Nightmares are powerful messengers that tell you when trauma that needs to be released. In order to address them we must understand the role they play in our lives, and we must begin to understand why we have them. Where we remain decidedly unconscious is where all pain originates. When we shine our conscious light, we allow energy and power to penetrate and replace blocks and insecurities (known and unknown).
Nightmares serve a great purpose for our psyche. They show us in vivid detail the pain that we have normalized: the parts of our consciousness that hold us back, the parts of our being that we may not have even realized existed. They come forward during a time where our mind powers down so our soul can step in and begin to push out all that needs to be released. If we truly wish to create the life we desire we must become aware of what we have suppressed, as our unconscious energy is as much an attraction point as our conscious energy. It is our entire being (the conscious and the unconscious patterns) that is the blueprint for our external reality. Use your dreams as direct communications from your soul, as indicators of the parts of yourself that have not fully been given acknowledgement in your waking life.
One of the best ways to work with our deeper selves, the part of us that oscillates into the universe and back again, is to engage in rituals. Rituals, when done properly, engage all levels of your being: mind, body, emotion, and spirit. When all of these levels of our consciousness are joined through a focused intention, new momentum in the direction that you desire can be created. This is the power of ritual. If we simply try to mentally decide to change without accessing feeling, calling on spiritual direction, and taking conscious physical action, it is unlikely that we will actually change.
Here are six pointers to help you utilize and transform nightmares into healing and awareness. Each tip mentioned engages a specific aspect of your consciousness. There are physical actions, mental understanding and intentions, acknowledgement of emotional feelings, recreating positive emotions, and lastly there is conscious connection and interaction with spirit. These aspects of healing and awareness are what make these tips impactful. All levels of your being and consciousness must be satisfied in order to create a transformative experience.
1) Set an intention.
If you are having bad dreams acknowledge that you are having them and set an intention to clear and release the internal paradigms that are causing them. Your consciousness is designed to follow an intention. Make it strong. Bring your full presence to it. Perhaps your intention is to release the nightmare and gain clear understanding of all the insights it is trying to communicate. Ask that these answers flow to you with ease. Ask that your guides support you during this process. Seal it with feeling the emotions that you would like to experience in your dreams. It sounds simple, but focused intention turns internal chaos into clarity as it unites all bodies with one direction of flow. For some reason, we do not feel as though we can harness our own energy, thoughts and feelings. We feel we have to survive them. This is not the case: we can change our mental and emotional states. We are creators.
2) Wash your sheets
Energy can make an imprint on the immediate physical world. This is how psychics are able to read energy off of items (psychometry). In the case of nightmares, if you are experiencing a lot of chaotic, dark emotions, your bedding can become stale with those feelings. You don’t have to wash them every night if you are having reoccurring nightmares. If that is the case simply take the time to spray your bedding with a cleansing spray. Try sage, sweetgrass, cedar or lavender. If you have access to a clothing line you can also let the sun and wind at them, as this can be a very powerful purifier. The act of clearing and cleansing your bedclothes is just as powerful as the cleansing itself. When you take the time and create the focus to change a rhythm it becomes easier to shift. Even if you do not yet understand what is happening, the fact that you are taking responsibility allows answers to come. When we create space, the flow of our hearts will rush to fill that space.
Open a window, invite the sun and wind into your space if you do not have a clothes line.
3) Sage/smoke the room with prayer
Just as physically cleansing your bedding can help create balance so can energetically cleansing your room. Burn some cleansing herbs, focus on the corners of the room and allow your heart to fill with love, peace and stillness. This will set the tone of the room for a better sleep.
4) Be mindful of what you consume
Watch light, funny, heartfelt TV shows or movies. Read books that make you feel good before you go to sleep. If you are in a releasing cycle or have fallen into a funk it is up to you to change the direction of your consciousness. In order to have these nasty experiences in our dreamtime we must be feeling a certain level of anxiety, fear, or sadness during the day, as our dreams are augmented stories of our inner world. These emotions may be spinning deep within your psyche and if your life is very busy or very mental, it is possible that you are not even aware that these patterns are speaking to you. In fact, the point of having dreams is to show you the inner voice that is speaking loudly at this time. Avoid violent, chaotic, negative material before you sleep.
5) Add anchors
Statues, crystals, and dream catchers can be a physical grounding point for your good intentions. When you see them you will be reminded of your intention and the protection that it allows. It can be very helpful to have physical objects that represent spiritual power and healing as they will sing and hold that frequency whether or not you are conscious of their presence. This is why we use these sorts of items on altars. We can infuse physical objects with our intentions and that can affect the environment. Make your bedroom an altar of healing, beautiful sleep.
Sit down and write everything that happened in the dream. The atmosphere, the people, places, and most importantly how you felt. The layers of emotions you felt are particularly important, as they are the basis of the dream’s the message. The emotional trauma you are experiencing or re-experiencing was already inside you. What could it be? What part of you is speaking up and in need of being balanced through forgiveness, love, and healing prayer? Your dreams are giving you are dramatic peek at what is going on inside of you at this time.
For example I had a reoccurring dream where two people (a male and female) had broken into my house. They were looting it. I remember trying to call 911 but it was as though I couldn’t push the buttons. I ran to hide in the closet, still desperately trying to call for help. Luckily I managed to get through to emergency services, I blurted out my address three times and was pleading for them to save me. I could hear someone coming into the room, and they were very close to finding me. They had heard me. Just as the individual was coming into the room, the operator told me that they could not help me, and that the people breaking in were important individuals and there was nothing they could do. They hung up. At this point I was terrified but even more so, I was in absolute confusion, I felt helpless, betrayed and furious at the injustice.
Upon waking I wrote it down and as I did, I was able to find clarity within all of the emotional turmoil and confusion. Even though this dream was pretty dramatic, the feelings that I had throughout the dream were not foreign to me. This dream was mirroring the emotional environment I grew up in. There was no sense of justice and my basic emotional needs were not being met. Whenever I called out for help or acknowledgement, especially in situations I was clearly correct about, I was disregarded and even punished. My voice didn’t matter and there was no justice or fairness— I was a non-person. I began to develop a very warped sense of reality that led to having to constantly invalidate myself to fit in and feel love and connection. This pattern of invalidation followed me for years and disconnected me from truly experiencing joy in my life. Even though at first glance this dream seemed to have nothing to do with me in real life, the emotional qualities were exactly what I had experienced as a child. My dream was simply exaggerating the imagery to get my attention. As I moved forward in my life, re-framing my relationships and thinking about starting my own family, these emotions I had steeped in rose to be released. They could not exist any longer inside of me alongside my powerful intention to rise into my full potential. My nightmare was drawing me back to a very sad, desperate, empty and dark time in my life so that I could feel the fullness I have now. It was letting me know that I can let go of this and give myself that love, acknowledgement, and sense of order that I did not receive as a child.
This nightmare was terrifying but it was actually helping me viscerally understand repressed emotions that were hijacking my life. It was only upon the magic of writing it down that I could step outside of it enough to understand and heal from my past experiences. I reread the dream after a few days and more insights and validations came through once it had solidified.
By integrating these six tips into your routine you can completely shift how you experience nightmares. Even the most traumatizing nightmare can be broken down into a tool for awareness. Bad dreams can become deep and powerful messages that call out to you from your own darkness so that you may understand it and carry more light.