Dream Gates

Dream Gates

Soul sleep and wild goatfish dreams

posted by Robert Moss

Hawaiian.jpg How much a culture understands of the practice of dreaming is reflected in the variety and specificity of the terms it uses for different types of dream experience. The Hawaiian language contains a rich vocabulary for dreaming that makes a delightful study.

A general word for dreams in Hawaiian is moe’uhane, generally translated as “soul sleep” but better understood as “night experiences of the soul”, since for traditional Hawaiians, dreaming is very much about traveling. The soul makes excursions during sleep. It slips out of the regular body, often through the tear duct, described as the “soul pit” and travels in a “body of wind”.

During sleep the dreamer also receives visitations from gods (akua) and ancestral guardian spirits (aumakua) who may take the form of a bird or a fish or a plant.

Like all practical dreamers, the Hawaiians recognize that there are big dreams and little dreams. You don’t want to pay too much attention to a “wild goatfish dream” (moe weke pahulu), which is caused by something you ate or how fast you ate it. The colorful term is derived from popular belief that eating the heads of goatfish – at other times a delicacy – in the wrong season, when bad winds are blowing, causes sickness and troubling but meaningless dreams.

On the other hand, you want to recognize that a dream may contain the memory of a trip into the future that can give you information of the highest practical importance. Especially helpful is the “straight-up” dream (moe pi’i pololei) that is clear and requires no interpretation. There are “wishing” dreams (moemoea) that show you something you are pining for, which may or may not be attainable in ordinary reality. There are “revelations of the night” (ho’ike na ka po) that carry the power of prophecy.

A most interesting category of Hawaiian dreams are those – believed to be gifts of the guardian ancestral spirits – that are given to promote the healing of relations within a family or community. Dreams are also given by the aumakua to promote personal healing. The ancestral spirits deliver “night names” (inoa po) for babies that are on the way, and cautionary tales are told of misfortune that comes when the parents ignore a baby name delivered in a dream.

The Hawaiians pay special attention to visions that come on the cusp between sleep and waking (hihi’o) believing that these are especially likely to contain clear communication from the spirits and “straight up” glimpses of things that will unfold.
In our dream travels, we may be united with a “dream husband” (kane o ka po) or a “dream wife” (wahine o ka po). This can be pleasurable and even compelling, but Hawaiian lore teaches caution. Spend too much time outside your regular body in your “body of wind” and the physical organism may start to weaken and languish. You also want to be alert to deceivers who may take on the form of alluring sexual partners but are actually something else, like tricky mo’o, a kind of water imp. We want to bring energy from our juiciest dreams into embodied life and not leave it out there.

A favorite Hawaiian legend tells how a goddess accomplished this. Pele, on her volcanic island, was stirred by rhythmic drumming from far off. She left her body in her lava bed, charging her attendants not to rouse her for three days on any account. She traveled far in her “body of wind” and finally found the source of the magical drumming is a luau being held by a handsome prince. The goddess and the prince fell for each other and spent three days making love before Pele returned to the body she had left in her lava bed. Being a goddess, she was then able to arrange for her prince to be transported to the Big Island to live with her as her consort. Humans may find this kind of transfer harder to effect, but it’s always worth a try!

Until recently, the only published sources I could recommend on Hawaiian dreaming were older works by anthropologists and mythologists, notably Martha Beckwith’s indispensable Hawaiian Mythology. Now we have a wonderfully accessible book by Caren Loebel-Fried, Hawaiian Legends of Dreams (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press). Illustrated with the author’s own lively woodcuts and drawing on excellent research among the Beckwith and E.S. Craighill Handy papers in the Bishop Museum, this book takes us deeply and effortlessly into the language and lore of Hawaiian dreaming and is suitable for readers from middle school to sagehood..

Loebel-Fried’s retelling of Pele’s dream journey to Lohi’au and of the dream that led to the discovery of the hidden spring of Punahou, under a hala (pandanus) tree are especially engaging and instructive. The famous Punahou school in Honolulu stands at the site of that secret spring, and the school seal includes the image of a hala tree with a spring of fresh water flowing beneath it.

woodblock by Caren Loebel-Fried

How shared dreaming saved George’s job

posted by Robert Moss

airplane window - Savannah 7.10.jpgShared dreaming is not only wonderful fun. It can help us on the roads of everyday life. It can save your job. Consider the following true-life narrative, involving a couple I know well:

George, a senior executive, dreamed he received an
urgent summons from one of his bosses to meet the boss at his second
home on the beach. George woke with the sinking feeling that he had just
been canned.

When he shared this dream at one of my workshops, which he
was attending with his wife, I suggested that if it were my dream, I
would want to go back inside it and get some more specific information,
by the technique I call Dream Reentry. I told George that he could ask
another person in the workshop to go inside the dream with him and act
as tracker – gathering information for him from an independent
perspective – in an exercise in conscious shared dreaming in which we
would use shamanic drumming to fuel and focus the journey.

George
was excited by this plan. He invited his wife to be his partner and
tracker. At the end of my drumming, they were eager to share their
reports. They described the boss’s beach home as if they had inspected
it with a real estate agent. Being a guy, George had spent more time
looking at the den and the deck than at the kitchen and the closets, but
their accounts – of a place neither had ever seen, outside their shared
dreaming, were remarkably similar.

They returned with far more than the
layout of the beach house. They now had information on a crisis brewing
behind the scenes in George’s organization that – he realized – could
definitely cost him his job unless he made certain moves, fast. He acted
on this data from shared dreaming. The upshot was that when he was
summoned to his boss’s beach house for a crisis meeting six months
later, he did not have to ask the way to the bathroom since he had
already been their in his conscious dream. And he was sitting on the
right side of the table, with those had kept their jobs and had to tell
others about downsizing, because of the action he had taken with the
information gained in his shared dreaming.

*You’ll find much more about the techniques of Dream Reentry and conscious dream tracking, in my books Conscious Dreaming and The Three “Only” Things.I have recorded a CD of shamanic drumming for dream travelers and Dream Reentry, Wings for the Journey.

Tracking contrails photo by Savannah M. Caitlin

Shared Dreaming, before and after “Inception”

posted by Robert Moss

Thumbnail image for Inception-3D-Building-Ad_Crop.jpgI’m looking forward to seeing the movie Inception.  Judging by the advance notices, the director, and the cast, I expect it to be brilliant. I have one reservation. It’s not about the movie itself. It’s about the problematic use of a term, and how this relates to a larger problem of understanding.

The problem, simply stated, is this. Powers of dreaming that are natural, fun and healing are (1) dismissed as illusory by academic “experts” who don’t keep journals and don’t seem to do much dreaming, and by hard-boiled reporters who follow their lead while at the same time (2) those same natural powers are presented by Hollywood as science fiction in which dreaming abilities are often the perquisite of drug-fueled Dark Side psychic warriors.

The problematic term is “shared dreaming.” In the movie promos, “shared dreaming” appears to be the learned technique of psychic spies and mind manipulators tasked to extract information from other people’s dreaming minds, or implant thoughts in them. 
Such things are certainly possible outside of science fiction, but they are more properly described as psychic intrusion or dream sending (a term I’ll explain in a later article). Off-screen, shared dreaming may be a wholly benign and energizing consensual adventure, part of a spectrum of options for what I call social dreaming.

While we tend to think of dreams as private and personal, dreaming is actually a highly social activity. Many of us, indeed, are far more gregarious in our dreams than in our ordinary daily lives.
As we share dreams with friends and family on a regular basis, we may notice that sometimes our dreams overlap rather closely. We may have been dreaming on the same theme, or visiting the same dreamscape, on the same night. Sometimes we have shared adventures, though (more often than not) only one of the dreamers remembers exactly what was going on.

We are drawn together in dreams in the same ways that we are drawn to each other in waking life: by family ties, by shared interest, by common concerns, by love and sexual attraction, by the need for healing or the desire for fun and adventure
As we become Active Dreamers, we can develop the practice of embarking on conscious interactive dream journeys with focused intention. We can do this up close or at any distance. We can learn to enter shared dreaming with an intimate partner who shares our bed, with a group of friends in a living room, or with a network of dreamers in other parts of the world.
Thumbnail image for 3 Muses - Michele Ferro.jpg

Let’s pause to define the varieties of social dreaming:

Synchronous or concurrent dreams are those in which two or more dreamers have very similar dream experiences at the same time. They may or may not see each other inside the dreams.

Interactive or mutual dreams are those in which two or more dreamers are aware of each other and interact with each other in a shared dreamscape. In terms of ordinary time, their experiences may or may not be synchronous.

Shared dreaming, in my lexicon, is the practice of embarking on intentional interactive dream travels with one or more partners.

Group dreaming or group dream travel is shared dreaming conducted with a whole circle or network of participants. 

Director Christopher Nolan said in an interview with the New York Times: “What Inception deals with is a science fiction concept in which…you and I are able to experience the same dream at the same time. Once you remove the privacy, you’ve created an infinite number of alternate universes in which people can meaningfully interact – with validity, with weight, with dramatic consequences.”

Yes, it’s a great idea for a movie. And far from being only a science fiction concept, interactive or social dreaming is a real phenomenon in our lives that may go on every night. Shared dreaming  is a practice that can be learned – without chemicals or psywar trainers – and developed as both a home entertainment system and a method of gaining first-hand data on the nature of life in the multiverse. We’ll see how in the next article.

Next: Shared Dreaming as Home Entertainment

Poster for “Inception” spotted in New York City.

“Three Muses” drawing by Michele Ferro

Stay on the line

posted by Robert Moss

lighthouse2 - Savannah 7.10.jpgA thought for any day, inspired by a participant in the Dream Teacher Training that I led over the past week on the Connecticut shore.

Savannah surfaced from a night of elusive dreams with little recall, but with this statement clear in her mind:

Stay on the line. A dream will be calling shortly.

This delighted our whole group when she shared it during our breakfast dream-swapping. We thought about the ways a dream can call outside the hours of sleep – for example, through a sudden flash of intuition or a symbolic pop-up or chance encounter in regular life. The birds were notably actively over the land and sea beyond the windows that morning. The flight patterns of hawk and osprey, crow and seagull, punctuated our session and often gave us the sense that a dream was calling, on feathered wings.

I thought of Savannah’s guidance when I woke early this morning with sketchy dream memories that seemed rather bland and dull. I decided to allow myself some extra time in bed and “stay on the line”.

During my second sleep, I came home to a rambling house that seemed to be a composite of two previous homes, one of them a farm. At the back of this dream house was a lovely dappled wood set two stories below the main living area. At the front was a room-sized screen porch that projected from the house like a pier.

As I walked through this house towards the master bedroom, I felt a thrill of excitement because I sensed that my bear was at home. I called for him, and he came bounding in through a side door – a shaggy black bear, maybe 300 pounds. I petted him like a dog and nuzzled his face. We rolled around and played together on the floor. Then I heard voices at the front door. I hurried towards it, in time to catch a couple of mail carriers who were about to leave because they needed a signature and thought no one was at home.They handed over a large bundle of letters, packages and special delivery envelopes on that jetty-like porch. I was keen to read my mail, but first I had catching up to do with my bear. He had gone out into the woods, and I followed him there, eager for adventure. I’ll have a go at reading my dream mail later on, and I won’t have to go to the Office of Lost and Found Dreams to do that. I’ll just imagine myself stepping back inside my dream house, where my bear is waiting.

Stay on the line. A dream will be calling shortly. That’s good advice for any day.

Related posts: How to Break a Dream Drought

Photo of a lighthouse on Long Island Sound by Savannah M. Caitlin.

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