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  Dreams: Full Circle

By The Late Elizabeth Harris, D.S.N.U.

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Primitive man said that the imprisoned soul
had to be emancipated to wander and
communicate with the Spirit World at night.



Does the soul communicate with the Spirit World at night as primitive man claimed? Of course.

Both Spiritualists and modern psychologists affirm that this is so. Sleep is an adventurous time for all of us, and surprisingly, knowledge of night time experiences seem to have come full circle. Our beliefs are similar to those of primitive man.

We know that invisible changes come over us every night and this has been happening since time began. Our closed eyes lose their sight and our minds slowly begin to fill with images. We gently recede from the demanding world drifting effortlessly, tenderly, silently, sometimes with subtle sensations, to a fragile haven of rest we call sleep.

Yet we ask, "Why do strange visions and extraordinary manifestations take place when we sleep?"



Although sleep is difficult to define, we do know some facts about sleep.

Modern psychologists have done extensive research into sleep patterns and dreams and have written about their findings. They tell us that one third of our lives is spent sleeping, and while we sleep, strange fascinating things are apt to happen.

Also, they tell us that we have four or five dreams each night, occupying an hour and a half of our total sleep. In addition, psychologists, as well as spirit guides, inform us that we can travel astrally while asleep.

At one time, sleep and wakefulness were considered to be the light and dark sides of consciousness, but now psychologists tell us there are many shades in between.

Sleep is not all unconsciousness because it is made up of experiences resembling wakefulness. Moreover, it is often during sleep that one's nature and spiritual gifts are exposed. The purpose of these things, provides a puzzle to the scientists.

As Spiritualists, we understand many reasons the body needs sleep. As a field needs rest from constant cultivation, so too does the physical body require rest from its labours.


It is through sleep that blessed rest comes. However, the mind/spirit which inhabits the physical body, never sleeps. It breaks through in dreams at night as well as astral-travelling while the body slumbers.

It would appear that another reason for the physical body to sleep is to provide a time for the mind to become free from physical limitations. Spirit helpers tell us that everyone travels astrally during the sleep state.

The spirit, for the time being, leaves the physical body and roams into the Spirit World to meet those who live there, often greeting souls it loves.

This is called a divine provisional preparation for the time of death, when the spirit is permanently released from the physical body, so that the experiences will not be as shocking.

Therefore, it could be said that one experiences death every night. Dreams are gifts from Infinite Intelligence, a wonderful blessing of Nature's phenomena.


Dreams are fascinating to experience. Spiritualists, as well as scientists, study them, and have divided them into two main categories. One is considered emanating from the Earth; the other from the Land of Spirit.

The ones originating from Earth are the vast majority of dreams. They are called ordinary dreams traceable to defective sleeping habits, impaired health and unresting thoughts. They are considered the mere play of the mental faculties under the influence of some disturbing cause connected with the world and body in which we presently reside.

No human can survive long without dreaming. This has been scientifically proven. Research shows that when interference with dreams occur, there is serious nervous system deterioration.

It has also been proven that obvious remembered dreams come during periods of lighter sleep, when one's eyeballs move rapidly (REM - rapid eye movement) and this occurs every 90 minutes.

This doesn't mean that deeper sleep is dreamless, for evidence points to significant mental activity during delta sleep.



Not all dreams are memories of spirit experiences. Current scientific opinion considers dreams are the sleeping mind's arena of confrontation with the stresses of wakefulness with the daily emotional problems that need nightly therapy, but not through reason, through feelings.

There are three kinds of dreams (1) spiritual sweet dreams, (2) dreams caused by what has accumulated in the subconscious, and (3) dreams which are a result of our daily activities.

The dreams which come from eating food too late at night, or are the result of what is stored in the subconscious mind do not bring any spiritual truths with them.

Dreams influence our emotions we can re-act to their sublime, lofty, inspiring nature, or be terrified from nightmares.

The spirit guide Silver Birch says: "When you carry back impressions of loved ones you have met in the Spirit World, this will bring a mental and spiritual warmth which enables you to differentiate very clearly indeed. One dream is like having a heavy thud on your shoulder; the other is like being kissed by a butterfly".


Silver Birch goes on to say, "The past and future are part of the eternal present. This is not so difficult to understand if you realize what happens in sleep, when your mind is freed temporarily from physical limitations. In your dreams you defeat these limitations altogether and travel vast distance. All of this happens within seconds or minutes."

The search for a formula to disentangle and explore for meanings of dreams has been called one of humanity's most powerful intellectual and emotional instincts.

Throughout history men and women have pursued the meaning of dreams, usually relying on a specialist, a priest, or an oracle to interpret them.

Dreams and their meanings have influenced religions and wielded power in human history. Early Talmudic rabbis said, "A dream that is not understood is like a letter that is not opened".


Psychologists have studied dreams since 'Dream Study' was first conceived in Vienna by Dr. Sigmund Freud around 1900. This study of dreams, primarily those resulting from what is stored in the subconscious mind, became a respectable scientific study eventually called Psychology. Freud's pupil, Carl Jung, continued the research.

Jung himself was inspired by dreams to change the course of his career. A disciple of Jung's, Dr. Marie-Louise von Franz, continues this fascinating study today. Von Franz has broadened the scope of psychology to include spiritual dreams.

Since Freud's theories were first published, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists and psychotherapists have become popular interpreters of dreams today.

Dr. Marie-Louise von Franz worked with Dr. Jung for over thirty years and like Jung, believes that dreams are 'the voice of nature within us'. Also, von Franz is the first psychologist to link dreams with immortality.


In her recent book, On Dreams And Death, a Jungian Interpretation, Dr. von Franz says that in dreams, symbols prepare the dreamers for impending death. "Nature, or God it seems" she says, "has a concern to prepare the individual for the ultimate and inevitable end of physical life."

She also notes, "All dreams of people facing death, indicate that the unconscious, that is our instinct world, prepares consciousness not for a definite end, but for a profound transformation and for a kind of continuation of the life process."

The most fascinating thing about Dr. von Franz's vigorous research is that it shows beyond dispute that the symbols that appear in dreams are mythical images drawn, not just from the world's great religions, but from religions and cults going back to the earliest stages of civilization.


Psychologists accept that dreams can resolve mental problems. For dreams can represent the dreamer's own character and so dramatize a truth he/she couldn't realize unassisted.

Another interesting type of dream is called Psychic Dreams and the dreamer's power to foretell the future is a very ancient concept. Mark Twain dreamed his brother's death in vivid detail, although the brother was alive and well at the time.

A month later, Mark witnessed the very scene of his dream when he viewed the remains of his brother killed in a Mississippi riverboat explosion.

We know it was primitive man, in the earliest stages of civilization who said that the imprisoned soul had to be free to wander and communicate with the Spirit World at night.

  When we see the modern psychologist, Dr. Marie-Louise von Franz declaring that the mythical images and symbols appearing in current dreams are the same as those found in primitive man, we might wonder; have we come full circle?

"When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of Creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open and love steps forth to heal everything in sight."

  Michael Bridge

May 2003 The National Spiritualist Summit

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