dreams and discernment

I have a special request for the list of top ten dreams in the novitiate. Actually as I look at my notes there are 20. Before I share the list I need to give credit where credit is due ... this is the work of our presenter at our intercommunity program, Brother Don Bisson. I'll bold the themes on heavy rotation in my own dreams this year.

The following are themes arising in dreams from religious which supported the formation process and discernment:
  1. Initiation themes (loss of hair, teeth and testing periods)
  2. Loss of old identity (struggle with old and new clothes)
  3. Comentary or symbol on the novitiate experience
  4. Separation from family or previous committment
  5. New images of God (healing the father wound)
  6. Challenging addictive behaviors (food, alcohol, sex, work)
  7. Shadow work with community members
  8. Symbolic imags for resistance (irrational fears and emotions, losing things)
  9. Challenging a too spiritual perspective (instincts, animals, passions)
  10. Statements on the charism or founder (ministry or personal connections to roots of the community)
  11. Fears of intimacy with others and God (running)
  12. Fears of committment (out of control child or adolescent)
  13. Sense of call or numinous dreams (voice, archetypal images)
  14. Repressed abuse issues (literal or symbolic)
  15. Challenging the persons integrity (path, images of members of the community)
  16. Discernment issues for ministry
  17. Symbolic representations of commitments (habits, cross)
  18. Dreams as Prayer experiences
  19. Dream series and retreat time (strands and repetitive patterns)
  20. Choice making from the informationin dreams and outer life.
He of course gave specific examples for these themes. The passport dream fit theme # 2.


Anonymous said...

what does "healing the father wound" mean?

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

I'm not 100% sure, but I think it could be that some people have a hard time thinking of God as "Father" because of their own experiences with their father. Perhaps they didn't always feel the unconditional love in that relationship - then it might even be hard to pray "Our Father who art in heaven."

We all have our own growht areas when it comes to our image of and relationship to God. My own image of God has been blown open this year in so many ways, although it's very hard to articulate and explain.

Brittany said...

I have had trouble even comprehending what God as Father has meant to me because my dad has not been very present in my life. He is aloof... but though having some wonderful male relationships that wounds has really been healed. The Our Father makes a lot more sense to me now.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a really interesting post to me, Susan. Somehow I missed the first one you referenced here, but I have been having some vivid dreams as well. I've been meaning to be more intentional about jotting things down right after I awaken in an attempt to try to discover some meaning in them, especially the recurring ones. I just love all the cool stuff one discovers through this journey of discernment and in being in "nun (monk, religious) space!"