Columns / Discourse / November 3, 2010

Did You Know: Dream on, baby

1. You cannot snore and dream at the same time. So, do people who snore not dream? Or maybe in between their snores they have quick dreams…

2. According to Plato, dreams originate in the organs of the belly. Plato describes the liver in particular as the biological seat of dreams. That means a liver transplant equals getting somebody else’s dreams along with it!

3. One West African group, the Ashanti, take dreams so seriously that they would allow a husband to take legal action against another man if that man had an erotic dream about his wife. I wonder why the man who had the erotic dream would tell the woman’s husband about it in the first place!

4. Discovered in 1856, the planet Neptune (which is named after the Roman god of the sea) is considered the planet of dreams—because, like water, dreams distort and cloud images and meaning. Additionally, water represents the depths of the unconscious and our emotional levels in dream imagery, places that our dreams take us. Is that where Neverland is then?

5. An alien in a dream may indicate that the dreamer is experiencing difficulty adjusting to new conditions or a new environment, or that his or her personal space is being invaded.

6. Because nightmares were thought to be from menacing spirits, such as witches, folklore suggests placing a knife under the foot of the bed. Evil spirits were thought to be repelled by the steel of the knife. It’s like dream catchers for Native Americans, only more of a repellant and less pretty.

7. Falling dreams typically occur at the beginning of the night, in Stage I sleep. These dreams are often accompanied by muscle spasms, called myoclonic jerks, and are common in many mammals.

8. The memory-recording processes of the brain seems to switch off during sleep. In so-called non-dreamers, this memory shutdown is more complete than it is for the rest. Dreams may be forgotten because they are incoherent or because they contain repressed material that the conscious mind does not wish to remember. This is beginning to sound like psychology!

9. Cakes in dreams can signify a time to rejoice at one’s accomplishments, or to celebrate new relationships or work efforts that have been successful but not necessarily acknowledged. Sweet!

10. In Hawaiian mythology, dreams are called moe’uhane or “soul sleep” because it was believed the soul left and entered the physical body through the tear duct, or the lua’uhane or “soul pit,” during the night. Nightmares occurred when spirits entered the body while the soul was gone. It was possible for a mortal to have sexual relations with that spirit (often referred to as the husband or wife of the night). So, how exactly would this be prevented? Close up your tear ducts?

11. Here’s a little Lincoln dream fact that I didn’t know; one of the most infamous precognitive dreams in history was President Lincoln’s in 1865. The president envisioned his own demise just a few days before he was assassinated in Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1865. I could only imagine that to be terrifying. Anyway, sweet dreams!

Emily Park

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