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Gerald Gifford {at Forum #1}

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Dream Catchers & Infant Dreams





I am not one who puts a lot of money into decorating walls in my home but I do have several 'dream catchers' adorning particular areas. I have been fascinated by dream catchers for a long time believing the name alone makes them worthy of possession. But what exactly is a dream catcher?
From Dream-Catchers.org

Dream catchers are arts and crafts of the Native American people. The original web dream catcher of the Ojibwa was intended to teach natural wisdom. Nature is a profound teacher. Dream catchers of twigs, sinew, and feathers have been woven since ancient times by Ojibwa people. They were woven by the grandfathers and grandmothers for newborn children and hung above the cradleboard to give the infants peaceful, beautiful dreams. The night air is filled with dreams. Good dreams are clear and know the way to the dreamer, descending through the feathers. The slightest movement of the feathers indicated the passage of yet another beautiful dream. Bad dreams, however, are confused and confusing. They cannot find their way through the web and are trapped there until the sun rises and evaporates them like the morning dew.

Originally the Native American dream catcher was woven on twigs of the red willow using thread from the stalk of the stinging nettle. The red willow and twigs from other trees of the willow family, as well as red twig dogwood can be found in many parts of the United States. These twigs are gathered fresh and dried in a circle or pulled into a spiral shape depending upon their intended use. They used natural feathers and semi-precious gemstone, one gemstone to each web because there is only one creator in the web of life


While on the subject of infants sleeping and dreams. I bring up the subject because it was mentioned in Stevens book/CD Jung: A Very Short Introduction. Researching the latest science I found this:

According to the psychologist David Foulkes, one of the world's leading experts on pediatric dreaming, people often mistakenly equate their babies' ability to perceive with an ability to dream. "If an organism gives evidence that it can perceive a reality, then we are prone to imagine that it can dream one as well," Foulkes wrote in "Children's Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness" (Harvard University Press, 2002). But considering babies' limited pool of experiences and their brains' immaturity, Foulkes and other neuroscientists think they are actually dreamless for the first few years of life.

That's in spite of the fact that, from birth onward, sleeping babies enter the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep phase — the one in which adults dream. And boy, do they: Newborns spend half their sleep time in REM, accompanied by jerking eyeballs, twitching bodies and a characteristic saw-toothed pattern on brain scans. For comparison, adults spend just one quarter of their sleeping time in REM and the rest in the dreamless non-REM phase, marked by slowly varying brain waves. If babies did dream during REM, then they would dream for the equivalent of a full eight-hour workday. That would be a lot of mileage to get out of the few images they've collected of their bedroom, toys and parents' faces. [ Why Don't We Remember Being Babies?]

Instead, neuroscientists believe REM sleep serves a completely different role in newborns and infants: It allows their brains to build pathways, become integrated and, later, helps them develop language. (Similarly, juvenile birds learn songs during REM sleep.) While all that grunt work is going on, they lack the head space and the ability to imagine themselves as the heroes of baby adventures, or to dream up fantasy toys.


I find this fascinating. Especially the last line where it speaks of {lack the head space and the ability to imagine themselves as the heroes of baby adventures. A recognition perhaps that within us all is the hero and our dreams help us to realize that hero adventure? In Campbellian terms the hero is one who comes to wholeness. That equates to Jung's Individuation. It does seem infants start working on the 'natural' process of Individuation from the beginning {even in the womb where REM has been noted}. It all fits with Jung's philosophy that we are all intended by nature to achieve wholeness. Unfortunately our human nature is addicted to the outer world pays little attention to the natural inner world.


Jerry The God Within You A Prayer For You




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