Dear Dream Tending Community,
Last week and over the next three weeks, Tending Tuesday will be devoted to aspects of Dream Tending that mark its foundation. Last week, Tending Tuesday explored The Living Image. This week, we are delving into The Intolerable Image, known commonly as nightmare.
One of the potent aspects of nightmare images, and where books of dream symbols and interpretive texts often fall short, is how personalized these images are. While certain nightmarish images like plagues, murder, and war are considered intolerable within the collective, other images are not so easily categorized and defined. Consider Ocean, Stranger, or Snake. What may be an intolerable image to one may be a comforting, companion image to another. To truly discover why the image visits, tending to the relationship between dreamer and image must take place.
In the Dream Tending method, Dr. Aizenstat has created a specific container, a six step process, to begin working with nightmare images. Using these steps, the first of which is, connect to your strength and find supportive figures, it is possible to create an understanding, even loving, relationship with an image we once considered intolerable.
In preparation for the first step of connecting to your strength and finding supportive figures, please consider the following exercise:
1. Think of a recent dream with a potent, nightmarish image.
2. Take a few moments to situate your body in a seated position. Notice your breath. Notice where your body is connected to the earth, through your seat in the chair, through your feet on the floor.
3. Allow your breath to deepen. There’s no need to rush; let your breath deepen naturally at its own pace.
4. Notice what happens in your body as your breath becomes a conscious companion. Feel your stability within and upon the Earth.
5. From this place of stability, bring to mind your recent dream. Notice a non-threatening figure in the dream. Consider landscape, animals, elements, etc.
6. Use your preferred medium–writing, movement, art–to describe the scene of your dream from this non-threatening figure’s perspective. Notice how it sees. Notice what it sees.
7. In your dream journal, reflect on any changes that come forward with this new perspective.
In dreamtime,
Myka Hanson, Ph.D.
Mentor of the Academy of Imaginal Arts and Sciences and Program Coordinator for the Certificate I program

Inside The Curious Mind

This is a quote that resonated with me this week…

“Of all the things you choose in life, you don’t get to choose what your nightmares are. You don’t pick them; they pick you.”
-John Irving

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Stephen Aizenstat

Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., is the founder of Dream Tending, Pacifica Graduate Institute, and the Academy of Imaginal Arts and Sciences. He is a world-renowned professor of depth psychology, an imagination specialist, and an innovator. He has served as an organizational consultant to major companies and institutions, and as a depth psychological content advisor to Hollywood film makers. He has lectured extensively in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. He is affiliated with the Earth Charter International project through the United Nations, where he has spoken. Professor Aizenstat is the Chancellor Emeritus and Founding President of Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has collaborated with many notable masters in the field including Joseph Campbell, James Hillman, Marion Woodman, and Robert Johnson.