Active Dreaming is an original synthesis of dreamwork and shamanism, created by Robert Moss. It is both radically new and deeply ancient with three principal modes of practice: a way of walking and talking our dreams; a shamanic method of lucid dreaming; and, an approach to conscious living guided by synchronicity and dreams.
Active dreaming requires no special substances, tools, or environment.
Active dreaming is a safe, simple, sacred practice, available to everyone. It involves sitting or lying comfortably with eyes closed while entering into the theta state.
Many people find that they’re able to dream actively on their first attempt. For others, it can take a few tries. It’s possible to find answers and clarity in just minutes, or even seconds!
as a practice
A way of walking and talking our dreams
The first principle practice of Active Dreaming is to learn how to share our dreams using Robert’s Lightning Dreamwork Process. This process is the foundation for working more deeply with dreams, dream interpretation and dream manifestation.
The process involves the dreamer telling the dream in the present tense and giving the dream a title. Listeners ask questions of the dreamer, such as ‘how do you feel?’, ‘what do you recognise from waking life/other dreams?’, ‘could any of this happen in the future?’, ‘what would you like to know about the dream?’ and ‘what action will you take as a result of the dream?’
Sharing dreams in this way is a wonderful method for dreamers to gain more insight from a dream.
Listeners never interpret the dream for the dreamer.
The dreamer is the best interpreter of the dream. Listeners can add great value, insight and fresh perspective by playing ‘if it were my dream’. Each listener, once the dreamer has answered questions about the dream, can say what he’d do if it were his dream.
A shamanic method of lucid dreaming
The second principle practice of Active Dreaming is a simple, ancient spiritual practice, also known as shamanic journeying, which involves being in theta state. It calls for our brainwaves to go from beta (everyday waking life) to alpha (light meditation state) to theta (deep meditation state).
You probably enter the theta state without even realising it. In fact, all those times you’re driving and you arrive at your destination not remembering very well how you got there, as though you were on ‘automatic pilot’. You were probably in theta state, the state of dreams and imagery. We can easily reach theta state when we’re performing tasks that we can complete on automatic pilot. A part of the brain is occupied, giving the subconscious a freer rein to communicate with us.
Ancient cultures found that the fairly monotonous drum beat of between 4 and 7 beats per second, drives the journey, helping us transition quickly, easily and safely from beta to alpha to theta.
All we need to do is to sit or lie comfortably, with eyes closed and listen to some quality drumming (recordings are available online), drop into the theta state and let the shamanic lucid dreaming begin. We can even drop into this state while walking and dancing.
The places we travel to during these journeys can change, while the entry point can remain the same. Teachers share different methods for entry into these sacred realms, which they generally categorise as being lower, middle and upper worlds. Just using an image can be an entry point into the other realms.
These journeys are always made with a specific intent, a question.
It’s customary to begin by learning to journey to the ‘lower world’. Some people use a tree and its roots as an entry point into the lower world, others use a cave, some use an elevator. There are many possibilities. The idea is to travel downwards using the imagination as an entry point. To go up, you might climb a ladder, a tree, be carried by a bird upwards, or shoot up in a rocket. You might also use an image as an entry point. To return we simply retrace our steps back to the entry point, after thanking our ally helpers for their guidance and wisdom.
It’s in these realms, in addition to sleep dreams, that we can meet our ally helpers. Ally helpers are also known as power animals, animal guardians, spirit guides, and spiritual teachers. You could have a huge lion as a helper, or a tiny spider, maybe you meet Merlin, or Zeus, or Jesus. Maybe it’s your departed grandparent. It’s all possible in these realms. We can learn things from these journeys that can serve ourselves, and the whole of humanity, as we attempt to understand the spirit and energy contained within the dream and so bring about integration, resolution or manifestation on an energetic level.
Active dreaming allows us to work with our dreams on a very deep level and to create new dreams and lives for ourselves and others. Using active dreaming, we can find new dreams, gather more information about our dreams and change them for a better outcome. We can even enter another person’s dream, with permission, to give them greater insight and clarity.
We practise active dreaming for healing, guidance, learning, new experiences and fun. Many people find the practice to be easier than many other forms of meditation and they are able to journey on their first attempt. For others, it can take several tries. The first step is to be relaxed and comfortable. After regular practise, many dreamers find they are able to enter the theta state any time they choose.
It could be that your dreams are very visual, or not visual at all. Maybe you intuit or sense what’s happening. Maybe it’s a combination. There’s no right or wrong, and it can be different each time.
The main question people have when they embark upon shamanic journeying, is ‘am I making it up’? You’ll soon find out. The practice is very results oriented and you’ll notice evidence of it working in your waking life. As part of your practice, ask yourself if you’re receiving information that’s having a beneficial impact on your life.
It’s important that we take action on – and honour – our dreams and active dreams for manifestation. The first step you can take to working more closely with your dreams is to keep a dream journal, of your sleep dreams and your active dreams. Start today if you don’t already keep one.
An approach to conscious living
The third principle practice of Active Dreaming, is an approach to conscious living through what Robert Moss calls kairomancy, or navigating life by synchronicity and dreams, where the world and its symbols are a living oracle. Kairomancy is divination by special moments. Robert’s book Sidewalk Oracles dives deep into the topic and you can find a summary of kairomancy here.
As part of our Active Dreaming practice we pay close attention to the synchronicities in waking life and dream life, and we record them, and honour them, just as we do with our dreams.
Synchronicity informs primarily through intuition and emotion, and indicates how near or far we are from the right path. Synchronicity signals that we are in alignment with our desires.
You know when you’re experiencing a powerful synchronicity as it’s usual to feel a strong, joyful, emotion, a sense that something special is happening, it’s something you remember vividly and it’s something you want to share with other people or dig into further.