Working with my dreams leads me into many different parts of myself, and helps me explore myself, my world and the people in it in ways I otherwise never would. Keeping a dream journal (writing my night dreams down as soon as I wake up -- or as soon as possible thereafter) allows me to remember dreams I would usually forget -- and there is so much information and juice in all our dreams that it is a shame not to draw on this resource.
Sometimes dreams are just for fun. Sometimes dreams are clearly about an issue or person I'm concurrently struggling with in waking life. Some of the eeriest dreams (at least when I was first working with active dreaming) were the ones that gave me information I had no logical, linear way of knowing and which only checked out later (such as the dream I had that a girlfriend was seeing someone else in addition to me). And sometimes dreams are trying to tell me something that only becomes obvious once time has passed. Here's an example of the latter (I have obscured unnecessary detail to prevent identification of my relative):
"Two [Relatives]" (March 6, 2003)
I am wandering around outside a multi-building apartment complex. I stop walking and stand in a spot where I have sight lines that allow me to see all the buildings in the complex (and the spaces inbetween) at once. Nothing much is going on. It is early morning, or perhaps late afternoon. No one else seems to be around, although I feel as if I'm looking for someone. Every so often, on the periphery of my vision I see [one of my blood relatives] walking out from behind one of the buildings in the distance. I run over to where [s/he] is, but when I get there, [s/he] has passed behind the edge of a building and is gone. This happens several times. Eventually, I turn around and there [s/he] is. We begin having a conversation which goes on for quite some time, catching up on news of our lives. [S/he] is doing well. Then out of the corner of my eye I see [my relative] walking out from behind one of the buildings in the distance, as before, and I know that this is the real [relative] and the person I've been talking to is simply their shade, or a double (in Celtic culture, it was called the "coimimeadh," or co-walker). And in that moment I know that the double is offering up "happy talk" in conversation with me, but the reality is that my relative is sick, sad and alone. And staying deliberately out of reach.
I woke up and wrote the dream down, meaning to discuss the dream with the relative in question. I was actually staying overnight at their house at the time. However, at this time in my life I would leave for work before 6 a.m. and so I was gone before they woke. In the hustle at work and the flow of my life (chaotic at that time) I never did discuss it with them.
To see someone's co-walker (in dreaming or waking life) or "fetch" as the Irish call it portends a death for that person -- most usually a figurative one although stories abound with regard to capital-D Death. And sure enough, this relative -- while outwardly together and thriving -- was spiraling down into addiction, soul-sickness and despair. Eventually it consumed their life as it was then constituted. They are only now reclaiming it.
The point? #1: There is invaluable information in our dreams. If I had been more conscientious about bringing it up with them, I might have helped them steer clear of the worst of their trouble. Then again, my family are a stubborn and independent bunch. Regardless of whether or not I could have helped them avoid the "bottom" of addiction, this dream was offering me understanding about my relative that I otherwise didn't have. #2: If we honor our dreams by acting on them (in this case by having a conversation about the dream with my relative), we can change our waking lives for the better. In this case I might have broken through the social facade my relative was putting up and reached the person in them that was in dire need. As it was, months passed before I got to it, and things were already into the end phase. Which leads me to point #3: We must use all our gifts, often and well. Spirit blesses us so that we might share the blessing, not hoard or forget. I'm still learning...