Shauna Aura KnightAn artist, author, community leader, event organizer, and spiritual seeker, Shauna travels nationally offering intensive education in the transformative arts of ritual, community leadership, and personal growth. She is the author of the Dreamwork for the Initiate’s Path and the ritual facilitation book Spiritual Scents. She’s also a columnist on ritual techniques for Circle Magazine, and her writing also appears in several Pagan anthologies. She’s the author of the forthcoming books The Leader Within and Ritual Facilitation. The anthologies Stepping in to Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings on Priestessing, A Mantle of Stars, and Calling to our Ancestors.

Shauna is also a fantasy artist and author. Her mythic artwork and designs are used for magazine covers, book covers, and illustrations, as well as decorating many walls, shrines, and other spaces. She is passionate about creating rituals, experiences, spaces, stories, and artwork to awaken mythic imagination.

Interview Questions:

What are you currently working on?

Right now I’m finishing up two books that are each a compilation of the many articles and blog posts I’ve written on Pagan leadership, personal growth, and ritual facilitation over the years. They’ll both be available as one of the “perks” for an Indiegogo campaign. After that they’ll be available as eBooks and printed books. I have a few fantasy and paranormal romance stories I’m finishing up, and I’m also working on a longer book on how to be a better ritual facilitator, though that one has been taking me quite some time to write.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Most of my best articles come from me responding to a leadership or ritual questions on someone’s Facebook. I also get inspired by the questions people ask when I travel and teach ritual facilitation and Pagan leadership.

My blog posts that seem to inspire my readers the most are when I’m talking about my own personal process and I go deep and vulnerable and really let people in on the reality of the process of personal growth. And people’s responses to that, in turn, inspire me to keep writing and teaching.

What do you hope your readers get from your book?

Most of my nonfiction writing is geared towards Pagan leaders and spiritual seekers. For those who don’t consider themselves leaders, don’t let the word leadership turn you off. What I mean by leader is, someone who stands up. Someone who serves. Someone who says, I want to be more than I am, I want to be empowered and compassionate and help make the world a better place by being a better person myself.

Dreamwork for the Initiate’s Path is written to be accessible to anyone, no matter your spirituality. It’s not just for people who call themselves leaders, but I see anyone who is on the path of spiritual seeking as a leader. If you want to learn more about yourself, working with dreams is a great way to begin. Nothing is as powerful a mirror of our souls as our dreams. Initiation, for me, is a process that any one of us can go through if we work to explore the depths of ourselves. If you want to know what makes you tick, what inspires you, where your shadows are, what’s holding you back…begin by exploring your dreams.

Do you have any creative pursuits other than writing?

I write nonfiction, which is part of my “making the world better” passion, but I also write fantasy, paranormal romance, and science fiction. I paint fantasy and mythic artwork, I make mosaic pieces, sometimes I make costumes for Science Fiction/Fantasy conventions. I once built a life-size Jabba the Hutt. Pretty much I love creating and problem solving.

What spiritual path, if any, do you follow?

These days, I would say I follow an ecstatic, perhaps even shamanic path. When I say shamanic, I mean that I work with a lot of the tribal, primal, ecstatic techniques used in many shamanic traditions. My rituals are based on work from the Reclaiming tradition and Diana’s Grove, which both utilize ecstatic ritual. In the past years, I’ve worked to make my ritual work both more primal, but also to take techniques from modern psychology, hypnotherapy, and educational theory to make my rituals more effective. More singing, more dancing, more drumming. The rituals that I facilitate at Pagan festivals or when I host events in Chicago are always open to people who wouldn’t describe themselves as Pagan. And some days, I’m not even sure what Pagan means any more. I definitely follow an alternative spiritual path. Earth-centered, yes, pantheistic, yes. Polytheistic, no. For me, working with myth and archetype is all about the power of that myth, not about working with a specific deity. For me, the power is in the technique; it doesn’t seem to matter what sabbat we’re celebrating, what deity we’re working with. But when we sing and move and dance together, something opens up. So much of my work is about engaging groups of people in that deep trance state where we can explore our own depths, our shadows, and what ignites us with passion and inspiration. It’s probably most accurate to say I do ecstatic, transformative ritual work for mystics and spiritual seekers, for anyone who’s looking to understand the deeper mysteries.

My early spiritual seeking was centered in my own work with my dreams, and I think dreamwork is part of why working with myth and story are both so powerful an inspiration for me. Dreams are all about myths and stories—the stories we tell about ourselves, the stories the divine is whispering in our ears. For me, whatever anyone’s spiritual path, the work of self exploration so that we can become better, healthier, more empowered and compassionate people, is important work to do, and that’s a core part of my spiritual seeking. I believe that’s the center and beating heart of initiation—to look at ourselves in the mirror. To acknowledge what we see. To work to be better, to heal others.

Contact Shauna:

http://www.shaunaauraknight.com
https://shaunaaura.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/ShaunaAuraKnightRitualist
@Shauna_A_Knight

Dreamwork for the Initiate's PathDreamwork for the Initiate’s Path
Dreamwork is a core part of the path of seekers and initiates. Learn basic and in-depth techniques to work with your dreams in a concise, easy-to-understand way. This includes: remembering your dreams, exploring dream symbolism, unraveling nightmares, working with spiritual/personal transformation, better understanding prophetic dreams, and exploring your mythic and deeply internal programming.

Working with our dreams is a potent way to understand and explore ourselves at a deeper level. Our nightmares show us our fears, other dreams show us our power, a glimpse of the future, or bring messages from the divine.

In our dreams, we face many situations that we never would in the waking world. You might achieve the Grail or find yourself terrified, falling from an airplane into a night-dark sea. Dreams are multi-layered and difficult to unravel, but they will tell you more about yourself than you might believe.

On sale for $2.79 at Jupiter Gardens Press http://jupitergardenspress.com/shop/dreamwork/

Available in all major eBook formats and you can read an excerpt of the first chapter.

Also available for $3.29 at:  Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/Dreamwork-For-The-Initiates-Path-ebook/dp/B00HFVPXA4

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dreamwork-for-the-initiates-path-shauna-aura-knight/1117781019

You can also view the Interior Illustrations http://shaunaaura.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/dreamwork-for-the-initiates-path-image-gallery/

A Sneak Peak for The Poet Priestess readers….

 

BEGINNING DREAMWORK

Dreamwork goes beyond just remembering our dreams, though that is certainly the beginning. This book will begin with foundations in dreamwork moving into deepening your dreamwork practice. I’ll focus on practical ways you can use dreamwork in your personal growth and spiritual practice.

“Dreams make available to us a mine of psychological and spiritual treasures. They provide guidance vital to the journey, and they point to areas of ourselves where we need to work.” –Wayne Teasdale, The Mystic Heart

Dreaming: One path of the initiate

Dreams are an invaluable tool for transformative personal growth. I can experience entire worlds in my dreams that I could have no access to in the conscious world. In my dreams, I might interact with deities, archetypes, facets of the divine, of mystery. I might pass through a dark night of the soul that transforms me. An abundance of wisdom is available to us through our dreams that we might have no other way of gaining.

Taking on a personal practice of dreamwork is an initiate’s path. It is a discipline. To begin, I must know, “Why would I do this?” I must make the choice to do it. And I must follow it through with a consistent practice.

A Basic Dreamwork Practice :

  1. Formalize your intention
  2. Prepare to dream
  3. Dream
  4. Remember your dream
  5. Interpret your dream

Formalizing your intention
Much like in any magical, spiritual, or psychological work, possibly the single most critical piece is intention. What do you want? Do you want to get better at remembering your dreams? Do you want to use dreams to get to know yourself better, to transform yourself? Do you want insight into a major life decision? Do you want to deepen a connection with a specific deity or archetype?

Once you have an intention, you can make dreamwork a workable part of your personal practice.

Preparing to Dream
This might be as simple as stating aloud, “I will remember my dreams tonight.” It should involve a physical commitment such as keeping a pen and journal or tape recorder by your bedside. It might involve working with an archetype, such as Morpheus, Greek god of dreams. All these are practices that will help you formalize your intent, and should help you remember your dreams.

Dreaming
This is the easy part. Many people say they do not remember their dreams. Enough research assures me that while almost everyone dreams, not everyone remembers them. The exception is that certain sleep disorders prevent dream sleep, but these conditions are fairly rare. If you want to learn more about sleep disorders such as night terrors or sleepwalking, I recommend doing your own research. And of course, if you have some of the symptoms of a sleep disorder you should check in with your physician.

Remembering Your Dream
I find that writing the dreams down is absolutely the most challenging part of the discipline. The most important moments of dreaming are the first few minutes  after waking, when I really want to tuck back under the covers. I can’t stress enough how important it is to begin writing down your dream as soon as you wake up enough to do so. Particularly if you have challenges remembering your dreams, capturing even just a small essence of the dream will help improve your dream recall a little bit at a time. Dreams slip away very quickly sometimes.

When I’ve woken up enough that I can hold the pen, I write down my dream. Sometimes I make a few notes first to capture bullet points of different “phases” of the dream if it was complicated.

If I am having trouble remembering, I will lie in the position in which I slept, as sometimes this will help the dream return. It might sound strange, but it works. If you had an intense dream and had to get right up and go to work or an appointment and couldn’t write it down, sometimes you can get back into the dream and recall it by lying down in your sleeping position when you get home. I’ve tried this numerous times, and it really does help.

It might take a while to really remember your dreams. For me, the key is to write it down as soon as possible. Sometimes this is a brief snippet on waking; sometimes it’s two pages. The dream might keep until I’m on the bus to work. What I have found is that the closer to the time I awaken that I write down my dream, the more details I remember.

There are times in my life where I have diligently written down my dreams every day, and other times when I have gone months without writing down a dream. And, though I have fairly strong dream recall in general, when I haven’t written down a dream in weeks or months, my recall ability for dreams begins to fade. However, once I start writing them down again, my dream recall improves dramatically.

Again, even if your dreams are short, vague, or hard to remember, write down anything you can remember. Maybe it’s a color, a sense, a movement, or a snippet. Over days and weeks, your dreams will most likely become clearer.

It also helps to schedule your sleeping and waking so that you can awaken naturally. It’s very common to awaken naturally after a dream cycle. In fact, I would hazard a guess that one reason I have really good dream recall is because I tend to awaken numerous times during the night to flip over as my arm falls asleep.

Interpreting Your Dream
Dreamwork is a difficult but rewarding discipline; not only do I need to write down my dreams, but I have to then unravel the mess of symbolism. And, sometimes it really can be a mess; dreams are notorious for not making logical sense. In addition, our dreams often bring out huge, frightening symbols in order to call attention to something that is going on, and it can be a challenge of my own personal fortitude to deal with uncomfortable imagery and feelings.

 

Short Bibliography:

You can find information on all Shauna’s books at http://www.shaunaauraknight.com/books/

Spiritual Scents: Creative Use of Scent and Fire in Ritual http://jupitergardenspress.com/shop/spiritual-scents/

Dreamwork for the Initiate’s Path http://jupitergardenspress.com/shop/dreamwork-for-initiates/

The Leader Within: Collected Articles on Leadership, Community Building, and Personal Growth (January 2014)

Ritual Facilitation:  Collected Articles on the Art of Leading Rituals (January, 2014)

Anthologies Shauna has an article or essay in:

Stepping Into Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings about Priestesses, edited by Anne Key and Candace Kant

http://www.goddess-ink.com/priestessanthology.html

“Raising the Sacred Fire: How to Build and Move Energy in Ritual” and “Ritual Design and Facilitation: Chanting that Works”

A Mantle of Stars: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of the Queen of Heaven, edited by Jennifer McConnel

http://neosalexandria.org/bibliotheca-alexandrina/current-titles/a-mantle-of-stars-a-devotional-for-the-queen-of-heaven/

“My Path to the Lady in the Blue Light”

Calling to our Ancestors, edited by Sarenth Odinsson (Early 2014) “Ancestors and Descendants: Building Connections”

 

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  1. Thanks for hosting me! 🙂

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