Dreams of the Mapuches

Rosa Anwandter, Chile

Jungian Analyst & Writer. http://www.ceoniric.cl/

(Submitted by the author)

In communities related to the Mapuche peoples, in the southlands of Chile and Argentina, dreams have always held an important position. The cosmovision of the Mapuches is similar to many other pre-Columbus societies in South America. The difference is that they share a common language, Mapudungun, amongst a vast territory, and traditions have been passed orally from one generation to the next.

From the earliest times, the Mapuches have considered dreams to be paths for their lives. The Mapuches have a complete philosophy of life based on the wisdom found in dreams, whether for health problems, warnings, or advice for all kinds of issues.

In everyday life, it's common for each individual to seek, and then dream, premonitions concerning present or future events. Dreams also concerns the past when, in the dream, or pewma, images of relatives or friends who have died appear. In spite of the fact that they are everyday occurences, the pewma require a certain knowledge for them to be correctly interpreted. Nowadays, it's the machi, a combination of physician and shaman - usually a woman and also an expert on the active principles of medicinal plants - who has this mission.

The Mapuches also believe that he or she who dreams is not the person, but rather his or her spirit, or pullu>/em>. The traditions of all elements of nature are highlighted: sea, river, mountain, thunder, lightning, fire, earth: all have their own symbolism. Animals play an important role as well. Each and every element of the dream is an important part in itself.

If it's a good dream, then it shouldn't be told to anyone. The belief is that the envy from those who hear it would make it impossible for it to come true. If it's a nightmare, however, it should be told around a bonfire, because the fire with the smoke will take it away, thus expelling the evil spirit who sent the dream.

When a person has a lucid dream, it means that the spirit of the dreamer is strong. Dreams about deceased relatives, on the other hand, mean that their spirits are requesting flowers and candles. In such cases, a gift must be offered (depending on the dream's principal elements) and the spirit should be talked to, so that he or she may leave in peace.

Before the proclamation of the State of Chile in 1810, the Mapuches based their decisions, either collective or individual, on the messages that their dreams brought along and the importance of dreams for waking life still plays a fundamental part in their day-to-day lives.

Image credit: http://lucaantara.blogspot.com

Comments

2 comments

Submitted by Claire Terry on Thu, 03/29/2012 - 11:58.

Hi Jenny - yes the image is from: http://lucaantara.blogspot.com

Submitted by Jenny Alexander on Fri, 03/16/2012 - 22:25.

Fascinating! I particularly love the image - any information about that?

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