Friday, August 7, 2009

Understanding Your Dreams Can Bring Healing, Connection to God

by Marilyn Kirvin

All dreams come in the service of health and wholeness.
Jeremy Taylor, Dream Work

“I never dream at night.” “My dreams are so strange… I would never talk about them to other people!” “Dreams are just the leftovers from all the things that happened today – why would anyone try to pay attention to them?”

All of these are common misconceptions, I believe, about night-time dreams and their meaning and importance. We know that everyone has probably five to seven dreams per night. Most of our dreams seem “strange,” because they are so creative -- they use a language of symbol and image with which we’re unfamiliar; but when we start to share our dreams with others, we find out everyone’s dreams are that way. And, while one of the purposes of dreaming is probably to sift through a day’s experiences, those who work with their own dreams find that they are also a rich source of guidance, healing, and connection with God.

A number of people throughout history, including authors, musicians, and scientists, have found inspiration or even answers to questions in their dreams. Even Albert Einstein told a journalist that his first inkling of the idea of the theory of relativity came from a dream he had of riding a sled that was approaching the speed of light. In the Jewish and Christian scriptures (as well as those of many faith traditions) there are many stories of divine wisdom coming to people in their dreams.

This summer I had the real pleasure of facilitating a dream work group of five women who met weekly for six weeks, two hours at a time. We each made a commitment to record our dreams, and during our gatherings each of us shared a dream, and then helped each other to explore the meaning of the dream for the dreamer. We also read articles and listened to cd’s to broaden our knowledge about dream work from various perspectives. There was a lot of laughter, and more than a few “a-ha” moments as we brought together our personal dreams with all that we were learning from those who have gone before us.

At the end of the six weeks, when we reflected back on the experience, we all agreed that we had received some major insights into issues in our lives, and into the way in which God seemed to be calling us to grow. We were amazed to reflect on the common threads in all our dreams, and we appreciated the way in which we had been able to share a bit of each of our lives, and make a supportive connection with each other.

This fall, the Franciscan Spiritual Center will be offering several opportunities for people interested in exploring their dreams. We will have two 8-week dream groups beginning, one on Wednesday nights starting September 16, and one on Friday afternoons. In addition, Jesuit Fr. Paul Fitterer will spend a morning with us on Monday, October 12, for a workshop entitled, “Praying With Our Dreams, Part II,” a follow-up to a workshop that he did last year about how to bring our dreams into our daytime prayer (information on all of these is on our website). Anyone interested in finding “health and wholeness” through paying attention to this rich source is welcome to attend.

For more information on these dream workshops, check out the following site:


  1. I was part of this dream workshop and found it fascinating and very helpful. The trickiest part was waking up to record my dreams faithfully. Thanks, Marilyn, and all my fellow dreamers!!

  2. I have always been intriqued by my dreams. Can't wait until your class starts next month.

    Nancilee Baker