Most people don't understand the language of dreams because it is non-directed and free-floating, and we have forgotten the deeper meanings that images point to and symbolize. We have forgotten because of our one-sided dependence on rational, left-brain processing. Ancient cultures, such as Egypt, Native America and Celtic, preferred a more imaginative, non-directed type of thinking. These cultures accepted that dreams and visions have a meaning, and they found ways to bring these gifts into the community, either through rituals or through stories, music and poetry. In their acceptance of this more imaginal consciousness, they established cultures that lived in harmony with the world around them. Each tribe and each person knew his/her/its place in the cosmos and this made for the harmony and balance that is so sorely lacking in our 'most violent' of cultures.
And yet, it is what stories we choose to tell that make all the difference between hope and despair, fullness of life and scarcity, life and death. There are also cultural stories which can feed a people with visions and dreams of their future, or close off all hope of fulfillment. They can make us insecure and fearful, or inspire us to courageously stand up to oppression and death. When a people lose touch with their cultural stories, they lose touch with their souls and with their place in the Cosmos. This has happened with all conquered peoples when their stories are taken away from them. It is what is happening in America and around the world today. We are in danger of losing our individual, cultural and spiritual stories to the corporate story.