Dreaming with Maria C. Cernuto, USA
Maria, when did you realise that dreams are important? When did you start keeping your dream journal? What motivates you to record your dreams every morning?
Dreams have been an important part of my life since childhood because I had many out of body experiences and unusual dreams. The earliest memory I have of leaving my body is when I was about seven or eight years old. I told my mother about them and she would insist it was just a dream. This banter between us happened while my maternal grandmother was over on one occasion and she explained, matter-of-factly, that I was “astral traveling.” When I was little older she gave me Robert A. Monroe’s book, Journeys Out Of The Body.
In my teenage years I experienced intense lucid dreams, but had not yet heard of that term until I found a spiritual teacher at 18 years of age; she encouraged me to keep a dream journal and was the first person I knew to use that term, though she herself had never experienced a lucid dream until many years later when I taught her how to incubate for lucidity by performing reality checks, look for dream signs, etc.
I also discovered many of my dreams were precognitive, clairvoyant and/or telepathic; and this motivated me to maintain my dream journal 30 years later. Additionally, working with my dreams has helped me to grow psychologically, emotionally and spiritually, as well as serving as a source of creative inspiration.
You are involved or interested in many esoteric lines of thought, including astrology, Wicca, tarot cards and similar. How do dreams fit in with your other interests?
Tarot and astrology employ pictures and symbols to convey volumes of information, which is in alignment with the purpose of dreams/dream symbolism. When I teach astrology and tarot I suggest meditating and incubating dreams to discover deeper layers of meaning and as a means of connecting more profoundly with the major arcana, planets (gods) and zodiacal signs.
Many Wiccans maintain dream journals, though it really depends upon the interests of each covens’ high priestesses; my high priestess placed great importance on maintaining a dream journal and noting the cycles of the moon, and menses for women. She especially felt I should develop my dreaming abilities since I had a natural ability in this area, and suggested I take the Goddess name, Epona, as she was associated with dreaming. Some Wiccan traditions impart elaborate rituals to carryout dream magic and/or dream divination. When I lived in the mountainous forest of North Carolina I had a temple room with skylights so it could serve as a sort Asclepian dream hieron (Greek for sanctuary or holy place).
While living in North Carolina another Wiccan high priestess told me about an upcoming vision quest that one of her coven members was to endure before her Third Degree elevation. I thought to myself, “This would be the perfect time to test if an ‘awake individual’ could sense the astral body of a ‘projecting individual.’” I knew the person going on the vision quest quite well, and thought her psi abilities would be heightened during this period of meditation, fasting and sleeplessness. I didn’t mention the plan to her high priestess because I didn’t want her to unintentionally plant the seed of my experiment into her coven member’s subconscious mind. I thought it would be especially revealing if she was able to see, hear or feel my astral body without anticipating its/my presence.
I used a child’s foldout futon to sleep on, abiding by a principle I learned from Tibetan Dream Yoga, the practice of not sleeping too comfortably in order to maintain awareness. Before lying down I gazed at a giant glow-in-the-dark spiral, a three to four foot circular mandala painted with luminous black and white concentric circles, to induce a trancelike state while performing meditative breathing. I laid down and closed my eyes; I could see the spiral swirling with my eyelids shut. I am affirming that I will astral travel to see D in V’s temple room. I am holding the vision of the spiral while slipping in and out of consciousness; I am enjoying the hypnagogic hallucinations and suddenly astral project:
I see my temple room from a disembodied perspective, D and V are squatting by my head; now I’m back in my body looking out from my own eyes into their eyes. I slip in and out of consciousness; in and out of my body. At some point I am moving about my temple room and go over to the spiral; I am able to enter it like a tunnel and exit thru the mirror located in V’s temple room in Florida, it looks exactly as it does in waking life. I see D struggling to stay awake – she is in the Northern quarter of the room near the altar – I am squatting next to her saying, “D if you hear me, it’s Mia [my nickname], you got to call me.” I move from one side of her to the other, muttering this statement repeatedly from ear to ear for some time. EOD
Prior to entering the spiral I could not tell if I was dreaming or awake at times; but once I went into V’s temple room I was both lucid, remembering to carry out the task, and out of body. The next morning I awoke to the sunrise shining through the skylight. I made coffee and got the laundry started. I was surprised to hear the phone ring so early in the morning; I answer the phone to the sound of D’s voice with a serious tone, she sternly says, “You have been heavy on my mind all night long. Do you need to tell me something?” I gasped! She continued to tell me how she had heard my nickname repetitiously and to call me (one of her gifts is clairaudience), and that she felt my energy enter the room in the early predawn hours. This was the most convincing support for out of body experiences being different from lucid dreams in that the person who was “awake” felt my “dream body” almost eight hundred miles away unaware of my experiment, and she heard my voice vacillating from ear to ear, which corresponded to my movement when I visited her out of body.
Do you do dreamwork professionally? How much time per week do you spend on working with your own and other people's dreams?
I have worked as a “dream reflector” for a website called, DreamsCloud.com. Currently, I work with a partner sharing our dreams and working to meet in mutual lucid dream. I would say I spend about 7-8 hours a week now on dreams between sharing with a partner and with several online dream groups, whereas when I worked for DreamsCloud it was more like 16-20 hours weekly.
A few years ago you started a PsiberDreaming Group. How many members do you have and what do you do in this group? Why did you start it? What are your objectives?
A past PsiberDreaming Conference offered annually by The International Association for the Study of Dreams inspired me to create a forum in 2011 where an intimate group of oneironauts could hone their psi dreaming skills. I named the group, Psidreamers. One of the presenters at this conference, Dale E. Graff, a physicist and a former director of project STARGATE, a government program that investigated remote viewing phenomena to locate missing people or find target locations, had said during the 2011 conference regarding the psi dreaming contests, “Don’t wait to develop your psi dreaming skills only once year… practice, practice, practice throughout the year.” I thought, “He’s right!” So I created a hidden forum and invited several dedicated dreamers and researchers of psi to join. We fluctuate between 15-19 members.
Group dreaming seems important to you. What are the potentials of group dreaming? Can a group of dreamers find, for example, a missing child? Can you give an example of a successful group dreaming?
One of the Psidreamers’ goals/questions as a group has been, “How can we use our psi dreaming skills to help humanity?” I believe we can find missing children just as Dale E. Graff’s remote viewing team found the “missing general”. You can read about this endeavor in his book, River Dreams: The Case Of The Missing General And Other Adventures In Psychic Research.
During one of our psi dreaming practices a local toddler was reported “missing” the night I was serving as the telepathy target image sender. Even though I was not incubating to find him, but rather to get lucid and “send” the target image within my dreams, one of my dreams suggested he was not missing at all, and that he had been murdered by someone within the household and he would be found stuffed somewhere inside the home where there was extreme heat (I dreamed of a toddler that was stuffed inside a Dutch oven by a sinister family member). Five days later he was found stuffed inside a box next to the dryer inside his family’s hot Florida garage. His stepmother beat him to death and tried to hide his body.
The Psidreamers set our intention to stop the Army Corps of Engineers from invading Standing Rock’s encampment, a sacred and treaty protected piece of land and body of water belonging to the Lakota people (Native Americans). Three days following our efforts the military withdrew, but our dreams suggested the fight was not over. After Trump resumed the Keystone pipeline’s construction a Native American Psidreamer called for more dreams and prayers for Standing Rock. She and I shared a powerful mutual dream where both she and I dreamed of performing magic together and that I was leading a ritual at Standing Rock. I called upon a group of Wiccans to honor these dreams, and around the Spring Equinox of 2017 we carried out a ritual dance and performed magic for the Lakota people. On June14, 2017 a federal judge ruled in favor of the Standing Rock Lakota-Sioux Tribe, handing them their first legal victory in its yearlong battle against the pipeline. I presented a paper on this subject for The International Association for the Study of Dreams’ annual 2-week online Autumn conference recently, called the PsiberDreaming Conference.
You live in Florida. Do you attend or run a local dream group? Do such groups exist? Are people around you interested in dreams?
I am the Florida representative for The International Association for the Study of Dreams and our membership is rather demure compared to New York or California, for example. Unfortunately, Floridians do not seem to have a big interest in dreams, at least not in my experience. It was difficult to find a dream-mentor when I was young.
I do dream-work with the Wiccan groups I am affiliated with, but I mostly share dreams and experiment with psi dreaming with my online dream groups at this point.
Do you have a dream that you would like to come true?
Yes, I have had several dreams where I am able to heal people using various modalities: siting in a chamber with a healing plant, laying on of hands, employing magical acts and making magical healing ointments. One dream in particular that I would love to come true involved healing the world and cleaning up the Earth through writing and then reading aloud a children’s fairytale:
I am using/have written a story to do magic, to heal with. I am writing about healing the Earth and cleaning up the ocean. I am writing it and reading it aloud like it is so – willful/with conviction! It is written in the style of a children’s fairytale type book with poetic meter. EOD
I guess I should start writing!