Dreamed 155 AD by Natalius the Confessor
We have this dream only second-hand from the ancient historian Eusebius, but it had such public, political effects that I'm confident it happened. The question is what to make of it.
In Rome around 145 AD, Theodotus the Cobbler argued that Christ was a prophet but not divine himself. He got excommunicated for it, but he had followers--Christians were still few and underground, so this was just a split in a small cult. Around 155, two of the cobbler's disciples talked a friend named Natalius into letting himself to be chosen bishop of their faction. They paid him a salary of 150 denarii a month (quite a lot).
Natalius was often warned by God through visions to repent. Eusebius: "But he paid little regard to the visions, because he was ensnared by the first position among them, and by that shameful covetousness which destroys a great many." In short, the pay and the perks seemed worth the bad dreams, until one night...
"...Natalius was scourged [whipped] by holy angels, and punished severely through the entire night.
"He rose in the morning and put on sackcloth and covered himself with ashes" and rushed in tears to the other faction's bishop, "rolling at the feet not only of the clergy, but also of the laity; and he moved with his tears the compassionate One Church of the merciful Christ [i.e. the other faction]. And though he used much supplication, and showed the welts of the stripes which he had received, yet scarcely was he taken back into communion."
Those early Christians didn't play around!
It's a brief account, but what little we have interests me personally, because I've had a couple of dreams that left physical traces, and I found them as devastating as Natalius apparently did. Nor did the shock fade with time and thought--can the dreaming mind change our bodies to conform to its beliefs, or is the dreamworld is a real place? Either possibility has pretty big implications, for good and bad.
For lack of a better term, let's call such dreams Natalian. (I guess you could say stigmatic dreams, but too many idiots would ask how "why do dreams need glasses?" Besides, if we're hunting for dreams having physical effects, I see no reason to restrict ourselves, like stigma, to the dreamer's own body.) Are they real? I know first-hand they are, but I see why anyone would be skeptical. Just remember: until recently sleep researchers told us lucid dreaming was physiologically impossible--the brain was too disordered in REM for self-awareness and critical thinking. They were proved wrong in the lab.
So what to do? No point in theorizing or arguing--the first step in any science is to collect samples.
So... have you ever had a Natalian dream? Do you know anyone who's had one? Send it to me. I'll add it to the new list: Natalian dreams.
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