Monday, March 21, 2011

Tsunami of dreams before the tsunami


I am considering a stream of reports from dreamers who feel they may have foreseen the terrible earthquake and tsumani that have overwhelmed Japan, exciting the compassion of the world and concern for the nuclear fall-out. On March 1, ten days before the catastrophe, one dreamer recorded a dream in which she saw cars floating and knocking against each other in a violent rush of water. The day before the disaster, another dreamer noted three elements in a dream: an earthquake, a giant wave, and a friend who lives in Japan.

From my observation and experience, we do dream the collective future. We are connected with the rest of humanity, and with Earth and sea, and in dreams we are often more in touch with their deeper movements than in everyday awareness. We dream news headlines that won't be broadcast for days or months. We dream into the situations of people on the other side of the world.

As I discussed in an article prior to the Japan catastrophe (you'll find it here) a dream of a tsunami -or any other natural disaster - may be both personal and transpersonal. It may symbolize overwhelming stress or emotional drama in your life and also contain a vision or preview of an external event. We always want to look at a disaster dream from at least two angles: as a possible metaphor for something that will blow up with that force in our personal life and as a possible glimpse of an external event.

I find a model for careful retrospective study of dreams that may have previewed disasters in my work with an active dreamer in my New York school who brought me a journal report from December 22, 2004, two days prior to the terrible Asian tsunami triggered by an earthquake off the coast of Indonesia. In her dream, she was with her dog at the beach in an unidentified foreign country. A gret wave came rushing in, overwhelming people and buildings. The dreamer was calling to people, "The ocean is coming in!", warning them to head for safety. Unscathed herself, she then watched her dog take a copious crap on the beach. She was embarrassed that she had nothing to scoop the poop up with. She then noticed that the beach was now covered with excrement, which was starting to stink. The dreamer woke with a sense of detachment.

She brought me this dream, a week or so after the 2004 tsunami, concerned to know if I thought she had dreamed the disaster in advance. I seized on a critical detail: the poop on the beach. I had heard a radio interview with a medical expert who talked about the tremendous health risk from feces that are not being collected in the devastated areas in Asia; he said the risk of disease being spread from feces is even greater than from unburied corpses. And in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, there was no way of picking up the excrement.

The uncontrollable “crap on the beach” in the dream was clear evidence (for me) that the dreamer had dreamed true – not only about the tsunami but the source of another potential wave of devastation (through disease) beyond it.

The dreamer's feeling of detachment about the dream on waking is often a marker that a dream is about a situation at a remove from the dreamer.

The nearness or remoteness of an event may be tagged in other ways. Thus before the Japan tsunami, a dreamer in Vancouver B.C. saw a giant wall of water that stopped, suspended in mid-air, at a cedar fence. When the disaster struck, the authorities in British Columbia issued a a coastal tsunami warning. When it was lifted, the Vancouver dreamer saw the dream image of a giant wave suspended on the other side of a cedar fence as an apt image for a preview of a danger that did not reach the Pacific Northwest.

For a model for how to use dream previews of coming collective events, we can turn to the example of the Andaman islanders. They are a shamanic dreaming people who saw in their dreams - and in the behavior of animals - that the 2004 tsunami was coming, and moved from their seasonal fishing villages on the coast up to the highlands to get out of its way. I describe this in my Secret History of Dreaming. In my new book, Active Dreaming, I explain how we can develop a model of community dreaming from this example.

20 comments:

Nancy said...

Very interesting. My daughter had several dreams of tsunamis before the event as well. Also dreams of big, huge, swollen fast-moving rivers. I wonder if that could have been Queensland, Australia.

Robert Moss said...

Nancy - It's always a double challenge, at the least, to read a dream of this kind. (1) Is it about something that will blow up in the life of the dreamer or her family situation with the force of a tsunami, or about an external event, or both? (2) If about an external event, which one? We can miss the mark through "premature closure", linking the dream to the first event that vaguely resembles it, missing a later event it may have targeted more precisely.

Practice, practice - which involves looking at the details of the dream very closely and (where there is a sense of need or urgency) trying to go back inside the dreamscape, through conscious dream reentry, to get more information.

cathyd said...

I wonder if some of us are more likely to "tune in" (for lack of a better term) to upcoming disasters, etc. in our dreams when we have an emotional connection to either the people in a given place, or to the place itself?

For example, about a week before Hurricane Katrina, I had several dreams of raging winds, dark skies and extensive flooding in a downtown area (wasn't sure where). I also dreamed of flying above a green Honda sedan as it parked in an airport parking garage on a stormy day. (Only to find out later that my sister, who drove a green Honda sedan at the time, parked in the airport garage -- which she typically did not do -- prior to a sudden trip out of New Orleans she felt compelled to take 5 days before the hurricane.)

Meanwhile, I was going through a stormy period at work at the time. (And immediately jumped to the conclusion the dream was purely symbolic -- until the hurricane hit.)

I have found I'm most likely to have dreams that arguably foresee natural disasters and such when two things sync up for me: a personal "disaster" in my own life AND a tie somehow to the people/place where the disaster occurs.

Robert Moss said...

Cathy - Yes, indeed: we are likely to "tune in" most accurately to coming mass events (not only disasters) when we have a personal link to people or places involved. Sounds like you had rather exact precog dream information on Hurricane Katrina and the situation with your sister's green Honda.

Inner and outer events can resemble each other closely. We want to be open to the possibility that a dream can prepare us for events on both fronts - for a storm in our emotions AND for a storm "out there". Sometimes, with careful clarification, we can harvest some details that can be used to do some good on a practical level. On the personal front, that might involve practicing containment of what might otherwise be overwhelming emotions. On the transpersonal front, this might involve learning from the glimpse of the green Honda in that situation that we could possibly glean an advisory that could help someone else (if clear enough and if passed along in the appropriate way).

Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

nina4667 said...

The dream I had the night before the tsunami in Japan and the tsunami alert here in the SF Bay Area was of water rising up in a bathroom toilet, suspended above the rim of the toilet and still rising. It did not look like sewer water, just cloudy and unnaturally suspended in midair. I've pondered that dream many times wondering if it were personal or having to do with the tsunami. I've not decided definitively one way or another yet.

Robert Moss said...

Nina - what an intriguing image, Just before reading your note I was considering another report of a pre- 3/11 dream in which the dreamer was watching the very strange behavior of water (and later fire) within and around a glass bowl, and had a similar question about whether this could be a preview of the Japan tsunami. One thing that occurs to me is that watching these strange movements of water in a bowl of either type could be an analog for watching events subsequently on TV. I'm also thinking that - if they were my dreams - I may have been shown a microcosm or model of the larger events.

This always leaves the possibility that there are personal matters to be considered too. If that's the case, I'm glad that the strange overflow from the toilet is producing clear liquid rather than something else, without spillage on the floor. Applied to my personal life, this might give me confidence that old issues (things I thought I had left behind) won't cause me any problem if they surface again.

Joy said...

Robert, this blog topic is very timely. I had a dream 8 hours before the earthquake that seemingly forewarned of the terribly sad Japan disaster.

I think of collective type dreams as holographic, by which I mean they include a personal meaning for the dreamer too. Finding the personal in this was difficult. I reflected on an earlier dream the same night to find an association to this dream. Here is the "tsunami" dream:

"I was shocked to see a captive "non-human" (dream term) murdered in a security van on the waterfront. Then two huge non-humans, much bigger than the town, appeared coming across the ocean towards us. I noticed they looked like giant versions of the murdered being. We were afraid they were looking for him and would be angry. To escape, we ran first to a ship container on the wharf but realized we would be trapped if it was knocked into the water. Instead, we ran to higher ground and after that we hid amongst the townspeople."

Also, I am hopeful and intrigued that mingling with the community provided a safe haven!

With love,
Joy
.

doblin said...

Robert,

Here is my tsunami dream:

I was living in a coastal town on the Pacific Ocean. The look of the town was similar to a mix of places that have personal meaning to me, but there was also something strange about it. The prominent features were a sharp inlet and mountains. In the dream, I was at a farmer's market, selling things. The landscape around the building featured tall grass and flowers. It was a calm, mild day, when all of a sudden, a huge gust of wind came out of nowhere. I remember thinking, Wow, it's not usually a windy place here. When the wind came, it brought with it hundreds of honey bees who enjoyed the flowers outside. I walked through the field, surrounded by bees and engulfed in a loud hum. I found two people sitting at a picnic table, and they expressed that a change in bee activity is a sign of a change in the world. As I headed back to work, I began hearing a distant rumble. It didn't sound like a thunder rumble, but the earth shaking. As the sound became more apparent people in the town began talking, not knowing what the sound was. Everyone, though, had the sense to pack their things and get ready to head inland. I intended to climb up the mountain to a high place. In my mind, the rattling was a deep sea earthquake and a tsunami was heading for us. But the majority of people thought the sounds were coming from some sort of "enemy" -- that the "enemy" was coming to battle and the thunderous sounds were cannons firing. A local native artist agreed with my theory, though, and both him and his wife wanted to help me get to the top of the mountain. I then woke up.

battlebauble said...

Robert, my own dream occurred that morning. I was just hearing a concophany of voices building to a crescendo in the dark and it suddenly ends with a female voice whispering, "I am the godess of destruction"! Next thing I know, the phone rings, and my dad tells me to watch the news. I got the feeling the godess had a lot more say. Shame I got woke up.

Daniel said...

I am curious if there are other dreamers reporting dreams of war, or impending war. Tatiana and I have both had dreams recently that involve a war looming, and with a distinct feeling and/or direct representation of events surrounding WWII. There is another friend of ours who had a similar dream recently, but without the WWII references. None of the dreams have the direct experience of fighting - but they show the forces of war in motion.

I realize that my personal life is not settled at the moment and so I need to investigate my own dreams much further, collect more information, and be very discerning. But I am posting this anyways because I was wondering about the collective dreaming just as I saw this thread.

Merima Hopkins said...
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Rustin Brewer said...

I finally found a blog on this... I actually had a dream in 2011, a tsunami dream as well, at the very time that it was happening in Japan. I remember being in a hotel room by the beach in an unknown place/country. Being on a higher floor, I stepped out onto my rooms balcony to view the ocean. It was nighttime, the moon was creating enough light to make the water look a shiny black color. I remember focusing on the horizon, and as I did, the horizon started to rise, and then I watched the horizon of the water cover the moon. Thats when I realized it was a massive wave heading towards the shore. I stepped back into my hotel room knowing that it would hit, and hit hard, I braced myself as the sound grew louder, and then crash! the wave hits the shore and the hotel just starts shaking. I could feel the whole building shaking like there was an earthquake hitting but it was in the process of being washed away, so I hurried to the hotel hallway which was an open room of halls, and started scurrying up to higher ground with everyone else coming from their rooms. It was so real, yet so fascinating... Panic set in to the energy of the room and I woke up from the dream.... NOW, only thinking it was a dream, it was now morning here in New Mexico USA, and my friend had sent me a text that am to my cell. The text said Tsunami.... I was like what? and he described to me that japan had just got hit hard. I tore myself out of bed and went to my laptop, opening it up and seeing the headlines of mass destruction... I immediately broke down, and felt so much death, sadness and despair... mostly because I felt I was there....

Chrystal Thompson said...

I had a dream of a tsunami wave striking for a few nights (same dream repeating) before it actually happened. I also had this same dream the night of the tsunami that hit soloman earlier this year. In both dreams, I can feel the panic of the situation and can see the wave grow and come toward myself and others. This dream seems to be repeat itself, it is in slightly different locations. I wake up before I see anyone actually get hurt from the wave. It seems so real. I wish I could have warned all those people that were affected by the tsunamis. Why do I have these dreams? It only seems to be tsunamis..

livingoutalife said...
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livingoutalife said...

Hi, im from Singapore.
I had a dream about japan earthquake a few hours before i tune into the news to know my dream is real. So my dream happens during or after the earthquake.
That was in year 2011, i was 21 years old. I dreamt of a violent earthquake in Japan and many people including a girl named 'Daimon' of my same age, age 21 went missing. I was looking for her. But until today, i have no idea why i got this dream. I have never been to japan or has japanese friends or even any interest that country.
Only today did i found out that there is a train station in Japan named Daimon. But there was no link to the tsunami. I tried to find out the meaning of Daimon. It means God of war or another name of the moon or half of a god and man.

I am very curious as to why i remember so specifically that Daimon is a girl, age 21 and she went missing in the japan earthquake. Is there really a girl named Daimon still alive? K would love to meet her cus she may be one of me in my past live. Haha

Brittany Sines said...

Hello, blog world,
My name is Brittany and it's time I share the dreams had while in a coma. On February 22nd, 2011, I was in a terrible car accident after a snow storm. It left me with a TBI and in a coma for a week. The dreams had while in the coma aren't exactly fresh in my mind but I still see some visuals and remember some of what happen in them. Almost all of my dreams took place in an Asian country. As to which ones, I do not recall. Considering I'm from the states and, at that time, wasn't into the cross cultural comparisons that often dominate my brain today, it's odd that I spent most of my unconscious state dreaming about being a limo driver or and exchange student or, and the strangest and most haunting, a dystopian society in the future. 10 days after I awoke from the coma, the tsunami hit.
Without Rhyme or Reason...

etherealdude said...

This is interesting to say the least. Please tell details... Color of Limo, and do tell about the dystopian society.

Its as if youre meant to take us somewhere or have us cross-over to somewhere.

A Marie said...

This is very scary to me that so many others have the same connection to the tsunami dreams as I did. I was a young girl asbi am only 25 now but the night before the tsunami hit japan, I dreamp that i was on a vacation with my mother and younger sister not knowing the where about but we were in a restaurant that sat out over the ocean with large glass windows all around with others dining as well I remember vividly my napkin dropped and as I was coming up from picking it up off the floor looking out the window to a wall of water surrounding the glass and I actually screamed in my sleep and woke myself up. The next morning sitting with my grandmother for breakfest the tsunami had hit Japan and I was just sitting there in shock like did I just have a premonition. Never saying anything to any one cause fear of being told that I was lying or that I was weird. So tonight as I was searching for meaning of my recent dreams of being frightened by a ghost I was curious if I was the only one who had such a similar dream of the tsunami.

Maria Craig said...

This is Maria D. C. I had the dream about the Sumatra tsunami the day before it happened. My dream details:
1. I found myself running in a green meadow with my younger sister and holding hands and approaching a cliff around the ocean
2. When we reached the edge of the mountains we jumped into the ocean and flew in the air for several kilometers before starting to free fall. At that point, I let go off my sisters hand because in my dream, I was aware that she couldn't fly as far as I could.
3 I released her hand and lost track of her but I started to become agitated as I knew I was going to land / fall in the water.
4. As I approached the water, I started noticing little islands sticking out of the ocean, close in proximity but not big enough to build anything
5. The water was dark but it turbulent
6. Suddenly I landed on a tiny piece of island and I stayed there for a little while, thinking to myself that if I went into the water, I'd ran out of energy.
7. Long hours passed and the ocean was dark yet serene but later on I gained the courage to leave the island and get into the water.
8. When I went into the water; the water was still calm and dark but I went in
9. After swimming (because the feeling was that if I didn't get into the water and swan, I'd die there standing on the big rocky island) for a little while, I felt something in my foot and I got scared suddenly. When I pulled out of the water what touched my foot with my foot, it was a dead fish inside the water (deep in the water but dead).

And finally, I kept swimming and I felt something else, so in the dream I thought ... great, just another fish... but when I pulled with my hand what was touching my foot, it was a dead person who started to float in the water. When I turned the body to see the face, it was a male in mid forties, dark brown skin, fat and swollen, dark haired and South Pacific looks. I keep turning him and then the dead body said something to me.

After that more bodies started popping out of the water. Then I woke up because I was scared and stopped swimming, I stayed floating in circles turning around and seeing the devastation. However the water was pacific, no turbulence at all.

When I woke up I told my family about the dream and then next day it was forecast in the news. They couldn't believe my dream may have been related to something happening across the globe.

Maria

Rebecca Jasmann said...

Just recently I dreamed I was in Japan visiting and a terrible storm was in the beginning stages. I saw friends and family (but only my mother, father, and sister) before tidal waves began to rise. We ran to the safety of the home we were visiting, and had the reach the top. Then the storm became quiet. Fireworks were shot off in the distance as victory for surviving such a terrible ordeal..

But a large bolt of lightning stuck the ground with an extremely loud bang and suddenly I could see huge waves sweeping over Japan. I could clearly see the way the water moved to create shapes. Two Lions, a dragon, and a sea serpent.

Only those on higher ground were safe from such a force. The home we were visiting was only partly destroyed, and my parents were swept away by the sea serpent.