Iatromantis: Dream Traveling Philosopher Healers

Aristeas was among those of ancient Greece who was known to be an Iatromantis, a seer healer. It is recorded in ancient stories his soul could leave his body, and return at will. This is something that an Iatromantis would be able to do, both in dreaming, and waking realities. Aristeas was a poet philosopher, who is also said to be able to take the form of a Raven.

Peter Kingsley writes the Iatromantis is part of a larger Greek and Asian shamanic tradition originating in Central Asia. A solitary practice was incubation, which was beyond the dream healing temples of the Grecco-Roman world, but enabled these seer healers to enter a state beyond sleeping, dreaming or waking, but entering a state of being described as consciousness itself. There used to be experts at incubation–masters at the art of going into another state of consciousness or allowing themselves to go if they were drawn there. They had a name that fitted them perfectly — Iatromantis

Abaras the Hyporbean, was also considered an Iatromantis, a legendary sage and healer who practiced medicine on the soul and the body. Hermotimus of Clazomenae reported to his wife the ability of his soul to leave the body during sleep, as if on a trip. She shared this oddity with the wrong person, and they came and burned his body while he slept.

Evidence of this approach to healing of body and soul is rooted in incubation practices of intention setting for dreaming for the purpose of healing as was used in the Asklepion Dream Temple practices of ancient Greece and Rome which spanned into the Thracian ( Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria) and Dacian (Romania) world. The Egyptian dream practices also included dream incubation invoking Gods such as Imhotep or Serapis, known for appearing in dreams for healing. The Serapeion in Alexandria, and Memphis Egypt were popular locations for dream incubation and dream healing practices.

The gateway to entering the dream temples were built to impress, and often devoted to the Mnemosyne, Mother of the Muses and Goddess of Memory, as gatekeeper between the realms, her presence was to help bring back the memory of the dream. Hygeia the daughter of Asclepius, brings powers of hygiene and cleansing, in preparation for the dream healing incubation ritual. After the cleansing ritual of mind, body, and spirit, is complete the supplicant may enter the abaton, a sacred sanctuary where the Dream Healing Incubation takes place, and the pilgrim sleeps overnight to incubate their healing request into their dreams. If an incubant was unable to recall a dream, a dream healing priest or priestess would dream on their behalf, and transfer the dream in the telling.

In an area in western Anatolia, south of Phocaea, in a region called Caria was a famous cave known as a Charonium or Plutonium — entrance to the underworld. Next to it was a temple dedicated to the gods of the underworld. Here the Pholarchos (masters of dreams, lords of the lair) would lead the sick into the cave and settle them down, leave them there in utter stillness. – Peter Kingsley

The Pholarchos Tarot, developed by artist, scribe and dreamer, Carmen Sorrenti, brings dreams through the portal of each card, and her alchemical writing which accompanies the deck. I met Carmen at a dream conference in Los Angeles several years ago, as she was developing the deck. She had several of her paintings in the Dream Art Gallery exhibit at the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) conference. As I stood there gazing at the paintings before me in the form of dream inspired tarot, I began to share a dream with a woman standing beside me. The previous night, I I dreamt of a Viking Goddess who emerged from out of the underworld through a doorway sized portal like a life sized tarot card, she was driving a chariot pulled by dragons.

I admired the dream tarot art before me in the exhibit and recognized the synchronicity. Little did I know, the woman with whom I shared my dream, was the artist and creator of the Pholarchos Tarot. I knew then, I would order her deck as soon as it was available. She told me she was working on creating the chariot card at the moment. When I eventually did receive her lively deck of cards, before even opening the box, I noticed the sounds of a carnival like atmosphere, coming from inside the box. The dreams interwoven inside were bursting to get out and come alive!

Indeed, the dreams realms come through in most unexpected ways sometimes, and we may have forgotten how dreams are rooted in the western modern world, but dreams have not forgotten us.

Author: Valley Reed

Dreamer, Lecturer, Writer, Healer, Activist, Dancer, Drummer. Chrysalis Healing Arts Energy Healing, Somatic Emotional Integration, Soul Coaching, Peace Moves™ Conflict Transformation, Wild Women Weekend Retreats, Monthly Women's Groups, Depth Workshops and retreats regionally in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Internationally in Ireland, Mexico, Bosnia, & Canada.

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