halo

The meaning of Halo in dream | Dream interpretation


See Aura.

The Dream Books Symbols | Betty Bethards

To see someone wearing a halo in your dream indicates sad news; if you were wearing the halo, it predicts foreign travel; if you dreamed of taking off a halo, you can expect some kind of improvement in business or financial matters.

A halo of lights seen around an object signifies a praiseworthy accomplishment.

See also Sun and Moon.

The Complete Guide to Interpreting Your Dreams | Stearn Robinson - Tom Corbett

Dreams of a halo symbolize your ability to see the angelic, divine aspect of a person. See Aura and Angel.

Strangest Dream Explanations | Dream Explanations - Anonymous

1. Divine attributes, power.

2. Difficulties lead to good fortune.

3. Human aura (note color).

4. Quick success in endeavors (solar halo).

5. Quest for perfection.

New American Dream Dictionary | Joan Seaman - Tom Philbin

Present pain will lead to good fortune later. Be brave.

Mystic Dream Book | Internet Archive - Anonymous

A dream of oneself with a halo may signify that perfection is a goal for the dreamer. Alternatively, it may represent an exaggerated “holier than thou” attitude.

Dream Symbols in The Dream Encyclopedia | James R. Lewis and Evelyn Dorothy Oliver

The force field – or electro-magnetic energy – that emanates from each of us has a particular quality in those who have undertaken to develop themselves spiritually.

To the clairvoyant eye it can appear as a type of mother-of-pearl radiance, which seems to be brightest around the head and forms a halo.

Dream Meanings of Versatile | Versatile - Anonymous

Psychological / emotional perspective: The charisma that many world and spiritual leaders have is felt by many, and can be experienced as a sort of cloudy radiance. This ‘nimbus’ is usually slightly more subtle – and therefore more far-reaching – than the ordinary person’s aura; the halo, particularly when it is seen in dreams, is an intensification of this energy.

Dream Meanings of Versatile | Versatile - Anonymous

Material aspects: In religious pictures it is the convention to picture this divine radiance around christ-like or saintly people as the halo. As an archetypal image, therefore, when seen in dreams we can accept the presence of a spiritual power.

Dream Meanings of Versatile | Versatile - Anonymous

Divine glory

Dream Dictionary Unlimited | Margaret Hamilton

A figure surrounded by halo or aureole probably symbolizes either your own ‘divine’ - true and whole - self (a halo is a mandala) or an inner source of wisdom and power. See also Guru, Mandala, Saint.

A Dictionary of Dream Symbols | Eric Ackroyd


Halo | Dream Interpretation

The keywords of this dream: Halo


MOON

A brilliant moon prognosticates: to a wife, love and good health; to a husband, increase in wealth. New moon: advancement in business; waning, death of a great man; a halo around the moon denotes pardon and deliverance through a female; a red moon, voyages, pilgrimages; dull moon, death or illness to wife, sister or female relative; perilous journey- ings, especially by sea, brain fever, eye trouble.

An obscure moon becoming bright, profit to a woman, joy to a man. From clearness to obscurity, loss, sadness, misfortune to men and women. Two moons denote increase in rank and dignity; when a beautiful woman dreams of the moon, the dream forecasts high standing, dignity and admiration.

To thieves, murderers, etc., it denotes justice; to invalids danger of death or shipwreck.

For a young girl or widow to dream of a full, dazzling moon, the prognostication is marriage; to a married woman, the birth of a beautiful daughter; to a man the birth of a son.

A happy dream to jewelers, goldsmiths, etc. (National Dream Book). Most of these presages, it will be observed, are astrological.... The Fabric of Dream

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The Fabric of Dream

BLUE

Light blues: our sense of intuition, having a wide awareness of life; religious feelings. Also coolness of nature. Often seen in visions of the womb as a blue grotto or woman with halo of blue, so connects with prenatal and infant rela­tionship with mother. Dark blues: in many women’s dreams, threatening men appear dressed in dark blue or navy blue overalls; depression; negative thoughts or intuition. Idioms: blue film; blue funk, blue pencil; blue stocking; feel blue; out of the blue. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

SCIENCE, SLEEP AND DREAMS

In 1937 through the use of the electroencephalograph (EEG) measuring tiny electrical brain impulses, Loomis and his associates discovered that the form of brainwaves changes with the onset of sleep.

The next leap forward in understanding came when Aserinsky and Kleitman found rapid eye movements (REM) in 1953. In 1957 the REM were linked with dreaming. This defined sleep into two differ­ent observable states, REM sleep, and NREM (non-rapid eye movement or non-rem) sleep. Within NREM three different stages have been identified. These are defined by the different EEG patterns of electrical activity in the brain. They are mea­sured by the height (amplitude) of the brain waves and fre­quency of up and down movement. There are also electrical changes occurring in the muscles (measured using an electro- myograph or EMG), and in movement of the eyeballs (mea­sured using an electro-oculograph or EOG).

While awake the height is low and frequency fast. As we relax prior to sleep the EEG shifts to what are called alpha waves, at 8 to 12 cps (cycles per second). Stage one of sleep is the transition between this drowsy state of alpha waves to sleeping, in which theta waves occur, at 3 to 7 cps. In this first stage we experience random images and thoughts. This lasts about 10 minutes, followed by stage two, in which ‘sleep spindles’ occur which have 12 to 14 cps on the EEG. These last from 1/2 to 2 seconds, with K complexes following, which are slow large EEG waves. About half our sleep period is spent in this second stage of sleep. Deep sleep is reached when our brain exhibits delta waves, with 1/2 to 2 cps.

After approximately an hour and a half from falling into deep sleep, an exciting change occurs. We return to level two and REM occur. Suddenly the brain is alert and active, though the person is asleep and difficult to wake. This level has been called paradoxical sleep because of this fact. Voluntary mus­cular activity is suppressed and the body is essentially paralysed. Morrison has pointed out that, although the brain is transmitting full muscular activity messages, these are usu­ally suppressed by an area of the brain in the pons. But bursts of short actions occur, such as rapid eyeball jerks, twitches of the muscles, changes in the size of the pupil, contractions in the middle ear, and erection of the penis. It may be that similar excitation occurs in the vagina. Also, autonomic storms’ occur dunng which large erratic changes occur in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and in other auto­nomic nervous system functions. These are the changes ac­companying our dreams.

If we slept for eight hours, a typical pattern would be to pass into delta sleep, stay there for about 70 to 90 minutes, then return to stage two and dream for about five minutes. We then move back into delta sleep, stay for a short period and shift back to level two, but without dreaming, then back into level three.

The next return to stage two is longer, almost an hour, with a period of dreaming lasting about 19 minutes, and also a short period of return to waking. There is only one short period of return to stage three sleep which occurs nearly four hours after falling asleep. From there on we remain in level two sleep, with three or four lengthening periods of dreaming, and returns to brief wakefulness.

The average amount of body shifting is once every 15 minutes.

1- In undergoing 205 hours of sleep deprivation, four healthy males showed various physiological and psychological changes. Some of these were headache, lack of concentra­tion, hallucination, memory loss, tremor and, in some, paranoia. In all cases one night’s sleep restored normal functioning.

2- One in ten people who complain of excessive daytime drowsiness suffer from sleep apnoea, which is a stoppage of breathing while asleep.

3- A condition called narcolepsy causes sufferers to fall asleep at inappropriate times—while making love, walk­ing, playing tennis, working.

4- As we age we usually sleep less. Our REM sleep in partic­ular decreases sharply. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

NIMBUS

also see Aura

1- The forcc field or electro-magnetic energy that emanates from each of us has a particular quality in those who have undertaken to develop themselves spiritually.

To the clairvoyant eve it can appear as a type of mother-of-pearl radiance.

2- The charisma which many world and spiritual leaders have is felt by many.

The nimbus is usually slightly more subtle, and therefore more far-reaching, than the normal person’s aura.

3- The nimbus is often portrayed in religious pictures as the halo or divine radiance around Christ-like or saintly people.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary

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Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary

SHAPES / PATTERNS

1- The number of sides the shape has will be significant (See Numbers), as will the colours (See Colours). At a certain stage of development the geometric shapes which will give the individual a greater understanding of the abstract world begin to appear in dreams.

It is as though the old perception of form is beginning to take on a new- meaning and interpretation.

2- The dreamer accepts the nature of things as they are, and can look at the fundamental structure of his nature. He can appreciate the basic shape his life is taking without placing emotional inhibitions in the way.

3- Various shapes and patterns can be interpreted as:

The Centre The centre symbolises the point from which everything starts. In relation to shape, il Ls the point from which the pattern grows. Circle The circle represents the inner being or the Self (see Introduction).

It is also unity and perfection.

A circular object such as a ring may have the same meaning as the circle.

A circle with a dot in the centre can signify the soul in completion.

It is sometimes taken to represent Woman.

Crescent (including the sickle and crescent moon) This signifies the feminine, mysterious power which is intuitive and non-rational. Cross Any cross stands for the realisation (in the sense of making real) of spirit into matter. Moving through the symbol of the sword to the equal armed-cross, from there to the cross of suffering and crucifixion, and finally to the Tau of perfection, the soul learns through experience to overcome the obstacles to spiritual progression.

The four arms pointing in opposite directions signify conflict, anguish and distress, but ultimately going through these to reach perfection.

The hung cross with the figure of Christ represents the sacrifice of self for others.

The intersection signifies the reconciliation of opposites.

The three upper arms are said to stand for God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, but more property thcv indicate any Divine Trinity.

Cube

see Square Diamond A diamond in a dream indicates that we have greater and lesser options available. Hexagram A hexagram is a geometric figure which symbolises the harmonious development of the physical, social and spiritual elements of human life and its integration into a perfect whole. Oval The oval is symbolic of the womb, and also of feminine life. Called the Vesica Piscis, it is the halo which completely encircles a sacred figure.

Patterns (in cloth, mosaic etc.) In dreams the patterns which appear as part of the scenario can categorise how we handle the patterns and perhaps repeated behaviours in our lives. Pent a gram / Pent angle / Pentagram - see Star Sphere The sphere has a similar meaning to the globe (see individual entry), and indicates perfection and completion of all possibilities. Spiral (also see labyrinth in L Section) The spiral is the perfect path to evolution.

The principle is that everything is continually in motion, but also continually rising or raising its vibration.

If the spiral is towards the centre we are approaching our own centre by an indirect route.

A clockwise spiral, moving outward to the right is a movement towards consciousness and enlightenment.

If counterclockwise the movement is towards the unconscious, probably regressive behaviour. There is also a connection with the navel or solar plexus as the centre of power. Square or Cube The square or cube signifies the manifestation of spirit into matter. It represents the earthly realm as opposed to the heavens.

A square within a circle suggests the act of ‘becoming’ or taking on form.

The figure within a square is the Self or perfect Man. Any square object signifies the enclosing and feminine principle. Star The star, particularly if it is a bright one, indicates the individual’s hopes, aspirations and ideals.

It is those things we must reach for.

The five-pointed star or pentagram evokes personal magic, and all matter in harmony.

To be correct, the star should point upwards. In dreams it signifies the dreamer’s ownership of his own magical qualities and aspirations.

If it is pointing downwards it symbolises evil and witchcraft.

The six- pointed star, or Star of David, is made up of one triangle pointing upward and another pointing downward: the physical and the spiritual arc joined together in harmony to create wisdom. Twelve stars signify both the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Apostles. Swastika The swastika with its arms moving clockwise portrays Ideal Man and the power lie has for good. In Eastern symbolism it signifies the movement of the sun.

The swastika moving counter-clockwise in this form signifies all that is sinister and wrong. It was always recognised that Hitler had connections with magic.

It is not known whether his choice of swastika was deliberate or not.

Triangle The triangle represents Standing Man, with his three parts body; mind and spirit (or being). Consciousness and love manifest through his physicality. There is potential still to be realised.

If the triangle points upwards, human nature moves towards the Divine.

If it is pointing down it is spirit seeking expression through the physical.

The triangle can also represent family relationships that is, father, mother and child. There is a game based on shapes in which you draw a square, a circle and a triangle, and then get someone else to elaborate each of the basic shapes into a drawing. Whatever he makes of the square is supposed to relate to his outlook on the world, the circle to his inner being and the triangle to his sex life.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary

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Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary

CIRCLE

(see Abyss, Balloon, Basket, Bowl, Cauldron, Chalice, Coins, Satellite Dish, Zero)

Wholeness, totality, centering. Halos, for example, symbolize spiritual wholeness and focus (see Light).

Freudian: A vaginal emblem or symbol of femininity due to its shape.

Equality and unity.

The round table of King Arthur’s court gave everyone an equal voice and symbolized the solidarity of Britain.

Protected or sacred space. In the first century B.C.E., magicians were sometimes called “circle drawers” because ritual magic uses this emblem to contain power. Similarly, % fairy ring safeguards its residents from mortals.

Going around in circles: Being trapped in progressively worse cycles, outmoded ideas, or a static lifestyle with little achievement.

A circle with a point in the center is a type of mandala emblem representing personal wholeness, order, harmony, and healing.

God or divine influences and protection. There is a Hindu saying that God is an unbroken circle without a circumference, being nowhere and everywhere.... The Language of Dreams

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The Language of Dreams

SEVEN

The Seven wears a halo—in mythology as well.

The week has Seven davs. four times Seven is the month of the moon. There are Seven deadlv sins and Seven virtues. Seven is the symbol for Neptune. Seven-people long for adventure—from pure lust and traveling and discovery, to cultivated, intellectual pleasures. They love company, but deep down they are loners with curious interests (mysticism, philosophy, religion, and art). ‘They have a strong intuitive sense and great imagination, which often appears reserved or introverted.

The mind rules over matter, and the soul fascinates them just as much. Their strong sensibilities often lead them to become mystics—or daydreamers.

Generally speaking, the Seven often hides inner or universal vibrations. Human development is divided into Seven stages (childhood, adolescence, puberty, etc.). Chinese medicine speaks of Seven energy centers.

The Seven is also connected to colors and notes. See Neptune.

Seven-people have birthdays on the 7th, 16th, or 25th day of the month.... Dreamers Dictionary

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Dreamers Dictionary

HOLY

You are connecting to your divine nature, and the whole of humanity. You may feels as though you are receiving divine intervention and feeling whole in your soul. See Halo, Aura, God and Prophetic Dreams.... Strangest Dream Explanations

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Strangest Dream Explanations

NIMBUS

See aura and halo... Dream Meanings of Versatile

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Dream Meanings of Versatile

OVALS

Are symbolic of the womb, and also of feminine life. Called the vesica piscis, it is the halo that completely encircles a sacred figure.... Dream Meanings of Versatile

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Dream Meanings of Versatile

RADIANCE

Material aspects: Filmic images of extraterrestrials give a stereotypical image that is often characterized by a type of radiance and this can be carried over into dreams. Whether it is menacing or not will depend on other dream content, but the eeriness will certainly need to be considered. Consult the entries for halo, light and extra-terrestrials for further clarification.... Dream Meanings of Versatile

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Dream Meanings of Versatile

MOON

Its symbolism is very broad and complex. In general, it represents feminine nature, but it is also related to the unconscious and human emotions. This complexity stems from the fact that its meaning depends on the lunar phase. When you dream of the new moon, it indicates that a new love is awakening in you; if the moon is waxing, is an ardent love; if it is full moon, culminated love; waning, the passion burns out. And if the moon is surrounded by a halo, the dream may portend pain and problems of all kinds, whose severity are greater if you see an eclipse. (See WHITE and ECLIPSE) According to palmistry, the lunar region of the hand (opposite the thumb) is the area where the travel lines are.

Dreaming of a moon, therefore, portends that you will soon leave for somewhere, probably by water.... The Big Dictionary of Dreams

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The Big Dictionary of Dreams

WEATHER SUPERSTITION

In the past, when people lived and worked on the land, the weather was very important and people watched for patterns to help them predict the future weather. They then made up rhymes to help them to remember these patterns. Some of these sayings do contain a grain of truth. Others, particularly those that try to predict the weather for the following season from a single event, are unlikely to contain much truth. It is possible that your unconscious may draw on these ancient sayings not to predict the weather, but to predict your changing emotions or state of mind. So if an image of a red sky in the morning appears in your dream, could this be a warning, not of a storm, but of possible emotional conflict?

Here is a list of some of the most wellknown sayings.

If images that are reminiscent of them appear in your dreams—for example, cows standing in a line or crickets chirping—as well as referring to the specific symbols involved, it is always worth looking for possible interpretations concerning your mood or state of mind using the weather-related entries in this chapter as your guide:

  • Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight; red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning.
  • Rain before seven, fine by eleven.
  • A sun shiny shower, won’t last half an hour.
  • If cows are standing in a field it will be fine, but if they are lying down it is going to rain.
  • Clear moon, frost soon.
  • When squirrels lay in a big store of nuts, look for a hard winter When bees stay close to the hive, rain is close by.
  • Rain, rain go away, come again another day.
  • Haloes around the moon or sun mean that rain will surely come.
  • When forest murmurs and mountain roars, close the windows and shut the doors.
  • Moss dry, sunny sky; moss wet, rain you’ll get When smoke descends, good weather ends.
  • A cow’s tail to the west is weather coming at its best; a cow’s tail to the east is weather coming at its least.
  • Flies will swarm before a storm.
  • If crows fly low, winds going to blow If crows fly high, winds going to die.
  • When sea birds fly to land, there truly is a storm at hand The sharper the blast, the sooner it’s past.
  • Rain is on the way if people with curly hair find their hair curlier and people with straight hair find their hair straighter.
  • Rain is on the way when old people with joint or muscle problems such as rheumatism or arthritis have stiffness and discomfort.
  • You can tell the temperature by counting a cricket’s chirps.

You can tell it will rain if: cats clean themselves more and meow more; pigs wallow about and squeal; cows huddle together as if seeking comfort from each other; horses ’switch and twitch’ and sometimes bolt; insects fly low and bite more; birds chirp more loudly; dandelions close their blossoms tightly; morning glory ’tucks in’ its blooms as if ready for a long nap; clover folds up its leaves; leaves on many trees roll up or show their undersides... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

SAINT / ANGEL / PERFECT BEING

Dreams that feature saints, angels, icons, bodhisattvas, immortals, avatars or any other perfect being that possesses a high level of spiritual development that lifts them above the imperfect human race all embody higher religious aspirations and positive qualities to which you can aspire. The same applies to symbols of transcendence and illumination that can appear in your dreams, such as halos, auras of light and angelic wings. Bear in mind that, depending on the other details of your dream, saints can also indicate martyrdom and extreme self- sacrifice, so you need to consider whether or not you are being exploited by someone in waking life.

Saints and angels are also traditionally considered to be divine messengers between the Supreme Being and humanity, so if you dream of them, what message are they trying to impart to you? Do you need to adopt a more moral stance in your waking life? Perhaps there is a moral issue you should not ignore; or is your unconscious telling you that you have righteousness on your side?

Your dream may be urging you to develop your spirituality.

If the meaning of your dream still remains unclear, try to meditate on it for a while since you may find that it leads you to new insights.

Angels are associated with dead children, so may play a comforting role at times of bereavement. In spiritual terms, angels also symbolize pure beings and freedom from earthly matters. Dark angels are said to be those who have not totally rejected the ego and earthly passions, and if images of them appear in your dream, you may be being warned about some kind of spiritual transgression.

If you dream of the Virgin Mary, this may be a symbol of the feminine ideal; the Virgin mother of Christ represents purity, compassion and motherly love.... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

SUPREME BEING

Each one of us will have a different belief about the existence of a supreme God or being. For some it may be the one God of Judeo-Christian or Islamic tradition, for others it may be a universal and eternal life force of goodness or a state of enlightenment; others may deny its existence altogether. However you perceive or understand the nature of the Supreme Being, the important thing when it comes to interpreting dream in which it appears is your understanding of its almighty power, and your feelings of humility and insignificance or anger and disbelief in relation to it. You are most likely to have such dreams at times in your life when you feel that your life is out of control; your dreaming mind may send you this image as a way of urging you to seek guidance from your intuition. Alternatively, your dreaming mind may conjure this image because someone important in your life—a boss or a teacher—is ’playing God’, and your fear and reverence for this person may be misplaced.

Central to the Jungian interpretation of dreams is the being of light, an archetypal image or universal spiritual principle. The image may appear bathed in light of the seven-branched menorah candelabrum of Judaism or simply wearing a halo of light; however it appears, such a light expresses divine energy and illumination.... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

OTHER SHAPES

Similar to the compass needle, a diamond shape in your dream suggests choices and directions in your life; you are at a crossroads and you either have more or fewer options than you thought you had available. In dreams, an oblong shape suggests a specific area of your experience in life, whilst an oval is symbolic of the womb and feminine life. It is also associated with the halo that denotes a spiritual figure in religious iconography. The rectangle may represent the Golden Mean, a geometric figure of ideal proportions that symbolizes the perfect union between earth and heaven.... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

THE FOUR STAGES OF SLEEP

‘Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.’
Virginia Woolf

Perhaps the best way to understand sleep and dreams is to understand the brain. At the very start of the twentieth century it was found that the brain gave off electrical impulses, and by the 1920s scientists could measure brain waves. To obtain these readings, electrodes were attached to various parts of the head, the impulses being transformed onto electroencephalograms (EECs) on computer screens.

It seems that once you settle down to bed, your brain and body undergo radical changes from their waking state. The difference between being asleep and being awake is loss of conscious awareness, and once you start to doze, dream researchers believe you progress through four stages of sleep. These form the basis of a cycle that repeats up to four or five times every eight hours of sleep.

During the first stage, your body and mind become relaxed. Heart and breathing rate slow down, blood pressure lowers, body temperature drops slightly and eyes roll from side to side. You are neither fully conscious, nor fully unconscious, and could easily awake if disturbed. This stage of gradually falling asleep is also called the hypnagogic state (the hypnopompic state is a similar state when you are just waking up) and you may experience hallucinations that float before your eyes.

In stage two, breathing and heart rate become even slower, eyes continue to roll and you become more and more unaware of the noises of the outside world. It isn’t until the third stage of sleep, however, that you are sleeping soundly and it would be difficult to wake you. Finally, you enter a deep sleep state known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) when your brain is released from the demands of the conscious mind. It will now be quite hard to wake you and, although you may sleepwalk or have night terrors, you will rarely be able to remember them. This slow-wave sleep cycle lasts about ninety minutes. At the end of stage four, you move back through stages three and two and one, at which point you enter a phase called rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep.... Dreampedia

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Dreampedia

CAN DREAMS COME TRUE?

In 1953, in order to test the possibility of ESP through dreaming—that is, dreams that predict the future or contact others telepathically—a New York psychiatrist named Montague Ulman designed an experiment that involved using a “sender” and a “receiver.”

In this experiment, Ulman attached electrodes of an electroencephalograph (a machine that records brain waves) to the person acting as the receiver. This person would then go to sleep in one room. The “sender” was placed in a different room. When the machine indicated the brain wave pattern that showed the receiver had fallen asleep, the sender opened a sealed envelope that contained a “target” image and concentrated fully on the picture in an attempt to influence the receiver’s dream.

Once, when Ulman himself was acting as the sender, his thoughts strayed from the target image and he began to think about the book Spartacus, which had been made into a movie. The person acting as the receiver dreamed about the movie! Although his results were not all this successful, experiences such as this convinced Ulman that dream ESP was deserving of more research. So in 1962, with Stanley Krippner, he opened a dream laboratory in Brooklyn at Maimonides Medical Center. Although the two men’s experiments continued to produce mixed results, Ulman felt the experiments proved at least the existence of dream telepathy, though not its reliability.

Having experienced instances of ESP in my own dreams, I must concur with the doctors about its reality. Here is an example of a precognitive dream from my own files:

  • The Dream: I am taken to a place where seminars are being held. Someone tells me that this is the same place that B. (a psychic healer friend of mine) studied. I peek around the corner and hear a man say, “Abadie is doing rocks.”
  • I woke up feeling there was significance for me in “rocks,” but at the time I couldn’t figure out what it might be. Still, the word hung in my mind. A year later, I began working with crystals both for healing and telepathy.
... Dreampedia

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Dreampedia

WHY DO WE DREAM? PHYSIOLOGY OF DREAMS

“Everything serious comes to us at night.”
CICERO

What happens when we sleep?

Why do we sleep? The answer is not as simple as it seems. We sleep so that our body can rest, we think at first. However, science has not been able to prove concretely that sleep is necessary for physical recuperation of the body. Experiments performed on rats have proven that when deprived of sleep, these animals die.

But human nature is not as simple as that of rats. Everyone knows people who barely sleep. The most extreme case, published in some scientific magazines, is that of a man who claims not to have slept since contracting a serious illness. In a similar vein, some individuals with a highly developed spirituality are able to remain conscious all night. We’re not referring to a student during exam time drinking coffee or taking stimulants to stay awake more than twenty-four hours straight. We’re talking about people who can achieve advanced levels of relaxation through deep meditation.

It is known that anxiety and lack of concentration increase considerably after a night or two without sleep. One theory related to sleep affirms that we sleep to conserve energy. However, another suggests that we rest to conserve our food stores, since when we lose consciousness, we repress the hunger mechanism.


How much do we sleep?

Sleep at different ages

In the course of his life, a person has, on average, 300,000 dreams. As we age, both the time we spend sleeping and the time we spend dreaming decrease gradually.

Newborns sleep almost all day, alternating hours of sleep with short spells of wakefulness. By one year of age, they sleep fewer sessions but for longer in total: they have cycles of 90 minutes of sleep followed by another 90 minutes of waking time. Gradually, the child will sleep more at night and less during the day. By 9 years of age, most need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep a day.

The average for an adult is between 7 and 8.5 hours. But after age 70, we return to the sleep phases of childhood and sleep fewer hours continuously.

There are arguments that even claim we have slept since ancient times in order to appear a less tasty snack for nocturnal predators (when we sleep, our body looks like a corpse).

There are theories to suit everyone, but we shouldn’t forget the fundamental: for almost all of us, sleeping is a relaxing and pleasant experience that lasts between six and eight hours each night, an experience that is utterly necessary to “recharge the batteries” of our bodies.

It’s no coincidence that we choose nighttime to sleep. In the darkness our vision is reduced, the world becomes strange, and as a result, our imagination runs wild. Our minds remain occupied with images (that is, dreams). At night, our eyes don’t work, but we have a need to create images. If for some reason we are deprived of sleep, the following nights our dream production increases, since we spend more time in the REM phase (the period of sleep when oneiric thoughts are most active). Therefore it seems evident that we need dreams to live.

Some ancient civilizations believed that dreaming served, more than anything, to be able to dream. They were convinced that oneiric activity wasn’t the result of sleeping, but rather the reason for it. Some scientists, however, don’t share the theories of our ancestors when it comes to the reason behind our dreams.

There is a scientific school of thought that asserts that oneiric thoughts are simply a neurophysiological activity that comes with sleep. According to this theory, when we sleep we generate spontaneous signals that stimulate the sensory channels in the mind. The brain transforms these signals into visual images and induces the dreamer to believe that he is living real experiences.

Up to that point, perfect. But, why do dreams have such an interesting narrative? Why do they so often express metaphoric language? Why do they narrate stories that directly affect us? There is no concrete or scientific answer to these questions.

Percentages of REM sleep

Cold-blooded animals never dream; the cold temperatures at night cause them to hibernate and all their vital functions, including the brain, slow down. Only when the sun comes out or the temperature rises to an acceptable level do they recuperate all vital functions. The only cold-blooded animal that has shown signs of dreaming is the chameleon.

On the other hand, we know all warm-blooded animals dream, since REM-phase activity has been detected in all of them. Birds dream only about 0.5% of the time they spend asleep, while humans dream up to 20% of the time. There are exceptional cases, such as that of the Australian platypus, that never dream.

Other theories suggest that dreams serve to eliminate unnecessary facts from memory, since we can’t store everything that happens every day. According to this thesis, at night we erase the “archives” we don’t need, just like a computer. The sleeping mind tests the process of erasing in the form of dreams, which would explain why they’re so difficult to remember. There are obvious limitations to this theory if you keep in mind that, occasionally, oneiric thoughts work creatively (they go beyond the information that we give them). These don’t have much to do with the merely “hygienic” function that the aforementioned scientific community claims. Often, dreams don’t eliminate the useless leftovers of daily experiences. Quite the opposite: they give them a surprising new shape, so when we wake up, we can reflect more deeply on their meaning.

The phases of sleep

Even though we don’t realize it, when we sleep at night we pass through four different phases of sleep. Each phase is distinguished by the deepness of sleep. That is, when we are in phase 1, it is a fairly light sleep; during phase 4, we reach maximum intensity.

When we go to sleep, we enter a period in which we gradually pull away from the exterior world. Little by little, our sleep deepens until finally (phase 4) our breathing slows and becomes regular, our cardiac rhythm slows down, and our body temperature decreases. Therefore the body’s metabolism also reduces its activity.

More or less an hour after falling asleep, your body has already gone through the four phases. At this point you begin to go back through the levels until you return to phase 1. This brings along an increase in respiratory and cardiac rhythm. Parallel to this, brain waves once again start to register an activity close to that of consciousness. You are therefore in a moment of transition, demonstrated by the fact that at this point the body tends to change position.

All signs indicate that any noise might wake us. But that’s not the case: since your muscle tone has been reduced, this is actually the moment when it’s most difficult to regain consciousness. At the same time, your eyes begin to move behind your eyelids (up and down and side to side). This ocular phenomenon, which anyone can observe easily, is known as the REM phases, which stands for “rapid eye movement.”

Certain areas of the brain are associated with different functions and human skills, translating external sensory stimuli into a well-organized picture of the world. In dreams, those same stimuli produce different reactions. If a sleeping person hears a sound or touches something repulsive, those stimuli will probably be integrated into their dream before they wake up.

The REM phase

The REM phase is particularly important for those interested in dreams. All studies indicate that during this brief spell (from five to ten minutes) we typically experience the most intense oneiric activity. Some of these studies, done in a sleep laboratory, have observed that eight out of ten individuals relate very vivid dreams when woken up right at the end of the REM phase. These periods alternate at night with what we could call non-REM phases, that is, periods when no ocular movement is registered.

How many times do we reach a REM stage at night? It is estimated that each cycle is repeated four to seven times. As the hours pass, each phase gets longer. This way, the final REM stage might last twenty to forty minutes. On average, an adult enjoys an hour and a half of REM sleep each night, although for older individuals it may be less than an hour and a quarter. Babies, on the other hand, remain in the REM phase for 60 percent of the time they spend asleep.

In any case, let’s make this clear: not all dreams are produced during this period. It has also been demonstrated that humans generate images in other stages. However, these are dreams of a different quality, since during the non-REM phases, our oneiric activity tends to generate only undefined thoughts, vague sensations, etc. Nothing close to the emotional content that characterizes dreams produced in the REM phase.

The oneiric images produced in the most intense phase (REM) are more difficult to remember. One method to remember them consists of waking up just after each REM phase.

As we’ve commented already, those who wish to read their dreams have to first do the work of remembering them. If we want this work to be 100 percent effective, we can use a method that, although uncomfortable, almost never fails: wake up just after every REM phase. If you want to try this method, set your alarm (without music or radio) to go off four, five, six, or seven and a half hours after falling asleep. You can be sure that if you wake up just after one of the REM phases you go through each night, you will enjoy vivid memories.

This is the process used in sleep laboratories, where oneiric activity is studied through encephalographic registry of electrical brain activity.

The people in the study—who are volunteers—sleep connected to machines that register their physiological reactions (brain waves, cardiac rhythm, blood pressure, muscle activity, eye movement, etc).

At certain points during the night, these reactions indicate that, if you wake them, they will be able to tell you what they dreamed. This is because the phase that produces the most intense dreams (REM) is characterized by a physical reaction easily observed: the rapid movement of the eyes of the dreamer.

With this method, sleep laboratories can collect proof of precisely

when subjects are dreaming. And given that oneiric images are difficult to remember, the lab techniques have been a great advance in dream research. Some experts assert that thanks to the scientific advances of the second half of the twentieth century, we have learned more about sleep processes in the last fifty years than in all the history of humanity.

What do we dream?

A wide study done in France on the subject of dreams produced these results:

  • Relationships with partners (18%)
  • Home, especially that of our childhood (15%) -Aggressors, thieves, being chased, etc. (10%)
  • Missing the train; embarrassing baggage (8%) -Water, wells, tunnels; traffic accidents (6%) -Forgotten children or babies (5%)
  • Snakes, fires, stairs (5%)
  • Negative animals: spiders, cockroaches, rats, etc. (4%) -Clothing or lack of clothing; nakedness (3%)
  • Losing teeth or other alarming situations (2%)

Hypnagogic images: between waking and sleep

As we’ve seen, throughout the night our sleep is divided into four distinct phases. But what happens just before we sink into the first phase? Are we still awake? Not exactly. In the moments when our mind decides between wakefulness and sleep, we begin to lose contact with the world around us, without the characteristic physiological changes of sleep.

This intermediate point has been called the “hypnagogic state” by psychologists. This is a period when, despite the fact that we’re not asleep, our brains generate images that can sometimes be very beautiful. In some ways, these images rival those found in our dreams.

Hypnagogic images of great visual beauty evaporate like bubbles when we wake up and are barely remembered.

However, the hypnagogic state cannot be considered a truly oneiric state. Among other reasons, the scenes produced in this phase are unrelated to the episodes with a more or less coherent plot that characterize dreams.

In the hypnagogic state we produce unrelated images that hardly connect to each other and that, unlike dreams, are not linked to our daily experiences. This phenomenon occurs not only before sleeping but also in the moments before waking up, when we are not yet conscious enough to be aware of them.

Sometimes, before falling asleep we also experience a curious sensation of floating or flying, or we may see very sharp scenes, with a clarity comparable to that of real visual experiences. These types of images, like dreams, evaporate like bubbles when we wake up and we barely remember them, which is a shame because their beauty slips from our minds. In any case, unlike oneiric thoughts, the hypnagogic state is little use for understanding the messages our subconscious wants to send us, and we should value it more for its beauty than its transcendental content.

Salvador Dali, painter of dreams.

To remember them you must not lose consciousness during the apparition. That is, you must observe the process of the hypnagogic state without falling asleep. It seems simple but it is not, because you must submerge yourself in sleep while the mind remains aware of the events happening in its interior. With a little luck, we can see some of the marvelous “paintings” of our private museum.

The surrealist artists of the 20s and 30s knew all about this. This is how Salvador Dali, fervent lover of hypnagogic scenes, turned to what is known as “the monk’s sleep.” He went to bed with a large iron key in his hand. With the first dream, the key would fall to the floor and he would wake up suddenly. In his mind he recorded the hypnagogic images he would later transfer to the canvas in his masterful style.

The seven “chakras,” or centers of subtle energy in the ayurvedic hindu medicine (1).
The nadis according to Tibetan tradition (2).
The meridians of traditional Chinese medicine (3).

If you have difficulty retaining the hypnagogic state, try centering your attention on a concrete point. For example the “third eye” of the yogis (that is, between your eyes), in the area of the heart, or in the top of the head. These three positions are, according to the philosophy of yoga, the centers of subtle rather than physical energy in the human body. You need a place to direct the mind. Another trick to hold attention without effort is to think abstractly about the name of the object you wish to see. This doesn’t mean you have to “create” the images; you just have to induce its appearance during the hypnagogic state. Entering through meditation is also very useful and beneficial.

Sometimes, the hypnagogic scenes are not as pleasant as we would like, but we must confront them in order to strengthen our ability for self-control. If they persist, try following the previous advice. Think abstractly about the name of what you want to see, resisting the temptation to construct it in a certain way from the conscious mind.

The main advantage of the hypnagogic state is that it brings us progressively closer to our deep Self . . . and all that helps to understand and better benefit from dreams.

The same subject can have very different meanings depending on the circumstances and personal situation of the dreamer.... Dreampedia

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