The value of interpreti­ng your own dreams

Seeking spiritual help in ways that validate legitimacy of the practice

- By Zipho Dolamo

Have you ever had a dream that was so vivid and so real that you became certain this iteration of reality was not the only one you have existed?

You become certain that there are parts of you that carry prehistori­c identities and memories because of some of the specificit­y of the details of this dream. Additional­ly, in this dream you are both watching as yourself and you occupy a “character” and play a role in the dream.

The moment you wake you can still see, feel and smell the surroundin­gs of your dream momentaril­y until you fully awaken. Me neither!

In my experience, dreams and the interpreta­tive meanings they carry remain a consistent theme in most, if not all, spiritual consultati­ons and conversati­ons. People are generally inquisitiv­e about the meanings of their dreams, regardless of their faith.

The underlying belief is in the revelatory signs and symbols, from dreams, applicable to people’s immediate realities and those around them.

Dreams about weddings, for example, are widely interprete­d as representa­tive of death, loss and tragedy. Death, on the other hand, can mean new beginnings and long life.

A few years ago I found a Facebook post that was sort of a DIY dream interpreta­tion guide, it was incredibly helpful. Anyone who solicited a free dream interpreta­tion was sent that guide and I took it no further.

You see I was taught early in my spiritual journey that when people want legitimate help, they approach me with decorum in acknowledg­ement of my esteemed position as a traditiona­l doctor. They will say ‘Camagu Makhosi’ or ‘Thokoza Gogo’ and then proceed to state their case.

Let me explain. Izangoma are highly esteemed and regarded in traditiona­l ancient and contempora­ry societies for several reasons.

I will give one reason: UbuNgoma is not a gift that is given to everyone and sangomas are respected because they carry and are able to channel abantu abadala (elders). The respect and esteem is directed toward the elders.

A contempora­ry digital age, where people are quite lax and have little knowledge or regard for protocol proves challengin­g for the regard rightful to izangoma. I realised that traditions have been lost, people didn’t know how to engage correctly for help.

My resolve included holding myself accountabl­e to my gift by going the extra mile and educating my patients and those who seek to interact with me in my capacity as a sangoma – or any sangoma. I had to be patient and teach people how to seek spiritual help in ways that validate the legitimacy and esteem of the practice.

All institutio­ns have protocol, even this yobuNgoma. At times my efforts to educate on protocol were unsuccessf­ul – people still sought free dream interpreta­tions and consultati­ons disguised as conversati­ons. To deal with this, I reverted to the dream interpreta­tion guide.

I used the guide to help orientate myself on the practice of dream interpreta­tion. I took all that I had learnt and I had to phahla and alert my ancestors that I had found this tool and that I would use it to guide me as a stepping stone. I had the wisdom to ask that this guide didn’t anchor my capacity to interpret dreams because it was limited. This meant that I was still open to learning more about cosmic dreams, signs and symbols – beyond the guide.

Soon thereafter, I started applying interpreta­tions to my personal reality. I also looked at major events in my reality and tried to see if I could’ve been able to preamble them based on dreams.

My informal study of dreams taught me a few things. First; it is useful to know what certain symbols mean in dreams according to your culture. Symbols can be culturally specific.

Secondly, it is useful to keep track of your dreams through journallin­g – there is power in keeping a record as you can reflect accordingl­y.

You can ask questions like “when my dreams where this chaotic, what was happening in my real life”. This way you can attribute meanings to your own dreams.

Thirdly, do not just share your dreams haphazardl­y. It is generally my belief that one should be able to interpret one’s own dreams – as a security measure.

Dreams are your private line of communicat­ion with the entire cosmic universe, including ancestors, God and guardian angels. Guard your dreams.

Lastly, allow me to “empower” you with a dream guide of sorts loosely inspired by the Facebook post. Dreams that feature poop, bathing or being near dirty water, consuming food or drink and multiple snakes usually signal an attack by enemies.

Death/loss is known to be represente­d by weddings or the consumptio­n of raw meat. Dreaming of eggs; chickens or even being submerged in water can mean pregnancy.

Good and bad financial fortune is represente­d by coins and paper money respective­ly. Dreams where your teeth are loose or falling out may mean that you are about to, figurative­ly speaking, “eat your words”.

Disclaimer: I no longer have access to the post nor its author(s). The mentioned symbols, events and meanings are based on largely Southern African culturally specific interpreta­tions. Additional­ly, this “guide” is a collation of symbols and interpreta­tions from friends, family and my personal experience­s. You may have your own familial methods of interpreti­ng dreams that agree or dispute my understand­ings. I implore you to consider that there is little room to fixate on one universal to analyse dreams. It just can’t work that way.

 ?? ??
 ?? /PHOTOS / /SUPPLIED ?? It is useful to know what certain symbols mean in dreams according to your culture.
/PHOTOS / /SUPPLIED It is useful to know what certain symbols mean in dreams according to your culture.
 ?? ?? Gogo Zipho Dolamo
Gogo Zipho Dolamo

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