Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Dream Walking

Well, I heard this some time ago; I'm really not sure why I haven't posted about this before. However, now is as good a time as any.

Last semester, I was in a class called The Religions of Native Peoples. Perhaps you'll read more later. It was a fascinating class, but I left the notes back at school, so I won't be able to refer directly. The prof specializes in this field and, while not First Nations herself, has great sympathy and in many cases belief in these religions.

Two of the lectures were given by a fairly reknowned scholar in the field named Marie-Francois Guedon. If you're in the field and don't know her name, it's possible because she's a French-Canadian scholar, and therefore doesn't publish in the English language.

Our professor later told us several stories about Marie-Francois' experiences as sort of case studies for assorted lessons. The following is one such lesson.

The Dene have a fascinating worldview that I will maybe get into some day. Dreaming is very important to the Dene. They believe that they can walk through the world in their dreams...but they see the world differently when dreaming. The Dene also believe that they can walk into other people's dreams to talk to them. This is a learned ability, but not something you could get from a book; a person can only learn how by having it done to them repeatedly. Children often stay with their aunts when very young in order to learn this skill. When someone walks into your dream, according to my prof, they can't see what you're dreaming, but you see them and they can talk to you.

According to the prof, Professor Guedon learned to do this during her work with the Dene. Generally, she studies the religious traditions of a native group by living with them for extended periods of time. In the case of the Dene, she 'became' Dene, and learning to walk into dreams was necessary in order to be truly Dene. The prof says that Guedon once walked into her dream. The prof was in a perfect summer meadow, and suddenly, a door opened in the sky, and Guedon's head poked through. The prof said, "Marie-Francois, is that you?" Guedon said, "Yes," and giggled. The prof said, "Well, what is it?" Guedon said, "Phone me tomorrow." "OK," said the prof, and then the door closed. The next day, the prof phoned Guedon and asked if she has spoken to her in her dream. Guedon, according to the prof, giggled in response.

Now, I'm not asking you to believe this. I generally follow the axiom that "there are more things on heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy," but that's between my and God. I would ask, however, that you give this some thought. If nothing else, it makes for an interesting story.

When I've spoken of this to Christian friends, I sometimes get some concern--disbelief and devil worship are common refrains. In the latter case, I'd refer you to the Dene prophets who develop Dene versions of Christianity. An Orthodox Christian might not like the looks of it, but it's certainly interesting to me. On top of that, Christian mystics often have dream-visions. No reason to think that dream-walking isn't a genuine miracle, if you can follow me down that alley.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting story, and figured I'd pass it on. I've kept that professor's name anonymous for my privacy and hers. Guedon...well, I think she's fairly public about this.

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