He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
“Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
William Butler Yeats
I have been in a dream group off and on for many years, and much of our time in spiritual direction training at the Haden Institute at Kanuga was about dreams. (Unopened Letters from God: Using Biblical Dreams to Unlock Your Nightly Dreams, Bob Haden) In fact my present spiritual director always asks me as soon as we meet, “Do you have a dream?”
Three other of our friends some time ago took a dream group for several years to a women’s recovery center where most of the women had a choice of going there or to prison because of alcohol and drug related abuses. They had had an amazingly hard and grief stricken life. There were women just like the rest of us, but had not had the opportunities we had. They were hardened and prematurely aging but still had a heart of gold. Almost all of their dreams had the same pattern, like nightmares, being chased by some awful violent creatures. Our hearts embraced them. Since we only saw them for a brief time, sometimes the best we could say was that the dream was letting them know that the “dream maker”, whom we called God, was letting them know that he or she knew about their terrible situation. There was someone who cared enough to let them know that someone knew how much pain they were in and how badly they had been treated.
Joyce Rockwood Hudson in her book, Natural Spirituality (p. 105), believes dreams are the fullest expression of the unconscious. My experience is that dreams are certainly one of many ways God speaks to us, and can be a powerful tool to use in spiritual direction, but as always, dreams must be treated like the soul, held gently, honored as hearing a sacred message from one lover to another.