Normal dreaming and sharing
Shamanic work in the dreamworld
The Wider Web of Life
Older cultures, which are aware of the different layers of reality, place much emphasis on dreaming and remembering dreams upon waking, and many tribes will share, discuss and act upon the dreams of their members regularly. Studies of several cultures, including the Shuar (Ecuador), Guarani (Brazil) and Mapuche (Chile), have found that each of the tribes considers the ’true self ’of every human being as living within their dreams. They meet in the morning in a dream circle to share, discuss and interpret their dreams, seeing a link between the messages and contents of their dreams and the way they live. Therefore they will not hesitate to make major changes based on the messages they receive in their dreams, especially if they are ’big dreams’ or ’prophetic dreams’.1 Something similar happens in Australian Aboriginal cultures: the dreams are examined collectively and the activities of the day are decided on the basis of the dreams.
Many traditions have developed vast knowledge and incredible maps of the dream worlds, such as described, for instance, in Sergio Magaña’s book The Toltec Secret.2 The Orang Aoli, the aboriginal people of Malaysia, are known as a ’dreaming culture’, and many African tribes also put much emphasis on dreams and dreaming, seeing them as messages from their ancestors, discussing them and adjusting their lives and connections with spirit accordingly. Lee Irwin, who wrote the book The Dream Seekers: Native American Visionary Traditions of the Great Plains, looked at 350 dreams of 23 groups of American Indians from the Plains and found dream-sharing traditions very alive. In his view, the ’shaman’s art is dramatically linked with the art of dreaming’.3