Dreaming With Lemurs

Dreams mean different things to people according to culture, time and place. For tribal cultures, dreams were often revered by being incorporated into the life of its members through rites of passage, or taken as prophetic messages. These practices have mostly faded away in cultures where individuality is highly esteemed. As technology enables individuals to sustain themselves seemingly independent of a tribe, there is less need to rely on the messages that dreams bring.

When thought of at all, we moderns tend to think of dreams as personal messages referring to one’s individual psychology. Even psychological practices discourage us from sharing dreams for fear of contamination or the loss of a temenos. I share this concern.

But, I am challenging myself here by sharing with you two dreams to see if there may very well be a shared constellation between dreamers, even in an online environment.

Why not expand our understanding of dreams as meaningful to both the dreamer and the tribe? A tribe can be any group of individuals where connection somehow constellates. Familiarity with tribe members is not necessary for dream meanings to constellate. We have much more in common than our differences may keep us from realizing, yes?

Recently, I was given two dreams which prominently featured a similar animal. The first dream, dated October 18, 2014, included an astounding sense of lucidity and went something like this:

As I wake up, I am actually beginning a lucid dream. I’m standing in the street and realize that if I move I can float upwards above the street. As I move upward, I see a small animal. I move cautiously towards him. It might be a bat, but I don’t see wings. I look into his face and eyes and hold out my hand to him. He then sits in my hand and we look deeply into each others eyes. I let him go and then wake up.

But, I am not awake, but am lifting off the ground into a vivid night sky. There are multiple moons and planets visible everywhere. I am aware of the ability to float around at will. The beauty is so stunning I wake up.

The second dream, dated December 18, 2014, was recorded like this:

On a boat moving towards Liberty Island with Paul (my husband), we move past the island when we see another beautiful island beyond. On the island there are vertical rock formations which have small delicate, ornate tops.

We reach the shore and look around to see a herd of elk-like creatures scampering off the rocks onto the beach where we are. I touch the ornate rock formation and to my surprise, it breaks off. I feel bad about that. I turn around and can feel an animal biting my upper back. Paul says suddenly, “It’s a lemur.” The distinction of his words made me turn around and look. The lemur was now on the rocks and I see him with some cats who are his friends. I am no longer afraid and wake up.

Ring Tailed Lemur

Upon waking I felt very moved by the presence of the lemur, but wasn’t even sure what a lemur was. I thought they were part of the cat family! So, after reading up on lemurs I realize that the animal in the dream from October was also a lemur. It had bothered me that although it resembled a bat, it wasn’t. Upon seeing a photo of a lemur, I recognized that the bat was actually a lemur.

Lemur’s are from Madagascar, and sad to hear, critically endangered, but were very much revered by the native culture. A myth about the Indri, a kind of lemur, portray Indri brothers in story as enacting the original split between animals and humans:

“Most legends establish a closer relationship between the indri and humans. In some regions it is believed that there were two brothers who lived together in the forest until one of them decided to leave and cultivate the land. That brother became the first human, and the brother who stayed in the forest became the first indri. The indri cries in mourning for his brother who went astray.” Wiki

From Wiki: Serge Gomes da Silva – oeuvre personelle (own-work)

Also called babakoto, the Lemurs have a very distinct call and response style of singing. I found some YouTube’s of Lemur sounds and as I hit play, all five cats in my home went on immediate high alert. Honestly, I have never seen all of them react the way they did. I had to stop playing the beautiful haunting lament of the Lemur sounds. Time to get head phones!

“One explanation for the name babakoto, is that the calls made by the indri resemble a father calling for his lost son.[10]

Another legend tells of a man who went hunting in the forest and did not return. His absence worried his son, who went out looking for him. When the son also disappeared, the rest of the villagers ventured into the forest seeking the two but discovered only two large lemurs sitting in the trees: the first indri. The boy and his father had transformed. In some versions it is only the son who transforms, and the wailing of the babakoto is analogous to the father’s wailing for his lost son.”

But Roman and Christian cultures do not see the lemur as a friend of humankind, but as vengeful ghosts of the deceased haunting someone who has dissed the ancestor with an improper funeral or burial.

Lemurs were so-named by the 18th century zoologist, Linnaeus, because of the nocturnal activity and slow movements of the slender loris.” And In Goethe‘s Faust, a chorus of Lemurs who serve Mephistopheles dig Faustus’ grave.”

It’s striking to me how opposite in nature the views are between the Madagascar natives and modern Europeans in their association to Lemurs. Perhaps the dream speaks to a need to reconcile the opposition between these two views? On a personal level, that opposition is very much of a concern to me and upon hearing these associations, I was impressed by how strongly resonant the two cosmologies play in my current thinking.

In mythology, and perhaps because of their size, behavior and likeness to us, Indri are thought to have a common ancestry to humans. A lover of animals all of my life, I am honored that the lemur has come to me in my dreams. Going out on a limb, so to speak, I would love to hear of your associations to the dreams or the lovely lemurs.

18 thoughts on “Dreaming With Lemurs

  1. Hi. Interpretation of my dream brought me here. I was in the house/bungalow I was brought up in. In the central room, which had few exits n connected to other parts/rooms of the house. I see this energetic lemur running around the room frantically looking for an exit. I am trying to grasp the situation n help it, before it starts jumping on me. Each time it takes a higher jump as if coming for me. First, I was a witness in the dream n then I call the danger (lemur) to myself. What can this signify?

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  2. The interpretation of the lemurs as as vengeful ghosts of the deceased … someone who has dissed the ancestor with an improper funeral or burial is so haunting… I will definitely try to write down my dreams in order to try to catch the hidden symbolism.
    Excellent post, as always, Debra. All the best to you for 2015. Aquileana 😀

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    • Dear Aquileana,

      Dreams more than fascinate, they reveal a wholely different dimension than the dayworld. I see them not so much for what they say about the dayworld, but as glimpses into another realm, one that is entirely other and perhaps irrational when compared to the waking world.

      Thanks for your note!

      Best wishes for a wonderful 2015!
      Debra

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  3. After reading this, I incubated a lemur dream. I’ve always found them beautiful and charming, though I’ve only seen them in pictures. My dream lemur lounged in a big wooden beach chair facing the ocean and reading a book. This beach and chair are on the April page on my 2015 calendar, sans lemur. Since I sometimes dream the future, this may be a clue to an April event.

    Dream symbols are so personal. My favorite book on understanding them is Mindful Dreaming by David Gordon, a psychologist who is an expert on dreams. He guides the reader through understanding his or her unique dream imagery world. He never gives you a this-means-that canned interpretation, but instead provides a way to explore your dreams as your private mythology.

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    • Hi Amber,

      How cool is that? Have you ever in the past been able to incubate a dream before?

      Have not heard of David Gordon, but will look him up. The dream tribe idea, as I understand it, comes from Tess Castleman.

      I would thing hanging out at the beach would be a great lemur pastime and certainly a great human pastime as well.

      Yes, I have had dreams of the future too, and at one time didn’t think of dreams as having the potential to point to the future, but sometimes, it seems they do.

      Thanks so much for sharing your lemur dream here with me.
      Debra

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  4. I saw lemurs at the Cheyenne Mt Zoo just last Saturday. They are “prosimian” primates, so they are almost hauntingly human like in their intense eyes, plus your dream of how they seem like bats may refer to how they appear to be able to fly (very spry!). SO this may show an “anima/us” (was it male or female?) archetypal wish on your part to be free to ‘fly’, as your then soul travel adventure fulfills. Snce the lemur is part of YOU, you have this anima/us potential to also soar; you are not bound to the limitations of human consciousness… maybe?

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    • So cool that you got to see lemurs. They are adorable and from what I have read, very kind creatures, compared to some monkeys anyway.

      Yeah, not sure what to make of the dreams yet. I like Hillman’s approach of “sticking with the image,” rather than moving into Jungian concepts. I do appreciate hearing your take on the dream though.

      I hope you have a wonderful Holiday season! It has been fun to get to know you a bit here and through your blog posts this past year.

      xxx
      Debra

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      • Of course you are the best interpreter of your own dream images! I guess I was just responding as to what such images might mean if I were the dreamer (BUT AM NOT!!) Yes it has been wonderful to read your thought provoking, deep posts. Happy Holiness…

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  5. Thank you for sharing your dreams was us Debra as they can be of service collectively. I have not seen or dreamed about Lemurs as far as I know, but I had a semi lucid dream where I ascended towards outer space and another where I was bitten by a rabbit. I blogged about that one recently. Will have to check my journal to see if any other details emerge.

    I would say that if you are bitten, whoever is biting you is clearly sending you a message 😉

    hugs,
    Linda

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    • Dear Linda,

      Yes, I do recall your rabbit dream post. I agree that there’s a message for us in dreams. Some messages are clearer than others, yes? I can’t be sure of a precise message from the lemurs yet, but I do think they reveal a rich symbolic display of a long lost connection to our animal nature and living in community. They are very communal creatures, gentle and loving compared to all the primates that have come later in history.

      Happy Holidays!
      Love,
      Debra

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  6. What a wonderful Dream .. And I feel our Dreams tell us many things along with our animal totems who also share their wisdom when we look to the ‘Signs’ and take on board their meanings..

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas Debra.. Enjoy and sending you Peace and Joy..
    Hugs Sue

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    • Dear Sue,

      Perhaps lemurs are a totem for me. I do now feel that they reveal to me something special that is not yet, fully comprehended. It’s not likely to happen, but I would love to travel to Madagascar!
      Merry Christmas Sue!
      xxx
      Debra

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  7. Those lemurs have seriously captured me now. Extremely fascinating and live just on an island? One association I had was with Lemuria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemuria_%28continent%29). I feel they are creatures of the shadow, the underworld, the night. “Lemures” were “Ghosts” for ancient Romans; it was the term for ancestral spirits who rose from their
    graves to attend the annual festival of the Lemuria. The mythic lost continent “Lemuria” literally meant a ghostworld. And then in your dream they were friendly with cats, who are also nocturnal.
    But why were they biting you? What were they trying to communicate? I believe that the main function of the dream is to point out to us something that our consciousness is missing or rejects or does not understand? That would be Jung’s take, at least.

    Here’s to the lifelong connection to animals. I also discovered it actually in my adulthood because my mother did not like any animals.

    Thank you so much for sharing your dreams, Debra.

    Monika

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    • Hi Monika,
      Thanks for the link. I am curious about the Lemuria festival and the lost world. It is interesting that the beautiful Lemur shares something through this common lineage of ideas.

      I agree, getting bitten is definitely an attention getter, getting bitten in the back implies a need to turn around and look to see the lemur. I can’t be sure of ahat they are communicating and continue to dwell on their presence for something to be revealed.

      I am also still pondering the rock formations on the island in the dream. They could have been crystals, judging by their shape, but, they were grey in color, almost cement or ashen. Ahh, perhaps there’s an alchemical significance there?

      So glad you are now able to enjoy a connection to animals! They feel vital to me. They show us something beyond what human nature can display, perhaps because animals invite such stark difference and require us to come to them on their terms?

      Happy Holidays to you!
      Love,
      Debra

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