Trust Fall

Photo Copyright 2021: Christine Bradley

I’m a little excited about my dreams the past couple of nights…going to be a nice, lighter balance to my previous post.

You know when you watch a TV show or movie or read a book before bed, that can often influence the dream you have that night..?

Well, I love to read books about dreaming in general just to get my head in the right space before I sleep. Sometimes I just re-read my own dream journal of past dreams. Doing this really helps me remember my dreams, and often my dreams are very vivid when I do this.

Currently reading: Dreaming the Soul Back Home: Shamanic Dreaming for Healing and Becoming Whole by Robert Moss (creator of Active Dreaming). WONDERFUL read so far. Highly recommend.

It only takes a day of reading before I start to see a strong influence on my dreams.

The night before last… I dream that I am at my childhood lake house in Louisiana. I am making a mojito to bring with me to a neighbor’s house down the street. I grab a big, plastic Mardi Gras cup from the cabinet to the left of the kitchen sink. The ice cubes I put in my drink are purple and a black-and-white checkered pattern. I walk down to my friend’s house, and a car of teenagers pull up. They’re all looking at us like we are weird (like teenagers do…).

Then, I am back in the mountains where I live now. I am riding my bike downhill on a super fun, super steep trail. I come to a fork in the trail—a trail that I call “Skyland” in my dream. I’m trying to figure out if both trails lead to the same place. The one to the left, I think, is a shortcut to my destination but goes through a meadow full of old, broken machinery and dumped trash. And I’m not totally sure it does end up in the same place I’m trying to go. The trail to right—I know leads to where I am going, and it has some really fun downhill parts that I’ll enjoy. I try asking people around me, but no one seems to know for sure which trail goes where. I have to make up my mind quickly; a big storm is approaching, getting closer and closer. I pick up a big, green leaf—it’s bigger than a tree leaf but smaller than something like a lily pad…although it does remind me of a small lily pad. The leaf is from Tibet. I pick it up, press it against my face, and inhale as deeply as I can.

And I wake up.

The next day I read more of the book. I read about how acting out your dreams is positive, affirming soul work—it makes the spirits happy. I read about the successive levels of dream space. You can go to sleep in your dreams and reach higher levels of clarity. (Keep in mind that I’m being VERY brief in these descriptions.) And I read about finding your “soul/sole tree” and how “Tree Gates” are the shaman’s ladder between the Lower, Middle, and Upper Worlds.

So, last night, in waking life, I make a mojito in an old, plastic Mardi Gras cup that I have in the cabinet to the left of my kitchen sink (sadly did not have purple/black-and-white ice cubes…). Out on my deck, I notice a new plant in one of my flower pots outside. It must have been seeded there by a bird or something because I don’t recognize it at all. It has big, scratchy, green leaves starting to spill over the pot and a few flower buds about to bloom. I kneel down and press the leaf to my face and take a deep breath in.

Last night I dream that I am lying in bed, and I am trying to go to sleep. I just can’t fall asleep though! My back is REALLY hurting (I recently threw out my neck and upper back, so this actually makes a lot of sense), and I cannot get comfortable. I try adjusting the pillows—nothing. Can’t fall asleep. When it’s time to get up, I sit up in bed. There are several, tiny trees…like bonsai trees or something…growing all over the top of my head. I smile, and it makes me so happy!

Then, I am on a boat traveling down the narrow channels of swampy waters, lined with cypress trees—reminds me of the lake in Louisiana. My mom is driving the boat, and I look back and see my sister is there too. I look at my sister like, “Oh no what’s going to happen…”

As she drives through the narrow channels, there are people hitchhiking in the water. One is an old man. He sees us, rolls his eyes, and turns away. There is also a couple, a man and a woman, with walking sticks. My mom just drives past them, and I feel bad for not offering them a ride with us. But I’m not driving, so there’s nothing I can do.

We get to this pier where people are swimming. The water is nice and clear here. A woman on the dock says “We are going to swim here where the bait water is really clear.” And I agree that’s a good idea because I don’t want to swim in the murky water where the snakes an alligators like to hide.

I ask someone on the surface of the water to push me down deep into the water. I make my body straight like a needle and go down below the surface. I look up, and the water is so clear that I can still see the people above me. There are bubbles and light around me, and I swim back up to the surface.

I asked to be pushed down again. This time I go a little farther down. I brush up against some plants near the bottom. I can still see the surface, so I’m not scared. I swim back up.

I asked to be pushed down again. This time I go REALLY far down. It’s actually fun sinking to the bottom. Then, I am suddenly all surrounded by a ton of plant life closer the bottom…starting to get murky here. I feel the plants brush up against my skin, and I see what looks like the scratchy leaves from the new plant in my flower pot in waking life. I say something under the water like, “oooh noo.” I’m a little scared there’s going to be a scary animal lurking around this area, but I never lose sight of the surface. I kick my feet and actually take my time getting back to the surface. I realize I can stay underwater for a really long time, seems like I can hold my breath forever, so I take my time weaving around the water before I get to the surface again.

Then, I am on the edge of the dock. I am doing these “trust falls” into the water, and I naturally spring back up to standing. I fall down and spring up. Fall down and spring up. And it makes me happy.

And I wake up.

So, this book I am currently reading is mostly about soul retrieval. And since reading it, my lake house is really coming through in my dreams. This makes me think that there is a part of my soul patchwork that remains there. Once I finish the book, I plan to do actual, intentional dream re-entry to explore the area. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a piece of me still in this place, my happy place where I learned to feel safe in the wild.

To wrap up, I’m also feeling very supported by the Moon’s recent sliding into Scorpio very early this morning. I love the dark, watery, psychic energy that is strongly influencing my own, personal underworld and subconscious. Keep it coming, lunar Scorpio!

Making Space for the Dark

Photo Copyright 2021: Christine Bradley

I think a lot of us are probably feeling the stress and trauma of the world in this moment. An unrelenting pandemic, a devasting hurricane, violence in Afghanistan—it’s hard not to fall into a black hole of news headlines and obsessive phone-checking. This is definitely the theme of the past year or so for many of us. I know that’s where I’ve been recently: overwhelmed by this world trauma, ungrounded from the pain and suffering of others who I am helpless to care for. I feel like there is SO much to process, and these situations are not even directly happening to me.

Helpless. And in the darker moments…I feel a little hopeless too.

It’s important for me (and you!) to acknowledge this suffering. Create some space for feelings. The pain is very real. But—we are not alone; we are all connected here.

I’m feeling all of this trauma influence my dreams lately. And maybe you are too. My brain is literally trying to process the world around me, and it has not been pretty. The dreams I’m about to share are darker and more violent than previous entries, so please proceed with caution if you are feeling sensitive or vulnerable.

Last night, my dream begins with me standing in front of a large crowd. I have just been elected president of this group of individuals. I am waiting patiently on this wooden platform as others take turns making speeches and sharing their ideas. I begin to grow impatient as I keep thinking it’s my turn to speak, and another person walks forward to the microphone. I mean I feel like I might have something important to say since I was just elected “president.” But my turn never comes here—by the time I am able to speak, everyone has to leave.

Then, I am in a hospital. I am in a room with a young man and a young boy. Heart monitors are beeping. They are wrapped up in strange, metallic covers and have bandages on their heads. They are victims from a mass genocide event—and more specifically, victims of radiation poisoning.

We somehow hear that there is a shooter in the hospital building. Panic begins to ensue. The young man runs out of the room, never to be seen again.

The young boy runs to the back bathroom in their room. I try hiding under the hospital bed, but the legs are too high. It’s obvious I am under there and not hidden at all. So, I run to the back bathroom too. I walk in, and the little boy is just crouched against a wall to the right. I see there are three bathroom stalls. I consider hiding in one, but that seems obvious too. Then I notice that this bathroom door closes. It even has two locks! So, I turn around and close the door. I lock the left side, then lock the right.

The young boy and I are sitting in here for a while. It seems very quiet. Then I hear my cat, Kitter, begin to meow. He’s doing this anxious “where are you?!” cry. I’m flooded with panic and want to let him in the bathroom immediately. I unlock the left side of the door. I start to unlock the right side.

The little boy says, “Stop! He’s out there! Look through the peep hole!” (Yes, there is a peep hole like on a front door of an apartment.) I look through the hole, and I see a man dressed in black clothing from head to toe—even a black mask covers his entire face. He is standing there with an eerie, predatory calmness.

It’s too late. I already have the door unlocked enough that it cracks open.

I try to shove the door back closed with all my might, but I fail.

The man dressed in black pushes the barrel of his gun through the crack in the door. I’m eye level with it. I look over at the young boy, and I know we are doomed. The man pushes his way into the bathroom. He throws some strips of cloth on the ground, meant to blindfold us. He tells us to put them on.

And I wake up.

No surprises here—but the moon was in Gemini last night. So, I see some personal, recurring themes surface. The theme of the shadow: although not my typical shadow-ghost with more a feminine nature, the man with a gun and dressed in black still reminds me of repressed pain and fear. What/who is he chasing? What exactly is he trying to destroy?

The theme of duality also makes a small appearance: the two locks on the bathroom door, the two patients in the hospital room.

I’d also like to take a moment to note that Mars was in Virgo yesterday and at a perfect, exact conjunction with my Ascendant. Despite the placement in earthy Virgo, I feel like the planet’s fiery energy and even violent tendencies, themes of war were rising up inside me and making their presence known. Couple that with recent world trauma, and it’s a recipe for a pretty creepy dream.

No lie—RIGHT NOW as I’m typing this—my boss tells me to check the local news website because there is a new story about the recent standoff between an armed resident of the area and local police officer.

This theme of guns is everywhere. What they represent is completely situational too, at least for me. Sometimes they represent an imminent threat, danger, and violence. Sometimes they represent self-defense. This reminds me of another dream I had about two years ago and recorded in my journal.

In this dream, I am on a train with several people. A very young, blonde girl and her dad are there. We arrive at a big loading dock on the water. There are police armed with guns lined up along the shipping containers on the dock. There is a man at the end, between the officers, also holding a gun. It’s some sort of standoff.

They call in an old man to diffuse the situation. He seems to talk to the armed individual for a moment then is very cavalier about the whole situation.

As the old man turns around and starts walking back towards me, I hear three gunshots.

The old man’s mouth opens unnaturally wide, like a super creepy Halloween mask or something from a horror movie—a huge, deep, black pit that overtakes his entire face.

He picks up a shovel and shoves it into the back of his mouth. A bullet falls out of the back of his head, and his face goes back to normal.

He looks at me. He is all bloody now. He says, “It just got into the bad part of my brain.”

And I wake up.

Now, I’d like to note here that I had that dream during another stressful, traumatic time in my life. Someone I had known for a while was convicted of a horrible, violent crime. And I was struggling to process how I could know that person and not know that they were capable of what they did.

So, I feel like the theme of “guns” in dreams is not completely unexpected when we look at processing trauma and feeling helpless in certain situations. The overall message is very mixed when guns are portrayed as both a dangerous, fatal threat and a means of protection of our lives. Our tool for “self-defense” is the same tool that could instantly end our life. “Whoever has the gun has the power.” This is what so many of us have been taught, consciously and unconsciously.

I know that my brain will process trauma in its own way, and guns will likely continue to make appearances to make their point.

But I would like to maintain that whoever has the gun does not have the power.

Whoever does not fear the “gun” nor needs it has the true power.

A Visit from the Other Side

Photo Copyright 2016: Christine Bradley

As the Moon in Sagittarius transited into my fourth house last night, themes of family began to emerge.

The fourth house is an important one for most of us—it rules early home life and especially the family and parental figures. I have two natal planets in my fourth house: Uranus and Neptune. It’s important for me to note that my natal Neptune falls in the fourth house as it is another planet (in addition to the Moon) that rules dream life.

Dreaming of loved ones who have passed away is something I think a lot of us are interested to know more about. Grief is powerful. And it feels like it consumes our entire being when we are deep in it. How is it possible for a loved one to be here one moment…and just simply gone the next? How are our human brains supposed to comprehend that concept? It’s completely overwhelming. Furthermore, there’s no cure for grief. There’s no magic medicine that makes it disappear. There is only time. And time never moves so slowly as it does when you are grieving.

*~*Sending love and light to all those grieving in this moment*~*

Unfortunately, I do not have a solid method to reliably summon a loved one into our dreams. Trust me—I wish I did. I have had experiences where a loved one visited me when I needed it, but I think it was more on their terms. Funny how that works…

There are definitely things you can do to try and invite your loved ones in. Just being open to receiving their spirit is the best intention you can set. If you are in the process of grieving, you are probably thinking of them often. That is sometimes enough to trigger a dream. Extra steps you can take: keep a picture of your loved one near you when you sleep; build a small altar in their honor near your bed—you can include flowers, crystals, anything that reminds you of their smell. Our olfactory senses retain so many strong memories! And, of course, you can talk to your loved ones often.

Last night, I dream of my Papaw. He is my mother’s father, and this is actually the second time he has visited my dreams this year.

I am in the big house, and the downstairs is full of people; there’s a party or something going on down there. I go upstairs to the bedroom on the left side. There are three spirits following me—two masculine energies and one feminine—and I just cannot shake these energies. It’s like they won’t leave me alone. There is a shower in the bedroom. I step in and begin to bathe. A bee starts flying around me, harassing me like the spirits. It stings me, and I crush it. (Usually, I do not actually kill things in my dreams, and I would never kill a bee in real life. So, this was a bit of a new thing for me. This shows how threatened I was feeling in that moment.)

I don’t know what to do in this moment—I’m at a loss. I begin to pray. (Now—I am not a religious person these days. Spiritual, yes. But I was raised Roman Catholic, and a lot of that upbringing still lingers in my psyche. I find that in dream desperation, I often start to pray if I cannot wake myself up because I don’t know what else to do.) Not only do I just pray in general, but I actually start to specifically recite the “Hail Mary” prayer.

Then, my Papaw appears.

He doesn’t say anything at all. He walks into the bedroom, and just kind of clears away the spirits.

Then he leaves. And I wake up.

This morning, I get out of bed and walk into my bathroom. I wash my face and brush my teeth. Normal morning routine. But I see something out of the corner of my eye—something is flying around the bathroom. It’s flying around my head. It lands on the shower door.

It’s a beautiful moth.

New Developments!

Photo Copyright 2021: Christine Bradley

I’ve been searching for a reason to post again since my first entry, and last night’s experience definitely gave me some interesting inspiration…

No surprises here—I have been known to do strange things in my sleep. When I was younger, I would often just talk out loud or sometimes wake up from a falling dream still in that same position.

As I get older, the things I do get a little stranger. For instance, I sometimes open my eyes while I’m asleep. Obviously, this is an extremely weird experience. It tends to happen while I am napping during the day (something I rarely do anyway). When that happens, I can see the waking world—the reality of what is actually around me in addition to the dream that is still playing in my head. Sometimes I see two images at once: the real world and the dream in my mind’s eye. Sometimes the images overlap, and I begin to see my dream play out in the actual real world around me. I’m always paralyzed in these moments—I’ve never been able to move and interact with anything.

Until last night.

While I am asleep last night, I begin to dream of the little house. I’m not dreaming the recurring spirit/shadow dream, like the one from my Hide-and-Seek post. I’m dreaming another recurring story plot that also takes place there. In the dream, the house is FULL of different animals. My two cats are there. Some pets from my past are also there. And there are a ton of other animals that I don’t recognize. The door is left open for a while, and I am very worried about making sure that my cats and animals are still inside. I notice that some animals have run away, but some animals (including my two cats) return and stay at the house. I am sitting on the porch, and new animals begin to arrive. I scoop them up and love them and bring them inside. There is a girl talking to me on the porch outside. I tell her, “Your biggest concern is keeping this door closed!”

Then, in waking life, I sit up in bed.

I have full recollection of this—I remember sitting up, but I just think that I am still dreaming.

I begin to move my bedside table. I’m trying to push it out of the way because I think there is another table behind it. I start loudly saying, “What the f*ck!” I’m getting frustrated that I can’t get to this other table.

Then I suddenly come more to reality, and I realize that I’m not dreaming anymore. I’m moving this stuff in real life.

This morning, when I wake up, half of the things that were on my bedside table are on the floor from me trying to push that table out of the way.

I can’t say exactly why I seem to be progressing towards acting out my dreams in real life…perhaps stress…or some other unknown biological reason. I do know that I plan to keep tracking it to see what shakes. I also plan to track astrological transits during my recorded dreams.

So, for reference, last night the Moon was in Sagittarius. It was transiting through my third house (the house of communication, thinking, siblings, early environment, and general mental operations), and the moon was conjunct my natal Mars and Saturn—these two planets are basically on top of each other in my natal chart. That Mars-Saturn conjunction is not an easy one. I tend to hold myself back when it comes to expressing myself. Maybe that’s a clue for why I was telling the girl on the porch to be concerned with keeping that door closed.

Maybe it’s time to keep that door open.

Hide-and-Seek

Photo Copyright 2013: Christine Bradley

My scream dreams have been ongoing for years now. I call them “scream dreams” because whenever I have this recurring dream, I literally wake myself up screaming. It’s definitely very disturbing—mostly for my partner who sleeps with me. Sounds pretty scary, I know, but the story is more interesting than frightening. And it’s actually what inspired me to start telling my story.

Now, these dreams aren’t technically “night terrors.” I have full recollection of the dream story, and I know how to wake myself up…via screaming—helpful, but also not.

Another interesting fact to note: these dreams most often occur when the Moon is cycling through the sign of Gemini (my natal Moon sign). As you probably know, Gemini is represented symbolically by the Twins: a metaphor for duality. And the theme of duality is exactly what kicks off this recurring dream story.

During the first time I have the dream—I am lying in bed just like I am actually sleeping. The closet door suddenly begins to open on its own. My male cat, Kitter, walks out of the closet. Then, another Kitter walks out. I know something isn’t right. I don’t trust the second Kitter because I don’t know where he came from. I realize there is an evil spirit inside the closet. I start yelling, “Get out! Get out!”

And I wake up.

Versions of this dream reoccur for years after the initial onset. I am always in what I call the “little house,” and the evil spirit is inside that house—either haunting the entire house or sometimes just a specific room. Sometimes it’s the front bedroom, and objects begin swirling around the room. Sometimes the evil spirit gets really ticked off when it’s in the kitchen and bathrooms. It stops the water from running throughout the house. And I keep screaming at it, “Leave!” “Get out!!”

And I wake up.

Then, during the most recent New Moon in Gemini, this past June, there was also a Lunar Eclipse during that time. I had a break-though.

I am in the little house. The evil spirit is roaming around all the rooms. I am in the back bedroom. I see one Kitter. Then, I see a second. But I suddenly realize—my female cat, Cleo, gave birth to the second Kitter. Full grown—yes, strange—but still from her. He’s not evil! I scoop him up and hug him tight. I sense that the evil spirit is walking down the hall towards me. I turn to face that direction. It’s getting closer and closer and closer. It’s about to turn the corner of the hallway. I see the shadow of its feet on the other side of the wall…

And I wake up.

My partner actually wakes me up because I am yelling out, “No! No! No!” I am sweaty and cold in the bed. But as I am lying there awake, I have this sort of epiphany: the evil spirit is not an evil spirit trying to possess me. It’s my own shadow! My shadow self, comprised of my past trauma and fears and pain and self-rejection, is trying to make contact with me.

Incredible! How could I not realize this!

I focus on her for days: trying to convince myself not to be afraid, meditating on healing my past trauma.

I want her to come back. I want to validate her as part of me.

Then, the other night (July 7), the moon was back in Gemini.

This night I am not in the little house; I’m in the “big house” next door. I am in the upstairs bathroom. I see the second Kitter. He is frail and a little warped, struggling to walk. I hear very loud music in the bedroom next door. I walk in, and notice that it is coming from a pink vacuum cleaner. It takes me a minute to figure out how to turn it off, but eventually I do. I begin walking down the stairs. On the bottom floor is a man. He is vacuuming the hardwood floor. I begin screaming and shouting, and objects around me begin shaking and moving and flying. It’s me who is manipulating the space around me—not the spirit as I had once thought. The man downstairs looks up and says, “Sorry, I didn’t see you standing there.” My perspective shifts to his, and I am looking up at the stairs. But I am not standing there.

I am the shadow.

And I wake up.