|At a meeting of my first dream group, a fellow dreamer handed out sprigs of mugwort, a traditional dream pillow-stuffer. It’s supposed to produce light sleep, and thus make it more likely that you will remember your dreams. I placed a couple of leaves under my pillow.
But mugwort is a species of the bitter-tasting wormwood, whose cousin is used to produce absinthe liquor. It had such a powerful, and unappealing, smell that I couldn’t even fall asleep. After tossing and turning for a while, I finally tossed the leaves out of bed. I didn’t recall *any* dreams that night.
When time came to make my own dream pillow, I choose dried lavender and rose petals, both for their bright purple and red colors and for their sweet fragrance. The pillow cover was made from a piece of burgundy cotton-polyester. On it, I sewed the image of a hot air balloon which had been cut from yet another piece of printed cotton. This was to be my “flying dream pillow.”
“Rose” is, of course, a pun on the past tense of “to rise” (in the air). When I looked up their meanings, I discovered that a red rose means beauty; a burgundy rose means unconscious beauty. The beauty of the dream? It seemed very appropriate.
However, the traditional meaning of lavender is “distrust”! It comes from the belief that the English viper snake habitually lurked under a lavender plant. (Lavender was a favorite potpourri in Victorian England). So it was advisable to approach such a plant with caution. I could see a relationship between a snake lurking under the lavender plant and a scorpion skulking under a rock, but these images of my astrological sign, Scorpio, aren’t as light or air-born as the Dragon and the Eagle.
So I looked further for a more appropriate recipe for my flying dream pillow. And I found some ingredients that incorporated both lucidity and levity. The meanings are right; and they smell good, too.
Jasmine: The Cape Jasmine means “transport of joy.”
Larkspur: The meaning of this delphinium is “swiftness, lightness and levity.”
Rosemary: Elizabeth, Queen of Hungary, was cured of paralysis by Hungary water, whose chief ingredient was rosemary. The herb was believed to invigorate the nervous system and strengthen the memory. This reviving feature makes it akin to lucid dreaming, and a key to the cure of dream paralysis.
The flowers are easy to obtain where I live. And the rosemary was already growing in my garden.
So, after experimenting, which of the above did I discover produced the most potent dreams? None of them.
The winner was a nasal decongestant! I smear it on my upper lip for relief from a chest cold as but it has the double result of encouraging dream recall. (And it’s also produced a flying dream or two.) If you want to stir up your own batch, the active ingredients are menthol, camphor and eucalyptus oil. Or you can go to the store and buy Vic’s VapoRub.
Reference: Powell, Claire. *The Meaning of Flowers,* (Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications, 1979).
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