Sleep and Dreams

The subject of Dreams have been popping up lately for me. It’s there in conversations started with “I had the weirdest dream last night…” or mentions of Sandman or dreaming as good physical and spiritual health or excellent blog posts like Mist and Ether’s “Tarot Dreaming” (https://mistandether.com/2020/06/23/tarot-dreams-or-dreaming-with-tarot/). The low hum of the dreaming has been getting louder for me.

Dreaming as technology is something that I’ve hesitated to engage with. As a child and young adult, I hated sleep. I never napped, and in the Summertime would stay up late at night playing cards with my Aunt, watching Twilight Zone, and often reading. Staying up to 3am to finish a novel I had started that morning was a common occurrence.

Lately, I’ve resisted dream tech because every time I make an intention to remember my dreams, I get woken up multiple times that night. Nowadays, if I don’t get enough sleep, I get extremely grumpy and it wrecks the whole day. This is something that I need to resolve because dreams are essential.

Dreams are a huge part of life. There are shared places in dreaming where souls and spirits meet, places speak, and the material takes a backseat to the beyond. I shouldn’t be avoiding it anymore.

In order to entice myself to remember my dreams, I made a dream journal. I’ve had bought ones before and kept track of my dreams sporadically in them. But for me, if I make something with intention, I tend to use it and stick with it more.

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Little notebooks like this are easy to make. Boho Bloom on YouTube has some tutorials. I used scrapbook paper, card stock, regular paper, string and glue. Mine is sewn together, but stapled would be just as good.

Initially, I coffee dyed some of the pages to get an aged effect, but I thought that smelling the coffee on the paper would wake me up too much when I record my dream. But then I thought, Mugwort! I had collected some mugwort a couple of years ago and still had some of the dried leaves.

Mugwort grows in most places in the world, and has many different varieties and traditions from treating poison oak and bee stings to alleviating headaches and insomnia. The leaves that I have are of the California variety which would have been known to the Chumash and the Tongva. Mugwort is also known to aid in dreaming, and I was for this that I asked their help.

First I steeped the leaves in a little hot water, covered, for a couple of hours. You want the water to get really dark and the scent strong.

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Then I brushed the infusion onto the paper and let it dry on wire racks.

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Herbal dyed or infused paper is pretty easy to do, even if you’re not crafty. I used both card stock paper and regular paper. Don’t get it too wet or you’ll get holes in your paper. If you want the application to look darker, let the paper dry between coats and/or put drops on the paper instead of brush strokes. I did both. Make sure your table is protected, so you’ll want something underneath where you’re drying them. (You could also dry the pages on grass if it’s not a windy day and your dog won’t walk on them.) The paper does get warped a little as it dries, but I haven’t found it hard to write on. The scent lingers a little on the pages.

It’s been a few days now, and I like how the notebook has turned out. I’ve been able to recall at least part of my dreams in the morning. I’m getting woken up a little during the night, it’s not so bad. Maybe I’ll finally teach myself how to nap during the day.

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