If you really want to know what exactly is going on in your life then take a look at your dreams, for within them are contained the residue of your past, the true reflections of your present and the seeds of your future.
Not only do dreams express an arcane language of their own, complete with cryptic messages and their own syntax, but they also act as an important interface between your mundane and higher levels of consciousness.
In his book Dream Alchemy the late Ted Andrews refers to the world that he calls dreamland as the domain of the shapeshifter. Andrews saw dreams not so much as pacific reflections of our inner being but as a playground in which we can learn to co-exist with a whole range of active participants in the illusion that we so charmingly refer to as reality.
What is Dream Alchemy?
Andrews talks about the work of an energy-changer, shapeshifter or dreamwalker as a person who can penetrate the thin veil that separates us from our inner world of spirit as well as be able to manipulate both the environment that we freely enter into as well as the actual form that we take whilst we are in there.
In Dream Alchemy he says
We all have the potential to become a dream walker, one who can stimulate the dream awareness for greater insight, fulfilment, love and abundance.
Andrews divides his book on opening to the mysteries of dreams and energy manipulation into five distinctly separate parts.
In the first, titled ‘Mysteries of Sleep and Dreams’ he explores different aspects to dreams.
This includes a look at the different talents that a dreaming shapeshifter can have ranging from the ability to adjust energies in such a way that physical dynamics alter, through to dealing with deep emotional patterns that may negatively impact upon a positive life experience.
Exercising these skills requires that we recognize that we have the ability to shift the core vibrational state of the energy that we express.
This includes the need to understand that that our dreams can be directly engaged with and then modified in order to bring about specific desires and goals.
In this regard dreamwork enables us to not only understand our own dream symbols but also as a way of understanding deeper, underlying mythic or archetypal powers held within the racial unconscious.
Recording Dream Experiences
In Dream Alchemy, Andrews offers specific advice and guidance on how to interpret this symbolic content and explains how dream journaling is probably one of the most important elements to dreamwork. He offers specific practical advice on how best to record your nocturnal experiences, how to interpret them, or give them meaning, as well as how to understand how a dream theme relates specific aspects of your life.
For those readers who have an interest in dreams but experience difficulties in recalling them, Andrews recommends a process that he refers to as ‘dream mantra’. This is a meditation practice that involves the use of Eastern spiritual symbols visualized in the throat chakra.
Other techniques that he recommends for increasing dream recall is the use of herbs, fragrances, essences and crystals.
Tools of Enlightenment
Part two of Dream Alchemy is titled ‘Mythic Dream Work’. Here the author explains how one of the best techniques for engaging with our dream worlds is by focusing upon stories of myth and legend. These, he states, have the role of opening ourselves up to even deeper archetypal powers within our lives.
The transformation that results from this practice are referred to as the ‘Four Stages in Metamorphosis.’ They include; ‘The Magical Butterfly’, ‘The Phoenix Rising’, ‘The Tale of the Master and the Pupil’ and ‘Mythic Time and Place’.
The Cycles of our Dreams
Part three, ‘Working With Dream Cycles’, focuses upon seven crises points that we commonly experience in the course of a lifetime.
These are governed by the planet Saturn whose cycle of twenty-eight years can be divided into seven specific periods with each one bringing their own trials and tests.
These manifest in a variety of ways depending upon the karmic lessons that we have already learned and the degree to which we have spiritually matured. Andrews offers specific advice regarding how to deal with these crises stages through dreamwork.
Another planet to feature heavily in ‘Dream Alchemy’ is the Sun and the author describes the journey that it takes during the course of a year with the solstices and equinoxes being particularly important times of the year for dreamweavers.
Traditionally speaking though, it is, of course, the Moon that holds greatest sway over the quality, frequency and spiritual significance of our dreams. Andrews includes references to several Moon goddesses whose mythic stories can be useful in any mythic dreamwork.
Part four of Dream Alchemy explores the world of dream totems and mandalas. It also focuses upon the archetypal energies of animals and birds, the making of talismans and mandalas, the use of magical squares whilst part five wraps up the book with a round-up of dreamweaver techniques called ‘Becoming the Dream Hero’.
Here the author advises on the process involved in unifying one’s inner dream life and outer, mundane experience through a specific mythic quest. Some stories that he recommends the reader focuses upon includes the Celtic stories of Cerridwen, Gawain, and King Arthur, the Greek tale of the Labors of Hercules as well as the Biblical tales of Joseph, Jacob and Job.
Andrews closes his book with a couple of mythic-dream worksheets, an index to mythic images and tales, as well as an extensive bibliography.
Dream Alchemy takes a very specific and somewhat specialized approach to active dreamwork. Its author focuses upon the use of myth as a pathway into the deeper workings of the psyche.
This approach might not be to everyone’s tastes but if weaving classic tales of epic encounters and challenges resonates with you then this book offers a powerful and dramatic opportunity to impose your magickal will upon your mundane life..
There is little doubt that in his life’s work as a spiritual teacher Ted Andrews straddled two worlds – that of the earth as well as the heavens. In this regard this book contains a strong Shamanic and grounded flavor to it – one that is expressed by his advocation of trance enhancements such as drumming as well as his interest in the use of totem animals in dreams.
So, as I say, this book focuses upon a very specific approach to dreamwork – let us call it the Andrews Method for the moment. It is undoubtedly a powerful technique for, as the author himself warns, the practitioner has to be aware of the fact that they are dealing with powerful, archetypal forces – all of which should be treated with care and respect.
Nevertheless despite the fact that Dream Alchemy is an excellent reprint of the original publication from 1991, it’s content is as fresh and relevant today as it was way back then – even more so perhaps, now that the world of spirituality has shifted during the intervening years to encompass various Shamanic techniques as a way through to mystical and spiritual enlightenment.
Dream Alchemy offers to the world a magickal approach to dreamwork that requires no ritual or dogma. It is a book of instruction that will resound in the hearts and minds of a new generation of spiritual seekers making it, in many ways, a classic of its type as well as a living testament to the far-sighted spiritual vision that Ted Andrews was always known for.