Tags: Dreams, flowers, Guidance, healing, herbs, Intuition, meditation, nature recipes, naturecraft, wellbeing
Magical and irrational as this may sound, I first learned how to make crystal and flower essences through a series of dreams. The first ones happened while I was qualifying as a healer, around 2003. In that hypnogogic state between sleeping and waking I was shown, step by step, how to go to particular plants in the garden and gather small amounts for the purpose of bottling their essential signature. I was shown how these essences could then, at a later date, remind us of essential qualities within ourselves.
The garden around the Studio is semi-wild, with native trees and plants co-existing with introduced specimens. There’s a fusion here of what will never be tamed, and what is cultivated. I believe that humans are very like that: each of us is a unique blend of wild and cultivated. Plant essences can help us to get this balance right within ourselves.
The crystal essence dreams came along a little later, after those early plant essence dreams. The most vivid perhaps was the time I was given, while dreaming, a vial of angel essence, with implicit instructions on how to make my own through a blend of crystals, rose oil and rose water.
The crystal dreams suggested to me that while the plant essences addressed the emotions that constantly occupy us, the crystals themselves addressed bedrock aspects of who we are. Furthermore, the weather and time of day or night also had an input.
From time to time I share the garden with other people who’d like to make their own essences. One such event is happening here on Sunday 17th July, during an event I’m co-hosting with Jennie Meek, who will be bringing her own expertise of Qi Gong and therapeutic tapping to share. You can find out more here.
How do crystal and flower essences work?
I do like logical explanations and I am respectful of the scientific principle of finding proof of efficacy. At the same time, I’m happy to find therapy in the process of making.
The essences are similar to homeopathy in that they carry little or no aspect of the original material. One explanation that is sometimes suggested is that water has memory – it records the essential signature of a material added to it. It may also be that the recording is better when the person creating it has uncluttered, open, focused intention.
If any scientists reading this find that explanation hard to swallow, I think it’s possible, very simply, that on a conscious or even sub-conscious level, qualities of the original plant or crystal remind us of qualities within ourselves, and help us to reinforce those helpful, positive aspects.
The bottom line is that when we make an essence with intention, and then take small amounts of it afterwards – either in drops to imbibe, or in fragranced droplets to spray around us – a subtle yet delightful emotional shift happens within us. Dr Edward Bach recognised this when he first made his flower remedies, back in the 1930s, and it’s possible to recognise the exact same thing today.
Tags: Dreams, forgiveness, healing, love, Shadow self
This article has also been published in The Huffington Post.
In June 1816, 200 years ago this week, Mary Godwin was holidaying with friends in Switzerland. She was just 18 years old. Among the group was the poet Percy Shelley, her partner, who would later become her husband. Driven indoors by relentless rain, the group decided they would each write a horror story.
At first, Mary struggled to find a plot. Then, a few nights later, she had a waking dream: a scientist created a fearsome man from corpse remains.
Her nightmarish vision was fuelled by the scientific interests of the day, and also by a personal tragedy. The year before, Mary had given birth prematurely. The father, Percy Shelley, had been repelled and rejecting of both baby and mother. After their fragile infant daughter died, Mary was lost in grief and haunted by visions of the baby.
That grief put the most amazing energy into her novel, Frankenstein. The flawed protagonist, Dr Victor Frankenstein, is filled with love and hope initially. His dream is to create a beautiful new human being. But the moment the Creature opens his eyes, Victor Frankenstein is utterly repulsed and abandons his creation. He doesn’t even name him. In turn, the Creature himself expects to love his creator. When he is rejected, that powerful capacity for love becomes an equally powerful drive towards hatred and destruction.
Frankenstein was published two years after Mary Godwin’s waking dream, to mixed reviews. However, it could not be forgotten: within five years it had become a stage production, full of thrills and horror. Dr Frankenstein’s monster has stalked our imaginations ever since.
Last month, Liam Scarlett’s ballet at the Royal Opera House produced the latest batch of mixed reviews. My friends Caroline and Katharina went to the live streaming. They were profoundly moved and gripped by the performance. “But the audience around us appeared unmoved,” said Caroline later. “I even heard one person say that it wasn’t scary enough.”
So here’s the question: what is the real meaning of Frankenstein? Opinion is and always has been divided… where does the truth lie?
The answer, I believe, lies in three interrelated insights.
1) It’s a mirror to our inner monster
When pioneering psychologist Carl Jung introduced Europe to its own collective unconscious, a century after Frankenstein was written, the explanation seemed clear: the monstrous Creature is a representation of our own shadow selves. Those aspects of our behaviour that are not approved by our society lie buried, deep in the psyche: a dark, hidden force that lurks just below the levels of our consciousness. It influences our behaviour, acting as a saboteur that we cannot control. This is the monster that we each create for ourselves.
The more uncomfortable we are about our shadow self, the more we will disown it. We will project it onto another, or others, whom we will demonise. Those of us who are in in that category expect Victor Frankenstein’s Creature to be supremely frightening and repellent. However, if we are at ease with our shadow selves, we will not see it as monstrous. We will see it entirely differently. I believe this is a major reason for all the mixed reviews. Frankenstein pushes our buttons.
2) It’s a plea for heart and mind to be in balance
Mary Godwin married Percy Shelley, but he died in a sailing accident when she was 24. Mary was now a single mother, with a young son. She made her living as a writer of novels, travel books and short stories. Within her works there is a golden thread that celebrates heart, hearth and family. She was certain that the enquiring mind needed to be balanced by heart-wisdom. In the original text of Frankenstein, she wrote:
“If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind.”
3) It’s a manifesto for love and forgiveness
Mary Shelley, as she became known, understood completely the value of a loving interpretation. And so, in 2016, does choreographer Liam Scarlett.
Dr Victor Frankenstein was misguided to create his monster from corpse parts. But having made the mistake, he could have treated the Creature with compassion and transformed him with love. At the same time, he could have forgiven himself.
This kinder interpretation matters in ways we can’t fully fathom. The truth is, there are dark, untended areas equally in our own psyches and in the wider world. We may be tempted to hide away from these places. But the better solution is to give them tender loving care: to feed them with love, tears and compassion.
In nightmares, when we become aware that we are running away from a monster, the most powerful action is to turn around, and face the monster with love. We can even, perhaps, hug the monster. In dreams, the monster then becomes transformed. Our changed behaviour changes it, for the better.
I think that’s why my friends Caroline and Katharina were moved by the Royal Opera House production of Frankenstein. They saw that it contains an immense, compassionate invitation to love.
So the real meaning of Frankenstein is not horror. The real meaning is love. And that is healing for us all.
Tags: Dreams, Guidance, inspiration, meditation, nature, Spirituality
People often ask what sort of meditation we practise at the Studio. They expect to hear that we follow a particular school, be it Mindfulness, Christian, Vipassana, Transcendental or possibly following the teachings of a Buddhist leader such as Thich Nhat Hanh.
The truth is, we don’t follow any of these schools, although we do take an interest in them and are inspired by their insights. But our method is much simpler.
I call our practice, ‘Intuitive Meditation’, because it came to me in a series of dreams and mystical experiences many years ago, around the time of the birth of my son, Tim. Readers of this blog will know that Tim was born with a complex set of health issues, and a happy, sociable and life-loving personality.
For a period of two years or more, before and after his birth, I experienced some intense visions. I saw that each of us is a unique manifestation of the ‘All That Is’: apparently separate, yet actually part of the whole.
One morning, as I woke up, I heard a simple yet beautiful song coming from an invisible realm. A mellow, male voice began each line with “I am…” Each verse had five lines, and the final line was always, “I am the Ocean”. The ‘O’ was long drawn out. The first four lines varied, but followed the same format:
“I am the land
I am the sea
I am the leaf
I am the tree
I am the ocean.’
The song faded away as I became fully awake. I was left with a sense of the beauty of nature, and the numinous insight that a unifying divine consciousness shines through all aspects of nature, including ourselves.
Immediately, I began to use the “I am” format in my own meditation practice. I would breathe in “I am” and breathe out a word from nature, or from our true nature. “I am leaf…” or “I am peace…” or “I am water…”. I would use one word for each meditation session.
The method was instantly calming and blissful. More than that, intuitive insights arose: it felt as though I was receiving divine guidance to help me tread a sometimes difficult path.
Over many years, other people began to join me. Today, small groups of us gather in a hillside studio in North Wiltshire, where expansive views constantly remind us that natural beauty is in us and around us, and a divine light shines through it all.
Tags: Dreams, Guidance, innermost feelings, inspiration, Intuition, journalling, Mind body spirit, personal growth, psychic development
Keeping a dream diary is one of the kindest, wisest gifts you can give yourself. Even if you don’t remember your dreams, keep a journal anyway. Record whatever you can recall on waking up. If you only catch a fleeting mood, record it. Hold this intention: ‘I am now ready for the guidance of my dreams’. And, in time, your diary will begin to fill.
I was inspired back in the 1990s by an early version of Denise Linn’s book, The Hidden Power of Dreams. I loved her suggestion that you write an uplifting title in the front of your journal. This might be something along the lines of ‘My dream diary: a beautiful book filled with beautiful gifts’. Many volumes later, I still write something similar.
On each left hand page…
Write the date, and a title for a dream you had the night before. The title can be anything that seems to sum up your dream. Then simply write down your dream. You may find you don’t remember any dreams. In that case, just write down any fleeting thoughts or feelings you had on waking up. Try to notice if you had any pictures or words in your mind on waking, and record those. Or you may find you had several unrelated dreams in the same night. Just write them down, as if they were chapters of the same dream.
On each right hand page…
Write down any thoughts or observations you have about the dream. Perhaps you were doing something the day before that triggered it? Over time you will begin to understand the meaning of different images in your dream. It can be helpful and enjoyable to draw or paint a picture of the dream on this page – you can gain new insights that way.
The key to your dreams
Be aware that everything and everyone in your dream is representing an aspect of yourself. Everything is symbolic. You don’t have to understand all the symbols, but it’s very rewarding when you start to interpret them. You can think of it as a puzzle to which only you hold the key. And over time, the more you study your dreams, the more you will understand. Never be scared of your dreams – they are there to help you to understand yourself and your life choices better.
Your own dream dictionary
The best dream dictionary you can ever have comes from first hand observation of your own dreams: go by how the dream symbols feel – their essence, their energy. Where in your own life do you have a similar feeling? Here are some examples to get you started…
Narrow streets, or doors that are difficult to go through may suggest that a current course of action, or a current attitude, is not ideal. Conversely, if a dream has a sense of space, with wide avenues and clear views, it may be showing you that your current course in life is the right one for you.
People you dream of may represent some aspect of yourself that you are working on. What qualities do you associate with that person? If someone dies in a dream, it often means a new chapter of your own self-development is beginning, and maybe it’s a new chapter for that person too (it doesn’t mean that anyone is actually going to die!)
If a house or car is in need of repair, it may mean your health or career is in need of some tender loving care. Newly discovered floors and rooms in a building can mean that you will be exploring new areas of your own interests and abilities – maybe a new career is opening up for you.
Scary people or monsters chasing you may mean that a repressed part of your psyche is ready to be reintegrated. When you’re awake, spend some time loving and blessing the scary beings, ask them what they want… in your imagination, hug them!
Water often represents emotions – is it flowing, turbulent, flooding, or calm?
Nature: A beautiful object from nature – such as a flower or a feather – may represent an aspect of your natural self that you are beginning to reconnect with, and can also represent guidance from other realms.
Note that over time your observed dreams are likely to become more vivid, more colourful, as though you are actually there. You may experience the bliss of flying, and receive clear spiritual lessons that remain in your mind when you wake up. You may wake up with recipes, formulas… all sorts of knowledge that can help you, and other people.
Record it all in your dream diary. And be ready to carry your new knowledge into your waking life. That’s when the fun really begins!
Last night, I was in a simply furnished, rustic room with a faun. The faun was reclining on a couch. Despite the restful pose, he looked alert and full of pure, woodland-fresh energy. He was smaller than me, and lean.
I was sitting in a chair a little way across the room. I understood that I was a student; I was being taught. The faun was directing me to go to a faraway place. Immediately, I found myself there. I could see landscape, people, and events. Just as quickly, I found myself back in the room with the faun. I understood, to my surprise, that I had never left the room. I also couldn’t remember any details of the place I had seen, but the faun said I would once I’d done the exercise a few more times. The faun was teaching me far-seeing. This process was repeated several times. Each time, I saw a different place as though I was actually there. Each time, when my consciousness returned to the faun’s room I couldn’t remember what I’d seen. However, I was beginning to get fragments of images.
My visit with the faun was a dream, albeit a vivid and interesting one.
What preceded the dream? What might have helped to create it?
Visions with a message
Yesterday, a friend who works with elderly people came to the house. She told me about a conference she’d attended recently, about visual impairment. “Did you know,” she said, “people who lose their vision may hallucinate?”
She told me about one woman who regularly ‘saw’ a child in her kitchen. And she told me about another woman who ‘saw’ jungle all around her.
These hallucinations were described by the conference speaker as frightening. However, reading between the lines, it sounded to me as though the first woman, at least, positively enjoyed the company of the child in her kitchen.
I wonder, now, if the visions experienced by these two visually impaired people were being ‘medicalised’ and thus automatically viewed as something negative. It may be that their visions, like my dream of the faun, were a form of far-seeing. And this is not a bad thing per se. It’s just a thing.
At the very least, the images that those women saw with their inner eyes may have carried messages for them, just as dream images carry messages. During an important time of change in my life, when I was learning to trust my own intuition, I dreamt a lot about jungles. For me, the message was clear: I was re-connnecting with my own true, wild self. That was a good thing. Maybe the lady who hallucinates a jungle is doing something similar. Maybe if someone said to her, “How interesting, what a beautiful thing for you to see”, she would start to enjoy and value her inner vision more.
I wonder, also, why the faun was teaching me about far-seeing. And in the very moment of wondering, a whisper of an answer reaches me. Far-seeing helps us to step out of ‘the box’ of our pre-conceived notions. The world is a lot more expansive, beautiful and interesting than we generally allow ourselves to see. It’s okay to be a little wild. As long as we harm no-one, including ourselves, it’s okay to see fauns, and jungles. We might even learn something from them.
Do you happen to see beautiful, interesting or amazing images with your own inner vision?
Tags: Dreams, Guidance, inspiration, Intuition, Miracle Child, nature, self-development, special needs, Spirituality
Wind and lightening came at 5 am. We were prepared. The apples – Fiesta and Sunset – had been gathered. Windows and gates were fastened shut.
The raw, elemental power of the wind hit our windows almost full on. The howling sound as it tore through the trees was unrelenting. We couldn’t see, but heard the sound of branches being torn out and raked along the ground by nature’s pruning shears.
In the darkness it’s so easy to become wide-eyed, to lie in bed with teeming thoughts. So I said these most reassuring words: “I am safe, and all is well”.
The “I” in that beautiful mantra stretches beyond the individual, to all who may be in need of reassurance at that time: “We are safe, and all is well”.
And suddenly, all was well. The high-velocity air became a friend once more: a welcome agent of change.
The storm has passed. It’s sweeping eastwards. Meanwhile, the rain is still with us. There is an Atlantic freshness in the air. I notice that my mind feels like a newly ploughed field: well-watered and fertile. All I have to do is plant my questions and the answers will grow.
This One is Special rises to the surface of my thoughts. This book that I am writing is all about my experience of having a child with undiagnosed special needs. He has been called a miracle child. After thStrange, that it’s come to mind in the context of the storm. I know that there will be a good reason for it. Somehow, in a way that I don’t yet see, the two will be connected.
“You want to know about the Miracle Child?” asks my inner voice of guidance. “The Miracle Child is not one person. It is each one of you. Every human being is a miracle child. When you share your story, you remind readers who they really are.”
I ask for clarification. My guidance directs me to a dream I had five years ago, entitled ‘The Angel Labels’. So I retrieve the relevant dream diary from a drawer. My eyes go straight to the following paragraph:
“I woke from that dream understanding the power of words and symbols. I saw that everyone is like a blown glass vessel – like a Christmas decoration – with a hazy, open bit at the top, connecting us with all that is, from whence we are blown.”
“From whence we are blown…” I love that expression. I was born into a Mediterranean storm. I am literally a child of the storm. However, according to my guidance, we are all blown in from the heavens, from the All That Is. So when the storm comes, don’t be afraid. Be glad, because it signifies birth: birth of the new you, the Miracle Child, who is blown in from the Universe, and eternally connected with it.
Today, this moment now, is fresh and sparkling and new. Your life right now is a new life, full of fertile possibilities. Whatever age you think you are, the reality is you are young, and vibrant, and the world is lying before you: fresh, and new and fun.
Tags: Dreams, freedom, important decisions, innermost feelings, intuitive healing, positive thinking, success
There’s a quirky interiors shop in Bath, England, called Blakes. It’s eclectic. Their window display stopped me in my tracks recently: two heads, in birdcages. “May all your dreams come true” was the message on their foreheads.
But how can dreams come true when you’re in a cage? Those two cages were bothering me. They seemed to represent so much more than a window display.
Then I realised: the cage is different things for different people. In a nutshell, it’s the things that stop us from achieving our dreams.
Unless we’re enlightened, we all have cage bars around us. Here are a few of the restrictions that cage us:
* Growing up in a violent or dysfunctional family.
* Believing we’re not good enough to achieve what we want.
*Feeling we have to play a role to be acceptable to others.
*Regularly doing things we don’t want to because we feel we ought to.
Identify the cage that holds you
Take a sheet of paper, and a few minutes of your time. Draw two lines down the page, so you have three columns.
Write the word ‘Dreams’ at the top of the left-hand column. Underline it. Underneath, write down your dreams and ambitions in a list. Write them all down, as many as you can think of. All those things that in your heart of hearts you’d really love to do. Everything you’d like to experience in your life. Don’t hold back. Just write them all down.
Now, at the top of the middle column, write the word ‘Cage’. Underline it. Then write a list of everything that is stopping you from achieving your dreams. These negative phrases are the bars of the cage that hold you. Take a good look. The cage bars are as strong as you choose them to be. We can all blame our parents, our background, our friends, our enemies, the people in authority around us… whoever we choose. But the truth is, we are always the ones who hold the keys to liberate ourselves.
The key to your freedom
Finally, at the top of the right hand column, write the word ‘Key’. Underline it. Then write a list of everything you can do to break free from the cage of your limitations, so that you can achieve your dreams. Write it all down. You are crafting the key to your freedom.
And when you have crafted your key, use it. Use it every day, to achieve your dreams.
I’ll give you an example. David is an athlete. He wrote to me: “When people look at me they just look at the image. They never see past that, to the real me.”
David’s dream, in this instance is to be seen for who he truly is. His cage is the need he feels to behave in a certain way, to conform to the athletic image.
For David, the key is simply to express himself: to speak the way he feels. He has already started doing this. And as he continues to do so, he will discover that people can at long last see the real David.
So why does the caged one dream? To be clear, we are all caged ones, and we all dream. We dream because we can: because every human being on this planet is a creative being. We can’t help it; it’s what we do. And somewhere, deep down, we know that we can turn the key, escape our cage, and achieve our heart’s desires.
We dream, because when we set our amazing, powerful heart-minds to the task, we most certainly can be free.
Tags: Dreams, inspiration, Intuition, learning, life skills, memory, positive thinking, success
Mary was a new client who was struggling with a new course that she’d started. “The problem is my memory,” she told me. “I just don’t remember things as well as I used to.”
I told her to stop trying and start relaxing. “That’s all very well for you to say,” she retorted. “But this situation is making me feel stressed. How can I possibly relax?”
So this is what I told her. Maybe it will be useful for you too…
Before you go to sleep at night, while you are lying in bed, ask for the most suitable expert that could possibly exist to help you with your memory, or the subject which you are learning. Ask for expert tuition in this subject while you sleep. Thank the expert, feeling happy in the knowledge that you will get the help you need.
Then… go to sleep.
In the morning when you wake up you may or may not remember any dreams. That doesn’t matter. You will, however, find your learning goes more smoothly. Repeat, at night, for any specific help that you require.
Mary reported back a few days later. “I don’t know how it works, but it does,” she said. “It’s as if I’m using another part of my brain to help me. I almost feel as though I already know what I’m learning.”
Mary now frequently attends dream school while she sleeps. And so can you.