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Celtic Dreaming

“I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” W. B. Yeats

It is said that the Dreamtime is the place where we existed before time. It’s the place of thought and spirit, and the beginning of all things. It has been likened to the shamanic journey, and in dreams are gateways to transformation.

And in fact, there are many cultures that have long held the belief that the dreamtime, or dream state, was indeed another world, just as real as the one we live in, but so much more ethereal.

The Celtic people believed that the dream state was a doorway into the land of the faery, and that dreams inevitably always contained prophecies, for good or evil. It was bad to dream of the devil, even worse to dream of a priest, but blessed is the man or woman who dreamt of a horse, for they bring luck. A young maiden, curious about whom she might marry, would leave offerings of silver pins at sacred wells, then take a nap and meet her future husband while she dreamt.

And indeed many a mortal have met their faery lover while dreaming. In the tale of Angus Mac Og, while young Angus slept, a beautiful faery woman appeared to him. When he woke he could think of nothing but this faery woman, and he searched for her for a year until he found her, all the while she kept appearing to him in his nightly dreams.

The hero and soldier, Cú Chulainn was visited by the faery woman, Fand, in a dream in which she inflicted a faery illness upon him with a stick from a rowan tree. When he awoke from his dream he learned that Fand was actually very much in love with him, and in fact was pining for him to return her love. It is said that after his recovery they spent much time together.

The Welsh faery queen, Mab, was known to visit mortals in their dreams, and did indeed cause many to dream of love. She is sometimes referred to as a muse or a dream midwife, and whomever she visits is sure to receive inspiration.

Our modern day belief surrounding dreams has changed much from that of our ancestors, but that doesn’t mean that dreams are any less magical. The rational mind of the 21st century is just more skeptical, but that does not mean it needs inspiration any less. We should let our dreams inspire us just as dreams inspired those before us. We were meant, after all, to be inspired. For as the dreamtime is the place before all things, inspiration is the fire that brings these things into being.



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Content copyright © 2013 by Deanna Joseph. All rights reserved.
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