The Shamanic Power and Spirituality of Dreaming Barbara Tedlock

Dreaming creates a spiritual refuge between ourselves and the multilayered world surrounding us. The reality of this sanctuary—located between the tangible and the intangible, the visible and the invisible, the audible and the inaudible—has long been recognized and described by shamans and mystics. In shamanic traditions, children’s dreaming is encouraged and created in dialogue with elders. As they learn to enact their dreams, they move beyond being into becoming and understand dreaming as a process of transformation within the landscape of their souls. When they fully enter this magical world, they find themselves able to shape shift into a bird—perhaps a pelican or a gull—and fly rapidly into the sky, or else they flip into a dolphin and plunge deeply into the ocean, then turn suddenly and shoot upwards, breaching joyfully into the open air. In the indigenous world, dream incubation—including omen reading, vision questing, conscious dreaming, and the ingesting of sacred plant medicines—is actively practiced. Dreams and visions provide experiential signals and icons, manifesting spiritual power in dreaming and waking reality. In this talk I describe Ojibwe, Huichol, Mayan, and Shipibo visionary dreaming practices and show art works created by shaman-dreamers from these and other traditions.