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Dreaming and Being Aware

Felix Pisuk
This summer I had a dream about four men in a boat. In this dream the boat had tipped over and it was resting on its mast. The wind blew it upright again, but it then once more tipped over. The first time it tipped over the four men managed to stay aboard but the second time it tipped over it was smashed against the rocks and the boat started to break apart. Two of the men were pushed ashore by the waves, but the other two were lost. As soon as I woke up I told my family about the dream I had. I told them not to talk about my dream with others, but I felt that there was probably going to be a boating accident that summer and two of the bodies would be found, but that the bodies of the two younger ones would not. Although I knew I was not going to be the one to cause the accident, I still knew that because some of my dreams came true, this accident was a real possibility. When you come to understand your dreams, you feel as though you are making predictions. (Page 84)
This chapter covers the various aspects of dreaming; being aware of dreaming, and the supernatural regions in between. The first item on the agenda is the importance of dreams. Some dreams are of no use, while others are helpful. In the latter type, the dreamer thinks they are awake. These dreams can help hunters find game or lost people find their way home. They can also warn against future bad events. In the latter case, Pisuk tells of predicting a boating accident. The topic then moves on to bad dreams and recurring dreams. If the dreamer would tell their recurring dream to someone, that person could make it disappear simply by saying so. Our elders have some difficulty understanding the distinction between good dream and bad dream, because in most cases, a happy dream warns against bad things and a bad dream can turn out to be quite helpful. If most dreams take place at night, some people can dream wide-awake. Such dreams usually reveal something about the person accompanying the dreamer at the time. That is how angakkuit see the wrongdoings of dying people.

We better remember the dreams we had early in the morning; that is why those are more prone to premonitions, or niriujaarniit. Hunters used to follow their niriujaarniit to find game, back when dogteams limited travels (the snowmobile has made the niriujaarniq a less essential part of the hunter’s life). These premonitions could be either good or bad, and they could manifest themselves in other ways than through dreams, such as a ringing in the ear or a twitch of the eye, for instance. There are also a few cases of people who got lost and found their way home after receiving directions in a dream. Pisuk and Ka&&ak tell a few stories on that subject. When one found themselves in a desperate situation, they could also turn to qinngarniq, a shouted prayer to a deceased beloved. Agiaq offers two experiences of that type. Finally, Catholic prayer can also be helpful in dire situations, according to Ka&&ak who relates a moving near-death experience. This chapter also comes back to the interpretation of an elongated grave or person seen in a dream. Finally, the possibility of passing on the ability to dream is explored in the last pages of this long chapter.