Who thinks Dreams have a Place in History? A Review in 4 Questions

If you think back at your history lessons at school: they where all about facts. But what if history is studied as a combination of historical facts combined with dreams, spirit possession rituals and dancing performances?

Question #1: How does history change if you look at dreams, and contemporary rituals?

This is a book review of Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece
by Professor Charles Steward PhD
University of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (March 31, 2017) ISBN-10: 0983532222 ISBN-13: 978-0983532224, Kindle $16.88, Hardcover $27.08, Paperback $22.50
Reviewed by Susanne van Doorn

 

To investigate this question, Charles Stewart, Professor of Anthropology at University College London, interprets history as a social relationship.

history
Cartoon: Bill Watterson.

It is one of the books I recommended for you to read in this blog about interesting books to be published the first quarter of 2017. But this is actually a digitalized version of the first print in 2012. And I am so glad we get a chance to re-read and appreciate this book!

 

history
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History: A Case Study

The book is a case study about the Greek village Kóronos. A village on the island of Naxos, dedicated to pilgrimage.

“During 1930, the dreams of Katerina Levaki, Nikiphoros Legacies, Evdoka, Marina and other oneirevamenoi (Susanne: this is a complicated word for people who explore dream worlds) shaped a myth. The myth validated dreaming as a conduit for receiving true messages from the beyond and the reality of the saints who actively communicated with individuals. Application of the term myths draws attention to the power of the narrative to shape and guide aspirations in Kóronos” (page 112).

history
The Narrative of a Lot of Cats

 

The story, as told in this book starts in 1830 and ends in 1990, when a church is build in dedication of the Panagia, the All Holy or Virgin Mary

 

History: Let’s get Personal

While reading this book, I was thinking about the power of narratives.

Question #2: What is the story I tell myself?  And how does this shape my dreams?

How do my dreams shape my narrative, my comprehension of the world and the social relationships I am dealing with?

In Kóronos, the Panagia came to visit in dreams of three shepherds…(that alone reminds you of the story of Christ), telling that there where icons buried. Those icons depicting her that had to be traced. This happened in the 1830’s, during the war of Greek Independence.

history
Panagia

 

If you are living in a land that is struggling to regain independence, you need a mother. A benevolent mother that is there to protect and guide you .

Question 3: Have you ever had dreams that reflect the political situation in your land? 

When reading this book, I remembered a dream I once had about an extreme right politician, Pim Fortuyn, in his grave… Mud was pouring all around him. In waking life he had been assassinated.

History: Mutual Dreaming

The second part of history examined in this case study is the period around 1930. In this time of economic depression, a number of people in the town of Kóronos started to receive dream messages again.

Marina and other dreamers dreamed about an icon of St. Anna, the mother of Mary. It was buried in a mountain and finding it would bring prosperity. In the 1930’s there was a great economic depression that affected a lot of people in a very negative way.

And at this time there is number of dedicated dreamers who tries to “tune into” finding this icon. Because we all need divine intervention.

history
Contemporary Mutual Connections
Cartoon: Tim Whyatt

 

The dreamers would gather the villagers to come and listen to them, as they prophesied and tried to connect with the holy spirit.

This part of the book inspired me to ask question #4:

Is dreaming a social process?  Let me know your answers in the comments.

History: Building the Church

In the mid ’90’s of last century the dreams in the city of Kóronos led to the building of the church of Argokoli

history
Church of Argokoili
Photo Nayta Kuinka

 

 

This book shows you how perceptions of temporality and caution went from prophetic in the years round 1830, to apocalyptic in the period round 1930, to rational and historicist in 1990.

CONCLUSION

PRO

  • This book suggests that dreams are a mode to discover novel information about the past;
  • Charles Stewart has done thorough research;
  • Especially interesting is his study of the 1930 dream diaries;
  • If you are, like me, interested in dreams, this book will be a wealth of information;
  • This book makes you aware that there is a recursive relationship between events and structures, that is reflected in dreams.

CON

  • Sometimes Charles says the same thing in different words. Eloquent words, nonetheless, but the point has already come across.

Mindfunda verdict:
8/10

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I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming 

NEW COURSE: START OF SPRING: NORSE MYTHOLOGY:

In this four lesson course, that starts this spring, you will get access to:

  • An opportunity to learn about Norse Mythology;
  • You will get 4 dream incubations;
  • You will get access to a Facebook group where you can learn from others and add value yourself about the things you have learned during this course;
  • You will get 4 weeks of intensive training in how Norse Mythology plays a part in your life and your dreams;
  • A lesson about Freya as Goddess of Spring;
  • A lesson about Odin and the Life Tree;
  • A lesson about Loki, the eternal Trickster;
  • A lesson about the Dreaming Goddess, Creator of the Universe.
ARE YOU READY TO JOIN ON MARCH 20?
 

THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Dreamfunda:  
Everything you need to know about dreams. Practical How to’s, the latest scientific research, the most commonly used ways to attach meaning to dreams. This and more is given to you for your everyday use in this part of Mindfunda

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


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New Course: Start of Spring: Norse Mythology:

 

In this four lesson course, that starts this spring, you will get access to:

  • An opportunity to learn about Norse Mythology;
  • You will get 4 dream incubations;
  • You will get access to a Facebook group where you can learn from others and add value yourself about the things you have learned during this course;
  • You will get 4 weeks of intensive training in how Norse Mythology plays a part in your life and your dreams;
  • A lesson about Freya as Goddess of Spring;
  • A lesson about Odin and the Life Tree;
  • A lesson about Loki, the eternal Trickster;
  • A lesson about the Dreaming Goddess, Creator of the Universe.
ARE YOU READY TO JOIN ON MARCH 20?