I HAVE NO IDEA OF HOW you dream or what fills your nocturnal flights, but I’m curious. Are there commonalities or do our subconscious thoughts run in much different directions?
My assumption is that there’s nothing more personal than the encounters that flit through our heads in our sleep. They visit us, unbidden and unencumbered and then entrance us before typically vanishing with little more than a trace, if that. Maybe they’ve elevated our heart rate in the process or left us in a cold sweat.
No doubt inspired by Jack Kerouac’s Book of Dreams but also some references to spiritual practices that urged paying close attention to the overnight phenomenon, I began recording what I could back in the early ‘70s and have continued the practice, however sporadically, through the decades since.
Through the coming year, I’ll be revisiting that ledger and posting bits in installments here at the Barn. Maybe that will even prompt you to share some of your memories and related insights.
I make no pretense of knowing precisely what meaning, if any, many of these have, by the way, but I’ve long felt that make for some great yet private movies. As for their frequently surreal nature? Sometimes it’s even entertaining.
A FEW YEARS AGO, I wondered whether in a Judeo-Christian tradition this would seem occult. The Biblical perspectives did open my eyes – to my surprise, in a mostly positive awareness:
- Genesis 20: God speaks to Abilelech the king about Sara. Interestingly, this is the first dream in Scripture, and it’s a revelation to a Gentile!
- Genesis 28: Jacob dreams of the ladder. Yes, up into the ether and back to earth, which can also be seen as the essence of a dream.
- Genesis 31: Jacob tells of his dream of the goats and of how an angel of God speaks to him in the dream. So he hears voices in his dreams. Do you?
- Genesis 37: Joseph proclaims his dreams, and his brothers react negatively.
- Genesis 40-42: Joseph interprets dreams in Egypt.
- Numbers 12: God rebukes Aaron and Miriam, telling them that when it comes to a prophet, “I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.”
- Deuteronomy 13: A testing about false prophets claiming dreams and to put the false dreamer to death. Watch what you say, then.
- Judges 7: During the night (i.e., a dream or trance) “the Lord said to Gideon” and then Gideon hears someone else tell of a dream that yet another interprets as victory ahead and Gideon praises God.
- 1 Samuel 28: The Lord does not answer Saul, even by dreams.
- 1 Kings 3: The Lord appears to Solomon at night in a dream.
- Job 7: Job to God, “even you frighten me with dreams.”
- Job 20: False advice, “Like a dream he flies away, no more to be found.”
- Job 33: Elihu’s false advice arising “in a dream, in a vision of the night.”
- Psalm 73:20: Sweeping away enemies like a dream.
- Psalm 126:1: “We were like men who dreamed … our tongues were filled with songs of joy.”
- Ecclesiastes 5:3: “As a dream comes when there are many cares.”
- Isaiah 29: “When a hungry man dreams that he is eating, but he awakens, and his hunger remains … as a thirsty man dreams that he is drinking.”
- Jeremiah 23, regarding false prophets claiming dreams: “I am against prophets who steal from one another words that are supposedly from me!”
- Jeremiah 27: “So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your interpreters of dreams, your mediums or your sorcerers who tell you, ‘You will not serve the king of Babylon.’”
- Jeremiah 29: “Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them [the false prophets] to have.”
- Daniel 1-2: “And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds,” introducing Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
- Daniel 4: Nebuchadnezzar’s interpreted.
- Daniel 7: Daniel’s dream of four beasts.
- Joel 2:28: “Your old men will dream dreams.”
- Zechariah 10:2: About “false dreams.”
- Matthew 1: An angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream.
- Matthew 2: The three wise men were “warned of God in a dream.”
- Matthew 27:19: Pilate’s wife has a disturbing dream and warns against judging Jesus.
- Acts 2:17: “And your old men shall dream dreams.”
- Jude 8: “Filthy dreamers defile the flesh.”
In these texts, the “dreams and visions” often come directly from God, even to Gentiles. Other times, they come by way of angels.
THAT SAID, I OFFER the series largely unedited, allowing its flashes and visions to speak for themselves. I have, however, changed some of the names and places to maintain a degree of separation from real-life people and locations, not that in a dreamscape the person I associate with the action actually resembled the one in the vision. I have no idea what prompted many of them, although there are times I’ll include a real-life context in my record.
Dreams are a world of their own. Agreed?