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June 13, 2024 42 mins

The wonders and terrors of the dreaming mind do not always flee completely with the dawn. At certain times and places in history, it seems that dreams suddenly ascend to new heights of cultural fascination. In this classic Stuff to Blow Your Mind series, Robert and Joe explore periods when the eye of culture fixes on the dream world. (originally published 06/20/2023)

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Speaker 1 (00:06):
Hey, Welcome to Stuff to Blow Your Mind. My name
is Robert Lamb. Into the vault we go once more
for dream Fall into the Dark, Part two, which originally
published six twenty twenty three. Please enjoy Welcome to Stuff
to Blow Your Mind, a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:31):
Hey, Welcome to Stuff to Blow your Mind. My name
is Robert.

Speaker 3 (00:34):
Lamb and I am Joe McCormick.

Speaker 2 (00:36):
In the last episode, we discussed the power of dreams
to impact the waking world, with a particular focus on
times and places where the mystique of dreams seems to
have held particular sway over prominent intellectual and or theological
circles in a given society. So you know, what does
it mean for a people when the gateway of prophetic

dream is open wider and what factors seem to contribute
to these upticks in dream fascination in particular. In the
last episode, we discussed European Romanticism in the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries, as discussed by authors Lynn A. Struve and
Jennifer Ford in their respective works. In this episode, we're

going to continue looking at some of the times and
places that Struve singles out in her twenty nineteen book
The Dreaming Mind and the End of the Ming World,
drawing in additional sources as well. Now, I believe the
plan is to get into Struve's thoughts on the late
Ming Dynasty dream culture in part three of this series.

But to kick things off here, I thought we might
discuss another movement another time in place that she highlights,
and that is Quakerism of the mid seventeenth century, with
religious and political strife in England, pushing immigrants out, religious
dissenters out of England and into a new hotbed of

religious and political strife in the New World. Now, I
don't know. This is definitely one of those cases, and
this is going to continue to be the case with
some of the examples we draw on. Certainly we would
love to hear from anyone out there who has actual
roots in Quakerism. I know I have a cousin that
is a Quaker. So this is very quake Quakerism still

is very much alive, but we're going to be dealing
with mid seventeenth century Quakerism in particular. Here Struve points
out that the majority of Puritans of the time period
considered quake heretical. It rejected the traditional Puritan power structure
in favor of a meeting structure where anyone in the
group could openly share their own account of seeking God

through Christ. And accounts of dreams factored into these oral presentations,
and sometimes these were written down as well. Quaker dream
testimonials lost much of their prophetic qualities, but continued to
be important in to the nineteenth century.

Speaker 3 (03:01):
So I tried to do some digging to learn a
bit more about the role of dreams in Quaker history
and the more general historical context, and I came across
a lot of references to what looks like a highly
relevant and well regarded academic book on the subject. It's
by Carla Jirona called Night Journeys, The Power of Dreams

in Transatlantic Quaker Culture, University of Virginia Press in two
thousand and four. I was not able to read this
book itself, but I read a couple of academic reviews
of it to get a sense of its arguments and
major themes. So one of the reviews I'm going to
reference was by Robert Cox in the Journal of the
Early Republic Winter two thousand and five, and the other
was by Michelle Lisa Tartar in the Journal of Quaker

Studies two thousand and seven. But before I get into
this book directly, I think it'd be good to do
a little bit of background on the Quakers. So the
Quakers are officially known as the Religious Society of Friends,
and this tradition was founded in England in the mid
seventeenth century by a man named George Fox. So I
was reading about him in a book exerpt published in

the New York Times by historian named James Walvin. The
book is called The Quakers, Money and Morals. And before
going any further, I just have to note a physical
detail Walten includes in the description of George Fox, which
is that he was described at the time as a
man with hair like rats tales.

Speaker 2 (04:27):
I'm having trouble picturing that because rats tales don't really
look like hair hair. They are by their very nature hairless.
Maybe he had kind of like a wet look and
had kind of like white or grayish hair.

Speaker 3 (04:41):
Perhaps it was an ambiguous evocation for me as well.
But I'll keep trying to picture it as we go on.
So George Fox was born in sixteen twenty four. He
was the son of devout Puritan parents in Leicestershire, which
is a city in the English Midlands. His father was
a somewhat wealthy we and in sixteen forty three George

Fox had an unpleasant experience seeing friends drinking alcohol at
a local fair, and so the teenage Fox, after this experience,
heard the voice of God Almighty telling him to leave home,
abandon his friends, abandon his family, and seek the truth.
And after this he spent several years a sort of itinerant,

just wandering the country with his Bible in hand, seeking
enlightenment of some sort, and apparently harassing local priests and
ministers along the way. One example is in sixteen forty
nine he was arrested and jailed for getting up in
the middle of a church service in Nottingham and arguing
with the minister about his interpretation of the Bible. Now,
in defining Fox's early preachings and the Quaker's early beliefs,

it's kind of interesting because several sources I've read mentioned
that they're more easily defined in opposition to other beliefs
than in the positive substance of themselves. But one thing
seems to be that Fox's theology developed to include a
belief in the necessity of inner spiritual rebirth. Sometimes this
is known as born again theology. It was very much

about having the inner light of God or the inner
light of Christ revealed within yourself and experiencing God directly.
And Fox also came to preach a message that was
basically against the institutional structure of Christianity. It seems. Fox's
unique thesis was that you do not need a church

or a congregation or a cleric to act as any
kind of intermediary or interpreter between you and God, that
you should interact with God honestly and directly on your
own terms.

Speaker 2 (06:46):
And I think already we can see how this is
going to line up with the importance of dreams, the
idea that there's some sort of direct communication. We saw
that already with the example of Fox having heard the
voice of God. As we've been discussing already in this series,
there's this long standing human tradition of potentially interpreting dreams

as such as well.

Speaker 3 (07:11):
That's right, so we will get there. But another thing
I should note before we move on is that this
is happening in England in the sixteen forties, which is
the same time as the English Civil War. Or directly
after the English Civil War in the interregnum period. And
this is a time of major change, political, social, cultural
upheaval in England. I want to read a brief passage

from Walven summarizing the cultural climate in England at the time.
Quote Fox was not alone in suffering turmoil in the
sixteen forties. The entire nation was racked by personal and
social agitations that had been whipped up by a bloody
and vengeful civil war. That decade and the interregnum years
of the sixteen fifties formed what Christopher Hill has described

as the greatest upheaval in English history. Old assumptions and beliefs,
old certainties were shattered by the convulsion of religious and
political freedoms, which had scarred most people in some way
or other. The traditional acceptance that all English people belonged
to the National Church and must worship as a matter
of obligation was destroyed forever. And another feature of this

period that Walvin notes is that this is a time
when there was sudden dissolution of the strict censorship laws
that had up until then controlled the printed word. There
was kind of a sudden explosion in different kinds of
materials that could be disseminated in print, including books and
tracts that advocated radical and unorthodox points of view in

civil and religious life. Now, the people around George Fox
when he was traveling and preaching in the sixteen forties
or sixteen fifties, these would mostly include members of the
Church of England, the mainstream Protestant church in England at
the time, and also Puritans, people who dissented from, or
at least wanted to reform the Church of England, largely

on the ground, sorry to oversimplify, but largely on the
grounds that it was not removed enough from its Roman
Catholic roots and not sufficiently based on Sola scriptura. Church
of England was not Protestant enough. Now, I mentioned that
Fox was jailed at least one time for interrupting a
church meeting in Nottingham. He was jailed other times, I think,

for blasphemy of various sorts. Fox made a lot of
people angry, but he also won a lot of converts,
if that's the right word. At least you could say
he persuaded a lot of people to see their relationship
with God in his way, and his movement spread rapidly
in England and also to the colonies in North America

in the sixteen fifties. In fact, the colony of Pennsylvania
was founded by William Penn, who was a wealthy English Quaker,
to serve as a safe haven for Quakers who were
sometimes viciously persecuted in England. Now, once again, it's sometimes
easier to say what Quakers don't believe than what exactly
they do believe. But though there's some variation, overall, Quakers

were known for rejecting hierarchy and rejecting the enforcement of
orthodoxy and religious matters, and they were also known, though
this might not have been a direct result of their theology,
they were known for at certain times, but not always,
having many members who supported radical social and political causes
such as pacifism, advocating for women's rights, and the abolition

of slavery. One thing that I think is worth noting
with relevance to the role of dreaming is the format
of Quaker religious meetings, which very often were just sort
of like gatherings of the religious society of Friends, the
Friends that would typically allow anyone to speak men and
women alike, rather than just having a minister sermonized top

down to the congregation.

Speaker 2 (10:54):
Yeah, I believe streve mentions that of the various written
dream reports that would survive, a lot of these were
by women.

Speaker 3 (11:04):
That's right. So that brings us back to a couple
of the reviews I wanted to talk about of that
book by Karla Girona, Night Journeys, The Power of Dreams
in Transatlantic Quaker Culture. Not only did early Quakers believe
that dreams contained genuine revelatory prophetic content, the culture of
Quakerism in the North American colonies was substantially downstream from

the contents of dreams, or what they might call night journeys.

Speaker 2 (11:34):
I don't know why night journeys is is such a
cool term for dreams. I mean, it just ties in
with a lot of what we're talking about here. But
then it also sounds like it could be like an
eighties rock anthem. I don't know where the.

Speaker 3 (11:47):
Dream warriors don't want to dream no more, except they
did want to dream more. They in fact, wanted to
dream quite a lot and discuss all their dreams. So
Cox sort of summarizes Jirona's point as quote, dreams are
not only models of culture, they are models for it,
and I think a way of understanding this better is
that while we today often think of dreams as simple

reflections of individual internal psychological states and fixations, in the
case of early American Quakerism, during the colonial and revolutionary periods,
dreams were quote a collective endeavor. So the way I
understand it is that for these seventeenth and eighteenth century Quakers,
there was not only an emphasis placed on prophetic visions

received through dreams, but the development of a collaborative prophetic
dream culture, where stories of other Quakers prophetic dreams would
be shared either in meetings or disseminated and circulated in print,
and then interpreted by the community. Coxwrites, quote more than

any of their sectarian peers, Quakers developed a uniquely intense
practice of recording and circulating their prophetic dreams within their
meetings and beyond, each minister sharing in the discussion and interpretation,
each dreamer and each auditor imparting his or her own
shades of meaning, dialectically collectively shaping a common Quaker identity

in the process. So this really captured my imagination because
it's sort of describing a scenario where dreams are such
a common topic of conversation and a common subject of
printed material circulated within the Quaker community, that they really
kind of become a major facet of what the culture is.

A lot of what it meant to be a Quaker
in these times came from discussing dreams and what you
thought you learned from.

Speaker 2 (13:47):
Them, Yeah, which is something that I honestly did not
know about Quakerism until we started getting into this research here.

Speaker 3 (13:56):
But there's another side to it too, which is, as
with many religions that contain the possibility of individual revelation,
whether that's through dreams or visions or you know, you
believe in God speaks to you directly or whatever, there's
evidence of a kind of push and pull effect with
radical beliefs emerging through supposedly prophetic visions and dreams, and

then a kind of taming or watering down process that
comes through interpretation or through selective publication.

Speaker 2 (14:26):
So, if you think.

Speaker 3 (14:27):
About it, there's kind of an inherent tension between the
wild individual agency of democratized dream revelation. Again, thinking like
somebody could have a dream and share it with us,
and that may well be God himself speaking to us.
There's that, and then there's also just like the practical
necessities of maintaining a stable social group or the self

interested motives of leaders in maintaining their positions of power.

Speaker 2 (14:55):
Yeah, I think it's easy to imagine for any of
you out there who are a part of say a
modern Protestant or Catholic denomination, like imagine going into church
one day and it being announced, okay, from now on,
starting right now, everybody can have an input on what

we believe and what our individual relationships with God happens
to be. And also a second part of that, dreams
count as well. Whatever's happening in your dreams, bring that
into the conversation. Like I think for people who are
who have not had had any either aspect of this
be part of their religious and organized religious experience, that
would seem chaotic. That would that you would wonder, what

does that mean that my faith is now going to
be like a Wikipedia article where anyone can edit it
and they can cite dreams, or is it going to
be something to where organically something will emerge to sort
of keep it in check, kind of like you see
with many mainstream Wikipedia pages.

Speaker 3 (15:55):
But there's another layer of difficulty there too, because it's
not just like, oh, William had this opinion about what
we should believe, and that comes from William. Beliefs potentially
come directly from the Divine. The creator of the universe
is telling you this through your dreams.

Speaker 2 (16:14):
Yeah, when anyone in a given congregation, any given group
is opened up to the like direct communications from the
Divine or you know, certainly things that are interpreted or
reinterpreted or presented as such. Yeah, that brings a whole
new way to everything.

Speaker 3 (16:40):
Now, It's one thing if these supposed revelations are just
about you know, theological beliefs, understanding of the nature of
Christ or something. Not to say that's not important, but
that's you know, a different kind of subject matter than
dream revelations supposedly from God that are things like maybe
we should could overthrow the government, or maybe we should

all stop going to work or something like that. Where
it turns out that a lot of these early dream
revelations in Quaker Friends meetings did have direct political connotations
and direct political implications. There was often a tendency for
dreams of the early Quakers to be interpreted as granting
license to revolt against church and state, and one thing

documented in this book is that in response, influential Quaker
ministers often kind of counteracted these radical explosions of dream
revelation that threatened political or social stability by guiding collaborative
dream work sessions and by controlling the publication of prophetic

dreams to sort of like steer them toward different interpretations,
often having more to do with individual morality and regulation
of personal behavior rather than having these radical political implications.
And this was especially true apparently for the dreams of Women.
To illustrate this, I'm going to quote from the review
by Lisa tartar Now who writes quote At the beginning

of the Quaker movement, such dreamings were experienced and expressed
as apocalyptic prophesying, replete with symbolic language. They promoted friends
religious enthusiasm, often attacked political leaders, and addressed contemporary issues,
similar to their public tradition of prophesying. Seventeenth century friends
shared their visions and dreams quite often and in public.

But then by the eighteenth century there was a transition
to a more corporate dream work within Quaker culture that
was facilitated by leaders of specific Quaker groups who assumed
control of the publishing of these dreams, and they regulated
and sort of censored how dreams were discussed in Quaker print.

Tartar writes, quote no longer confrontational or enthusiastic, This newly
shaped corpus of dreams sought to regulate Quaker behavior and
self discipline. Was more introspective in nature and focused on
the individual, but extended to community wide meaning. And so
she says that leaders at the time saw dreams as

powerful tools that like, if you selected the right ones
to publish and share with other Quaker groups, and if
you interpreted them the right way, they could be used
to encourage unity among the friends, to make everybody sort
of like you know, fit together and function well as
a social group. But you had to be careful to
avoid letting dream prophetic dreams rock the boat too much, basically.

And this is interesting to me because it seems this
would probably be the case for any religion that allows
new beliefs or new theology to evolve from individual direct
experiences that people have, whether that's they believe to be
waking visions or just sort of verbal revelations got speaking
to people or through dreams. There's always going to be

this battle going on within a religious culture that believes
in these kinds of revelations, anyone can present the contents
of their own mind and their own imagination as a
kind of new scripture carrying the terrifying authority of the almighty.
But then these dreams have to be quote interpreted, and
there will be various pressures guiding that process of interpretation,

often trying to resist the radical authority that leaps like
lightning out of the mind of a single parishioner.

Speaker 2 (20:35):
Yeah, this is fascinating, and I mean you can even
compare it to to situations where individual ideas and opinions
within a given movement or a given group, you are
not tied to dreams and visions. But even in those situations,
like say like a protest environment environment like a protest movement,
is there going to be an effort to sort of

amplify certain voices and bands within that group? Is there
going to be an effort to like to lessen the
impact of other ideas? And then and then also how
do you make it all actionable? Like what ultimately is
the sort of the what are you going to end
up nailing to the church doors? In other words?

Speaker 3 (21:15):
You know, mm hmm, But.

Speaker 2 (21:16):
It is interesting, Yeah, that you bring up that like
through publication and selective publication, there is kind of like
a theological hierarchy that comes into play here determining exactly
what sort of gets presented, what actually gets put forth
for further discussion. Yeah, exactly, Struve and in her book

rights that in the cases she covers, including those early
on involving Euro American dream mystique and also the example
get to here in a minute, there is ultimately a
trichotomy of opinions concerning the nature of dreams, fed by
various influences, including philosophy, really, doctrine, and folklore. And they

are one dreams as residue of thought and or byproducts
of bodily processes. We've just we've talked about that. The
second area dreams is seen as being caused by demonic
or satanic forces. And then three, in rare cases with
exceptional individuals, they are divine visions or messages. And with
the Quaker example, of course, we see item number three

taken and democratized. It's no longer the chosen few who
have the vision. It's everyone who has insight into the vision,
everyone who's potentially hearing the words of God.

Speaker 3 (22:37):
Yeah, that is interesting, and it seems like so Struve
is saying with those that trichotomy you mentioned, basically that
every place you look in history there is sort of
a three way understanding of dreams, where there's some understanding
that they might just be essentially natural, you know, nothing
much to them. They're either something arising from the digestion
of beef in your gut, or they're just what you

were thinking about in the day. Second thing is they're
from an evil spiritual entity, and the third is they're
from a good spiritual entity. And so, yeah, it seems
like the Quakers really opened the floodgates on option number three.

Speaker 2 (23:13):
Yeah, and it does make me wonder like today are
we are we still living in an age where predominantly
the floodgates are open on item one, like like they
are we? You know, can I this doesn't cover everybody.
You're gonna still have certain areas and parts of society
where two and three are gonna have more weight. But
for the most part, yeah, do we just sort of

default too? Well? You know, I shouldn't have eaten that potato,
or I shouldn't have like in my case just the
other night, shouldn't have watched that horror movie messed up
my dreams all night long, gave me a terrible night
of sleep. But I'm not blaming it on a satanic force,
but true what chimes in on this idea of like,
you know, prophetic dreams and how they're managed, and she

says that, yeah, it then falls to authority figures to
employ these categories as needed to quote, protect their respective
creeds against challenges to orthodoxy from the random mental effusions
of neophytes. So that means that, you know, in more
sort of balanced situations, if someone's saying, hey, God spoke
to me in a dream, then you would have someone

in a position to say so come forward and say, well,
I don't know that that's God's voice. Perhaps that is
the potato you ate, or you know, there are other
reasons we have the dreams that we have and perhaps
that's what it was, or even potentially dipping into number
two and saying, you know, there are other forces that
may influence our dreams and they are not all divine.

Speaker 3 (24:36):
Now, one last thing I think is worth emphasizing about
the Quakers is I think Struve selects them because they
do conform to her general idea that times and places
where there is a sudden profusion of writing about dreams.
This often coincides with times of extreme social and cultural change,

where there's a lot of like churn and who has
power and there's a lot of uncertainty and anxiety, which
again would have been true about England in the sixteen
forties that remember that passage from walvin Abound, like it
being the greatest time of upheaval and English history.

Speaker 2 (25:12):
Yeah, yeah, so you can definitely see those pressures in place.
And then yeah, and then not only on the British
side of the ocean, but then once they get to
the new world, like, yeah, there are all sorts of
new stresses and problems, like it is not it is
not just this world of new opportunity. Obviously there are
there's you know, an indigenous population, there are all these

other groups. There's just sort of the you know, the
potentially harsh nature of the reality of a colonial life
and so forth. Now, with all of that in mind,
it's it's interesting that one of the other main examples
that she makes in the book that Struth makes concerns
Southism in the Ottoman Empire. And as we get into

this here and discuss it, I think it'll become like
more obvious how this particular example falls in line with
what we've been discussing, but also some of the things
that seem to make it unique if I'm understanding everything correctly. So,
dreams are of great importance in Islam, especially as referenced
in the Qur'an and the revelations of the prophet Muhammad.

In Sufism, a more mystical branch of Islam, dreams are
even more important given the emphasis on quote direct experience
of the divine and on achieving is static union with
God through dreams, visions, and trance unquote. The interest in
dreams was, according to Struve, generally prognostic, and there were

various manuals for dream interpretation, but they also probed their
dreams and journaled the contents of their dreams as a
way of seeking quote indications of their current spiritual state unquote,
which you know to a certain extent, Like that kind
of jives with the way we see dreams today, right though,

And I guess in a non spiritual sense, like you
could look at your dreams and you could learn something
perhaps about the state of your own mind if you had,
you know, the ability or the tools to sort of
dig through like the nonsense that is inherent in our dreams.
But again in Sufhism, particularly Ottoman Sufhism. Here, according to

his story of dreams were seen as sacred bestows rather
than subjective, and it all contributed to an intense intellectual
focus on the contents of dreams. Under the Ottoman Empire,
intellectuals of the day look to dreams for solutions, for inspiration,
and also for introspection. Quote. Every change in daily life

was believed to have a counterpart in dreams or to
possess another worldly dimension. So I did a bit more
reading on the subject of Sufi Ottoman dreaming, and according
to scholar Osgen Fhelik in twenty twenty three, quote, the
study of dreams in the Ottoman and greater Islamic worlds
is still in its early emergent stages unquote. So it

seems like that's an important caveat to make here that
there is. It seems to be quite a bit more
on all of this for academics to consider and to analyze. Now.
Felick had previously edited a volume titled Dreams and Visions
in Islamic Society, in which Alexander D. Denesh shares that
the Arab mystic Iban al Arabi, who lived eleven sixty

five through twelve forty, suggested that quote, the only reason
God plays sleep in the animate world was so that
everyone might know that there is another world similar to
the sensory world.

Speaker 3 (28:44):
Oh that's interesting, though, I wonder if I'm interpreting this right.
So it would mean that under Ibn al Arabi's view,
that God gave us dreams so we would know that
the material world is not all there is, that there
is another world, and dreams are like one demonstration of that.

Speaker 2 (29:01):
Yeah, yeah, which is which is quite quite fascinating to
see this stress especially. I mean, I can't help but
think about things that I've read in the past concerning say,
witchcraft persecution in Europe, and the idea that like that, this,
this world of the alleged occult was perhaps a focus
for witchcraft persecutors because it gave them some idea of like,

here is the supernatural world, and if the infernal version
of that is real, then so is the divine. But
here this stress seems to be like look no further
than the world of dreams, Like that is kind of
the proof right there again if I'm understanding this correctly.
But according to even l RB here, the dream state

allows one to probe mysteries of God and creation that
are normally quite invisible to us. Densh describes this view
as one detailing dreams as an instrument of cognition that
enable people to better understand not all only the inner
workings of the waking world, but to better understand the
next world as well. For as even al Arabi would

frequently quote, the prophet said that people are asleep and
when they die, they awake. So dreams are like this
hidden window. Now, the author stresses that while not all
Muslims of the time would have agreed with even al
Arabi on this, they would at least still value the
importance of dreaming and of waking visions in the Muslim life.

Pre modern Muslims, Danish writes, saw dreams as things that
revealed not only hidden personal insights, but hidden aspects of
the wider universe, things otherwise hidden, citing the words of
the prophet, with his death, tidings of prophecy would end,
but quote true dreams would endure, and with this in mind,

believers in the Sufi school of Islam saw dreams as
a kind of a font of continued revelations. It's kind
of like the main font of revelation is now closed.
It's the message is complete, but there's kind of this
continued signal that will be open to those you know

who will listen to it, who can receive these true dreams.
So Denesh writes that the result is kind of twofold
here for this particular example. First of all, a devout
Muslim could expect the guidance of God in dreams, and
two Sufi's in particular made broad use of dreams and
dream lore quote from training Sufi disciples and prognostication to

confirming the special status and authority of individual Sufi masters,
as well as authenticating spiritual genealogies and mystical orders. At
the same time, Deniesh points out that dreams and visions
were and still are seen by Muslims as not only
cosmological and social, but also reflections of the dreamers inner

world quote expressions of both inner and outer voices. So
again coming back to this, this this idea that yeah,
dreams may reveal things about the world unseen, they may
reveal things about the future, but also they may reveal
things about yourself, which again that kind of compares rather
favorably with sort of the secular way that that many people,

certainly in the West, few dreams today.

Speaker 3 (32:21):
So I'm understanding this as the difference being that many
Muslims would view dreams not as a source of sort
of new theology that would change anything revealed in the
Qur'an or anything like that, but that it would offer
sort of specific guidance that is more particular to your
time and place in history.

Speaker 2 (32:41):
Yes, yeah, that's that's my understanding. And now, as with
our example with the Quakers, you know, same here. If
you have have a particular expertise in background in Islam
or in Sufism, you know, we would love to hear
from you and get your your your individual take on
all of this. But based on what we've been reading

in researching herea, it does seem like dreams important in
Islam broadly, with a heightened importance in Sufism, and then
during the Ottoman Empire particularly so particular focus of time
and place, though it is kind of a broader period
of time. We'll get into details on that in just
a second. Even more focus on the power of dreams now.

Danish also drives home though that, Yeah, it is important
to note that dream cultures will vary from one Muslim
society and one time to another. So yeah, don't again,
don't take any of this as meaning like all Muslims,
all Sufis, et cetera, believe this about any given dreams. Now.

The book I reference covers different topics under this umbrella
of dreaming, but there's another author in it, Gottfried Hagen,
who singles out Ottoman dream culture as well. I just
wanted to share a quick quote from Hagen on this quote.
Throughout the pre modern era and probably much longer, people
in the Ottoman Empire were firmly convinced of the reality

of dreams. Now. Another interesting thing to think about, especially
with this particular case, is that, you know, naturally one
sees the importance of dream culture reflected in folklore as well,
you know, because a lot of this is concerning I
guess my understanding anyway, like the upper parts of like
the Sufi system at the time. But beneath all that,

you're also going to have sort of underlying folklore, right
that is, I'm assuming working both ways, like folklore influenced
by the prominent dream culture of the day, but also
perhaps contributing to the general energy of it as well.
I looked at a paper titled dream Motif in Turkish
Folk Stories and sh Homanistic Initiation, and it discusses some

examples of this, such as a motif of a young
man or woman having an important dream, either after a
traumatic event or after they pray to God for help
following such an event. And then in the dream that follows,
a holy man or holy men, and then sometimes it's
a maiden offers the youth a cup of wine to drink,

and this is sometimes described as like a love potion.
They predict his future love or her future love. They
give them a pseudonym under which to write poetry, and
they offer guidance in the future. And then there's additional
dream imagery that occurs in this motif, including the like
the burning of the body like the mortal body, and

the dream burns away and they awake with all this
inspiration brought on by the dream. Now they're inspired to
write poetry inspired by both this dream cup of wine
and also inspired by God. The author rights quote the
dream motif Complex and Turkish folk Stories provides a valuable
case to illustrate how a ceremonial right, a shamanistic initiation right,

turns into a fiction motif through long social and historical development.
There is a striking resemblance between the initiation of a
candidate into a shamanistic profession and the dream motif complex
which initiates the candidate into the new life of an
artist and lover. And the author here links these folkloric stories,
including the one that I just shared and also some

that are discussed elsewhere in this particular ride up to
magico religious life of the Turko Mongol Shamans.

Speaker 3 (36:40):
But this is not particular to the Ottoman Muslim period in.

Speaker 2 (36:43):
Turkey, no no. But though the particular dream motif that
is shared here I believe has some clear Islamic cultural
cultural labeling, like the way that that the Holy Men
are presented. They're presented, at least in this version of it,
as Islamic kolu Men. Yeah. But I bring it up though,

just to sort of try to dig at and explore
the idea that yeah, that any given culture you're going
to still have like these other folkloric energies going on
as well, that are going to have certain stresses regarding
let's say, the reality of dreams, the cause of dreams,
and the prophetic nature of dreams as well. But to
come back to the Ottoman dynasty specifically, which ultimately runs

twelve ninety nine through nineteen twelve. According to Struve, one
has a strong dream tradition of Sufi Islam, the influence
of Turkish Shamanism, and by the sixteenth century one sees
a particularly strong Ottoman empire quote as the empire was
brought by successive conquests to nearly ring the Mediterranean Sea,

and also on top of that the prominence of the
Sufi Halvetti order and also growing excitement in the Muslim
world over quote anticipation of the appearance of a messiah,
the Mahdi, who would prepare the world for judgment day,
a millennial belief affirmed in Sufism. So if I'm understanding
everything correctly here, Struve seems to outline less of an

external stress based inward gays and one more like deeply
deeply rooted in religion and culture and then heightened by
theological prominence and millennial excitement. So it was a like
a high time of dream reports, dream journaling mythologizing dream
lore and consultation of one's own dreams for daily guidance.

Struve quotes the modern historian draworza Hevy on all of this,
who is a historian with a particular expertise in Ottoman culture. Quote.
Ottoman culture may be described as a dream culture in
the sense that true or imaginary every change in daily
life was believed to have had a counterpart in dreams,

or to possess an otherworldly dimension. People seem to have
used dreams for introspection, to interpret the past, to anticipate
the future, and to calculate their moves. Dream Lore was
a unifying discourse, uniting people in a bond of shared experience,
knitting together insights from politics, medicine, and religion.

Speaker 3 (39:13):
Oh well, there is a kind of similarity with the
Quaker example of the emergence of a sort of collective
dream culture in a way where people would share and
discuss their dreams and the meaning of dreams. And there
was it was more than just like an individual private
experience that you have, believing that it reflects the you know,

the contents of your own mind. That there was something
bigger and more collective to it.

Speaker 2 (39:39):
Yeah, I was really taken by that as well, a
unifying discourse, which there's so many things that are different
about the Ottoman example in the Quaker example, but this
does seem to be the thing that they both have
in common in their own ways. And again both in
both cases it's so different from the way we think
about our dreams today, like since we often have this

idea that it is at best this kind of thing
we extrude that has if you tease it apart enough,
going to have some sort of insight or about our
own inner world. It's the kind of thing where if
you imagine yourself going to work, if you're you know,
among your coworkers and go like, hey, everybody, you want
to hear about my dream last night? Like that would
that would feel more like a social faux pas, right,

that would seem like something you should not do, like
nobody wants to hear that, or perhaps you're oversharing by
mentioning it, you know, unless you have something I guess
just the right calibration to share. Whereas in these accounts
like the Drink, sharing your dreams was just was part
of the culture and it brought people together rather than
making them seem like you know, the office weirdo as

it might be in today's world in the West. All right,
on that note, we're going to go ahead and close
this episode out, but we'll be We'll be back for
at least one more episode dealing with this whole topic
of dream mystique and dream fascination and dream culture, so
be sure to tune in on Thursday for that. In

the meantime, you can check out other core episodes of
Stuff to Blow Your Mind and the Stuff to Blow
Your Mind podcast feed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Mondays
we do a listener mail, on Wednesdays we do a
short form artifact or monster effect, and on Fridays we
set aside most serious concerns to just talk about a
weird film on Weird House Cinema.

Speaker 3 (41:22):
Huge thanks to our excellent audio producer JJ Posway. If
you would like to get in touch with us with
feedback on this episode or any other, to suggest a
topic for the future, or just to say hello, you
can email us at contact at stuff to Blow your
Mind dot com. Stuff to Blow Your Mind is production

of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 1 (41:46):
For more podcasts from my Heart Radio, visit the iHeartRadio
app Apple podcasts, or wherever you listen.

Speaker 3 (41:51):
To your favorite shows

Speaker 2 (42:02):
In ratatator,

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