Civil War and Dreams: The Home Voices Speak Louder Than the Drums

Civil War soldiers had two things that helped them to survive the battlefields: imagination and dreams.

Author Wanda Burch, found a journal with letters from soldiers in Georgia. One of these letters said:

“soldier mortals would not survive if they were not blessed with the gift of imagination and the pictures of hope. The second angel of mercy is the night dream”.

A Mindfunda Book Review of: The Home Voices Speak Louder Than the Drums. Dreams and the Imagination in Civil War Letters and Memoirs.
by Wanda Easter Burch
McFarland & Company 2017 hardcopy $45.00 ISBN 9781476665580 ebook ISBN 8781476625256 $21.70

Civil War and Dreams

The American Civil War (1861-1865) was, in my European eyes, a war between the old way of agricultural living (in the South) and the new industrial way of living (in the North).

Due to the television show “North and South” (in the Netherlands pronounced as Norse and Sauce, because for us it is quite difficult to pronounce the th correctly), I always thought it was about the genuine wish to free America from slavery.

civil war
Picture from North and South

But reading the book The Home Voices Speak Louder Than the Drums. Dreams and the Imagination in Civil War Letters and Memoirs, has made me realize that it was not so much the desire to put an end to slavery that urged men to partake in the Civil War. Both sides were defending the life style they had grown accustomed to.

Of course, the heroine of many dreamers, Harriet Tubman, a woman who used her dreams abilities to guide people to freedom, is mentioned in this book.

civil war
Harriet Tubman

“Harriet Tubman (born in slavery as Araminta Ross and later taking her mother’s name, Harriet) has been described as a “Moses” of her people, a “Conductor” on the Underground Railroad and “Moll Pitcher”, a reference to her energy and daring (page 220).

Harriet just decided, after her master had died, to take a chance and walk out of the gate.

“In a pivotal moment for both Harriet and all those whose freedom she implemented, Harriet walked out of the gate of the plantation singing and just kept on walking, looking back only once” (page 220).

Because her family was not free, she kept on freeing others, using her dreams as guidance. There are even stories about her faling into a dream state and waking up with the “right” path to travel.

 

Civil War and Precognition

I like that this book treats dreams and imagination as the same type of energy. The imagination of home, no matter what the reality of that home was, could give a soldier the hope to keep on going.

One of the questions that immediately entered my mind when I opened this book was: would the danger of being on the battle field cause an increase in precognitive dreams?

Wanda dedicates a whole chapter on Precognitive Dreaming. “These dreams stayed with the dreamers like a mist when they were walking and reminded them that dreams do pry into futures and that paying attention is the better side of caution when the morning comes and the dreams persist” (page 100).

This chapter is filled with wonderful, but also with tragic stories of hope and loss.

I must confess that I was a bit disappointed that there was not a conclusion about if something as threatening to your mental and physical health like a war would increase the number of precognitive dreams.

Civil War

But I also realize that this is an almost unanswerable question. Intuitively, one would say that it is almost inevitable that a dangerous situation triggers precognitive dreams.

Civil War and the Voices of Home

This book is composed out of 18 chapters. It starts out with the dreams of Abraham Lincoln, his famous dream in which he foresaw his own death. Wanda challenges us here to (re)think about the philosophical question of predetermination.

Art, children, sacred soil, mutual dreams (dreams shared by family members), dreams of people who are mortally wounded, this book covers every angle.

It is filled with amazing stories, written in a very readable language, and if you have a soft spot for dreaming, this book will be an asset to your book collection.

The Home Voices Speak Louder Than the Drums. Dreams and the Imagination in Civil War Letters and Memoirs.

The Fiction of Dreams, A Book Review

Fiction and dreams are closely related. “The dream’s essence lies in its storytelling capacity. Dreams are autobiographical fictions that tell the story of the dreamer’s life history, her insertion in transgenerational family themes, and her ethnic and cultural identity”. That is how Otto Rheinschmiedt hooks me in the first paragraph of this book.

Oh yes, I agree with him and in my mind several cool and cruel dream stories of mine resurface…

There is the nightmare story I once told you about, there have been a couple of mutual dreams I had, that turned into what could have been a novel, and several childhood dreams that still amaze me because they seem to have been the seed of what turned out to be my life.

A Mindfunda Book review of The Fiction Of Dreams, Dreams Literature and Writing
By Otto M. Rheinscmiedt
Karnac, 2017, Hardcover $39.30 Kindle $25.61 ISBN-10: 1782204202 ISBN-13: 978-1-78220-420-6
Reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn

 

 

Fiction of Dreams
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Fiction of Dreams: Design of Creation

“Dreams are governed by the universal sign of creation. They follow the principles of creation inherent in the strategies of genius, quantum physics, and chaos theory. Dreams cannot be understood completely if one applies a singular model of the mind” (page XV).

I have written about it in The Multiverse, a Dream Come True?.

And even though most of us dream lovers are charmed with the new scientific break throughs in cosmology, we still are not able to create a new way of working with dreams out of it.

That is not the intention of this book. But Otto still proposes a theory to explain human dreams and behaviour. His model has seven pillars.

Fear
Destructiveness
Love
Knowledge
Beauty
Power
Spirituality

And even though it’s quite complicated, I like the fact that Otto offers a model. In his beautiful, thorough book, you need a structure to hang on to.

This book made me think back at another interesting book that explored the theme of fiction and dreams. Philosophy, Dreaming and the Literary Imagination by Michaela Schrage – Fruh.

This book embraces a more philosophical standpoint, while The Fiction of Dreams can be read as a creative case study that aims to make a quilt of at least 7 pieces to keep you warm at night.

 

Fiction of Dreams: Who is the Dream Creator?

In his book Otto promotes a dream facilitator that is bigger than the individual mind. I’d have to fully agree with him on that issue.

He describes how Charles Steward in his book Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece has shown how dreaming was liked to economical circumstances and group feeling.

He gently hints, no almost seduces you, to open up to the idea that each individual dream is part of a universal dream quilt. And that the intent of such a quilt is to keep us warm and safe.

Fiction of Dreams: Freud

Otto’s admiration for Freud is a red theme across the chapters of the book. He honestly describes several cases he has had as a psychotherapist were ladies were as offended by Freud’s assumption of penis envy as I always have been.

But I must confess, the more I found out about Freud, the more I began to admire his mythological thinking mind.

In this book, Freud is honoured because of his prize winning poetry (he got the 1930 Goethe prize for literature.

fiction of dreams

 

And the book focusses on how dreams are stories. The Fiction of dreams. And he book is filled with incredible examples of precognitive dreams.

There is a dream about a lady who found out because of her dreams that she had jewish ancestry.

There is a dream about a son who grew up without his biological father. When he tracked him down, he recognized how several dream had hinted on his father’s profession and his half brothers and sisters.

PRO

This book is written with care, well researched and easy to read;
The cases used are very interesting;
The mythological background and the chapter about deities and Asclepius increases the yummy factor of this book.

CON

The way the 7 human drives are abbreviated in F + H + L + B + P + S was a bit confusing to me;
There are many (mostly male) writers discussed, who have written from dreams or in a dream-like state. But I could not find a theme, or strain of thought that connected them.

 

Enthusiastic and want to buy this book? The Fiction Of Dreams, Dreams Literature and Writing

Writing in the House of Dreams by Jenny Alexander

 

 

Writing has been important to me since I was a little child. I used to get moments of ‘possessed inspiration’. Moments that I needed a pen and some paper. When I put the pen down, words flowed out. Where a story just seems to present itself. As if it comes from another realm, just like a dream.

Those moments have gone, unfortunately. Possession has transformed into structure. Reading Writing in the House of Dreams, written by Jenny Alexander, brought back those memories.

This is a Mindfunda Book Review of: Writing in the House of Dreams
by Jenny Alexander
Five Lanes Press 2014
Kindle $ 4.17 Paperback $ 13.99

 

writing
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Writing in the House of Dreams Introduction

“If you are a writer interested in dreams, you will find here a guide to the dream world and a toolkit of techniques that you will need to explore it, such as how to recall and record your dreams, how to incubate a dream and how to tackle nightmares” Jenny promises the reader on page 9.

What a clever way of targeting your audience, I thought when I read that. I know that I am one among many dream-lovers who fantasizes of having her own book published.

writing

Writing in the House of Dreams is divided into three parts. It’s build up according to the hero’s journey. Jenny encourages you to cross the threshold in part one. She enthusiastically shows you around in your house of dreams in part two. Than she lures you outside in part three when she tells you that there is a landscape beyond. And finally in part four you need to take the jump into the Dream-space.

Writing as a Means to Cross the Threshold

“Babies in the womb display all the physical signs of dreaming, and so it seems that the dream is the first, before mother, father, family, culture. We are born out of the dream and emerge, still cocooned, into the magical world of childhood, where teddies can talk, fairies grant wishes and monsters hide in the shadows” (page 11).

Jenny is very clear about it. Dreaming is our natural state of being. Before we take our first breath, we are already dreaming.

writing
Art: Joseph Israels

“The call to dreams is a call to the soul. Writing fiction is similar to dreaming, but less intense. We enter the ‘writer’s trance’ and become, to some extent, our characters” (page 43).

The back ground story, that Jenny tells in an italic letter type, is how she has struggled with dreams. Having an exquisite dream memory and a traumatic past,  she talks about a recurring nightmare. We find out that where her talented older sister she has looked up to all of her life, suddenly commits suicide. Jenny feels lost now that her role-model apparently had been lost herself. What to do now? She visits several therapists and non of them can really help her deal with a recurrent nightmare.

The tide changes for her when her therapist advises her to read Patricia Garfield’s Creative Dreaming.

Each chapter has some very interesting exercises to improve your writing skills. For example, in the introduction Jenny suggests that each person three “seed stories”.

“Three random incidents you remember from your childhood can contain the seeds of all the stories in later life”. And she shares exercises that will reveal those stories to you.

 

Writing the House of Dreams

Once you have crossed the threshold and have re-acquainted yourself with the world of dreams, it is time to explore your house of dreams. To not only make yourself at home, listen to the voice of the dream however soft it whispers but also to hear to the cries of the beast in the basement…

writing

“Your dream is like a person sitting next to you on the bus journey through life. If you choose to ignore them and look straight ahead, you probably won’t even know what they look like, let alone what they have to say” (page 116).

Even though it is pretty basic stuff about the technique of dream incubation, Jenny is onto bigger realities. At the end of part two, she invites us to “The Landscape Beyond”.

Writing the Mythic Dimension

“We don’t dream in isolation. The dream is bigger than our personal unconscious” (page 142).

I think this was the moment that I fell deeply in love with this book. In my own mutual dreaming experiment (The Mutual Dreaming Model) and in the (online) dream groups I have facilitated, I have experienced that ether is something like a shared dream consciousness.

I dared to speak about it one time, at a Dutch Dream Convention, where immediately a concerned dreamer raised his hand and said: “but a dream tells you things only about yourself”. I felt lonely at that moment and agreed with him just to get rid of the “yes/no” discussion I knew that was going to follow.
So I was excited to read about someone who is gutsy enough to accept this asa given fact.

Myths and stories resonate with a particular area of your life. Jenny invites you to write about the Persephone situations in your life. Persephone, daughter of fertility Goddess Demeter was captured by the God of the Underworld, Hades.

writing
Persephone
Artist unknown

There she became Queen. She learned the art of communication beyond the real of the living. Her mother wanted her back. But Persephone had already decided that she was going to eat 6 pomegranate seeds. She had children, she became queen instead of daughter and she had very important position being the Queen of the real of death.

At one point in life we all have been in hell. And we have come back from it. Somewhat more bitter, somewhat less trusting. But all who have been there know exactly to just listen to our own inner voice. Even when it tells us things we don’t like.

I especially like the writing exercise in this part that concerns six of your favourite stories.

Writing into the Dream Space

A dream offers a gateway to realms beyond all human experience.

“For dreamers and writers, this feeling that the ordinary world is not as ‘real’ as it seems means that the world of imagination feels even more ‘real’. Rather than leaving the ‘real’ world and going off into flights of fancy, we move easily between realities, which are all products of the psyche” (page 207).

Jenny invites you to explore the idea that Anne Baring (Dream of the Cosmos) has also written about in such an inspiring manner. Is there a dream that is dreaming you?

writing

She shares some interesting ideas about her concept of the elasticity of time:

“Letting go of the idea of time as a line which travels in one direction has an interesting knock-on effect in terms of identity and the human journey”.

And my old friend synchronicity also appears in this book.

“As soon as you stop looking for cause-and-effect links on a line of time, you notice other links, things that are meaningfully connected, yet in a non causal way. Jung called this ‘synchronicity’.

Conclusion

PRO

I enjoy the exercise(s) at the end of each chapter very much. I will go back to all the exercises and see if I am able to rekindle that inspirational writing flow of my childhood.

I like the mythological approach very much. You can read the book as a personal record of Campbell’s Journey of the Hero.

I know that there are a lot of dreamers that long to write their own book, and this  book offers so many practical exercises to get the writing juices flowing again.

I admire the vulnerability with which Jenny writes down her story. It is honest. Nothing is brushed away or sweetened up.

CON

The information about dreams that Jenny shares, tips to remember dreams is for beginners. More trained and advanced dreamers do not need those tips.

Sometimes the personal stories in italic letters are a bit too long. I found my eyes sometimes scanning a story instead of reading it.

A very practical downside: it has no index. This makes it very hard to look up a certain concept you are interested in.

Enthusiastic? Click here to buy Writing in the House of Dreams

Best Books on Dreams 2017

What are the best books on dreams in 2017? And my question to you: what are the most inspiring books about dreams you have never read? Let me know in the comments because I love to get inspired by new books.

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You know I read a lot (I actually mean a LOT). I consider it to be a part of my self-development. I set aside at least one hour each day to immerse myself in the think-pattern of another human being. I taste it, feel it, play with it, sometimes get annoyed about it, sometimes it leaves me hungry for more…

Recently I sent out a mail to several people who I consider to be thought-leaders in their area of expertise, asking them to name me books that had inspired them.

“Let me think about that”, was the response I got from most of them. And a few actually mailed back some good books. And I will share them with you today.

Best books on dreams 2017

Robert Waggoner,  Past president of Th International Association for the study of Dreams, co-editor of the online magazine The Lucid Dreaming Experience

best books on dreams
Robert Waggoner

 

 

 

 

 

Robert says:  “When a distinguished researcher and Professor emeritus of psychology writes a book on dreams that seem clairvoyant, telepathic or precognitive, and research studies that support this, I pay attention.  This is a fascinating, thoughtful and well-written look at what science often refuses to look at, the paranormal dream”.

Robert is talking about the writer Carlyle T Smith. He is Professor Emiritus at Trent University Peterborough, Ontario, Canada and Director of Trent University Sleep Research Laboratories.

“Have you ever had a dream about someone you have not seen or heard from in months or years – and then later the same day you actually run into this person, or they telephone or write? You have had a Heads-Up dream” (from the website Heads Up Dreaming).

 

 

Deirdre Barrett , Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard, past president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams mentions an article instead of best books on dreams.

Deirdre Barrett

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article describes the discovery of the “dream spot“.

In a research of 46 persons the difference in brain activity was measured while dreamers were experiencing dreams in Rem and Non Rem sleep. The article, published in Nature Neuroscience, shows that there is a change in activity in a certain part of the brain called ‘posterior cortical hot zone’.

 

best books on dreams 2017

When waking people up while they had activity in that specific hot zone, no matter if the were in REM or in Non Rem sleep, they were experiencing dreams!

And what could even be more exciting: during wakefulness you also have similar activity in this dream spot. There is thin line between a blurry kind of wakefulness and dreams.

Now there is even more chance for scientists to resolve issues with insomnia or PTSD.

Stanley Krippner, Professor of Psychology on Saybrook University, known for his extensive knowledge of shamanism and mythology

best books on dreams 2017
Stanley Krippner

 

 

 

 

 

told me that he is impressed and inspired by Kelly Bulkely’s book Big Dreams. In his eyes it is one of the best books on dreams.

best books on dreams 2017
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Kelly Bulkeley pleads in this book to search for the so called Big Dreams. Those dreams that make a lasting impression and that chance your life.

Dream databases are filled with what I call “HTK’s”: House, Town and Kitchen Dreams. Ordinary dreams. And he wants us, but most of all other researchers to collect and research those big, life changing dreams and analyse them so we can draw conclusions about us, human beings a dreaming species.

Elaine Mansfield, Jungian author and inspirational blogger, who often gets inspired by dreams mentions a dream classic we all know as being the best book on dreams. This book has been on my bedside table for quite a while.

best books on dreams 2017
Elaine Mansfield

 

 

 

 

 

“I’ve done lots of dreamwork with Jungian analyst Robert Bosnak. I’ve also done trauma and healing work with him. His technique of connecting the dreamer deeply with the sensory dream images and embodying the images (rather than interpreting) transforms me every time.

best books on dreams 2017
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My favorite book of his is not new, but I listed it below. I love his technique of Embodied Imagination because you don’t have to be an expert to help a friend or partner with a dream—although it helps to be skilled. It’s about asking questions, slowing down the waking mind, and illuminating the images. Being with the dream. Bosnak’s technique was important in my marriage because it allowed us to do deep work together without stepping on each other’s dream toes”.

Bosnak has been an inspiration for me as well. If I had not been married, I would have sold all my stuff, and gone to America, to start working in his Santa Barbara Healing centre.  Even if he had not paid me (don’t tell him about this, because I like earning enough money to pay my bills), I would have helped and stayed around just as long for him to say: “Hey, that girl needs a job her, let’s sign her up, she’s doing good stuff”.

Another one of his books, the one that changed my way of working with dreams is Tracks in the Wilderness of Dreaming. What this book did for me was to make me aware that there are themes in dreams. Themes that evolve. And that you can  use dreams to carefully monitor how, and if you are changing. Now I have been never cutting up my dreams in words like he suggests but I always like creative suggestions. If you like dreams you’re going to love Tracks in the Wilderness and all the new ideas it has to offer (yes I know the book isn’t exactly new, but the creative ideas within it are timeless).

The Dutch Dreaming Society VSD has a president called John van Rouwendaal. (Did you know we might get another dream conference in the Netherlands in 2019? As we speak (or read) John is making calls, sending emails and coming up with new and creative ideas to make this one of the best conferences ever).

best books on dreams 2017
John van Rouwendaal

 

 

 

 

 

John mentions this as being one of his best books on dreams: Avision the Way of the Dream. “This book was suggested to me on the last Dutch Dream Conference in Rolduc. I have read it and it was very inspiring” he tells me in his mail.

 

best books on dreams 2017
Buy the Book using this link and Support the good work of Mindfunda

 

The author, Anthony Lunt was an advanced student of the psychiatrist R.D.Laing. Laing viewed mental illness as a shamanic process. Quoted from Wikipedia: “For Laing, mental illness could be a transformative episode whereby the process of undergoing mental distress was compared to a shamanic journey”. Anthony’s wife Anna received dreams that she interpreted as an ongoing educational process.

Another inspiring book that John mentions is Dreamtime, an aboriginal Odyssey by Nigel Clayton.

best books on dreams 2017
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It’s a story about myths and legends  about Aboriginal society. It’s only 61 pages and it sounds really like something I would enjoy very much. I might be tempted to buy it and write something about it for Mindfunda.

Susanne van Doorn, Dutch psychologist, blogger & author

best books on dreams
Susanne van Doorn, MSc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I doubted a long time if I would put myself on this list. I know I read a lot, but I am not famous. I do have you, my dear reader who follows me on my path to wisdom and self discovery. So I decided to add myself to the list, in the humble position of being the last one.

One of my definitions of an inspiring book is that you pick it up to read (parts of) it again.  For Mindfunda, I usually review semi-scientific dream books. One of my new favourite best books on dreams is Joseph Campbell’s The Mythic Dimension

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On page 207 (but the rest of the book is also fascinating) Campbell describes the process of kundalini in its ascending phases. I shave read Campbell’s analysis of the energy between Freud and Jung with the enthusiasm of a trembling virgin…

I had always heard that Campbell and Jung did not really get along, but this book sketches another vision.

Besides Jung and Freud, (there are Dream enthusiasts who get real tired about the Freud-Jung thing, even though in my eyes the Jung Freud paradigm represents the science – mythology paradox par excellence. Freud being the “scientific” one who was always out for reason. Jung, the spiritual one, who battled against the role of scientist), this book is filled with stories and mythologies that will make your hungry heart sing.

Mythology, the Goddess, symbolism, mythological themes in art and as a cherry on the pie a whole chapter on erotic irony and mythic forms in the art of Thomas Man. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it.

I am currently reading Mutants & Mystics, Science Fiction, Superhero Comics and the Paranormal written by Jeffrey J. Kripal.

I have been reading it, bit by bit, for quite some time now.  It’s pleasant and remarkable. Let me give a quote, about Palmer, an artist/publicist of strip science fiction books:

“Palmer’s first published story, “The Time Ray of Sandra’ in Science Wonder Stories was a classic example of the mytheme of Orientation, that is, it was a time travel story that involved a lost civilisation. He based the details of the landscape he wrote about on one of his many dreams (he claimed he dreamed every night and could remember his dreams in great detail), only to get a letter from a field guide in Africa who had just published a story and was certain the writer was one of the few people whom he had personally guided up the mouth of a river on the Atlantic coast of southwest Africa: the details were all precise. The guide simply did not believe Palmer when the teenager wrote back and confessed he had never been to Africa… If I the dreaming was true, why not the imaging? (page 97)

I promise that I will write a Mindfunda blog about it. I hope you enjoyed my blog, feel free to share and comment: tell me about your favorite books.

Healing the Nightmare Freeing the Soul

I had my last nightmare  in December 2008. I stand outside a hospital room looking in. there is a young guy waiting to get an operation. A black strap is around his chest.

 

Nightmare

The door opens, and in walks a surgeon with black curly hair. From the moment he walks in I know he is going to kill this nice young guy. I am standing outside, feeling completely helpless.

Than I see that the young guy has escaped: the bed is empty. I feel so glad! But where did he escape to? I scan the operation room with my eyes. Nothing. I look up to the ceiling and I see his eyes. He has managed to hide behind the ceiling.

nightmare

But the surgeon has followed my gaze and while I wake up I realize that he is going to kill the guy.

 

When I woke up I knew because of the emotional content of the dream that this was an important message. So i started to discuss the dream with a lot of people. But all I got was an interpretation that did not ring true to me.

Five months later I am in a hospital, at my father’s death-bed. Like anyone dying, his consciousness was fading. He was admitted to the hospital because of a lack of oxygen: just like the guy in my dream had a strap around his chest. I was whispering his name because i had read somewhere that people who are dying still can hear. He did not respond. I looked up at the ceiling while I asked myself: are you still here? And than it clicked. I had picked up on my father’s death five months in advance.

This dream has been a very powerful healing dream for me. Because of this dream I have found out that December is a powerful time to dream. Ever since that time I organize the online Holy Nights Dream Event. And I got more open to the ideal that there might be life after death: the boy escaped and his eyes, symbols of the soul where still visible.

This is a long introduction to a new Mindfunda book review.
Healing the Nightmare Freeing the Soul A Practical Guide to Dreamwork.
by Margaret M. Bowater M.A.
Calico Publishing, 2016, 40 New Zealand Dollar, that is about 25.00 euro or 28 $ with the current exchange rates of May 2017;
paperback ISBN-13: 978-1877429170
reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn

Healing the Nightmare Freeing the Soul

Margaret Bowater M.A., a lady with 30 years of experience in leading hundreds of dream workshops, has written a comprehensive guide for working with nightmares.

After reading it, I was impressed, because each chapter could have been a book in itself. Margaret has selected the most characteristic examples of each type of nightmare she has defined.

“Over three decades I have developed a step-by-step process that incorporates telling the dream, drawing it in its setting, identifying what the dream ego is doing and feeling, exploring associations, giving dream roles a voice to speak, creating new endings when the story is unfinished, and discerning how the dream connects with real life” (page 13).

The book is composed of three parts. Part one discusses the groundwork of dreams. Part two is about trauma dreaming and part three about spiritual nightmares.

Nightmare: The Basics

Part one of the book contains five interesting chapters about the groundwork of dreams and dreaming. You will come to know the six types of nightmares, the sleep cycle and suggestions for dream interpretation.

I especially liked and appreciated Margaret her insights on the dream setting. She gives eleven examples and I learned a lot from reading them. I’ll give you one example.

“A non-specific setting focused simply on the dream ego’s encounter with another being or object may indicate a close relationship issue, or a subjective aspect of the dreamer’s personality” (page 61).

nightmare
Art: James Zapata

I like the fact that she only ever so gently suggests exploring possible meanings in a certain direction. But this is not a dream dictionary. It’s is so much more than that.

Throughout the book Margaret displays a profound understanding of archetypes and how their energy manifests in dreams. I wish she will write a book about that some day.

Nightmare: Trauma Dreaming

Part two of the book is devoted to trauma dreams. Post trauma dreams of adults as well as of children. A chapter devoted to sexual abuse, and the final chapter is about physical and mental illness.

In this part Margaret uses vivid examples:
“I would dream that I was lying in my own bed at home, when two shadowy black figures would appear in the doorway… (page 97). Don’t we all recognise that? I do vividly recall how I dreaded going upstairs alone in the dark when I was a kid..

nightmare
Cartoon: Liz Climo

She uses archetypical symbolism: “The archetype of the serpent or snake has many mythological meanings, from sacred to satanic, but in all of them it is recognised as a primordial creature, linked with the origins of life” (page 113).

Healing the Nightmare Freeing the Soul will help you recognise how repetitive dreams and progression of trauma dreams all are factors to take into account when you work with nightmares.

Carefully unpacking the symbolism of nightmares in traumas can reveal the hidden treasures beneath each dark event.

Nightmare: Spiritual Gifts

The last part of the book is the most esoteric one. A nightmare can leave you feeling powerless, like my dream did. Such a strong emotion makes you want to look for a satisfying answer.

“Sometimes, however, there is another dimension to the nightmare, a sense of archetypical evil, belonging only partly to the dreamer’s memory but more to the mythological or religious level of the collective unconscious”.

It are quotes like this that make my hungry mind sing “tell me more, tell me more”. Not that I am particularly charmed by evil, don’t get me wrong. But there is but little attention for these kinds of archetypical energies.

In a very nice chapter about psychic dreams you can read about how psychologist David Ryback has composed criteria to analyse precognitive dreams (dreams that foretell the future).

One of the most charming stories was about a woman who was traveling and kept having dreams about her cat Coco crying in a very pitiful way. She had rented her house to other people and when the dreams consisted, she called them. They conformed that they had not seen the cat for several days but did not seem to worry about that.
The dreamer flew home and found her cat dehydrated, locked by accident i the ceiling space… Just in time to safe her life.

Conclusion

“I have a  dream of my own that sometime soon all health professionals, pastors, chaplains, teachers, social workers, caregivers and parents – really everyone who cares for other people – will learn how to use nightmares for healing, and value dreams in general for their insight and inspiration” (page 192).

I could not agree more.

PRO

A lot of the big names in the dream world are mentioned. For example: Deirdre BarrettErnest Hartmann, Gayle Delaney, Ann Faraday,  and Robert Hoss. In this way the book is a very good introduction to modern dream work;

Each chapter ends with a list of  self-help or how to’s;

Each chapter is written in an easy readable way, using lots of examples;

CON

Each chapter might have been a book of its own. I know this is a pro too, i really wish and hope that Margaret will put her wisdom on the writers’ table again to educate us further in her wealth of archetypical and mythological knowledge.

Mindfunda verdict:

8/10

 

 

Click to Read more about Nightmare on Mindfunda

The Ideal World: Is Science Going to Create it?

In an ideal world we would learn from the past and create a future that is based on the progress of science. Adolfo Plasencia talks with some of the biggest names in scientific research to shed more light on big questions like Is there a planet besides Earth where we could live on? What if robots became intelligent? and Are we able to touch the soul of Michelangelo?

A Mindfunda Book review of Is the Universe a Hologram? And Other Questions. Scientists Answer the Most Provocative Questions.
By Adolfo Plasencia
MIT, 2017, Hardcover $26.87 ebook $22.21 ISBN-10: 0262036010 ISBN-13: 978-0262036016
Reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn

 

 

ideal world
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Ideal World: Will Science save Humanity?

It is no surprise among lovers of mythology that one of the most modern mythological concepts is that science will safe humanity. In a lot of series you see a hacker that hacks into government and police data and gets the real villains arrested and the true heroes out of prison.

I think that the film the Matrix was the most explicit about it. In this film you saw both sides. The danger of a fully computerised world and how a hacker could turn this world aside so humanity could “wake up” to reality.

Morpheus and Neo Fighting
Matrix

In Is the Universe a Hologram? And Other Questions. Scientists Answer the Most Provocative Questions revolves around three themes:

  • The Physical World;
  • Information;
  • Intelligence.

And almost all of the scientists interviewed have connections to MIT: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Its mission (I have copy pasted it from their website): “The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century”.

Adolfo Plasencia, Spanish presenter of Tecnópolis and blogger on science interviewed 33 people about these subjects. By transcribing those interviews in book – form, you get an easy digestible book that covers very interesting topics.

Ideal World and Physical Reality

The first chapter of the book starts with an interesting discussion about the possibility of free will. The Western Culture assumes we act out of free will and therefore are accountable for our actions. This created a whole profitable range of Self help books ass well. But we like that idea. The comfortable thought that we determine our future.

ideal world
Cartoon found on Buzzfeed.com

Determinism is the believe that things follow laws, and are therefore predefined. Quantum mechanics challenges that idea:

“Usually when you observe something, we see that it exists and is well defined. Whenever we see a yellow object, we think that this is on ‘objective’ property the object has, which doesn’t depend on me. That is, when I am not watching it, the object still remains yellow. Now quantum physics, according to you, says, no: it says that some properties of the microscopic objects in the movement are not defined when they aren’t being observed and ably become defined when we watch it” (page 9).

ideal world
Cartoon Tom Swanson

Now that is a cliffhanger isn’t it? The book triggers your curiosity like that. You just want to know what people who understand much more of quantum mechanics as you and me do, say about the possibility of free will.

And what does the book say? That science does not know yet: “The fact that physiologically we still have not found and perhaps never will be able to see, evidence of free will and voluntary decision-making doesn’t mean that those things don’t exist” (page 277).

Of course there are many issues that are discussed in this first part of the book. How Moore’s law has come to an end. Moore’s law says that the number of transistors in a circuit doubles every two years.

How there is energy in a vacuum: the Casimir forces, how satellites help us to locate where we are and where we are headed, if there are other planets that facilitate human life.

Ideal World and Information

Part two of Is the Universe a Hologram revolves around information. The world is filled with data. In 1987, when I went to University, my professors carefully explained that information is data that you attribute meaning to. And back than, there was already a worry that we as human beings were flooded with data.

ideal world
Cartoon: Jef Stahler

In an ideal world you would only get the information you want to and be protected from data. Reading this book I found out that the brain works this way. A large part of the energy that the brain requires is used for inhibition. It means that the brain does not receive all data.

This part of the book focusses on the digital world we have created. Some use this world to escape the planet earth and create alter ego’s on social media. Other people come alive when using social media to connect with friends. Did you know for example that there are more smartphones that there are people on the planet?

ideal world
Cartoon: Mark Parisi

Tim O’Reilly (yes, the guy of the open source software) describes the alchemy needed in the present between the knowledge  of the past and the expectations of the future.

“As I said earlier, i think chance is natural and good. And I think there is a stress in modern life from the pace of change, and certainly there are people throughout history who have looked back to times when in theory, at least, the world was more stable and peaceful. If you want to be stable and peaceful, you can opt out of a technology society. There is nothing stopping you from doing so. However, I actually think that the excitement of having come to grips with the future is a good thing. For me, it’s a fabulous intellectual challenge” (page 215).

So in the ideal world we embrace the new challenges technology produces. Are we as human beings up for that challenge? The next part of the book tries to answer that question.

Ideal World and Intelligence

I have to tell you dear reader that this part was my favourite part of the book. With my training as psychologist I drool when a chapter is searching for the I in the brain.

I always have the notion ether is a little I in my brain that guides me whenever my blood sugar is low (diabetic type 1). I can do crazy things but at certain point in time a voice in my head says: “You need to test your blood sugar level, because you are acting strange”.

Did you know that science can perform magic? In the chapter where Adolfo Plasencia talks with Alvaro Pascual-Leone he talks about Transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS technique where the brain (an electricity device in our body) can be charged with electricity without opening the skull.

 

ideal world

 

William James, the father of psychology is mentioned several times in the book as a source of inspiration. And dreams! Yes dreams are also mentioned. the Spanish researcher Javier Echeverria uses the analogy of Plato’s Cave to introduce the way that internet has changed reality.

He tells us that the binary number system is based on the I Ching. Leibniz, its creator was fascinated by how the I Ching was a binary system and he got motivated to create a binary system.

“He discovered the binary number system some years previously during his correspondence with Joachim Bouvet, french Jesuit missionary who worked in China. They had sent him the I Ching, a system of symbols with various functions but which Leibniz realized had a strong formal relationship with his binary system” (page 317).

Javier Echeverria explains how not everything can be digitalized. He has tried working with dreams and even wrote a book about it:

“So digitilization is a mathematicization of everything intelligible?
On that, I have to say no. I’ll give you a very clear example of how digitisation does not mathematizice everything: so far it can not mathematize dreams. I tried to do it, many years ago in another book. Trying to mathemitize dreams was one of the things I’ve done in my life, but there are enormous difficulties. We all dream practically every day, but not all thought processes are digitizable, at least not yet” (page 318).

In the ideal world we could hook ourselves up to a dream-machine, record our dreams and look back in the morning. It will remain a utopia.

 

Conclusion

PRO

Pouring the content of this book in an interview format makes the content digestible and relatively easy to read.

It is a very informative and intelligent book about intelligence, consciousness, global warming, technology, matter an other things you and I are worried about.

You will learn a lot about a variety of interesting subjects, never a dull moment.

I like the mixture of technology, philosophy and psychology. This book has all the ingredients to become a classic, an encyclopaedia of the twenties of the twenty-first century,

CON

Only three women are in this book. I am not certain why this decision was made. I think the female vision on problems facing the world today might make the world a better place. Female researchers deserve more than a contribution of merely 10 percent in this book.

The promotion of the MIT Institute becomes a little dreary from time to time.

The subjects of the book are not for everyone. A reader has to have an explicit hunger for knowledge about the alchemy between technology, its limits and how it can affect the world around us.

I felt that the title was a bit misleading: I had expected to learn much more about the Universe as a hologram: the idea that while the world seems to have three dimensions in reality there are only two.

Mindfunda verdict:

7/10

Click here to buy Is the Universe a Hologram? and support Mindfunda.

Environment: 3 Ways a Place can Have an Impact on your Well Being

Grounding Religion. A field Guide to the Study of religion and Ecology.
Edited by Whitney Bauman, Richard Bohannon and Kevin J. O’Brien.
Routledge, 2017, $32.70 paperback ISBN-10: 1138194018 ISBN-13: 978-1138194014
reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn

environment
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#1: Environment the Power of Place

When I visited Stonehenge last summer, I felt the power of place. The stones, grey and giant, were statements of Mother Earth. How I longed to enter this sacred circle. You are only allowed to do that when you pay big money.

environment
Stonehenge
Photo: Jurgen van Nijnanten

Why was I so overwhelmed? First of all the stones where huge (sometimes size does matter). Second of all, the energy of the place felt like a sanctuary.

“The mapping of the sacred is always a mapping of social power… Sacred places mark “hierarchical power relations of domination and subordination, inclusion and exclusion, appropriation and dispossession” (page 104).

It was only after reading this book that I could get a grip on how many aspects are involved in the intertwining of Ecology and Environment.

environment
Cartoon: McHumour.com

I selected this book for a Mindfunda review because I was intrigued by the fact that religion is grounded in a specific place. Sacred Geography by Paul Devereux was the first book I read about it. The book Paul has written takes a shamanic perspective.

Grounding Religion is a book, aimed at students. I had not realized that when I requested the review copy. But I enjoyed this book and learned a lot.

It is written in an easy accessible language and has some interesting questions in each chapter that will enrich your way of thinking even if you have left college decades ago just like me.

 

Or as Thomas J. Watson said: “The Ability to ask the right Question is more than half the battle of finding the answer

 

 

#2: Ecology

Did you know that Ernst Haeckel, A German biologist, coined the term Ecology? He is also the first one who envisioned the evolution of species as “a Tree of Life“.

 

environment
Tree of Life
Haeckel

This book offers sixteen chapters divided over three parts. Part one is concerned about giving definitions. And as in many cases finding the one right definition for a concept is not possible. But the discussion in the book informs you of all the aspects involved in religion and ecology.

Part two makes things a little more personal. This part does not focus on the general definitions but on gender, on race and on the power of place.

Part three explores the Key Features like globalization and its devastating effects, animals technology and so on.

After reading this book, I felt like it opened a whole new concept of inter-relations for me. You as reader get a clear view on the multitude of variables that play a role in concepts regarding the environment.

 

#3: Environment Dreams Merapi Volcano

Each chapter discusses a case study. One of the most appealing case studies in my eyes is that of the Merapi Volcano.

Merapi volcano
Art: Raden Saleh

 

The Merapi Volcano is situated on the pacific “ring of fire”. Three of the major plates: the Eurasian, the Australian and the Pacific ocean plate. It is the so called “supermarket of disasters”.

“The interesting case is how science, religion and culture interpret these natural events differently, creating different and frequently conflicting approaches to deal with them” (page 51).

Mbah Maridjan was the spiritual gatekeeper who talked to the spirit of the volcano. In 2010 he was found death, killed by the hot ashes of the erupting volcano.

The BBC wrote about it on its website: “To us, Maridjan is as important as Merapi. Now that he’s no longer around, who’s going to look after Merapi?” Wanto, 56, a farmer, told AFP news agency.

The case study of this chapter contains an interview with Sumarno, a man who has the ability to hear the messages from the mountain. He describes a typical dream he gets before the volcano erupts.

“Me: Can you tell me why you have never moved away from your village during the eruption? Don’t you fear death?
Sumarno: I believe that anybody can die at anywhere, anytime…. I am always told in a dream what to do before the Merapi erupts.
Me: Who told you? The spirit of Merapi?
Sumarno: Usually an old man in a pious Muslim outfit (baja koko)… They come to me mostly after prayer (shalt).
Me: Merapi volcano is different from other volcanoes because it is extremely active, The dead people’s souls are taken by Merapi; they are working for Merapi*.

*I only quoted a only selected fragment of the text. Me refers to the writer of this chapter “Religion and Disaster: The Merapi volcano eruption” Najiyah Martiam

Your Environment: Conclusions

PRO

  • The book offers some nice questions that makes you re-evalute your surroundings. For instance: Does nature teach morality? and as writer Lomborg has suggested in The Skeptical Environmentalist: might the solution(s) to environmental problems we experienced today be embedded within technology? And isn’t it about time that theology reconsiders their view on animals?
  • I can only conclude that this book will trigger your mind. The assignments for students are appealing and all the books mentioned will make your book-loving heart sing.

The Death of Nature, by Carolyn Merchant shows how the dichotomy inherent in our culture has been an inheritance of the 16th century vision of the brute environment with the civilized culture on top of it.

On Animals by David Clough reconsiders the place of animals in Christian Theology.

Landscapes of the Sacred written by Belden Lane invites us to use our personal experiences to highlight “sensory exchanges” between places and people.

And these are just some examples. Each chapter is filled with numerous good references to interesting books.

  • The book is very easy to read. No difficult, dry definitions you’d have to plough through and re-read before you can understand what it is that the withers want to say;
  • The case studies are very interesting.

CON

  • It’s a book aimed at students. Even though it means that you get value for money: a lot of information about all the aspects concerning the inter-connectiveness of earth and religion.

 


THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independent site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

Mindfunda Free Give Away’s

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This posting is categorised as Dreamfunda:  
Everything you need to know about dreams. Practical How to’s, the latest scientific research, the most commonly used ways to attach meaning to dreams. This and more is given to you for your everyday use in this part of Mindfunda

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Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘#DREAMS‘?

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The Dream Interpretation Dictionary

The Dream Interpretation Dictionary. Symbols, Signs and Meanings.
by J.M. DeBord
Visible Ink, 2017, $16.50 paperback ISBN-13: 978-1578596379; kindle $16.09 ISBN-10: 1578596378
reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn

 

 

dream interpretation dictionary
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Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Reddit

When you remember a dream and it was emotional, you want to know what it means. It is a natural thing.

Jason DeBord is a dream expert who is also known as RadOwl on Reddit Dreams. Reddit is an online platform where people wo are a member can post their dreams and ask questions about them.

dream interpretation dictionary
Logo of Reddit Dreams

Another cool thing to know about Reddit Dreams is that it organizes “AMA” or Ask Me Anything” hours where a dream expert is invited and members are allowed to.. yes you have guessed right, to ask that expert anything.

Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Yes or NO?

In the field of “professional dream workers”, using a dream dictionary is a no-go. You need to dive into your own associations, and build up your own dream dictionary.

dream interpretation dictionary
Cartoon: awsome-tattoo-pics-edward.blogspot.com

It has to do with the way psychiatrists operated in the past. They where the “all knowing entities” and their interpretation of a dream was the only right one.

In the seventies of the last century, psychiatrists where pushed from their throne when it comes to dreaming.

Jason DeBord writes about this in his book: “Back than (in the mid-1990s), all I had to refer to were books written by psychiatrists such as Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. I’d wake up with a head full of dream memories and hunt around for anything to help me understand them.”

dream interpretation dictionary
Cartoon: Singer

 

“My approach is that dreams are stories told through symbolism and can by analyzed the same basic way you would analyse a novel or a movie. And your feelings can tell you more than anything else about your dreams… You are the best interpreter of your dreams; you just need to know how” (page xi).

dream interpretation dictionary
Cartoon: Bizarro.com

 

I always see dream as a sort of Rorsach test: whatever you see in it, tells you something about your own psyche. And a dictionary can give you a completely different vision on your original interpretation. I love that. I celebrate that. Or as my colleagues in the dream world say: a dream is multi-layered. And a good dream dictionary offers suggestions you can explore.

Dream Interpretation Dictionary: 2 Criteria

When I was preparing this blog I thought about how I could best show you, my reader, if and how this book could be useful for you.

There are already many dream dictionaries. Good ones like Ariadne’s Clue by Anthony Stevens but there are many, many more available.

What makes a dream dictionary stand out? For me there are two things. Let me know in the comments if you have other selection criteria, because I would love to hear them.

dream interpretation dictionary
Cartoon: Scott Hibuen

The first one is: does this dream dictionary tell me something I did not know already. You need to forgive my arrogance, but after interpreting dreams so long, most of the meanings of symbols are quite clear to me.

The second one is: does the dream dictionary invite me to explore my own emotions and associations? And unfortunately, most dream dictionaries lack in that department.

Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Example

I decided to use one of my own dreams to see if The Dream Interpretation Dictionary could live up to my standards. I choose a dream that falls into the category of often dreamed symbolism. It is a very simple dream. It features one of the most common dream symbols: back to school.

I am back at school and I need to put my bike away. Because the lesson is starting soon I don’t have time to put it away in the proper place, so I put it on the school square that in the middle of the building. This square is not used often, it can only be opened by teachers, who only do so on special occasions. But in my dream this square was accessible. I parked my bike and walked away with the intention of meeting the people I had an appointment with and I worried that my bike would be safe at this place.

The most important thing, as J.M. DeBord emphasizes, is my own interpretation. For me, school is about learning how to adjust to life. I get there on my own strength, using my bike. But somehow, now is the time to put my own way of moving forward aside and learn from other people. Another interesting feature in my dream is the square form where I park my bike with two wheels like round mandala shapes. Like there are two aspects of my psychology that help me adjust to the square, man-made world.

This interpretation is very general. Let’s get out the Dream Interpretation Dictionary and explore how this book can deepen my understanding of this dream. Does it offer me a new perspective?

Dream Interpretation Dictionary: School

Here is the list of symbols I have looked up in the book: School, Bicycle, Square.

School: “A school setting in a dream has a wide variety of possibilities for symbolism. The most obvious are related to learning and knowledge, but school symbolism extends much further to include topics such as authority, success and failure, social life, and preparation for adult life and career”* (page 347).

Bingo! That is why I sometimes use dream dictionaries: to get that different angel you had not thought off yourself. The last time I was at this square was at a high school reunion in the beginning of the century. I was at that square, standing next to the principle (a different principle as the one who was in charge when I studied there) and we were talking like equals.

dream interpretation dictionary
Cartoon: Bizarro.com

“A familiar school is more likely to represent something about that time of your life or what you experienced there*”.

There is no easy way to put into words what I learned in that period of my life (aged 12-18)… But if I have to relate it to this dream, I would say that, just like my bike has two wheels, my personality manifested in tow different ways.

As a junior I was self conscious about not being smart, and not beautiful enough to feel comfortable. I tried to adjust to girls in my class, who were only interested in boys, while I was interested in the nature of human consciousness. So I always was the odd one out.

In the second period of high school I found my own clan and dressed in a particular way, listened to “dark” music like the Cure, U2 and dressed in black. I still feels comfortable in black.

So what a wonderful way that this dream tells me that life is about balancing between those energies!

Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Bicycle

On page 50 J.M. DeBord writes about the symbol bicycle: “Since balance is required to ride a bike,, dreaming about riding a bike can relate to personal balance, such as balancing the psyche, balancing logic and feeling, and balancing work and play*”.

dream interpretation dictionary
Cartoon found on bike2power.com

“Bikes have strong associations with independence and free spirit. They are one-passenger vehicles powered by individual effort” (page 51).

Ai, yes that is true. I am a very complicated person to work together with. I usually have my own vision. My heart rejuvenated when I watched Steve Jobs tell a story about how he and his neighbour collected stones, put them in a machine and how the next morning they need up being perfectly polished.

Great work and great things are accomplished like that. You work together with other talented persons and ether is friction. But the end result is a much stronger product.

Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Square

“As a shape with balanced sides, the square is a symbol of strength and solidarity. Square shapes are closely associated with our material world, and in dreams they can connect with being grounded or materially secure” (page 365).

I had not thought about how a (material) bicycle is different from a car or any other form of transportation but this fragment triggered me to do that.

Cartoon Wand found on Gocomics
The Ultimate Square

 

I need to put away my bike, my way of moving forward in life on my own force. And I have no other option than to put it in a square, in a symbol of strength and solidarity. So in my eyes this dream tells me to unite with people. Search for, and connect with my tribe.

And I did so! Last year I became board member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.

Dream Interpretation Dictionary Conclusion

I can definitely say that this book meets the two criteria I defined in an earlier paragraph. The dream I used as an example has given me another vision, while I thought the dream was a walk in the park when it comes to interpretation. So yes, this dream dictionary tells me things I did not know before.

Now for the second criteria: does this book invite me to explore my own emotions and associations? Yes it does. And I think that is the Unique Selling Point (USP) of this book.

For example, this is what J.M. DeBord writes describing the concept of School: “Think expansively about what you learn. You can learn about yourself, another person, your limits, lessons in life and new skills. Life is a continual process of taking in new information and experiences and learning” (page 347).

PRO

  • This book offers a lot of suggestions to explore with each symbol that is mentioned;
  • You get invited to explore a particular symbol using your own experiences;
  • Some symbols are described at length. For example Shadow is described on three pages;
  • You can’t help but feel a lot of admiration for Jason who has so much knowledge about dreams and its symbolism.

CON

  • A dream dictionary is a dream dictionary. Nothing compares to hiring the expertise of a dream expert, like Jason or Susanne van Doorn. A dream expert can provide depth to the meaning of your dream you have not experienced before because he/she can tune into certain memories with the view of an objective observant.

* the definition in the book is more elaborate, these are just fragments I selected from the descriptions of the symbols

Mindfunda verdict:

8/10

Click here to buy The Dream Interpretation Dictionary and support Mindfunda.

 

I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming 

Woman Most Wild, 3 Keys to Liberating the Witch Within

Woman Most Wild, three Keys to Liberating the Witch Within
by Danielle Dusky
New World Library, 2017, $10.84 paperback ISBN-13: 9781608684663; kindle $13.51 ISBN-10: 1608684660
reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn

witch
Click here to buy the book and support Mindfunda


We are the living feminine, Sister, and we have a cosmically sanctioned right to check in and check out in accordance with our inner resources” (page 12).

Years ago I wanted to be part of a witches coven. I called the number, and an antagonised woman whispered to me: “Please don’t call me at work”. I knew at that moment that this was not the group for me. How can you be a witch and want to keep it secret? So you can imagine that my hopes grew into an internal flame when I got the review copy of this book. And indeed, I love it.

Witch Within

Twenty-five years  after the publication of Women Who run with the Wolves this book promises to help you unleash your inner Witch. Woman Most Wild is clearly inspired by this classic. The inner Wolf-Woman is celebrated as an ideal role model. This book does not use (mythological) stories as often as Women Who Run with the Wolves did. In this book you, as a (female) reader are spoken to in a very direct way by the writer, as if she is sitting next to you.

Danielle explains that there are not one, not two, but three keys to unlock the broom closet and fly away to kiss the moon.

witch
Cartoon: S media cache

 

Danielle says on page 4: “I call you out as a Witch but offer you no religion. Instead, what I offer you in these pages are glimpses of how your soft and perfect being may be infused with the marrow of ritual, magick, and circle-craft”.

In the book magic is spelled with -ck, it is the archaic spelling, not a typo.

“By magick, I mean both the mysterious interconnectivity of the cosmic web that permits alchemical changes in the human community and the outcome of your own agency in creating shifts in your world” (page 85).

This is a wonderful promise. You don’t only get to know yourself better, you also get the promise to learn some magic.

witch
Susanne dressed up as the World Wide Witch 
Photo: Bhaskar Banerji

 I like that. An affordable book, with 242 pages of practical advice and guided meditations.

Witch and the Inner Cycles

The three keys that Danielle Dusky describes, all have to do with (re)connecting with the cycles of nature. The cycle of the moon, the cycle of the sun, the cycle of the seasons, and the cycle of life.

I truly discovered the power of the moon after reading A woman’s Book of Dreams written by Connie Kaplan. It made me appreciate the connection between the moon and dreams.

witch
Illusion of the Square
Leonardo da Vinci drawing sketch

(Re)Connecting with the cycles inside your body and outside in nature, you will be confronted with inner pain. “A true healer promises nothing. She digs deep, calls forth, and busts open” (page 114).

 

The 3 keys to unlock your broom closet are:

  • your wild rhythm;
  • your wild ritual;
  • and your wild cycle.

 

Key #1: Witch and the Wild Rhythm

 

The wild rhythm is to be found in the moon, the sun and in the blood. I really like the thorough knowledge of cycles. This knowledge will help you hear the music to dance to while living your life.

witch
Photo found on Flickr

Danielle talks with ease about the cycles of the moon and how they affect each woman.

“Living in alignment with lunar changes will serve you so much more than living in accordance with any calendar. Your soul will be nourished every time you invoke the essence of a lunar phase, harnessing the warrior-woman energy of a new moon, the sheer, electric force of a full moon, the release and acceptance that comes with the waning phase, and the oh-so-potent thick void of a dark moon” (page 17).

witch
Cartoon: Calvin & Hobbs

With the same ease she talks about how the sun, the seasons affect each woman.

“While the moon calls you to surrender to your soul’s purpose on Earth, the sun begs you to remember your role in the cosmic dance” (page 35).

Finally  the chakra’s are discussed as another manifestation of the cycle of the body.

“The bones of our social structures are hard and masculine, but the marrow, my love, the juicy marrow is feminine. The bones have forgotten what lives and breathes inside them — the Maiden’s sensuality, the Mother’s generative creativity, and the Wise Woman’s intuitive knowing — but harvest the marrow, Sister, for you truly are a Woman Most Wild” (page 82).

Key #2: Witch and the Wild Ritual

Rituals are important for the human psyche. One of the best books I have read about rituals is The Power of Ritual, written by Robbie Davis Floyd and Charles Laughlin.

But this key describes a specific kind of ritual, one that constitutes magick. First of all, Danielle Dusky acknowledges how almost all contemporary women are too  busy (we have to take care of our homes, our jobs and our children).

witch

The rituals Danielle describes are filled with a wisdom that resonates with me as reader. If you are interested in creating magic, in healing (and honestly, who isn’t?) this book will be very useful.

Another very important point that is addressed is the mother wound. I know I have one. Even though I honour my mother for all the work she has done during her life, I always missed the feeling of being loved accepted and honoured by her. I have made a conscious effort to make my children feel blessed and loved.

“We women have suffered the loss of the powerful feminine divine. With deity presented to us solely in its male form, we stand as orphaned sis- ters who share the same wound. Very often this wound manifests in the unconscious placement of lofty expectations on our own human mothers; we are looking to them to ll a great void, a void they too feel as women, and a void that can only be lled with a thorough embrace of the divine feminine on a social level” (page 112).

Key #3: Witch and the Wild Cycle

The last key is the Wild Cycle. “I am calling you out now as a Wolf-Woman who can and will find her pack” Danielle promises on page 149.

witch
Art found on martinekenblog.tumbler.com

“The Witches’ Circle is unique in structure as well as function, with feminine energy bolstered through both deep communication and magick work” (page 154)

We can only dream about such a circle of supporting women and Danielle urges us to visualize such a circle into existence.

CONCLUSION

PRO

  • This is a book about healing: reconnecting with the cycles of nature;
  • The cycles of life are discussed in-depth with very practical exercises;
  • I am convinced that this book can help you hear the soft whisper of the tune of your own song;
  • If you are interested in discovering your personal myth, this book has some good exercises for it, like writing the story of your life as an epic myth titled “The Woman Most Wild”;
  • The book makes a promise with every key, which is not only clever marketing, it is also a very clear statement of what to expect before reading a segment;
  • If you are, or want to become a priestess you will appreciate the practices in this book.

 

CON

  • This is not a book for everyone. It is aimed at a specific target group of women. This can easily also be a Pro, I am aware of that;
  • Danielle Dusky assumes there is a predestined path for everybody to wake up to. This will not ring true for everyone, even though it is a charming and appealing assumption;

 

Mindfunda verdict:

9/10

 

Click here to buy Woman Most Wild, three Keys to Liberating the Witch Within and support Mindfunda.

 

I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming 

Heinrich Zimmer: Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization

Heinrich Zimmer was the father of contemporary mythology. He had a great impact on Joseph Campbell. If you want to know more about mythology as a manifestation of energy, this is the book for you to read.

This Mindfunda is a book review of:
Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilazation written by Heinrich Zimmer. Edited by Joseph Campbell, a republication by Princeton University Press.

 

Heinrich Zimmer
Click here to buy the book and support Mindfunda

Heinrich Zimmer, German had a great impact on Joseph Campbell. Campbell was a student of Zimmer. In 1940, long before Bill Moyers made his last name into something more than a can of convenient tomato soup.

heinrich Zimmer

 

Heinrich Zimmer in America

Heinrich Zimmer was German by birth and moved to America in 1940. Because he had written a critical article about American Indologists, he was not welcome. In the classes he taught at the Columbia university he only had a few students. The notes from those classes have been edited by Campbell in this book, originally published in 1946.

 

heinrich zimmer
Heinrich Zimmer

 

Joseph Campbell had the good taste to appreciate Heinrich Zimmer’s new visions on mythology. Interpreting gods as energies was ground breaking at that time.

The difference between mythology of the East and mythology of the West, one of the key points of Campbell’s mythological insights, originated from the thoughts of Zimmer.

On the darker side: it led to an endless devaluation of Western thought as being “material”, almost “diabolical” while the Eastern thought was idealized. Every person in the East was thought of as a philosopher, while the Western civilization was seen as greedy and ignorant.

In the seventies it led to a hippy culture of meditating people. Unfortunately, even though their intentions were good, the world is still an uncomfortable place from time to time.

Heinrich Zimmer: Indian Mythology

Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization tells the story about how energy transforms and shapes everything, but is never lost. The Wheel of Rebirth spins round and round in a never-ending cycle…

heinrich zimmer
Wheel of Rebirth

This thought is still inherent to the Western way dreams are interpreted. Usually every dream symbol is interpreted as a manifestation of the Self. A symbol is the energy of the dreamer that manifests in multiple forms.

“The maya of the gods is their power to assume different shapes by displaying at will various aspects of their subtle essence”But the gods are themselves the productions of the greater maya: the spontaneous self-transformation of an originally undifferentiated, all generating divine Substance” (page 25).

 

Heinrich Zimmer
Vishnu

It was exactly this interpretation of myth as a manifestation of energy that attracted Campbell’s attention.

Heinrich Zimmer: Symbols

Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization contains a wealth of information about symbols, just as the title would suggest to the potential buyer. You will not be disappointed.

The book is filled with information about animals like snakes, serpents, elephants (did you know that according to Indian lore, the first elephants had wings?) and birds. The Garuda, born at the beginning of time, flaps its mythological wings.

Heinrich Zimmer
The Garuda

The book will tell you about Shakti and Shiva as symbols for the inner duality. It will explain the three-fold manifestation of Indra: Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Maintainer and Shiva the Destroyer all constitute the wheel of life.

I just loved the fact that there even is a God(dess) dreaming up the Universe in Indian mythology, just like in Norse Mythology. I remember how much fun I had meeting this Goddess in the Lucid dream of my online Norse Mythology course (I might write a blog about that dream soon).

If you are into dreams and mythology, you are going to appreciate this book, there is no doubt about it.

A definite Go if you are looking for a good book that will add even more depth to your knowledge of mythology and symbols.

Literature

M. H. Case (editor) July 14, 2014: Heinrich Zimmer: Coming into His Own   Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.


THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independent site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Mythofunda:
“Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths” Joseph Campbell used to say. This part of Mindfunda shows you how your personal mythology can create peace in your life.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


(Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘#MYTHOLOGY‘?

The Body of Poetry: Sculpting Curves into Words

This is the last Mindfunda blog in my series about the body and it features the body of poetry. Female poetry to be more precise. This blog is a part ...
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Start of Spring: An Invitation to Dream an Ode to Freya

Let's celebrate the start of spring together! I want to invite you to join me on Mindfunda for a spring dream time celebration. This celebration is a part of my ...
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Joseph Campbell: 5 Secrets to Yield Your own Yoda

This is a Mindfunda book review about "The Mythic Dimension", a compilation of essays written by Joseph Campbell, dusted off and reprinted in a paperback. It will help you unleash ...
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Byung Chul Han: Agony of Eros, a Book Review

Byung Chul Han, South Korean professor at the University of Basil, knows about love. It is threatened. Eros is dead.
It is always good to start a book with a cliff hanger…

It was in A.D. 14–37 that the great god Pan was declared death by a sailor called Thamus. He had heard of his death in a divine whisper.

Byung Chul Han
Eros and Pan

With the death of the horned god Pan came the birth of theology.

And now Byung Chul Han, even though he is not sailing on a ship, has heard a similar divine whisper. The great god Eros is dead… And in this book he analysis love in every manifestation possible.

The Agony of Eros” from The MIT Press, published in 2017, originally published as “Agonie des Eros” in the series Fröhliche Wissenschaft by Matthes & Seitz Berlin.

.

 

Byung Chul Han
Buy the Book using this link and support Mindfunda

In seven chapters love is taken into the box ring. Dragged from depression to powerlessness, to pornography and emptiness, to nowadays superficial consumerism.

But it also triggers your mind. What is love for you? What are your feelings about porn? Is there love in politics?

Byung Chul Han: a Man’s Vision on Eros

 

Byung Chul Han
Portrait of Byung Chul Han
copyright S Fischer Verlag

Byung Chul Han is a man. (I know you start to laugh right now because it is so obvious). And it shows in his analysis and his texts. I can not help but wonder how a female philosopher would have taken on the challenge of the death of Eros.

Do you remember the film Pan’s Labyrinth? It is also a man’s vision on female initiation in a patriarchal society. Nothing would please me more as a woman’s vision on this subject.

Don’t get me wrong. i like this book. A lot. let me explain why in the next paragraph.

Byung Chul Han: The Other

Being a Jungian, I am always pre-occupied with the Self. Byung Chul Han is preoccupied with the Other (written with a capital O just like the Jungian Self is always written with a capital S).

Eros is a relationship to the Other situated beyond achievement, performance, and ability” (page 11).

Byung Chul Han
Cartoon: Rebel Circus

The Other is defined in Lao’s von Trier’s Melancholia how the Other brings you in a state of disbalance…

The Other-ness is also the fuel for erotic attraction between partners. And to fully conceive and appreciate the Otherness a death of the Self is in order. That does remind you of the words of Joseph Campbell, doesn’t it? How he spoke of marriage as death.

The agony of Eros, the depreciation of the value of Otherness, lies in the unification of contemporary society. Or what Byung Chul Han calls:  “the inferno of the same” at every turn .  

Conclusion

This book is not for everybody. It assumes a vast knowledge of philosophers and films that not everybody will have.

But it is an excellent work out for your mental muscles. How does Byung Chul Han differ from Joseph Campbell for example? Joseph Campbell, seems to contradict Byung Chul Han because Jospeh assumed that society in the middle ages had discovered eros. In his interviews with Bill Moyers he talks about how in the 12th century love was re-invented by the troubadours. They spread the word about this new standard for eros and marriage very rapidly.

Byung Chul Han suggests that we now have buried love/eros. In a time with multiple divorces it seems like we have gotten back to pre-medieval times. I certainly hope we have not but what do you think? Let me know in the comments.


THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independent site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Mythofunda:
“Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths” Joseph Campbell used to say. This part of Mindfunda shows you how your personal mythology can create peace in your life.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


(Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘#MYTHOLOGY‘?

The Body of Poetry: Sculpting Curves into Words

This is the last Mindfunda blog in my series about the body and it features the body of poetry. Female poetry to be more precise. This blog is a part ...
Read More

Start of Spring: An Invitation to Dream an Ode to Freya

Let's celebrate the start of spring together! I want to invite you to join me on Mindfunda for a spring dream time celebration. This celebration is a part of my ...
Read More

Joseph Campbell: 5 Secrets to Yield Your own Yoda

This is a Mindfunda book review about "The Mythic Dimension", a compilation of essays written by Joseph Campbell, dusted off and reprinted in a paperback. It will help you unleash ...
Read More

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Learning Difficulties Can Be a Chance to Excel: The Power Of Different

If you have, a child with learning difficulties, like I do, you have experienced the same heart ache. You know the feeling of disappointment and anger against the system. Why do schools always stay the same, while everyone has agreed that we have lost the connection between education and the real world?

This Mindfunda is a book review of The Power of Different, The link between Disorder and Genius written by Gail Saltz M.D. April 2017, Flat Iron Books, ISBN 10987654321

 

learning difficulties
Buy the book using this link and support Mindfunda

 

Learning Difficulties: 80 % Dyslexia

It took years before I pushed the school my oldest son was in, to admit that all their remedial teaching had been in vain. I arranged an official test, and my son was dyslexic, just as I had suggested for years. My little man cried his eyes out. He was different and being different is bad.

Gail, in The Power of Different, admits that labels are not good for anybody. But DSM V, even though it is under heavy scrutiny, demands a label to be put on a “patient”.  Labels are by definition limiting.

learning difficulties

 

 

We all know someone with dyslexia: Richard Branson. He had a wonderful April first prank, as he declared he wanted to start the first dyslexia sperm bank. But starting May second 2017, the website he promotes in his film in the blog Made by Dyslexia will be dedicated to positive sides of this learning challenge.

Learning Difficulties: ADD + ADHD

Did you know that nearly 8 % of all children between 3 and 17 get the disgnosis ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)? We all knew someone special that had it: Robbin Williams.

learning difficulties

ADD is like your mind is a racecare using bicycle breaks. The brain is not inhibited, nothing stops the flow of thought.

It is such a relief when you read a quote like “neither therapy nor drugs will render the brain permanently “normal”. And given the remarkable linkage between attentional deficits and extremes of originality, we shouldn’t desire to flatten out those differences”. I hope more experts sin the field think about it this way.

Learning Difficulties and the Power of Different

There are seven types of labels described in this book: dyslexia, distractibility, anxiety, melancholy, bipolar disease, schizoid personalities and autism.

Usually, in our current educational system, the rules are too strict to make those children shine. Often they end up with big holes blown into their self esteem.

 

 

When you read the book, you can’t help but recognizing some of the behaviour described. But what makes the book an asset to your book closet is that it makes you wish your brain was wired in this ways as well.

Being so creative, so artistic and so unique that you can make your mark on this world.

Conclusion

PRO

  • You will read the book effortlessly, it is well written without the use of difficult scientific terms;
  • Each chapter is build up out of the same paragraph structures: the diagnoses, what it mean, the experience, challenges, developing work arounds, the gifts of and how to flourish… It makes the book consistent and it guides your expectations while reading it;
  • I especially liked the “How people with … can flourish” section of each chapter. It gave me a lot of confirmation about things I already do, “like only listen when people tell about their problems, don’t solve it for them”  but also gave me good insights to the strong points of -for example dyslexia: recognizing how my oldest son is indeed so very good at seeing the whole picture, while I get lost in details.
  • It is a practical book but it is based on neurological insights into the brain. If you love neurology as much as I do, you will like this book;
  • Almost every parent realizes how ancient the school system we use has become. This book is filled with stories of parents bold enough to speak up and make chances. This can be the reinforcement you need to try to make things in the life of your child better.

CON

  • There is a content page that only gives the title of the chapter, not the different paragraphs in them. It is a shame, because the book is set up in such a clever and structural way;
  • On a personal level: I get a bit bored when Einstein its dragged out of his grave again to serve as an example of someone with a brain disorder. Even though I know that he did not have a usual brain (see the fourth dot in this blog The Human Brain by Rita Carter), he was never diagnosed in an official way;
  • One thing I missed in this book: there is no mention at all of the book by Richard Soul: ADHD Does Not Exist The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder;
    I would have loved to hear Dr. Gail her ideas about that;
  • This book is especially interesting when you are dealing with a child/friend/spouse who has one of the ‘disorders’, so it is for a specific target group. This can be a pro as well.

Mindfunda verdict:

8/10

Do you like this post? Feel Free to Share

I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming 

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THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Brainfunda:
articles and relevant information about the brain about how you can use this in your everyday life. Neurology, the brain all the fascinating things we find out in current research.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘NEUROLOGY‘?

3 Facts about Sleep Apnea

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The Ideal World: Is Science Going to Create it?

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Ramon y Cajal: Father of Neurology and his Vision on Dreams

Today's blog is dedicated to Jordi Borras, one of the best dream workers in Spain. A Book review of The Dreams of Santiago Ramon y Cajal by Benjamin Ehrlich Oxford ...
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Who thinks Dreams have a Place in History? A Review in 4 Questions

If you think back at your history lessons at school: they where all about facts. But what if history is studied as a combination of historical facts combined with dreams, spirit possession rituals and dancing performances?

Question #1: How does history change if you look at dreams, and contemporary rituals?

This is a book review of Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece
by Professor Charles Steward PhD
University of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (March 31, 2017) ISBN-10: 0983532222 ISBN-13: 978-0983532224, Kindle $16.88, Hardcover $27.08, Paperback $22.50
Reviewed by Susanne van Doorn

 

To investigate this question, Charles Stewart, Professor of Anthropology at University College London, interprets history as a social relationship.

history
Cartoon: Bill Watterson.

It is one of the books I recommended for you to read in this blog about interesting books to be published the first quarter of 2017. But this is actually a digitalized version of the first print in 2012. And I am so glad we get a chance to re-read and appreciate this book!

 

history
Buy the Book using this link and support the good work of Mindfunda

History: A Case Study

The book is a case study about the Greek village Kóronos. A village on the island of Naxos, dedicated to pilgrimage.

“During 1930, the dreams of Katerina Levaki, Nikiphoros Legacies, Evdoka, Marina and other oneirevamenoi (Susanne: this is a complicated word for people who explore dream worlds) shaped a myth. The myth validated dreaming as a conduit for receiving true messages from the beyond and the reality of the saints who actively communicated with individuals. Application of the term myths draws attention to the power of the narrative to shape and guide aspirations in Kóronos” (page 112).

history
The Narrative of a Lot of Cats

 

The story, as told in this book starts in 1830 and ends in 1990, when a church is build in dedication of the Panagia, the All Holy or Virgin Mary

 

History: Let’s get Personal

While reading this book, I was thinking about the power of narratives.

Question #2: What is the story I tell myself?  And how does this shape my dreams?

How do my dreams shape my narrative, my comprehension of the world and the social relationships I am dealing with?

In Kóronos, the Panagia came to visit in dreams of three shepherds…(that alone reminds you of the story of Christ), telling that there where icons buried. Those icons depicting her that had to be traced. This happened in the 1830’s, during the war of Greek Independence.

history
Panagia

 

If you are living in a land that is struggling to regain independence, you need a mother. A benevolent mother that is there to protect and guide you .

Question 3: Have you ever had dreams that reflect the political situation in your land? 

When reading this book, I remembered a dream I once had about an extreme right politician, Pim Fortuyn, in his grave… Mud was pouring all around him. In waking life he had been assassinated.

History: Mutual Dreaming

The second part of history examined in this case study is the period around 1930. In this time of economic depression, a number of people in the town of Kóronos started to receive dream messages again.

Marina and other dreamers dreamed about an icon of St. Anna, the mother of Mary. It was buried in a mountain and finding it would bring prosperity. In the 1930’s there was a great economic depression that affected a lot of people in a very negative way.

And at this time there is number of dedicated dreamers who tries to “tune into” finding this icon. Because we all need divine intervention.

history
Contemporary Mutual Connections
Cartoon: Tim Whyatt

 

The dreamers would gather the villagers to come and listen to them, as they prophesied and tried to connect with the holy spirit.

This part of the book inspired me to ask question #4:

Is dreaming a social process?  Let me know your answers in the comments.

History: Building the Church

In the mid ’90’s of last century the dreams in the city of Kóronos led to the building of the church of Argokoli

history
Church of Argokoili
Photo Nayta Kuinka

 

 

This book shows you how perceptions of temporality and caution went from prophetic in the years round 1830, to apocalyptic in the period round 1930, to rational and historicist in 1990.

CONCLUSION

PRO

  • This book suggests that dreams are a mode to discover novel information about the past;
  • Charles Stewart has done thorough research;
  • Especially interesting is his study of the 1930 dream diaries;
  • If you are, like me, interested in dreams, this book will be a wealth of information;
  • This book makes you aware that there is a recursive relationship between events and structures, that is reflected in dreams.

CON

  • Sometimes Charles says the same thing in different words. Eloquent words, nonetheless, but the point has already come across.

Mindfunda verdict:
8/10

Do you like this post? Feel Free to Share

I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming 

NEW COURSE: START OF SPRING: NORSE MYTHOLOGY:

In this four lesson course, that starts this spring, you will get access to:

  • An opportunity to learn about Norse Mythology;
  • You will get 4 dream incubations;
  • You will get access to a Facebook group where you can learn from others and add value yourself about the things you have learned during this course;
  • You will get 4 weeks of intensive training in how Norse Mythology plays a part in your life and your dreams;
  • A lesson about Freya as Goddess of Spring;
  • A lesson about Odin and the Life Tree;
  • A lesson about Loki, the eternal Trickster;
  • A lesson about the Dreaming Goddess, Creator of the Universe.
ARE YOU READY TO JOIN ON MARCH 20?
 

THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Dreamfunda:  
Everything you need to know about dreams. Practical How to’s, the latest scientific research, the most commonly used ways to attach meaning to dreams. This and more is given to you for your everyday use in this part of Mindfunda

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘#DREAMS‘?

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We hate Spam as much as you do, your information is safe with us and we will not provide your data to others. To authenticate you are human, you are kindly asked to opt-in on periodic updates as the Mindfunda Monthly.

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New Course: Start of Spring: Norse Mythology:

 

In this four lesson course, that starts this spring, you will get access to:

  • An opportunity to learn about Norse Mythology;
  • You will get 4 dream incubations;
  • You will get access to a Facebook group where you can learn from others and add value yourself about the things you have learned during this course;
  • You will get 4 weeks of intensive training in how Norse Mythology plays a part in your life and your dreams;
  • A lesson about Freya as Goddess of Spring;
  • A lesson about Odin and the Life Tree;
  • A lesson about Loki, the eternal Trickster;
  • A lesson about the Dreaming Goddess, Creator of the Universe.
ARE YOU READY TO JOIN ON MARCH 20?

 

Joseph Campbell: 5 Secrets to Yield Your own Yoda

This is a Mindfunda book review about “The Mythic Dimension“, a compilation of essays written by Joseph Campbell, dusted off and reprinted in a paperback. It will help you unleash your own inner Yoda.

The Mythic Dimension, Selected Essays 1959-1987
by Joseph Campbell
Edited by Robert Walter & David Kudler
New World Library 2017 ISBN 9781608684915 $13.47

 

joseph campbell
Click here to buy book and support Mindfunda

 

Joseph Campbell: the yoda of george lucas

Joseph Campbell brought mythology to the American people. His interviews with Bill Moyers, broadcasted in 1988 as “the Power of Myth” appealed to people. The easy way Joseph Campbell spoke about myths, compared myths as answers to worldwide challenges of the human race, it hit a core within a lot of people.

 

joseph campbell
Cartoon: Lowe

 

George Lucas, director of the Star Wars episodes, called Campbell his own Yoda. They met in 1984, and Campbell and his wife Jean visited the ranch of Lucas to watch three Star War films. Joseph allegedly said: “‘You know, I thought real art had stopped with Picasso, Joyce, and Mann. Now I know it hasn’t.”

It was George Lucas who introduced Campbell to Moyers and made the interviews of “the Power of Myth” possible.

Unleashing your Yoda by Joseph Campbell tip #1

Everything is a metaphor

It might sound simple, but please don’t shrug your shoulders. Do you know how much your perspective on the world changes once you see everything, including yourself, as a symbol, a part of a greater unity of meaning?

“One of the most effective ways to rediscover in any myth or legend the spiritual ‘tenor’ of its symbolic “vehicles” is to compare it, across the reaches of space, or of time, with homologous forms from other, even greatly differing traditions” (page 201).

If you look at the story of your life and consider yourself a metaphor, which one would it be? What is the first thing that pops up in your mind? Let me know in the comments!

UNLEASHING YOUR YODA BY JOSEPH CAMPBELL TIP #2

There is such a thing as a mythical archetype

We all know archetypes. Images we know universally, like the old wise man. But before I read this book, I had never realised that there are specific archetypes that indicate mythological themes.

Joseph campbell
Image: seanbolton.me on pinterest

 

The Tree of Life is an example of a mythological archetype.

How does this make your life easier you might ask? Well, according to Campbell: “Like life itself, such mythological archetypes simple are” (page 234).

But now you are going to be disgruntled with me. We have uncovered mythological archetypes just to find out we are not supposed to do anything with it. That takes me to tip #3.

UNLEASHING YOUR YODA BY JOSEPH CAMPBELL TIP #3

East is different from West

Thinking that we have to act all the time to change our fates, our lives and turn things around for the better is not always necessary. Campbell clearly distinguishes a difference between East and West.

“Oriental Mythology”: “the rich yet essentially unified major province represented by the philosophical myths and mythological philosophies of India, Southeast Asia, China and Japan-to which should be joined the much earlier yet spiritually related mythological cosmologies of archaic Mesopotamia and Egypt” (page 19).

This mythology assumes a cyclic view on life. “there was never a time when time was not, nor will there be a time when time will have ceased to be”.

 

joseph campbell
Cartoon: Cuyler Black

 

Ha, but now you are going to say (and that why I love you reader): we in the West have adopted an Eastern religion. Yahweh was a god of Israel. An old god who originated in the Iron Age.

The difference between East and West in a mythological sense is in the fact that the Western god is a person, while the Eastern god is and energy.  The Western god is a person that is easily offended, kicks people out of paradise and puts a ward outside to make sure they will never get back in again.

The Eastern religions encourage people to embrace the energies within and enter the paradise, not after death but in waking life. By meditating, by eating certain foods, using certain herbs and acting in specific ways.

So what can we learn from Campbell: put all religion in its historical perspective.

UNLEASHING YOUR YODA BY JOSEPH CAMPBELL TIP #4

Mythology has 4 functions: mystical, cosmological, sociological and psychologic.

The first is a mystical function. 

Mythology reconciles consciousness with the preconditions of its own existence. Life sucks. Good news is: it sucks for everybody, there are no exceptions. Mythology helps you to make sense of the earth, the injustice in this world, it helps you come to terms with the fact that you have to kill to stay alive.

 

joseph campbell

 

The second is a cosmological function. 

Mythology offers an image of the universe and your place in it. “All things should be recognized as parts of a single great holy picture, an icon as it were: the trees, the rocks, the animals, sun, moon, and stars, all opening back to mystery, and thus serving as agencies of the first function, as vehicles and messengers of teaching” (page 220).

The third is a sociological function.

Mythology paints a picture of the cosmos and in doing so they paint your place in it. A mythology serves as a rulebook for social behaviour.

joseph campbell

Think about how in the bible there are the ten commandments of Moses: those are social rules that guide people to live together in relative harmony.

The fourth function of mythology is psychological.

This lies at the root of any myth. Each mythological tale can shape you as a person. Human beings are young relatively long. All of a sudden you are supposed to take care of yourself. You go from a place were you take orders from your parents and follow their rules to a position were you are the one solving the problems.

You have a second social birth: you need to manifest yourself in the world and understand the rules. And those rules are often unwritten. Rules like: greet everyone you meet on the street, don’t offend your boss/husband/wife, laugh when you are the subject of a joke…

UNLEASHING YOUR YODA BY JOSEPH CAMPBELL TIP #5

Dreams are our personal myths

As stated above, mythology has a cosmological function. The cosmos is filled with mysterious energies. Campbell describes it as a “sphere”.  The Dream Consciousness is such a sphere.

“The deities of vision are of this sphere and of the same luminous stuff as dream. Accordingly, the vision and the visionary, though apparently separate, are one, and all the heavens, all the hells, all the gods and demons, all the figures of the mythic worlds, are within us as portions of ourselves -portions that is to say, that are of our deepest primary nature, and thus of our share of nature” (page 212).

So dear Mindfunda reader, dream on!

CONCLUSION

PRO

  • This is a yummy book. Easy to read, enjoyable, entertaining and you will learn a thing or two underway;
  • There is a whole chapter on the Goddess;
  • The first part of the book puts mythology in a historical perspective;
  • The second part of the book puts mythology in a creative perspective;
  • Both perspectives give you new perspectives on mythologies: even when you thought you knew Joseph Campbell by now, this book can be regarded as a groundwork of his whole work.

CON

  • Campbell’s monomyth is a bit dated. Campbell was cherry-picking and constructing his hero myth. He died 33 years ago, mythology has moved on now;
  • The hero story is a male story, it is not particularly tuned into the female gender.

Mindfunda verdict:
8,5/10

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I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming 

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THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Mythofunda:
“Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths” Joseph Campbell used to say. This part of Mindfunda shows you how your personal mythology can create peace in your life.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


(Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘#MYTHOLOGY‘?

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4 Features of the Dreams of the Crone

 

I would like to thank editor/co-writer of this blog, Christian Gerike, M.A

Lidia Adaman-Tremblay is a wise woman, a Crone. The path of life for a woman, is to travel through all the stages of the Goddess: the young and fertile Maiden, the nurturing Mother and the wise Crone. A Crone is a woman who has been through hell and back, and on her travels she has gained secret knowledge.

The Moon is connected with the Goddess. The Moon grows each month, from young maiden into full moon-mother, than diminishes again, to vanish out of the sky, only to be reborn again after a period of complete darkness.

Crone

This blog is a Mindfunda Book review of a dream journal.

MY NIGHT LIFE: 2016 Dreams and Meditations
Lidia Adaman-Tremblay
Lulu 2017

This is a very personal book, with notes of Lidia her dreams. I will pick some very interesting dreams to show you the Four Features of dreams of the Crone. Let me know in the comments if you agree with those 4 features of the Crone. Did I miss one?

The Crone and invisibility

Older women are considered to be a nuisance. In the book Aging and Becoming, written by Susan Scott and Susan Schwartz, there is a moving story about the way women, while aging, start to feel like they are invisible.

crone

 

Of course, we are all emancipated, but we do miss male appreciation once we get older. It is difficult to cope with because, on the one hand, you don’t want to be bothered by the lack of male attention. You are grown up, independent and not interested in flirting any more. You are way beyond that.

But on the other hand, there is this nagging feeling in your heart. You feel like an era has gone. It has slipped through your fingers and you did not even notice that time was of the essence.

This stage of a woman’s life is very well portrayed in this dream of Lidia:

“The Maiden is being initiated into womanhood. The public ceremony proceeds (I remember little of this), and The Maiden is covered with a long white shroud, as though she is being prepared for a funeral.

Throughout the whole procedure, I am starting to feel angry and upset. Part of me stands aside and observes the ritual, which is gentle and beautiful. This part of me recognizes the importance of each element. This part is also observing what is happening within me, the rise of these emotions, and is asking, “Why? Why is this happening?”

People ignore me and a murmur of approval wafts from them. No one seems to even see me or react to me, and that one small part of me which is still objective is shaking its head, asking me what has caused this breakdown (page 119)”.

As the Maiden is being prepared for her grave, she is unveiled. Youth is gone, there is nothing more to hide now.

Ha! You dear reader are going to notice how I just explained the invisibility of the Crone with the unveiling of the Maiden. But that is alchemy!

By disrupting the process, the crowd shows so little respect for the Maiden that the Crone needs to get upset. The Crone needs to help the Maiden. This is one of the initiations a woman has when she enters the kingdom of the Crone.

THE CRONE AND Animal Energy

Coming of age, each woman has to have acknowledged and balanced out her animal side. Here is a dream that clearly shows this balancing process.

Crone

“Suddenly, all kinds of animals appear before and around me. Thousands and millions of them. They part around me, and I see them all – rhinos, elephants, every type of bear, dogs, wolves, foxes – they come at me in waves – now the lizards, snakes, scorpions, – more and more of them rumble, slither and fly around me.

I hear a voice from somewhere saying, ‘And thus will balance be restored’, as though it’s an old Cecil B. DeMille spectacular movie with the voice of God ordering Noah or Moses. But this voice is different – it’s neither male nor female, or maybe both. Not thundering, but gentle and caring. After hours or centuries of seeing this rush of animals, the last one I see is a stick-like light beige insect on the hide of an elephant – or perhaps my wall. I recognize that nature, from the trees to all the animals have been given their right to exist, pushing humanity out of its arrogance into the folds of natural existence, pushing us off our self-made pedestals” (page 276).

The animals indicate so many aspects of ourselves. Here I see the enormous number of animals indicating three things:

  • within us we have an infinite amount of characteristics that are innate to our being and come to us through the process of having evolved from “lower” stages of animals, characteristics of being animal that are still with us;
  • the characteristics within us can all be represented by animal, the power of the lion, the grace of a bird, the agility of the monkey, the cleverness of the fox, animals represent all these and more within us;
  • all these aspects of ourselves are also present in the animal world and we are connected through our inner states to those animals in the outer waking world, each animal representing a different characteristic for which they are the archetype for and which have a corresponding symbol within us;

The animals come in waves, to me that is a clear indication that this dream refers to inner energy, what are your thoughts about that? What does a certain kind of animal tell you about your connection to the outer world?

The crone and THE teaching of isis

Isis was the Great Mother Goddess. She was celebrated in Egypt. In their book The Myth of the Goddess, Anne Baring and Jules Cashford write:

“Isis was the greatest goddess in Egypt and was worshiped for over 3,000 years, from pre-dynastic times – before 3000 BC – until the second century AD, when her cult and many of her images passed directly on to the figure of Mary” (page 225).

And Lidia shares a phenomenal dream about Isis. Such dreams tell you that you have embraced the Crone.

“I am with a group of women. We are all dressed in long white gowns, and are in a large open space under the blazing sun. The earth beneath our sandaled feet is parched and dry, but with a deeply etched labyrinth clearly seen. Some of the women are setting up candles and incense at certain points within the Sacred Circle.

crone
Isis by Laurence Bernier

 

Candles glitter like diamonds, the incense smoke curves into a sphere, making me heady with the rich scent. And I take my first steps along the twisting pathway…” (page 26).

Ah, don’t you love that dream? The white gowns of rebirth, the labyrinth of life. We all wish to arrive at that stage of our life that we can see our path as a labyrinth, to know that we are on the right path, a path that leads us unerringly to our Center and then back out.. To walk a labyrinth, you must have intuition, reason and trust. What a gift, the Crone has to give!

Crone and animus

The last Feature of Crone Dreams is the way they embrace animus energy. The animus is the male-part in any woman. I have created a Mindfunda Movie about male and female initiation in our current society. It features two films about male initiation: The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction and two films about female initiation: Girl Interrupted and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Crone

 

This dream of Lidia gives a perfect example of this inner male/female balance.

“I’m with a group of people who are so androgynous I become quickly confused as to who is who here. Their fluid sexuality presents each with equal male and female aspects. One of them approaches me and says that we are to be married. ‘Oh really,’ I think to myself, ‘since when?’ Nevertheless, I know deep inside me that this is true, that somewhere back in time, we two were pledged to one another.

We walk away from the rest of the group. At first this person presents himself as solidly male. Dressed in a white suit with a burgundy shirt, he walks with a gait and speaks as any man would. For a while I don’t ask any of the questions that are crowding in my mind, but then, after a while, I enquire, “Are you truly a man?” (page 195).

That is one of the cool things of getting older. Genderbending is a hobby of many elderly people. We just don’t care so much anymore about being gender specific.

Conclusion:

PRO

  • This book is best used as resource of dreams. A dream well that allows you to see what kinds of different dreams there are compare themes to their your dreams;
  • The author provides no interpretations to the dreams, this is a chance to try one’s hand at seeing if there is an obvious meaning to the dream itself, in-and-of-itself, without connecting to anything in the waking world. In short, can a dream stand entirely on its own and still have meaning? And, what if these were your dreams? What feelings, thoughts, emotions, body sensations arise as you read through the book? Treat this book as a collection of poems and short stories that, when woven together, are the tale of a year in the life of a dreamer;
  • Lidia is an exceptionally gifted dreamer, who often remembers more dreams each night. In that way she is an inspiration and an example to everyone who wants to be inspired by dreams.

CON

  • The author provides no context for the dreams, particularly lacking is mention of why the book was written and what the purpose of it might be.
  • I missed a prologue to this year-long diary of dreaming would be nice. What is Lidia hoping to accomplish by sharing her dreams?
  • I missed a brief discussion at the end of each month about events that transpired, dream connections to people and events during the month, and some mention as to how the dreaming of that month affected the author, reactions she had to the dreams, and how the dreaming interacted with the waking world.
  • Because I missed a prologue, I also missed an epilogue to sum up what this year of dreaming meant and felt like, and especially how it felt to put together a year’s worth of dreams in a book, and then present it to the public dreaming audience.

Mindfunda verdict:
6,7/10

Do you like this post? Feel Free to Share

I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming 

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THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Dreamfunda:  
Everything you need to know about dreams. Practical How to’s, the latest scientific research, the most commonly used ways to attach meaning to dreams. This and more is given to you for your everyday use in this part of Mindfunda

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


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Ramon y Cajal: Father of Neurology and his Vision on Dreams

Today's blog is dedicated to Jordi Borras, one of the best dream workers in Spain.
A Book review of The Dreams of Santiago Ramon y Cajal by Benjamin Ehrlich Oxford University Press 2017 $37.95  ISBN 9780190619619
By Dutch psychologist Susanne van Doorn

 

ramon y cajal
Santiago Ramon y Cajal self-portrait 1870

 

SANTIAGO RAMON Y CAJAL: introduction

Do you think dreams have a deeper, psychological meaning? Or do you think dreams are the result of the brain activity at night?

The International Association for the Study of Dreams, of which I am a board member, says that a dream can not be interpreted by anyone else but the dreamer. This is a very elegant, sophisticated way to balance between the two opposite views.

What are your experiences? Do you think that dreams are random chatter? Or have you had a dream that changed your life? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear your take on this.

SANTIAGO RAMoN Y CAJAL: THE Doctor – Artist

The nice guy in the picture is Santiago Ramon y Cajal, born in 1852. His father, Justo Ramóny, made his own way to wealth by becoming a doctor. He wanted his son to do the same. In order to teach Santiago about the human body, they went to graveyards to dig up and analyse corpses…

His father did not want to have anything to do with the romantic soul of his son. Santiago had to learn, not play.

ramon y cajal
© Antony Smith – 2014

During his life Santiago made sure he had an outlet for his creative side: he made drawings of his laboratory-findings and he was an excellent photographer, see the self portrait at the top of this article.

If you live in Minneapolis: there is an exhibition about his artwork in the Weisman Art museum until May 21, 2017.

Santiago Ramon y Cajal: the cel as hero

The book consists of two parts. the first part is composed out of 10 chapters that give the reader background information about Cajal, Spain in the beginning the 1900’s, and how Spain became Freudian – oriented.

The first part of this book convinced me that Cajal was an incurable romantic. In his eyes, the cell was a hero. He studies the nerve cell with Golgi technique. Tragically, he and his opponent Golgi had to share the Nobel Prize…

 

Buy the book using this link and support the good work of Mindfunda

According to Santiago, the cell was a hero, in the quest for the adventure of life.
“The probing ends of growing fibers are battering rams, and the fateful meeting between two communist neurons, later termed the synapse, he likened to a protoplasmic kiss” (page 7).

 

ramon y cajal
Purkinje cell by Santiago Ramon y Cajal
1899; Instituto Cajal, Madrid, Spain.

 

SANTIAGO RAMoN Y CAJAL and Freud

Cajal and Freud were celebrated scholars in the 1900s. Cajal became the father of neurology, while Freud became the father of psychoanalysis.

Cajal did not agree with Freud.  In 1911 Jose Ortega y Gasset wrote about “The Secret of Dreams”, and introduced Freud his ideas to Spain. Six year later, Ortega acquired the rights to publish the translated works of Freud.

Spain started warming up to Freud. Influential artist Dali was a great admirer of Freud. He visited Freud one day and made a fool of himself in his nervousness.
Freud allegedly said about Dali: “That boy looks like a fanatic. Small wonder that they have civil war in Spain if they look like that”.

ramon y cajal
Painting of Freud by Dali
Copyright Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation

 

Cajal writes to his friend Gregorio Marañón (1887–1960), in relation to Freud’s approach to dreams:

… I consider as collective lies both psychoanalysis and Freud’s theory of dreams; nearly all the findings of the wise Viennese scholar can be explained by individual or collective suggestion. Of this I shall speak if I manage to live long enough to write another book on dreams, in which I summarize thousands of self-observations contradicting Freud’s theory (Durán and Alonso, 1960).

The book about dreams that Cajal refers to in this quote is an article called “Los sueños” in the Revista Cajal de Medicina y Cirugía in 1908.

RAMoN Y CAJAL and dreams

Santiago Ramon y Cajal considered Freud’s way of exploring the brain as unscientific. In his mind, dreams are random chit-chat of brain waves.

In our day and age, exactly the same intellectual battle is going on between Alan Hobson and Mark Solms.

“Hobson argues that dreams are ad hoc frameworks for meaningless signals, whereas Solms uses psychological evidence to argue that dreams are indeed the expressions of wish-fulfilment” (page 50).

RAMoN Y CAJAL AND His Daughter

A very tragic event appears in Ramon y Cajal his dreams: the loss of his daughter.

“I take a walk by the bay (Santander?) and I fall into the water with one of my little daughters in my arms. I fight the waves, I am almost drowning, despite touching the seawall. The nightmare awakens me” (page 90).

One of his children, his daughter Enriqueta, died of the consequences of a bacterial disease. According to is biography (see literature) he stayed in his laboratory while he did not hear, or chose to ignore the cries of his wife who was holding her.

RAMoN Y CAJAL AND HIS Duality

Santiago Ramon y Cajal had a very interesting dynamic in his life and in his work. He wanted to be an artist but became a scientist. He was charmed by hypnosis, but attributed dreams to the neurological activity of the brain.

When he got his Nobel Price in 1906, he had to share it with his opponent Golgi. He used the method of Golgi to make neurons visible. Camillo Golgi proposed that every neuron in the brain is a network on its own: this is called the rectangular theory.

ramon y cajal
Artwork Scott Hilburn

 

Cajal showed, using the technique of Golgi that nervous tissue, like other tissues, is made of discrete cells.

After winning the big Nobel Price which he had to share with his opponent, Cajal summarised this never ending duality in his life with these words: “What a cruel irony of fate to pair, like Siamese twins, united by the shoulders, scientific adversaries of such contrasting character.”

 

CONCLUSION

PRO

  • This book will give you  nice overview of the history of neurology and dreams;
  • It is written in a very readable way;
  • You will get to know Santiago Ramon y Cajal as a very romantic soul who had an interesting life;
  • The opposition in his character of being a tender romantic soul as well as a scientists who only looks at facts speaks clearly in his dream about his daughter.
 CON
  • The book is given its length of 144 pages rather expensive:
  • I was a little bit disappointed that the dreams of Ramon y Cajal were rather short and that there was no further information available. The first part of the book gives this information, but the dream-part would have been juicier when there had been a certain form of analysis.

Mindfunda verdict:
7/10

Here is an link to buy on Amazon if you enjoyed this review,
and like to support our work. We appreciate your help!

Literature:

Durán, G. and Alonso, F. Cajal Vida y obra 2nd edition (Barcelona: Editorial Cientifico-Medico 1983).

 


THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Brainfunda
articles and relevant information about the brain about how you can use this in your everyday life. Neurology, the brain all the fascinating things we find out in current research.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


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Aging and Becoming: A Roadmap Towards Authenticity

Aging & Becoming
by Susan Scott & Susan E. Schwartz
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017, Kindle $9.94 ISBN 1541164016, Paperback $12.99 ISBN 978-1541164017
Reviewed by Susanne van Doorn, MSc.

 

 

Aging and Becoming, A Reflective journey

Susan Scott, one of the guest bloggers of my Goddess month on Mindfunda and author of In Praise of Lilith Eve + the Serpent in the Garden of Eden & Other Stories has a beautiful blog called The Garden of Eden.
Susan Schwartz Ph.D, is a Jungian Analyst and author of Couples at the Crossroads. Both ladies joined (Jungian) forces to write ‘Aging and Becoming -A reflective Enquiry-‘. In a time when age has been Botox-ed out of the conversation, this book is refreshing.

Profound but not in a preachy kind of way. Both ladies are so completely vulnerable and honest towards each other. Aging is presented as an excellent way to become authentic.

aging

 

I feel blessed every day that I have the luck to experience getting older. As Type 1 diabetic, I have experienced physical decay at an early age. I am consciously sporting each day, I am aware of what I eat, because I have cherished goal. I want to become a grandmother. Not just any grandmother. I want to be the best grandmother ever. To me it it has always felt aging melts away the things that never belonged to me.

Aging and the ALPHABET

Both of the Susan’s live in different continents. Susan Scott lives in South Africa, while Susan Schwartz lives in North America. They met when the American Susan was visiting Africa and stayed at the house of the African Susan.

aging

A friendship started, and both of the ladies exchanged letters/emails. Each year in April Susan Scott participates in a blogging challenge that requires her to blog for a month about a subject using each day a different letter of the alphabet. The ladies mapped their book accordingly. Their road to authenticity ranges from the ‘A’ from Aging and Attitude to the Z of Zero. Some chapters have only one theme, like the chapter on Grief. Other chapters have two or even three themes like Knowledge and Keys or Moon Mourning & Mystery.

Aging and Discussion

The Susans give so much more than just the letters of the alphabet. They discuss spirit, soul, money, omphalos (the arc of life) and the way things always look different from the end. It is filled with memorable quotes. One at the beginning of a chapter, one at the end. Written in such an articulate way, that their book is filled with memorable quotes. Here are some beauties:

“It was a face to be faced” (about a woman who felt bad about the Botox operation she had).

“Aging and its truth and the loss of time can halt the lies we make to ourselves. Somehow, if tomorrows are always there it seems like something might surface and create new or renewed hope and love”. (I just read that several times. Aging and its truth, don’t you love that. Don’t you feel in your bones how true this is?)

“Much that happens in life needs to be chewed on, masticated and swallowed, digested, perhaps dissolved”. (Here the process of alchemy is symbolised in such an inspiring way that I put a golden mental frame around it).

This book can easily be used as a thesaurus filled with symbols.

Aging and Dreams

“Becoming familiar with dreams is akin to learning a new language. We find doors opening to a place that we didn’t know existed. A dialogue begins with our inner and outer worlds. Links and connections are made as we become more fluent in this previously foreign language”.

aging

Several dreams are discussed in this book. The chapter dedicated to Dreams, Death and Depth, focusses on the jigsaw puzzle a dream can be.

“Recording my dreams and wondering about them is food for my soul. I’m always grateful when a dream presents itself and I can record it. Its message or meaning is double-dutch to me to begin with. It takes me a long time of wondering before I get a sense of what it may mean. I get a bit antsy sometimes when I don’t have dreams for several nights or weeks”.

We all know that feeling! The joy of remembering dreams, the gift you give to yourself when you spent time trying to fit the pieces of the dream puzzle together.  The feeling that there is so much more beauty and complexity in your soul than what you are aware of. To me that is the charm of dreams, that is why I devote so much time and energy in it.

Pro
  • You will be embraced by the immense Jungian knowledge of two very eloquent Jungian ladies.
  • This book will not only give you an immense knowledge on symbolism, it also has a lot to say about the practical use of mythology. Bluebeard and Baba Yaga will be strangers no more when you read this.
  • This book will stimulate you to ask yourself questions like: who has been your Bluebeard? Are you familiar with your own Baba Yaga? How and why do you use the sentence No?
  • It is a very affordable book, given its rich content.
  • The authors speak of “voice of the heart versus the voice of the world”. It reminded me of Jung, in his Red Book, wrestling with the voice of this time versus the voice of the depth.
  • This is a perfect book/gift for a woman who has reached a certain age. I don’t think younger ladies or gentlemen will truly resonate with the book.

Con

  • Sometimes I felt the need to read chapters about a certain subject, instead of the letters. Even though the actors did manage to squeeze in a lot of content, I missed chapters about becoming a grandparent, about the stages of life of a woman. Maybe it is just personal, because I am not used to books written this way.
  • This is a perfect book/gift for a woman who has reached a certain age. I don’t think younger ladies or gentlemen will truly resonate with the book.

Mindfunda verdict:
8/10

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Five books to Read on Dreams in the first Three months of 2017

What do I advise you to read on the topic of dreams in the first three months of 2017? I love to read and educate myself. I spent the last couple of days exploring the websites of publishers looking for pearls* that I might review for you. *Pearls are books that have a special edge: they talk about dreams from other perspectives. We all know the “tell me the first thing that comes into your mind” association method when it comes to dreams. I want to go further than that. I want to explore different ways: scientific, neurologic, artistic. Books filled with information that can turn your current world view upside down. From all the books I have previewed here is the list of books I want to read. And I think you will agree with me. The list below is arranged by date of publication, not by preference.

Read tip 1: Aging & Becoming: A Reflective Enquiry

Aging and Becoming. A reflective Journey  by Susan Scott and Susan Schwartz PhD.  January 2017

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In our society youth is idolized. Wrinkles are botoxed away and grey hairs are dyed in any other more youthful colour.
But aging has its merits too. You gain more self-confidence, you have fallen and gotten back up again. “The value of myths, dreams and tales are also referenced as these indicate the enduring trials and tribulations in our contemporary lives.  The authors challenge the view that the older woman has little to offer” (copy-pasted from Amazon site).
I love the way mythology and dreams are intertwined (I have written an excellent course on this subject). And as a woman, I have seen my value increase while growing older. Because I have so much more knowledge, I am able to support others in much more profound ways than I used to be able to when I was young. So I will be very glad to review this book for you on Mindfunda.

This is the review about Aging and becoming, a Reflective Enquiry.

Read tip #2: text as dream

Text as Dream, Instinctual Life in Literature by Rani Drew, $47.99 to be published February 15th, 2017

 

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Writer Rani Drew  compares Freud’s breakdown of a dream with the process of creating art. I am really fascinated when a dream is compared to a work of art, or a text. I think I am going to learn a lot reading this book, even though I am not a Freudian. I do admire the intuitive nature of the Freudian model of the psyche, where the human mind is conceived to be an iceberg, with treasures hidden beneath the surface.

Read tip #3: Dreams, Neuroscience, and Psychoanalysis

Dreams, Neuroscience, and Psychoanalysis. Mind, Body and the Question of Time, by Keramat Movallali, $52.95 to be published February 2017

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Time in dreams. This is one of the things that fascinates me most of all. I have had dreams that featured time-traveling.  And this book has such a juicy promise: “Dreams, Neuroscience, and Psychoanalysis sets out to give a scientific consistency to the question of time and find out how time determines brain functioning” (copy/pasted from the Amazon site). I just could not resist, I need to know more.

Read Tip #4:The Brain

The Brain: What Everyone Needs To Know® by Gary L. Wenk, to be published February 2017 on kindle for 12.99 Hardcopy March 2017 for 74.00

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This book is written in the form of questions: How am I going to live longer? When am I going to die? AND: a whole chapter on dreams! Yes, we love it. “What happens when I am dreaming? What is a lucid dream? A lot of interesting questions.

Read Tip #5: Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece

 Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece by Charles Steward, to be published March 2017 (a republication)

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A book, written by an Anthropologist of whom the Times Literary Supplement  said when it was published in 2012:  “In his extraordinary Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece, Charles Stewart offers a new way of thinking about dreams in their social contexts . . . and Stewart has a gripping story to tell.”
That sounds like an intriguing promise to me. I hope I will be able to get a review copy so I can share my thoughts about this book with you.

If you have any other books about dreams and mythology that are going to be published in 2017, let me know in the comments.

 

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Is a Dream A Story? Philosophy, Dreaming and Literary Imagination

 

People are storytellers. Since ancient times, humans have sat around a campfire while listening to stories. Stories that expand the mind and capture the imagination. In this day and age we sit around our television set and watch story after story.  In the night we follow the stories of our dreaming mind.

The deep connection between stories and dreams opens up a tremendous opportunity for a book that explores the intersection of dreaming and literary imagination. A book that draws together neurocognitive, empirical, philosophical and literary sources. Michaela Schrage Früh, expert on literature and dreams, at the University of Limerick is the one who seized the opportunity and wrote it.

Philosophy, Dreaming and the Literary Imagination;
written by Michaela Schrage Früh;
published by Palgrave Macmillan;
Hardcopy ISBN 9783319407234 $109.00 Ebook ISBN 9783319407241
Review by Susanne van Doorn MSc

story
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Story and Imagination

We like stories so much because “Both dreaming and the human delight in waking fictions help survival-enhancing capacities such as connection making and theory of mind” (page 17).

Boundaries between imagination and perception are not clear-cut. For example, what you imagine to be true and what you perceive to be true can overlap, such as when athletes use visualization techniques to improve athletic performance. What they imagine to be true translates into reality as better performance. And indeed, sometimes a dream is so powerful, that you are still in its trance for quite a while after waking up.

story

And in this wild land between dreaming and waking, the boundaries of one’s personality play a big role. Daydreamers have thin boundaries. They happily imagine a world of their own making and immerse in it. Rigid personalities, on the other hand, have thick boundaries. To them, imagination is at best fanciful and avoided and at worst, dangerous.

Story, dreaming and writing

Michaela goes on to argue that dreaming and writing a story are similar in many ways. While reading, you co-create a story by visualizing it in the mind and filling in missing details. But there are also differences. In dreaming, there is no guiding voice, like there is in a book, that tells you what to expect, or what motivations certain dream characters have. Reading, like dreaming, is seemingly passive, but “even the most ordinary act of perception depends on the active, purposeful, attentive seeking out of environmental information” (page 95).

story

“If my suggestion that the dreamer is simultaneously creator and recipient of his dream is accepted, then reader response theory is bound to provide crucial further insights into the similarities between dreaming and reading” (page 95).

Reading can indeed put you under a spell and take you away to imaginary times and places. Reading, dreaming and daydreaming are three sides of the same phenomenon. Michaela leans towards the insights of Bill Domhoff, who suggests that dreaming and daydreaming are similar processes and she adds a few philosophers to spice up her story.

literature and Dreaming

Dreaming erodes any clear cut boundaries between imagination and perception. While reading, you can imagine certain scenes, but while dreaming, you are in those scenes. Dreams typically have spatiotemporal immersion. Each dreamer experiences a three-dimensional world. Knowing that, it makes sense that dream-researcher Foulkes discovered that people who have more spatial insight, have a better dream recall. The three-dimensional perception separates dreaming from reading. Because of this perception there is a deep sense of immersion in a dream.

Immersion in the story, known in storytelling as “suspension of disbelief. The story is created by using metaphors from your own dreaming mind. Jennifer Windt  argues that this sense of immersion defines the heterogeneous phenomenon of dreaming.

That is why Sartre says that “dream immersion is inevitably deeper than readerly immersion” (page 117).  Reading is a joint experience between writer and reader. “As Schwenger aptly puts it, ‘when we put down the story, we are in the position of someone who has dreamed and whose waking is disconcertingly incomplete; a fictive reality has seeped into our real body and altered its psychological metabolism’ (page 130). Dreaming is a joint experience between you and the metaphors in your dreaming mind.

CONCLUSION

Pros

  • Easy to read: philosophical concepts that are explained so easily and readable;
  • It is a very ambitious book: it wants to “lay the groundwork for an aesthetics of dreaming, based on the empirically informed assumption that our dreaming and waking imagination are two sides of the same coin” (page 9) and it succeeds in this ambition. You will understand so much more about dreams and dreaming after reading this.
  • The chapter about the differences and resemblances between dreaming and writing is a must read for anyone working with dreams (Chapter 4: Dream Fictions, Writing Dreams).

Cons

  • The Western scientific assumption is, people only dream about themselves, and this book follows that line of thinking. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the scope of dreaming can expand to include dreaming directly about other people, especially about loved ones. Such as when you dream that a relative is being rushed to the hospital and wake up to find out it really happened. Hundreds of such cases have been documented in the work of Sally Rhine Feather and other researchers. This book could benefit by expanding its scope to include such dreams, because reality is like a story or dream we create together.
  • The book will be very expensive for some people: it is 109 dollars.

Mindfunda verdict:
9/10

Here is an link to buy on Amazon if you enjoyed this review,
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A special thanks to Jason DeBord, editor of this blog.

 


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THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Dreamfunda:  
Everything you need to know about dreams. Practical How to’s, the latest scientific research, the most commonly used ways to attach meaning to dreams. This and more is given to you for your everyday use in this part of Mindfunda

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘#DREAMS‘?

The Fiction of Dreams, A Book Review

Fiction and dreams are closely related. "The dream's essence lies in its storytelling capacity. Dreams are autobiographical fictions that tell ...
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Dreams that Guide You on Your Life Path

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Midsummer Night Dreaming

The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet Are of Imagination all compact...  Shakespeare, "A Midsummer Night's Dream”  Midsummer Night is ...
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Freud in His Time and Ours

Freud in His Time and Ours
by: Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by Catherine Porter
Harvard University Press, 2016, Hardcopy $35.00 Kindle $21.26
ISBN 9780674659568

Freud has made a lasting impression on our society. The term “Oedipus complex” has become an instant joke whenever a young guy is too close with his mother.
To be honest with you: I had a hard time taking him serious. He supposed that every woman secretly wanted to be a man. I think that being a woman is so much more interesting than being a man… Women have intuition, emotion, and they can have children. But there is more to Freud than penis envy…

 

Freud

When I educated myself in Mythology, I began to get a different vision on Freud. The way his mind could recognise mythological themes in the problems of his patients was inspiring. Being a Jungian, the clash between Freud and Jung in my eyes is an almost archetypical representation of our current collision between ratio (Freud) and our brains that are wired for spirituality (Jung) (Read more about the current paradigm in science in this Minfunda blog). Reading Freud in His Time and Ours has certainly given me a different vision on Freud.

Freud as the FAVOURITE son

Psychoanalyst Élisabeth Roudinesco, has done a great job of putting things (and Freud) in perspective. I must admit, at thirst I thought that a biography written by a psychoanalyst would be very biased. But this well written, easy to read book (even though it has more than 400 pages) gives such a balanced inside into both his good and his bad personality traits.

Freud was born into a family of tradesman, and he was the first who made a living with his knowledge. His father had the habit of saying that Sigmund had more knowledge in his little toe, than he (Jacob) had in his whole body. Needless to say, that any child, growing up with this kind of expectations, usually ends up well. It makes you wish that parents and teachers knew this too…

Freud and Jung: the collision
Freud
Jung and Freud in America
Front row, next to G. Stanley Hall who is in the middle

Being born into a Jewish family, Freud experienced all kinds of racism and did not have the chance to conquer the world like he had dreamed to do. Jung becomes one of his most promising disciples.  The story about how the two men talked for 10 hours during their first meeting is told once again in the book.

If you are a Jungian, you will notice that there is still a sour undertone in the way  Roudinesco talks about Jung. Anyone who has had two children arguing, recognises this kind of behaviour. Like a mother you tell your children to stop arguing, and they secretly start pinching each other under the table.

 

Freud

Jung is called a “mythomaniacal pastor’s son, who has an uncanny preference for sorcerers”. When you read that, you think: why can’t the two camps: Jungian and Freudian, just kiss and make up after all those years? Let’s put the fighting behind us and dive into the interesting part. We know the two giants because of the way they put dreaming on the map.

 

Freud

Even up till now, the two camps keep on fighting with each other. Let’s decide to grow up. Science has proved that Jung and Freud both were right on some points and both were completely clueless on other points.

Freud and Jung: the dream team?

“Freud and Jung went on pursuing their passion for interpreting dreams for a long time. Both of them, like the disciples in the first circle, were certain that henceforth, thanks to their shared doctrine, the unconscious had made a spectacular entry into the everyday life of European societies. It was as though it was no longer possible to immerse dreams in sleep, to conceal them in the depths of nocturnal life, since, through the miracle of Freudian interpretation, man itself had become the embodiment of his dreams. This was the maximum of the new day, which the poet Joe Bousquet later summed up in a striking formulation: “There were signs that a time was coming when people would no longer dream, man having become the dream” (page 132).

And indeed, this is a book to put on your wish list when you have dedicated yourself to dreams. When you forgive Roudinesco for her ongoing (but expected) bias towards Freud, you will get so much information about psychoanalysis, about the introvert man he was, about his need for a frenamy: a close friend who later became an enemy. After you have read this book you will have a new perspective on Freud.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Easy to read;
  • Over 400 pages, but this could be on the negative side for some people;
  • The book explains how Freud became his own method of psychoanalysis, by painting the era  he was living in;
  • It is good to inform yourself of the darker sides of Jung and Freud during the war. Everyone did what he needed to do in order to survive;
  • Roudinesco is very open about Freud’s experiments with, and addiction to cocaine;
  • After you have read this book you will have a new perspective on Freud;
  • You owe it to yourself to read this book if you are a fan of dreams and dreaming.

Cons

  • To my surprise, Mark Solms is not mentioned in the book. The man who brought Freud back in the three main scientific ways to explore dreams. It is a shame, because I am quite sure Mr. Solms would have gladly participated on a chapter about modern psychoanalysis;
  • When you are more aligned with the Jungian school of thinking, you will have to read around the almost open contempt of Jung. We all know that Jung has his darker sides, but Freud also had his challenges;
  • One of the things I missed was a better biography of Freud’s disciples.

Mindfunda verdict:
7,5/10

Here is an link to buy on Amazon if you enjoyed this review,
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Nutrition, Neurons, and the Brain: Your Brain on Food Book Review

Your Brain on Food, How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts And Feelings
by Gary L. Wenk
Oxford University Press, 2010, 2015, $24,95, ISBN 978 0 19 939327 5
Reviewed by Susanne van Doorn

 

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how Nutrition can be addictive

Gary Wenk PhD, Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience & Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at the Ohio State University and Medical Center, has written a book that we all need to read. Because we are all addicted.

Some are addicted to love, but all of us are addicted to food. It is such a shame that there are not classes in schools, teaching our children about how the brain reacts to food.

Now this addiction is a necessity, because if we don’t eat, we are going to die. But Gary Wenk shows you how this addiction works. And he tells how drugs work.
“This book explores not only several drugs but also a range of foods with these effects”. There is not such a big difference between drugs and food…

Nutrition that is good for us

I know what you are thinking right now. “What food do I need to eat? Just tell me and I will go out and buy it. I will even eat it. Each day. Promise.”

But you know well enough as I do, that there is no miracle food. Gary refutes our believes about Ginkgo biloba as anti-aging miracle, reduces our believe in omega 3, unless you are depressed. He says what our mothers have always thought us: eat a lot of different foods, in a variety of colours. There is no need to take supplements, except for calcium if you are a woman of a certain age.

nutrition

Fruit gets a thumbs up, because of the antioxidants. Oxygen is our biggest enemy, but we are not able to life without it. So eating lots of fruits is very good for the brain.

Nutrition and Fat

We all know that food in restaurants usefully tastes so much better than food at home. That is because of the magical ingredient of fat. Nutrition that contains fat is immediately rewarding. Do you know we have a fat gene?
“A recent study demonstrated that humans, and other animals, exhibit a protein on their tongue that can sense the presence of fat” (p. 43).

nutrition

And did you know there is a parasite that eats your fat away? The T. Gondii… Before you start ordering this parasite, you have to know that ingesting any parasite is not without danger.

Conclusion: to buy or not to buy?

Pros:

  • You owe it to yourself to educate yourself about food. This is a very informative book.
  • The book covers the most important neurotransmitters: dopamine, histamine, acetylcholine and serotonin for example.
  • You will find out that drinking coffee isn’t as bad as you always thought.
  • You will find out that the only way to lose weight is to start eating less.
  • You will find out that eating less is the best thing you can do for your brain.
  • You are going to know so much more about Alzheimer and Parkinson, that it is a must buy for anyone who has a person with that disease in their midst.

Cons:

  • The publisher wanted to make this a popular science book so there are no models of neural pathways in it. This is what I mean:
    tryptophan -> 5-hydroxytryptophan -> serotonin. It is all explained in texts, of course. Gary knows his stuff, no question about it. But I missed these simple models and I experienced a craving for such a model with a list of food that would benefit a person who would want to increase these substances.
  • Gary is a Professor. He has a scientific way of writing. The book is readable, but not really easy. You have to pay attention, scrabble your own models down and make your own conclusions. As a matter of fact, this could just as well be a pro, but if you are looking for an easy book, this isn’t it. You have to put your brain to work reading it.
  • Being a dream expert I was disappointed to read a chapter about “Sleeping versus Waking” that is mostly about staying or being awake.

Mindfunda verdict:
 8/10

Here is an link to buy on Amazon if you enjoyed this review, and like to support our work. We appreciate your help!


THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Brainfunda:
articles and relevant information about the brain about how you can use this in your everyday life. Neurology, the brain all the fascinating things we find out in current research.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.


Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘NEUROLOGY‘?

3 Facts about Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute defines it like this on their website: "Sleep apnea (AP-ne-ah) is a common disorder in which you have one or more ...
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Ramon y Cajal: Father of Neurology and his Vision on Dreams

Today's blog is dedicated to Jordi Borras, one of the best dream workers in Spain. A Book review of The Dreams of Santiago Ramon y Cajal by Benjamin Ehrlich Oxford ...
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Conan Doyle: Gothic Tales,

Gothic Tales,
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Edited with and Introduction and Notes by Professor Darryl Jones
Oxford University Press, 2016, $14,95 Kindle, $27,95 paper, ISBN 9780198734291
Reviewed by Susanne van Doorn

 

Conan Doyle and the paradigm

Conan Doyle was trained as a medical doctor. A scientist. Most of us know him from the stories of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock has been the hero of scientific thinking. The phrase “Elementary, my dear Watson” is well-known even though Conan Doyle never used this phrase in books. But in films it was the onset of a rational explanation of strange and nearly unsolvable murders. Conan Doyle’s Sherlock is the model of current popular television series like House Md. and The Mentalist.

conan doyle
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But Conan Doyle had a craving for the paranormal. He was “increasingly drawn to spiritualism, for which he became a high-profile advocate, to the point, many observers believed, of utter self-damaging credulity” (page xiii).
This clashing between rationality and spirituality is still at the core of lots of modern disputes.

Kuhn and the Paradigm Shift

It was Thomas Kuhn who proposed in his book Structure of Scientific Revolutions, that science has a paradigm, an arrangement of the universe that most people agree upon. Every once in a while, that paradigm shifts, because someone discovers something that makes the paradigm shift to another one. Newton did just that in his days, Einstein shifted the paradigm too.

conan doyle
Sherlock has also experienced a paradigm shift

 

We believe in a rational world, where everything can be explained. It is a safe, but rather dull world with no, or little room for magic. And that is what makes this book so interesting. It is written by a man who had a rational trained mind, but who craved some magic. I can relate to that. My mind craves magic too.

You can see the conflict between rational world and spiritual mind reflected in the battle between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Where Freud always remained the scientist, Jung embraced the spiritual end of the current continuum.
This book is very interesting because the same conflict resided within Conan Doyle and Gothic Tales revolve around this conflict between rationality and spirituality.

Gothic Tales

John Bowen Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature at the University of York about the Gothic Genre: “Gothic is a world of doubt, particularly doubt about the supernatural and the spiritual. It seeks to create in our minds the possibility that there may be things beyond human power, reason and knowledge. But that possibility is constantly accompanied by uncertainty”. (www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/gothic-motifs#authorBlock1).

You get 34 mysterious packages that are telling you about strange events in strange places and suggest a spiritual solution. But leave room for the rational one. It is a nice and fun exercise. Conan Doyle is a gifted writer and you will be entertained.

The book has a selected number of stories which give you the opportunity to really get to know this fascinating man. For example, “The Captain of the Polestar” is loosely based upon his years as a ship doctor. “Through the Veil” introduces you to his infatuation with parapsychology, reincarnation in particular.

Conclusion

If you want to understand more about the current paradigm, this might be a very entertaining book for you. If you love a good horror story, this might be a good book for you. I really like the fact that these jewels (most of them are written in the 1920s) are being republished by Oxford University Press.

If you also crave magic: join our Holy Night Dreaming Event Dec. 24th – 6 January Download a free e-book about mutual dreaming

The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil

Author:  Al Ridenour
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Feral House (October 4, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627310347
ISBN-13: 978-1627310345
Price $16.50
Reviewer:  Catherine Poloynis

 

 

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Book Review: 11 titles on Mindfunda 2016

Welcome to this years’ list of book review’s that I put on Mindfunda.
At its core, Mindfunda is here to distribute useful information to you. Information that will make your life more fun. In three ways: we offer online courses, we offer book reviews and we offer blogs with information about dreaming, spirituality and mythology.

Do you miss a book? Had you read or written a wonderful book about mythology, spirituality or dreams you want me to review ? Let me know below!

This is the 2016 book review list, that only contains books that were published this year. It starts with the most recent Mindfunda blog post and ends with the oldest post. If you want to buy a book, be so kind to use the affiliate link from Mindfunda. In that way you will support our good work.

book review
art found on CCHunterbooks.com
Book review 2016

Call Of the Cats, What I Learned about Life and Love from a Feral Colony by Andrew Bloomfield. Cats have an uncanny bond with humans. Just as I was offered this for a book review by the publisher, a friend of mine shared a presentation about how her cats had influence her dreaming.

book review
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So you can understand that I had to say yes to this request. The book reads like a psychological novel. If you like cats, be sure to buy this book, you will not be sorry.

A Day in the Life of the Brain by Susan Greenfield. Susan Greenfield describes a day of a normal guy and paints a picture of what happens in his brain.

book review
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Easy to read, with fascinating chapters on dreaming, and on consciousness in animals.

Sleep Monsters and Superheroes edited by Jean Campbell and Clare Johnson, who both contributed chapters to this book.

Children and dreams… With this book every parent, every teacher, niece, nephew, uncle or aunt has a chance to introduce their children to the magic of dreaming.

book review
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When I gave dream workshops for pregnant ladies in the beginning of this century, I was visited by so many parents and grandparents asking me how to handle the nightmares of their children. I prepared for the workshop by reading the information that was available on the website of Patricia Garfield. Patricia  Garfield also contributed to this book.  A wealth of information, you can add to your mother-toolkit.

Mythology of the Soul by H.G. Baynes.

A book that combines two things I love: mythology and art. Over 900 pages of information about dreams and Jungian psychology by one of the best Jungian analysts in England.

book review
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If you like dreams, art and Jungian psychology, this is the book for you.

The Power of Ritual by Robbie Davis-Floyd and Charles Laughlin.

Human beings are sensitive to rituals. This book is written in a way that makes you understand the psychological, spiritual and psychical side of ritual.

book review
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This book researches ritual in every aspect, leaving no stone unturned. It will be so much easier for you to create your own positive rituals after you have read this book.

Translating Myth edited by Ben PestellPietra Palazzolo and Leon Burnett.

Mythology is a cultural concept. Each culture, each century, has its own mythologies. This book has the ambitious quest to offer a translation: from century to century, from continent to continent.

book review
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I really loved all the wisdom and stories packed in this book. It has become the theoretical backbone of my Mindfunda Movies course.

The Goddess and the Shaman by J.A. Kent.

The doors to the realm of the Elphame open through dreams. If you like shamanism as proposed by Micheal Warner, this is the book for you.

 

book review
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It is not a work book however. If you are looking for ways to connect with the inner Goddess you might want to consider the online Mindfunda Mythology Course .

Big Dreams by Kelley Bulkeley.

This book is a plea to look at special dreams and research their characteristics. Lucid dreams, visitation dreams, mutual dreams.

book review
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Only if we look at those special dreams can we come to an understanding of the phenomenon of dreaming, according to Bulkeley. What I like most about this book is the way that Bulkeley effortlessly writes about sophisticated neurological research in an understandable way.

What is Relativity by Jeffrey Bennet.

In the past I had so many time-travel dreams that I had this inner craving to understand more about its possibilities.

book reviews
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This was a very interesting book review. I discovered so much reading this. Not all fun though, because time travel is not possible (my time travel dreams did cease soon thereafter). But if you are crazy about astronomy, if you are a star-gazer, or just Einstein crazy, this is the book for you.

Strange Gods by Susan Jacoby. A book not only about the cruel middle ages. It is still happening, conversions. Religion is intertwined with power and privilege.

book review
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And last but certainly not least: Mythic Worlds, Modern Words by Joseph Campbell, edited by Edmund Epstein.

book review
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Using James Joyce his oeuvre as a guide to the mythological aspects of your challenges.

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Cat Call for the Soul: the Bond between Cats and Humans

Call of the Cats
What I Learned about Life and Love from a Feral Colony
by Andrew Bloomfield
New World Library $ 10.70 paper version ISBN-10: 1608683982 kindle $15.43 ISBN-13: 978-1608683987
Reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn and Maria Cernuto

 

cat
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Cat and the soul

Any cat owner knows a cat seeks out its owner. My Dropje, Dutch for Liquorice, came running towards me when I visited the nest of little kittens. I fell in love with her on the spot. She walked along with me as if she had determined with her feral intuition that we belonged together. I ended up writing my thesis for university with her purring in the palm of my hand. (Dropje was not as grumpy as she looks on the picture, I might add in her favour)

cat
My feral companion for 17 years “Dropje” photo: Juvaniphoto

Something similar happens to the writer, Andrew Bloomfield. “a kitten in distress, crying for us, it seemed… This wasn’t so much a cry for the ears, it was a cry for the heart. I literally felt my heart vibrating with each shrieking call” (page 18).

Andrew Bloomfield’s book is not only about cats. It is about the human psyche. It is about cold hard nature. It is about commitment. It is about relationships between humans and relationships between animals. Love, loss, illness, all come into play in this book.

 

Maria Cernuto and a cat crie

Dream Specialist Maria Cernuto had the same cry of a kitten calling her. In her presentation for the online annual Psiber Dream Conference for the International Association for the Study of Dreams she writes:

“While inside my home, I hear a repetitious high-pitched sound coming from outside. My ears prick up with curiosity, I wonder, ―What’s that sound?‖ I decide to investigate and discover it is the cries of a distressed kitten. The kitty is popping its little head in and out from under the fence while mewing frantically, but then grows silent and remains hidden”. This cry went straight to Maria’s heart because of a dream she had that night. I will tell more about it in the paragraph about cats and dreams.

And just at the day her presentation was published, I got a request from New World Library to review this book. Cat and Heart, an intuitive match!

cat and humans

“There was a historical precedent to the connection we felt with the cats. Ten thousand years ago or so in the Fertile Crescent, cats went from being merely functional to being embraced as pets” (page 101). In Egypt they attained the status of a god. In Rome, “a bicultural heritage law decrees agar wherever five or more cats live in a natural urban habitat, they can’t be moved or chased away” (page 102).

cat
me in Bastet costume

In Egypt cats kept the grain safe from rodents. A function so important, they acquired a divine status. “The goddess Bastet was even represented by a domestic cat. he visiting Greek historian Herodotus noted that an enormous temple complex was built in Bastet’s honer in the centre of the city, and having participated in a festival honouring her, he reported it to be the largest and most enthusiastic celebration in all of Egypt” (page 121).

Cat and Dreams

There is something about a cat and a human that manifests itself in dreams. “Sophie began to have recurrent dreams about Bandy (one of the feral cats in the colony). Horrible dreams of her being attacked by predators or otherwise running into misfortune” (page 171).  Bandy ended up being tangled to a tree while she was on a leash and could be saved at the last minute because of the dream.

Maria Cernuto shared this cat-rescue dream with us during the Psiber Dream Conference, I only give a part of this dream due to to length of the blog:

Deadly Pond:

“I am at someone’s house. They have an open patio with a pool and a large manmade pond, almost the same size as the pool, parallel to it. It’s bright and sunny out as I walk around the patio. I notice a couple of fish on the ledge of the pond, gasping/dying—two angelfish (one black with white stripes and the other yellow with white markings), and two large seahorses (a bright yellow and a bright red overlapping one another), about a foot long. I see water has drained several feet down and I see a rocky interior. I run inside grabbing plastic cups to fill with water. I am frantic, running to save them. Then I am gently pouring water on them. I make intense eye contact with the yellow seahorse as it opens its mouth to drink. I feel a deep, soulful connection with it. Its eyes express gratitude”.

When she hears the kitten cry, Maria asks her neighbour if she can search his garden.

cat
Blondie

“I called my next-door neighbour to ask for permission to enter his backyard. He consented and offered to send his son outside to help me. All we could see was white fur sticking out of the wooden slats of the fence. He climbed onto an overturned pot in order to look down between our fences and said, ―It’s not breathing or moving. I can’t see which direction its head is in. Thinking about my dream, I exclaimed, ―We’ve got to get the kitten out!”
Thanks to he dream they rescue the kitten and it is named Blondie.

conclusion

If you are a cat lover, this is the book for you.
Information about the history of cats is weaved into the story.
It reads like a psychological journey towards spiritual maturity.

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Consciousness: the Ripples in the Lake of the Brain

‘A Day in the Life of the Brain –
The Neuroscience of Consciousness from Dawn Till Dusk’  by Susan Greenfield

Reviewed for Mindfunda by Drs. Susanne van Doorn
Allen Lane, 2016,
kindle ISBN: 0241256674
hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0241256671

 

consciousness
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Susan Greenfield takes you through the day and night of a male with a teenage son in an unhappy marriage. This sounds much more unattractive as it is. The unhappy marriage is a way to talk about depression. A mental disturbance that many people have nowadays. About 40 million Americans are depressed according to the ADAA, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Ever since I have been interested in consciousness I have been told that it is impossible to select a certain brain section responsible for it. Susan Greenfield explains that consciousness consists of assemblies: “very large numbers of brain cells working together for just a fraction of a second” (page4). These assemblies are the ripples of the stone thrown into the lake. How large the stone is, how hard it is thrown, all the variables are discussed in the various chapters.

Continue reading Consciousness: the Ripples in the Lake of the Brain

Children Dream about Sleep Monsters and Superheroes

Sleep Monsters and Superheroes: Empowering Children through Creative Dreamplay
Clare R. Johnson and Jean M. Campbell, Editors
ABC-CLIO, LLC 2016, $48.00 paper ISBN-13: 9781440842665,
$47.85 ebook: ISBN-10: 1440842663
Reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn
Edited by Christian Gerike M.A.

 

children dream
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Children Dream, parents panic

Children dream. In their dreams they are creative, they are scared, they cope with the challenges the world imposes on them. Usually when children wake up crying, in terror, parents panic. With all the information in this book, that will never happen to you again.

Dr. Clare Johnson, author, Lucid Dreaming expert, board member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) and Jean Campbell M.A. author, former IASD president and founder of the online group Worldpeacebridge, got together to create a book about children’s dreams. And magic started to happen.

children dream

 

Jean Campbell, at the 2016 Psiber Dreaming Conference (a conference about the “psi” element in dreaming), tells how this book came about:

“We talked about how nice it would be to have a book that talked about working with children with their dreams. Clare and I said to each other, “why not see if we can find a publisher for such a book?” And the most amazing thing happened. When we wrote to the acquisitions editor at Praeger, the immediate reply (within five minutes of the request) was “YES!!) Now, I have worked on and off in the publishing industry for years, and I know very well that no publisher does that.”.

 

Children dream: history of dream books

When I heard about a new children- dream book being written, I thought: it is about time! The first really good book about the dreams of children I ever read was a Dutch translation of Jung’s Kindertraume: Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936-1940. In 2012, Kelly Bulkeley and Patricia Bulkley, both contributors to this book, wrote Children’s Dreams: Understanding the Most Memorable Dreams and Nightmares of Childhood. The Jungian approach is still valid after more than seventy years.

The focus of Sleep Monsters and Super Heroes is on dream play: “Led into dreamplay by a supportive adult, children can become “superheroes” in their dreams, and this empowerment carries over into their waking lives” (page 9). Each of the 17 contributors shares a vision. The book is filled with an interesting array of visions from artists, scientists, lucid dreamers, parents, teachers. They all share methods, insights they have acquired, and techniques you can apply.


Sleep Monsters and Super Heroes, Empowering your Children through Creative Dreamplay, is divided into four parts:

  1. Creativity and Healing;
  2. Inner and Outer Worlds;
  3. Extreme Dreams;
  4. Extraordinary Dreams.

    children dream

    Even though I would like to quote every author that contributed to this book, the blog would become too long. I did some cherry picking, even though it was very hard, and only picked one chapter per part.

Creativity and Healing.

Patricia Garfield, in her chapter “Superkid and Other Joyful Dreams: Creative Dreaming with Young Children”says: “Researchers tell us that people who have a sense of accomplishment in life are those who set goals just a little beyond the level they are sure to attain”.

children dreamArt found bright accountancy.com

As parents, we can assist our children in setting realistic goals; we can glimpse these inner goals through the window of our children’s dreams” (page 11). So dreams do not only give parents a glimpse of the soul of their children, but are also a useful tool in setting goals.

Inner and Outer Worlds

In the chapter “The Impact of Digital Technology on Children’s Dreams” Jayne Gackenbach explains how dreams have changed due to our increasing dependence on technology and games. And dreams do not always change for the worse. Young people that game supposedly have more access towards obtaining the ability to engage in lucid dreams. At the 2016 Conference of the IASD, one of the keynote speeches: Playing the Dream by Frank Bosman was about this subject.

children dream

 

“Gamers are more likely to consider the “nightmare” as fun and perceive it like playing a combat-centric game. Gamers see a drastic change in their threat perception and reaction, and events or experiences that may paralyze others in dreams are instead an empowering challenge to overcome. In other words, heavy gamers experience dream events that bolster their confidence rather than create negative emotions” (page 122).

So gaming isn’t all bad for your children/boyfriend/spouse/fiancee. Negative emotions will probably be handled better, because the gamer is working with it all day and night.

Extreme dreams

In the chapter “Weirdness in the Night: Terrors and Disorders in Children’s Sleep” Ryan Hurd gives more information about parasomnias: sleepwalking, sleep paralysis and sleep terrors.

“Sleepwalking erupts out of deep sleep, when delta waves predominate the sleeping brain in the first half of the night. Sleep walking and other arousal disorders usually surface within an hour or two after the child goes to sleep. The sleepwalker rouses and moves about for a few minutes with open but distant eyes. Children can perform complex behavior as well, although their movements may be clumsy and not well defined. When confronted, a sleepwalker may simply navigate around the obstacle without acknowledgement or respond foggily at best”.

children dream

Any parent who has experienced his child sleepwalking knows it can be a very strange experience to see your child aware, but in another state of being. Ryan not only gives expert advice backed up by research, he is been through all of this himself when he was a child.

Extraordinary Dreams

In the chapter “Dream Magicians: Empower Children through Lucid Dreaming” Clare Johnson reminds us of how common lucid dreams are for children.
“One 2006 study by Qinmei, Qinggong, and Jie shows that most four-to-six-year-olds believe that there may be a way of controlling the action in their dreams, while knowing that this is a dream” (page 289).

 

 

children dream
Art cartoon wizard: joyreactor.com

 

“Being a dream magician can be as simple as thinking a clear, guiding thought in a lucid dream, or it can involve more complex actions such as reciting mantras and spells, creating new dream scenes, or using magical props such as an invisibility cloak or a wishing ring” (page 290).

Conclusion

To buy or not to buy, that is the question. Here are some pro’s and cons.

Pro

  • This book provides you with a wealth of information and techniques about helping children to dive into the world of dreams.
  • There are contributions from researchers, teachers, and parents.
  • The book is easy to read.
  • Not every author focused on dreamplay, but this could also be added to the con’s of this book.

Con

  • 48 dollars is rather expensive, even though it is value for money: more than 350 pages of information about dreams from different angles.
  • Not every author focused on dreamplay, but this could also be added to the pro’s of this book.

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Extrovert Ideal versus Introvert World

An Introvert is a person who is energized by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone.

Contrary to popular belief, not all introverts are shy. Some may have great social lives and love talking to their friends but just need some time to be alone to "recharge" afterwards. The word "Introvert" has negative connotations that need to be destroyed. Introverts are simply misunderstood because the majority of the population consists of extroverts.

(Urbandictionary.com)
introvert survival in extrovert world

When I was about 8 years old, my parents had to come to my school. The teacher used to have talks with the parents of each child in the class, in Dutch it is called “10 minuten gesprek”; a 10 minute conversation.

 

inytovert
Art by Jeff Wysasky
Pleated Jeans

Continue reading Extrovert Ideal versus Introvert World

Schizophrenic Dreams and Art: Mythology of the Soul

Mythology of the Soul
A Research into the Unconscious from Schizophrenic Dreams and Drawings
by H.G. Baynes
Routledge 2015, $61.18 paperback, Kindle $49.46 ISBN 9781138852334
Reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn
Edited by Christian Gerike

The Routledge Tayler and Francis Group started an initiative to re-publish works of distinguished authors that were no longer available. The initiative is called Psychology Revivals. Mythology of the Soul is one of the re-published books, it was originally published in 1940.

Continue reading Schizophrenic Dreams and Art: Mythology of the Soul

The Power of Ritual: Informative and Intriguing

The Power of Ritual
by Robbie Davis Floyd and Charles Laughlin
Daily Grail Publishing, 2016, $26.95 paper, ISBN 978-0-9874224-9-1
Reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn

 

ritual
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the power of ritual: introduction

Do you remember the eighties when Joseph Campbell talked to us about “The Power of Myth”? It was magic on television. His engaging way of telling a story combined with the way he glued it to the challenges of that time, it made us all feel that mythology was very much alive.

Three decades later, authors anthropologist Robbie Davis Floyd Ph.D., and neuroanthropologist Charles Laughlin explore the Power of Ritual.
In the foreword Betty Sue Flowers, editor of “the Power of Myth” says:
“In The Power of Ritual, Robbie Davis-Floyd and Charles D. Laughlin have done for ritual what Campbell did for myth-tell stories, personalize the study of ritual, and relate ritual to the concerns of everyday life”.

 

ritual
Joseph Campbell in the Power of Myth

 

Even though it is not written as a textbook, it has an academic thoroughness about it. It explores all the facets of ritual: the brain of the Homo sapiens, mythology, the “hardware” of ritual: the drivers, the techniques and the place, the “software of ritual: the emotions and the transformations it can sustain in a certain society.

Where myths are the stories that make us come to terms with the world, rituals are a sword with two edges. Ritual helps you make sense of the culture you live in and it can help you change that culture.

the power of ritual: giving structure

They give a list of 9 core characteristics that constitute the anatomy of ritual, based on Ronald. L. Grimes’ The Craft of Ritual Studies. (Grimes put Ritual Studies on the academic map). This list is the guideline that is used throughout the book.

“Ritual is one of the oldest human activities-often considered as important as eating, sex, and shelter. Why has it persisted so long? Why does every attempt to suppress it result in creating it anew? What makes ritual seems at once so foundational that even animals do it so superfluous that Protestants once imagined they could dispense it altogether?”

Ronald Grimes, Introduction to Reading in Ritual Studies

 

ritual
Art: The Biosphere by designed by Buckminster Fuller, photo by Dennis Bathory-Kisz

 

In eleven chapters there is a diligent search for the power of ritual. In every corner, every room, every symbol, every core symbol is interpreted as a part of a ritual. A ritual can be positive as well as negative. A ritual is dualistic: it has to sustain a culture and its rulers, but it must also be a vehicle for social change.
Not an easy subject.
But it is clear that a ritual gives structure, and it needs a certain place, a certain time, with people acting in certain ways, dressed in certain clothes. Even if a ritual has no effect, people usually blame this on something they themselves have done wrong.

the power of ritual: Personal stories

What sets this book apart from other books are the very personal stories the authors use to illustrate the values that are part of any ritual. The authors take the daring step to share some very personal stories to illustrate the 9 principles of ritual and in doing so they dare to break boundaries. The only thing that was unclear to me as reader, is who is telling the story.

Almost every personal story is told in the third person perspective. To me this was a little confusing at times. There are two authors: has one author told the story, and has the other written it down?
In the final chapter, Robbie Davis finally dares to write in the first person perspective, as she tells the story of the celebration of her deceased daughter.

Her daughter died in a car crash, one of the most heartbreaking experiences any human being can ever experience. And telling it from the first person perspective makes it strong. I was there too, celebrating the life of this vibrant young girl. Being a mother myself, I feel the loss, the desperation and the celebration about the short, but beautiful life she had lived.

“When I was called to attend the lightning of the candles on the birthday cake, I told the caterers to STOP and hold it for a little while, and then I took my sweet time to walk around the beautiful gardens to note how friends and relatives had clustered to eat and talk about Peyton-forever engraved in my memory are the shining candles and my equally shining family and friends. I had learned not to simply ride the ritual train, but to stop it for a little while. so I could simply bask in the moment to drink in from the ritual every single thing it could give me.”

Conclusion

What is the verdict: to buy or not to buy?
pro:

  • The book gives a very good analysis of ritual, and frequently surprises you with new data and insights. For example: have you ever conceived giving birth in a hospital as a ritual? Have you ever realized that a ritual is like an unstoppable train? Have you ever realized that there must be a combination of internal as well as external drivers to change consciousness when performing a ritual? This book gives so much information and so much examples that you will feel more knowledgeable once you have read it.
  • I really like and admire the fact that the writers share personal stories. Having the guts to step outside the scientific anthropological point of view, they practice what they preach. You can not study a phenomenon without having experienced it yourself.
  • There are many models and theories discussed in this book. Nine aspects of ritual, states of consciousness, a cognitive matrix, the cycle of meaning, four stages of cognition… A multitude of ways to analyse ritual.
  • The book is quite easy to read.
  • There is a lot of attention for mythology and dreams in this book. Charles Laughlin is an accomplished practitioner of Tibetan yoga and talks about dreams and dream incubation with ease, and he even shows the box he created to sleep in.
  • There is much attention to the birth process of human beings. Lots of Western women (like me) never get proper educated about it because our grandmothers, mothers and sisters are too traumatized to discuss the process.
    “An electronic fetal monitoring machine, which Robbie has interpreted as the primary symbol of hospital birth (Davis-Floyd 2004), also speaks with many voices, promising to provide full information on the strength of the laboring mother’s contractions and the contraction of the fetal heart rate, representing the vast corporation that created it and the technical know-how that went into making it, and giving women a sense of psychological and emotional trust in the information it provides” (page 57).But this machine also sucks up the attention: the mother is no longer the centre of attention: the machine is. Having given birth twice in the hospital (I was obliged to do that being diabetic) I know from experience that when the heart rate of my second baby dropped significantly, this became the center of my attention for several agonizing hours.

con

  • All the models and theories can become quite confusing. I had some trouble of allocating some concepts into the picture the authors are trying to describe. There are nine major characteristics of a ritual, there are four stages of cognition, there are the twin axes of instantiation, there is the cycle of meaning, there is the technocratic, humanistic and holistic paradigms of medicine there is a cognitive matrix… It can be a bit confusing to get the big picture the authors are trying to paint for you as reader.
  • Unfortunately, there is no e-book available (yet).

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Translating Myth: Re-wording the unseen knowledge

Translating Myth
Edited by Ben Pestell, Pietra Palazzolo and Leon Burnett.
Legenda 2016, hardcover $120.00 kindle $37.22 ISBN978-1-910887-04-2 (hbk) 978-1-315-54320-8 (ebk)
Reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn, edited by Christian Gerike.

Translating Myth is a book that attempts to scientifically define myth. Or at least, come to describe 5 aspects of it: how to translate it, how to create it, how to establish it in a a new country, how to sing its poetry and how myth is related to politics. The book clearly establishes that myth can not be measured nor captured, but it is only possible to study the ways in which one can enter the realms that display myth to an individual.

Continue reading Translating Myth: Re-wording the unseen knowledge

Problem Solving using the Committee of Sleep

Life is about problem solving. You just conquered a problem. Before you have a chance to lay back and enjoy your peace of mind, another problem is calling to be solved. Deirdre Barrett Ph.D, who teaches at Harvard, wrote a book about how dreams can be used as tools for problem solving.

problem solving
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Ariadne’s Clue, a guide to the symbols of humankind

 

This blog is about symbols and their meaning. The world is filled with symbols. Success in life is often the result of interpreting symbols in an adequate manner.

 

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Symbols and Mythology

Ariadne is the goddess of passion. She is the daughter of Midos, King of Crete,   and Pasiphae. She helped Theseus battle the Minotaur who was stuck in the labyrinth. Ariadne gave him the clue to escape out of wandering around in a pool of possibilities. A simple woollen thread, that enabled him to find his way back. But she did not only show him the path, she also helped him to concur the monster that was hiding in the dark, by giving him a sword. She did all that for the promise of marriage. Theseus promised to marry her as soon as he came back from his mission. But he left her. Poor Ariadne…
Dionysius married her and they allegedly had two children: Stapylus and Oenopion.
Continue reading Ariadne’s Clue, a guide to the symbols of humankind

The Treasure Hunt for the Black Swan

Kelly Bulkeley’s new book: Big Dreams, The Science of Dreaming & The Origins Of Religion is, a sometimes personal, story of the treasure hunt for the Black Swan.
The scientific study of dreams has collected dreams in laboratories. But most dreams are forgotten. But everybody has had a dream they could not forget. A dream that was so profound in vision, in emotion and in impact it changed their perspective on live. They are called “Big Dreams”. In his book Bulkeley investigates those Big Dreams, the Black Swans of Dream Research.

black swan
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Albert Einstein and the Theory that Explains Everyting

Jeffrey Bennet is the author of a new book about Albert Einstein his theory of relativity. He writes in his introduction: “Prior to studying relativity, I had misunderstood the basic nature of space and time”. That sounds intriguing doesn’t it? If you are like me, you have this eagerness to learn more about the hidden laws of nature. And Einstein seemed to have uncovered some of these laws and was well on his way to compose the theory that explains everything. In this blog I tell you more about the book What is Relativity? An intuitive Introduction to Einstein’s Idea’s, and Why They Matter and I encourage you to find laws of the human psyche together with me. Because if nature depends on laws, the human psyche does too.

 

albert einstein
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Conversion as a way of thinking

Being raised as a Catholic I was always taught that conversion was a gentle process to help people to get their souls saved. Believing in one god was the highest thing, and the only thing that could bring salvation.

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James Joyce: Juicy, Jaunty and Jaded

Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”
― James Joyce, Ulysses

James Joyce
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James Joyce and mythology

Mythic Worlds, Modern Words, On the Art of James Joyce, edited by Edmund Epstein for the Joseph Campbell foundation tells us how we can use James Joyce as a guide for interpreting mythological material. The book discusses the interpretations given by Joseph Campbell during the course of his life. In different lectures, workshops and presentations he has told about the effect the writings of Joyce had on him since he discovered them in 1927 in Paris.

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Brene Brown: 3 Keys to Dare Greatly

You might know Brene Brown from Oprah’s Super Soul Saturday. Oprah Winfrey’s soul mate, after promoting gratitude, she now promotes vulnerability. And if you are like me, you don’t feel at ease displaying your vulnerability. I remember getting fired after sending out an email that said: “please give me something to do”. And I also remember how embarrassed I felt when a next door neighbor started to tell me intimate facts about her wedding. So what is to gain from being vulnerable? if you are vulnerable, you dare greatly. And if you dare greatly, you will get results you could not even imagine.

 

Brene Brown
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Dream ESP, the secret of prophetic causal dreaming

Dream ESP is the key to creating a partnership between your subconscious and conscious self, is the promise on the backside of the book. A big promise. But you won’t get it without using your heart and soul.

 

As most of my readers know, I am fascinated by dreams and I have experienced some bizarre Extrasensory Perception (ESP) related experiences. ESP is defined as the ability to know things (such as what another person is thinking or what will happen in the future) that cannot be known by normal use of the senses (source Merriam-webster.com). So you can imagine that I was thrilled that publisher Llewellyn Worldwide honored my request for a review copy.
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3 ways to detect cancer in an early stage

This blog is about the Mindfunda interview on the book "She Who Dreams". Wanda Burch -dream sister of Robert Moss- saved her own life by dreaming. In it, Wanda talks about how she followed her intuition, how she listened to her dreams and how she used mental imagery to assist her body in the healing process.

 

Cancer is a name used for several types of diseases. It is characterised by cells growing fast. Usually, when a cell is growing too fast the immune system triggers something called apoptosis: cell death. But in cancer, this system is blocked. Breast cancer is a very common form of cancer. As many as one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women.

 

cancer
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Tip to prevent cancer #1: listen to your dreams

In the foreword of “She who dreams” Robert Moss* writes: “I learned that the Mohawk word for a healer or shaman is atetshents, meaning “one who dreams”.

cancer
Wanda-Easter-Burch

Wanda tells in her interview that she always had this premonition that she was going to die young; her dance hall dreams. The dreams started in the 1960s. In those dreams she was in a dance hall and the only way out was through a door that would lead her through the other side. Her advice to anyone who wants to prevent any kind of illness or accidents is to listen to your dreams. “Our dreams are real. We must look at them as another room in our life where we can share and learn lessons for living, playing, communicating, healing, and even dying. We not only see the future in our dreams, but dreams about the future give us the ability to make choices and shape the future for the better.

Tip to prevent cancer #2: use visualization

Wanda tells about who her dreams gave her imagery she used to restore her body.  “Dream healing is an active creative process which uses mind pictures to effect body wellness”. She shares in her book a very powerful image of the healing pool. “I had not realized, until that moment, how vitally useful and important a dream image can be in ones healing process. In this dream I was standing over a bowl of water, holding a sponge shaped like a wide, flat cone like a breast.  I held the breast shaped coin under the water. I turned the coin over and squeezed the water from it again. This time a small cylinder filled with dark material flushed into the water, leaving the cone clear”.

Wanda her book is filled with healing meditations. Powerful images you can easily use yourself in any situation were you need physical or mental improvement. The mental imagery she presents is powerful, appealing and easy to use.

Tip to prevent cancer #3: bring the dream in the world

One of the hardest parts for people in dream groups I lead is to act on their dreams. Sometimes, all the conditions are ready, like for the artist in my dream group who dreamed about a painting. Another member of this dream group was organizing an exhibition. So I suggested that this dreamer would apply her art into this exhibition. But she decided not to.

Wanda also emphasizes that acting on dream images: bring the dream into the waking world, is a good thing. Acting upon a dream gives your dreaming mind a messages that you listen. That you are ready for its guidance. It is like you fall in love and enter into a new relationship. Any relationship needs devotion. Real-ness. To bring your dream into the world is like wearing the wedding ring to tell everybody that you are in a serious relationship.

cancer

 

Wanda Burch inspired my book “A Dreamers’ guide through the land of the Deceased”. In this book I look at over a hundred of dreams I collected worldwide as a universal story. The story our dreaming minds tell us about the path the soul will travel after death. I started to analyse the dream content using the dream content method developed by Hall and van de Castle. But I had this nagging feeling that by tearing the dream apart in components I lost the magic of the story. Wanda Burch her book reminded me that dreams tell a story. A story that is valid. So they idea of creating a voyage of the soul, after death was very exciting. Combining more than 100 dreams into a greater story was such an intellectual treat for me. I am still thankful to Wanda for her inspiration. (She did contribute a story for this book, a very moving story about her deceased father).

 

cancer
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Cancer and dreams: Larry Burk

In 2013, when I was at the IASD conference in Virginia, I met Larry Burk. He told me that he was interested in dreams that could predict breast cancer. He got supported by the people of Dreamscloud. Wanda asks you in the interview to sent your dreams about breast cancer to Larry Burk, using his website Let the magic happen. Together we can save lives by showing people the healing properties of dreaming.

*: here you can read my review of Robert Moss’ latest book Sidewalk oracles