Dreams – Some people understand that to dream is to journey in the other world, or that the dream world is the real one and that what is seen there will happen here sooner or later. Dreams may therefore be seen as opportunities for divination or as visions of the future. Dreams usually need interpreting: dreams of particular animals may warn of the need to be wary of poison. Carlos Fausto’s (2004) discussion of blood and tobacco ideas in Amazonia entails consideration of dreams as a prime means by which shamans seek to control enemies (especially other-than-human ones), making them allies and even pets who will help the shaman heal or harm others. Dreams may also be initiatory: to see particularly powerful other-than-human persons is to know that one has been elected to become a shaman. Greg Sarris’s account of the life of Mabel McKay, a Pomo doctor and weaver, provides an illustration of reliance on dreams as modes of communication between shamans and their helpers. Note that the Aboriginal Australian term the Dreaming is not primarily concerned with dreams. Rather, it is a rough translation equivalent for a variety of indigenous terms, only some of which refer to revelatory dreams.


Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007


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