This is Part IV of a 4 part series about dream analysis based on the book Inner Work: Using Dreams & Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson.
In this fourth and final step of dream analysis we take action on our interpretation of the dream. Johnson refers to this as a ritual. At first I had mixed feelings when I began to read this chapter as I found I was triggered by the word ritual. Johnson spends quite a bit of time explaining how rituals are ceremonies of change. Weddings, funerals, graduation celebrations and other rites of passage anchor the changes and growth that occur with life’s transitions.
In this step, we are charged with moving the dream from the mind – from the cerebral cortex – and here we activate our muscles and do something. The actions we take are symbolic and help us to anchor the change or new acceptance into our lives. Something as simple as lighting a candle with the intention of living in the message of the dream can be the ritual that is needed. Johnson gives examples in the book that may help to spark other ideas. Next I will share with you several things that I did to anchor in my new essence.
Accepting the Change
First, even before I fully interpreted the dream, I knew on some level that I was needing to become decisive on a relationship that I knew was not headed in the direction I wanted. So I changed the nature of the relationship. He later thanked me, as he was feeling the same way.
Then I wrote him a letter, pouring out many of my grievances as well as my gratitude. Then I burned the letter. I also smudged myself and my home by burning Palo Santo wood, and added frankincense and mhyrr to a charcoal round.
Later that day, I took a 6-mile hike alone feeling my power and fire grow in my belly. I would focus on my solar plexus as often as possible. When I felt the need to stretch, I stepped onto a side trail and did several of my favorite power inducing Yoga poses: Warrior I, Warrior II & Triangle. I chose a spot where the sun was shining through the trees. I felt the fire of Kali move through me as I anchored these changes. It also didn’t matter to me that others were walking by: I was standing out.
This week, I added the lighting of a yellow candle in the morning while getting ready for work. As I light the candle, I say to myself, “today and every day I live fully in my power.”
I share these different things I’ve done to help give you ideas that may spark creativity in your own expression of your dreams. Hopefully you have found this process helpful in seeing how important your dreams can be in your own personal growth, and how to understand the messages your unconscious is sending to you every night to guide the way.
Be patient with yourself as you go through this process. It took me nearly 2 months on this, my first dream, to pull all of the pieces together. In between there were times where I just put the dream aside. Sweet dreams of growth to you!
Namaste: in the light and darkness