Gypsies and Dreaming
Gypsies hold much stock in dreams and are renowned dream interpreters. Although Tunisian and Algerian Romanies are the recognized experts in this field, English Gypsies certainly have been practicing dream interpretation for many generations.
In common with all Gypsies, the English Travelers maintain that through dreams they are being given secret knowledge that could affect their future, positively or negatively. They believe dreams come from the spirits of their ancestors.
Gypsies are actually very observant and, in some ways, very prosaic. The first thing a knowledgeable Romani will do when asked about the significance of a particular dream is to inquire about the person’s general health and eating habits. Most of us, Gypsies included, are aware that a lot of dreaming is simply the result of excesses in eating and/or drinking.
Charles Bowness, in Romany Magic, says:
“Apart from those dreams brought on by stomachic derangement there are also those occasioned by some bodily excitation due to a previous pleasant or unpleasant experience. Another cause is tension owing to brooding over some problem or fear of a future event.
To categorize further, dreams of terror can be due to a slight and temporary disorder of the heart. Similarly, a defect in the lungs can be responsible for a dream of bloodshed. To experience some enormous difficulty in a dream, such as hacking a way through a jungle, or trying to penetrate a wall indicates disorder of the liver. Dreaming of sharp pains, knife stabs in the back and the like, is because of kidney disorder. If a dream contains some element of hypnotic regularity such as the swinging of a pendulum, then there may well be a tendency to anaemia.”
It is obvious that one cannot simply take any dream and say, “Oh, yes. That means such-and-such.” The question is, then, which dreams can be interpreted? The Gypsies say any dream that is especially vivid; one that stays with you after you wake. Additionally, it should be one that is dreamed when you are in good health and have not overindulged the night before.
~Text: Raymond Buckland
~Artist: Kathy Ostman-Magnusen