. The dreams may also reveal how I might not be fashioning the best environment for my writing in waking life. Is the space I’m writing in supportive enough for my process? Are there distractions that myself, or others are placing across the path of my development? These themes could apply to any creator finding him, or her self stuck on the trail to expressivity. How can I dance with those roadblocks? The dreams will evoke multi-leveled and symbolic means for freeing up the energy. Sometimes we may have to go deeper into the blocks themselves before we can move on.

On a related wavelength, the dreams tend to offer up direct, metaphorically clothed solutions, examples and ideas for addressing a specific creative enterprise. Many artists and creators go to dreams, and look for appealing expressions within them, to draw out potential motivations and material for waking life creative outlets.

The more we give time and energy to our creative quests while awake, the more likely the dreams are to comment on them and to provide clear answers or solutions. This is especially true with the effort to incubate, hatch or grow dreams that speak to our waking life questions. It helps to form clear and direct, simple queries to present to our dreams. Just before going to sleep at night and as often as possible throughout the day, it also helps to establish these inquiries and to repeat them in one’s mind while gently intending to receive help from the dreaming source.

Examples you might like to play with in this undertaking include the following (feel free to craft your own questions along these lines – the more you put the questions in your own words, the more likely the dreams will be to respond in clearly understandable forms. I recommend keeping them simple and short):

  • What’s blocking my ability to create?
  • How can I be more creative?
  • What’s the solution to my creative project?
  • What does the spirit of my own creativity look like?
  • How do my dreams inspire creativity?

May your dreams and creativity be sparked and supported by the ideas presented here! The more we give time and reflection to both our dreams and creative endeavors, the more each will provide helpful and gratifying outcomes for the unfoldment of our rich and vital human and interconnected soul potentials.

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

Dreaming in the Dark


The darkness and the unknowns that occupy the limitless spaces within have always frightened and thrilled us. On one level, it seems that the story of our modern lives revolves around an effort to banish the darks by bringing more light to every crack and corner. At this time in our existence, there is more light on the face of the darkened earth than ever before. And yet, is life really any better as a result?

Dreams occur in a state of darkness. Sleeping, at night, we close our eyes and turn out the lights, as the sun is temporarily lost to us and the earth revolves, making her journey through the galaxy and around the sun. Even visionary states that occur during daylight hours tend to unveil themselves behind darkened eyelids.

As this time of the yearly cycle finds us dealing with greater and greater amounts of literal and actual darkness in the space that surrounds our daytime wakefulness, we might become increasingly aware of our dreaming selves. Just as nature all around us expresses its cyclical quality of the seasons, we, in our humanness, also experience a rhythmic circling, ripe with fecund obscurations and well-lit vistas of clarity.

The poet Rilke, in his poem “You Darkness”, celebrates the as-yet-unformed possibilities to be found in the absence of light, whose first lines echo out into the inky blackness of space, You darkness, I love you more than all the fires that fence in the world, for the fire creates a circle of light for everyone and then no-one who is outside learns of you. What an unexpected and perhaps unpopular view this is! Aren’t we usually accustomed to the opposite celebration, of gladdening ourselves when the darkness has finally been banished by the rising flames of a warm hearth at the center?

And yet, Rilke reminds us of another vitality to be found in the limitless possibility of shadow, as it darkens forth its own boundless and paradoxically central quality in our lives. The poem continues, But the darkness takes in everything, shapes, fires, animals and myself, how easily it gathers them, powers and people. These words, carefully crafted, evoke the way that the dreamtime holds us as we sleep, the way anything can happen in the dreaming, and how it all takes place in the, often, frightening realms of unlimited mysteries.  Here, the dark itself creates a whole new reality containing potentials, where what is not known can be any way it chooses.

In this time of increasing darkness, nearing the Winter Solstice, waking life might even begin to take on the feeling tone and quality of our dreams. Whether we pay attention to our nightly adventures in the dreamtime or not, the energy of interactions and events of our lives might begin to reflect more of a quality of unexpected or surprising forces. Many suffer at this time from heavy emotions and the return of the old, well-worn and saddening dramas of familial life. Others participate in the disturbed dream of consumeristic happiness at being able to gift our selves, and each other with an abundant display of presents, rather than finding a depth of ability to participate together in the immediate experience of presence.  People all over the Western world, at least, seek to light up the night and dispel the shadows that Nature herself is presenting us with as we enter the loamy and still womb of deepest winter. And this year, the Moon is here in North America, creating a wholly lit landscape of reflected solar light amid the darkened night.

While there is something beautiful in all this, the colors and the lights and the efforts to warm our hearts and the hearts of others by shining forth the circle of light, might we not also seek to heed the poets courageous invitation to honor the darks and the wonderfully lit moonscape that finds us here, as well?

Rilke goes on, …and it is possible that a great energy is moving near us, I have faith in nights. Perhaps with a more deliberate celebration of and opening to the dark, in addition to an honoring of the light, we might open ourselves to the blessings of the great unknowns and undetermined quantities and qualities of our lives. When we can allow for a space in which sheer questions exist, it seems we might be able to open more deeply to unseen, dark, previously hidden possibilities of great expansion and the true energies of our lives for drawing more deeply on the wisdom of our dark inner nature itself.

And so it is with dreams and dreaming. For the dreams themselves spring forth surprisingly out of the darkness and involve us in great opportunities that were formerly invisible. We don’t always allow for what’s possible there, as a result of the overly brightened glare of waking consciousness, where the new and unformed possibility could not become manifest, as a result of too much specificity and expectation about the way things should look or be.  It is as though, through the ambiguity of darkness, where anything can happen, creative moments emerge that hold meaning, value and content as a result of the loosening of the limitations of the known physical world.  By willingly entering the darkness, and admitting the dark to enter us, we may give time and space to the unknowns. And, just as sleep can be a replenishment that arises again out of the darkness, by honoring the need for what is not known, we may find surprising outcomes that we didn’t even know existed.

Here is a song from my album, “Yoro Yoro” with Ben Leinbach which is a celebration through sound of the emerging mystery of the darkness.

And here is the full poem from Rilke which you may choose to enjoy as a call to entering the darkness courageously and fully while giving greater spaciousness to dreams and the great unknowns of your own life.

You darkness, I love you more than all the fires that fence in the world,

For the fire creates a circle of light for everyone,

And then no-one who is outside learns of you.

But the darkness pulls in everything, shapes, fires, animals and myself,

How easily it gathers them, powers and people.

And it is possible a great energy is moving near us,

I have faith in nights.

What Have Dreams Done for You Lately?

073.jpgWhat have dreams done for you lately?

When I talk with most folks about dreams, it seems that almost everyone has had at least one experience of great meaning and value as a result of a nighttime vision. Certain researchers have even explored the folk notion that about 50% of people, in general, have had dreams of future events that came true and swear by the helpfulness of such occurrences.

In online groups, individual consultations and in person meetings, I see the vast array of benefits of working with dreams on a regular basis.

As you read this, perhaps you can think of an example of a dream that visited you, which offered some key level of information or insight and possibly even forecasted a future event? I’d love to hear about it, if you feel like sharing.

A big part of how I got involved in devoting myself to community work with  dreams has had to do with the way dreaming clearly helps uncover hidden pieces of the puzzle towards being-becoming who we truly are. I deeply value how I have benefitted from what the dreams offer me, and the folks I get to adventure with, as they consistently depict wise yet practical messages and embodiments of fulfilled vital paths towards wholeness.

The projective-style dream work model myself, and others use is both self and other-empowering. It operates on the notion that in sitting with and sharing the dreams, we will all see and feel within them what is most true and meaningful for each of us as individuals. Often times, there are many layers of meaning that resonate with several, if not all, of the group participants.

When worked with respectfully, our dreams and visions can be honored as unique forms of authentic inner guidance. In my experience, I’ve seen how dreaming represents a wellspring of deep wisdom that accurately reflects what’s important now and how the dreamer can locate what is most meaningful and pragmatic to waking life at any given time. It helps immensely to have the assistance of others to see what is difficult to see for our selves, however.

Why don’t we talk more about our dreams with each other? Time and again, when witnessing folks who may be new to or familiar with this work, I have the pleasure of seeing how apparently mistaken notions of dreams being meaningless, harmful or nonsensical break down and give way to increased understanding about the vast potential within dreaming experiences. We’ve inherited a lot of ideas about dreams being useless fantasies. And yet, we also often talk of having special, big dreams for our lives.  I sense and witness how folks sometimes feel their dreams are too troubling, disgusting or just plain weird to share with others. All the seemingly small and strange dreams along the way are like holographic portions of the larger total vision we carry within, through our own original yet universal quest in this lifetime.

In the kind of work I do, we say, “there is no such thing as a bad dream, only dreams that sometimes take a dramatically negative form in order to grab our attention”. Paradoxically, and quite wonderfully, when I’ve had the privilege of imagining such dreams for myself, and with others, these are the very dreams, which hold the greatest potential for energetic release and power of insight. Our negative views of disturbing dreams hold hostage the very energies asking to be released and acknowledged within them. If only we can work with and share our deeply personal, yet surprisingly pan-human (universally shared) dreaming adventures and honor their imaginative counsel for our lives, we find that it is so.

If the response of the numerous individuals I’ve worked with for many years is any indication, and it ought to be the most reliable signpost of success, all dreams are wildly potent and do offer reliable and immediate gifts supporting the dreamer and the folks sharing the dream.

To find out more or to respond please leave a comment and visit the Dream Work and Sound Healing Page here at Word Press. All Blessings, Travis W

Online Community Dream Work, “Across Space and Time”

MirrorWolf-2Image Credit – by

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