Image by Stefan Keller
One of the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic, notable even in the first few weeks after it reached Europe and the United States, was an explosion of public interest in dreams. People who never gave much thought to dreams and were rarely known to talk about them were suddenly dreaming up a storm and wanting to share their dreams with anyone who would listen.
The dreams reported covered a wide spectrum. While some seemed to dramatize fear and anxiety, others offered entertainment, sanctuary, and destination travel. While many reported having “bad dreams” and nightmares, others were grateful for dreams of reassurance in which they found themselves in the presence of departed loved ones and mentors, angels and goddesses, talking animals and benign space aliens.
I lead an international community of active dreamers; some three hundred teachers of Active Dreaming who have graduated from my trainings lead circles and workshops of their own in more than two dozen countries. I am routinely presented with hundreds of dream reports every week, via email, social media, and dedicated online platforms, as well as from current members of my online courses. With the growth of the pandemic, I was struck by how many people were now dreaming of the departed and returning to waking life feeling blessed and comforted, with the confidence that life goes on in whatever world.
I myself dreamed of people on the Other Side who were engaged in preparing pleasant lodgings or whole family compounds for loved ones who might be joining them soon, and I heard many similar reports from other dreamers. In the time of the pandemic, as the dreams came back to us, we were reminded that among all its other gifts, dreaming may be the best preparation for dying — because we become familiar with other worlds, including those where the dead are alive, and learn through firsthand experience that consciousness is not confined to the body and therefore survives death.
Looking For Possible Gifts In The Wounding
Remember that Turkish proverb, “One calamity is better than a thousand counsels”? It may be hard to swallow in the face of a global calamity as vast as the pandemic, yet that bit of wisdom may still nudge us to look for possible gifts in the wounding. By being put on pause, locked out of external routines, many of us went within and found ourselves on roads to deeper self-knowledge as well as greater empathy for others. We came to admire as heroes people who may previously have been faceless to us: the delivery guy, the person at the checkout, the janitor, and of course medical staff and first responders everywhere.
We were driven to ask, as humans have asked in the face of other plagues and killer viruses: Did this happen because we fell out of balance with the forces of earth and heaven? Around 1700 BCE, confronting a plague that ravaged his people for a whole generation, the Hittite king Muršili II asked for his god to reveal to him in a dream why the gods were angry and what could be done to appease them. He made this a group effort by commanding all the priests in his capital to pray to see the god in their dreams the same night.
Today, dreamers may not be inclined to seek a face-to-face encounter with an Anatolian storm god. However, many of us have been communing with the powers of nature, with the ancestors, and with our dream allies to try to understand our best way forward, as individuals, as families, and as a species that has been deeply out of balance with other sentient life on the planet.
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Science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson observed in the New Yorker, “The virus is rewriting our imaginations. What felt impossible has become thinkable. We’re getting a different sense of our place in history. We know we’re entering a new world, a new era. We seem to be learning our way into a new structure of feeling.”
Using Imagination to Survive
Remember Viktor Frankl in Auschwitz, using his imagination to survive one of the darkest nightmares of humanity and finding that what he grew in his imagination manifested in the world? The story is for our times. It reminds us that when we feel most vulnerable and helpless and alone, we can still choose our attitude — and if we choose wisely, we can change our world.
In the time of the pandemic, dreamers found relief and comfort in the fact that they could travel without leaving home. Dreaming, we can be as social as we like. Dreaming — especially in the liminal space between sleep and awake — we have access to inner and transpersonal guides who can counsel us. Because dreams are personal myths and myths are collective dreams, as dreamers we put ourselves on a mythic edge where our big story can find us, giving us courage and the blessed wind of inspiration.
“Remember when we both thought I was dead?”
I am receiving many reports of encounters with the deceased in dreams and half-dream states. The dead appear as they are — that is to say, alive in another reality. A woman named Ava dreamed that her departed mother started up a conversation by saying, with a chuckle, “Remember when we both thought I was dead?” Often the deceased have adjusted their appearance to look much younger and healthier than when last seen by their survivors. Sometimes they come visiting; sometimes the dreamer finds herself traveling to their realms.
Instead of being scared by their dreams of the dead, most of those reporting emerged calm and confident, assured that life goes on in one world or another. Crossing to the Other Side was a prominent theme. One dreamer made a crossing by water under the care of a mysterious ferryman, an element very familiar in mythic geographies. I found it fascinating that people were dreaming in this ancient mode when so many in our world, unfortunately, were being pushed into death without preparation or rituals of farewell and were probably in need of a ferryman.
I was brought many reports in which dreamers found themselves exploring their lifestyle options on the Other Side and being shown possible exit ramps from physical life. This material was not exotic to me; I have recorded many personal experiences of this kind since I died and came back as a boy.
Becoming a Shaman of Consciousness
It was clear that dreams of this depth were coming through because they were needed and more and more people were ready to attend to them. Michel de Montaigne said that because we do not know where death is waiting for us, we must be ready to meet death everywhere. Few people who are conscious fail to understand that this has become an urgent imperative in the age of the pandemic.
The matter of death and what follows is too important for us to rely on hand-me-down beliefs. We need firsthand experience. This requires us to become, in our own unique ways, shamans of consciousness. Our dreams will show us those ways.
This practice is not only about rehearsing for death. It is about remembering what life is all about, reclaiming the knowledge of the soul, and moving beyond fear and self-limiting beliefs.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
New World Library, Novato, CA. ©2020 by Robert Moss.
www.newworldlibrary.com or 800-972-6657 ext. 52.
Growing Big Dreams: Manifesting Your Heart’s Desires through Twelve Secrets of the Imagination
by Robert Moss.
Growing Big Dreams is a passionate yet practical call to step through the gates of dreams and imagination to weather tough times, embark on travel adventures without leaving home, and grow a vision of a life so rich and strong it wants to take root in the world. Vitally relevant today more than ever, dreams are a tool available to all.
For More Info or to Order This Book. Also available as a Kindle edition and as an Audiobook.
About the Author
Robert Moss was born in Australia, and his fascination with the dreamworld began in his childhood, when he had three near-death experiences and first learned the ways of a traditional dreaming people through his friendship with Aborigines. He is the creator of the School of Active Dreaming, an original synthesis of modern dreamwork and ancient shamanic and mystical practices. He leads popular workshops all over the world, including a three-year training for teachers of Active Dreaming and online courses for the Shift Network. Visit him online at www.mossdreams.com.