In Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation, co-authored with my friend and colleague Sandra Ingerman, we have created an entire chapter devoted to Dreams from the Shaman perspective. So allow me to gather some thoughts about this interesting topic.
In my work as an anthropologist, I have heard a singular statement regularly repeated in various forms among the indigenous peoples across the years—that we are actually dreaming 24 hours a day. I have also been assured that the dream world is the real world, and that this physical world we know so well is a manifestation of the dream, not visa versa.
This perception among the traditional peoples is always accompanied by a conviction, strongly held, that everything dreams—humans, animals, plants, rocks, rivers, mountains, oceans, the planet itself, our sun, and even the Universe in all its incredible diversity.
This implies that everything here, including ourselves, was sourced into existence by the collective dreaming and that we are actually dreaming ourselves into existence…together… and all the time.
This gives rise to an interesting question: who is dreaming?’
The answer can be found in one of my essays posted under ‘Shaman Wisdom’--the one called the Matrix of the Self… for it was here that I discuss the Hawaiian kahuna view that each of us possesses not one, but three functionally distinct souls—a spiritual soul, a mental soul, and a physical/body soul.
These three self-aspects are actually distinct souls as they all originate from the same source but they exist in very different levels of quality.
The Three Souls
The Mental Soul
The mental soul, the one that we tend to call the ego (after Freud) or the conscious mind (after Jung), is the soul that thinks, analyzes, integrates information, makes decisions, revealing it to be our intellect that serves us as our overall inner director. It is also the source of our will forces, our intentionality, and our creative imagination.
But the mental soul does not dream. Rather it can receive what is perceived in dreams, and it can think about them, analyze them and categorize them, then create thoughtforms of things or goals that it wants to achieve in response to them.
The mental soul actually receives information about our dreams through the body soul—the self aspect that we call the subconscious (after Jung) or the id (after Freud)… but that soul-aspect does not dream either.
The Physical Soul
In summary--the subconscious/body soul is the self-aspect that serves as the source of our emotions and feelings, our memories, as well as all our learned and habitual behavior. As the interface between us and the other, it perceives both what is seen as well as what is sensed, and it sends what it perceives to the mental soul/ego which thinks about it, analyzes it, assigns meaning to it and categorizes it.
What is important to understand here is that the body soul is where the doorway into the hidden worlds is located. To be precise, this portal is positioned within our heart, revealing the heart to be the gateway into the mystical experience. Seen from this perspective, the portal is much like the modem built into your computer.
The Spiritual Oversoul
The gateway itself is none other than that spark of light that we received from our immortal self—the oversoul—when we drew our first breath. That seed of light that resides within our heart serves as the conduit that links us to our oversoul that resides always in the spirit world, and as we have revealed in our book, the spirit world and the dream world are the same—the level of the dreaming.
You will notice that I used the word ‘dreaming’ rather than ‘dream.’ This is because ‘dream’ is a noun and refers to a specific and usually idiosyncratic dream that we may have… but ‘dreaming’ is a verb, implying a continuous flow of ongoing process. This is a good way to describe the spirit world, which in fact it is.
So the question returns for our consideration, who is dreaming?
It is none other than our higher self, our oversoul who dreams, and who is dreaming right now... the one who dreamed us into this current life existence and thus served as our personal creator. It is also the repository to which our soul complex returns at the end of each reincarnational cycle.
This is why I believe the information on the three souls is so important. It is very definitely an upgrade in our understanding of the nature of our self. The keys to the kingdom are ours to claim when we understand who we are and where we are… and how we are put together.
And so, with profound apologies to the various eastern meditation masters who deny the existence of the self, let alone the existence of an immortal oversoul aspect, allow me to say that I feel that they missed it, virtually all of them.
This world was dreamed into existence... yes... but who dreamed it? Our oversouls dreamed it, and this includes the oversoul fields of every living thing that makes up Nature.
And our solar system? From the informed perspective of the modern mystic, this is and was and will always be sourced by the dreaming of the solar being that we call the Sun. And since our star’s dream also includes the dreaming of everything within its system, ultimately our dreams are our Sun's dreams.
This world (created by our Sun) is ephemeral because of the law of evolution on the physical plane—that everything changes. The fabric of the spirit world on the other hand, is eternal. And once some thing has come into being both here and there, it is woven into the tapestry of the dreaming forever... and forever is a long time.
The Spirit Teacher
Our personal oversoul is also the wise being who may provide us with instant downloads about what we need to know at any given point in time. It may do this through sending us dreams, visions, slips of the tongue, and ideas that pop into our heads in response to need. It is the source of what we call our intuition or inspiration.
This reveals that our oversoul is our primary spirit teacher, yet in that capacity, it never tells us what to do or where to go. That is the ego's job--our mental soul that serves as our inner chief and makes informed decisions. The body's soul--the subconscious--is the servant who does what it's told according to the directives it receives from that inner director.
But the oversoul, our immortal spirit, is the dreamer who dreams, and the one through whom we perceive the dreamtime or spirit world.
Who knew that the mystery could be this immediate?
As we come to the end of our cycle of ages and the beginning of the next cycle approaches, there is no question that we, as sentient, self-aware beings, are world class dreamers, and this conveys to each of us an awesome responsibility.
The time has come for us all to dream well.
And so today, allow me to invoke the spirit of the kahuna nui Hale Makua, my great Hawaiian friend… and with his blessing (and his words), I extend to each of you the Light and the Love of the Ancestors, The Source of Life, rejoicing in the Power and the Peace, braided with the cords of Patience, revealing the tapestry of the strongest force in the Universe… your Aloha.
With warm thoughts—Dr Hank