Dreams are part of human beings since everyone has them from time to time. They are interpreted differently in many cultures and so their meaning differ with different people. However dreams are connected to the spirituality. Some dreams come as warnings; others come from what the person has been indulging in when they were awake during the day. For example someone could have watched a horror movie during the day and so when he/she goes to bed he/she gets a nightmare; meaning a replay of the day’s activity takes place. Many times people dream and by the morning they can hardly recall what the dream was about.
Other people have dreams and exactly how the dream had come something happens in the real life. In some cultures cleansing rites are performed in the homestead when certain dreams come. This is said to appease the spirits and avoid some bad dreams coming into a reality. I will want to focus on an African culture a Kenyan one. Dreams with dead people are considered a bad omen especially if there was physical contact in the dream. It is believed that if cleansing is not done immediately, the person who dreamt or a close family member would soon die.
Cleansing involves slaughtering a goat or a sheep and all the blood sprinkled to the spirits (sprinkling to the ground as they talk to the unseen spirits trying to ask for protection) If a person dreams with a snake this is more serious for it is believed that the spirits are not pleased with that family and therefore what follows is a meeting of the elders and the family members and try to search for an answer to who could have wronged the spirits. Dreams of water are considered as good ones and that the person’s spiritual life is clean.
If a person dreams with some food such as eating meat in the dreams; this is said to have no remedy, for sure a close person will definitely die. This community takes it that if a person can hardly remember a dream then it is not an important dream and no one dwells there. Interestingly they believe that if by any chance a dream with a deceased person who died at an elderly age, and the in the dream this deceased person asks for anything, and then effort to give the request will be made. (Usually the naming in this community repeats such that if a boy is born the first one in a family he automatically gets the grandfather’s name).
So in this case if the old man dies and comes in a dream and asks for anything it is going to be given to this boy – his namesake. There is no known elderly person who died without a namesake and they also say if that would happen then the request would be taken to the grave of the dead person. They also believe that if someone dreams with a small baby then there is certainly going to be an addition in the family either the extended family or the nuclear one. They look at dreaming with livestock as a sign of wealth. This community has belief in dreams involving certain numbers.
They don’t take dreaming with a number seven as a positive thing – it is a sign of war. Dreams of fire or smoke are taken as a sign of extra ordinary power. Dreams involving spears, arrows and shield are usually perceived as clear indication of a raid probably from the neighboring tribe. This calls for night patrolling, making cattle sheds stronger so the enemy doesn’t manage to carry the raid operation easily. It is all spiritual based. In the next page I will look at another culture and their understanding of dreams which will be little bit different from this one.
Although this is a community in the same country when it comes to dreams and interpretation it is different but the common ground is that both communities see dreams as spiritual messages. The Kamba community in Kenya looks at dream with a dead person very positively. They believe the dead usually returns into this life only in a dream to especially advise those who were left behind and are loved by him (the dead). For this reason the person will keenly try to remember all the details that were said in the dream and follow them to the letter.
He will also make it known to the people concerned what the messages were and what is expected of the living by the dead. This has been critical because I have seen people move from place to place because their ancestors visited them in the dreams and asked them to leave. This particular community would have no interest in any dream that involved cattle. They really consider a dream involving a calabash/guard as a very bad thing, since they believe that someone is trying to bewitch them. They will sell anything they have to go to a witchdoctor for protection.
Really funny. I will now look at my personal experience as far as dream and spirituality is concerned. I have always had dreams before any major thing happened in my life. Sometimes I actually dreamt with my baby being sick and in three days time that had happened. If at all I will clearly remember the dream in the morning and also remember it during the day then I get sure that it will surely come to be. I believe it is a spiritual voice that comes to me at night is to bring in advance things that are about to happen in the near future.
However I try to pray and dismiss the bad dreams which would keep scaring me during the times I remember. I have had dreams of good things which have come to happen in my life. As a Christian I know that there is power in dreams and that it is actually the Holy Spirit who brings these dreams to us, sometimes I know that the evil spirit does also bring dreams especially the terrible ones, I take it as a tool which every Christian has, it is a way that God communicates with his children, to either warn, prepares or to seek the victims heart.
In the Bible there are a people who also had dreams and surely they were from God, example when Joseph the foster father of Jesus was given a message by the angel that he should not fear for the child Mary is carrying is conceived by the power of Holy Spirit. When King David had a dream and he called Prophet Nathan to interpret it – David was being warned by God that his act was not a fair one and he would receive the punishment due. So to summarize all this dreams and spirituality always go hand in hand, be it the cultural way of understanding this, be it the Biblical way of looking at it.