Indigenous peoples for thousands of years have considered dreams to be guides to their lives helping them in decision making, especially in regards to significant life events. Jung believed that dreams promote growth and individuation and that dreams are sources of informative and creative power. He believed that each person is able to explore their dreams by keeping track of them, meditating on their meaning, and examining them in detail. A series of dreams can bring clarity as important images recur allowing for a deepening of understanding of what these dreams are conveying to the dreamer. Sharing dreams has been an important element in the lives of Native Americans and indigenous peoples. As an example, the Iroquois listened carefully to their dreams and made decisions according to what they felt their dreams were offering them in guidance.
Today we see Native Americans and indigenous people worldwide finding ways to create dialogue that allows them to build bridges and create solutions to take action on common interests. Sharing of dreams is often part of that dialogue.
All dreams are gifts sent as guidance, as a path to greater meaning and wholeness. The responsibility for interpretation rests with each individual and brings awareness to what was previously unconscious. Individual dreamers who share their dreams in community or are witnesses for others dreamers find that synchronicities often occur when in the communal fire with others. Baring witness to the telling of an offered dream in a community setting means listening deeply to the language of dream and honoring the dreamer who is dreaming through you.
For many who are familiar with Jungian analysis or other analytical approaches, sharing unanalyzed dreams may seem like heresy. After years of personal analysis and participation in dream groups, I believe that the final authority on any dream interpretation lies with the dreamer. An inner imaginal conversation with others offers community support and another way to turn dreams this way and that, further amplifying their meaning for both individual and community growth.
Turn your dreams this way or that
When sharing dreams or witnessing in an inner imaginal conversation without interpretation, there are many ways to honor individual dreams and the community dream.
- Include drawings or paintings as part of an individual dream journal, or create individual drawings and paintings that can later become a community dream book with additional text added in the form of poetry, words, phrases, and archetypal images.
- Play with dreaming a dream on by extending the plot, developing characters, changing actions, revising the dreamscape, and finding resolution if desired.
- Create community murals by painting, drawing, or creating collages of photo images reflecting themes or archetypal images from dreams shared.
- Enact a dream through dream pantomime. This offers the dreamer an opportunity to play with dream characters and images through enactment with the facilitation of a supportive cast from the community.
- Visit a natural setting or sacred place together as a group and continue the inner conversationin a new location.
- Coordinate a group action in your community to contribute to the common good.
Questions for your consideration:
- Do you pay attention to your dreams and synchronicities?
- Do you share your dreams with friends and family or just with a Jungian analyst or therapist?
- Have you been a member of a dream group? What was your experience of the dream body?
- Do you feel connected to ancestors and guides through your dreams?
- Do your dreams connect you more deeply to the natural world?
© Copyright 2010 by Mary Alice Long, PhD. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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