5 Ways to Enhance Your Ability to Remember Dreams
Our dreams are full of messages and guidance that can support and deepen our experience of everyday life. When we listen to our dreams, we are given new insights and perspectives that are gifts from Psyche to be met with curiosity and gratitude. In bringing awareness to our dreams, images of the dreamworld can meet us in our waking life and come alive with messages of wisdom. “To tend a dream is to attend to the dream images in the immediacy of their presentation, as if each dream figure were a guest visiting you for the first time. As host to these guests, you want to get to know them. You listen to what they have to say.” (Aizenstat) We may not fully be able to interpret or understand them, yet inviting dreams to awareness is the first step towards a relationship with the dreamworld that can bring renewal and orient us on our path.
Each of us has several dreams every night, yet many of us do not remember these encounters. We may wake up with a fragment of a dream that quickly dissipates and is forgotten before we have a chance to spend some time with it and allow its wisdom to teach us. Jill Mellick writes: “Dream images are sketched in fugitive ink. If we don’t re-experience them immediately, they fade to invisibility on the fast-turning pages of waking consciousness.” What can we do to help us begin a more engaged relationship with our dream images? How can we cultivate an ability to remember and bring dreams into awareness so that they can further be explored and tended? In developing our ability to remember our dreams, we deepen our connection to the unconscious, and create a bridge with the conscious mind that can provide insights and wisdom for our journey. Below are some ideas to help enhance your ability to remember your dreams:
Set an intention before going to sleep. If we take time each night to invite the dreamworld into awareness, we have a better chance of remembering our dreams. Before you go to sleep each night, set the intention of remembering your dreams and ask that the dream images speak to you and guide you. You can even ask a specific question about an issue you have been struggling with. Your dreams may give you a glimpse into an inner knowing that your conscious mind does not have access to and provide you with the support that you need.
Keep a dream journal by your bedside. When you wake up in the morning, you have the best chance of recalling your dreams. If you have a journal that is dedicated to dreamscape exploration, you are telling your unconscious mind that a sacred space to capture the messages of the unconscious has been created. When you wake up, there may be a sliver of a memory from a dream fragment, and if you begin writing about it, the rest of the dream will reveal itself. It is in the slightest suggestion that we can find the hidden story in the messages that come to us in dreamtime.
Imbibe herbal dream enhancers. There are many herbs that deepen sleep and allow for vivid dreaming. Some herbs known for this are: mugwort, lavender, valerian, california poppy and passionfruit. You can drink these herbs in a tea before you go to sleep or in a sleep tincture or cordial created by one of the many talented herbalists in the Bay Area. A local favorite is Homestead Apothecary which offers both a tea and a tincture called Sweet Dreams. Also, try Sleep Draught by Wildish Soul Song for a really deep sleep. If you set an alarm to wake you up a little earlier than usual, you may just interrupt a dream cycle and find yourself with many images to ponder.
Nourish your body with dream-inducing oils. Aside from imbibing herbs for dream enhancement, it is also possible to get similar effects by nourishing our bodies with oils and salves that contain these herbs. A gentle, relaxing massage with essential oils right before bed promotes deep slumber and a rich dreamworld. Check out these amazing local products: Herbal Topical Salve with mugwort, lavender, and cannabis from Archipelago MHS ; Dream Body Oil with mugwort, valerian, and passionfruit from Om Cali Sacred Skincare.
Tend to your dreams on a regular basis. Your dreams want your attention! They have messages waiting to be revealed and explored. They want you to cultivate awareness and get creative in how you decipher their meaning. They are waiting for you to take the time to understand the guidance they are providing. You can do this by regularly writing about your dreams in your dream journal, engaging in analytical conversations with other dreamers, or joining a dream group. The more that you tend to your dreams, and treat the dream images as entities with which you can cultivate a relationship, the more they will speak to you.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Please share other ways that help you remember your dreams, as well as dream tending practices that you enjoy, in the comment section below. Also, come join Exploring the Dreamscape through Art and Meditation every third Thursday of the month. More information, including time and location, can be found on the Wisdom Heart Healing website.
May your dreamworld be rich and provide you with guidance on your journey!