Wednesday, January 23, 2013

If you want someone to interpret your dream...

If you want someone to interpret your dream, make sure he can tell it to you before you tell him.
     I am playing with this fresh aphorism because of an interesting comment on my recent post "The Bazaar of Dreams". A Turkish friend recalls that her grandmother used to take her dreams to a Şeyh (shaykh) of the Halveti Ussaki sufi order for interpretation. On one occasion, the Şeyh greeted her by telling her the essential content of her dream before she had told him the dream. She was shocked, but also convinced that the Sufi master was the right interpreter, if he could find a dream before she gave it to him.
    This kind of thing is not unusual in cultures where the practice of dreaming is still strong. That the best 
dream interpreter is one who can tell you your dream before you tell it to him is a sound principle, when you think about it, because it suggests that such a person has great intuitive abilities, and maybe very useful connections on the other side of ordinary reality, and perhaps the ability to dive into the dream world - or at least your own energy field - at will.    I have written about the practices of a West African tribe who believe you can only trust an interpreter if he can tell you your dream before you tell him. 

    I have also suggested (in my Secret History of Dreaming that Nebuchadnezzar was operating by the same principle when he challenged all the dream interpreters to tell him a dream he claimed to have forgotten. In a society that valued dreams highly and had advanced dream practices, I'll bet the king had not really forgotten his dream, but rather wanted to put the supposed dream experts through their paces. Daniel, famously, was able to access the king's dream and tell it to him because he had powerful assistance; he called on his God.
    Let's be clear. This is not a pitch for dream interpretation. We want to help each other to claim the power of our own dreams. We do that by offering commentary by saying "if it were my dream", recognizing our own projections and encouraging the dreamer to accept or reject feedback according to their own instincts. When we are able to enter another person's dreamspace - as shamanic dreamers learn to do, with permission - we can say, "in my dream of your dream," again leaving final decisions about the dream to the dreamer.

    However, if you are going to look for a dream interpreter nonetheless, look for someone who can find your dream before you tell him what's in it.

Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the composite statue. France, 15th century.

1 comment:

fivesight said...

Last night I went to bed early, and engaged in my regular practice of first sleep, second sleep. During the second sleep I had a dream of walking with a friend or guide through the snow. I couldn't remember the content of our conversation, but it has snowed enough today to break the longest record of days between two major snowfalls in a long time. My walk home last night was under a clear sky, with a wonderful Moon/Jupiter conjunction impending...