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Dream incubation is asking the dream to give you a solution to a problem. It is a timeless practice all over the world.

Let’s start with some contemporary examples.

Lately on ARTE TV*, I was watching a very interesting program on ginseng (jin shen) meaning “root man” because of its’ vaguely human shape. The value of this beneficial root constitutes a growing source of income for the South Korean economy. ginseng_2.jpg


It is increasingly known and imported by the western world for its numerous health benefits, and it is very expensive! The real  ginseng is harvested primarily in Korea, ( Jinan) making it an important asset for their economy.





The wild ginseng is very rare and more expensive than gold, however it is not easily found. These roots develop totally hidden underground with nothing showing on the surface.

What is the link with the dream incubation ?

The peasants, thanks to a dream incubation, know how to find these roots in a secret location in the mountain.


  They put their tents up on a spot for a week or more. The day before beginning their search, with respect they repeat their ancestors’ ritual of purification by bathing in the river. Then at a chosen location they erect an altar and light candles. There they deposit offerings to the “god of the mountain”: cloth to dress him, a pig’s head, beautiful fruit and other appetizing foods.


In prayer, they bow before the god and they ask to be given a dream that will show them where the roots are located underground.  Then after bowing repetitively they retire to their tents to sleep and dream. 

 2ginseng02[1].jpg2ginseng03[1].jpgmontagne de corée.jpg  







What a pleasant surprise ! 

There they were, filmed by an ethnologist and the ARTE crew, people who to this day still practice what men have been doing for thousands of years… incubating a dream or showing how one prepares himself to dream.


This is not only the case in Korea ; in China also incubating dreams is still practiced today as it was in the old days. Then the Chinese used to go to temples where they asked and received inspirations and instructions. It was even considered an obligation for the dignitaries and rulers to go there officially to seek advice from dreams as to the affairs of the state.

Hardly imaginable nowadays. Can you imagine our politicians incubating a dream?

In China today, a pilgrimage to get counseling from dreams still exists. This reputable place is called « The Stones and Bamboos Mountain ».


 An individual comes to ask and receive a message from the gods as to the appropriate behavior to adopt in his situation; another comes for a diagnosis or even seeking information on the appropriate treatment for his ailment.  All come with the intention of following their true destiny, wishing to add breadth to their lives. So, pilgrims still come to consult dreams on all kinds of subjects.


Does that practice still only exist there, at the other end of the world ?

Soon I will tell you.





 You will find this article on the French blog : 06 May 2007


* Arte TV : French and German channel specialized in Art and Culture


Biography :

“ The Stones and Bamboos Mountains», article in “Terrain 26”, March 1996, edited by the French Culture Ministry.

This article is written by Brigitte BAPTANDIER, Research Director in the Laboratory of Ethnology and Sociology at the National Center of Scientific Research in France.



Mountain-Spirits and Korean Ginseng : www.rjkoehler.com

The Stone Bamboo Temple : www.chinatourme.com

The Stone Bamboo Mountain : : www.chinatourme.com


St. John Bosco, an Italian priest of the Victorian era, regularly asked for and received dreams of guidance throughout his life, after an initial boyhood dream set him on the path that the rest of his life would take, of reaching out to orphans of the street. The art is not lost, nor banished to far reaches of the world, though it has gone largely underground.

Posted by: Dolores Jean Nurss | 02/05/2011

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