“Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.”
– Marsha Norman
Keeping a dream diary is something any spiritually minded person will find significant benefits in doing. While you sleep, you can receive messages from your Higher Self with greater ease and integrate much of what happens to you during the day. By extension, this means that your dreams may represent one of the best mediums through which the Divine, Spirit Guides, Animal Teachers, and other spiritual entities can reach out to teach you and guide your path. Note, however, both the information you get from yourself and your external world is important to include in a dream diary when documenting them in your Book of Shadows. Remember, you are the principal force in your life for creating positive magic, serving to be among your best teachers!
Simple Dream Recall Tips
Some people say, “But I don’t dream, so how can I keep a dream diary as part of my Book of Shadows?” You do dream, you just don’t remember doing so. So, here you’ll find a few hints that will help you in this regard. First, try sipping a warm cup of jasmine tea before bed. You can also try making yourself a sachet, then fill it with rose petals, marigolds, and mugwort before placing it under your pillow. As you go to sleep, try repeating an affirmation like, “I will dream and remember.” Or perhaps pray to Spirit for help. See what happens with practicing this simple exercise over time.
If you have no trouble remembering dreams, the next question becomes exactly what to record about the nighttime imagery you see when writing in your dream diary. Start with just a scratchpad or simple notebook first so you can jot down everything you can remember. For better recall and ease of transferring your memories onto paper, use a tape recorder to capture what you dream about once you wake up. A little later, return to your notes for review, looking for any dream imagery the news and entertainment media may have caused. Also consider the situations in your day, your sleeping environment, fantasies, or pre-sleep foods and the effects such things have on your sleep quality and dreaming mind!
When documenting dream narratives, it’s a good idea to wait about twenty-four hours before transferring anything into your permanent dream diary. During the day, you may get flashes of memories of the dream important to its meaning. You’ll want to include anything you suddenly remember in the correct sequence of events, not as “add-ons.” If you feel it’s your mind trying to fill in the memory gaps, discount the information and don’t document it. After transferring your dream’s content into the diary, make notes about what you feel the dream means. You can use a dream dictionary as a launching point for some basic symbolism, but also trust your instincts here.
Dream Interpretation Guide for Your Book of Shadows
Dream interpretation is a highly subjective art. Some simple guidelines will help you better understand your dreams. Hint: If you create a dream key for your Book of Shadows, copy the following guidelines into your magickal Grimoire for ease of access and future use.
- Look for a theme: If, for example, you see something demolishing a wall, a glass breaking, and someone or something cutting down a tree, the overall theme is likely destruction or waste. So, the next question becomes: What is it you feel is being destroyed or wasted?
- Trust your first response or gut instincts: If you have an immediate emotional or mental reaction to the dream, it will usually prove to be accurate. Your feelings can also shed light on dream tone or hint at the meaning of your nighttime narrative.
- Remain open-minded about the dream’s purpose and validity: If you can’t find any logical or symbolic meaning in a dream and it seems particularly realistic, consider other explanations for the dream experience. Accept the possibility there may be instances of precognition, post-cognition, or even past life experiences finding expression through your dreams.
- Recognize the obvious: Don’t go hunting for some hidden meaning to a dream when the lesson is staring you in the face. Truthfully, your mind is rarely enigmatic—it usually tells it like it is, in a form you can accept. If the form, for you, is symbolic, then that’s how your mind and Spirit will communicate. All that remains is finding the value in the symbols you see or hear.
- Create a dream symbolism section in your Magical Book of Shadows: The more you work with dreams, the more you’ll become familiar with the symbols the Higher Mind or Universe uses for conveying messages to you. As you recognize new symbols, write them down in your Grimoire. You can use the list as a quick reference guide in the future.
- Make sure your mind is sharp: Avoid performing dream interpretation work when you’re sick, tired, angry, or gloomy. No matter how positive the dream’s imagery might be, negative mental and physical states accent the negatives when making symbol associations. You can end up making the wrong conclusions or missing important elements in your effort to translate dream messages.
- Don’t pass up on recording bizarre dreams: Realize some dreams won’t make sense right away, so leave ample space beneath the entry: bizarre dreams might be a “trigger dream”—something over the next few hours, days, or weeks may spark a sudden understanding of the dream’s meaning, making it clear to you. That’s when you’ll want to return to the diary and finish the entry.
Of all parts of your Magical Diary, the section relating to dream symbolism will have the most “diary-like” look and feel to it. It’s also the section that often reveals your spiritual progress most intimately. Exactly how you handle this part of the diary is up to you, but next, you’ll find some ideas worth considering.
Magical Insights and Introspection through Dreamwork
Consider documenting some of your daily reflections. When you get up in the morning or before you go to bed, write for a few minutes. What do you hope to achieve personally and spiritually today? What things bothered you during the day, and why? How do you want to handle what’s troubling you tomorrow? See, it’s just like a normal diary, but with spiritual overtones! Like it or not, everyday life affects your spiritual pursuits, so you cannot, and should not, separate one from the other.
Many people use meditation and visualization to improve dream recall or to conjure specific dreams. Both practices also serve to improve your understandings of dream meanings. So, your insights about a dream are something to add to the diary, especially when you have a particularly poignant experience. Otherwise, you may want to note the success or failure of the meditation or visualization. Doing so will help you figure out what practices work best for you or identify any dreamwork methods that require tweaking.
Spellwork and Dreaming
You can cast many spells relating to improving sleep quality, dream recall, or having specific dreams. Sometimes spellwork goes smoothly, and other times, it may not. If you’re new to spellcasting, the latter fact is particularly true. So, it is often helpful to note what dreamwork-related spell you cast, what went right or wrong, and what you liked or disliked (and why). The notes will prove helpful in the future, especially when writing your own spells or if you want to perform the spell again while making any suitable changes necessary to ensure its success.
Magical Dream Divination Notes
If you get readings or do them for yourself, it’s vital to keep notes about them. Document what type of divination you performed concerning your dreamwork. Are you working with a traditional Tarot deck, runes, or even a dream oracle? Why does this divination technique appeal to you? Document the success of any predictions you make using the divination method of your choosing. Also note that even if the reading make sense right now, you will often find it has multiple meanings in the future. So, when you create this section of your diary, leave room for future reflections, too—it allows you to add any additional dimensions to the reading that your life experiences, new people you encounter, or circumstances reveal later.
Random Observations for More Magical Insights
Once you practice magic, you’ll find the ideas about various magical procedures, dreamwork, and philosophies will come to you at the oddest times, triggered by unexpected things. So, carry a small notebook with you everywhere so you can make a note of such observations. Then, once a week, review the notes and see which ones you’d like to keep in the dream diary section of your Book of Shadows, and transfer them accordingly. As you do, don’t overlook the opportunity to add a little more substance if the observation motivates and inspires it. Leave plenty of room for later additions or reflections too!
Birthday Writings: Power Day Magical Insights
Your birthday is a day of power for you, so spend a little time musing about the previous year, the dreams you’ve had, and note any patterns or running themes you might notice. The following year re-read all the previous entries, then add a new one. You’ll find these entries to be incredibly insightful—they’ll teach you much about yourself, your dream themes, the emotional challenges you’ve faced, how the subconscious expresses itself, and when your psychic senses are at their height. You’ll often discover things that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Studying Your Dreams for Magical Insights
Whenever you get the chance, pay close attention to your dreams and what they reveal. Whether you document vivid dream narratives, or you note a few small dream fragments, everything you recall upon awakening may hold an important message for you. Once you become comfortable picking apart a dreams’ imagery to identify its underlying meaning, you can consider such messages and how they may relate to you whatever is on your mind, in your heart or happening to you in your waking world. The bottom line is dreams are just another tool within your arsenal that can serve as a catalyst for growth and positive change, both now and well into the future.
Adapted from “Your Book of Shadows,” by Patricia Telesco. All Rights Reserved.