Copyright (C) 1998 by William Mistele. All rights reserved. 
                       The Dialogue Method

Dialoguing is way of processing our experience.  It connects us with
archetypal and spiritual energies.  It gives us a chance to respond
personally to an encounter with magical beings or god/goddess images and
also with nature.  Even when we may move into a sacred space during the
conversation, our own thoughts and feelings remain central in the
     Conversations can take place on many levels.  We can interact
verbally and also non-verbally.  We can talk to a friend in a casual,
everyday setting.  We can talk to God with the same casual familiarity.
We can also enter into a meditative trance or speak from the center of a
magick circle after preparing ourselves in a ritual manner.  In each case,
there is a different quality and strength to in the connection and the
level of concentration we employ.  Eventually, dialoguing becomes magick.
It naturally turns into telepathy, clairsentience, clairvoyance, and
evocation.  At the same time, it is a helpful tool reminding us to stay
centered within ourselves.
Preliminary Exercises

To get a feel for dialoguing,  imagine being  welcomed by 
old friends.  Recall moments of giving and  receiving, 
of support and love.  What are your best experiences with establish-
ing rapport or empathy with others?   Recall when someone really 
listened to you and when you did the same for someone else.  
Also recall moments when you felt so close to other individuals 
that you could feel their energy flowing through you.  
     Recall  times  when  the unexpected  happened,  when people 
showed you an unseen side of their personalities.  What 
have been your most magical moments with others,  when the interaction 
was delightful and they continuously surprised you? 
     After quietly recollecting these experiences,  see 
if you can bring together the feeling in all these different 
experiences.   Hold  them within your mind at the same time and 
allow them to blend and fuse together.  Then answer the question, 
"What is it like for you when you have attained intimacy and your 
strongest sense of connection to another person?"  Answer this
question in terms of your own experience. 
     To go further, notice briefly each of your five senses and 
their involvement as you remember these experiences.  How clear a 
picture can you get of the other person?   How well do you recall 
the sound of the other person's voice?   Do you remember the way 
you felt at the time?   Can you recall a touch, a kiss?   Can you 
recall any specific smells or tastes which accompanied these 
experiences?   Each  of us has our own style of interacting with 
other people and our own perceptual way of  recalling  personal 
encounters.  Notice whether some of your senses are stronger than 
     At this point let's try a brief dialogue activity.  Imagine 
one of your friends is standing in front of you.  Get a sense of 
this person being actually present.  As you do this,  notice any 
change in your physical sensations, feelings, or mental attitude.       
Simply  by  imagining the presence of the other person there has 
already begun an interaction on some level--there is, e.g., at 
least a faint exchange of energy occurring.  One way to give form 
to  this interaction is by imagining the two of you talking  back 
and forth to each other.  
     Try this. After you have a sense of the other's presence, 
spontaneously greet this person,  ask a question,  or sense a way 
in which the other responds to you.   Imagine you can hear what 
the other person might say. Of course, in dialoguing, the 
interaction does not need to be verbal.  There can be a  pure 
exchange of feelings,  visual images,  or any combination of 
sensory stimuli. 

Dialoguing with Nature

Choose something in nature which is full of wonder, beauty, 
mystery, light, and/or spiritual energy for you.  This 
could be the moments of dawn or twilight;  it could be a lake, 
river, or ocean; it could be a rock, a stone circle, or mountain; 
a wind, a cloud, a rainbow, the sky, a star, or the moon.  It 
could be a plant, an animal, or an elemental or spiritual being.
     In the druid tradition, it is customary to ask permission to enter
into communion with nature.  Asking permission is a way of connecting 
and attaining empathy.  It offers respect and indicates your intent to be
fully present and alert. To illustrate how  dialoguing works, I will now 
begin a dialogue with a Cottonwood tree.   

Dialogue with a Cottonwood Tree

I approached the Cottonwood tree and raise my hand to
feel her energy.  I then say, ""I request your permission to work with
you." I feel a very rich, vibrant energy returning to me in response
as the tree opens her aura to me.      
     Next,  I contemplate the life of this tree.  I 
visualize and sense all aspects of its life,  from its birth as a 
seed,  through its years of growth,  and its experiences during 
those years--days,  nights,  winds,  storms, rains, droughts, and the 
seasons.  In my mind I follow the seeds it has released into  the 
     I enter into a period of  silent communion with the 
the tree as it exists both inside and 
outside of space and time--I am focused on its being,  its exper-
iences,  and its way of working with energy.   In doing  this,  I 
have  brought  into  focus a whole constellation  of  sensations, 
feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and energies. 
    I extend my mind also downward into the ground and feel
the lay of the land, its richness, moistness, its           
compilation of organic material--the soil, rich in the      
memory of fallen branches, leaves turned to dirt, streams   
flowing, fields bare and waiting beneath the snow.          
     And deeper beneath the topsoil, the pathways of ancient
rivers, large rocks, the presence of forgotten ice ages,    
mountains come and gone.                                    
     I focus again on the tree.  Touching her is like        
touching a living, breathing being.                         
     I travel down into the ground again and pause among the
tree's roots and feel how they surge and uncoil in strong  
growth during springtime. Here, there is so much life in the
soil between the roots I feel like dancing a dervish--while
the roots dig deep and are welded to the earth, above, the  
stars spin circles in the sky.                              
     And there it is again, I have heard this song before:  
the roots of this tree hear the silence deep in the         
earth--the near groaning and reverberating, the mantra the  
earth sings to the stars and planets.  Listen.  Though      
Tibetans chanting in saffron robes high in the Himalayan    
mountains faintly echo this sound, it comes from far deeper 
than the roots of mountains or the voices of men.  Scientists
would call it the gravitational pull of the planets, but it is 
far more subtle, multifaceted, and full of life and energy.       
     At the surface, the land is quiet and still. Yet I    
can sense deep in the earth the fire and the will 
which moves continents.  In currents and tides, 
this fire stirs ceaselessly in mysterious cauldrons.                                       
     I ascend now into the branches of the tree and linger in the 
cold stillness amid the silvery touch of the moon and the       
occasional brush of the wind.  Like the infant bird in a     
nest, I lie on the branch swaying with the wind and feel   
myself embraced by both the earth and the sky.  I feel too in
the trunk strength and stability.       
     As is my custom, I lift my hands up to collect energy.
Between my open palms, I gather together the life force, 
the energy of earth and sky, of light and darkness, and the 
elements into one shimmering ball of energy.  I shrink then 
shrink this ball down into the  size of a grapefruit.                                       
     I gently guide this energy and it floats into the trunk
of the tree as a gift.  Immediately, the tree awakens.  
A tall, thin women appears in front of me.  She is fragile
and gentle.  She is both distant and near.  She is the light
which casts shadows in a dream.  She is the cry of geese    
over water and beneath clouds lit by the ascending moon.   
Her eyes touch me from an inner space as silent as winter   
and the quiet longing of the Earth.                         
     I join with her and we become one.  With the fluidity of a dream,
I enter her body and form and join with her mind. And now I look out  
at the world through her eyes.  Although a part of my brain 
remains familiar and can still think human thoughts, I see  
with the eyes of the tree spirit.                           
     My body is as still as a rock and I feel the earth    
sleeping beneath the cover of the snow.  I have entered into
a place between thoughts, not a silence, but a satisfaction 
and contentment which is more than human will can know.  I  
feel her smile upon my lips and the fire burning within her 
     She then speaks to me in my mind.  Her words, somehow  
bearing sound and weight, say, "Come with me further, to the 
the Center."  And with her, without hesitation, I go.  This  
place is the heart of the year, of the cycle of time.   
And I see the seasons are a necklace she wears.             
     And too, I feel the passion rise within her body, the  
warmth in her hands, the blush in her cheeks. is 
the passion of Life joined with perfect stillness--a        
knowledge that is one with the flow of time. And now her 
voice sings this song:           
Oh you, Sun above me,                                       
You who awoke me when I was a seed                          
Hidden in the womb of darkness,                             
And you Mother,  
Out of whom is woven my body and my soul,                   
With the Seasons are my seeds and leaves born,              
And with the Seasons do they give birth and die,            
And yet ever do I grow closer to You (the Earth and the Sky)

And turning again to me she says (with the vision of    
passing seasons, a vine adorning her words) "Receive my gift,
you whose tongue gives voice with human breath to my song. 
Know and be a part of this: in my heart, the heaven and the 
earth are joined and round about me play their offspring   
and children, the Seasons."                                  
     I stay here for a time, sheltered in her heart and in  
her love, a traveler carried by and drifting on an ancient  
river of the soul.                                          
     And from this space I now depart.                      
     As we separate one from the other, I hold her hand and 
touch her cheek.  And in each other's eyes, a mirror        
reflecting ourselves.  We separate without sorrow or loss.  
     As I feel again my human blood flowing within my body  
and not the sap of the tree, her presence slowly fades.    
And yet something clearly still lingers within me--her      
wintery, still contentment, the sheltering protection of her
heart, and her passion for the Mystery.                     
Comments on Dialoguing

When I dialogue,  I first exchange an energy gift with the 
part  of nature with which I am working such as a tree or a
stone circle or an elemental being. I interact  with 
the  image (which usually appears in human form).        
For me, the most exciting part of dialoguing is being silent 
in my mind as the feeling of the tree unfolds new perceptions, 
energies, and memories within me.  With partners in love, there 
is such an attunement that one energy  begins to flow right 
through the core of both partners. This same experience happens 
in dialoguing.  And, as with lovers,  it is inevitable that one 
must put aside one's own identity to enter more fully into this 
state of mutual energy and shared perceptions.  
     What often accompanies such an interaction is an emotional 
release. This occurs as the energy exchange connects each partner 
to a larger state of being.  This happened to me in the dialogue, 
because the tree was sharing its far more grounded and organic 
connection to the earth than what I know through my own body.   
The encounter reminded me graphically and kinesthetically 
of the unnecessary mental clutter and emotional baggage which 
I can let go of when I feel grounded.  
     The most challenging part of maintaining a receptive state 
of silence in attuning to a tree is when I feel the  energy 
connection but I am unable to bring it into focus.  Then I begin 
to shift through my senses and memories as I freely 
associate images.  This requires a very light touch.  It is like 
being awake yet flowing among dream images, waiting for the one 
to appear which is harmonious and reflective of the experience.      
   Thee visual image of what I see can be considered part symbol 
and part spontaneous use of the imagination.  The preliminary
generates strong feelings, sensations, and energies within my body.  
I then take these experiences and translate them into a visual image
and real enough to me to embody their qualities.  
     In  the above example I also shifted into a state of oneness 
with the tree in which we briefly shared a common 
energy field.  In some situations, to facilitate a deeper experience,  
it is possible to shift over to the other side and imagine 
myself becoming the very thing I am visualizing.  
    The other  crucial aspect besides visualizing a kind of human image 
is  transferring a gift of energy.  This can be done through 
chanting,  singing a song,  reciting a poem,  breathing, etc.  In 
the above example,  I imaginatively gathered energy from the air 
and earth, condensed it into a ball, and offered it to the tree.  
     This energy apparently serves as a medium which the tree 
spirit uses in creating images my mind can understand.  It also 
gives the tree spirit the charge of energy it needs to transport me
into different states of awareness.  Long ago in reading Tolkein,
I loved the part where he says the elves woke up the trees
and give them voices with which to speak.  This is my way of
joining the enchanting power in imagination with a little magical
In any case, consciously exchanging energy vastly magnifies the 
depth of  the interaction.  
     At the same time people who are very sensitive and receptive 
may close  he dialogue but still feel a strong  influence from 
the contact. In this case it can be helpful to imaginatively dissolve 
any left-over, excess energy  when you are done dialoguing.  
Unless it is your intention to do other work such as healing, the 
energy given was to further the dialogue process and not to 
create a prolonged and direct energy connection.  Otherwise, the 
energy you put outside of yourself into something may continue to 
magnetically influence you and possibly disturb your vital  and 
emotional equilibrium. 

Other Points in Dialoguing

In  dialoguing, it is necessary to maintain the full tension and 
dynamic of two different things,  bringing their whole being into 
relationship with each other.  If one side of the relationship 
becomes either dominant or passive, the encounter is lost.  In 
dialoguing with nature,  if individuals rely too heavily on their 
own imagination instead of maintaining a focus on the other,  the 
dialogue turns into fantasy.  This fantasy can be exciting or 
nightmarish, but it is not transforming.
     By contrast,  if the other takes over the interaction, there 
can be new information and discovery, but, again, there is no 
transformation.   The experience is passive.  Like reading a 
fascinating book, the experience can be very enthralling but  
it remains vicarious.  You play no part in the action. 
     When both sides of the dialogue are equally active, there is 
a newness and unpredictability.  The experiences may be familiar 
and friendly,  but there remains an awareness of being in the 
presence of a sacred power and there is a profound clarity.  
     What is perhaps most important is remaining directly focused 
on your own sensations,  feelings, and perceptions. If you preserve a 
sense of wonder, beauty, light, life, and love and if there is something
you deeply want to interact with, then you have entered into a state of 
     Once you establish a connection through contemplation and empathy,
you simultaneously feel new energy.   Look for it.  As you 
remain focused on the energy, sensations, and feelings within 
you,  they begin to move and transform.  To follow that movement 
it is necessary to avoid clinging to them, shaping them, or being 
afraid of them.  Our mind needs to be utterly  flexible using 
images as a means to resonate freely with the energy,  following 
those which take us deeper into the encounter. 
     As with a person, we may think we know them, but then we may 
resist and become upset when they show us a side of their 
personality with which we are not comfortable.  We want them to 
meet our expectations.  When we judge or label a friend, at that 
very moment we are not giving them our full attention and we are 
withholding our energy from them.  Then our past experiences and 
future anticipations are determining the course of 
the interaction.  Therefore, it is critical to not label or judge 
what is happening.  The encounter needs its own space so it can 
unfold in its own way and reveal the new forms through which it 
wishes to express itself.
     Consequently,  dialoguing requires that we constantly cross 
over our own boundaries and challenge our assumptions.  To do 
this, our awareness needs to be flexible, to assume any form, any 
feeling, any sensation.  We need a level of acceptance able to 
receive the unexpected without being restricted by fear or 
attachment.  When we come upon resistance in ourselves, a feeling 
of being stuck, bored, or afraid, we can honor that limit for the 
time being.  We can also ask ourselves in what way we need to 
become more open so we can go deeper into the experience. 
     Although  dialoguing requires a meditative and reverential 
state of mind,  another ingredient is retaining our own  mental 
independence, shrewd alertness, and scrutiny.  In dialoguing, 
the  images come alive when we ask challenging questions--
questions which bring to the surface our assumptions about our-
selves and the other.  The other's response to a question may be 
sarcastic or humorous.  
     One time,  I asked a woman who appeared in relation to the 
moon,  "Where am I supposed to be with myself?"  Her dry, cynical 
reply was,  "You are already where you are supposed to be with 
yourself."   Nature is also very playful and full of vast levels 
of sensuality. Some favorite questions I often ask are, "What are 
deepest dreams?"  "Can you share with me your secrets?" "What are 
your needs?"
     A final note.  The dialogue method is practiced in  various 
traditions with the purpose of understanding our feelings and 
exploring various kinds of encounters.  By projecting 
outward into human form an image of a process unfolding within us,  it is 
possible to bring all our senses and intellect into contact  with 
that process and explore it further.  
     As we become more receptive to nature, the images 
we perceive may take on their own life.   They will appear  
independent of us and dramatically alter the way we are perceive them.  
For example,  when I initially dialogued with dawn,  imagining her as a
the female image was an embodiment of my own personal 
sense of awe and wonder.  The dialogue between the two of us was 
a verbalization of my feelings.  But after a while,  the woman who now
appears acts with a profound wisdom and a vibrant sense of humor.  
She guides me through emotional experiences which are far 
more charged with energy than anything I can easily conjure 
up through imagination.  
     For dialoguing to reach its full potential,  it is always 
necessary to remain objective and retain a questioning attitude.  
On the other hand, many encounters may lead us to ask, "Is this a 
real  being or spirit I am contacting or a projection of my own 
feelings and wishes?"  Everyone is entitled to their own 
answers to this question.  
     To  check,  you can try to sense if the other has its own 
sphere of responsibility and works independently of your contact 
with it.  Another check is to evaluate the quality 
of the experience.  If you are getting power, intense feelings 
and sensations, and all sorts of enchanting distractions but are 
not becoming more whole,  then you need to focus more on what you 
are experiencing  and avoid attachment to a specific being.  
    In other words, dialoguing is a process of transformation.  This is
it is a way of encountering something both outside of and within 
ourselves by bringing everything we are to bear on the experience. 
Dialoguing is an I-Thou encounter.  It brings out the creator and 
the magician within us. 
     An  aspect of psychic perception in the third-eye chakra  is 
that  a person is able to be detached and objective  about  some-
thing,  perceive all its connections to other things, and, in the 
same moment,  be completely one with it.  In dialoguing, there is 
this  psychic quality of moving freely among dream images,  feel-
ings, sensations, and meditations, and yet clarity is never lost.  
Dialoguing is like akasha which is the origin of the four elements 
or like a life long friend, there is always something new to be 
shared or to discovered with each other.

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