Could dreaming be healing?
We have invited Farrah Zaman from Somnium Cultura to tell us the importance of dreaming. Farrah Zaman is a Dream Facilitator & Ambassador, having studied under the renowned Dream Teacher Robert Moss, founder of Active Dreaming. Farrahis dedicated to creating a lasting culture of dreamers in today's society and is currently channelling this mission into her dream project Somnium Cultura, which will be launching later this summer.
Across the ancient civilisations, the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Taoists in China created Sleep temples (which were also known as Dream temples); sanctuaries dedicated to the healing arts. These sacred spaces were where patients would undergo incubation, spending the night asleep to receive dreams (or if the patients were unable to dream, someone else would on their behalf). The following day, the dreams were shared with the priests who would help decipher the message, linking them to the ailment the patient might be suffering from and providing a course of remedies (sometimes relying upon their own dream messages to do so).
To this day dreams continue to provide us with the power to heal ourselves, through advanced body wisdom warnings, as well as through visualisation methods.
Physiological changes in our body (including subtle ones) are picked up by the brain which are then communicated in the form of dreams. Known as prodromal dreams, they can reveal the onset of a sickness prior to the symptoms themselves manifesting. By paying attention to our dreams, we can start to discern prodromal dreams from the hints they provide - sudden changes in dream experiences are often a strong indicator of prodromal dreams. Our engagement with these dreams can be highly useful for taking measures against sickness and steering us on the course to wellness, which can again come to us in the form of dreams.
Visualisation techniques have increasingly confirmed their position as transformative tools for healing. Using our own dreams in particular has shown to be even more effective as they are personal to our individual self, arising from within, cutting through conscious resistance (which can often create a barrier for people when attempting general visualisation techniques). Our dreams can offer us far greater creative freedom which fuels the power of the imagination to help us restore and regenerate ourselves.
In my own practice, I apply several different techniques helping clients connect with their own dream imageries, allowing themselves to relax into a meditative state, guiding their attention to find their dream imageries, facilitating them through their own process of healing.
There are many cases of people who have used dream imagery and techniques to help heal themselves from post traumatic stress disorder, depression, gastrointestinal and autoimmune diseases, some of whom I have directly met and worked alongside within the dreaming community. Their stories and journeys have been truly inspiring, serving as a huge reminder of our power to heal our own lives.
What’s the connection with dreams and premonition? Which cultures/society still use dreams as an instrument to learn about the future or situations?
Premonition falls under the umbrella (scientific) term precognition; which is defined as the prior knowledge of a future event or experience occurring in waking life without relying on your memory, logic or your five senses. The most common precognitive experience occurs from a dream. Precognitive dreams are the most commonly reported psychic experiences but is still an area within the scientific community that is largely taboo.
There are many cultures around the world that rely on precognitive dreams as an integral part of their lives.
The Sanema tribe of Venezuela are an example. To this day, they rely heavily on their dream experiences (which they believe to be equally important to their waking life experiences) for vital information where to source game animals. Their night time dreams provide them with access to this knowledge in the form of animal spirits, which are then confirmed with the successful hunt of the animal in waking life the next day. They also communicate with the spirits in the dream state to receive other vital information to help them navigate their waking lives. This relationship between dreaming and waking is so intertwined they do not see much difference between the two states of existence but believe the dream state to be the original source.
The Wayuu tribe of Colombia are another example of people who have a strong cultural relationship with their dreams, also seeing very little difference between the dreaming state and waking state. Their dreams are relied upon for their survival as they live in an arid part of Colombia, the desert. They are known for using the powerful messages of their dreams to help them locate water sources. The women who are renowned for their weaving within their community, use this traditional skill to honour their dreams through their textiles which adds a richness to their respect for dreams.
Cultivating a good dreaming relationship with ourselves encourages more impactful experiences like precognitive dreams to not be dismissed, as they can provide insight (sometimes carrying a forewarning message), which holds the possibility of the outcome being altered if we take prior action once receiving the dream. Taking action on a precognitive dream depends on the content of the dream but more often than not can be as straightforward as communicating the dream if it relates to someone else or paying extra attention to a detail within the dream that is connected to something from waking life.