The official site of the sleep-deprived

Sunday, July 31, 2016

World of Dreams, Land of Clairvoyance

Today, we welcome guest blogger Michelle Snyder to the 3:15 Club. Michelle is a professor of mythology and symbolism, an author, blogger, artist, and geek. She earned her post-graduate degree at the University of Wales, decoding prehistoric images and folklore, tracing them to their roots. Her artwork has appeared in galleries from MA to CA. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.

Our fascination with the future and persistence in seeing it have resulted in numerous mechanical processes to penetrate it, to learn of hidden things in it. These divinatory methods become of great value in this pursuit. How much more value do we place on the mysterious inexplicable state called sleep – where our ties to the physical world are loosened and stretched, and doors to a new and unexplained world are opened to the mind? The world of fantastic and unreal – sometimes surreal – beings. A world where we pass a third of our lives.

Dreams have changed human lives, destroyed, empires, and decided the fate of cultures. Dreams are of utmost importance and since the beginning of written legend, myth, and history there are stories and accounts of events that changed the course of history because of dreams. Greeks, Romans, Persians, and barbarians of antiquity acknowledge this world. Emperors, soldiers, and philosophers had their lives change with the interpretation of a dream, some fortunate, some unfortunate, but all exerted a decisive effect on their lives.

Even the most practical people, ones not given to fantasy or imagination, become dreamers in spite of themselves. They receive visits from the gods, envision phantoms and ghosts – whose existence they refuse to acknowledge when awake. The dreamer penetrates secrets of the future.

Dreams were considered to be sacred warnings, admonitions from the celestial realm. One dared not ignore or rebuke them, it would be sacrilege to do so. The oracle from the Tripod of Sibyl, poets like Homer and Virgil took advantage of the divinatory dream and its affect on human lives; they understood the tragic shudder felt when, in spite of himself, a man suddenly drew near the hereafter.

One would surmise that those of the Christian faith would be opposed to such thinking, to such superstitious customs, yet they were quick to encourage it. Biblical tales sanctioned by the Church tell of prophets who saw the future by interpreting dreams. In spite of being told not to imitate such things and warnings against such behavior, Christians did imitate them, and divination by dreams was more popular than other methods, as dreams are involuntary, not mechanically derived and prepared. It was understood that dreams came from God. No doubt Jacob, upon seeing the mysterious ladder, knew immediately it was from God and not from the devil. Daniel revealed the future by interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, as Joseph did twice it in Egypt. And there are many more stories of wondrous interpretations.

Some dreams tell about historic events before they happen. Mari d Médicis dreamed about the assignation of Henry IV the night before it happened. Some people dream of their own deaths, as did Louis de Bourbon, who died in battle the next day in Jarnac.

There are records of learned men who solved problems while dreaming of reading a book from a distant library where they had never been. Some dreams were delivered in a foreign language, and warnings, that when translated, applied most perfectly to a situation that needed a solution.

Throughout history there are recorded methods for interpreting dreams. Artemidorus, a Greek author from the second century, is one of the oldest extant writers on the subject. Today Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, is well known for his work with dreams and the subconscious. The following is a selection of events in dreams and their meanings, from the writings of Lyons astrologer Jean Tibault, from 1530. There are 400 such entries alphabetically arranged, some of which have become proverbial; they are the basis of modern “dream books.”  

Felled trees mean no harm
To dream that you are a tree means illness
To worship God means joy
To be shaved means troubles
To have a long beard means strength or profit
To have a beautiful arm means sadness
To have a withered arm is a very bad sign
To have crucified Christ means illness
To drink clear water means pleasure
To drink stinking water means bad illness
To grind or purloin pepper means melancholy
New shoes mean consolation
Old shoes mean sadness
To see a lighted candle means anger or quarrels
To hear bells ring means slander
To cut bacon means the death of a person
To cut barley-bread means to be molested
To gather grapes means harm

To give a ring means harm
To give a knife means wickedness
To see a dragon means profit
To write on paper means some accusation
To see the moon fall from the sky means illness
To eat cheese means profit
To eat roots means agreement
To hear a raven croak means sadness
To see a donkey means malice
To see a monk means back luck

There are other works about interpreting dreams such as those by Achmet Apomazar from the ninth century, and later works from authors of the 1600s, whose interpretations differ considerably. A practitioner of dream divination would be wise to procure and compare as many as possible.

Some have sought to invoke dreams artificially using herbs, leaves, and branches, mixtures of powders and liquids, animal blood, and so on. It must have been astonishing in the days when every action by humans was directed by the supernatural to see someone asleep get up and walk about in a fit of somnambulism. About the seventeenth century a kind of artificial induced sleep began to be popular; it was referred to as somnific witchcraft – but was a form of hypnotism and magnetism. This phenomenon was described by Baron du Potet in 1846:

“Taking up position a foot away from the sleeping person whom I wish to affect, I pass my hands over the whole surface of the body in succession, discontinuing these movements, or passes, after about five or ten minutes. I then approach my finger to some part of the surface, whether naked or covered, and without contact bring about slight muscular contractions in it.”

It is known that hypnotism played a major role in the mysterious phenomena that were wondrous to mankind in antiquity. A person under hypnosis is valuable to the divinatory practitioner, and they surely would not have neglected it. Cornelius Agrippa writes about people who could hold another in a spell of fascination, as might a medium:

 “Fascination is a binding or charm which passes from the mind of the sorcerer through the eyes to the heart of the one he is bewitching, and sorcery is an instrument of the mind – namely a pure, shining subtle vapor proceeding from the purest blood engendered by the heat of the heart, which does continually send rays of a like nature through the eyes. You must know therefore that men grow bewitched when they look continuously straight into the eyes of another and that the eyes of the two then fasten themselves strongly to one another, and light of eye also to light of eye; mind thus joining to mind and carrying flashes to it and fixing them upon it.”

We learn from this passage that the movements of the eye were very well known, whether to induce hypnosis or artificial sleep, or just to place the will of the person under enchantment or spell. Hypnosis was mostly induced by staring fixedly at an object, producing a trance of sorts, an ecstatic condition in which inner prophetic vision could be attained. This was a profitable practice for diviners using magic mirrors, or cartomancers who gazed at their Tarot cards until they entered the state of clairvoyance, increasing clarity of vision.

Some people remember dreaming but cannot remember the events in their dreams. Some people remember their dreams and can write them down in the moments after waking. A few can trigger their dreams, directing the events, and even invite others into them. This rare ability called lucid dreaming, or magical dreaming, occurs in a state of being not quite asleep, not quite awake. The dreamer visits the world of odd events and strange creatures, interacting with them and learning the secrets that lie in the land of sleep. 

Contemporary dream interpreters consider a vehicle in which one rides, whether in control or out of control, to symbolize the dreamer’s life path. Water is said to represent love and life, and a horse is sexual in nature. There are now hundreds of dictionaries that offer interpretation of dreams. One fundamental truth underlies it all: dreams are the language of the mind, which is symbolic. A person may dream of their father, but it is not their father – it is a symbol of the concept of father. Symbols are abstracts of concepts, and dreams are symbolic in nature. So the next time you dream of your old aunt Agatha storming into your life, remember, she is just a symbol of a concept you attach her to – but this does not negate the message Aunt Agatha brings you in your sleep!

Books by Michelle, available at Amazon

Michelle Snyder, Symbologist, FaceBook
Michelle Paula Snyder, Author, FaceBook

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hey there, fellow insomniacs. Just wanted to let you know that you might enjoy my interview early Wednesday morning 12/16  (2 til 4 am) about witchcraft in the modern era and how to use your own magickal power––and the Law of Attraction––to create the life you truly desire. Lots of interesting stuff here...hope you can make it.

Listen live:

If you happen to be blissfully asleep at that time, you can still connect:  FREE download via iTunes 1 week of Air Date

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Can Dreams Diagnose Health Problems?

About 2,400 years ago, the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who’s sometimes called the Father of Medicine, postulated that the body was able to sense the coming of disease before said disease took hold and impaired the body. Often the dreamer received a warning regarding the illness––in a dream. According to Hippocrates, who also knew a fair amount of astrology (like all learned people of the time) the appearance of the sun, moon, or stars in a person’s dream symbolized his or her physical state. If the stars in the dream glowed brightly, said Hippocrates, the body was in good shape and functioning as it should. However, if the stars seemed dull––or if a cosmic disaster of some sort occurred in the dream––it meant a disease was developing in the body.

Holistic medicine proposes a body/mind/spirit link––the three levels of being cannot be separated. Even allopathic medicine now recognizes that the mind and emotions  influence physical conditions. Before an ailment, whether it’s a common cold or cancer, manifests physically it may have existed in a nonphysical form for quite a long time. If we accept a body/mind/spirit connection, it’s seems reasonable that in the dream state we might get clued into something that’s gone amiss, long before the information filters down into our waking lives.

 Signs and symbols in your dreams may warn of potential health problems, although those warnings are likely to be cloaked in symbolism. Here’s an example. During a very busy period in my life, I dreamed I was driving dangerously fast and wrecked my car. Cars, in dreams, often represent the physical body and your direction in life. My dream was warning me that if I didn’t stop pushing myself so hard I could damage my health.

Sometimes our dreams suggest cures when we’re ill or offer advice about how we can heal ourselves physically and emotionally. Dreams connect us with a level of awareness some people call the Akasic Records, a cosmic data bank that holds all the knowledge that has ever existed. The great psychic Edgar Cayce never studied medicine, yet by tapping into the Akasic Records in his dreams, he discovered remedies that helped thousands of people.

Sometimes our dreams illuminate health problems that could develop if we don’t take corrective action. Dreams also may tell us that a treatment we’re undergoing is right or wrong for us. A colleague of mine once dreamed she stopped her car at a gas station. Instead of pumping gasoline into her tank, the attendant used a hose-like apparatus to suck out decaying matter that was clogging up her car. At the time she was undergoing a healthful, cleansing program and her dream told her that the process was working.

If you want your dreams to give you advice about a health situation, ask for insights before falling asleep. Record your dreams and keep a log of dream symbols, as Hippocrates did, to understand how your subconscious speaks to you. What do your dreams tell you about your health? Have you gotten advice in your dreams that you’ve applied to your own health situations? Have your dreams helped you to avert physical disease, or perhaps nip it in the bud?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spiritual Hives

In one of my first posts I admitted to an obsession with searching for the next big thing. I’m convinced that once I find the thing my life will change so profoundly that it will redefine my very existence. A new king-sized mattress came close. Bio-identical hormones came closer. But there’s always an intangible something still missing that I can’t quite put my finger on …. so, I keep looking.

For way too many years I’ve been addicted to anything and everything self-help. A definite off-shoot of the thing. With unwavering certainty, I know that the next book, the next tape series, the next DVD, the next Omega workshop or Brother Dyer live appearance – will be the thing that finally leads to my personal satori. Even my blog partner, Skye, half-jokingly talks about the need for an intervention and 12-step program. Hmmmm.

I’ve always thought that reading self-help books before falling asleep was the way to go – let the sub-conscious mull it over, construct an action plan and all that. So the other night after an hour of reading the latest and greatest about becoming a new and improved, excuse-free me – there was no way I could fall asleep. I couldn’t sleep because my mind was frantically trying to assimilate, organize, and somehow not forget what I had just read – the tips, the quotes, the secrets, the exercises, the 4 main categories with the 14 essential bullet points … I was an information-overload mess.

At any given moment I’m trying to be compassionate, feel gratitude, be in the now, focus my attention, let go of judgment, watch my breathing, work through my fear, let go of attachment, feel love toward everyone and everything,visualize, keep my ego in check, lose my self-importance, meditate, find my life’s purpose, take responsibility, manifest my destiny, stay balanced, get in touch with my higher self, and, oh yeah, remember that visualization without feeling doesn’t count – all done in a blissful state of joy, while understanding that it’s nothing but a universal, holographic dream anyway.

I’m supposed to keep all these balls in the air every waking moment, yet remain relaxed and detached? I have an in-box of motivation quotes dating back to the early 80s that I can’t bear to delete, reams of inspiring quotes I’ll never read again, every personal transformation guru’s website bookmarked in “my favorites” … this is insane. My obsession with enlightenment is seriously stressing me out.

So that’s it, you’re all going to have to go on the vision quest without me. I need a break. In the true spirit of detachment, I’m hitting the spiritual pause button. I’m going back to reading Stephen King and Architectural Digest, cancelling every emailed motivational quote of the day, deleting Amazon’s s self-help book suggestion of the week, and taking myself off of Oprah’s “Live Your Best Life” mailing list.

I no longer want to live my best life. Right now, I just want to live.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Symbolic or Real?

Most dreams are symbolic. They use symbols to convey information about situations in our waking lives. But sometimes the literal nature of dreams amazes me. 

Two nights before the Chilean earthquake occurred and set off a tsunami in the Pacific, I dreamt a man dropped my cell phone in a glass of water, rendering it inoperable. However, I didn't seem too upset about it. 

The dream accurately depicted a waking-life scenario––one I couldn't have known about in advance. The man I live with was visiting friends in Hawaii at the time. Because of the tsunami, he was evacuated to a remote place inland where his cell phone didn't work. I couldn't help laughing at how my dream described the situation, and let me know there was nothing to worry about. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Do you believe in magic?

It's no coincidence that precisely the moment I needed to hear it most, my writing partner, Skye, told me she was editing a book about synchronicity.

Some significant something has been missing from my life lately, but trying to put my finger on it has proven maddeningly mercurial. Then, as she began to talk about the book project it hit me: I'd stopped believing in magic.

I suddenly remembered that synchronicities used to be a routine but welcome part of my life. The incidents were not always mind-blowing in scope, but each one served as an important reminder that although I may be caught up in the ordinariness of the moment, energetic magic was always sizzling around me. I also loved the way synchronicities gave me an electrifying jolt, guaranteed to anchor me in the moment.

But somewhere along the line, it seems I allowed myself to get caught up in that ordinariness and I had stopped paying attention. It seemed so incongruous. How could the mundane have taken precedence over magic?

Call them what you like: synchronicities, omens, affirmations, agreements -- in my mind they are magical reminders that life is so much more; that we are so much more. And they happen because we are inextricably connected to one another.

Within a day of our conversation, I received an email from someone I'd been thinking about for weeks but hadn't communicated with in years. My husband and I talked about a song from the 60s that was meaningful to us - one we hadn't heard since college. That same afternoon the song was on the car radio oldies station. Awhile later I mentioned the title of the blog post I was thinking of writing and within the hour heard the song "Do You Believe in Magic?" by the Lovin' Spoonful. Coincidence?

Yesterday, after a week of flopping around about the unfairness of it all, that nothing is manifesting the way I thought it should, that life was not cooperating, that the universe wasn't listening .... a man who used to work for our company walked into my office. He had come to pick up his W-2 and was waiting to see the business manager. It was a cold day and although he had on a heavy jacket, he was wearing rolled up jeans and pink flip-flops. While he waited he brought me up-to-date on his life.

A series of unfortunate events had left him homeless, with a bicycle as his sole possession. His clothes, including the flip-flops, were items on loan from the Salvation Army thrift store. He was matter of fact about it all, and did not want my sympathy. He seemed to have a good grasp of cause and effect and was taking responsibility for where he was in life.

As I listened to him I silently thanked the universe for this wake-up call. The pettiness and irritation of moments earlier drained out of me. Here was a man who had nothing, but who continued to express gratitude for the only thing he did have - the ability to turn his life around.

Yes, synchronicities are personal - only you can interpret what they mean. But I know in my heart that this was no coincidence. This man had shown up when he did because there was a message I needed to hear.

So, there you go. Just when I'd convinced myself I no longer believed, synchronicities started showing up all over the place.

Just like, you know, magic.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fear: The Greatest Obstacle to Happiness

For most of us, fear is a constant presence. It attaches itself to us like a tick and sucks the life from our bodies and souls. We’re taught to fear from the moment we enter this world, and from then on, as my blog-partner Lyndsey Powers wrote in an earlier post, “it’s fear-speak everywhere you turn.”

We fear failure. We fear poverty. We fear exposure. We fear losing the people we care about. We fear sickness and death. Some of us spend so much time and energy trying to protect ourselves from our fears that we can’t experience joy. Often, however, the things we fear lie far off in the future or may never happen.

My favorite poet, the 14th-century Persian Sufi master Hafiz, put it this way: “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.”

Fear is the voice of the ego. The ego’s goal is control, and it achieves its objective by keeping us in a perpetual state of near-panic. The ego (backed up by 24/7 bad-news media) tells us the world is a frightful place, filled with suffering and evil, and there’s nothing we can do about it. But what if that’s not true? What if the ego is lying to save its own skin?

Lately, I’ve been experiencing a lot of fear. I know I’m not alone. A shaky economy, war, natural disasters, and a host of other perils have sent lots of ordinarily strong, stable, sensible people into a tailspin.

So a few nights ago, I appreciated the encouragement and affirmation a dream offered me. In it, I was driving along a winding road after a major windstorm. Branches and debris were strewn all over the road. I dodged most of them, but finally came upon a large, fallen tree that blocked my path. I tried to go around it and over it, to no avail. The only answer was to get out of the car and attempt to drag the tree out of the way. Now, I’m a small woman and this was a BIG tree, and I had no hope of budging it. But as I took hold and started to pull, surprisingly it came away pretty easily. The obstacle wasn’t as great as it appeared. Hmmmm.

I like to think Brendan Francis was right when he said, "Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.”

How do your fears show up in your dreams? Do closet monsters disturb your sleep? How do you deal with them?