Last month, the senior co-minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, NJ, where I attend, spoke about her experience with imagination. She said when she could not sleep she would create images in the dark with her mind. This made me think of my childhood, however, those images were never pleasant. I am sharing my knowledge in hopes of helping parents, so that no child goes through what I did when it comes to astral.
When I was a child, the curtains on my window in my room made a shape of a man’s face in the dark. My parents could not see this and said nothing was there. No matter how they fixed it that is what I saw and it freaked me out.
If this were not bad enough, when I did get to sleep, I would find myself in the midst of a terrible car accident or a fire. I would see the flames and smoke from the buildings, and smell the diesel from the engines. I could see the first responders and those injured on the stretchers. These were not normal nightmares for a young child.
I can still vividly recall some of these incidents. The images felt so real; it is enough to keep anyone awake and for a child to experience them, mostly uncensored, and without parental understanding or support, can cause severe insomnia, as I had.
I did anything and everything to avoid sleep. I forced myself to stay awake at night, go to bed extremely late, for no reason but to sleep less. In addition, if I had a “nightmare,” I would listen to music in my portable tape player to help keep me awake and soothe myself. When the sun came up I felt safer and I would grab an hour or so of sleep in then. That is probably why now, to this day, I rarely feel tired because I forced myself to stay awake then.
I never told my parents just how graphic these “nightmares” were. I did not believe they would understand and I did not want to relive them. In fact, only within the last 10 years I had one of those unpleasant experiences. I woke up one night, or thought I did, I was not fully awake. The image was fuzzy of what appeared to be two men holding guns at the foot of my bed.
Now, at 42 I have better control of my sleep. I am usually out shortly after hitting the pillow and I am rarely up before the alarm clock thanks to my elders, co-founders of Three Fires Grove, a Druidic online teaching community. The Rev. Foxxy (Sher) Pullen with her late husband Hermotimus “Herm,” about 20 years ago, immediately noticed the issues I had with sleep. Foxxy explained why these images and nightmares were so terrible in my eyes and what was really going on.
She has worked so long and hard with me that I practically conquered my insomnia. Yes, I still fall into old habits at times; however now I can say that I actually enjoy sleep, something I thought would be impossible.
What I did not know was why they felt so real was because they were, just on another plane. Those “nightmares” my elders recognized were not actually dreams after all. These places, incidents I went to, accidents and fires, they were not my mind playing terrible tricks on me but I was astral traveling to these actual places. Chances are the images I created in the dark were from some of those places too.
Though it did not take me very long to break my insomnia, I still struggle with astral. I just recently began to travel again and I am starting to remember where I went afterwards. Ironically although I no longer go to those horrible scenes in my sleep, I now do so as part of my job as a journalist. Nowadays though I haphazardly visit both my grandparents’ houses, a vacation home, and an old village from another time I have yet to pinpoint. However, I struggle with traveling alone to any place I want to visit.
Astral travel can be a great adventure; you can go anywhere you want and rather safely. I am retraining my subconscious mind not to fear the astral world. No one, especially a child, should go through what I did. With awareness, no one ever will.
My elder also traveled when she was a toddler but figured it out a lot sooner than I did. We need to pass this knowledge on somehow to the “muggles” so their children do not have these issues. No one should be terrified to sleep, scared of what they may see in the dark, and jump at every sound.
Traveling can be a useful tool; to have this gift at a young age, we should celebrate it not fear it. To travel to places such as a family member’s house or even further back centuries ago could be very informative.
It can also be fun; I once traveled across the snow near my house, again without trying. My elder tells me stories of trips we have taken together; I have yet to remember any of them though. This is something I have been working on for quite a while now. I intend to overcome this issue by traveling more often. My CUUPS chapter UUCM Sacred Wheel will be hosting a discussion in the near future on this topic in hopes to help someone get over their block.
Zoom is not the only way to connect with loved ones. Although traveling may be restricted due to the pandemic, it is not on the astral plane. Go travel anywhere and everywhere you want. Nothing can stop you. Choose your adventure. Moreover, if you need to call for help do. Assist your friends and family members on their adventures too. There is a whole other world to explore. The question is where to go first.