Conscious Chimera’s October 2018 article is a replication of the paper I presented at IASD’s Psiber Dreaming Concerence, which is held online every fall. The conference ended yesterday, so today I am sharing my presentation with you, fellow dreamers.
Extraordinary Announcing Dreams by Kimberly R. Mascaro, PhD
This presentation offers a platform to explore the announcing dream and extraordinary dream intersection. First, I will introduce notions of the announcing dream, then, move into extraordinary dream conceptualization. After, I will provide six announcing dream reports that appear to fit into an extraordinary realm. This paper will culminate in a discussion of these phenomena.
Announcing dreams, which take place before conception or birth, first surfaced in Ian Stevenson’s reincarnation literature. Someone who is “connected with the (future) subject has a dream in which a deceased person appears to the dreamer and indicates his wish or intention to reincarnate” (Stevenson, 2001, p. 99). While family and community members may have this kind of dream, it is most often a woman who is married and able to be a “mother for the next incarnation of the person who is to be born” (Stevenson, 2001, p. 99). According to Stevenson, announcing dreams are commonly reported among the Burmese, the Aveli of Turkey, people across India, and the Tlingit (An Alaskan Native American group) and other peoples of northwestern North America. In my 2013 doctoral dissertation (Mascaro, 2013), and subsequent publications (Mascaro, 2018), I suggest broadening the concept of an announcing dream to include modern-day, secular dreamers existing outside of the reincarnation-based cultural belief systems. If an announcing dream is simply thought of as a visual, tactile or auditory pre-birth communication, then the prospect for reincarnation would not necessarily be the focal point of this phenomenon. Furthermore, an announcing dream moves beyond a mundane, fantasy-like baby dream. Instead it is often a unique, high-sensory dream perception resulting in the dreamer holding a belief that genuine communication has taken place with the future child (Mascaro, 2018). Today, with access to advanced and fast medical care in the contemporary West, some dreamers have a pregnancy confirmed prior to an announcing dream, while, for others, it is the announcing dream itself that confirms the pregnancy.
Announcing dreams, in general, may be considered extraordinary to some extent. But what is it that makes a dream truly extraordinary? According to some of today’s researchers, scholars, and theorists, extraordinary dream characteristics and features vary. For instance, an extraordinary dream may be an especially vivid, intense, unforgettable dream (possibly easily recalled after decades pass). Yet, an extraordinary dream may also be of a rare, unusual quality, not easily explained, be indicative of telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, or extend beyond ordinary thinking. The latter notion moves us beyond the well-known continuity hypothesis. After analyzing more than 50,000 dreams from different nations, Hall and Nordby (1972) formulated the continuity hypothesis. Suggesting that dreams reflect a person’s life in the waking state, Hall and Nordby (1972) claim, “Dreams are continuous with waking life; the world of dreaming and the world of waking are one” (p. 104). The continuity hypothesis makes sense given so many pregnancy dream reports reflecting breastfeeding struggles, the impulse to protect a baby from harm, babies being born with deformities, or concerns with the behavior of birth attendants. After all, pregnancy brings about a major life transition, filled with psychological stressors. Now, if we are to move beyond the continuity hypothesis when considering what makes a dream extraordinary, then the proposal that discontinuity be considered (suggested by Richard Russo in his presentation at the June 2018, 35th annual IASD conference), sits well alongside some of the dream reports I collected. Examine the following six reports (all reports have been paraphrased and condensed for brevity):
Dreamer A: In her first trimester, of her first pregnancy, the dreamer dreamt of a baby girl. The infant, visually appearing to be about eight months old, exclaimed, “I’m not your baby.” Shortly after this abrupt dream, the dreamer miscarried. Later that same year, another dream occurred with a slightly younger looking male infant visually appearing and stating, “I’m your baby and my name is Travis.” This second dream was as abrupt and as clear as the first, as well as convincing. She then shared the dream sequences with her husband. The dreamer birthed a male child the following year.
Dreamer B: Not yet a mother, the dreamer had experienced many challenges with becoming pregnant over the past year. She prayed and prayed for a baby girl. While taking a break from it all, the dreamer dreamt of a male baby, huge – adult size, leaning on her bed, kneeling on the floor. The dreamer saw this extra large baby boy watching her and her husband sleep. As the dreamer arose to take a closer look, he said, “I’m coming.” The dreamer conceived about a month or so following the dream, and was in such disbelief that medical confirmation was necessary. She birthed a male child the following year.
Dreamer C: While in an unfulfilling, volatile relationship, and in the first month or two of pregnancy, the dreamer was contemplating whether to continue with it. During that first trimester, she dreamt of sitting with a little boy. The sight of him prompted lucidity. The boy would not answer her when she asked if he was her baby, instead he told her that he would like to be named Peter. The, now lucid, dreamer told him NO. The dreamer said that she felt like “this was a person speaking to me.” A few months later, the boy reappeared in dream, sitting next to her, calming her without words. She knew he was going to stick around. When she gave birth to a male newborn some months later, she did not name him Peter, but believed that his spirit came to her early on to keep her “on track.”
Dreamer D: At 15 weeks pregnant, the dreamer (experienced with inducing dream lucidity and provoking out-of-body experiences), reported an OBE by which she floated up toward the ceiling above her sleeping body. Having had a plan to connect with the fetus she was carrying, but being unsure how to do so, she focused on her belly, calling out “Baby, Baby, Baby.” At that moment she felt it move – kicking and twisting, perceiving this to be a response. Then, she awoke, unable to feel that physical movement. The next day at the check-up, an ultrasound was performed showing an active fetus moving about. The dreamer felt affirmed which led her to contemplate future waking-state plans to connect with her baby when consciously dreaming next.
Dreamer E: From conception to the third trimester, the dreamer had frequent interactive dreams with a male child. In the dream, her and the boy would play baby-like games – making funny faces back-and-forth; staring eye-to-eye – all very positive, she said. The dreamer was thrilled when ultrasound confirmed that the baby she was carrying was male. For the dreamer, this further affirmed the relationship that had been developing between her and her child before the birth. The experience also helped the dreamer believe that she would be a good mother even though she was unprepared and the pregnancy was an unplanned one.
Dreamer F: Upon discovering she was one month pregnant, scared and confused, the dreamer considered termination. The dreamer incubated a dream at that time asking for advice on how to proceed. In the dream she was holding a baby girl she believed to be the one she was carrying, feeling great amounts of love. The dreamer said that this baby looked at her, with blue eyes similar to her partner’s eyes, and conveyed to her (“telepathically”) that her name is Sophia. Upon awakening, the dreamer reflected on the realness and vividness of the dream, and how Sophia was not a name she would have chosen. The dream stayed with her for days – she felt as if she had been directly spoken to by a “wise being.”
Given these six ‘announcing’ dreams, elements arise suggesting ordinary thinking and showing support for the continuity hypotheses. It is not surprising that those anxious with unplanned pregnancies produce dreams of babies. At the same time, there are nonordinary aspects of each of these six dreams placing them in the extraordinary realm. All dreamers found these dreams to be memorable, vivid, and rare, in that they did not occur outside of pregnancy or the time shortly before conception. Four dreamers were correct in their predictions of the fetal sex. Dreamer D’s dream did not note a fetal sex. Dreamer F did not include medical confirmation of the fetal sex in her report. In addition, Dreamer F said she came to learn the name through a telepathic sense. Clairvoyance may be considered an aspect of Dreamer D’s experience.
In conclusion, we have so much more to learn about these phenomena – extraordinary dreams and announcing dreams. Exploring how the two types of dreams intersect can bring forth greater understanding. After all, these are the nocturnal experiences that carry great meaning for so many individuals and families, and live on, in the mind, sometimes for a lifetime.
Hall, C. S., & Nordby, V. J. (1972). The individual and his dreams. New York, NY: Signet.
Mascaro, K. R. (2018). Extraordinary dreams: Visions, announcements and premonitions across time and place. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
Stevenson, I. (2001). Children who remember previous lives: A question of reincarnation. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.
I hope you enjoyed this paper,