Asklepios and Galen, two ancient docters were used to ask about dreams there patiens had and sometimes ask for (incubate) dreams themselves to help patients the bets they could. Thta habit is gone now. If you enter a docters’ office telling him yu have had a dream and you think it is about your physical health you will probably get a reluctant smile and will be out of his office in a couple of minutes.
In the ’60s Kasatkin, a Russian psychiatrist working in several neurological clinics in Russia published a book on dreams and health: A theory about dreams. Last couple of months I have invested in translating it. Today i want to share the part of it I think is the most important. Precognitive dreams and health. In a course of 20 year Kasatkin collected over 10 thousend dreams from patients with diverse illnesses, ranging from the ful to brain tumors in diverse regions of the brain. The dreams were self-monitored by the patients or collected by the doctors. For 130 dreams he collected the period it took for the disease to manifest:
You can clearly see, even though the number of patients that the dreams were gathereed from was small, there is a clear tendency: more “complicated” diseases like a brain tumor are detected in dreams a longer time before they are diagnosed then “simple” diseases like the flu. Could it be possible by careful investigation to accurately judge the onset of the disease using dreams?
I know about a lot of impresive stories on how dreams have saved lives by alerting people suffering from cancer. Wanda Burch, writer of “She who dreams” had a number of scary dreams about spiders that alerted her in hindsight of cancer. But it was a voice in a dream, the voice of her father explicitly telling her to go out and find a doctor that got her to the hospital, were she indeed was diagnosed.
So how can we, you and me, use our dreams as a precognitive warning sign? Feelings are an important clue. Fear, anxiety, recurrent nightmares, dreams were your own body is hurt all those signs should act as a warning sign. Not every bad dream is an indication of a health problem. But recurrent bad dreams should be a warning sign for everybody interested in dreams. Educate yourself when you get those dreams. There is so much good medical information online.
This summer I will be hosting a panel on the annual IASD (International Association of the Study of Dreams) Conference about dreams, together with Patricia Garfield, author of Creative Dreaming, Paul Overman will share about dreaming an health the shaman way and Sandy Ginsberg will talk about how using creativity is an ultimate healing act when facing a disease. The Conference will be in Berkeley in June, I hope to see you there to discuss this fascinating and interesting subject.