International Journal of Transpersonal Studies


Dream content can be influenced by external sounds, smells, touch, objects glimpsed with half-open eyes during REM sleep, and somatic signals. This paper suggests that this individual, neurologically-driven process parallels that experienced collectively by pre-industrial tribal and traditional peoples in which the land itself entered into the mental lives of whole societies, forming mythic geographies—dreamscapes. This dreamtime perception was particularly evident in the use of simulacra, in which the shapes of certain topographical features allowed them to be presented in anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, or iconic guise to both the individual and the culturally-reinforced gaze of society members. This paper further indicates that this mythologized way of seeing could theoretically, if with some effort and without embarrassment, be adopted periodically and temporarily by archaeologists and used as an investigative tool in the field, and could even have side benefits to modern societies in general.