Sunday, February 14, 2016

Anyone Who Dreams Partakes In Shamanism

Dreamers tend to interpret their dreams in accord with their own pre-existing beliefs or personal mythology. When meaning is attributed to dreams, an interpretation is made through the lens of one’s religious beliefs, secular desires and world views. A dream about falling from the sky can be interpreted as succumbing to sexual desire, failing in a business venture; or, more obviously, as a warning not to book an airplane ticket.

There is evidence that dreams may make a greater impact on behavior than waking thoughts because of their dramatic nature and their openness to a motivated interpretation. Over the years, we may notice how our own dreams often reflect doctrinal compliance, an eagerness to dream in imagery that conforms to our personal myths.

The dream world is an essential element of traditional life, because dreams allow First Nation Peoples to maintain contact with their ancestors. When Amazonian elders dream about the immortals, they share the dream with the entire village; which begins preparing a reenactment of the dream with the elders playing the roles of the ancestors. These dream ceremonies help to align the present with the past, providing cultural continuity. On other occasions, tribal members will sing and dance each other’s dreams thus developing a sense of trust among tribal members.

Upper-Amazonian tribes believe that they can travel to the heavens in their dreams, as well as to the underground world; with cosmos enclosed in the abdomen of a giant anaconda. The tribes in the southeast part of Brazil also have a venerable dream tradition. The tribal legends hold that in primordial times native people divided themselves into three groups, the People of the Sun, the People of the Moon and the People of Dreams.

Some communities hold dream circles, or morning dream-sharing sessions. Often, a dream is shared that begins to give direction to the daily life of the village and it is not necessarily the dream of a Pajé or shaman. Indeed, even a child can have a dream that indicates a new direction for a community.

Dreams are important because they are moments when humans are stripped of rational thought. Dreamers are in a spiritual state where the integral being can emerge, connecting them with a deeper reality. For example, some people can direct their dreams to someone who is several hundred miles distant; others can foretell both positive and negative events that will affect their community.

Dreams from the unconscious reflect memories of life experiences, especially those making the most profound impressions. Elements from past experiences can become symbols. Sometimes only the emotions associated with the event are recalled: happiness, embarrassment, wishes, aspiration, deception, pain. During this type of dream, pieces of memories may occur in random order, without logic. The dream entwines them all, turning them into a story.

Precognitive dreams have been reported for millennia. Just as telepathy and clairvoyance supposedly demonstrate the permeable nature of space, precognition is said to demonstrate the arbitrary nature of time. In some dreams, the dreamer claims to step through a door into the future. It is not uncommon for people to report precognitive dreams that issue warnings, describing a place they should not travel or a person they should avoid. Other dreams are said to predict positive events.

It is apparent that the Amazonian dream legacy is a complete model of dreaming and dreamworking, even when described in Western terms. However, unlike Westerners, the Amazonian tribes integrate their dreams into every major facet of their waking life. For them, there is no rigid division between dream life and waking life. The Pajé, or shaman, is the focal dreamworker; but it is acknowledged that everyone who dreams has a bit of shaman within them.

The shaman represents the attentiveness, and the introspection, needed to reconcile alienated men and women with what they have lost through family and social prohibitions. The inner shaman, that we all have, shows us that by relating receptively to our wounds, they will begin to heal. There is a sense of relief to our psychological defenses that accompanies the penetration of the wound. This is especially evident when we try to disown our shadow, or our wounded self. Our dreams will often prod us into embarking on a more rewarding relationship that we need to have with ourselves.

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