February 26, 2023

Dreaming Ourselves Home – when our soul talks to us


I was looking through my small book on dreamwork the other day, deciding whether to continue work on it, and if so, when. Because the easiest way to show how to apply the principals in dream work is to use examples of actual dreams, this book has quite a few of my old dreams used as examples in it, and I got side-tracked reading some of them. They go back almost thirty years and chronicle a whole tale of growth and (gradual!) maturity.

In one of them I found a character who has turned up again and again in my journeys, in my dreams, and when I was a professional storyteller, I loved to tell her stories. She’s the Old Woman, the Old Witch, the Hag, Baba Yaga and the Cailleach, and one of the best teachers there is. I enjoyed being reminded tangibly of her so much, that I’ve decided to bring her once more into my current conscious life in some way – by finding her in stories again, perhaps, or making a crafty representation of her for our upcoming solstice altar – and thus to carry her teaching with me. Because there’s never a time where we couldn’t do with the reminder to trust our wild, instinctual nature.

 The following is this old dream of mine, with the excerpt from the book.

Examining conflicts

Once you’ve established the character traits of the people in your dreams, it’s time to look at how everyone is getting along. Conflict between characters in dreams highlights important issues, just as it does in waking life. Here’s another of my very old dreams, from a difficult period of my life, which will make a good illustration:

On Hold.

Dreamed I went to visit a local witch. She recognised me, but called me by a different name. I told her I had not used that name for a long time. She then walked me most of the way home, through quiet suburban streets. Upon arriving home, a narrow, plain house, I found two of my husband’s friends visiting. The house was full of cigarette smoke, and I was very angry at them for poisoning my home and family. I yelled at them to get out. They were angry and tried to kill me. I grabbed the phone and dialled emergency services. I was put on hold.

This dream breaks my heart, but I love it. It’s certainly a good example of conflict in dreams, so let’s look at exactly what’s going on here. The dream clearly shows that there are friends in my home who were no friends of mine at all. They filled my house with poison, putting my family at risk. So said the dream. But who were these dream characters? One of them was presented as a person I knew, but in real life he was doing nothing wrong, so looking at it, I need to come up with another explanation.

Now, if dreams tell us nothing else, they tell us to take responsibility for ourselves, our lives, and the decisions we make, including who we invite into our lives, and how we let them treat us. When I had this dream, I was in a very unhappy relationship and feeling trapped. This dream is clearly telling me that there are people in my home – and I’m going to tell you here and now that the house is one of the clearest dream symbols for the state of our lives – that were doing me harm, and that these people were supposed to be friends. Now, it makes sense to look at these characters as aspects of myself, since they are clearly not the actual people they looked like. Was I in a situation, in an unhappy relationship, where I was being my own worst enemy, instead of my own best friend? You bet I was.

Dreams are big on making us face our responsibilities, and as in this dream, they make sure that we know that our whole life is our responsibility. We are the ones in charge of making our decisions, of choosing who is in our lives, who we have relationships with, what we do when those relationships flounder; it is absolutely our responsibility to act when we realise we are in circumstances harmful to our well-being.

This dream was telling me that I wasn’t taking responsibility. That I was kidding myself if I thought that continuing to be friends with – in this case – my husband, wasn’t going to put me in danger. The soul doesn’t always differentiate between mortal danger and the danger we face if we don’t follow a path that is healthy, vital, and nourishing.

Part of your checklist for working with a dream you’ve remembered, is to look for conflict in it, to examine that conflict and find its message to you, because there will be one. Ask yourself who is the conflict between? How is it resolved, if it is? Once you have a grasp on the conflict in the dream, spend time formulating a plan to resolve it in your waking life, because there is going to be a waking counterpart to it, and it requires your attention.

 Examining Positive Interactions.

If we look at the conflict in our dreams – and we must – then we also should spend time with the positive interactions our dreams illustrate for us. They too, will have information we can bring into our daily life.

Look again at my old dream above. The part that I really love about it, is that of meeting the witch. There’s a lot I could have learnt from her then, and still can now. She’s still relevant, even twenty five years later. In fact, she touches me so deeply as I’m writing this, that I am going to take her wisdom right out of this old dream, and bring it into my life here and now. Because she is my own nature talking to me.

The witch is calling me by an old name, and walking me part of the way home – and that is what she really wants, for me to come home to myself, to realise that aspect of our nature she represents – the wild woman or man, the one full of old knowledge and wisdom, the one we have too often shunned because they can cast spells and change things simply because they will it and because they are in tune with the instinctual world. This old witch would have been a good friend at the time in my life when I had this dream.

I would have done well to become again that person she called me, with the use of an old name. That name referred to the woman I’d been before I’d got myself into this mess, when I was following my true path and shining brightly. This dream was telling me I needed to take up that old name again and access my own wild, knowing, and witchy nature.

Now, I still haven’t decided when to work on this book again. It’s good as it stands, almost done, but I feel as though there is something missing, and I did finally realise what – it needs a bit more magic in it. I’ve so many projects I want to work on this year, however, so I do need to think about where this one fits in!


Katherine Genet is the author of the Wilde Grove mythic/visionary fiction series, as well as complementary non-fiction. She has been walking a pagan path for 30 years and is a shamanic Druid, spirit worker, and priestess of  Elen of the Ways.

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  1. Diane Rasmussen

    Hi Kate
    Thank you for sharing about dreaming. I was so interested when you said how important houses are in dreams, as I have had reoccurring dreams of a massive run down scary mansion with many doors, on and off for years. The dream is always similar but different as well. Its not a nice place to be with doors slamming or locked with the occasional one opening but still feeling yucky to go through. I have experienced over coming my fear and going through one and feeling pleased about it . I always wake thinking I know this building but I cant place from any where. My subconscious is very messy if this is too go by lol. I am a complicated thinker, give me an argument and I can debate both sides so well I can’t choose a side ?

    • Katherine Genet

      I used to dream, off and on for years, that I lived in a mansion that had a self-contained apartment that was haunted. It’s scared the crap out of me to go in that part of the house. Oh my goodness, yes. Recurring dreams love to try to get our attention.
      If I dreamed of doors slamming against me, or locked so I could t go through, I would be asking myself what parts of my life I feel cut off from, and why. Dreams are a big conversation we have with ourselves but they can sometimes be conversations we might not want to have!
      I think it’s a gift to be able to see different sides of an argument. How valuable to be able to see varying viewpoints!

      • Diane Rasmussen

        Thanks Kate you always give me so much to think about xxx

  2. Shirley

    What an amazing dream Katherine. I have always loved, and been interested indreams. Yes, as you say, dreams are your subconscious/intuition telling/helping you.
    I well remember years ago, I had these dreams where I was lost for quite some time, and couldn’t find my home, it upset me. The dreams were different each time, but within the same theme, always crying out for my home. Sometimes, in my dreams, I had moved house, and wanted my old home back, sometimes I would be totally lost, and couldn’t find my way back. So many different variations of the dream, but the theme remained the same. I would wake up crying calling out the number of my house.
    Through studying dreams I came to learn that deaming of your home, was about yourself, and the rooms in your home were different aspects of yourself.
    It’s a bit of a long story, but to shorten it, I had changed my working environment. I have always worked in care. I started working in psychiatry, and was there for 9.5yrs. Then went to work in the community for an intensive care team for 4.5yrs. The team was funded by our local council, and funding became low. So, to broaden my aspects in care work, I went to work in Learning Disabilities Unit. This is when my dreams started. My colleagues within this unit were not very friendly, in fact, they were downright nasty. I loved the clients, but not that job. I was asked various questions, in joking tones, “are you a spy for our manager”, “why did you choose here, you are way too qualified” etc etc. I had entered a work place where the staff were a closed tight unit, and felt threatened with someone new. I started feeling not quite myself. I couldn’t communicate properly. I couldn’t express my feelings. I started losing weight, started feeling tired. I went from being an extremely confidant person to someone I didn’t recognise. I left after 2yrs.
    I got offered a job working in a local college as a Health Care Assessor for the NVQ’s. I loved that job, but the dreams continued, and I felt an unusual tiredness. Like I waz draining away.
    Anyway, I visited my Gp, and had a ‘well woman health check’, and discovered via blood tests that I had developed an underactive thyroid.
    The throat chakra is mainly about communication, so after a good chat with my gp, (who incidentally believes in chakras), and relating my dreams etc, I gave notice of leave to the college. I was only there for 2.5yrs, but hey ho, health is more important
    I was driving past our local Nursing home on my way home one day, and for some reason I found myself driving in through the gates, yes intuition lol. When I left the college, the dreams stopped, after 5yrs of having them. After starting in, what I realised was my forte, my health improved. I worked there for 20yrs, until I retired.
    So yes, dreams are important to the understanding, and mental health of oneself.
    Just one more thing Katherine before I sign off re: my dreams lol … I went through a period of as soon as waking I would write my dreams out, and they always flowed in poem form. I have so many poems, and all are dreams. No arrangement, or amendment to any word or line, just a constant flowing of pen. I just find it all so amazing how stages in our life can change just like that.
    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to ramble on.
    Blessed be, to you and yours.
    Shirley x

    • Katherine Genet

      Your recurring dreams are such an amazing example of how we have this rich vein of advice available to ourselves. I do wish sometimes they’d come out straight and say what they mean, but that’s just not the way that symbolism works. Dreams are like onions, just layers of meaning.
      Thank you so much for sharing,and I’m glad you found the way home in the end (and did a marvellous lot of good while working on the nursing home, I’m sure).

      • Julie

        Hello Katherine, I am inhaling your beautiful novels and started The Singing this week. I was thrilled to realise it deals with dreaming!! I also presented my first class on dreaming and journeying last night and the bit that got them hooked is the MAGIC ? ✨️. Cannot wait to read your nearly ready book ?? Julie

      • Shirley

        Thank you so much for replying Katherine. Yes, it would be nice if dreams were straight forward, and through those jumbled dreams, I did eventually find my way home. I think it is a good thing at times when dreams are a bit jumbled, they help in studying yourself more. Anyway, telling about my dreams invited me back to reading my poems of many years ago, and realising how the subconcious truly helps you. Thank you one again. x

  3. Anne Sunde

    Hi Katherine, my comment isn’t about dreams, but something else, hope that’s ok. A few years ago i did a meditation in which i was at a stone circle and a woman was there who called herself Elen of the Ways. I didn’t know what to do about this so left it. More recently i have felt called to work with her, and was surprised and delighted to read a bit about her in The Otherworld. I feel that i do want to work with her, but not sure how, apart from sitting at my altar and talking to her. Do you recommend anything specific? Thanks, Anne

    • Katherine Genet

      Hi Anne! I think this is a very common question – how do we work with a Goddess or guide or animal kin and so on. Besides doing what you’re already doing, which is an excellent idea, I also like to find ways to bring Elen into my everyday life. So, I will say a prayer to her – there are several in the books, I think offhand, that would fit this, but I may post one here tomorrow, that is more specifically for her.
      I also like to envision pathways, or go for walks along actual pathways, and walk in awareness that I am wishing to follow her way. I also look at my dreams because it is easy for her to turn up there in various ways.
      There are also some good YouTube videos on her, and Hilary at the Antlered Path has some excellent material on her. Let me get you a link… https://antleredpath.com/
      If you can ever do Hilary’s Wild Wheel Of Elen course, I do recommend it. She also has a new podcast that is worth listening to – https://anchor.fm/antleredpathpodcast/episodes/Walking-Magic-e1mm5bl
      Imagine that Elen is part of your life, and walk your path with her presence at the back of your mind, and you will discover that she comes to you and makes herself known and walks with you.
      Blessings on your way ?


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