You and Your Dreams

Kathleen Downey, C.S.C
Shamanic Counselor/Past-Life Therapist

We dream, as we journey, in metaphor. The word metaphor comes from the Greek word metapherein, "to carry over." To "carry over" from the sub-conscious to the conscious mind. Looking at some of the key differences between the sub-conscious and conscious mind will help us to understand the need to "carry over", with clarity, information from the dream state to our conscious state.

The sub-conscious mind that we tap into through dreams and shamanic journeywork has an expanded processing capacity, it processes an average of 4 billion bits of information per second and can handle thousands of tasks simultaneously, the conscious mind has a short term memory, about 20 seconds in the average human and has a limited processing capacity, it processes an average of 2,000 bits of information per second and is only capable of managing a few tasks at a time.* With this in mind we can see how important it is to access the sub-conscious and it's enormous memory in a way that will offer us the clarity we need in order to facilitate the changes in our lives that we seek.

Freud presents, "The ancients regarded dreams as a vehicle to being in complete harmony with the universe in general, not as a product of the dreaming mind but something introduced by a divine agency. Through this divine agency, Freud suggests, we are exposed to opposing forces: truthful and valuable dreams, sent to the sleeper to warn him/her or to foretell the future, and deceitful dreams, whose purpose it was to mislead or destroy."

From a Shamanic perspective that divine agency is known to be our Spirit or Soul, which speaks to us in metaphor through dreams or "dream-time" also known as the Shamanic journey. We may look at these opposing forces that Freud mentions as being representational of our true self, our highest spiritually aware self, and our ego self; that which has developed from a series of experiences where partial soul loss has been experienced, or, when a perpetrator is involved and an exchange of energy occurs. Through the trauma of soul loss behavior patterns, beliefs and personalities have been adopted for survival.

Indigenous healers see our lives being played out from a script our sub-conscious minds create from our past experiences which creates our beliefs. Where is our truth found in this cryptic web?. Who we are, the empowered and the disempowered self, sits in our sub-conscious waiting to be heard, to be found out. The shamanic journey offers us a way to gently and without continued trauma, experience why we re-create familiars and who we are outside of that personality, thus enabling us to make different choices. Creating change isn't convenient or easy it is our greatest challenge and will hold the greatest reward.

Looking again at the meaning of metaphor to "carry over" we may also look at the carrying over of long term or sub-conscious memory from one lifetime to another. After experiencing "near" death twice I fully recognize that we do not die with the physical body. Our sub-conscious minds and memory, our spirit, lives on after our body passes on.

In childhood we may develop a re-occurring dream. Our sub-conscious mind controls our long term memory which stores past experiences, attitudes, values and beliefs* it therefore follows that our re-occurring dreams from childhood are replaying a trauma symbolically, trying to help us remember the trauma that may have begun in a Past-Life. This familiar trauma becomes a theme that is re-created from lifetime to lifetime. How often do falling dreams wake us in the night? As we mature into young adulthood we notice the re-occurring dream subsiding, it has become so deeply embedded in our psyche that we call in the circumstances of the trauma through relationships with others. We will attract the situation that will enable the trauma to continue outside the dream state. Thus our dreams become our reality delivering to us our sub-conscious life.

Our sub-conscious minds think literally, it knows the world through the senses, seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling* as well as intuition, our sense of knowing. Utilizing these senses associated with the sub-conscious mind is how we experience the Shamanic journey, our key to accessing long term memory, how we learn to trust our true selves and understand the beliefs we took on in order to survive trauma.

A dream to look at, a woman being taken over ocean water in a canoe to a beach with tall cliffs. Once there she was handed a white dress which she suddenly had on then flowers were placed in her hair. A ceremony was about to take place, a marriage ceremony, she was the bride. A native man was readying to perform the ceremony, other people were around, it was very festive. A man she couldn't see clearly came out of the foliage and stood next to her he was to be her mate. Suddenly, just as the ceremony began her sleeping body shook, as if she were a rug, and woke her.

She thought this might indicate fear of commitment however, during her Shamanic Journey session the following day she was told by her spirit guide that if she married a dead man, she would die. Her spirit wouldn't allow this now that it was becoming empowered. She would also learn through her Shamanic Journey work that she would know by how she felt in her body when she would meet the right man. A year later a very handsome man came to her door, he was sent by an older neighbor, a native to the area that she had recently moved to. After five months she considered marriage with this man, the entire neighborhood was excited about the relationship. However, as they came closer to this decision the man quit his job and decided he would move in with her. She had just begun a business at the time she met him that was continuously building, by the time she was five months into this relationship and on the verge of marriage her clientele had disappeared. She started to recognize that he needed so much of her energy she was continuously exhausted. She also noticed that her legs were starting to swell and felt like heavy weights by the end of the day. She started dreaming about large stones that were stacked around this man.

She came to do Past-Life work on this relationship and discovered that this man had been sacrificed in one of the chenotes, (large wells with underground rivers) near Chichenitza in Mexico. It is known historically that children were painted blue, dressed in fine clothing and jewelry then drugged and pushed over the side of the well to drown. The parents were greatly honored for this sacrifice to the tribe. Hundreds of energetic images of his mother surrounded her fiancee during her journey. She revealed that his personality noticeably changed when he was in contact with his mother even after a phone call with her and that his mother often made reference to his clothing. How her son appeared in the world was very important to her. Her fiancee admitted to having dreams of falling in childhood and that Mexico was the only place he had been drawn to visit outside this country.

This woman's role for the man she was considering marriage to in the Past-Life they shared was of a rescuer. A woman who had secretly tried to pull the drugged children out of the well before they drowned. When she asked her fiancee if he would do some healing work on himself he suggested that his dreams of falling had stopped, all he needed was her support. He became more lethargic and needy. He resisted, even renting a new place of their own, he didn't like any place they looked at. She loved him and didn't want to give up, however her journey showed him being buried under massive stones, the same stones that the chenotes were constructed of. She tried to move the stones but even in her journey they were too heavy for her. She needed his help not his resistance. Although she loved him after six months she recognized that he was the dead man in her dreams and decided against the marriage, she had to let him go which she did without resentment. However, she was frustrated that she couldn't create healing for him and a release from his past with his mother. She learned through subsequent journeywork that although she had rescued herself through Shamanic healing she couldn't play the role of the rescuer especially for those who do not want to be rescued but are content in their familiar. Being the rescuer can also mean being the enabler. Being able to heal someone else or being loving and supportive of them is being aware that they must first want to help themselves to find their own truth and balance. Within a few months of empowering journeywork, she let go of this role and her ex-fiancee's energy. He found someone with his mother's birthday who had a child with his birthday. Her legs stopped swelling. Her normal high energy returned and her business began to flourish. Letting go of the role of rescuer also allowed her to experience recieving love and the balanced relationship she was looking for. She was tested a few times and her legs swelled on cue and then they didn't.

*Brain/Mind Bulletin, Los Angeles, CA personal communication with Bruce H. Lipton
** Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, 1965

Kathleen Downey is a Shamanic Counselor and Past-Life Therapist located in Encinitas, CA and Boulder, CO. For private sessions or workshop info. Past-Life and Soul Retrieval workshops are scheduled for June. Please call 858 646-9808 or 303 449-1349. For more information visit her web site:

Copyright 2004, Kathleen Downey