During those first few moments of conscience upon waking up, we’re able to recall our dreams. At this time, we depart the dream realm where we have been traveling throughout the night.
If we truly sleep the amount of hours needed, this means we spend almost one third of our lives in “dreamland.” This place is where we connect freely and completely, explore new places, or even receive visits. Occasionally, we’re even able to resolve unfinished business, come up with creative ideas, or find solutions.
For today’s Maya, (Quichés, Tzeltales, Tzotziles, Tojolabales, Ixiles, Mames, Yucatecan Maya, and other groups) dreaming is an important state in which the mind and body are separated. This is considered an opportunity for the spirit to travel and do everything that’s impossible for it to achieve when awake. In fact, the Tzotzil Maya see dreams as a way to “live a full life” and “stay alive.” They believe that dreams are a means of “seeing with the soul” what we can’t fully comprehend with our body and mind.
It is traditional in Maya towns to ask if you dreamt during the night. It’s important not only to remember and analyze dreams, but bring them up in conversation. Encouraging children to dream and talk about their dreams is a way of leading them towards living a full life. Nightmares may signify a need to heal, cleanse, or pull away from bad energy. Dreams can bring news that a Pixán (Maya soul or spirit) sees coming.
A few years ago, I was working with traditional healers in southeastern Yucatán. I had a dream in which don Paternuncio Pool, an Ah Men (shaman) from Papacal answered several of my questions. The next day, when I went to interview him, he responded many of my queries with “I have answered that already, kid.” That’s when I understood that the dream world allows us to connect and communicate in a different way. Don Pater and other medics told me many of them learned to heal while they slept, where they were provided with information from their ancestors. Interpreting dreams is important since living in this dimension is as meaningful as life when we’re wide awake. Yucatán is the land of dreams. Have a sweet one.
Recommendation: Sueño y éxtasis: visión chamánica de los náhuas y los mayas, Mercedes de la Garza, 2012.
Editorial by Andrea Medina
I’m a biologist with a doctorate in Mesoamerican studies, focused on Maya cultures. I love writing, learning and sharing.
Photography by Valentina Álvarez
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