Friday, August 26, 2016

Turning a dream into a song

Early Franciscan missionaries among the Caddo Hasinai of East Texas reported that dreams were valued highly among this people, and that it was common to recount a dream by turning it into a song. Stories sung or spoken with poetic rhythm are more likely to be implanted in memory that ones delivered in rambllng or halting prose.
    A dream may be turned into song. It may also deliver a song. In many other indigenous cultures, a  new song is considered to be one of the greatest gifts of dreaming. Power songs used for shamanic dreaming may come in this way. A song with the power to heal may come from a spiritual ally - the spirit of a plant or an animal, a river or a supernatural being - communicating in dreams. Among the Temiar Senoi of the Malayan rainforest, a dream song is called a norng, which literally means a "roadway". The dream song opens a path through the forest of life, and a path for souls on both sides of death to find their right place.

Source: On Franciscan reports of Caddo dreaming, see Carla Gerona, “Flying Like an Eagle: Franciscan and Caddo Dreams and Visions” in Anne Marie Plane and Leslie Tuttle (eds) Dreams, Dreamers and Visions: The Early Modern Atlantic World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) 125.

Painting of Hasinai village from Texas Historical Commission website.

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