When a Dream is More Than a Dream

Kristina B. Hemenway

ANOMALOUS NOCTURNAL EXPERIENCES (ANEs) 

A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Atlantic University

to Fulfill the Final Requirement for the Degree of

MASTER OF ARTS, TRANSPERSONAL STUDIES

Atlantic University

Virginia Beach, Virginia

October 1999

 

All rights reserved

Copyright © 1999 by Kristina Hemenway

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS        

            I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my committee members, Doug Richards, Gregory Deming, and Henry Reed for the time and energy they invested in advising me on finalizing this thesis.  The creative guidance which Henry Reed provided in the initial stages of the project was much appreciated as was Beth Rosenberg’s participation in the IDI experiment.  Kind regards to all.

ABSTRACT

             The problem of this thesis is to investigate a “dream,” an ANE, which is representative of a class of transpersonal experiences that may be spiritual emergence.  These extraordinary phenomena are like dreams with the quality of visions, often involve non-human entities, and take place while the human experiencer is asleep and/or in some altered state of consciousness.  The hypothesis is that an ANE has a profoundly transformational effect which can be crystallized and amplified by:  1)  examining the recollection of the ANE in the light of concepts from various fields of study, including:  dream interpretation, spirituality/religion, transpersonal psychology, and UFOlogy; and 2) attempting to revisit the ANE and glean additional details and insights about it via professionally guided and independent psychological exercises.  The study produces evidence that ANEs play a role as vehicles for the ongoing evolution of human consciousness, and that they provide their experiencers with unique opportunities to be cognizant of the participation.

 TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1

Introduction: Setting the Stage:  Sample First-Person-Account ANEs

Anomalous Nocturnal Experiences (ANEs) are extraordinary phenomena of enormous significance.  People from diverse cultures worldwide are impacted by their effects.  The ANE is like a dream with the quality of a vision, it often involves non-human entities, and it takes place while the human experiencer is asleep or in another altered state of consciousness.  ANEs may offer clues to some of the mysteries of the universe.

Carl G. Jung, renowned Swiss psychiatrist, commands universal respect as one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century.  He shared this tantalizing ANE in his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

In one dream, which I had in October 1958, I caught sight from my house of two lens-shaped metallically gleaming disks, which hurtled in a narrow arc over the house and down to the lake.  They were two UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects).  Then another body came flying directly toward me.  It was a perfectly circular lens, like the objective of a telescope.  At a distance of four or five hundred yards it stood still for a moment, and then flew off.  Immediately afterward, another came speeding through the air:  a lens with a metallic extension which led to a box - a magic lantern.  At a distance of sixty or seventy yards it stood still in the air, pointing straight at me.  I awoke with a feeling of astonishment.  Still half in the dream, the thought passed through my head:  “We always think that the UFOs are projections of ours.  Now it turns out that we are their projections.  I am projected by the magic lantern as C.G. Jung.  But who manipulates the apparatus?”  (Jung, 1961, p. 323)

 

Jung refers to this event as a dream upon initially awakening; but, it clearly possesses all the elements of an ANE, as well.  The impact of this incident on Jung extended to a transformational effect on his society as a whole.  For, towards the end of a long and distinguished career, Jung risked his reputation by reformulating his theories on the nature of consciousness and the universe to include the UFO phenomena.  In his book Flying Saucers published in the early 1960’s, he became the first reputable, scholarly voice to promote legitimization of  UFO study.

One of India’s greatest modern-day Yogis, Paramahansa Yogananda is recognized throughout the world as an enlightened soul.  In his widely read volume Autobiography of a Yogi, he described this ANE which visited him soon after he settled into evening meditation.

At once my physical body lost its grossness and became metamorphosed into astral texture.  I felt a floating sensation as, barely touching the bed, the weightless body shifted slightly and alternately to left and right.  I looked around the room; the furniture and walls were as usual, but the little mass of light had so multiplied that the ceiling was invisible.  I was wonder-struck.

 

“This is the cosmic motion-picture mechanism.”  A Voice spoke as though from within the light.  “Shedding its beam on the white screen of your bed sheets, it is producing the picture of your body.  Behold, your form is nothing but light!”

 

I gazed at my arms and moved them back and forth, yet could not feel their weight.  Ecstatic joy overwhelmed me.  The cosmic stem of light, blossoming as my body, seemed a divine reproduction of the light beams that stream out of the projection booth in a cinema house and make manifest the pictures on the screen.

 

For a long time I experienced this motion picture of my body in the faintly lit theater of my own bedroom.  Though I have had many visions, none was ever more singular.  (Yogananda, 1949, pp. 320 - 321)

 

Although the Yogi calls it a vision, the event also qualifies as an ANE.  Indeed, even the spiritually evolved holy man is awed and inspired by this unforgettable ANE.  

Paramahansa Yogananda made it his life’s mission to present the wisdom of the East in a palatable manner to the West.  He enjoyed high regard as a spiritual leader, and westerners were able to trust him.  Readers willingly suspended disbelief as they immersed themselves in the radical concepts put forth in his autobiography.  The work received immediate mainstream acceptance upon publication in 1949, and it has been required reading in many American college courses ever since.  Nonetheless, even after fifty years and with the current popularity of “new age” thinking, a westerner would not be taken seriously by the general public if he or she claimed to have transformed into a body of light during meditation while listening to a disembodied voice reveal the secrets of the universe.   Paramahansa Yogananda, however, managed to do just that.   Fortunately for humankind, he possessed a unique ability to touch and influence multi-cultural audiences with  information of revolutionary, transformative potential.        

Robert Bosnak currently practices and teaches Jungian analysis in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  A specialist in dream work, Bosnak arranged through anthropologist and interpreter Diana James to meet with an Aboriginal spirit doctor.  He traveled to the central Australian outback to interview Ilyatjari, the ngankari of the Pitjantjatjara people, to investigate how he heals Aboriginal patients.  In the following selected passages from Tracks in the Wilderness of Dreaming, Bosnak relates Ilyatjari’s comments as translated by Diana James.

At night he (Ilyatjari) becomes an eagle....He swoops down from above to grab the sleeping person whose illness he is to treat....He takes the sick person on his back and holds him carefully....Then he flies in a straight line to the Milky Way.  He says that his head remains his own and sometimes the sick person will recognize the back of his head afterward.  But the patient is not allowed to say which ngankari took him on the eagle flight....They fall into the sticks (while in the Milky Way region) he and the sick man he carries....Then he flies back in a zigzag way, very rough, while at the same time trying not to lose the sick person....Often the sick person after such a ride wants to become a ngankari, a medicine man....Only after many flights is that possible....The next morning he sucks out the sticks from the sick person.  That’s it.  Cured.  (Bosnak, 1996, pp. 6-7)

 

Although the description Ilyatjari provides is not of a specific ANE, it does represent a typical Aboriginal ANE.  As well, it satisfies all the criteria for an ANE as defined for this study.

Bosnak contends that Ilyatjari’s and his patients’ night flights to the Milky Way are authentic transpersonal ventures.  As astounding as dual dreaming with multiple individuals is, the Aborigine spirit doctor goes beyond even that.  According to Bosnak, “The ngandari actually flies.  He doesn’t just think he flies, he flies...From dreams we know that the presence of neither space nor physicality depends on matter”  (Bosnak, 1996, p.8).

The preceding three sample ANEs raise a number of extraordinary questions - questions that beg to be addressed.  The main purposes of this first chapter are to highlight the remarkable qualities of ANEs; and, to position ANEs in a worthy, appropriate context.  Too many categories of currently unfathomable human experience continue to be dismissed as pure fantasy or to be classified under the broad and ultimately inadequate term “dream.” 

In fact, there is no standard, widely accepted definition for a dream.  Modern dream researchers and therapists regularly refer to dreams without supplying a working meaning.  Dr. J.F. Pagel reviewed a series of 30 dream studies and discovered  specific definitions included in only 50 percent.  In addition, the definitions were diverse, not closely resembling one another  (Pagel, 1999).  Consequently,  there will be no attempt to burden this study with the impossible task of attempting to settle this dilemma.

I became a dedicated student of transpersonal studies following a personal ANE  that occurred during the night of February 14/15, 1988.  I have designated it as the focus ANE for this study, in which capacity it will serve as the primary unit of reference. 

Focus ANE - Simple Narrative

I see my soul mate Harold (a gay man) resting in a large reclining chair similar to a dentist’s chair.  His eyes are closed, and he doesn’t seem to know I’m present.  I position myself atop him so that we are in back-to- front, full-body contact, with the back of my head resting on his face.  Immediately, I feel as if numerous tiny hands are constraining me onto the chair.  I want to move my head around to observe what is going on, but I am not able to do so.  My head and body feel paralyzed.  The constraint by the hands is not intimidating, however.  It is comforting.

 

Suddenly, a booming voice pronounces, “THIS IS THE LOVE OF THE FATHER.”  Simultaneously, I experience emotions that are really beyond words.  I feel eminently protected, secure, serene, blissful.  A thought crosses my mind that there is nothing at all sexual about this.

 

The scene shifts.  I feel as if I’m floating, engulfed in a black void.  I sense an apparatus with a narrow rim being fitted over my mouth.  Instantaneously I am filled with something like a great wind.  The exhilaration is complete.  I am ultimately energized and motivated to face any challenge.  A thought crosses my mind that this is the way one feels every time before birth.  The booming voice pronounces, “THIS IS THE LOVE OF THE MOTHER.”

 

Upon awakening, I am particularly positive and upbeat.  I wonder, “why?”  I sit at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee.  Then it strikes me.  I feel happy because I now know about God and...something called reincarnation?  The memories of the ANE from the previous night begin to flood back into my mind.  An atheist/agnostic the day before, instantly I have become a staunch believer with a desire to learn more about God and the mysteries of the universe.  I am anxious to share the ANE and my transformation with then husband Bob when he returns from work.

 

Bob arrives home unusually perky and talkative.  He doesn’t give me a chance to tell my story as he insists on launching right into an account of a powerful dream he had the night before.  This is very uncharacteristic of him.  He explains that a voice told him, “The flying saucers are coming.”  Bob says he walked outside our front door and extended his arms toward a UFO that hovered above the house.  A beam of light extended between him and the space vehicle.  In a flash I was standing next to him.  He wondered if I was beamed down from the UFO.  At this point in Bob’s story I chime in to say, “and weren’t the little beings cute the way they waved to us from the UFO windows as if to indicate...didn’t we do something nice for you?”  Bob stares at me in  stunned silence.  He whispers, “I didn’t get to that part yet.”  At that moment, we acknowledge we were participants in the same “dream.”  

 

In the days that followed, Bob chose to ignore the events of the evening of February 14/15, 1988.  My curiosity was insatiable.  Prior to the ANE, we knew our marriage was over.  We divorced less than a year later.

 

The focus ANE is intriguing and mysterious, as are the sample ANEs of Jung, Yogananda, and the Aboriginal spirit doctor.  And, they possess thought-provoking similarities.  Like Jung’s ANE account, the focus ANE includes the subject’s stunning realization that a UFO entity has apparently centered attention upon her and projected her back into known reality.  As did Paramahansa Yogananda’s ANE, the focus ANE features a disembodied voice revealing divine truths while the ecstasy of spiritual joy manifests in the experiencer’s body.  In a manner comparable to the Aboriginal spirit doctor administering to his patients, the extraterrestrial(s) of the focus ANE transport the experiencer to a foreign space(ship) where she is healed/enlightened, then returned home - only later to have triggered the memory of her benefactor’s head (face).    

My goal in this study is to compile evidence which supports a case for ANEs gaining recognition as a class of transpersonal experiences that may be spiritual emergence.  The formal study commences with four sections featuring information gleaned from four categories of literature which contain theories, ideas, and testimonials about ANEs - that relate to the focus ANE.  The literature chapter concludes with a detailed examination of the focus ANE in which the individual attributes or images are isolated, placed in a table format alongside similar elements from other ANE accounts discovered in the course of the literature review, and checked for similarities and linkages.  Following these analyses, Chapter 3 offers several experimental, experiential attempts to revisit and expand upon the original experience of the focus ANE.  The paper concludes with an integration of the findings.  In Chapter 4, conclusions are developed and reflections are shared on the transpersonal purpose and meaning of ANEs.  (I will refer to myself in the third-person for the remainder of the study.  I will be the experiencer, the subject, or she.)

 

 

Chapter 2

Section A : Dream Interpretation Literature - How the Focus ANE Relates

A standard definition for dreams does not exist.  (This was established in Chapter 1.)  Although a case is being built that ANEs are more than dreams,  few would argue against labeling them dreams.  Those involved in the practice of dream interpretation would not hesitate to embrace ANEs and to scrutinize them in accordance with their own particular theories.

It would seem that a legitimate school of dream interpretation would regard the dream as the primary unit of concern in the process.  However, this is not always the case.  Some of the most well-known systems are focused on the personality of the dreamer.  For instance, the Freudians consider a dream to be the unconscious disguising of repressed traumatic conflict with an infantile and sexual basis.  The Culturalists see a dream as a good point of departure in the search for the nature of a client’s personality.  The Object Relational people state that a dream can be the royal road to the unconscious, but also say it may be just a ploy.  The Phenomenologicalists or Daseinsanalyticists grant the dream respect by maintaining that it stands for itself and nothing else, but add that the dream is really just an especially well-suited vehicle through which to view an individual’s relationship to the world.  Gestaltists believe a dream is a message, but that its primary purpose is to expose holes in the personality of the dreamer.  Dream-work, of course, is often just part of the therapy that practitioners of the preceding psychological disciples offer to clients who seek their help  (Fosshage & Loew, 1978).

Because ANEs themselves are the focus of this study, and not the experiencers of ANEs, dream interpretation schemes other than the preceding ones are more worthwhile.  It is not within the scope of this paper to examine the focus ANE in detail from the vantage point of all the existing, appropriate methods of dream interpretation.  So, a few basic concepts from representative ones are presented here; and, in Section A1 (following), the focus ANE is closely analyzed in accordance with the dream interpretation guidelines gleaned from the Edgar Cayce readings.  (The Cayce approach was selected for the in-depth treatment because the work of Edgar Cayce was the inspiration for the establishment of Atlantic University, the institution for which this paper is being prepared.)

Noted dream specialist Gayle Delaney has created a method of “dream interviewing.”  It identifies dreams as uniquely valuable tools that speak honestly and urgently, albeit in metaphor.  Clients tend to contact Delaney to investigate a dream as a vehicle for self understanding rather than because they think they have a psychological difficulty.  Coincidentally, Delaney’s method calls upon the dreamer to start by explaining the dream in such thorough detail that it would make sense even to an extraterrestrial!  An interviewer then recapitulates the dream narrative by diagramming and discussing it, and the dreamer is invited to create bridges to aspects of waking life.  Reflections by both complete the process  (Delaney, 1991). 

Like Gayle Delaney, the Cayce readings maintain that dreams can be metaphoric as well as forthright.  Both Cayce and Delaney encourage dreamers to discover how a dream links to their everyday lives.  In Chapter 2, Section E and Table 2, the focus ANE is diagrammed, discussed, and reflected upon in an exercise reminiscent of Delaney’s approach.

Dream researcher Jack Maguire contends that what myths are to cultures, dreams are to individuals  (Maguire, 1989).  The focus ANE illustrates this proposition.  Many a myth reflecting God’s great love for humans features otherworldly beings who deliver the message.  Chapter 2, Section D, includes mention of Jung’s theory that reports of UFO sightings/encounters are actually myths in the making. 

Psychiatrist Montague Ullman, who started the famous dream telepathy experiments at Maimonides Hospital in New York, believes dreams are proof of the unity of humanity because they transcend personal boundaries.  Accordingly, he conducts dream-work in groups.  Ullman’s sessions begin with the dreamer presenting a basic version of the dream, followed by the group speculating on what the images and emotions might mean.  Subsequently, the dreamer provides personal background information to put the dream in a perspective, and the group launches into a dialogue with a formula format, aimed at what Ullman terms reaching a “dream appreciation” (Ullman, 1996). 

In Chapter 3, Section B, the focus ANE serves as the focal point in an experiential session utilizing the methodology of Dr. Henry Reed’s Intuitive Dream Interpretation (IDI)  (Reed,1996).  IDI was invented to explore the relative roles of intuition, synchronicity, metaphor hermeneutics, and dreamer reaction to evaluating whether or not the mission of dream interpretation is satisfactorily accomplished.  Special attention is paid to the story element.  Like Ullman’s system, IDI provides evidence that dreams illustrate the transpersonal qualities of human consciousness.  The majority of psychologists and psychiatrists who include dream interpretation in their therapy offer traditional one-on-one arrangements during which a client with a perceived problem seeks their professional advice.  Ullman, as explained above, substitutes the group - which could be composed entirely of lay people.  IDI also makes use of the services of nonprofessionals, pairing the dreamer with one amateur dreamworker, who  plays a key, participatory role in the process.  The focus ANE, with its transpersonal elements of the disembodied voice and dual dreaming, is a perfect candidate for investigation under IDI.

Patricia Berne and Louis Savary are two of the many advocates of dream symbol work.  They believe that a dream symbol can be a gold mine of personal, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual resources.  Their method includes eight awareness techniques and nine action techniques.  All are designed to reveal issues, problems, and the sources.  Their theory is that the necessary energy and insights are present in the dream symbols themselves  (Berne & Savary, 1991).  Chapter 2, Section A1, includes discussion of specific dream symbols from the focus ANE. 

Robert Bosnak, the Jungian-trained analyst whose meetings with an Aboriginal spirit doctor are highlighted in Chapter 1, claims “a dream is a happening in space, an articulation of space....But the dream story is not the dream itself.  The dream itself is a texture woven of space and time inside which we find ourselves”  (Bosnak, 1988, p. 7).  Bosnak’s explanation resonates with the experiencer who recalls the atmosphere of the focus ANE as a distinctly unique slice of time and space.

Delaney’s “dream interviewing,” Maguire’s “dreams as myths,” Ullman’s “dream appreciation,” Reed’s “intuitive dream interpretation,” Berne’s and Savary’s “dream symbol work,” and Bosnak’s “dreams as spatial entities” are some of the many valid dream interpretation approaches practiced today.  All would have something useful to say about the focus ANE.  But, all would label ANEs as dreams, and this study is producing evidence that ANEs are something more.

Section A-1: Dream Interpretation Exercise:  The Focus ANE According to the Cayce Readings

Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) is revered as one of the greatest psychics of all time.  Hundreds of the clairvoyant discourses (termed “readings”) he gave for clients addressed the interpretation of specific dreams as well as dreams in general.  In reading 294-15, while in his characteristic sleep-trance and in the typically ponderous style of his responses, Cayce stated:

            As we see, all visions and dreams are given for the benefit of the individual, (if they would) but interpret them correctly, for we find that visions, or dreams, in whatever character they may come, are the reflection, either of physical condition, with apparitions with same, or of the subconscious, with the conditions relating to the physical body and its action, either through mental or through the elements of the spiritual entity, or a projection from the spiritual forces to the subconscious of the individual, and happy may he be that is able to say they have been spoken to through the dream or vision.  (1976, pp. 314 - 315)

 

The timeless wisdom and provocative concepts contained in the readings provide an appropriate arena for examination of the focus ANE.  The recording “Edgar Cayce’s World of Dreams” outlines the dream theory and methods of dream/vision interpretation (A.R.E., 1987).  The comments in the readings combine to make the case that:  1) most dreams paint a symbolic picture of the current conditions of one’s life, but from a point of view different from that of waking life; 2) dreams present solutions to abstract and practical problems; 3) some furnish a look into the future, specifically or symbolically; 4) others guide one to a better understanding of nagging predicaments;  5) further, Cayce became convinced that certain dreams convey genuine experiences of the spiritual world, some offering actual contact with God. 

The initial technique is establishing the simple story line(s), with the plot focusing on action and significant qualifiers.  The focus ANE story line(s) are:  1)  Willingly joining an unaware friend in an odd setting, the dreamer is surprised and frustrated to discover she is firmly constrained by a mysterious, gentle force;  2) An authoritative, disembodied voice defines what the subject is experiencing in her physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects as manifestations of God’s male/female love;  she is in joyful bliss; 3) Triggered by another’s dream rendition in waking life, the experiencer recalls additional details of the focus ANE which include an unearthly setting,  non-human facilitators, and evidence that a third friend took part along with her.

After identifying a dream’s story line(s), Cayce suggested that people examine their waking lives to see if a matching pattern(s) might exist.  (Cayce stressed that to ascertain how a dream’s story relates to one’s life is vital.  Insight creates an improved atmosphere for the application of efforts for positive change.)  Regarding story line #1 above - my then husband Bob and I were planning an amicable divorce.  I do not recall feeling constrained or comforted.  In connection with story line #2, no “authoritative voice” of which I am aware was advising me, nor was I interested in or consciously involved in spiritual matters at that time.  With story line #3 there is an obvious link, however.   Believing I saw a UFO while driving with my husband in November 1987, I developed a strong curiosity.  As a result, I read some mainstream UFO books and contacted a psychic.  He professed little knowledge of or connection with UFOs, but he did suggest that alien spacecraft were marshaling above my home.  In February 1988, the date of the focus ANE, my limited exposure to the controversial UFO issue did not include information on the spiritual impact of some, alleged visitations.

Cayce spoke of several ways to move from the story line towards the meaning of the dream.  For instance, if a dream seems to be presenting a problem, the readings support identifying:  (1) the basic problem; (2) its apparent cause; (3) the subject’s approach to the challenge in the dream; (4) and, what the solution might be.  This process often makes clear the real-life tie.  A minor problem does appear in story line #1 of the focus ANE.  The dreamer is constrained against her will.  The problem scenario quickly dissipates, however, as the experiencer is first comforted, then filled with the joy of God’s love.  The focus ANE is not primarily the presentation of a problem.

A second method of moving from the story line to the meaning is to envision the dream as a reflection of a physical health issue.  Although the state of the dreamer’s spiritual health is likely a concern behind the focus ANE, physical health is not. 

A third approach is to consider a dream as a clever play on words.  Puns capture attention and produce a startling impression.  The readings document genuine humor functioning in the world of dreams.  In any case, the focus ANE is not of this comic type.

A fourth possibility is that a dream is a nightmare or wish fulfillment inasmuch as extreme desires or fears from waking life can project themselves into the dream state.  The focus ANE is certainly not a nightmare, and it is unlikely that Cayce would have designated it wish fulfillment.   Because, according to the readings, spiritual guidance dreams rarely represent something people understand consciously.

A fifth theory of the Cayce readings is that some dreams are compensatory.  They are meant to rebalance people’s lives.  The focus ANE might be a candidate for this explanation in the sense that the dreamer who is divorcing in waking life (love withdrawing?) is rebalanced by exposure to God’s powerful universal love.  Realistically, though, for average humans of the late twentieth century, love for a mate and love for God are innately different.  The awareness within a person of one of these types of love doesn’t normally substitute for a lack of the other.  Thus, it could be argued that the rebalancing concept is a legitimate theme, but the full scope of the ANE material extends beyond an adjustment scenario.

Dream symbology is an additional tool Cayce employed to explore the meaning of dreams.  The readings indicate that dream symbols are the best way one’s unconscious mind has to illustrate a deep, profound truth.  Symbols manifest very purposefully.  They depict things people don’t yet understand consciously.  The symbols can be archetypal (universal) or personal.  Understanding Your Dreams: The Edgar Cayce Dream Dictionary lists meanings of the major, archetypal symbols.

In the focus ANE, the experiencer is held like a prisoner in the dentist-style chair.  The dream dictionary lists a “prisoner” as one who is being controlled by outside conditions  (1986, p. 23).  The occupants of the UFO who appear at the conclusion of the ANE could be these “outside conditions.”   In addition, the symbol dictionary shows that another major symbol in the ANE, Father, represents the protective, energetic side of God.  Mother stands for the nurturing, receptive side  (1986, p. 22).  In the focus ANE, the experiencer did indeed feel ultimately protected and secure when the voice boomed, “This is the love of the Father.”  Subsequently, when the voice pronounced, “This is the love of the Mother,” the experiencer became energized and confident.  Nurturing, the term used in the symbols dictionary in connection with Mother, also means cultivating and, therefore, preparing.  When in the presence of the Mother’s love, it could be contended that one is nurtured to prepare to face life’s challenges.  Such a lovingly nurtured person would probably be energized and confident.

Finally, the readings reveal that dreams can display characteristics of three varieties of psychic phenomena: telepathy, precognition, or prophecy.  In a telepathic dream, the characters literally are the people they appear to be, communicating directly via the still scientifically undefined psychic realms.  The focus ANE possesses some attributes of telepathy, but they are sketchy.  The friend in story line #1 could actually be some psychic aspect of himself, but he is asleep in the ANE and not in apparent touch with the dreamer.  The disembodied voice in story line #2 could be a direct communication, but the source is unidentified.  In connection with story line #3, the complete version of the focus ANE indicates that the experiencer believed she comprehended the thoughts of the occupants of the UFO when she observed their faces in the spacecraft window.  Elements of telepathy do seem present, but a solid parapsychological case cannot be made with such incomplete evidence.  If the focus ANE is precognitive or prophetic, it remains to be seen.  Eleven years later, the experiencer remains earthbound and on a quest for better understanding.

In spite of all the insightful interpretative techniques found in the readings, Edgar Cayce deemed some dream/vision events as spiritual experiences that required no story lines, symbol deciphering, or interpretation  He advised that just appreciating the episode by recording and honoring the new feelings and attitudes that had been awakened was appropriate.  During some sessions for clients, Cayce simultaneously had a personal dream that he would remember upon finishing the reading.  Certain of these dreams were analyzed through their own readings at a future date.  “On occasion, the reading would state that much more than simply a dream had occurred, the experience had been a “vision” - an actual experience with which a portion of Cayce’s consciousness had been involved”  (Todeschi, 1996, p. 89).  In reading 900-231 Cayce assured a man who had dreamed of Jesus Christ that “he had been in attunement with The Whole Force, the Whole Unit, the Oneness”  (Puryear, 1982, p. 134).  The readings go on to state, “the Spirit of Forces as come from those on high, speak as often...as such forces did of old”  (Puryear, 1982, p. 134). 

When superimposed upon the focus ANE, Cayce’s comprehensive and impressive dream investigatory systems yield less convincing conclusions than does the direct spiritual experience possibility.  I suggest Cayce would have categorized the focus ANE as “a projection from the spiritual forces to the subconscious of the individual” (1976, pp. 314 - 315) - something more than a dream.

Section B: Spiritual/Religious Literature - How the Focus ANE Relates

A major hypothesis of this study is that ANEs have a profoundly transformational effect upon their experiencers.  Certainly, the primary impact of the focus ANE is spiritual.  Overnight, the subject converted from an agnostic to a steadfast believer.  Having found God, the experiencer was perplexed and saddened when few initially joined her in celebration. 

She anticipated being labeled presumptuous, but found this was rarely the case.  Many dismissed her as a fantasy-prone person in mid-life crisis, trying to manufacture some excitement for herself.  Religiously affiliated friends upon hearing the ANE account seemed frightened.  Some distanced themselves.  Despite ridicule and/or a lack of support, the subject has never wavered. In his classic study  The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James explains, “As a matter of psychological fact, mystical states of a well-pronounced and emphatic sort are usually authoritative over those who have them.  They have been ‘there’ and know.  It is vain for rationalism to grumble about this”  (James, 1991, pg. 324). 

For the purposes of this section, classic and modern religious and spiritual source materials have been examined for insights and evidence concerning ANEs.

There is much historical precedent for a belief that God speaks to humans through dreams/visions.  The writers of the Old Testament aligned with ancient beliefs predating biblical times in including references to nearly 100 supernatural messages that came to humans as dreams  (Wollmering, 1997).  (In the Bible, the terms “dreams” and “visions” are used interchangeably.)  The Christian tradition continued to recognize dreams as a way by which God communicates.  Even Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said, “If we believe the Bible, we must accept the fact that, in the old days, God and his angels came to humans in their sleep and made themselves known in dreams”  (Berne & Savary & Williams, 1984, p. xi).    

Table 1 (following page) presents a listing of nine Old Testament and nine New Testament dreams/visions which spiritual dream researchers Berne, Savary, and Williams identify as particularly significant  (1984, p. 236).   The voice of God is an attribute of many.  In these key Old Testament dreams, God’s tone and messages are harsh.  The voice commands, chastises, or warns of doom.  In the New Testament selections, the voices of angels rather than God’s predominate.  They, too, advise and warn.  In the New Testament, the Table reveals that dream contact with the heavenly realms is developing a gentler, uplifting tendency. 

The focus ANE takes the positive trend to a higher level.  Nonetheless, the subject hesitates to declare the voice was that of God, or of an angel - even though she feels it may have been. What she can say with conviction is that the disembodied voice was deep, authoritative, and definitive, narrating a richly transformational spiritual experience.  Eighteen-century Swedish scientist and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, who claimed to transit heaven and hell at will, maintained that in heaven, “feeling rules, and reason is her servant”  (Van Dusen, 1974, p. 95).  In the final analysis, and much to the subject’s surprise, the research for this study uncovered no Biblical dreams/visions or any other type of phenomena in which a disembodied voice pronounces, “This is the love of the Father...This is the love of the Mother” as a person experiences the marvel.

Table 1

Selected List of Important Biblical Dreams and Visions  (Holy Bible, Revised Standard, 1952)

OLD TESTAMENT

Chapter & Verse

Simple Description

1. Abraham’s dream-vision

Genesis 15:12-21

Prophetic Voice of God

2. Dreams connected with Joseph

Genesis 37:5-11

Family and stars bow to him

 

Genesis 40

Two prisoners dream of their fate

 

Genesis 41

King’s symbolic dream of 7 fat & 7 lean cows (Egypt’s harvests)

3. Solomon’s dream

1 Kings 3:5-15

God asks Solomon what he wants (Solomon is granted wisdom)

4. Samuel’s call

1 Samuel 3:3-14

Voice of God foretells doom

5. Eliphaz’s dream

Job 4:12-21

Awful voice of God

6. Isaiah’s call

Isaiah 6:1-13

Awful prophecies

7. Ezekiel’s call

Ezekiel 1:4-3:3

The 4-sided, winged creature in the clouds; Voice of God instructs Ezekiel to counsel Israelites

8. Ezekiel’s vision

Ezekiel 37:1-14

God commands Ezekiel to make prophesy - he raises dead soldiers

9. Dreams in the life of Daniel

Daniel 2-4

Mystery of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream revealed to Daniel in a night vision - foretells future.

 

 

 

NEW TESTAMENT

Chapter & Verse

Simple Description

1. Zechariah’s vision

Luke 1:11-20

Angel says he will have son, John

2. Joseph’s dream to marry Mary

Matthew 1:20-21

Angel encourages him to marry her

3. Shepherd’s vision

Luke 2:8-14

Angel tells of Jesus birth

4. Joseph’s other dreams

Matthew 2:13, 19-20, 22

Angels give warnings in dreams

5. Baptism of Jesus

Matthew 3:16-17

Vision-Jesus sees spirit of God descend like a dove; God’s voice says, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.”

6. Transfiguration

Luke 9:28-36

Vision-Jesus speaks with Moses & Elijah in presence of disciples; God says, “This is my Son, my Chosen.”

7. Paul’s conversion vision

Acts 9:3-9

Voice of Jesus

8. Peter’s dream-vision

Acts 10:3-21

Angel instructs Cornelius to summon Peter and listen to him

9. Paul’s night visions

Acts 16:9; 18:9; 23:11; 27:23

Voices, including God’s, inspire him to carry on

In her article, “Substantiation of Spiritual Dreams,” Swami Sivanannda Radha suggests a way to identify a true spiritual experience.  Attempt to recreate it in the imagination.  Those which are genuine cannot be duplicated  (1997).  The focus ANE certainly cannot be replicated.  In fact, the experiencer finds just trying to explain it a difficult task.  Words provide for only a pale, limited rendition.  Swedenborg wrote of the impossibility of describing his experiences of heavenly interaction:  “For there were thousands of things not adapted to the ideas of natural thought, thus not expressible at all by human words, but only by variegations of heavenly light” (Van Dusen, 1974, p. 133).  Commenting on the same type of challenge, eminent nineteenth-century Canadian psychiatrist and spiritual researcher Richard Bucke explains,  “The men who have lived in the Cosmic Conscious world...were obliged to use the language of self consciousness ...so the words and phrases used have been so inadequate” (Bucke, 1961, p. 316).

A keystone attribute of the focus ANE is the presentation of God’s love in two distinct and balanced parts - the love of the Father, and the love of the Mother.  The focus ANE experiencer comes from a Protestant branch of the Judeo-Christian tradition.  Her ancestors hail from northern Europe and the British Isles.  In February 1988 she was all but ignorant of anything but the basics of Christianity.  Keeping in mind, as well, that “an absence of feminine symbolism for God marks Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.....and while Catholics revere Mary..she is mother of God (Jesus)..not God the Mother” (Pagels, 1989, p. 48), the balanced symbolism of the Father-God-love and the Mother-God-love is especially intriguing.   The images must be archetypal, accessing something very deep within the subject’s being.

Many Gnostic texts speak of God as a dyad who embraces both masculine and feminine elements.  One Gnostic group claimed to have received a secret tradition from Jesus through James and through Mary Magdalene.  They prayed to both the divine Father and Mother  (Pagels, 1989, p. 49).  In the “Gospel of Thomas,” Jesus speaks of his divine Father as the Father of Truth and of his divine Mother, the Holy Spirit  (Pagels, 1989, pg. 52).  The focus ANE experiencer resonates to the Gnostic accounts of Jesus Christ’s message and confesses to an increasing disappointment with mainstream Christianity for its one-sided masculine emphasis. 

Immediately following the pronouncement of and immersion in the comforting and supportive “love of the Father” segment towards the beginning of the focus ANE (and prior to the onset of the “love of the Mother”), comes a sudden suspension of all activity - a nothingness.  The experiencer is floating, serene, engulfed in a black void.  This is reminiscent of the primeval void, a concept in most religions.  In reflecting upon this esoteric idea, brilliant 20th century philosopher Aldous Huxley quoted Dionysius the Areopagite, influential fifth-century Christian writer:

The simple, absolute and immutable mysteries of divine Truth are hidden in the super-luminous darkness of that silence which revealeth in secret.  For this darkness, though of deepest obscurity, is yet radiantly clear; and, though beyond touch and sight, it more than fills our unseeing minds with splendours of transcendent beauty. (Huxley, 1944, pp. 33-34)

 

While suspended in the void, the experiencer’s mouth becomes covered by an apparatus, and she is instantly filled with a wind which expands and exhilarates her.  It is the “love of the Mother.”  The thought lingers with the subject that she may have been “filled with the Holy Spirit.”  As mentioned previously, Jesus is purported to have referred to his divine Mother as the Holy Spirit in the “Gospel of Thomas.”

When we look at the actual phenomenology of spirit.....The ancient words for it imply breath or air, particularly air in motion, and thus wind - in Hebrew, ruach; in Latin, animus; in the Far East, prana or ch’i.  The word itself conveys the meaning of breath, derived from the Latin spiritus.  All these clearly denote a dynamism that is invisible as air but capable of being powerful as wind.  It “bloweth where it listeth,” the Bible says, suggesting a will of its own.  In short, spirit is a strongly moving dynamism that is free of material structure.

 

These descriptions lead us to think of spirit as pure energy, but on closer look we find more than that - it is typically experienced as having a voice, when persons are moved by the spirit. (Perry in Grof & Grof, 1989,  pp. 65-66)

According to respected spiritual researcher Richard Bucke, people who have been in touch with cosmic consciousness realize that the universe is a living presence (1961, p. 61).  The focus ANE experiencer must agree.

A beam of light, the conveyance by which the experiencer believes she was transported to and from the UFO, also possesses spiritual significance.  “A major feature in all religious traditions is that of the beam of light, emanating from a point in the sky...; and focused upon a human being... This beam usually is a sign of blessing and conveys information from a divine source” (Vallee, 1975, p. 136).

Extraterrestrials, who act as friendly facilitators at the conclusion of the focus ANE, receive limited mention in spiritual literature.  Of course, angels and demons appear frequently in the Bible.  However, there is no intention here to try to equate either with extraterrestrials, although a case might be argued.  One of mystic Swedenborg’s findings is that humans are involved with a hierarchy of spirits (Van Dusen, 1974, p. 117).  His interludes in the ethereal realms suggested “the presence of spirits interacting in our innermost feelings”  (Van Dusen, 1974, p. 34).  In Spiritual Dreaming, Kelly Bulkeley explains:

A very important characteristic of these (spiritual) dreams regards the status of the divine beings who appear in them...(they) are relatively close to humans...humans themselves, or stand between humans and the higher gods....Thus, they are able to mediate between the two worlds in an especially effective way.  (Bulkeley, 1995, pp. 36-37)

 

The sudden spiritual impact of the focus ANE on the experiencer can be compared to incidents of traditional mystical breakthrough.  In her masterpiece Mysticism, Evelyn Underhill classifies the mystical life in a series of steps.  The first is “the awakening of the self to consciousness of divine reality.  This experience, usually abrupt and well marked, is accompanied by intense feelings of joy and exaltation”  (1974, p. 169).  The focus ANE matches this criteria.  Spiritual researcher Richard Bucke coined the term “illumination” for this initial awakening.  He contends he learned as much in the few seconds of his illumination as he ever did in years of study  (Bucke, 1961, p. 36).  The focus ANE’s effect was as dramatic.

Thus, the ANE fits within the scope of spiritual, religious, and mystical literature, but retains some mystery after examination from these perspectives.  Because a UFO and its occupant(s) are factors, the ANE resides on the fringes of the above subject areas.  Hilary Evans, Founder - Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena and a leading authority on the paranormal states,  “Our encounter experiences may be associated with mystical experiences, may resemble them in many respects, may ultimately lead to them; but they are not the same thing”  (Evans, 1987, p. 11).

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