This is the story of a very simple dream that had a profound effect on my life. The powerful factor was not the dream itself. It was what I did with the dream – I applied the very simple magic of dream alchemy. You can do this too. Here’s the story – and the formula.
Once upon a time, long ago, I dreamed I was walking along a road when a horse came up from behind, overtook me, and galloped playfully on. He galloped right past a turning that would have taken him to a meadow ripe with food. He reached the end of the road and came galloping back, again missing the turning. He was playful, burning up his energy on the road he knew – up and down, up and down, oblivious to the ripe meadow where he might rest, eat and enjoy a sense of home.
Suddenly he drew up right alongside me, so close we almost touched. I felt a small shudder of fear at his proximity, yet also a small shudder of excitement. The horse seemed to challenge me, to demand that I acknowledge his powerful presence.
That was all there was to the dream. I woke up and interpreted it, as all good dream analysts do.
The more I thought about the horse, the more I felt the fear, no the excitement, no the fear, no the excitement. Well, was it fear or excitement? The two feelings were so close as to be almost indistinguishable. So close, as close as the horse nudging up alongside me with his powerful, fear-excitement presence.
And that’s when it happened – a long lost memory came into clear focus, a memory of being about ten years old, standing in a field, talking to my horse-mad friend, Helen. Helen dreamed of having her own horse. She spent her Saturdays mucking out stables in return for rides. Her passion was contagious, so I listened to her stories and read several books about horses and about how to ride and care for them.
Mucking out stables wasn’t for me, but the idea of riding was inspiring, so Helen took me to the field to get up close and personal with a horse. I was very excited until the horse stood close beside me and I realised just how big it was. Nothing was going to get me onto its back, so high above the ground. Reading about horses was one thing; reality was quite another. The horse nudged me with his head and elicited not love, but pure terror. He was big and strong. I was weak, powerless and scared.
As always with dream interpretation, I asked myself what was happening in my life to remind me of that time. I recognised the situation immediately. I was about to go public with some new ideas and yet I was holding back, thinking small scale to ‘be on the safe side’ rather than big scale in case that big scale turned out to be too powerful and scary to ride.
According to the picture painted by my dream, I was just going to amble along that road in a small scale way, creating, at best, an unfocussed, playful ‘horse’ energy that would burn itself up galloping around on safe known territory, always missing the road that led to the rewarding meadow.
How silly can that be, making decisions as an adult based on an experience at age ten? Not silly at all, of course, because the fears that drive these decisions are unconscious. Dreams, once interpreted, help us to remember experiences and recognise how they have programmed our behaviour.
Let’s take stock. I had a simple dream. As a dream analyst, I interpreted it. The interpretation enabled me to recognise an unconscious fear that was about to hold me back from doing something in a big way.
I asked myself if that was what I really wanted.
My answer was no. I wanted to find that meadow, that place of ripe rewards.
As a dream alchemist, I then applied alchemy to my dream so that I could reap the rewards I desired. This is what I did.
I closed my eyes and visualised that dream horse coming up close beside me, just as he did in the dream. I felt the same small shudder of fear at his proximity, and also the same small shudder of excitement. As in the dream, I visualised the horse challenging me, demanding that I acknowledge his powerful presence. Then I visualised walking even closer to the horse, feeling the excitement more than the fear, walking closer and closer until I absorbed his being into mine. When I did this, I felt a jolt of energy pulse through my body, a sign that the alchemy was working. I then visualised – and focussed on feeling – moving along the road as if I were riding that horse.
An amazing thing happened. As I did this visualisation and focussed on feeling the power, I felt a steadiness flow through my body. I had expected to feel an all-powerful, high energy, as if nothing could stop me. Instead, I felt steady, supremely confident. So confident, in fact, that I slowed the horse’s gallop down to a relaxed walk, and that meant we were at exactly the right speed to notice the road leading to the meadow. Instead of whizzing around and never seeing the road, we made the turn, the horse and I, as one, and entered the meadow. In my visualisation, I focussed on how good it felt to finally reap the rewards I desired.
As per the formula for dream alchemy practices, I repeated my visualisation for a few weeks more. Day by day I found my confidence improving, and gradually I began to make bigger scale decisions.
My feelings had changed. What on earth was there to fear about reality turning out to be bigger and better and more powerful than I had imagined?
And that’s exactly what dream alchemy does. Once it’s worked its magic and changed a fear or belief, it leaves you wondering how on earth you ever thought differently. It transforms you. The new you shakes your wiser head in amazement at how the old you lived your life. And things move forward as life delivers greater rewards.
[Copyright Jane Teresa Anderson, October 2007. First published as a Dream Sight article.]