Healing through Dream Incubation
Dreams are a direct pathway into the subconscious. Although they may seem at times to be just random, nonsensical firings of your brain, they contain messages for both healing and guidance. Dreams are clearly a reflection of our deepest fears and desires. The more we pay attention to what they are trying to tell us, the more we can learn and grow.
During Ancient Greece, the Greeks built thousands of temples in honor of the Greek god of healing, Asclepius, specifically for what they called “dream incubation” (from the Latin word incubare, meaning to lie down upon or sleep on it). Hoping to get a powerful message, they practiced and built rituals around calling forth a dream to give them insight into solving their toughest problems. These temples were staffed by priests and physicians, known as dream healers, who were skilled in the practice of spiritual healing. This practice is still used in some Greek monasteries today.
While some people’s most creative inspiration may come from a dream, like the plot for their next script or invention, I have personally found dreams to be an invaluable tool for insight–especially from reoccurring dreams and/or nightmares.
When I was in my 20’s I can remember one rather persistent dream about being chased by this great big old grizzly bear. He was terrifying to look at and I would run and run and run trying to escape him. One night I had the same dream and went into my usual run mode, but then I felt a deep exhaustion. I just couldn’t run anymore. I had no strength left to evade this bear, so I stopped running knowing for sure I would face my inevitable annihilation. As the bear came upon me, I closed my eyes and submitted to my fate. But then the most curious thing happened. This great big terrifying grizzly bear turned into a big old fuzzy teddy bear and was embracing me in a loving bear hug, not trying to kill me. By facing it, I had the power to transform it. Upon waking, I knew that the bear symbolized something I couldn’t “bear” to look at in my life, which I also feared and ran from. I suddenly saw things much clearer, addressed the problem by facing my real life fear, and as a result I never had the dream again.
Without knowing about the ancient Greek practice of dream incubation, I then started to ask for dream answers right before falling asleep. One particular time (again in my 20’s), I wanted to know why my face had suddenly broken out rather badly with noticeable blotchy red marks and blemishes. I had never had problems with skin blemishes growing up, so this really got my attention. It was like trying to successfully hide a big black mole on your nose. Nothing seemed to be working. My dream question was: What is the cause of my skin eruptions and what do I need to change?” Immediately I drifted off to sleep and that night I got what I thought was my answer.
I saw myself sitting in front of a mirrored vanity where I was carefully applying and fixing makeup to my face. I awoke from the dream thinking, “Oh, I get it. I must be allergic to the makeup I’m using.” I changed my makeup brand, but there was still no change with my skin condition. In fact, another big blemish sprouted up to party with the others. I was mortified. I thought to myself, “Okay, I must have interpreted the dream wrong. Can you give me another dream that’s clearer?”
True to my request, I got it. I got the very same dream again, but this time with something added to it. As I sat in front of the same vanity mirror, applying the same makeup, I looked at myself in the mirror rather vainly and said, “Oh, aren’t I beautiful.” Whoa! That surprised and shocked me. I immediately woke up. You got to smile at dream symbology, because sometimes it’s so clear it hits you over the head. I was a hotshot disco roller skater at the time, showing off my skills and cute little outfits on the rink. The dream was about my need to address my “vanity,” look at myself in the mirror and change my own “blemished” personal makeup. As soon as I did, the blemishes on my face mysteriously cleared up as suddenly as they had appeared. Pretty trippy! I was a convert to dream messages from that moment on.
Try dream incubation for yourself. Why not start tonight? Sleep on your back for best results (like the ancient Greeks did) and ask for an answer to some problem you are dealing with. Keep a dream journal nearby to record what you experience for later interpretation. You may not get an answer that first night, but most people get something by the second night. Just remember to stay positive and open to receiving. The more you pay attention, the more messages you will receive. It’s like going to some wonderful cosmic night school and the payoff is accelerated awareness and ultimately–growth.
Dr. Kathy Forti is a clinical psychologist, inventor of the Trinfinity8 technology, and author of the new book, Fractals of God. amazon.com/author/kathyforti