Monthly Archives: August 2011

Episode 116 The Dream Show: Haunted house


The Dream Show, a free monthly podcast with Jane Teresa Anderson

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Today’s new August podcast features Emily, from Northern California, with a dream about moving into a new but dusty house. While cleaning, she discovers a dark hallway with a poker table and some lumberjacks from the 1850s.

“How exciting, a haunted house!” she tells her husband, in the dream.

There’s an animal and some clue-bearing numbers too. And there’s more, but who am I to spoil a good dream story?

Listen in as we discover how Emily’s dream reflects what’s going on in her life. Join us as we identify conflicts and blocks from way back that have been unconsciously influencing her actions and decisions in life. We then create a dream alchemy visualization to transform those blocks and open Emily’s way. Listen, learn more about dream interpretation and dream alchemy, enjoy!

Listen here (Episode 116)

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Spot the belief

Spot the Belief

Had a tough day? Ready for a spot of light relief, a bit of fun, a dream interpretation game that’s easy to do yet powerfully insightful? You may never look at your dreams in the same way ever again. It’s called Spot the Belief. This is what to do:

For each of the following dreams, see if you can spot the belief affecting the outcome. Let’s start with a simple example.


Jim’s dream

“I was waiting in line to buy a theatre ticket, but people kept pushing in front of me. Finally I got to the front, but then the ticket office closed and I was directed to join a long queue at another counter.”

Can you spot Jim’s belief?

It’s probably ‘My needs are less important than other people’s’.

Did you guess differently?

You might have got ‘I always seem to be kept waiting,’ or ‘Just when I think I’ve made it, I’m right back to where I started, or worse’. Or you might have got, ‘Patience doesn’t pay,’ or ‘You’ve got to be pushy to get what you want in life’.

These are all good answers. They’re also very similar. We’ll come back to look at these similarities later, but, for now, you know how to play the game. Don’t worry about getting the right answer, as there may be several similar right answers. Just write down the belief that you see in each of the following dreams. So, are you ready? Go, spot the belief!


Greta’s dream

“I was climbing a hill and decided I wanted to go back down again, but there were too many rocks and precipices below where I was standing. I thought that if I walked along one of the precipices I would eventually find an easy way down. The trouble was, even the precipice path led upwards, so in my endeavour to find an easy way back down I just kept climbing higher and higher. I ended up feeling stranded with no way back down.”

Can you spot Greta’s belief? Write it down. (I’ll give you my answer later.)


Nelson’s dream

“I am standing waist deep in water when I notice a shark coming towards me. I am so terrified, I freeze. I close my eyes and hope it will go away. All is quiet for a while and I think the shark has gone, but when I open my eyes I see several more sharks lurking in the water.”

Can you spot Nelson’s belief? Write it down.


Bronwyn’s dream

“I am standing waist deep in water when I notice a shark coming towards me. I am terrified but I try to make friends with the shark to stop it from biting me. I look it in the eye and begin to talk and, amazingly, as I do this it changes from a shark into a huge playful fish. We end up playing swimming games. I am aware it is strong and powerful, but it doesn’t frighten me any more.”

Can you spot Bronwyn’s belief? Write it down.


Karen’s dream

“I keep having dreams involving babies aged about one year old. The dreams are different, but it always turns out that the babies fail to thrive after their first birthday. They become weak, or sick, or I lose sight of them.”

Can you spot Karen’s belief? Write it down.


Your dream

Yes, that’s you! Choose a recurring dream or a short one that’s easy to summarise. First write your dream out in a few sentences to match the length and style of the ones in this article. Then, to get some objective distance, pretend it’s not your dream.

Can you spot the belief? Write it down.


Now, keep an open mind, please, as you read on!

Dreams reveal your unconscious beliefs. They’re not so much about the beliefs you know about, they’re about the beliefs you have carried with you, deep in your unconscious mind, for a long time. How long? Usually from childhood or from traumatic events in your life. They’re the beliefs you take on because they seem to make sense at the time.

The trouble with beliefs is that you act on them. If you believe there’s a pile of gold buried under the tree, you’ll dig it up. If you believe you’re not worthy of being well paid for your skills, you will apply for lower paid jobs or set your fees low. This is as true for the beliefs you don’t know about as for those you do know about. In fact, it’s worse for those you don’t know about because your actions are automatic, with no chance of being vetoed by your wiser judgement.

Most dreams reveal your unconscious beliefs. You can identify them using this Spot the Belief method. At first you may reject them. ‘No, that’s not my belief! Quite the opposite!’ But stop and ask yourself, ‘What kind of actions would a person with this belief take?’ If the belief you’ve spotted is right, you’ll recognise those actions as ones you have taken. I promise you, when you strike gold in identifying that belief, your eyes will be opened and, once you’ve recovered from the shock, certain aspects of your life will suddenly make a lot more sense.

Let’s see how this works for Greta, Nelson and the other dreamers.

These are the beliefs I spotted for each dreamer:


‘Backing down is not an option.’


‘Ignoring my fears and hoping for the best works for a while and then things go from bad to worse.’


‘When I face my fears I overcome them.’


‘Things go well for about a year, and then they stop thriving.’


I bet your results were similar. For example, for Greta you might have had ‘The only way is up, no matter how this makes me feel’. Or ‘There’s no easy way out’.

Usually, when you look at the whole dream instead of just a summary of it, you will see plenty of clues to help zone in accurately on the dreamer’s deepest belief. However you really do need to start by working with a summary of the dream, as illustrated here, to get an idea of the belief, and then move on to examine the longer version of the dream to increase accuracy. The final step comes when the dreamer gets the big ‘aha’ and can see how the belief has been driving their decisions and actions, delivering the results they are experiencing in their life.

So there you have it. Beliefs lead to actions, and actions lead to outcomes. Unconscious beliefs lead to blindly driven actions, and blindly driven actions lead to outcomes that may not match the goals you consciously set yourself.

I can hear your question! ‘If an unconscious belief is not creating the results you want, how can you change it?’

That’s where dream alchemy and, in particular, the use of dream alchemy practices come in. You can read more about this, and how to create suitable dream alchemy practices to change unconscious beliefs in my book Dream Alchemy.

Not all unconscious beliefs work against you. Bronwyn’s dream revealed a magical unconscious belief. Such a dream may come along as a prelude to a challenging time, a gentle reminder that all will be well. Remember, though, that night by night your dreaming mind updates its grasp on ‘what life is all about and how to survive it’. We all change, and, from time to time, a dream will reveal the death of an old belief or the birth of a new one. When Nelson applies a dream alchemy practice to change his beliefs about the best way to cope with fear he may dream a dream such as Bronwyn’s.

Now you know a little about the unconscious beliefs driving Jim, Greta, Nelson, Bronwyn and Karen, how do you imagine their lives to be? What kind of actions do you think they have been taking in their lives? What beliefs would better suit them?

Take Karen, for example. Karen had a dream job very early in her working life. Sadly it came to an abrupt end after a year when her employer absconded with the company funds. It was a traumatic time for Karen. She had put so much of her energy and hope into the job which she saw as a beginning to a perfect career. At that point, Karen took on the unconscious belief that ‘Things go well for about a year, and then they stop thriving’. In the years that followed, whenever a job, relationship or project that Karen was involved in neared the one year mark she began to make decisions and take actions based on the expectation that the job, relationship or project would fail. And so they did. And, until she understood her recurring dream, Karen was totally unaware of any of this.

How did you go with spotting the belief for your dream? Has this belief driven your decisions and actions? What kind of outcomes resulted in your life? Are you happy with these, or are you ready to apply some dream alchemy and start to see the kind of outcomes you would prefer? It’s your life!

[Copyright Jane Teresa Anderson, March 2007. First published as a Dream Sight article.]

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Love your bad dreams

Transform a wicked witch into a good fairy by whatever way feels good to you when you rewrite your dream.

Here’s a simple formula to apply when you have an unsettling or frightening dream and you want to reduce the chances of having it again. Actually, it’s far more powerful than this. Not only does this formula ease your dreams, it also creates deep and lasting positive change in your waking life by subtly reprogramming your unconscious mind to solve the issue causing the bad dreams. Here’s what to do.

Love your bad dreams into good ones. Do this by rewriting your dream in your journal, or visualising it in your mind’s eye, changing the bad storyline into a good one, making sure that all your changes come from a place of love. Here are some examples.

Love your losses into founds, your deaths into births, your failures into successes, your limitations into freedoms, your lateness into smooth timeliness,  your obstacles into open roads, your judgements into forgiveness, your muddy waters into crystal pools, your intruders into friends, your poverty into wealth, your wicked witches into good fairies, your broken down cars into golden chariots, your tsunamis into relaxing spas, your hurts into healings, your heavy luggage into uplifting wings, and your scary shadows into loving light.

The key is transformation. For example, don’t kill a wicked witch because this leaves a hole in your psyche. Everything and everyone in your dreams represents something about you and your beliefs and feelings about life, so anything you do to anyone or anything in a dream (or a dream rewrite) you are really doing to yourself. Transform a wicked witch into a good fairy by whatever way feels good to you when you rewrite your dream. Best of all is to use love as the transforming force. When a wicked witch receives love, she can’t help but be instantly transformed into a good fairy.

Finish your rewrite with a bit of wisdom and a happily ever after ending. Reread it, or replay it in your mind’s eye, over and over again, making sure you feel uplifting emotions and plenty of love throughout. Take that ‘happily ever after’ feeling forward into your day.

As you can see, Patricia has transformed the worried male alchemist in my last blog's image of  The Alchemist in Search of the Philosophers' Stone, by Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797), into a radiant woman.

As you can see, Patricia has transformed the worried male alchemist in my last blog’s image of The Alchemist in Search of the Philosophers’ Stone, by Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797), into a radiant woman.

Today’s blog is from my book 101 Dream Interpretation Tips, and, talking of transformation, I know you’ll love this reworking of the image from last week’s blog, Alchemy and Dream Interpretation. Patricia Mottram, from Ayurveda TLC, reworked the image and sent it me saying, “I had to play with the picture of the old male alchemist who looks very worried that it’s all going to blow up in his face!”

As you can see, Patricia has transformed the worried male alchemist in The Alchemist in Search of the Philosophers’ Stone, by Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797), into a radiant woman. I have it on good authority that it is, indeed, Patrica herself. Nice bit of alchemy, hey?



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Alchemy and dream interpretation

The Alchemist in Search of the Philosophers Stone by Joseph Wright of Derby (1734–1797)

Alchemy and dream interpretation

In mediaeval times, alchemy was the quest to understand and master the elements of nature and to demonstrate this mastery by turning base metal into gold. In its study of elements and substances, real and conjectured, it is often seen as being the forerunner of chemistry and perhaps quantum physics. But it was far more than a pre-scientific or material quest. The mental and physical discipline required to dedicate years towards the seemingly impossible task of transforming base metal into gold tested the spirit, making of alchemy a spiritual discipline. The trials each apprentice encountered advanced his spiritual understanding of himself and the world. The base metal was his self and his experience of life. The task was to transform his self as well as his waking life into gold. The gold, symbolising the sun (consciousness and enlightenment), was his personal and spiritual transformation.

The main outcome of transmuting physical matter into gold and to transforming the base soul was the Philosophers’ Stone. The Philosophers’ Stone (also known,  among many other names, as the lapis elixir) was the holy grail of alchemy. The possessor of the stone was promised eternal youth, freedom from death or sickness, and total inner knowledge, including that of how to transform base metal into gold. The Philosophers’ Stone could never be dissolved or lost – once it was found. But first, it had to be found.

Isaac Newton was both scientist and alchemist in his search to understand the relationship between the physical and the spiritual.

Isaac Newton was both scientist and alchemist in his search to understand the relationship between the physical and the spiritual.

Alchemists believed matter was made up of four elements – earth, air, fire, and water – held together, or unified, by a fifth element, invisible to the uninitiated. This fifth element was known as the quintessence. It was the secret of secrets with which one could control nature. The quintessence and the Philosophers’ Stone were symbols for the same grail.

An important part of alchemy, then, was to find the Philosophers’ Stone, the grail or the quintessence – then all was possible, physically, mentally,  emotionally and spiritually.

Initiates, both men and women, practised alchemy through study and the practical work of mixing elements, compounds and substances, encapsulating their findings in symbols, drawings and mystical formulae. Much of the work was carried out in laboratories – places equally fitted out for practical and mystical activities. The symbols and mystical formulae constituted a secret language, a way of hiding the metaphysical and spiritual work of alchemy from the attention of the church and the uninitiated.

As an example, an important compound in alchemy is vitriol, a sulphate or sulphuric acid that burns away matter. Part of its function was to burn away matter to reveal the quintessence.

The word vitriol is composed of the first letters of the words in this Latin phrase:

visita interiora terrae rectificandque invenies occultum lapidum’.

This translates as ‘Visit the interior of the earth and, by rectifying, you will discover the hidden stone.’

The metaphysical meaning of vitriol in mediaeval alchemy was the process of visiting the inner self to purify the soul by burning away the dross, thereby discovering the secret of life itself.

"By interpreting our dreams, we can then act on the insights we gain about ourselves to burn away the tarnish, heal the bruises and hurts, and polish the soul so it shines." Dream Alchemy, Jane Teresa Anderson, 2nd edition pub Hachette

“By interpreting our dreams, we can then act on the insights we gain about ourselves to burn away the tarnish, heal the bruises and hurts, and polish the soul so it shines.” Dream Alchemy, Jane Teresa Anderson, 2nd edition pub Hachette

Dreams, once interpreted, reveal the inner self in all its tarnished and bruised beauty. By interpreting our dreams, we can then act on the insights we gain about ourselves to burn away the tarnish, heal the bruises and hurts, and polish the soul so it shines.

In this way, we can become masters of our spiritual, emotional, mental and spiritual worlds.

Our dreams can be seen as being like base metal, and the process of interpreting them as a process of spiritual discipline.

The insights we gain about ourselves as a result are all part of the grail, the Philosophers’ Stone, the magic with which we can choose to transform our lives.


Dream alchemy is the process of working with your dreams to transform your spiritual, emotional, mental and physical life into alchemical gold.

The dream alchemy practices in this book work directly on your unconscious mind to ‘reprogram’ unconscious beliefs, thoughts and patterns that are not working well for you and your life. These practices are successful because they employ the language of your unconscious mind: and your unconscious mind responds.

This post is an extract from:

Dream Alchemy,
Jane Teresa Anderson,
2nd edition pub Hachette,
pages 9-11

Post script:

My maiden name was Newton. I was many years into my work as a scientist turned dream alchemist before I learned that Isaac Newton devoted so much of his life to the study of alchemy.

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