Dream Genealogy: A way to remember your ancestors’ traditions
My ancestors have lived on American soil for nearly 400 years. They arrived in the 1600s, a group of Pilgrims and travelers in search of an uncertain future.
Some of them were English, but many were Welsh, and I often wonder about the way they lived before they ventured across the sea.
I’ve been especially curious about their traditional ceremonies and rituals, and the way they lived before they came into contact with Christianity.
In other words, when my ancestors were living closely attuned to the land, what were their lives like? Who were the indigenous Celts and Anglo Saxons?
Although those of us with European ancestry may never truly know our indigenous ancestors’ ceremonies and rituals, we may be able to remember aspects of them through dreaming.
In January 2011, I dreamed a detailed explanation of how my ancestors passed down their power from generation to generation.
In the dream there is a bar of soap in front of me.
I am told about a Welsh myth that details how men use this soap to capture their own power.
When the soap is nearly spent the small remains are incorporated into a new bar of soap. This soap is passed along to the next man who will use it to connect with the previous owners’ power in order to integrate it more strongly into the lineage so he can in pass it along to the next man.
It’s interesting to note that my dream used the term “myth” to describe this tale. This may be a dream clue that the soap aspect is not to be taken literally, but metaphorically. If so, then what might the soap represent?
When I mentioned this dream to Robert Moss he suggested viewing it in three ways:
Use etymology and explore the history of your dream words
Looking up the original meaning of words is one way to plumb the depths of your sleeping dream imagery.
The word “soap” is associated with the Old English “sape” which was originally a reddish hair dye used by Germanic warriors to give a frightening appearance.* I also have German ancestors so this is a notable reference.
Review the ingredients and possible uses
Another way to delve into the deeper meaning of dream is to explore the ingredients in dream images. For instance, soap is traditionally made of ash. Some indigenous cultures, like the Yanomamö of Brazil, consume the bone and ashes of their deceased loved ones as an aspect of their death and grieving ritual.
Ash is also used to create a boundary around sacred space, especially where a ceremony and ritual will take place.
Contemplate a more literal perspective
Of course, the most common use for soap is cleaning. In indigenous cultures around the globe, cleansing and purification are practiced prior to entering into ritual space. Perhaps my dream is a call to cleanse myself in order to reconnect with the power of my ancestors.
Dreaming of Your Ancestors
As we near Samhain, I encourage you to incubate ancestral dreams. Simply create a question or statement like, “Ancestors, please share a message with me in my dreams.” Or “Ancestors, please tell me a story about Grandma.” Or “Ancestors, how can I heal _____ part of my life?”
You might also incorporate an ancestral altar into your incubation process.
Note, your dreams may not have actual ancestors in them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t responses to your question.
So, what will your incubation question be? Feel free to post it below.
Then, if you have any dreams, you can “reply” to your original question and share your dream.
Be creative and have fun with this incubation.