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Scribing the Soul
July 2001

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Kathleen's Current Column

by Kathleen Adams, LPC, RPT
Director of The Center for Journal Therapy

In ancient times, scribes were devotees of the Word. They were the bridges between worlds, charged with the sacred task of painstakingly transcribing the Mysteries into a form that could be referenced by holy men and women. Many centuries later, our modern journals give us unlimited access to the Mysteries of our souls. Through this column, I hope to offer ways that we can approach our own lives with the love and devotion of the scribes of old.

A Bakerís Dozen Ways to Journal Your Dreams

  1. Record your dream upon awakening. Use the present tense to add immediacy and to honor the dreamís ongoing life force. Donít remember the entire dream? Record scenes, fragments, snatches, even impressions. When it comes to dreamwork in your journal, a little can go a long way.

  2. Name your dreams as you would a short story or painting or poem. Keep a separate, running list of your dream titles somewhere in your journal. Themes will often jump out at you.

  3. If you donít remember your dreams, try writing a note to your "Dreamkeeper" in your journal before you turn out the lights. It might be as simple as, "Dear Dreamkeeper, Please bring me a dream that Iíll remember tomorrow morning. I promise Iíll write it down and pay attention to it. Thanks!"

  4. After youíve recorded your dream, write a Ten-Minute Sprint in which you give your best guess as to what this dream might be saying about your waking life.

  5. Write a list of questions raised by the dream. Leave yourself a few lines between questions. Then go back and answer the questions. Do this quickly and without much conscious thought.

  6. Cluster your dream symbols. When you get an "aha" of recognition, note it and use it as a symbol substitution for your dream.

  7. Dialogue with your dream characters. Ask them why theyíre in your dream, what theyíre trying to communicate to you, how you can best understand their meaning.

  8. Free write about a particularly elusive symbol or character. Let yourself free associate. Be alert for "ahas of recognition." (An "aha of recognition," according to dreamworker Jeremy Taylor, is the conscious mind remembering what the unconscious mind knew all along, but the conscious mind forgot.)

  9. Write a Captured Moment of a scene from the dream, focusing on the sensory details. Extend this into a fictional scene. What if a character in a short story found her/himself in this very situation? What might happen next? Where might this action lead?

  10. Shift perspectives. Take a key symbol or character from your dream and rewrite the dream as if that symbol or character were the dreamer. Or let the symbol/character interpret itself, by writing in the first person from its perspective ("I am the winding dirt road. I am in this dream because....").

  11. Play Western Union. Rewrite the dream using as few words as possible, in telegram style. Let yourself be cryptic and direct. Often, nuances and layers of meaning will emerge.

  12. Write a poem about the dream. Focus on the images and feelings. Try an AlphaPoem about a dream symbol, scene or character.

  13. Draw, paint or sketch the dream or its symbols. Or make a collage using images that represent the dream. One woman in a recent workshop collaged a cover for her journal using her dream images and symbols. Her first entry in the journal helped her interpret the dreamís meaning for her next steps.

© Kathleen Adams.  All Rights Reserved

Kathleen Adams LPC, RPT is a Registered Poetry/Journal Therapist and Director of The Center for Journal Therapy in Lakewood, Colorado. She is one of the leading voices on the power of writing to heal and is the author of four books, including Journal to the Self and The Write Way to Wellness. Her upcoming seminars include the annual 5-day womenís writing retreat in Colorado July 8-13, and a one-day Journal to the Self workshop in Denver in late July. She would love your feedback on this column; please e-mail kay@journaltherapy.com or stop by her website, www.journaltherapy.com.


Read Kathleen's Past "Scribing the Soul" Columns:

April 2001 "Journals to Go"

March 2001 "Healing Words, Healing Touch: Jihan's Letters"

February 2001 "Love Letters"

January 2001 "Scribing the Authentic Self"

December 2000 "Riding the Inky Wave"

November 2000 "The Good News"

October 2000 "Soul Food: Exploring Affirmations in Writing"

September 2000 "Diary of a Headache"

August 2000 "Making Up the Truth"

July 2000 "Pockets of Joy"

June 2000 "Five Ways to Scribe Your Intuition"


Read Kathleen's Feature Article on Dream Journals:

Writing in the Dark: Cracking the Soul's Code Through Dream Journals



Visit Kathleen at her Website:



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