Dream Gates

Dream Gates


Lucid dreaming and astral travel in the early Church

posted by Robert Moss

St.John of Lycopolis

Early fathers of the Christian church were in favor of active dreaming and astral travel. Tertullian, who famously observed that  “most people derive their knowledge of God from dreams” urged Christians who found themselves in captivity, perhaps on the way to martyrdom, to get out and about in their astral bodies:

Though the body is shut in, though the flesh is confined, all things are open to the spirit. In spirit, then, roam abroad; in spirit walk about, not setting before you shady paths or long colonnades, but the way which leads to God. As often as in spirit your footsteps are there, so often you will not be in bonds. The leg does not feel the chain when the mind is in the heavens. [Tertullian, Ad Maryras, 197 CE]

Athanasius explained in Contra Gentes that “when the body is still, at rest and sleeping, a man is in inner movement – he contemplates what is outside himself, he traverses foreign lands, he meets friends and often through them [dreams] he divines and learns in advance his daily actions. What else could this be [that travels] but a rational soul [psyche logike]?”

St. Augustine described travels of the “phantom” who can visit another person in dreams.

John of Lycopolis (d. 394), one of the Desert Fathers, became famous for his ability to travel in his dream body. A saint of the Coptic church, John was well-known during his life as a hermit for his  austerities; he lived in a cave and ate only fruit consumed after sundown. He was believed to have great psychic gifts. Emperors and generals consulted him, as a seer, on the outcome of future battles and political conflicts. He was attributed “mighty works” of healing and prophecy.

He was fully aware of the ways in which psychic energy can work outside – and on – the physical body, and of the reality of dream travel and dream visitations.

John was about ninety when a Roman tribune implored him to see his wife. She was anxious about a possibly dangerous journey by river and wanted the holy man’s blessing. John had not seen a woman in forty years, and refused to see this one. The tribune’s wife was persistent, swearing that she would not embark on her journey without John’s blessing. When the tribune reported this to John, the desert father said, “I shall appear tonight to her in a dream, and then she must not still be determined to see my face in the flesh.” The tribune reported this to his wife.

That night, John came to her in a dream. He told her modestly, “I am a sinful man and of like passions with you.” He added “Nevertheless I have prayed for you and for your husband’s household,  that you may walk in peace according to your faith.” The tribune’s wife woke up and related the dream to her husband, who confirmed John’s appearance as she had perceived him. She sent her husband to thank him, convinced she had received a real blessing.

Wepwawet

It is significant that this account of a dream visitation by an early Christian father involves a former cult center of one of the Egyptian deities most closely associated with astral travel. In Greek, Lycopolis means “City of the Wolf”. The “wolf” in question is the jackal- (or dog-) headed god Wepwawet, whose name means “Opener of the Ways”.

Wepwawet is similar to Anubis in both attributes and functions. Both are divine gatekeepers and psychomps – soul-guides – for both the living and the dead. In early times, Wepwawet was a god of Upper (or southern) Egypt while Anubis was worshipped in Lower (or northern) Egypt; later, they became syncretized. Special to Wepwawet is the function of serving as a scout and bodyguard for the pharaoh and his generals. His image appears on the shedshed, the battle standard of Upper Egypt, and he is often depicted in battle gear carrying a mace and a bow. So it is interesting that John of Lycopolis was valued by generals as a battle seer and is said to have provided accurate forecasts of the outcome of the Emperor Theodosius’ struggles with opposing armies and rebels.

The primary source on John of Lycopolis and his dream visitation is The History of the Monks of Egypt, an anonymous account of a journey by a group of seven brothers from a monastery on the Mount of Olives to the desert fathers in Egypt in the 380s. The author does not expound on the past history of Lycopolis, whose former residents included the great experiential philosopher Plotinus as well as a jackal-headed god. But the world of the Monks of Egypt is a magical landscape where ascetic superheroes work miracles, do battle with evil spirits – and operate on the astral as well as the physical plane. The desert holy men live in a separate reality. “Some of them do not even know that another world exists on earth or that evil is found in cities.” Yet “it is clear to all who dwell there that through them, the world is kept in being.”

 



Previous Posts

Dreamwork, the antidote to the League of Fear and Contempt
Why do so many adults in Western society deny that they dream or insist that dreams do not matter? These attitudes are partly the work of societal pressures, and of the authority we have assigned to two kinds of authority: those who have aspired to control our inner lives and those who have sugge

posted 6:10:51pm Sep. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Traveling dream souls of indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples recognize multiple aspects of soul, with different destinies after death and different degrees of mobility during life. Thus the Chiquitano believe a human has three souls, called the shadow soul, the blood soul and the breath soul. During dreams the blood soul (otor) can wande

posted 4:16:01am Sep. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Rumi-nation
A quick way of getting a message for any day is to open a book at random and see what is in front of you. The fancy name for this process is bibliomancy. The favorite book that has been used for such purposes in the West, for as long as we have had printed books, is the Bible. Abraham Lincoln used h

posted 4:58:36pm Aug. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Enter lucid dreaming like a sleeping tiger
Chen Tuan (871-989) was a celebrated Taoist sage who lived a secluded life in mountain caves in China, where he created kung fu and a method of conscious dreaming. He was an ardent student of I Ching. He reputedly wandered the country in disguise, and sometimes provided warnings of impending events

posted 12:21:15am Aug. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Smellie's school of dreams
He was the first editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and his racy style and talent for aphorisms made it an immediate popular success. He was a friend of the poet Robert Burns, who described him as "that old Veteran in Genius, Wit and Bawdry.” Scientist, writer, master printer, natural phil

posted 10:50:13am Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.