Dreams & Spirituality: A Connection? Yes.

Raja Ravi Varma, Usha’s Dream, Oleographic print.

Raja Ravi Varma, Usha’s Dream, Oleographic print.

This week’s topic was sourced from two social media acquaintances both inquiring about the importance of dreams in spirituality. Let’s start with a definition.

What are dreams?
According to Psychology Today,

Dreams are the stories the brain tells during sleep—they’re a collection of clips, images, feelings, and memories that involuntarily occur during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of slumber.  

The stuff of dreams and spirituality
Dreams are generally comprised of elements from one’s waking life: people, jobs, travels, etc. They can also, as is the case with me and many I know who are spiritually inclined, include elements of past and future scenarios not lived by the person having the dream. Depending on the spiritual tradition, dreams may be used as a form of divination giving a person insights into what has happened and what may happen. Dreams can also be mode of communication with one’s spiritual guides and ancestors, as well as a state that enhances and enables astral projection.

While Abrahamic traditions and related Western cultural practices don’t consistently give much credence to dreams, in the shamanic traditions found in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, dreams and dreamers are accorded respect ad gravity for the quality and timeliness of the information provided.

How do I know if my dreams are spiritual in nature?
There is no official check list that will tell you for sure if your dreams are spiritual. For those who take to heart the adage “as above, so below” everything is spiritual and so then yes, all your dreams would be too even if you ate a bunch of cheese right before sleeping. Sometimes the unexplainable acts you recall from your dreams are your subconscious just working out some stuff. Here are, however, a few questions to consider when attempting to ascertain if any of your dreams are of a spiritual nature:

  • You dream of dead relatives you never met (particularly those who died before you were born);

  • You dream of people you’ve never met and then you meet them in real life;

  • You dream of yourself in the future and see children that appear to be your biological offspring;

  • You see a scenario from a time period you never lived in that involves people you know in the present, in your waking life;

  • You have dreams where you are watching yourself interact with others as a third party;

  • You receive or see precise messages in your dreams, which are confirmed once you are awake; and/or

  • nightmares with aggressively violent acts in which you are the perpetrator or the victim.

This is not at all an exhaustive diagnostic mechanism. In fact, in my opinion, to be truly sure that your dreams are indeed of a spiritual nature, seek out a competent diviner, knowledgeable of how dreams function and dream interpretation to help you demystify your dreams. If you are experiencing physical or mental anguish as a result of your sleep and/or dreams, seek professional medical advice.

Astral Traveling While Dreaming
I will pay brief attention to this topic here as it is, I believe, something that is more common than people realize. As I have experienced it, astral travel is the ability to leave one’s body during sleep and travel across time periods, cities, countries, and/or continents before returning to your body and waking up. In the traditions I study and practice, this ability is enhanced by one’s connection to, or embodiment of, certain kinds of spiritual entities that often have celestial or primordial characteristics, and are often called, very simply, ancient forces. These forces offer capacities for spiritual sight and experience that goes beyond the mundane and regularly crosses between planes. Again, if any of this resonates, seek a competent diviner to support you in investigating and excavating your lived experience of astral travel.

So what does any of it mean?
It means as much as you decide to make it. A dream can be an indication of a spiritual inclination or a set of spiritual abilities; however, in the end it is up to you to follow that inclination, or leverage the skill set, towards, if not, beyond its logical conclusion. A dream may in fact deliver a message pertaining to a spiritual calling. Divination can confirm that and offer guidance. Ultimately it comes down to a personal decision about meaning, desirability of the dream state, and willingness to act on your dreams.

Negarra A. Kudumu

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