You and Your Dreams
By Kathleen Downey,  C.S.C., Shamanic Counselor
and Past-Life Therapist


We dream  as we journey,  in metaphor. The word metaphor comes from the Greek word metapherein, “to carry over”. To “carry over” from the subconscious to the conscious mind. Looking at some of the key differences between the subconscious and conscious mind will help us to understand the need to “carry over” with clarity, information from the dream state to our conscious state.

The subconscious mind we tap into through dreams and shamanic journeywork has an expanded processing capacity. It processes an average of 4 billion bits of information per second and can handle thousands of tasks simultaneously. The conscious mind has a short term memory,  about 20 seconds in the average human and a limited processing capacity. It processes an average of 2,000 bits of information per second and is only capable of managing a few tasks at a time.*

With this in mind we can see how important it is to access the subconscious and its enormous memory in a way that will offer us the clarity we need in order to facilitate the changes we seek in our lives.

Freud presents, “The ancients regarded dreams as a vehicle to being in complete harmony with the universe in general, not as a product of the dreaming mind, but something introduced by a divine agency. Through this divine agency, Freud suggests, we are exposed to opposing forces: truthful and valuable dreams sent to the sleeper to warn him/her or to foretell the future; and deceitful dreams whose purpose it was to mislead or destroy.”

From a Shamanic perspective that divine agency is known to be our Spirit or Soul, which speaks to us in metaphor through dreams or “dream-time”, also known as the Shamanic journey. We may look at these opposing forces Freud mentions as being representational of our true self,  our highest spiritually aware self and our ego self; that which has developed from a series of experiences where partial soul loss has been experienced, or, when a perpetrator is involved and an exchange of energy occurs. Through the trauma of soul loss, behavior patterns, beliefs and personalities have been adopted for survival.  

Indigenous healers see our lives being played out from a script our subconscious minds create from past experiences which creates our beliefs. Where is our truth found in this cryptic web? Who we are, the empowered and the disempowered self, sits in our subconscious waiting to be heard, to be found out. The sha-manic journey offers us a way to gently, and without continued trauma,  experience why we recreate familiars and who we are outside of that personality, thus enabling us to make different choices. Creating change isn’t convenient or easy — it is our greatest challenge and will hold the greatest reward.

Looking again at the meaning of metaphor, to “carry over”, we may also look at the carrying over of long-term or subconscious memory from one lifetime to another. After experiencing “near death” twice, I fully recognize that we do not die with the physical body. Our subconscious minds and memory, our spirit, lives on after our body passes on and reincarnates with a memory of all events that transpired.

In childhood we may develop a re-occurring dream. Our subconscious mind controls our long-term memory which stores past experiences,  attitudes, values and beliefs.* Therefore it follows that our re-occurring dreams from childhood are replaying a trauma symbolically, trying to help us remember the trauma that may have begun in a Past-Life. This familiar trauma becomes a theme that is recreated from lifetime to lifetime.

How often do falling dreams wake us in the night? As we mature into young adulthood we notice the re-occurring dream subsiding. It has become so deeply embedded in our psyche that we call in the circumstances of the trauma through relationships with others. We will attract the situation enabling the trauma to continue outside the dream state. Thus our dreams become our reality delivering to us our subconscious life.

Our subconscious mind thinks literally. It knows the world through the senses — seeing,  hearing, feeling,  tasting, smelling,* as well as intuition, our sense of knowing. Utilizing these senses associated with the subconscious mind is how we experience the Shamanic journey, our key to accessing long-term memory, how we learn to trust our true selves and understand the beliefs we took on in order to survive trauma.

A dream to look at . . . a woman was being taken over ocean water in a canoe to a beach with tall cliffs. Once there she was handed a white dress which she suddenly had on. Flowers were placed in her hair. A ceremony was about to take place — a marriage ceremony — she was the bride. A native man was getting ready to perform the ceremony and other people were around. It was very festive. A man she couldn’t see clearly came out of the foliage and stood next to her. He was to be her mate. Suddenly,  just as the ceremony began, her sleeping body shook and she awakened.

She thought this might indicate fear of commitment however, during her Shamanic Journey session the following day, she was told by her spirit guide that if she married a dead man, she would die. Her spirit wouldn’t allow this now that it was becoming empowered. She would also learn through her Shamanic Journey work that she would know when she would meet the right man by how she felt in her body. A year later a very handsome man came to her door, sent by an older neighbor and a native to the area where she had recently moved.

After five months she considered marriage with this man, however, as they came closer to the decision, the man quit his job and decided to move in with her. She had just begun a business at the time she met him which was continuously building, but by the time she was five months into this relationship and on the verge of marriage, her clientele had disappeared. She started to recognize that because he needed so much of her energy, she was continuously exhausted. She also noticed that her legs were starting to swell and felt like heavy weights by the end of the day. She started dreaming about large stones that were stacked around this man.

She came to do Past-Life work on this relationship and discovered that this man had been sacrificed in one of the chenotes,  (large wells with underground rivers) near Chichenitza in Mexico. It is known historically that children were painted blue,  dressed in fine clothing and jewelry, then drugged and pushed over the side of the well to drown. The parents were greatly honored for this sacrifice to the tribe.

Hundreds of energetic images of his mother surrounded her fiancee during her journey. She revealed that his personality noticeably changed when he was in contact with his mother, even after a phone call with her, and that his mother often made reference to his clothing. How her son appeared in the world was very important to her. Her fiancee admitted to having dreams of falling in childhood and that Mexico was the only place he had been drawn to visit outside this country.

This woman’s role for the man she was considering marriage to was as a rescuer in a Past-Life they shared. A woman who had secretly tried to pull the drugged children out of the well before they drowned. When she asked her fiancee if he would do some healing work on himself, he suggested that his dreams of falling had stopped, and all he needed was her support. He became more lethargic and needy. He resisted,  even renting a new place of their own.

She loved him and didn’t want to give up, however her journey showed him being buried under massive stones, the same stones of which the chenotes were constructed. She tried to move the stones but even in her journey they were too heavy for her. She needed his help, not his resistance. Although she loved him, after six months she recognized he was the dead man in her dreams and decided against marriage. She had to let him go which she did without resentment.

However, she was frustrated that she couldn’t create healing for him and a release from the past with his mother. She learned through subsequent journeywork that although she had rescued herself through Shamanic healing she couldn’t play the role of the rescuer especially for those who do not want to be rescued and are content in their familiar. Being the rescuer can also mean being the enabler. Being able to heal someone else, or being loving and supportive of them, is being aware that they must first want to help themselves to find their own truth and balance.

Within a few months of empowering journey-work, she let go of this role and her ex-fiancee’s energy. He found someone with his mother’s birthday who had a child with his birthday. Her legs stopped swelling. Her normal high energy returned and her business began to flourish. Letting go of the role of rescuer also allowed her to experience receiving love and the balanced relationship she was looking for.

For private sessions or workshop info. Please call (858) 646-9808 or (303) 449-1349. For more information visit  or e-mail 

*Brain/Mind Bulletin, Los Angeles, CA personal communication with Bruce H. Lipton
** Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, 1965

All copyrights Kathleen Downey 2004

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