Dreamgates: Exploring the Worlds of Soul, Imagination, and Life Beyond Death

Dreamgates: Exploring the Worlds of Soul, Imagination, and Life Beyond Death

by Robert Moss
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Dreamgates: Exploring the Worlds of Soul, Imagination, and Life Beyond Death by Robert Moss

A world-renowned authority on the history, uses, and power of dreaming, Robert Moss guides neophyte and experienced adventurers alike to open their own dreamgates. Through these gates await otherwise inaccessible realms of reality as well as soul remembering — the “recovering of knowledge that belonged to us before we came into this life experience.” Exercises, meditations, and the mesmerizing tales of fellow dream travelers outline Moss’s Active Dreaming technique, a kind of shamanic soul-flight that offers “frequent flyers” a passport between worlds. In this world beyond physical reality, Moss points to wellsprings of healing, creativity, and insight. As readers move into these different ways of seeing and knowing, they may also communicate with spiritual guides and departed loved ones in ways that transform their everyday lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781577318910
Publisher: New World Library
Publication date: 04/01/2010
Edition description: Revised Edition
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 481,135
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Robert Moss created a new approach to dreamwork, healing, and active imagination, which he calls Active Dreaming. He leads popular workshops, a three-year training for teachers of Active Dreaming, and online courses at Spirituality-Health.com. He hosts the Way of the Dreamer radio show and writes a column for Spirituality & Health. His books include Conscious Dreaming and The Secret History of Dreaming. Moss lives in upstate New York.

Read an Excerpt


Exploring the Worlds of Soul, Imagination, and Life Beyond Death

By Robert Moss

New World Library

Copyright © 2010 Robert Moss
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57731-892-7


Becoming a Frequent Flyer

"Tell me how to dream better, Sebastian."

"My kin, I have waited a long, long time to hear you ask that question. ... Simply to dream is not enough. There are many, many kinds of dreams. They exist perhaps on different levels."

— DOROTHY BRYANT, The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You

The Dreamworld Is the Real World

"I came because I don't want to miss the movies," explained a man at the start of one of my dream workshops. He saw his dreams as a nightly film festival. He wanted to make sure he had a good seat and took rich memories home from the show.

Are dream images really projections, like pictures thrown on a movie screen or holographic images dancing between two laser beams?

When she was ten, my daughter Candida presented me with a cardboard figure wearing a magician's hat she had cut out and painted. "This is Dreamgiver," she informed me. "He has the biggest video library ever! Each night he picks out the movies we are going to watch."

We have dreams (often dreams within dreams) that are movies. We watch movies in our dreams, just as we do in waking life. Some of these experiences seem entirely literal and may be a preview of a new release or revival we will later watch at a neighborhood cinema or on a plane. But when a movie comes up on a screen inside a dream, we are not obliged to remain passive spectators. We can step through the screen, as Alice stepped through the looking glass, and become actors (and even directors) in a new adventure. Similarly, the characters who loom up on the screen can jump out and interact with us in our dream reality.

Pay close attention to the spontaneous images that come in the twilight zone between waking and sleep, and you may receive strong impressions of a movielike process of dream projection. You may find yourself looking at lots of still photographs of strangers, random pieces of footage of unrelated events or landscapes, fleeting or blurry pictures reminiscent of someone trying to get a test pattern into focus. Sometimes there is a sense of mechanical difficulties: slides and shorts come up out of sequence, get stuck, or fail to fill up the whole screen.

If dreams are like movies, is waking life any less so?

I sometimes have the impression, on waking from an exciting dream in which I have played an active role, that I am back in the movie theater, where the next installment of a long-running serial is about to unspool. Dreaming, I can enter the projection room and play other episodes — from past or future or alternative scripts. I can wander out into the studio lot where the movie is being filmed, sit in on scripting and conferences, and hunt through an immense multimedia library of other productions. Beyond this, I can explore the world in which the movies are made and the dimensions from which this vast imaginal realm, in turn, is projected. Dreaming, I am like the man in Plato's cave, who turns from watching the shadow play on the wall and awakens to the source of reality beyond appearances.

In dreaming traditions, they say simply that the dreamworld is the real world, and that the most important events in our lives may take place in the dreaming. Anthropologist Irving Hallowell writes of one dreaming people, the Ojibwa: "When we think autobiographically we only include events that happened to us when awake; the Ojibwa include remembered events that have occurred in dreams. And, far from being of subordinate importance, such experiences are for them often of more vital importance than the events of daily waking life. Why is this so? Because it is in dreams that the individual comes into direct communication with the atiso'kanak, the powerful 'persons' of the other-than-human class." From this perspective, to dream well is to live well (and vice versa). An Ojibwa elder tells Hallowell, "You will have a long and good life if you dream well."

Among Australian Aborigines, the Dreaming is the state in which messages and guidance are received from the ancestors. In Dreaming, sacred stories, songs, and rituals are transferred from the spirit world to the sphere of mortals. Groups of people who share in the same Dreaming are bonded by a shared link to the spiritual world and its powers. Dreamtime is creation time, when the ancestors descended from the sky, rose from the sea, or pushed up through the ground. But it is also now. Humans enter this sacred realm through dreams and visions, ritual, and visits to sacred sites.

All things that will be manifested in physical life are initiated inside the Dreaming.

Dreaming, the souls of unborn children choose their parents and rehearse for the lives that lie ahead.

Walking through Central Park on a brilliant spring morning when the trees were just starting to bloom, I thought about these insights of Australia's First Peoples, which are shared by indigenous peoples wherever the Dreaming is alive. I was on my way to a meeting with a television producer who turned out to be eight months pregnant. At nearly forty, she was carrying her first baby and was both elated and nervous.

I asked her if she remembered any dreams about giving birth.

"I've had a recurring dream of rocking my baby in my arms. It's very sensual. I feel her cheek against my breast. I smell the incredible freshness of her breath, fresher than spring in Ireland."

She felt wonderful each time she woke from one of these dreams. We both felt confident that holding to that dream would help ease her way through labor and delivery.

"You know, your baby is dreaming inside you now," I remarked.

"But what can she be dreaming about?" the producer asked, intrigued but puzzled. "She hasn't seen the world yet."

"Ah, but maybe she's coming from another world. She remembers the origin of her spirit, which may be starborn. Right now, she's rehearsing for the transfer to a new dimension, the dimension of physical reality. As she grows, she'll continue to rehearse the skills she will need, including language."

The producer patted the dolphin swell of her belly.

"So she's rehearsing too," she said, smiling. "Dreaming her way into her new world."

Open Secrets of the Dreamtime

Here are the open secrets of the Dreamtime, insights shared by many dreaming traditions and indigenous peoples that challenge the ruling paradigms of a culture that often confuses the real with the physical.


There are big dreams and little dreams. "Bottom-line it for me," bulled a radio host over the phone from North Dakota. "Aren't dreams caused by spicy pizza?" Well, yes, some dreams are. But we will not expend much space here on the surface bubbles of the dozing brain and belly.

In big dreams — in what Indian philosopher Sri Aurobindo called "the sleep of experiences" — we are dealing with events, encounters, and challenges that are entirely real on their own level of reality. Our dream memories may be garbled or muddy, but the dream is a real experience whose meaning lies within the dreamscape itself. The dream experience, fully remembered, is its own interpretation. But we must do more than interpret dreams; we must manifest their energy and insight in our waking lives.

Shamanic dreamers tend to be quite literal minded about dreams. If you dreamed you fell off a rock face, you'd better remember to check your safety harness if there is any chance you might go rock climbing. If in your dream you flew with an eagle, then you discovered a powerful spiritual ally — and your own ability to transcend the limitations of your physical body. If you dreamed of your dead uncle, before you start asking yourself what part of you he might represent, you should consider the possibility that you actually had a visit with him. Is he bothering you — maybe trying to cadge a drink or a smoke — or offering you help? If you dreamed you received instruction at a mountain shrine, you should be open to twin possibilities: that you may go there someday, in physical reality, and that you may have been called in your dreams to one of the many "invisible schools" where training and initiation on the higher planes are conducted.


During one of the final presentations at a hectic conference in Berkeley, I regretted that I had not taken that Saturday morning off to explore the Bay Area. I closed my eyes, slipped free from my physical focus, and felt myself gliding over the Bay on the wings of an eagle. It was a wholly tactile sensation. I was drawn to a wild, lightly wooded area with intriguing stone formations that from the air looked like volcanic rock. As I dipped into a fold in the hills to examine the area more closely, I saw another interesting formation, shaped by human hands: a circular labyrinth, or spiral, at the edge of a pond.

At lunch, I casually described the scene I had explored. "It could be the Sibley Volcanic Preserve," one of the local conferees piped up. "I can take you out there this afternoon if you have time." She did not know about the spiral path, but we found it fairly easily, at the edge of a swampy pond. From a shamanic perspective, there was nothing extraordinary about my experience. It was just a routine scout — a Middle World journey — in which I moved beyond the range of my physical senses to check out my environment. I was traveling beyond my body, but I kept a firm connection with it, maintaining awareness of the activity in the lecture room even as I flew across the Bay.

Shamans say that in real dreams (waking or sleeping) one of two things is happening. Either you are journeying beyond your body, released from the limits of space-time and the physical senses; or you are receiving a visitation from a being — god, spirit, or fellow dreamer — who does not suffer from these limitations. In the language of the Makiritare, a dreaming people of Venezuela, the word for dream, adekato, means literally a "flight of the soul."

The open secret is that consciousness is never confined to the body and brain. We discover this in spontaneous night dreams and intuitive flashes, when our left-brain inhibitions are down. As we become active dreamers, we can hone the ability to make intentional journeys beyond the body at any time of day or night.


I am leading one of my Active Dreaming circles. We are squatting around a centerspread with a white candle. Someone asks whether there is any way to prove that we are not dreaming. I pick up the candle and pour hot wax onto my hand. I feel a sting of pain as the wax sears the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger, and I tell the group, "I guess that proves I'm not dreaming." Then I wake up.

What is this dream telling me? That I am a nitwit because I can't tell whether or not I'm dreaming? If so, I will take solace from the fact that with sleeping dreams, most people are completely unaware that they are dreaming. Actually, I think this dream has a more interesting and specific message, related to the theme that dreams are real experiences. In my dreambody, I can know pleasure and pain just as vividly as in my physical body. I have more than one body, or vehicle of consciousness, and when I go into the dreamworld and other worlds, I go embodied. And so do you.

As we will soon discover, the importance of this statement — in relation to our ability to operate in nonordinary reality and to access spiritual sources of insight and healing — can hardly be overstated.


I dreamed of a silly little dog decked out with fake antlers for some kind of Christmas pageant. The dog ran out on the road and was killed but was magically revived by a dubious, utterly amoral character who seemed remote from the normal range of human emotions.

The dream had a movielike quality. I had no idea what was going on, but because I had no particular feelings about it, I was content to record it in my journal before rushing off to the airport to catch a plane to Denver.

I missed my connection and later found myself on a different flight from the one scheduled. Whenever my travel planes come unstuck, I am alert for the play of the Trickster. On the "wrong" plane, I found myself seated next to a woman who turned out to be best friends with a person in publishing to whom I had been introduced only the day before, and I was able to glean some useful insights. Our conversation was interrupted by the screening of the in-flight movie. I looked up to see a silly little dog decked out in fake antlers for a Christmas pageant. Later in the movie, the dog is killed on the road and magically revived — by a low-flying angel portrayed by John Travolta. The title of the movie is Michael, and I highly recommend it. What interested me most was that I seemed to have attended an advance screening in my dream the night before.

We dream things before they happen in waking life. If you work with your dreams and scan them for precognitive content, you can develop a superb personal radar system that will help you to navigate in waking life. You can also learn to fold time and travel into the possible future by the methods explained in this book. For even the most active dreamers, however, the meaning of many dreams of the future may be veiled until waking events catch up with the dream.

I dreamed of a garden in Manhattan, modest in size, but beautifully designed. It was a place for quiet meditation, a refuge from big-city noise and hustle. A place where I felt I could do good work with good people. I was intrigued by this dream, which came to me at a time when I was quite resistant to leading programs in New York City because of the energy required to clear out all the static and psychic clutter and create a safe space for soulwork. The dream left me feeling bright and happy. I was curious about the location of my dream garden. Did it exist in ordinary reality? When I reentered the dream, I found myself on a block in the East Fifties, between Third and Second. This satisfied me that I had visited a locale that existed in physical reality. Lacking an exact address, I forgot about the dream after logging it in my journal. Yet the dream continued to exercise an influence: to my mild surprise, I said yes when several groups subsequently invited me to conduct workshops in New York. Nine months after the dream — the period of an average pregnancy — I entered the meeting room of the New York Theosophical Society, on East Fifty-third Street, for the first time. I stopped short. Through the picture window at the end of the room, I looked out into the garden from my dream. As I stepped out into the garden, an austerely elegant man in a black tunic followed me out. He introduced himself as Alex Sprinkle, the society's program director, who had invited me. He explained that he had also designed and now tended my dream garden.

If dreams are memories of the future, is much of waking like experiencing in the physical body what we have already lived in the dreambody? What would we become if we participated more consciously in this process? There is an Iroquois story of a great hunter who always scouted ahead, in conscious dream journeys, to locate the game and rehearse the kill. In one of his dream scouts, he located an elk and sought its permission to take its life to feed his extended family. He killed the elk in his dream and noted the red mark on its chest where the arrow had gone in. The following day, he walked to the place he had visited in his dream and identified his elk by the red mark on its chest. He then replayed an event that had already taken place, by killing the elk again with a physical arrow.


The fact that we dream things before they happen does not mean that everything is predetermined. People who are not active dreamers can get quite confused about what is going on when they realize that we are dreaming future events, both large and small, all the time. I think it's like this. If you do not remember your dreams, you are condemned to live them. (If you don't know where you're going, you will likely end up where you are headed.) If you remember some of your dreams and screen them for messages about the future, you will find yourself able to make wiser choices. You will discover that by taking appropriate action you can often avoid the enactment of a "bad" dream or bring about the fulfillment of a happy one. As you become a conscious dreamer, you will find yourself increasingly able to choose inside the dreaming the events that will be manifested in your waking life.


Excerpted from Dreamgates by Robert Moss. Copyright © 2010 Robert Moss. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Introduction to the Second Edition: Becoming a Citizen of the Multiverse,
Part 1: A Little Course in Dream Travel,
1. Becoming a Frequent Flyer,
2. The Gateway of Images,
3. Through the Dreamgates,
4. Wings of the Shaman,
5. Paleopsych 101,
Part 2: Journeying between the Worlds,
6. The Otherworld and the Imagination,
7. Journeys of Initiation,
8. Creative Journeys,
9. Healing Journeys,
Part 3: A Manual for the Psychopomp,
10. New Maps of the Afterlife,
11. Sharing the Deathwalk,
12. Helping the Departed,
13. Making Death Your Ally,
Part 4: The Coming of the Multidimensional Human,
14. Soul Remembering,
15. Alien Encounters and Spirit Callings,
16. Starwalking,
17. The View from the Fifth Dimension,
About the Author,

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