The Art of Dreams
Channel's Note: Dreams are such a significant part of our lives, yet so many people ignore the wisdom that is contained in dreams. It is always interesting to me when I talk with friends or clients that a common response to a dream that is predictive of our future is a surprise; perhaps it's because we are not taught to value our dreams as the signposts that they are. Even though there is a part of us that honors the truths of dreams, there is another voice that doubts its authenticity. There was a time, however, when dreams were considered sacred, and pilgrims who undertook the long journey to Asklepian dream temples were seeking natural forms of healing. They would travel a great distance and endure hardships for the opportunity to sleep inside of a healing temple in an effort to find the answers to their problems — emotional, physical, or spiritual.
Inside these dream temples, which were named after the god of medicine, Asklepius, dreams would arrive for the pilgrims after they underwent sacred rituals and other preparations, including eating a pure vegetarian diet, bathing, exercise, and meditation. The sleep state that pilgrims experienced, often with the aid of hallucinogens, was called enkoimesis, or temple sleep. Dogs and snakes were highly regarded and roamed the temples freely. It was believed that if you had a dream of either animal, that dream would have special significance in your life.
Pilgrims possessed an unwavering dedication to their own healing, which was the very reason that they sought out the dream temples in the first place. Often ignored by their own physicians, they needed to consult the divine to find their own unique "cure." The prescriptions that were offered to each dreamer were interpreted by trained priests and priestesses who would guide the pilgrims to their healing medications. These medications would often include those of the natural world: fresh air, immersion in baths, packs of natural salves applied to the body, music, art, and dance therapies.