Most of my readers will know that I am a pagan. This hopefully isn’t a shock to anyone. I do try to keep this blog as secular as possible, but since I am pagan, I wanted to talk about paganism and dreams. Firstly I will talk about how I became pagan.
It all started in 2003 or so. I was firstly going to university in my first year of a 4 year stint at a joint librarianship and IT degrees. During the course I suppose I discovered a few things, one of which was lucid dreaming, others were paganism and the ability to research well (a skill librarians need for work). I also had (and still have) naturally occurring outside body experiences. I was for at least the first two years a agnostic. One of the things about OBE is the experience of one doesn’t gel well with the idea that a soul doesn’t exist. This I started to look at religion.
I did look at Christianity, and Buddhism and even a little at Muslim and Gnosticism but none went well with a core belief I had. To me if I was to have a soul, and this soul related to spiritual world in which there is a god, there must be a natural balance to this god, a goddess. I also found the ideas of a pagan belief system went well with other personal beliefs, desires, and experiences (some of them dreams).
Just because dreamwork and paganism can go together, doesn’t mean its the only religion that dreamwork is compatible with. Indeed many other faiths have dreaming as a means through which the religion can be explored further. It is also true that dreamwork is not an essential part of paganism or any of it’s derivatives. Of course I am purposefully not distinguishing between neo, meso, or historical paganism either, as each has it’s own cultural and social interpretation of dreamwork and its place across each geological, tribal and economic divide.
There are many correlations between shamanism and dreaming and in particular trance states used by many traditional and neoshamans however I think that trance states are distinct from REM and NREM though more correlation can be drawn from hypnagogia and trance states. Distinction needs to be drawn however as intent plays a big part of the result of these states. Expectation of a particular result or set of results is likely to influence results as well as interpretation. In other words if you expect and intend to meet Angels you will likely do so, if you expect and intend meet Fae you will likely do so and so on. Also some traditions dictate certain herbs, etc be taken and the result of these is certain to be different to those who don’t (though results are clearly as valid and useful).
I would like however if any shamans (traditional or neo) could write in to me and tell me how dreams are dealt with in their tradition and culture (if it is able to be written down and communicated to the uninitiated) I am really interested in finding out much as I can about these traditions for future research.
I hope that you dear reader also wish to learn more about how dreaming is dealt with and interpreted in your culture or religion (or set of religions). It is something we can continue to seek more knowledge of for many centuries, I am sure.