Dreamwork is addictive! The moment that you recognize the immense spiritual insights that dream recollection and interpretation can bring there is no turning back!
Old wives tales speak of beliefs that dreams can be induced or their number increased through certain conditions – which is useful if you want more subject material to work with. Some of these techniques work but many of them do not for the human psyche has changed a great deal and what used to be efficacious in stimulating nocturnal experiences are not so any more.
Entering the Void
Whilst many books have been written regarding dream interpretation very few have focused specifically upon the creative art of dream inducement.
Dreaming the Divine, written by the highly respected Wiccan author and commentator Scott Cunningham (1956 – 1993) is just one of those books.
Why would you want to induce your dreams into giving richer content or by increasing their occurrence?
The answer is to be found within the opening chapters of Cunningham”s book in which he describes the importance that was played to dreamwork by many ancient cultures and civilizations.
Here he takes a look at the significance that dreams played in the spiritual lives of the Ancient Egyptians, the Middle East, Sumer, Babylon and Assyria and explains how many of them specifically used dreams as a way if healing, of fortune-telling, communicating with their deities.
All of them recognized the differing qualities and relevance of many types of dreams and adjusted their method of interpretation accordingly.
In part two of his book Cunningham moves emphasis from looking at the historical context that dream interpretation has to the significance of sacred dreams in a modern setting.
Here he particularly looks specifically at the methods employed in order to communicate directly with one’s chosen gods and goddesses.
He argues that not only do dreams offer the opportunity for closer forms of communication with divinity but that prior to the advent of our established religious systems sacred dreaming formed an active form of personal religion in its own right.
Cunningham then includes a list of popular deities drawn from all regions of the world. He offers a description of their form and their associated symbols. Once the reader has determined which deity they wish to commune with the next part of the process involves preparation for entry into a sleep state that encourages their contact.
Bringing Back the Message
Having entered the dream, or sleep state, via ritual or preparatory work the reader is advised on ways in which the dream material can be recalled upon waking.
Advice is also offered on the practice of keeping records of the subsequent dreams before the actual process of interpretation begins.
Whilst many dreams are of little value some do contain nuggets of personal revelation. All dreams are symbolic by their very nature and may require some unravelling in order to find their true meaning.
Cunningham explores an even more cryptic form of dream which are invariably those that are seeded into our consciousness by the deities that we call upon in a pre-sleep ritual.
As he states in the closing section of his book “knowledge acquired during sleep is meant to be used. It’s presented to us for the purpose of improving our lives.”
It would seem ungracious of us not to take advantage of the opportunity for personal revelation as presented to us through sacred sleep!
Our Review of Dreaming the Divine by Scott Cunningham
Given the sheer quality of all of Scott Cunningham’s occult writings we are entitled to expect something a little different from him on the subject of dreams and in Dreaming the Divine this expectation is not misplaced for here is a book that deals very simply with a technique for quality dream inducement that is fascinating and entertaining.
It is book of two parts. The slightly drier and more academic first section does leave the reader with a good idea of the importance that dreams have had throughout the past and during more enlightened times. This leaves on pondering on whether or not our modern psycho-analytic approach to dreamwork is not a wrong one for in many regards it is a process that tends to strip the divine from them.
Part two of the book is purely practical in its intent with some good general advice on dream incubation, a useful guide on determining the significance of varying types of dreams and in its appendices a valuable guide on inducing sleep and dream spells.
Even if you have, like me, an extensive library of work on dreams and their meanings Dreaming the Divine will be a book that fills a very specific gap most admirably and serve as a reminder as to quite why as an occultist Cunningham remains, even today, at the top of his league.