A funny thing happened in a search for old poems maybe worth saving for a new book. I found an old barren poem (Nightmares) that’s in one of my books and I wondered if it was worth repeating. There was a short blog discussion about it which brought up an interesting subject. But before that here is the little trivial thing:
Dearest precious child with nightmares,
I have a white-light love to envelop you.
Let me reach you nocturnally,
so you can feel my dreams for you
to fly your joy across the heavens
eternally my lovely cherub, because
this night I am here at your bed and blanket.
I tell you: you are strong against monsters,
just because I know you’ll hold onto my love,
and blue eyes, my sacred child,
take my sword of love and
fight every dragon, please, dearest.
Well, so, that was nothing. As I was saying…
I remember a long time ago, reading about the Senoi tribe in Malaysia and how the whole tribe discussed their dreams and it was considered very important. It was a fad for awhile and then seemed to disappear. I never quite got into it, but I remember remarking that it’s a shame that when children in our culture have nightmares we just dismiss it by saying, “it’s only a a dream; don’t worry about etc.” And we have no solutions to offer them.
So anyway, I decided to do a search for the Senoi and dreams and found an interesting article by G. William Domhoff:
Senoi Dream Theory: Myth, Scientific Method, and the Dreamwork Movement
G. William Domhoff
Domhoff, G. W. (2003). Senoi Dream Theory: Myth, Scientific Method, and the Dreamwork Movement. Retrieved November 11, 2021 from the World Wide Web: http://dreamresearch.net/Library/senoi.html
[Revision: Stewart’s version is mythology — The Senoi didn’t actually do any of this dream work. Whether the dream techniques work or not is a different question. But the Senoi didn’t actually do any of this. Wow, a whole movement based on false anthropological data. Well I suppose you can have wrong data right theory. I suppose it’s like calling something “animal magnetism” even though it has nothing to do with “magnetism.” But the actual attraction does exist.]
“For the Senoi, life is a veritable dream clinic. The concern with dreams begins at the break of day. ‘The Senoi parent inquires of his child’s dream at breakfast, praises the child for having the dream, and discusses the significance of it,’ reports Stewart. ‘He asks about past incidences and tells the child how to change his behavior and attitude in future dreams. He also recommends certain social activities or gestures which the dream makes necessary or advisable.'”
[8. Stewart, “Mental Hygiene and World Peace,” p. 396: K. R. Stewart, “Mental Hygiene and World Peace,” Mental Hygiene 38 (1954):387-407]
P.S. Ut oh, there is a dark side: a difficult life with fear, thunderstorms,hookworms, tigers, bogeymen, and spirits… (see chapter two)