The interpretation of dreams goes back to prehistoric times. Tribal shamans took dreams seriously, working with their own dreams as well as those reported by members of their tribes. Various tribes interpreted dreams differently; for members of the Mohave tribe, dreams were sources of knowledge and messages from the Great Spirit, while the Iroquois Indians saw dreams as "wishes of the soul." (Stanley Krippner)
When we expand our consciousness and travel into our interior universe to explore other dimensions of being, we open ourselves up to powers or energies that can guide and deliver us to a body of knowledge and potential that can serve the whole of humanity, not just ourselves. This is the essence of shamanism. Contemporary shamanic dreamwork attempts to understand the spirit and energy contained within the dream and so bring about integration or resolution on an energetic level. (reference)
Dreams are a doorway through which the shamanic practitioner can travel to the inner realms and gain direct access to the unconscious impulses which gave rise to the dream. Nightmares can be transformed and their energy released from the body. Creative potential within the dream can be released and given permission to perform magic and miracles in your life. When the interior life has transformed, the exterior life or middle world is also transformed and you can start to live a new reality. Shamanic practice is a natural path to spiritual enlightenment. It honors the earth and everything connected to the earth. It acknowledges the magic and mystery of life and the spirit of everything around us. More importantly, it honors the human soul.
In a shamanic context the word "dreaming" can mean a number of things, including having a vision, going on a shamanic journey, or receiving information in a trance state. In the present context the word dream refers to the dreams you can have while sleeping. Shamanic dreaming has to do with interacting with the spirits while dreaming. This can be in the form of visitations, where the spirit teachers or guardian animals come to you in nightly encounters and we can receive teachings and initiations. In other words, the spirits begin to train us in the dream state, and we may receive certain initiations along the way. This is one of the classical ways of being called onto the shamanic path. (reference) One of the world’s leading shamans, Michael Harner, put together a list of the ten core principles of dreams. These principles may be used to help guide someone through the messages and symbols of their dreams: (reference)
See also: Bibliography, Booze and dreams, Dream cycles, Dream glossary, Dream recall, Dreams and brain disorders, Dreams as a source of inspiration, Food and dreams, Herbs for dreaming, Hypnagogic state, Lucid dreaming, Neuroprotective agents, Precognitive dreams, Recurring dreams, Shamanic dreaming, Sleeping brain, Sleep deprivation, Weed and dreams, WILD, Yoga Nidra