The ancient Gods of Sumeria, Egypt, South America, Greece, Australia, and Mesopotamia were known for communicating with people through their dreams, and even using dreams as a form of medicine.
People who wanted to be healed would participate in a plethora of “dream incubation” practices to help inspire the healing hands of the Gods, and to receive their wisdom while they were asleep.
They might practice intermittent fasting, longer periods of fasting, meditation, or other purification rituals along with taking part in chants, invocations, drinking mineral-rich water from special underground springs, or even water that had been blessed by a holy man or woman which was thought to be blessed.
Other traditions included lying down upon a ‘sacred skin’ (called a kline in ancient Greek – from which we derive clinic) to await a curative reverie. This process was called incubation – ‘to lie upon’. And without doubt these practices all invoke “spirit medicine” which has been re-popularized in modern times with substances like Ayahuasca, which causes someone to “dream” in other worlds with spirits or ancestors.
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In modern medicine sleep quality and the brainwave states achieved in sleep are often indicators of health, or the lack thereof, yet the conventional medical establishment shrugs off dreams as unimportant in the healing of the body or mind.
Current scientific research bases most medical “success” on the alteration of the physical form – the nuts and bolts, or atoms and cells of a person, but ancient medicine relied on Soul-based medicine, which arguably gets to the crux of the matter affecting a person’s physical form.
Moreover, the dream is considered to contain the primordial, archetypal information that all human beings know, yet unlearn through their physical birth in the cycle of suffering.
The ancient practices of conjuring dreams are no different than the modern ones in the sense that they help to decipher the symbols and language of the subconscious mind.
In the book Dreams, Symbols, and Homeopathy written by Jane Cicchetti, we learn that,
“In understanding such things as the role of the shadow in healing, the relationship between the ego and the transpersonal self, and the application of dream analysis, medical practitioners can better address present day health challenges.”
This is because the physical body houses the grossest level of disease, with all other pre-imminent forms arising in the subtle body. Eckhart Tolle and yoga masters alike have explained these “sheaths” of the body for centuries.
Disease begins in the mind, and then trickles down into the body. By understanding the content of our dreams, we can undo unhealthy patterns of thinking and believing before they ever have a chance to solidify into the grosser, denser matter of physical form.
Dream incubation allows us to ask a certain question or insert a conscious goal into our subconscious minds so that whatever ailments are keeping us from living free, happy, healthy and whole can subsequently be addressed.
To wit, dream science has shown, repeatedly, that dreams mirror our waking concerns. This is the continuity theory of dreaming, best articulated by dream researcher William Domhoff.
With this information, you are now ready to heal and thrive with dream incubation.
To incubate a dream:
- Set an intention – this can be for healing or simply information. Sometimes we just need clarity. Other times, we can ask for specific healing of an ailment we are struggling to overcome. When you close your eyes to go to sleep and have become restful and comfortable take a few deep breaths, and state your intent. You can whisper it aloud or just say it in your mind. It may be helpful to have a visual symbol of your intended dream near you as you fall asleep – this can be a picture, a book, a crystal that you have meditated with while envisioning your goal, etc.
- Sleep in a mindful way – turn off all electronic devices, including your cell and computer at least one hour before going to bed. You don’t want to could your mind with extra “stuff,” instead of allowing deeper wisdom to arise from within. Sleeping in an extra-dark room will also help your brain make more serotonin and DMT which can help naturally boost insightful dreaming.
- Prepare your body for better sleep – Get rid of sugar alcohol, and processed foods to help your body tap into your Soul’s wisdom. You can also try a gentle sleep aid like mugwort or kava kava to be extra relaxed before retiring.