The Kagwahiv are a Tupi-speaking people living in small settlements in the tropical forests of the Amazon in Brazil. Dreams play a fundamental role in Kagwahiv culture, and, like myths, they are to be told at any time. Thus, they can be shared in the middle of the night as well as during the day over work.

Dreams are sources of information about the nature of the world and spiritual beings, and are believed to foretell future events—literally, metaphorically, or by way of myths, which are condensed formulations of essential human issues. Dream reports usually contain mythic elements, either in their manifest dream or their latent dream content, as free associations with the dream make clear. Nightmares, for example, represent direct perceptions of the presence of a demon.

Dream sharing among the Kagwahiv, which usually includes a discussion about their meaning, follows particular prescriptions. For instance, an inauspicious dream is told by the fire, to cancel out its prediction, whereas an auspicious dream is told away from the fire, so that its favorable prediction is not cancelled.

The Kagwahiv believe that dreams provide a means of communication between supernatural beings and people, especially people with shamanic aspirations, who are said to commune with spirits of the sky and other mystical beings and to exercise at least some of their power through dreams.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.