My first introduction to The Senoi Dream Method was in 1973 with Clara Steward Flagg, the widow of Kilton Stewart one of the anthropologists who studied The Senoi Tribe in Malaysia. A few years ago it was said the anthropologists made up much of the method and it was debunked. However, the Senoi method has worked for me for 40+ years. If it did not come from the Malaysian tribe itself, then Kilton Steward was an amazing shaman!
The Senoi Tribe a hunter/gathering tribe worked with their dreams in this way:
- Shared their dreams upon awakening in a group (dream circle).
- They would make their dreams come true if possible that day. If they ate coconut in the dream, they would eat some coconut during the day. If they dreamed of a color, they would find a fruit of that color to ingest or a flower of that color to surround them.
- They would correct any negative action in the dream with the person who had been hurt. So, if they mentally or emotionally hurt someone in a dream, they would apologize in the morning gathering. Then through the remainder of the day they would be a servant to their dream victim and would help that person in order to correct the negative “karma”.
- They taught children to face the monsters in their dreams. (Most children face repetitious monster dreams in whatever culture they live.) Instructing the children to face the monster the next time with the men of the tribe. After that dream, they would instruct the child to face the monster with only one tribal adult. After that dream, they would instruct the child to face the monster alone. This would continue until the child could conquer their monster.
The two methods of Senoi dream work that I have used the most are: 1. Apologizing if I am cruel to someone in a dream. I contact that person to make peace and extend compassion and caring. 2. I also make my dreams come true as much as possible. I wear the main color I dream about or eat the foods I dream about. In the 90’s I kept dreaming about walnuts and avocados and quickly added them to my salads. I was amused 10 years later when research revealed that women in their 50’s, peri and post-menopausal would benefit from eating walnuts and avocados.
Here is what Jeremy Taylor states regarding the debunking of and the benefit of the Senoi dream techniques: “But, the irony of Senoi dream theory — six years since the expose’ — is that, like a recurrent dream, it hasn’t gone away. If questions of its authenticity have been settled, questions of its validity haven’t. In the dream-work movement, the line between reality and fantasy isn’t always distinct. Nor does it always matter.
“I use the Senoi techniques regularly because they are tremendously functional and real and true,” says Jeremy Taylor, whose 1983 book “Dream Work: Techniques for Discovering the Creative Power in Dreams” promoted Senoi practices. He believes the Senoi today aren’t the dream people they once were, due mostly to government repression in Malaysia and the disruption of their traditional life. He believes data that trashes the theory are skewed by political and economic circumstances. He hopes to “rehabilitate” Stewart’s reputation. “All of the things that Stewart said the Senoi did actually do work,” he says.”
Another references on the Senoi Method:
Senoi Dream Theory: Myth, Scientific Method, and the Dreamwork Movement …. personal use of Senoi techniques led to a decline in the number of dreams in …