In ancient times in Japan, nighttime dreams were revered and regarded as messages from the spirit world. People believed in them and often acted on them. Like ancient Greece, there were temples for ‘dream incubation’ where people slept and waited to receive important dreams.
According to Norimi Sakai, a researcher of history of dreams in Japan, whenever people had interesting dreams, they often reported them amongst each other, as they thought those dreams may have also concerned people around them. This kind of ‘dream-sharing communities’ were poping up everywhere and all the time in those days.
It’s fun to imagine how people from all walks of life, whether they are young or old, politicians or common people, animatedly
sharing dreams with each other. However, when I see how they often blindly followed messages of dreams and even tried to skew
reality at times so that it would fit the dreams, it makes me wonder about their weaker sense of individuality and autonomy in relationship with ‘the gods’ and ‘the spirit world’.
In modern times, our sense of individuality and autonomy may have become stronger. However, we have lost interest in nighttime dreams instead, and no longer think of sharing them with each other.
However, from my experience from hosting Dream Cafe, a modern version of dream-sharing community, for the past 8 years, I can see the trend of dream sharing is back. More and more people, not only those on the fringe but ‘ordinary’ people are open to sharing and exploring dreams and how they relate to their lives.
I feel we are in a transition period regarding dreams, where neither holding on to only our mind and thoughts nor blindly following
dream messages (or divination, psychic readings, etc for that matter) would work well. Flexibility as well as discernment would help when exploring the relationship with our dreams, just like any relationships; Would it feel right to be open to them? What can I learn from them about myself and my life? Is it time to set aside dreams and focus on everyday reality now? etc.
I hope Dream Cafe gatherings have been helpful for participants for cultivating their relationship with dreams so far. My hope for the New Year is to try out different methods with the group and explore further possibilities of modern day dream-sharing communities and what they may have in store.
I wish you all much joy and fascinating dreams for the year ahead. Remember to write down the dreams you have around the new year.
Thank you for reading!