Dreams: The Love Language of the Ancestors

“When the grandmothers speak, the earth will be healed”

This is the last article in the series on the spiritual aspects of African Holistic Health. The first article discussed the African American spiritual tradition birthed in the belly of slavery and bred in the slave quarters of the deep south; Hoodoo. To read that article click here. The second article discussed ancestor altars; the purpose of an ancestor altar and the basics of setting up your ancestor altar. To read that article click here. The final article in this series will discuss the importance of dreams and the indispensable role they play in allowing our ancestors and spirit guides to communicate with us. Dreams are not just dreams, but they are messages that we should take seriously. They are used to warn us of impending dangers lying ahead, give us ideas and goals that we should pursue and alert us of the people that we either need to build a connection or sever ties with.

The Importance of Sleep

After water and sunshine, sleep is the most important aspect of our overall physical, mental and spiritual health. It is estimated that 70% of Americans get insufficient sleep. This results in a body and mind that is wired for stress. Frank Lipman, MD explains, “when you sleep, your brain protects itself from toxic proteins…this overnight cleanup keeps the brain clear and healthy, but it only occurs when you’re asleep-it’s as if you have a brain cleaning crew who only works the night shift”. Have you ever had a decision to make and the advice was given to just sleep on it? A lot is done on the soul level when you sleep and this is accomplished through dreaming.

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The Importance of Dreams

Harriet Tubman dreamed the escape routes to slavery. She used the aerial pictures from her dreams and used them as maps to get her safely to freedom. She used the insights acquired in her dreams to determine the roads and safe houses to use when she helped others escape. Robert Moss, author of The Three Only Things lists the nine powers of dreams:

  1. We solve problems in our sleep
  2. Dreams coach us for future challenges and opportunities
  3. Dreams hold up a magic mirror to our actions and behaviors
  4. Dreams show us what we need to do to stay well
  5. Dreams are a secret laboratory
  6. Dreams are a creative studio
  7. Dreams help us to mend our divided selves
  8. Dreaming is a key to better relationships
  9. Dreams recall us to our larger purpose

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My Experiences with Dreaming

Dreams have been a very important mechanism that my ancestors and spirit guides have used to communicate with me. I will share three very poignant dreams that have helped me in my journey.

Before my grandmother transitioned, I knew that she would not be with us for long. My grandfather came to me in my dream. He transitioned in 1996 when I was 11. In my dream I was at my grandparent’s house. My grandfather was on his hands and knees hammering and nailing floorboards on the floor. He was working very intently, and I said, “Papa, what are you doing”? He replied, “I gotta get this house ready!”,  “Ready for what”, I asked. He stopped what he was doing and looked me dead in the eye with a look that said “what do you think girl”. I said “oooooohh”. The dream was over. I knew that he was preparing for the arrival of my grandmother. A month later she made her transiton. While everyone was in a state of shock and denial, I had already known that this was coming.

One night I had a very specific dream of someone attempting to harm me. I was in a parking garage at night and this individual was after me with a gun. They were rambling on and on about how I had betrayed them and stolen some money from them. Once they heard me, they took their rifle and aimed it at me and shot. I was shot in the side of my stomach. I could feel myself in my sleep crumble to one side as if I had really been shot. It woke me up. It was about 4am. I got up immediately and did some protection work. Normally, I would have done the work that evening but the energy from that dream was so heavy I had to do it right away. I knew exactly who this person was. Not long after I had that dream, I received a text from that individual. I had previously done business with them and subsequently the business relationship had crumbled. This person started demanding that I refund them money for work I had done or else. I wasn’t shocked or thrown off by this threat. I had all the paperwork highlighted and prepared because I knew it was coming. I had already been warned in my dream and I protected myself and ensured that this person would live to regret it. That dream was a clear warning and a message for me to take the necessary precautions to protect myself…

I wasn’t sure about the man I was conversing with on and off for months. Here he was living in another state, fine as hell, no children and owned his own business with 12 employees. What would he ever see in me? A nerdy single mother who rambles on about black power, ancestors, and who in my mind was too damaged for anyone of his caliber. He said that he would love to meet me, and he was coming for me. I was convinced there was a catch. I remember going to bed on 6/2/17, feeling completely defeated, wondering if I would ever have my very own fairy tale ending. Before I went to bed, I set the intention to visit my happy place in my dream. I have a recurring dream that always makes me feel at peace. I’m always there with my younger self and my daughter. That night, this man shows up. At my happy place. In my dream. The nerve! I go up to him in my dream with the biggest attitude and demand to know what he is doing there. He offers no response. He just stands there. In fact, he stands there all day. He never says a word. The sun starts to set, and I call my daughter and younger self in for dinner. I look out the kitchen window and he is still standing there. I fix him a plate of food, take him a pillow and blanket and say, “well since you ain’t going no where you might as well eat and get some rest”. I storm off and go to bed. The next morning arrives in my dream and I look out the window and he’s still there… I wake up the next morning from my dream and I text him and ask if he wants to go to a wedding with me. He says sure. The rest is history. My dream gave me the assurance that there was no catch. This man was here to stay.

Pay Attention to Your Dreams

What you dream about should be taken seriously. Keep a notebook and pen by your bed, and once you awaken, write down what you remember. Don’t overthink anything. Trust your intuition. Revisit what you have written later that night to gain more clarity. I love discussing my dreams with my boyfriend or brother. Often, telling your dreams to others will give you the insight and interpretation you need. You may have an aha moment. Pray for clarity and ask your ancestors and guides for any signs on how to proceed. Pay attention to how you feel after the dream. Do you feel anxious, nervous, fearful, happy, or peaceful? Take note of any animals that appear in your dream and any specific people that you dream of. Some people will say that they don’t dream, or they don’t remember their dreams. Before you go to bed, set an intention to dream and affirm that you will remember what you dream. There are some nights where I am so exhausted that I do not remember what I dreamt. But I do wake up feeling rested. I know that this was a renewal sleep and I will usually dream that next day.

The dream world is a very powerful and enlightening world once you enter it. “Dreams allow us to rehearse for what lies ahead”. A dream is never just a dream. It is a message, an insight, a warning, a wakeup call or gentle reassurance from those who are our eyes and ears on the other side; our ancestors.

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Kathleen, “The Nutritional Truth Teller” is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, and a Certified Vaginal Steam Facilitator. She is the owner of Beauty In A Barbell Nutrition, whose sole mission is to optimize the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the Black community through African Holistic Health. She carries with her the ancestral knowledge and wisdom of the medicine men, women, healers and warriors she lovingly calls her ancestors.