Aizenstat's Dream Medicine

I got to read through this book, Dream Tending by Stephen Aizenstat. It’s depth-psychology based, and has to do with bringing dream symbols, settings, or characters back to mind with imagination—so, sort of lucid/waking dreaming, except that you only need to be asleep at the start.

By heeding dreams this way, Aizenstat documented clients who could overcome addictions, relationship conflicts, and tune into archetypal activism.

I was most interested in physical healing aided by dreams. Disclaimer: dream tending is not a substitute for professional medical expertise.

The general gist of it was, look for dream symbolism for your ailment. Then “tend” to that symbol until it tells you what it needs you to do, to heal it. (It gets more complicated than that with aligning Physical, Personal, Archetypal, and Elemental dimensions of this work with routine “ritual offerings” to basically small gods from dreams—or something…interesting read, anyway, I recommend the book! Chapters divided by personal stories about his wise Jewish grandfather.)

My personal experience with it:

Between a dream about mobster terrorism cartels, and a dream that my deceased-in-waking-life mother was stabbing me for daring to say that my absent dad literally wasn’t that bad of a person…because, it stood to reason, he was not present to enact and impact badness as a person…I dreamed of being underneath blue water, more like a point-of-view than an embodied being, but witnessing this figure with a gauze mummified face was stuck in medieval stocks underwater. By the wrists. The figure’s neck was free. After I woke up, I focused on that image because Aizenstat wrote to look for dream imagery that “looks like” your illness. A gate with rusty joints could be a poetic image for joint pain, or a polluted pond can remind the dreamer of digestion problems. I had nasal congestion at the time, so that dream figure clogging up two holes (the stocks) and not looking like 'ey could breathe and was drowning, that seemed appropriate.

In my waking imagination, I thought about attributes of this dream character and developed what stuck (Family history? Profession? Gender? Mortality status? Marital status?)

The name that felt right enough to me as a placeholder was Lorraille. Still with my waking imagination, I asked her more about what happened, and she told that the Sea Dragon was supposed to come in and eat her. This was punishment from people on the surface inland for putting her sons before her work duty. She was a housekeeper.

As she told me this, the big blue serpent Sea Dragon was there. I said to it, this isn’t fair this servant woman gets treated like sub-human regularly, and puts her two small boys first only one time…and gets eaten by a dragon because of that?

And the Sea Dragon agreed it was too harsh, and coughed up a gold key with a giant blue diamond on the handle. I used that key to unlock the stocks.

I still have mild congestion, but I can mostly breathe. Maybe to fully recover I ought to humor (haha, aquatic pun) these dream characters more, or actually go through the Association, Amplification, Animation processes to construct Physical, Personal, Archetypal, and Elemental components to the active cure or whatnot.

But I thought to post it here for now in case this would be of interest, basic though I am with beginning it.

thanks for sharing the book recommendation and your own experience with your imagery and interpretation!

i get lots of imagery in my dreams that relates to waking problems in similarly metaphorical ways. ive never thought to work with that imagery in waking life and its interesting to read your example of how you worked through yours. your inner sea dragon is so refreshingly reasonable :smile: