Informal Session: Dreaming in the Pacific
Organizers: Marianne "Mimi" George and Charles D. Laughlin
Mimi George and Charles Laughlin have been interested in how people in different cultures experience and interpret their dreams. We are both "lucid dreamers" and are very aware of how realistic (perhaps hyper-realistic) dreams can be. Dreaming is a human universal. Humans dream along with other big-brained animals. Thus, every society features a "dream culture" which informs members about the significance of their dreams (Laughlin 2011). In technocratic cultures, the value of dreaming is typically negligible. However, among most of the planet's non-technocratic peoples, dreaming is considered an extension of reality. What happens in dreams is significant, and in some cases vital. Indeed, dreaming is commonly integral to a people's world view, their spiritual life and their understanding of healing/reconciliation, time, place, and causation.
So it is with the peoples of the Pacific. Regardless of the focus of their research, Western ethnographers almost inevitably encounter a society's dream culture during their fieldwork experience (e.g., George 1995a, 1995b; Lohmann 2003; Mimica 2013; Storlie 2012; Tonkinson 2013). Of course, First Nations scholars have been raised in this kind of culture and can speak to dreaming from direct experience. There has been an increased interest among anthropologists in the transpersonal aspects of culture, including dreaming. We want to find out whether there is sufficient interest in the topic of Pacific dream cultures among our ASAO colleagues to plan a more formal working session of this issue in 2020.
George, Marianne, 1995a. "Dreams, Reality, and the Desire and Intent of Dreamers as Experienced by a Fieldworker." Anthropology of Consciousness 6(3): 17-33.
George, Marianne, 1995b. "In a Pig's Eye: Learning from Tattoos and Dreams Among the Barok." The World and I (electronic magazine at www.worldandI.com), November 1995 issue, pp. 189-200.
Laughlin, Charles D. (2011) Communing with the Gods: Consciousness, Culture and the Dreaming Brain. Brisbane: Daily Grail.
Lohmann, Roger, ed. (2003) Dream Travelers: Sleep Experiences and Culture in the Western Pacific. Springer, 2003.
Mimica, J. (2006) "Dreams, Laki, and Mourning: A Psychoanalytic Ethnography Of The Yagwoia 'Inner Feminine'." Oceania, 76(1): 27-60.
Storlie, T. A. (2012) Glimpses of a Pre-European-Contact Hawaiian Model of Dreams and Dreaming: A Historical and Archival Study (Doctoral dissertation, Saybrook University).
Tonkinson, Robert (2013) "Dream-Spirits and Innovation in Aboriginal Australia's Western Desert." International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 32(1): 12.
Marianne (Mimi) George, Vaka Taumaka Project <George.firstname.lastname@example.org>