I recently posted about how my mother’s insecurities carried over to me with regards to hospitality in my home. That one small thing aside, I’ve inherited many other good and interesting qualities – her superstitions being some of them! Growing up, my mother taught my sister and I several small folk traditions, sometimes thinly veiled in Catholicism, but sometimes not. My mother first introduced me to sympathetic magic and divination via palm reading. Did she think I’d ever grow up to become a witch or a Druid as a result? I don’t think she ever thought about her folk ways in that light – they were just things her mother taught her.
Of the various ideas she passed on to me, I was taught that one shouldn’t discuss one’s dreams prior to breakfast or else nightmares may come to pass and good dreams will not. Every so often, I try to track this belief’s origin down because it intrigues and delights me all at once. Dreams are one of the easiest ways to access both our psyches and the Otherworld, after all. Dreams are incubators for magic and can be prophetic. I can’t tell where this superstition comes from with any certainty. I’ve seen some reference Appalachia and others Turkey! If people in Appalachia have held this belief, there’s a strong possibility it came from Scotland too. So who knows!
I sometimes think about this superstition and its merits. To find value in believing it, I think one also must believe in the power of dreams as stated above. You also have to keep the power of food in mind. Food grounds your reality. After magical acts in covens and Druid groves, people are encouraged to eat. Some magical groups share cakes and ale right in the circle. ADF Druids share a drink in a round of toasting and boasting. This practice feels twofold to me. It’s both a communal way to absorb the blessings of the rite, but it’s also a way to ground after the big workings and/or offerings have taken place. After ritual, many regroup for feasting which equals more food. Food fills our bellies and keeps us firmly rooted in this realm, this space, this reality. Think about it. One method to enter trance is to fast and therefore lose touch with our body’s hold on us. In Greek mythology, if you eat the food of the underworld (another realm) that becomes your reality. The same happens in Celtic legends of the Otherworld. If you happen to find yourself in Fairy and partake of the feast, you’ll lose yourself in that reality. Food is power – it is a great mental and physical anchor.
Perhaps it is this thinking that gave birth to the dreams and breakfast superstition. To reveal dreams before properly grounding yourself in a new day in this reality, you leave a small door open. Some, like my husband, only chuckle and shake their heads. I wonder if my daughter will embrace the superstition as her mother and her mother’s mother, or if she will grow up shaking her head like her father. Either way, I’ll keep the practice alive. Why take chances? It’s not as if the practice is disrupting my life in any way.