March 7, 2021

Nightmares and Rituals

There was a night in my childhood that I woke up abruptly from a terrible dark dream, I still remember some of the details to this day. If you’ve ever seen Indiana Jones and the snake pit, then that will help with the visualization, but I remember seeing hundreds maybe even thousands of snakes in my dream, all under the house I was in, slithering on the floor, everywhere really, there was a darkness about the atmospheric light, and I was trapped standing up on furniture trying to stay away from all the snakes everywhere, and then I woke up.

Being a small child, of course I was terrified from such a dream, and was overwhelmed with feelings of fear, anxiety, and overall terror. Of course, when I woke up, I made some noise, and it didn’t take long before one of my parents came in to see what was happening and flipped on the light. Then came the explanation that I had a bad dream, followed by my other parent coming to see what was going on, and going into details about the whole dream all over again, which the process of talking about it kept it in my mind and me feeling frightened.

 At this point my father declared he would use his priesthood to cast away the bad spirits that were haunting my dreams, and so he performed his ritual to do so, and I didn’t feel any different right away, so he waited a few minutes, while explaining how I should feel afterwards, then he did it again. At this point I did start to feel a bit better. In hindsight, I suspect it was really just because it had by then been almost half an hour since I had awakened from the dream and was just having a normal human reaction where over the period of sometime those feelings diminish, and it just happened to coincide a bit loosely with the second ritual. However, this experience suckered me into believing the faith more deeply for several years.

As an adult looking back, the only thing I am convinced of during this experience is that as a child I had a nightmare which is not uncommon for children to have, and that after a while of being awake afterwards I started to feel calmer and more normal again, and the bad feelings dissipated.