I am doing dreamwork with two people. Both are just starting and both are having a hard time remembering their dreams.
It is very common for people not to remember dreams especially since behavioral psychology started conditioning people to focus on behavior as a goal in therapy, as if we could change, or resolve anything by altering how we act, as if the key to being happy and successful was based on self-control.
Jung’s work was cut out for him when he realized how essential dreaming really was. Dreams aren’t just for defusing the issues that might rob us of sleep. Some dreams, that is remembering some dreams, is more important than a good night’s sleep. . .such as the kind of dream that actually wakes us up. That has survival value! And the kind that repeats. That also has survival value, as if the psyche is saying, here is where we are stuck.
But dreaming is a mirror really, for how our life looks from within, full of characters who can become important allies in helping us move forward and also characters who hold us back . . . negative shadow types. Remembering dreams serves us in two ways at least: 1) It dissolves the split between consciousness and the “unconscious”, wakefulness and sleep, shining a light on our process so there is less “unconsciousness” in our lives. It breaks down that wall. I think that life without dreaming is sailing without a rudder. Dreams enable us to make micro-adjustments in our steerage so we don’t wind up some place where we don’t want to be. 2) It launches a new kind of relationship with our “inner” Self . . . the Self being our wholeness which manifests piecemeal over a lifetime.It’s hard to remember our dreams. It calls for a new paradigm, a new relationship between the ego and the non-ego. When we take a walk we know we are not making up the landscape. Once we start remembering our dreams, that comes with a change of attitude toward the world of dreaming. We aren’t making it up. People tend to want to lucid dream from the start, in other words, control what is happening, or speed things up, but first what is important is just this shift in attitude. . .fully embracing that dreaming is real, that it is vital, that it is worth incorporating into our worldview and that each dream bears an important message for our navigating our lives.
There is an herb that can help us remember our dreams, according to herbalists who work with plant medicine and plant spirits: Mugwort, also known as artemisia. Just chew on a tiny bit of a leaf before sleeping, while expressing your intention to remember a dream. Place a sprig next to your pillow.
Other helpful practices:
Express your intention to remember your dream and blow that intention into a glass of water. Drink half the water. In the morning, before rising, repeat this ritual and finish the water.
Before going to sleep, rub a piece of rose quartz or amethyst clockwise around your forehead over the third eye or pineal gland while expressing your intention to recall a dream.