By Ed Kellogg, Ph.D. ©2017
The Great Cauldron of the Otherworld has an archetypal role in many cultures. In Celtic myths it served as a source of creativity and of poetic and artistic inspiration. One of the four legendary treasures of Ireland, the Cauldron of Plenty magically provided an endless supply of tasty food and drink to the worthy. And it not only provided abundant food, but could also heal any wound, and even restore life to the dead.
Functionally, the Cauldron of the Otherworld and the “Healing Cauldron of Dreams” share many similarities, which leads me to believe that the first may serve as a symbolic representation of the second. If so, it makes a certain kind of sense that when I first began to experiment with the idea of using dreams as a source of guidance I intuitively chose to look to dreams as a potentially valuable source of information about diet and health. Over the years, this led to the development of what I call the “Dreamatarian Diet” and the “Dreamatarian Lifestyle.”
This project began back in graduate school after I’d read Elsie Sechrist’s Dreams: Your Magic Mirror(1), a book based on the Edgar Cayce readings, that even now I consider one of the most useful and practical introductions to dreamwork in print. As at the time I saw dream interpretation as a complex and tricky business, I decided to go with something simple and to pay attention to when and how foods showed up in my dreams, and to act on the information literally.
If a food showed up in a positive context, I would eat that food the next day. If it showed up in a negative context, I would not. In most cases, foods did not play a major role in the dreams in which they appeared, but simply showed up as a background detail. For example, I had a long dream about going to an outdoor metaphysical camp, and at one point while sitting down to dinner, a Sufi master handed me a plate of green beans, something I would neither have paid attention to nor written down before beginning this experiment.
Over time, patterns began to emerge. I began to have dreams in which specific foods had leading, rather than incidental, roles. After ten years I’d collected hundreds of dreams, with enough dream data to categorize foods into five categories: “Super”, “Good”, “Fair”, “Poor”, and “Poisonous”. If a food consistently showed up in a positive context on many occasions, I would place it in the “Super Food” category. If it consistently showed up in a negative context, I would place it in the “Poisonous Food” category. I gave extra weight to vivid dreams with obvious and emphasized messages, e.g. “I make carrot juice in a solid gold juicer,” or “I see ice cream at the bottom of a dirty garbage can.” However, though my Dreamatarian Diet clearly showed consistent patterns over time, it did not remain static, but dynamically changeable, with the possibility of updates or revisions each night based on my body’s changing needs and life circumstances, providing both long-term and short-term feedback and guidance.
At first I assumed that my dream diet recommendations applied specifically to me, but by the year 2000 scientific research on the effect of diet on health and disease began to consistently validate many of my overall dream diet recommendations—research that took place years, even decades, after the dreams. For example, early on my dreams strongly recommended foods high in monounsaturated fats, now accepted as “heart healthy.” Foods such as avocados, almonds, and olive oil all ended up in my “super foods” category, even though at the time both science and the media promoted polyunsaturated fats, and the value of monounsaturates remained unknown.
Also, by 2004 research had identified and quantified naturally occurring toxic compounds called AGEs (Advanced Glycoxidation End products) found in almost all foods to varying degrees(2) but especially in foods cooked at high temperatures, that not only promoted disease, but which could markedly accelerate aging processes. In looking over my personal Dreamatarian Diet list, I found that almost all of the items listed in the “Poor” and “Poisonous” categories had very high levels of AGEs, whereas foods in the “Super” category had very low levels.
Similarly, research began to appear with respect to STACs (SIRT2 activators), compounds such as resveratrol(3) that could activate “longevity genes.”(4) In this case, I found that many foods in my super food category had an abundance of STACs, whereas dream foods in my poor and poisonous categories basically had none.
Coincidence? I think not, and at this point in time I very much wish that I’d adhered to my Dreamatarian Diet recommendations far more closely that I actually did. Despite my Ph.D. in biochemistry, and an ongoing effort to keep myself informed of the latest research, in retrospect it seems clear that for decades my dreaming self had a much better idea as to what constitutes an optimal diet than my waking self did—and no doubt still does.
Prescriptive food dreams belong to the more general category of prescriptive healing dreams, dreams that provide information as to what to do to heal a condition, or what not to do. These can range from dietary recommendations, to changes in lifestyle, to alternative therapies, to conventional medical therapies, and can also provide information about timing, the competence of practitioners, and probable outcomes. Aside from foods, herbs, vitamins, and even exercise routines have shown up in my dreams, in positive and negative contexts. Although it usually takes time for individuals to establish reliable dream feedback, anyone can develop their own individualized Dreamatarian Lifestyle, by making use of information gathered from both their lucid and non-lucid dreams. It also helps to intentionally incubate dreams featuring foods that belong in one’s own optimal healing diet.
Incubating a Dreamatarian Diet
Before going to sleep, request that tonight your dreams will present information on foods that would make up your optimal diet. Use an affirmation and a visualization to make the request. Should you wake up during the night, repeat the affirmation, but use your last dream to set up a “hot off the press” visualization. (For example, see yourself in the dream you just had, but imagine that someone you trust brings a covered plate to you, and then that you begin to take off the cover to see what they’ve brought.)
When you write down your dreams, pay special attention to any foods that show up. Remember to act on your dreams. If a food shows up in a positive context, for example an angel serves you food on a golden plate, make a point to eat that food that day. If this happens in other dreams, or in an emphatically positive way, begin eating that food regularly. Contrariwise, if a food shows up in a negative context, for example you find it in a dirty garbage can, do not eat that food for at least that day, etc. Act on your dreams—this creates a positive feedback loop that will improve their accuracy and usefulness as time goes on.