The Method of Active Dreaming

Dancing with the trees. Original oil on canvas. Chantal Guillou-Brennan

Active Dreaming is the methodology developped by Robert Moss from his synthesis of dreamwork and shamanism. Born in Australia, he survived three near-death experiences in childhood. He leads popular seminars all over the world, including a three-year training for teachers of Active Dreaming. A former lecturer in ancient history at the Australian National University, he is a best-selling novelist, journalist and independent scholar. His nine books on dreaming, shamanism and imagination include Conscious Dreaming, Dreamways of the Iroquois, The Dreamer's Book of the Dead, The Three ""Only"" Things,The Secret History of Dreaming, Dreamgates, Active Dreaming and Dreaming the Soul Back Home: Shamanic Dreaming for Healing and Becoming Whole.

Over the past 20 years, he has led seminars and taught depth workshops in Active Dreaming throughout the world and leads a three-year training for teachers of Active Dreaming. He hosts the ""Way of the Dreamer"" radio show at

The core techniques of Active Dreaming include:
The Lightning Dreamwork process, (see how to method below,) designed to facilitate quick dream-sharing that results in helpful action; the use of the “if it were my dream” protocol encourages the understanding that the dreamer is always the final authority on his or her dream.
Dream reentry: the practice of making a conscious journey back inside a dream in order to clarify information, dialogue with a dream character, or move beyond nightmare terrors into healing and resolution.
Tracking and group dreaming: conscious dream travel on an agreed itinerary by two or more partners, often supported by shamanic drumming.
Navigating by synchronicity: reading coincidence and “symbolic pop-ups” in ordinary life as “everyday oracles”.

Lightning Dreamwork for Everyday Dream Sharing

Emergence. Original oil on canvas. Chantal Guillou-Brennan

Emergence, oil on Canvas by Chantal Guillou-Brennan, was inspired by her dream of "shamanic dismemberment" when she was about 14. The power of such healing was revealed later in life but the outcome of the process was glorious. This painting attempts to portray that feeling or emmergence, or resurection and regeneration.

As a society, we have been so estranged from dreaming that very few of us even know how to begin to talk about our dreams to other people. In telling our own dreams, we mix up the story, losing its power – and the attention of our audience – by bringing in unnecessary background information. In listening to other people’s dreams, we often fail to give the undivided attention that dreams deserve. In commenting on dreams that are shared with us, we often commit the error of trying to impose our own projections and associations, or ask questions that violate the dreamer’s privacy.

If we are going to become a dreaming society again, we need ways to make it easy and safe – and fun – to share dreams with other people anywhere, anytime. Through my many years of teaching and practice, I have evolved a simple and powerful method for everyday dream sharing that I call Lightning Dreamwork. Like lightning, it is very fast and it focuses extraordinary energy. In the workshops, we allow just 8 minutes for the whole process to be applied to a single dream. With a little practice, you may find it possible to complete the process with a partner in only 5 minutes. This means that, however busy our lives may be, we always have time to share our dreams.

It is the way we share our dreams that is vitally important. We need to create a safe space for each other where our dreams can be tended and their gifts can be helped to take root in our everyday lives. We must not allow our dreams to be strangled by verbal analysis, losing their primal energy and magic. We must never presume to tell others what their dreams (or their lives) mean, and we must never use dream sharing as an excuse to pry into their personal lives. We must always help each other to move towards action to celebrate our dreams, and the powers that speak to us in dreams, and integrate their guidance into our approach to our relationships, our choices and life passages.

The Lightning Dreamwork process makes it possible to share dreams and receive helpful feedback just about anywhere – in the office, the E.R., at the family breakfast table or in the checkout line at the supermarket. The guidelines make it easy to share dreams with complete strangers or with intimate friends and family. Here are the key steps as we learn and practice them in the Dream School:

The 8-minute plan for dream sharing: Let’s suppose you are sharing a dream with one other person. We’ll call you the dreamer and the partner. Make sure you give each other your fullest attention (even in the midst of a crowded room).

Step One: Telling the dream as a story with a title. The dreamer tells the dream as simply and clearly as possible. Leave out your autobiography, and tell the dream as a story, complete in itself. When you do this, you claim your power as a storyteller and communicator.
Start by giving your dream a title. It’s amazing how the deeper meaning and shape of your dream experience jump into high relief when you do this.

Step Two: The partner asks the 3 vital questions. If the dreamer has forgotten to give the dream a title, the partner should ask her to make one up. The next step is for the partner to ask three key questions:

Question 1: How did you feel when you woke up?
The dreamer’s first emotional reactions to the dream are vital guidance on the basic quality of the dream and its relative urgency.

Question 2: Reality check. The reality check question is designed to establish whether the dream reflects situations in waking life, including things that might manifest in the future. Dreams often contain advisories about the possible future, and it is important not to miss these messages. By running a reality check, we help to clarify whether a dream is primarily (a) literal (b) symbolic or (c) an experience in a separate reality.
In practice, the dreamer may need to ask several specific reality check questions focusing on specific elements in the dream. Here are a couple of broad-brush reality check questions that can be applied to just about any dream:
Do you recognize any of the people or elements in the dream in waking life?
Could any of the events in this dream possibly happen in the future?

Question 3: What would you like to know about this dream?
This simple question to the dreamer provides a clear focus for the next step.

Step Three: Playing the “If it were my dream” game. Next the partner tells the dreamer, “If it were my dream, I would think about such-and-such.”
As the partner, you are now free to bring in any associations, feelings or memories the dream arouses in you, including dreams of your own that may contain similar themes. (Often we understand other people’s dreams best when we can relate them to our own dream experiences.) For example: If the dreamer has told you a dream in which she is running away from a bear, you may recall a dream of your own in which you hid from a bear – before you discovered that the bear was an ally. Your own experience may lead you to say, “If it were my dream, I would like to go back into the dream and meet the bear again and see whether it might be an ally”. In this way, you would be gently guiding the dreamer to take action on the dream.
It is very rewarding to receive a totally different perspective on a dream, so sharing in this way with strangers can be amazingly rewarding – as long as the rules of the game are respected. One of those ironclad rules is that we never presume to tell someone else what his or her dream means for them; we can say what it would mean for us, if it were our dream.

Step Four: Taking action to honor the dream. Finally the partner says to the dreamer,
How are you going to honor this dream?
How are you going to act on the guidance of this dream?

Dreams require action! If we do not do something with our dreams in waking life, we miss out on the magic. The real art of magic consists of bringing something through from a deeper reality into our physical lives, which is why Active Dreaming is a way of natural magic – but only if we take the necessary action to bring the magic through.

Keeping a dream journal and sharing dreams on a regular basis are already important ways of honoring dreams and the powers that speak through dreams.

Wherever possible, we need to do more. Here are some suggestions for honoring dreams:
Create from a dream by writing a story or poem, a drawing or talisman;
Take a physical action to celebrate an element in the dream, such as wearing the color that was featured in the dream, traveling to a place from the dream, making a phone call to an old friend who showed up in the dream; write a bumper sticker from your dream, encapsulating a key message; go back into your dream (through the Dream Reentry technique you’ll find explained in Conscious Dreaming and the Dream Gates audiotapes) to clarify details, dialogue with a dream character, explore the larger reality – and have marvelous fun!

Therapeutic Dream Analysis — Understanding messages from the Soul

By Chantal guillou-Brennan

Insight. Original oil on canvas. Chantal Guillou-Brennan

Insight, oil on Canvas by Chantal Guillou-Brennan, was inspired by a dream of inner knowing during a period of introspection and deep meditation.

Dreams are one of the many ways that our soul reaches out and speaks to us. Every night, even if we’re not able to remember the dream the next morning, we receive messages from our soul which are embedded in our subconscious and Superconscious. Some dreams are remembered with great clarity, with metaphors easy to interpret, some are more obscure, and many just slip away as soon as the day starts. In this training we will review the different types of dreams and what influence the dream state; how to enhance our dream recall, and built or adopt a dream vocabulary.

Dreams can be understood as messages from the unconscious part of the self (subconscious Superconscious) or the soul or higher self. Many people who come into analysis say: “I never remember my dreams”, yet once they begin to pay attention to their dreams, a release occurs, or an opening is made to this channel of communication. Somehow the wiser part of the self seems to appreciate the opportunity, and a dialogue begins between the conscious and the unconscious parts of the self. The dream world becomes the landscape to this dialogue where metaphors, images, symbols and messages enrich the life of the waking individual by establishing a relationship with her or his inner life.


Liquid Moon. Original oil on canvas. Chantal Guillou-Brennan

Liquid Moon, oil on Canvas by Chantal Guillou-Brennan was created from shamanic Journey done for a young woman seeking guidance for her path, for her soul. Her Power Animal is in the foreground with her playful child-like spirit basking in the fullness of her feminine gifts. Contact Chantal to have your personal Soul Art Expression.

Therapeutic Dream Interpretation training is build on many dream interpretation and on Chantal's expereince as an Shamanic practitioner and hypnotherapist. This full day training is for those with the desire to integrate Dream Therapy in their practice as well as those who want to receive the most that dreams have to offer. Exposure to shamanic journey or guided meditation is helpful but not mandatory. After reviewing the basis of dream therapy from some of the pioneers and innovators in the field of dream work (such as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Montague Ullman, Robert Johnson, Jeremy Taylor, Edgar Cayce and Robert Moss,) students will practice and experience several methodologies to help themselves or others find meaning, healing from dreams. READ THE FULL CLASS CURRICULUM





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