Silene : Dreaming in White
The first Oneironauticum in San Francisco had the dreamers working with our Spagyric Initiatic of Xhosa Dream Plant, Silene capensis. This is a powerful ally for dreaming and a very interesting plant, but it is not widely known in the healing or entheogen community.
Silene is native to the cape area of South Africa, and is used by the Xhosa people, who call it “undela zimmhlope”, which means “white ways” or “white paths”. White is connected with this plant in many physical and subtle ways. White is the colour of the ancestors and their spirit guidance, and the white foam that Silene creates when prepared in water is considered a signature indicator of its power.
On a more subtle level, Silene brings a strong energetic signature of white, inducing powerful lucid dreams in which white objects or people feature prominently. For instance, when I last worked with our Silene Initiatic, I dreamt of Lotus flowers all night, glowing white under a beautiful moon. Others have reported white dogs in their dreams, and we have heard many reports of a man in a white suit who follows the dreamer.
One of the most remarkable dream reports from Silene comes from Paul here at Al-Kemi. He was working with our Silene Initiatic when we first created it, taking it every day for a few days in a row around the Winter Solstice.
The morning of the Solstice, I woke up to find a bouquet of white flowers on the kitchen table. When I saw Paul, he said “there are the flowers you said I had to get you”. I was puzzled by that, I hadn’t demanded flowers, and didn’t remember even talking about flowers any time recently.
It took a bit of back and forth to sort this out, but we eventually realized that Paul had a dream in which I had told him he must get me white flowers to combine with the red ones already on the table for Solstice, and immediately upon waking he had gone to the store to buy them!
This illustrates the other remarkable aspect of Silene as an ally to dreaming- the amazingly vivid and real quality of the dreams it gives. Often, the dreams are so detailed, realistic, and compelling that it can be difficult to sort out whether the events really happened or not. Not everyone will get flowers from using our Silene, but the realness of the dreaming state it brings can be very useful in all types of spiritual work and waking-life problem-solving.