Home > Winds of Change > Dreams and Dream Interpretation > Elders’ Perspectives on Uqumangirniq and Aqtuqsinniq

Assuituq National Park, near Broughton Island.

On the shore of Ungava Bay south of Killiniq.

Elders’ Perspectives on Uqumangirniq and Aqtuqsinniq

Salome Ka&&ak Qalasiq
My husband almost died. When he woke up he said he had been dreaming. His tarniq was up above his body. When it went back down to his body he woke up. He said he regretted waking up because his tarniq had started to ascend. We don’t know much about this because we haven’t experienced it. We can only tell you what we have heard.  (Page 194)
This chapter covers several questions related to uqumangirniq (also called aqtuqsinniq). Somewhere between a nightmare and a vision, the uqumangirniq is a paralyzing experience. One becomes unable to either move or cry for help, all the while remaining conscious of being awake and often left to face an evil presence. This state is occasionally accompanied by a ringing in the ears. Anyone can have an uqumangirniq. It is a rather rare dream, much more powerful than an ordinary dream. It can be pleasurable in some instances – invisible lovers make their visits through uqumangirniit –, but in most of the cases told in this chapter, it is a frightening experience. To break out of this state, the dreamer can either try to wiggle their toes or to hold up their middle finger at the apparition.

It is believed that the tarniq leaves the body during an uqumangirniq. Some people can even see their own body from above during such an experience. That would explain why some people never wake up from that state. Ka&&ak has told in a previous chapter that her father almost died that way. That is why one must try at all cost to wake up someone who is uqumangiqtuq. The uqumangirniq is not an illness or something that could be prevented or avoided. After all, we cannot help dreaming.