posted on May 2, 2024 by Lori Joan Swick

Writing the Dream Poem

If you are having fascinating dreams …Write poems about them!

Many of the world’s famous poets, including Voltaire, Goethe, and Christina Rosetti said that they drew creatively on their dreams.[i]  Several of the poems that I have had published were based on vivid dreams. So, drawing on my book, Dreaming~The Sacred Art, here is a tried-and-true method of producing a prize-winning poem based on that weird dream you had last night:

  1. Journal your dream – Write down every detail you can remember, no matter how minute or trivial it may seem. Sometimes the real meaning of the dream is packed into images that seem irrelevant when reviewing the storyline of the dream.
  2. Read through your journal notes and make a list of the symbols that you sense are supercharged with significance. This can consist of colors, shapes, patterns, numbers, animals, or objects. Pay particular attention to things that defy natural observance – like eyes of an odd color or buildings that seem strange or out of shape. Things like the moon, snakes, flying, falling, loss of teeth, visits from deceased loved ones, are all significant (and frequent) dream symbols.
  3. Examine the pervasive and important symbols from your dream and use them as a frame for the mood, structure, and flow of your poem. Remember that the actual narrative of your dream may not be as important as the symbolic flow of your poem. As your awareness of the significance of the symbols grows, their importance and emotional impact within your poem will too. As you will see, the symbolic function of your poem will take on a life of its own and grow into something more universal and wonderful than you ever imagined.
  4. Write and revise your poem as an organic, growing, learning, personal experience based on the deep symbolic structure within your dream. Not only will this be a deeply gratifying personal experience, but this process will make your poem meaningful to others who read it too. As depth psychologists like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung have shown, all humans have a “collective consciousness” that draws on similar symbolic psychological knowledge, experience, and awareness. For this reason, poetry written in this manner will cut through the superficial layers of your audience’s awareness and strike at the core of their psychological needs and emotional feelings.

For further explanation on this and the phenomenon of dreaming and creating sacred poetry and other works, please look at my book, Dreaming ~ the Sacred Art, that was published in 2014 by SkyLight Paths Publishing.

Peace Grace, and Abundance,


[i] Van de Castle, 11-21.

Lori Joan Swick

Lori Joan Swick

Lori Swick is an author of historical novels about women whose contributions to religion and culture have been grossly disregarded. She also writes nonfiction books about sacred arts. Her published works include the historical fiction novel, Comfort and Mirth (TCU Press, 2009), and the nonfiction book, Dreaming ~ The Sacred Art (SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2014). She is also an award winning essayist and poet. Lori earned her Ph.D. in Religion and Philosophy with a concentration in Women's Spirituality from California Institute of Integral Studies. Her specializations are Women's Sacred Arts and Women in World Religions. She was awarded a Master's Degree with Distinction in Theology with an emphases on Feminist Theology and World Religions from the University of Notre Dame and graduated with valedictory honors from St. Edward's University, majoring in English Writing and Religious Studies. Lori currently lives in Southwest Florida. When she is not writing, she presents webinars in sacred arts topics, and works as an adjunct online university professor in religion and philosophy.

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