I’m currently blowing off the dust on my dream books and revisiting technique. And it occurs to me – why is the study of dreams important all? Don’t get me wrong, I started this based on a start of active dreaming, but I think it is a fair question. After all, I could just ignore the dreams and do other kinds of work.
In my understanding of the Craft, it is about acquiring personal power in various ways. Certainly, that includes developing relationships with spirits and moving energy. In my Trad, it also certainly means learning “mundane” skills, being political and by creating (art, events, culture, you know the usual).
Taking a little further, the practices of witchcraft are practices that allow me to access my full potential as a human being. One of the key things that drew me magic and the occult was a sense of more than just the rational. There was mystery and other ways of gathering a processing information beyond logic. Not that I’m against logic as much as I am interested in expanding my consciousness to include other things.
I see the elemental circle as a mandala of a sort. When we call in air, we’re calling in (or perhaps acknowledging) our own words and intellect. When we call in fire, we call in our will and ability to act. When we call in water, we call in our deep emotions and unconscious. When calling in earth, we are calling in our body and our stillness. I hold that as a map of holistic thought. All my parts, mind and emotions, body and spirit are of equal importance and so very necessary to make not only magic, but my whole life really.
So yes, logic is important and part of our human heritage, but we have access more than that. Dreams are a gateways to or messengers from (depending on how you look at it) our hidden depths that our intellect cannot reach into by itself. Our dreams put in touch with parts of ourselves that are deep and nonrational. Throughout history, cultures have seen dreams as holding deep wisdom.
In the faith tradition I was raised in (I'm a former Catholic), dreams (and dream interpretation) were a part of prophecy (I thinking Joseph and the Pharaoh, as well as other references). The chapter of the book that I’m looking at has a series of scientists that found innovation solutions to problems in their dreams. Musicians first heard music that they would later compose in their dreams. Writers have found help with sticky plot points in dreams. In hoodoo, there is a specific gift of dream true. Witches and magicians of all sorts have paid attention do dreams, with or without a steady dreamwork practice. Throughout history, dreams provided insight led scholars, mystics and kings. Dream lore is rich.
Who wouldn’t want a piece of that? And dreams are a birthright. We all have them and every night too. We don’t need a deck of Tarot cards or a bag of runes to help illuminate those hidden paths. Granted, like those forms of divination, dreaming takes skill – recall and interpretation chiefly. But the skills are dreamwork as skills worth acquiring.