My practice of intentional dream work began around the same time I started SoulCollaging®, so it was a seamless partnership, and seemed obvious to me to use SoulCollage® as a part of my ongoing dream work.
At the time I didn’t really consider suits, or whether a dream card would or wouldn’t fit in a particular suit, because I wasn’t interested in formal structure as much as I was just enjoying the freedom to express whatever I needed to express through my SoulCollage® cards. But on the official SoulCollage® blog, Seena Frost lists the original suits and suggests there may be other suits added to an individual deck, either as separate suits, or as sub-suits within the main suits. One of the suggested additional suits is a Dream Suit. (I love the idea of a Magic and Mystery Suit as well, and because I haven’t officially ‘suited’ my cards yet, I think I am going to use that one- I certainly do have mystery cards and ones that express the synchronous, serendipitous aspects of my experience.)
Anyway, I have a few dream cards.
It’s important, if we’re going to talk about dream cards and Dream Suits, to talk about dream work and how it intersects with SoulCollage®, especially if we’re making dream cards ourselves, or want to encourage others in making dream cards.
Anne Marie Bennett shares on her Kaleidosoul site a downloadable .pdf written by Nancy Weiss, a depth psychotherapist and SoulCollage® facilitator. In it Nancy states,
I do not approach a dream as something to be “analyzed,” but as a “soul-visitor” from the intuitive world of the unconscious, seeking my attention for the deeper purpose of knowing myself more fully.
Indeed. And in my experience this is the foundation of dream work. While there has to be a function of analysis, which involves self-reflection, introspection, a 1=1 interpretation of dream elements can lead us to shallow waters, while our dreams have called us out into the deep. Just like SoulCollage®, dream work requires a steadfast bravery in exploring the exciting, and sometimes disturbing depths of ourselves. And also like SoulCollage® cards, each dream needs to be contemplated in its’ elemental parts, but with the parts making up the whole. In a very real sense, there isn’t any distinction for me between dream work and the SoulCollage® process. Each card is like a dream.
I have read Seena’s Hints (Not Rules!) for Creating SoulCollage® Cards. She suggests that each card should represent one energy. I fully understand this suggestion, in theory. I believe what Seena is suggesting is that without a focus, the card is chaotic, schizophrenic if you will. She is making this suggestion on the assumption that images for the card are chosen without intention, what she would call a “right brained approach“, as opposed to a more logical, analytical left-brained approach. But in reality, I have made very few cards this way. The cards I have made which had no conscious expressional intent on my part, images chosen based solely on their “calling” to me (or I to them), almost always end up in my Magic and Mystery Suit (that one I need to create). I don’t understand them. I don’t know what they mean, what they are trying to say.
I have a sort of love/hate relationship with these mystery cards. (Well, hate’s a strong word, and I don’t literally mean that. I just find myself frowning when I draw them, which maybe means I have some work to do on self-acceptance?) Eventually, at some point, sometimes when I’m not even working with my cards, an epiphany will come about a particular mystery card and it moves out of the realm of mystery. Those moments are when I really love that card, and a smirk of thankfulness and acknowledgement overtakes my body, sending warm waves through it. But I don’t make very many of these cards. It’s just not how I operate, and I think it’s because I do a lot of depth work in addition to SoulCollage®, so I rely on my cards to be a reflection of this, and not just a vehicle for it.
I don’t know if this is good or bad. I’m not feeling the need to judge it. Coloring outside of the lines has always been my M.O. I suspect as I evolve with SoulCollage® and have healed to the point I need to be when the ‘switch’ happens, it will happen. And then I will find the unintentional card making to be exciting, and I will be much more willing to marry it. At this point we’re still courting, and I’m not ready to hand over the keys.
Right now each card I create (except the mystery cards), I feel like the cat dragging home the prized catch to leave at the front door. It isn’t so much a pride of ego, that I have made something aesthetically pleasing. It’s more a feeling that I have done the work, journeyed deep into places where there is no language, sometimes connections so loose I am grasping to hold them together, and the labyrinth so complex it threatens to swallow me whole, and yet I have re-surfaced with a story to tell, translating all that I saw into a visual language. Admittedly, it is a consciousness, albeit exploratory, forward approach.
So the SoulCollage® card making process is very intentional for me. I need it to be that. See, I am a storyteller of sorts. Perhaps this is why a Dream Suit seems so natural to me, because making a card for a dream has to be intentional to some degree- it’s a representation of the dreamscape. We have to choose images that represent their counterparts in the dream.
When I make a card for a dream I don’t chose one image, or one feeling, or one energy, because if I am making a card the dream was significantly effective at getting my attention. I don’t make a card for every dream. So in the chosen dream the full spectrum of energies, emotions, and imagery is there, inviting me to explore. I want to capture it’s essence in it’s entirety as a way to honor it, and in order to revisit it as well, continuing to work with it and the wisdom and insight it has to offer me. Sometimes this can be a chaotic or contradictory energy, because sometimes dreams are like this.
Dream work is deep stuff, and yet also offers a sort of soul play, if you will. We could take a single dream and chew on it for a lifetime, reaching new levels of awareness and experience through it, if we wanted to. In our playful work we could embrace the dream and use it for a springboard, journeying off in our conscious minds into the dreamscape it offers us, dancing around tribal fires re-telling the story, writing poems and turning them into songs, bringing life to the dream through painting, sculpting, making jewelry, acting it out in plays and movies, revisiting it again in our own dreamtime. And it wouldn’t even have to be my dream, or your dream. It could be anyone’s dream really. Which is why I think a Dream Suit is as important as any of the other Suits in the SoulCollage® deck. Dreams represent messages from another world, one we are rarely conscious of, yet are all connected together by.
FYI- for ‘dreamy’ stuff I almost always refer people to Tony Hawk’s site, as it is rich with information about consciousness and dream work. Another helpful site is Robert Moss‘- full of amazing dream work stuff in various presentation forms. And for a treasure chest of audio discussion on shamanic dreaming, visit Christina Pratt’s site.