Published on Mar 13, 2012
An oneironaut must be one who navigates through dreams. Oneiromancy means interpreting the meaning of dreams, perhaps in order to predict the future.
Many engineers and mathematicians have experienced the phenomenon of waking-up with a solution to a problem from the day before. The mind obviously works on problems while we are asleep. Reason and intelligence are only one aspect of thinking and problem solving; there is also intuition: solutions just come to the mind. We don't know where our thoughts come from.
Dreaming may be our minds attempting to solve the problems of life. The solutions may not be rational. There is a sort of "punning" in dreams where one thing is substituted for another that bears some resemblance to it.
Anybody who has tried meditation - such as the repetition of a mantra to rid the mind of unwanted thoughts - is well aware of the intrusion of thoughts into the conscious mind. These thoughts may be something trivial, such as "did I remember to put the dustbins out?" or "what shall I have for lunch?". Returning to the mantra dispels common everyday thoughts. But, as time goes on, other thoughts arise, presumably from somewhere deeper in the unconscious, of things long forgotten but still unresolved.
There are events that bother us from decades ago. Somehow these have been the "weathered" and worn down during the time that has passed but there is still a residual emotional content. It is hard to say why we return to old things that caused us distress, like the way the tongue returns to an aching tooth to see if it still hurts.
Some things will never be resolved because there is no way of fixing them. We can only be contrite. Past mistakes cannot be undone. Even minor embarrassments that happened decades ago still cause grief even though everyone else has forgotten about them. Occasionally a solution to an age-old problem does turn up. We realise something that never occurred to us before. Perhaps somebody lied to us. It's impossible to tell whether solutions actually come from dreaming, churning old experiences and finding fresh insight.
This predisposition we have to suffer from peccadilloes of the past must be one of the penalties of the intelligence and the consciousness that implies self-consciousness. Other animals don't seem to have it. And people who are more intelligent and perceptive perhaps pay a greater penalty of suffering.
There's more poems and a brief biography of Catherine Chandler here:
The Womb and The Connection by Robin Urton:
The Nightmare, 1781, by John Henry Fuseli
My shrink said 'lucid dreaming' tames
recurring nightmares. What the bleep—
it's worth a try, like counting sheep.
And as I gave my monsters names,
the unknown landscape backed off, blurred,
I soared across the Seven Seas,
the rising of the Pleiades,
pulled into port and slept. A word,
however, of advice: beware.
Though humdrum dreams may come to lull
the simmering inside your skull,
it's merely a device. The bear,
the bug, bamboozled, may revive,
sniff out the ruse. Eat you alive.
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