I’m delighted to welcome Dutch therapist, Susanne van Doorn, into the House of Dreams today, to tell the fascinating story of how she came to start her dream journal, years ago. She even includes some tips for you if you’d like to try it too.
When Jenny invited me to write something about journalling, I immediately thought about my dream journal. It all started when I was 16.
I had a very romantic self-created Four-poster bed with old curtains that gave me the feeling I was embraced and secure when I retreated at the end of the day. It was all designed so I could secretly read without getting caught by my parents.
When I was 11 I had an out of body experience because I had gotten really ill from undiscovered type one diabetics. That whole experience, of flying around an unknown hospital and seeing (and nurturing) my body from above had ignited a fierce interest in spiritual books.
So, that specific night I want to tell you about, I had the book ‘Creative Dreaming’ from Patricia Garfield in my secret hideaway place to read. It was a revelation to me…
For the first time in my life I read that you have the ability to guide your dreams to give you an answer to a certain topic (and believe me, like any 16 year old, I was an accumulation of questions).
For the first time in my life, I read that you had the ability to ask the persons you meet in a dream for a gift.
I immediately turned out the light and went to sleep. You will not believe what happened…
In my dream I met my deceased aunt An (I am named after her: SusANne). I was thrilled to see her but than I remembered I had to ask her for a gift. So, like in most dreams I communicated telepathically to her and asked for my gift. She gave me a yellow rose, a sign of friendship.
You can imagine that such an experience had me craving for more. So I started writing down as many dreams as I could remember.
Here is part of a dream I had the night before my first date with the man who would later become my husband.
“I am on a train, looking out of the window and I enjoy the sun very much. All of a sudden a drop of water touched my arm. I am amused and enjoy the coolness of the water.”
Being on a train is a symbol of the journey of life. We are all in it together, you have little influence on its direction after you have chosen a certain destination. But in my dream i enjoy the warmth of the sun.
The water is a symbol, of life, a symbol of the goddess if you will. It is like life gives me support to let me know that I am on the good track. The sun is shining, all the ingredients of fertility are there.
I hope that my blog will encourage the idea that you lay a pen and paper next to your bed, and write down a dream whenever you remember something. You’ll see that the more times you write something down, the better the memory of your dreams will be (I have 10 tips to improve dream memory in an ebook on my site).
And even if you don’t believe dreams have any meaning, you’ll be surprised how many times dreams have pointed out something.
Try to write in the first person’s perspective, even though it can be hard (dreams are often in the third person perspective). In this way the dream keeps its “juiciness”.
Jot down the main emotions you had the day before. Emotions are often the key towards attaching more mening to your dream.
Write down all the symbols in your dream and put your first association behind it.
Now re-write the story, using your associations and see if that gives you some useful insights into your personality.
The great thing about dreams is that they ignite your creativity (for example, I took a course in tarot because of a dream, I organised a trip to England searching for King Arthur also because of a dream). So for me the question if dreams mean anything or not is really not relevant. For me, dreams are a key to creativity.
I want to thank Jenny for giving me the opportunity to tell you something about journaling.
Susanne van Doorn, PhD (The Netherlands) is a Dutch therapist working for Therapeut van Binnenuit and blogging for Mindfunda, where she reviews new books about dreaming, spirituality and mythology, interviews authors and teaches several online courses.
Author of “A dreamers Guide through the Land of the deceased”, Mutual Dreaming: A Psiber Experiment with co-author Maria Cernuto published in Dreamtime spring 2014, translator of “Theory of Dreams” by Vasily Kasatkin (2014).
She is a regular presenter at Iasd conferences since 2013, In the Netherlands she gives presentations about dreams on a regular basis. She has a vibrant internet presence on Twitter: @susannevandoorn, Facebook and Linkedin.
You can read Susanne’s review of my book, Writing in the House of Dreams here.