A Guide To Dreaming
"Let us learn to dream... then perhaps we shall find the truth. But let us beware of publishing our dreams till they have been tested by the waking understanding."
Wise words for scientists to live by. This quote was taken from August KekulÚ during his speech on a scientific gathering in 1890. Hello, dear reader, and welcome to my new guide for the new Veritas. We've been having a discussion area for dreams at many members' requests, but no one ever really touched upon the subject in an article. Now, before we start, let's make some things clear. First off, this is not an article to help you analyse your dreams. Entire books have been written about analysation... hell, I even own some of those books. This guide is an introduction to all kinds of dreaming, phenomena relating to dreams, and the paranormal aspects of it.
Secondly: I'm not Darkduck. I don't put my info in a witty style so you can have a good laugh every sentence, though I wish I could. I'm pretty knowledgeable in a lot of areas, at least, I consider myself to be. If you're reading this so you can fall off your chair, laughing your ass off, this is not the document you're looking for. I'm writing this mainly for your knowledge, and I hope you guys can keep up with everything I'm writing. Understood?
Good. I hope I don't make this too difficult for you guys. The subject we're discussing is easy reading material, but I have to deal with the English language barrier and sometimes I trip.
In modern society, we often regard dreams as a form of relaxation. A way of your subconscious to deal with all the events that occured during the day. For thousands of years, however, dreams were considered a portal to another world. In this world, mankind would receive insight into the present and the future. A lot of native tribes, including the inu´t located on the borders of the Hudson Bay, believed in this theory because according to their beliefs, the soul would leave your body during sleeping to wander in a Dream World (yes, Matrix fans, you were right). If you wake someone up, so say the inu´t, the soul will be lost forever.
Well, I've had my share of grumpy mornings and I'm still standing, but the awakening is a subject within itself. You see, in several parts of Africa, dreaming is of equal importance to waking up, because they believe that things that happen while dreaming... actually occur in the stars. Zulus interpret dream images as messages and visions passed on by their ancestors.
In our modern world, society has lost its touch with the rich Dream World. Freud called it the "royal way into the subconscious". He believed dreams were the key to discovering supressed traumatic experiences and wishes of the subconscious mind, which caused disease and stress. Other people, like Carl Jung, viewed dreams as a source of paranormal wisdom way beyond our own subconscious minds. That wisdom was retrieved by a collective consciousness of experiences from past, present and perhaps even the future. Dreams are able to work beyond the limits of time and space, and offer knowledge that is not yet available to the conscious mind. This may be an explation why certain precognitive dreams (visions) are so precise.
I myself am a big believer in Jung's collective unconscious (which deals with more paranormal principles, not just dreams). I'd suggest you look stuff up about his theory for now, because we're moving on.
Access to a universal source of wisdom, as described by Jung, is also an explanation for the process known as creative dreaming. I quoted August KekulÚ at the top of this article. KekulÚ was a scientist, who was researching the structure of the benzene molecule (yes, your science classes finally paid off), but unfortunately didn't have much success. One night, he fell asleep and dreamt about a long series of atomes, revolving around itself in a circular formation. One of these gene-serpents wagged its own tail and started spinning in a circle. KekulÚ woke up and changed, with the help of his mind-altering vision, science forever.
Regardless of whether theses kinds of thoughts are seen as paranormal intervention of a higher consciousness, or rational wisdom that provides the solution from a deep subconscious, fact is that dreams provide answers to the most difficult of questions. Learn to listen. Yeah, I'm going to repeat that in every article you find on Veritas.
The Dreamt Truth
The first magical candle rituals that have been seen drawn, were created by the Egyptians, who used candles back in the 3rd century to 'dream the truth', a way to reach the creative dreaming state. During this tradition, every important person, or even someone who needed a desperate answer to his questions, went to the entrance of a cave facing south, and watched a burning flame in darkness until he or she saw a god. The god or goddess would appear to someone in a dream and give the answer he or she was looking for (I will be discussing candle-magic in another article).
To Interpret Dreams
Yes, I know I said we wouldn't deal with this, but I still feel some form of introduction is neccesary for a better understanding. We go back in time to the year of 350 B.C. and visit Aristotle. He once said that those who have the skills to see similarities interpret dreams the way they should be interpreted. He believed dreams resembled the shapes reflected in water. Interpreting your dreams was, according to Aristotle, like reading a crystal ball, where symbols of our dream were explained by a deeper form of wisdom. We are not aware of this wisdom in our daily lives.
Because dreams are often steeped in symbolism, they can tell us complicated problems relating to our physical and mental wellbeing, having access to information not normally within our reach. They carry symbols with a universal meaning, or images reflected by our own perspective on things, taken from memories.
Jung believed in both aspects. Archetypical or universal symbols would appear at moments that meant a lot to us, or reflected great changes. Both meant something to the psychological and psychic health of the dreamer.
Ghosts In Dreams
It's normal in African tradition, but the appearance of ancestors in our dreams seems strange in Western society. Yet I have encountered countless cases where people who have lost a relative, were incredibly relieved by dreaming about the deceased. In a few cases, unknown information that is passed on by a dream can be verified after the occurence. Whether these dreams are proof of paranormal contact from another dimension or the product of our own minds, which need to celebrate the victory of love over death... it doesn't matter. These kind of dreams comfort people.
Children often see a deceased grandparent in their dreams, and that can be a comfort for the entire family. They learn to deal with death. Funnily enough, these dreams never frighten children.
The Healing Power of Dreams
Karen Horney, the neofreudian psychoanalyst from the United States, proved in her experiments that dreams can reflect a portion of yourself that is not present during waking moments. That portion could pass on information about your psyche and personality, enabling the mind to determine hidden diseases and tension during sleep. The connection between dreams and healing goes as far back as, you guessed it, Aristotle, who believed dreams could determine the physical health. By listening to the dreams of his patient, a doctor could discover symptoms in this manner. One of the founders of modern medicine, Hippocrates, supported this theory, which is even now practiced by contemporary doctors.
Healing through dreams: it's something that's been applied by the ancient Greek, and is now called dream incubation. It's a bit like the Egyptian ritual of the dreamt truth, described earlier. The temples of Aesculapius were built near holy wells and sources, and were famous places where dream incubation was applied. They were named after the Greek 11th B.C. healer Aesculapius, only later becoming the God of Healing. Yes, we're crossing a thin line between fact, theory and belief.
The first temple dedicated to Aesculapius was built in the 5th century B.C. by Sophocles, in Athens. Other temples were rapidly built; the most famous of these is the temple of Epidaurus. In the second century, more than threehundred Greek and Roman temples were visited by people seeking the cure for their diseases. The religious ceremony was held with an animal sacrifice (yes, we're using different methods now), after which the dreamer had to sleep on the skin of the dead animal, often a ram. During the "Hour of the Holy Lantern", prayers were spoken and songs were sung and the seekers asked Aesculapius to bring them healing dreams.
If Aesculapius appeared to these people in their dreams, then he would speak of the treatment and cure for their ailments. In some cases, his daughter Hygeia (or Panacea) would appear. She too has connections with health and healing. When needed, a god would perform paranormal surgery (this does not mean energetic healing, which can be applied by anyone skilled).
In the first century, a Roman dreamhealing temple was built in the first century above a few sources in Lidney Park in Gloucestershire. St. Madron's Well in Cornwell dates back even further in time and was used as a place for dream incubation a thousand years after the Romans left Great Britain. A bed of stone close to the source was known as the bed of St. Madron, and would have stimulating properties for dream incubation.
Actual cures were not mentioned up until the 17th century, when a local bishop made notes of an extremely dysfunctional man, John Trelille, who was cured after taking a bath in the source of St. Madron and a night in the bed of St. Madron. Yes. It's a funny world. But we're not done with our history lesson yet.
Healing Methods In Dreams
The neccesary ingredients for a cure can come to people in a vision. Let's take this moment to go from more obscure references to great stories that are about to made into Hollywood movies! The Roman scientist and historian Plinius writes in his Historia Naturalis the events regarding Alexander the Great and his friend Ptolemaeus (also known at Ptolemy), who was dying because of an infection. Alexander dreamt of a large dragon, appearing with a herb in his mouth. This herb would cure Ptolemaeus. Soldiers were sent to find this plant. They found it at the place described to Alexander in his dream. Ptolemaeus was cured.
Nowadays, old herbal treatmens that have long been used by society are getting reintegrated into modern medicine. It won't be long before medical practicioners recognise the importance of the wisdom of dreams, a collective unconscious of medical information. Boy, that Jung fellow appears everywhere, doesn't he.
There are people who claim that paranormal healing has actually happened. The result was the disappearance of a disease or problem. Patricia Garfield, the author of The Healing Power of Dreams (yes, I have a big bookcase) describes a woman who has been plagued by a migraine for over fourty years. On a very bad day, this woman dreamt. She dreamt that she was taking care of an elderly, dying female. After the funeral, she went to bed because of her migraine. The husband and son of the dead woman stood by her bed, placed a hand on her head, and said she would never be bothered again by this migraine, because of her kindness. Sure enough, when the woman woke up, her migraine was gone. One and a half year later, she still hadn't been bothered by a single headache.
Dreams and Prophecy
Precognition! Precognition! Precognition!
No, sorry. While I already have collected notes for a future precognition manual (who said it couldn't be trained?) and often study the works of famous prophets, we have to stick to the subject at hand, and for now will only deal with prophecy's relation to dreams. Through the centuries, lovers have often used dreams to recognise their partners before hand, or make their own love longlasting. According to popular urban legend, you have to lay a book of prayer under your pillow. Browse through the pages until you reach the ritual of marriage, get a red and white piece of ribbon, a piece of mistletoe and put them on the page which reads: "With this ring...". This will enable you to dream about your wedding or your future partner, and can best be executed on a wednesday on saturday. Don't ask me why: I did say its urban legend, not tested by me. I don't think I'm ever getting married.
Another nice popular practice dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries is putting a piece of wood or glass in a bowl of water before you go to bed. You will then dream of falling from a bridge into a river. Whoever saves you, will be your lover. This was only applied to men, though. Do I sense an Oedipus syndrome throughout the tapestry of urban legend?
Rituals where the consumation of christmas- or weddingcakes leads to the acquisition of magic powers are supposed to lead to a meaningful dream. Sleep with a piece of weddingcake under your pillow and you will dream of your future partner, and if you go upstair backwards while spreading pieces of christmas cake and putting the crumbs under your pillow, will enable you to dream of true love. Of course, if you just had a wedding and are already dreaming about a future partner, somethings definitely up.
No, I'm not talking about Stephen King. Dreamcatchers originated with the Ojibwe, a native-American tribe. According to legend, small dreamcatchers were woven and placed above the beds of small children by the Spiderwoman so they could sleep peacefully. Evil dreams were caught in the web, and only happy dreams passed through. The sleeping baby's laughed and clapped their hands with thorough enjoyment, and no bad things happened to them. When the rays of light hit the room, the evil dreams were let go and returned to the shadow.
During a certain period in history, the Ojibwe tribe grew so large that it was no longer possible for the Spiderwoman, mother of the dreamcatchers, to visit every child. So she taught all wise grandmothers her secret, who in turn learned their daughters. Wood and wires from nature were used to from a dreamcatcher.
The tradition of dreamcatchers has spread throughout the world, and both adults and children alike place a dreamcatcher above their bed to catch the first rays of dawn. A dreamcatcher is originally kept together with seven or eight points that symbolize the Seven Great Prophecies from the Ojibwe, or the eight legs of the Spiderwoman. The web is equipped with several feathers and crystals, and is said to be a great medicine against sleepless nights and imsomnia.
You thought I'd never get here, did you? Yes, I'm going to spend some attention on lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is described as the consciousness of your dreams. Often enough, becoming lucid happens in the middle of a dream, when the dreamer realises that the experience does not occur in reality, but is, in fact, a dream. That consciousness is a powerful psychic and psychological tool. If the level of mental clarity while dreaming is evolved enough, then the dreamer is completely aware of the fact that no harm can come to him. The experienced lucid dreamer can then seize control over his own dreams.
Research indicates that creative lucid dreaming enhances the healing of the body. Even nightmares have a function where unpleasant but neccesary situations are confronted. If a lucid dreamer manages to seize control of a nightmare and realise no harm can come to him, he can investigate the cause of the nightmare and 'defeat' his fears. The fear is real. The danger isn't. When your inner demons are defeated, your certainty will spread to all areas of your life, including your waking moments. That in itself is a form of healing.
Lucid dreams often occur during Rapid Eye Movements (REM), the level of sleep where active dreams happen. Dr. Stephen LaBerge, Stanford University, is one of the leading people when it comes to researching lucid dreams. He is the founder of the Lucidity Institute (Lucidity.com), an institute to research and teach lucid dreaming techniques.
The Lucidity Institute uses special sensory stimuli to awake dreamers. While a person is in REM sleep, LaBerge places a voice recorder near him, with a voice that says: 'You're dreaming.' Sometimes this voice reaches the dreamer and lets him because lucid. LaBerge discovered that flickering lights are an even better stimulant than sound, because it doesn't wake the dreamer nearly as fast.
The goal of developing the lucid dreaming technique is not to dream lucidly every night, because that would disrupt the spontaneous nature of dreams, but to dream lucid once or twice a week. LaBerge thinks techniques can be perfected to enhance this ability, and this wouldn't be Veritas without at least some form of eduction, now would it? I've prepared a small list for you. Mind that these techniques have been developed by Dr. LaBerge, not myself.
Lucid Dreaming Techniques
Remember the dream by writing it down immediately when you wake up. I don't care if it is in the middle of the night or in the early morning. This is also a useful tip for dream interpretation, because the symbols and images can be used to reflect your actions in the real world.
Lucid dreaming can also be encouraged by thinking of dreamscenarios before sleeping. Wake up, then re-enter the dream you just experienced.
If you're relaxed, bring back suggestive images and consciously altered events, or change the ending. This is valuable when your dream is returning time after time.
This may sound redundant, but focus on your lucid intentions before sleeping. Tell yourself beforehand that you wish to become conscious of your actions before dreaming.
Visualise yourself in a positive or arousing dream. It can be an old dream or a new scenario.
In this setting, create a dream symbol. With that, I mean something that doesn't ordinarily happen in daily life: a talking animal, a multi-colored flower, the sensation of flying... whatever floats your boat.
Say out load: When I see this sign, I know I'm dreaming. Then continue with the scenario.
Call out the symbol a few times in your imagination and repeat time after time: When I see this sign, I know I'm dreaming.
Slowly fall asleep, but let the dreamsymbol and intention to stay conscious float in the back of your mind. In a slow, hypnotizing voice, repeat your intention, so that it will be the last thing in your mind before you go to sleep.
If you see this symbol during your dreams, visualise it when you wake up, re-enter the dream to subtly integrate it as a part of your dream. Continue with this and use the same dreamsymbol until this practice comes natural to you.
This concludes my guide to dreaming, with one more note: if you were expecting a dreamwalking how-to (the terminology developed by PsiPog's Rainsong), I'm not going to give it just yet. This practice has more in common with forms of telepathy than the material I've discussed in this guide. I hope you find this information profitable, useful or in some way positive, and by all means, let the discussion begin! I think I'm gonna stop writing now, though.
This article was written by Silverdawn.