Lydia is a solitary witch who has been active in the occult community for 15 years. She is a published writer and visual artist.
What Is a Dream Pillow?
A dream pillow is a bit of hand-sewn fabric stuffed with herbs. These are generally created for the purpose of relaxation. I would encourage those who want to make a dream pillow to integrate their personal passions and intentions to the creation of their pillow.
Dream pillows have been used for a long time to ward off nightmares and bring pleasant dreams. This might seem like a very superstitious idea, but some people swear by it. I remember my mother creating a talisman to ward off bad dreams back when I was a little girl. If it worked for her, it might work for you. Sometimes just having the comfort of a dream pillow can keep bad dreams away.
How to Make a Dream Pillow
This DIY project is easy. All you need is to cut out two pieces of fabric, align them together, and sew them into a pocket. Then you stuff the pillow with your choice of dried herbs. Do not use fresh herbs as they will rot. Crushing the herbs before you put them in will release oils and create a stronger aroma.
Selecting the fabric is a task in itself. Do you want to use a dark color or a light color? In witchcraft there are a variety of color correspondences. For a dream pillow, we traditionally choose soothing colors. What if you want to do something a little different? Perhaps you want to create a pillow to help you manage the transition out of sleep into the waking day? You could pick a high energy color like red. This could be a good project for those who have trouble pulling themselves out of bed on winter mornings. Make an energizing dream pillow that you use in the mornings to emerge from the dream state instead.
You could pick a translucent fabric if you want the colors of the herbs to show through. Give a little bit of thought to the texture. Perhaps you would enjoy silky or velvety fabric to snuggle up to as you dream. You can incorporate embroidery or applique to make this pillow all your own.
It can be a lot of fun to make your dream pillow using herbs from your garden. You can also sew a magick intent into your dream pillow. Write out your wishes on a piece of parchment and sew it inside with the herbs. You could add crystals, charms, or anything that serves a magick goal for you.
Common Herb Choices
Chamomile, hops, lavender, rose, peppermint, catnip, and lemon balm are all popular choices for dream pillows.
You can add essential oil to the mix, but don't put too much. Fragrance should be subtle if you are looking for a restful night's sleep. If you have a different idea of what you want to use your dream pillow for, by all means, choose a stronger scent.
You don't need to stick with the herbs which are traditionally used. What if you want uncommon herb choices? You can always be more creative. The reality of what is going on in your personal life should always govern your magick. This experience doesn't need to be in anyway generic. There are times when we witches get connected to a particular herb and you use it across the board. You may have a personal favorite which you want to work with that isn't typically used in sleep or dreamwork.
Experiment. There is a wealth of literature out there today discussing different herbs. You could figure out which herbs are said to improve memory and mental function. Then use this knowledge to create a pillow to do well in your studies. You might want to select plants that grow in the wild in your area to connect to your environment. There is something incredibly creative about wildcrafting your own dream pillow with what you see out in nature.
I live near the railroad tracks and frequently go to pick wildflowers for personal arrangements and crafts. The railway workers often see me and my daughter gathering supplies for our projects. You could do something like this as a grounding ritual. It gets you in touch with what is in your current reality right now. This can help you cultivate the skills you need to be a resourceful person. Just be sure that you are not picking endangered plants or in a place where you don't have permission to be.
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If you have a nostalgic memory of feeling happy connected to a particular plant, you could use that. Perhaps dandelions are the kind of herb you want to put in your dream pillow. It is a bright yellow plant with its own subtle fragrance. I think if we wish to connect to memories of our childhood, it makes a great choice.
Using Your Dream Pillow
Put your dream pillow inside your pillowcase or hold it as you fall off to sleep.
Your dream pillow can connect you to your garden at night or in the winter. If you are a gardener, you probably take pride in your garden. A dream pillow can provide you with a sense of well-being by invoking pride. Each night you go to bed with something created out of your own hard work.
One of the things I love about ritual work is the sense of continuity it brings into my life. Having a few traditions associated with the different points in the wheel of the year gets my life into a seasonal rhythm. You could make your dream pillow an annual tradition. Start at Imbolc by blessing the seeds you wish to grow for your dream pillow. Then, when late summer rolls around, you can harvest and dry your own herbs.
Seasonal affective disorder is a common complaint these days. I am sure that our ancestors often experienced cabin fever too. The thing that can help us better cope with the loss of sunlight is getting attuned to these natural rhythms. A dream pillow is another way of getting through the long winter. The herbs in that pillow absorbed the same sunlight you enjoyed back on warmer days. Connecting to this energy can be comforting and uplifting. It brings hope for the future. You can inhale the scent of your garden long after it has been buried under the snow. The dream pillow can serve as a reminder of bright days to come.
Enrich Your Sleep With a Dream Pillow
Dreams pillows are easy to make. A pillow with the intention of bestowing good dreams upon you is always a good bedmate. It can be kind of like a lucky charm or you could expand upon its purpose further. Dream pillows have been used to ease nightmares. If you or someone is recovering from an illness a dream pillow can bring comfort. You can create a dream pillow for any kind of magick purpose. It could be a way of encouraging your mind to sort out your problems as you dream.
More than any of our other senses smell is linked to memory. The sweet scent of herbs can conjure up a sense of well-being by putting our minds on something pleasant from the past. The scents of lilac, rose, lavender, and lily of the valley bring our minds over to a flower garden. A beautiful, idyllic place full of pleasant memories in the collective consciousness of society at large. There are typically positive associations with those kinds of sweet fragrances. Lend a little beauty to your imagination and you could be sleeping like a baby with only the best things coming into your mind.
Everybody needs sleep. It is a basic human need. Sleep is a healing experience. This why dreams and sleep are great to incorporate into our magick and witchcraft. If you are the kind of person who has a tendency to take on too much, dream work can be a great way to go with your magick. It takes the work out of ritual work.
I am attracted to dream magick because of my own relationship with insomnia. Back in my 20s I used to have some massive patches of insomnia where I was awake for days on end. I was a struggling artist trying to make a living with a day job. Coffee fueled me through the days. Staying awake for long periods of time seemed the only way of accomplishing my goals. Naturally, that took a toll after a while.
I spread myself too thin in those days. Sometimes I still have a tendency to put too much into my daily life. I would definitely encourage bedtime spirituality into the lives of busy people. Heavy ritual work just adds a bunch of stuff onto an already busy to do list. That can be mentally taxing. When you choose to focus on your sleep and dreams you can get replenished enough to take on your goals. Dreamwork is great for those of us who don't want to put magick and mysticism on the backburner just because life gets busy.
What goes on when we sleep? It improves immunity, builds muscle, and repairs brain cells. All the reason to get more of it.
- Herbal Dream Pillows: Aromatherapy for the Restful Sleep You Need - Garden Therapy
- How To Make A Dream Pillow. Best 2-Step Guide - Krostrade
Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on February 23, 2021:
Wonderfully informative article Zola.I learned something really new today. Thanks for sharing.
Hegel from 26.3452° N, 89.4482° E on February 23, 2021:
Your articles are clear, logical, and well written. You choice of images, that you use on your articles, is purely artistic, and is very pleasing and soothing to the eye.
My personal experiences with the magical and the paranormal is limited. However, I am a fan and a truster of the psychology, propagated by the Swiss psychologist, Mr. Carl Gustav Jung.
Although there is no scientific (i.e., logical) explanation as to why e humans sleep ~ this current article explores, in a Jungian fashion, various ways in which the act of sleeping may be enhanced. An interesting and thought-provoking read.