Saturday, January 23, 2010

Working on Your Dreams: Step 2 – Journal

If you’ve decided you’re interested in what you’re up to during the third of your life you spend sleeping, why not start a dream journal? This can be as simple or as elaborate as you like and will probably change over time.  The only consistent rule I’ve heard is that you should write your dream as if it were happening right now; for example, “A grizzly and her cubs are in a chamber orchestra.” And it’s a good idea to jot down what’s going on in your waking life as well. It can help you unravel the dream’s message.

 I started journaling by scratching dreams down hastily in an old notebook I found around the house. When it was full I found I felt more particular about the journal, so I spent some time looking for a notebook that felt right to me. When Jung created his Liber Novus (The Red Book), he transcribed his recorded dreams in calligraphy onto parchment paper and added historiated capitals and carefully planned illustrations. He felt that the work of his unconscious mind was precious, and its manifestation as a physical object should be precious as well.

Over time, my journals also became precious to me. In some, I wrote the dream down on the right hand page, leaving the left hand page of a spread available for interpretation. I began to add illustrations: some were mere diagrams so I could remember the layout of objects; some became more elaborate paintings; many were quick sketches.  I started one journal with the promise to myself that I would illustrate every 2-page spread. I thought that seeing how my illustrations changed over the course of the book would tell me something. If you find long-hand tedious, use the computer. 

If you are just starting out how you do it isn’t important—that you do it is important. Your unconscious will guide you to the way that is right for you. Dream work is perhaps the only area of life that really is all about you.  Anyone out there have a good tip for dream journaling? Please share with a comment or email.


  1. Hi how are you?

    I was looking through your blog, and I found it interesting, and inspiring to me, so I thought why not leave you a comment. I have a blog also obviously and would like to invite you to become my blog friend.

    I mostly post about the Southern California experience through the perspective of my art. Maybe you can become my pal, and follow, and I can also follow you, if that is okay. Well I hope to hear from you soon... :)

  2. Hi Jesse, I enjoyed your very creative blog, and your masks suggested some Jungian concepts: first there's the very idea of a mask, often used in ritual to create an alternate persona; then there's the colors you selected: red, blue, white and black but not yellow or green; and finally the fact that you divided the face in four quarters, what Jung would call a quaternity. Art and the dream world are intimately connected!
    I will enjoy following your blog and you are welcome to follow the Daily Dreamer.