Everyone dreams at night during sleep, even if dreams aren’t always remembered. One’s own dreams can be a source of self-knowledge and personal spiritual learning when someone understands how to study them. Personal dream study was part of spiritual practice in various ancient traditions linked to the Religion of the Sun – and they hold the same importance for practitioners today:
- Dreams can give an insight into one’s own inner nature, showing what someone thinks and feels in daily life, and so can be used for self-knowledge1
- In the right circumstances dreams can also provide a spiritual connection – a way to commune with divinity. In clear and vivid dreams influenced by spiritual beings, it’s possible to receive spiritual messages, symbolic visions, signs and divine guidance.2
Most dreams are closely connected to what a person goes through in life – not just the events of life, but how they’re experienced within. They can show how someone actually thinks and feels subconsciously in their daily life.3
For example, if someone responds to situations with anger, this same negative state can manifest in, shape, and standout in their dreams. If a person uses their daily life for inner learning and change, any increase in awareness and reduction of negative egoistic states can also be reflected in the nature of their dreams. Essentially, the nature of someone’s dreams changes as they do.4
This makes dreams a valuable source of insight for those who can learn to remember and interpret them – like a mirror to see and understand oneself better. Progress in spiritual development can be revealed; likewise, inner obstacles not yet overcome can be highlighted.5
But beyond these benefits, some dreams also contain spiritual messages and divine guidance – such as premonitions of the future and personal spiritual teachings. These kinds of dreams can provide a personal connection with spiritual forces and beings, including one’s own higher Being, and can be a valuable source of spiritual guidance.67
The headings below give more information on how to remember dreams better and use them for self-discovery, and examples of dream study in spiritual texts are shown (click the headings to expand and read). Further down are posts on practices, exercises, and techniques for using dreams drawn from ancient sacred texts related to the Religion of the Sun.
Various ancient spiritual and esoteric traditions have held that other planes of reality exist above and below the material world,10 and scientists today also theorize the existence of other dimensions.11 The astral plane is the dimension most people experience during sleep, where dreams happen, but there are other dimensions above and below it too.1213
Dreams are the unconscious or semi-conscious experiences people have in these other dimensions of life while the physical body sleeps. There are essentially four main types:
- Self-created subjective dreams: these consist of subconscious imagery and scenarios projected from one’s own thoughts and psyche. Because they’re generated from the subconscious, which is by nature disordered and subjective, these dreams can reflect this, and may appear incoherent, vague and jumbled. Or they may be very mundane, where a person repeats activities from their daily routine without self-awareness. On the other hand, hidden desires, fears, fantasies and impulses from within the subconscious (which someone may not even realize they have) can also manifest and become visible is these dreams. Whatever the case may be, dreams generated from the subconscious show what is within oneself, accurately revealing the condition of one’s psyche.1415
- Clearer, more objective dreams: where a person sees things as they really are over there (or to a significant level with limited subconscious interference). Generally speaking, the more aware someone is in daily life, and the more consciousness is awakened, the clearer dreams become. It’s possible to visit real places and take part in actual events during periods of objectivity. Spiritual beings can give a spiritual guidance during such times, in the form of visions, premonitions, divine visitations etc. They can also intervene to give a person clarity they would ordinarily lack so they can be taught. It’s also possible to be tested by spiritual beings too; they can place someone in a realistic life-like scenarios in dreams to see if they respond to it appropriately (without the person realizing they’re dreaming or being tested).1617
- Lucid dreams: when a person “wakes up” in a dream, realizes they’re dreaming and, having reached a state of conscious awareness, can move about willfully in the dream with full realization that their body is asleep. This is essentially a type of out-of-body experience because a person knows they are having an experience outside the apparatus of their physical body and its senses; in a sense, when a person becomes self-aware like this, they are no longer really “dreaming” in the true sense. These experiences are really a form of astral travel, the only difference being that with astral projection, a person directly enters the astral realm with conscious awareness when they fall asleep, while with lucid dreaming a person becomes self-aware there after the process of dreaming has begun, having fallen asleep in an unconscious state earlier.1819
- Nightmares: These dark and often terrifying dreams happen when a person’s heavy psychological states, like fear, anger or lust, drag them down into lower dimensions when they’re asleep – to a region that resonates with a corresponding frequency to whichever egoic state drew them there. These dimensions (known as hell I various mythologies) vibrate at a much lower frequency. As heavy inner states are reduced, nightmares are reduced also, and with enough inner change they can be eradicated altogether.2021
All dreams provide a means to learn about oneself and life, in different ways.22
Usually, most dreams are of the first kind for most people. In them, thoughts and feelings someone experiences during the day continue during sleep. But without the physical world to ground the person, those thoughts and feelings produce imagery and situations which seem real to the dreamer. The same “train of thought” that might create a daydream in the day, can produce a fully immersive dream scenario at night.2324
The astral plane is a real place however, and can be experienced more objectively during clear dreams and periods of lucidity. Then it’s possible to see fellow dreamers there (who can appear to be sleepwalking if they’re having the first type of dream) as well as other beings which exist and are awake there; these can include spiritual beings, which try to help people awaken in light, as well as their opposite who serve darkness.2526
To do this, a person simply remains still as soon as they wake up, keeping their body motionless. If the eyes have opened, they should be gently closed again. Without moving, changing position or tensing muscles, one then begins to recall and look back over any dream imagery they can remember.
This allows dreams to be recollected before any memories fade. Sometimes just a flash of a dream scenario will come, which can trigger the memory to recall more. A person simply goes over and recalls as much they can remember.
This works because there is still a loose connection to the astral realm when a person first wakes up. Once the body is moved, a person’s psyche becomes locked back to it, the connection to the astral is lost, and then it’s harder to remember what happened there during sleep.
Using dreams for spiritual development and discovery
Making an effort to remember dreams is worthwhile, because they can provide an insight into the state of one’s psychology and therefore can be used for self-knowledge. Remembering and studying one’s dreams complements the practice of self-observation: the latter is a way to study ego states as they appear in the day, while remembering dreams enables someone to study how they manifest at night.
Dreams can often reveal the real nature of ego states, because in dreams the moral and legal restraints of society aren’t there to keep one’s deepest darkest drives and desires restrained. A change in the nature of dreams can be a reflection of change within; if a negative inner state is fundamentally overcome and removed, it will no longer appear in dreams. While it is being worked upon and reduced in daily life, a reduction in its size and strength can also be seen in dreams.2728
The overall clarity of dreams can also tell someone about the overall clarity of their psyche. Generally speaking, the more aware someone is in daily life, and the more their ego states are reduced, then the clearer and less scattered and disordered their dreams will be.2930
When clearer, more objective dreams occur, they may also contain objective spiritual messages and guidance, meant specifically for the recipient. When real spiritual guidance is given in dreams, it’s often best to keep it private in most cases, as it may be a personal message for the recipient pertaining to their own personal life and spiritual journey. One’s intuition – the hunch they have about it before they have a chance to think it over – can help one to understand if that is the case, and to comprehend the meaning.3132
It’s also worth keeping in mind that evil entities also exist in the astral plane, not just spiritual beings, and they can also show people things to deceive them. A practitioner needs to be aware that these different forces exist, and use their intuition and be objective to be able to distinguish between what comes from their own subconscious and imagination in dreams, what comes from a truly spiritual source, and what comes from external evil entities, who often try to deceive and mislead people.33
Dreams for self-knowledge
For example, a passage from the Hindu epic The Mahabharata describes how the types of dreams one has are a reflection of one’s inner states in daily life, because the same states reappear at night in dreams:
Whatever states (of Goodness, Passion, or Darkness) are experienced by living creatures, as exhibited in acts, during their hours of Wakefulness, reappear in memory during their hours of sleep when they dream.34
It explains there is a direct connection, or “passage,” between states that “exist during wakefulness into… dreams”; likewise, those states that “exist in dreams” will also make an appearance “in wakefulness.” When the connection between one’s dreams and inner states is understood like this, a practitioner is therefore able to look at their dreams like a mirror into their psyche to understand themselves.35
The text instructs that, when looking at dreams, “happiness, success, knowledge, and absence of attachment are the indications of (the wakeful man in whom is present) the attribute of Goodness.” It teaches that the “state of consciousness” otherwise known as “dreamless slumber” (when there is a level of awareness in dreams) should be striven for as it is “eternal and… desirable.” Its presence in dreams is directly related to how on lives “during their hours of Wakefulness.”36
If, however, a person does not live in a conscious state, but is affected by “the attributes of Passion and Darkness” by day, then at night their dreams will be “influenced by desire.” In contrast, a spiritual practitioner, or “yogin,” who pursues self-knowledge, remains “always awake”;37 in other words, because they live in a state of awareness state during the day, they experience lucidity in dreams:
In consequence of application for the acquisition of knowledge and of continued reflection and recapitulation, the yogin remains always awake. Indeed, the yogin can keep himself continually awake by devoting himself to knowledge. … Whatever objects again a person perceives in the mind (while wakeful) through the senses in a [clear] state are apprehended by the mind in dreams…. The Mind exists unobstructedly in all things… In the state called dreamless slumber (sushupti), the manifest human body which, of course, is the door of dreams, disappears in the mind… the mind …becomes transformed into a wakeful witness with certainty of apprehension. Thus dwelling in pure Consciousness …38
The Hermetic tradition also understood the connection between a person’s inner state during the day and the types of dreams experienced at night. In the hermetic text Poimandres, The Vision of Hermes, Heremes Trismegistus is recorded as observing:
The sleep of the body is the sober watchfulness of the Mind and the shutting of my eyes reveals the true Light.39
In other words, if one is in a state of self-awareness by day, this “sober watchfulness” will continue during sleep, turning it into a time of clarity, discovery and revelation.
Dreams as a source of spiritual guidance
When someone has good conduct, is serious about spiritual discovery and inner change, and lives in awareness, then there is not only more lucidity in dreams, but a greater likelihood of receiving spiritual guidance in them. By living in alignment with spiritual principles a person opens themselves to this higher spiritual communication.
The Hermetic text The Corpus Heremeticum, makes clear that human beings have the innate potential to receive spiritual guidance “through dreams by night.”
Now every living creature is immortal by virtue of Nous; man above all, for he can receive God and he shares God’s essence. God communicates with this creature alone: through dreams by night and through signs by day.40
Understanding there was a direct connection between the inner states one has in daily life and the quality of dreams experienced at night, the Pythagoreans, a spiritual order who followed the teachings of the sage Pythagoras, carried out practices before sleep to elevate their inner level and increase the chances of having more prophetic and spiritual dreams. A contemporary observer described them singing “certain odes and hymns” to purify their minds before sleep to produce “tranquil sleep, and… good dreams.” He also recorded that, when “retiring to sleep” the Pythagoreans would specifically listen to music that would “liberate them from the day’s perturbations and tumults, purifying their intellective powers from the … [influence] of corporeal nature, quieting their sleep, and rendering their dreams pleasing and prophetic.”41
In ancient texts and there are many references to people receiving divine guidance in dreams and acting on it. In the nativity story recounted in the Gospel of Matthew for example, the Magi/wise men return to their own country after finding and visiting the newborn Jesus, without reporting his whereabouts to King Herod as was requested of them, because they were “warned in a dream” not to return to Herod.42 Likewise Joseph was warned by an angel in a dream to avoid Herod:
… behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” He arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod…43
Joseph was informed by an angel in a later dream when it was safe to return due to Herod’s death, and was advised in yet another dream to avoid Judea (where Herod’s son reigned) and withdraw to the remote “region of Galilee,” where the family settled in Nazareth.44
The understanding that angels teach and divine messages are given to people in dreams was also taught by Jesus in the Gospel of Peace. This is one of many early Christian texts containing mystical teachings of Jesus left out of the Bible by the State-backed Church authorities who compiled the New Testament in the fourth century AD.
In the Gospel of Peace, Jesus is recorded as teaching that dreams offer a way to commune with “the Heavenly Father” and “his unknown angels”:
But when the sun is set, and your Heavenly Father sends you his most precious angel, sleep, then take your rest, and be all the night with the angel of sleep. And then will your Heavenly Father send you his unknown angels, that they may be with you the livelong night. And the Heavenly Father’s unknown angels will teach you many things concerning the kingdom of God, even as the angels that you know of the Earthly Mother, instruct you in the things of her kingdom. For I tell you truly, you will be every night the guests of the kingdom of your Heavenly Father, if you do his commandments. And when you wake up upon the morrow, you will feel in you the power of the unknown angels. And your Heavenly Father will send them to you every night, that they may build your spirit, even as every day the Earthly Mother sends you her angels, that they may build your body. For I tell you truly, if in the daytime your Earthly Mother folds you in her arms, and in the night the Heavenly Father breathes his kiss upon you, then will the Sons of Men become the Sons of God.45
Listed here are texts related to the Religion of the Sun containing references to dream study (note this is a work in progress and will be expanded as further research is conducted):
- Essene Gospel of Peace, Book One
- Iamblichus: The Life of Pythagoras or On The Pythagorean Life, How Pythagoras Cured by Music. Taken from The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library, compiled and translated by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie, p. 72
- Iamblichus: The Life of Pythagoras or On The Pythagorean Life, Music and Poetry. Taken from The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library, compiled and translated by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie, p. 84-85
- The Odyssey, Book 6, translated by Samuel Butler
- The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 2
- The Mahabharata, Book 12: Santi Parva: Mokshadharma Parva: Section CCXVI, Section CCXIX, Section CCLXXV (Translation by K.M. Ganguli)
- Poimandres, The Vision of Hermes in The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly P. Hall
- The Way of Hermes: New Translations of The Corpus Hermeticum and The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius by Clement Salaman, Dorine van Oyen, William D. Wharton, and Jean-Pierre Mahe. Book 12, paragraph 19
- The Astral Codex by Belsebuub
- Searching Within by Belsebuub
- The Awakening of Perception by Belsebuub
- Gazing into the Eternal by Belsebuub
- The Hidden Side of Dreams by Belsebuub
- How to Have Clearer Dreams and Remember Them Better by Belsebuub
- Some Tips to Remember Dreams by Belsebuub
- Belsebuub, The Astral Codex: Using Dreams and Out-Of-Body Experiences on a Spiritual Journey, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2016) p. 84-86.
- Belsebuub, Searching Within, Taking the Way of Self-Discovery for the Journey to Source, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2017) p. 165, 171-172.
- Belsebuub, The Astral Codex: Using Dreams and Out-Of-Body Experiences on a Spiritual Journey, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2016) p. 84-86.
- Belsebuub, Searching Within, Taking the Way of Self-Discovery for the Journey to Source, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2017) p. 38-39.
- Ibid, p. 167-170.
- Ibid, p. 165, 171-172.
- Belsebuub, The Astral Codex: Using Dreams and Out-Of-Body Experiences on a Spiritual Journey, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2016) p. 81, 83.
- Ibid, p. 82.
- Belsebuub, Searching Within, Taking the Way of Self-Discovery for the Journey to Source, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2017) p. 164.
- “Plane (esotericism),” Wikipedia.org. Accessed 14 August 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plane_(esotericism).
- Strange behavior of quantum particles may indicate the existence of other parallel universes.” Phys.org – News and Articles on Science and Technology. Accessed August 14, 2017. https://phys.org/news/2015-06-strange-behavior-quantum-particles-parallel.html.
- Belsebuub, The Astral Codex: Using Dreams and Out-Of-Body Experiences on a Spiritual Journey, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2016) p. 18-19, 22.
- Belsebuub, Searching Within, Taking the Way of Self-Discovery for the Journey to Source, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2017) p. 161-163, 242-243.
- Belsebuub, The Astral Codex: Using Dreams and Out-Of-Body Experiences on a Spiritual Journey, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2016) p. 84-85.
- Belsebuub, Searching Within, Taking the Way of Self-Discovery for the Journey to Source, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2017) p. 168-169.
- Ibid, p. 39, 165, 171.
- Belsebuub, The Astral Codex: Using Dreams and Out-Of-Body Experiences on a Spiritual Journey, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2016) p. 83, 84, 99, 122.
- Ibid, p. 16, 84.
- Belsebuub, Searching Within, Taking the Way of Self-Discovery for the Journey to Source, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2017) p. 163.
- Ibid, p. 166, 242-243.
- Belsebuub, The Astral Codex: Using Dreams and Out-Of-Body Experiences on a Spiritual Journey, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2016) p. 129-130.
- Ibid, p. 98-99.
- Ibid, p. 81-85.
- Belsebuub, Searching Within, Taking the Way of Self-Discovery for the Journey to Source, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2017) p. 164, 166, 168-169.
- Ibid, p. 39, 165, 171.
- Belsebuub, The Astral Codex: Using Dreams and Out-Of-Body Experiences on a Spiritual Journey, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2016) p. 121, 131-132.
- Ibid, p. 84-85.
- Belsebuub, Searching Within, Taking the Way of Self-Discovery for the Journey to Source, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2017) p. 39, 167-170.
- Ibid, p. 39.
- Belsebuub, The Astral Codex: Using Dreams and Out-Of-Body Experiences on a Spiritual Journey, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2016) p. 83-85.
- Ibid, p. 83-84, 98-99.
- Belsebuub, Searching Within, Taking the Way of Self-Discovery for the Journey to Source, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2017) p. 165-166, 171-172.
- Belsebuub, The Astral Codex: Using Dreams and Out-Of-Body Experiences on a Spiritual Journey, (Mystical Life Publications, Fifth Edition, 2016) p. 52-53, 64-65, 132-134.
- Kisari Mohan Ganguli (translator), The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Book 12: Santi Parva: MokshadharmaParva, (published between 1883 and 1896). http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/maha/.
- “The Vision of Hermes.” Translation from The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall (1928). http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/sta08.htm.
- Clement Salaman, Dorine van Oyen, William D. Wharton, and Jean-Pierre Mahe, The Way of Hermes: New Translations of The Corpus Hermeticum and The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius, (Inner Traditions, March 1, 2000) Book 12, paragraph 19.
- lamblichus: The Life of Pythagoras or On The Pythagorean Life, The Daily Program. From The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library, compiled and translated by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie (Phanes Press 1987) p. 72, 84-85.
- Matthew 2:12, World English Bible.
- Matthew 2:13-14, World English Bible.
- Matthew 2:19-23, World English Bible.
- Edmond Bordeaux Szekely (translator and editor), The Essene Gospel of Peace. http://www.essene.com/GospelOfPeace/TheHolyStreams.htm.