The word Occult, for many conjures up a vision of dark forces or participants in supernatural activity of a dubious nature. Where in reality the word Occult taken from the Latin word ‘Occultus’ simply means ‘hidden’ or ‘secret’. It also means a knowledge of the paranormal, esoteric ritual and words of power. Because many dark magic practices were often carried out in secret, the word Occult came to define this type of activity. But, in truth it represents so much more then that. Many spiritual principles come under the ‘umbrella’ term of the word occult.
While many of these principals are still kept under a cloak of mystery, the true nature of it’s roots, lies in paganism and nature based philosophies, which are now more well known, and thus, less frightening to the general public. Occult practices are ancient and modern as well. Many occult practices and occult power is passed from person to person, and these teachings are not widely available for public view, and so this tends to lend to the word occult, an aura of mystery. Over time there have been many secret or occult societies from the Rosicrucians to the Knights Templars and the Illuminati to name but a few.
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Defining dreams as ‘visions during sleep’ may describe what occurs, but this does not explain what they are. Undoubtedly, they are experiences real enough to produce strong psychological and physiological responses in a person. The nightmare, for example, produces the flight or fight mechanism, with its accompanying increase in blood pressure and heart rate, and even sleep-walking, in readiness for physical action. The passionate dream of a lover, renowned for its emotional and biological effects, is a further example, yet these dreams are not reality.
Sometimes events from the previous day are in our thoughts as we drop off to sleep, so not surprisingly these scenes are re-enacted as literal dreams, in the hope of extracting further information from what has already happened. Reliving events in this way has been suggested as a reason for dreaming, but this is only one aspect. The dream reflecting a foreign land the dreamer has never heard of, or the weird and wonderful mansion to which the dreamer returns night after night, demolishes any such simplistic explanation.
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There is nothing more fascinating, more intensely personal, and more uniquely ours then the voyages our minds and spirits take while we sleep. Our dreams can confuse us, relieve us, amuse us, comfort us, inform and enlighten us. Our sleep journeys, even the nightmares, are gifts, our allies to embrace rather then dread and worth every effort it takes to unravel their mysteries and cherish every valuable lesson and insight they have to offer us.
There are two basic stages of sleep: REM, which stands for ‘rapid eye movement’ and is the lightest stage of sleep, and Non-REM, which is the deeper sleep when eye movements and our other muscle responses become almost non existent. It is during REM sleep that we dream, and its when we are awakened during or immediately after REM that we are most likely to remember our dreams. The Non-REM stage accounts for about 75 percent of our sleep, leaving 25 percent for REM sleep. Thanks to a lot of brilliant minds, tirelessly working to advance our knowledge of how the brain works and understanding brain waves, we understand that brain waves fluctuate in approximately ninety minute cycles, while we sleep. Brain waves have been measured by the EEG, or electroencephalograph, have been charted into distinct levels for those ninety minute cycles. Beta Level: We are wide awake, active and alert. Alpha Level: We are awake but relaxed, and our eyes are closed. Theta Level: We are very sleepy or in the process of falling asleep, and usually in the REM stage. Delta Level: We are deeply asleep and in the Non-REM stage.
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Symbology relates to the study of symbols. These can be common symbols we see every day, such as company logos, or the more abstract symbols in our lives. Such as those we see in our dreams. I am going to be focusing on abstract symbols, in this article.
Although there are some people who study this subject in depth, you can start to learn about the signs and symbols in your own life. You don’t have to be psychic to do this. If you aren’t sure where to start, try reading some books on the subject. Some dream books are very good at giving you the meanings of some of the most common symbols people often dream about. A common dream, that a lot of people have, is the dream of their teeth falling out. Most dream dictionaries are in agreement that this symbolises getting older, or taking on more responsibility; this relates to the real life experience of losing our baby teeth.
Dream dictionaries are a great place to start because the meanings of common symbols can be used to read the signs and symbols the universe sends you each day. If you keep seeing cats, for instance, you can look up the meaning of cat in your dream book and it will tell you that cats symbolise the supernatural, independence and femininity. You can then start to analyse why you keep seeing cats. Is the universe trying to teach you to be more like a cat? Probably.
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We spend over a third of our lives asleep and, according to scientists we enjoy between three and six dreams a night. Dreams are intensely personal experiences, known only to the dreamer unless they choose to share them with someone. They are visual experiences and often, mere words are not enough to convey the subtle nuances involved. We all have unique dreams woven from the threads of our conscious lives, our hopes, fears, memories and imagination. The power to interpret dreams has occupied the great and the good in every generation for centuries. In the distant past, dream interpreters could make themselves powerful and invaluable to princes and rulers, and today there are many books, magazines and websites devoted to understanding dreams.
Many ancient cultures set great store by their dreams and use them to influence their daily activities. For example; The ancient Chinese regarded dreams as the experiences of the soul, which went wondering while the body slept. A bit like an out-of-body experience. The Tibetan Book of the Dead, calls dreaming an intermediate stage between life and death, and many Tibetans believe that sleep is a necessary preparation for the inevitable.
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