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.


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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

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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Join me on Facebook

 


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.


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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 

Follow me on Twitter

Join me on Facebook


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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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

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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

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

 

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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

read
Click the link to buy the product and support Mindfunda

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

 

read
Click the link to buy the product and support Mindfunda

 

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

read
Click the link to buy the product and support Mindfunda

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

read

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)

read
Click the link to buy the product and support Mindfunda

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.

 

Check out Mindfunda Courses: Add more value to your life exploring your own Mythology

 

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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

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A special thanks to Jason DeBord, editor of this blog.

 


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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, 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

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Continue reading Problem Solving using the Committee of Sleep

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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Continue reading The Treasure Hunt for the Black Swan

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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Continue reading Albert Einstein and the Theory that Explains Everyting

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.

Continue reading Conversion as a way of thinking

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.

Continue reading James Joyce: Juicy, Jaunty and Jaded

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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Continue reading Brene Brown: 3 Keys to Dare Greatly

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.
Continue reading Dream ESP, the secret of prophetic causal dreaming

Our dreaming mind by Robert van de Castle

What I like about “Our Dreaming Mind” by Robert Van de Castle

It was many years ago that I first took a copy of “Our Dreaming Mind” home from the library. I can see in my later bought copy at home it is from 1994.
It would be years before I did actually meet Dr. Robert van de Castle and his lovely wife.

The reason for my interest in dreams was because I studied psychology. In my daytime dreams I could see myself treating patients with the “dangerous method” of talking to them.
My view on dreams was a romantic one: dreams where the playground of the Gods, the unraveled mysteries of our shadow kingdom, the voice of the dark side of our personality.

Robert van de Castle was a psychologist, a parapsychologist who helped in a number of very important experiments about telepathy and dreaming. After his death, Stanly Krippner wrote a little note stating that Robert showed up on their doorstep eager to be a test-person, because he knew how important their study would be.

In “Our Dreaming Mind” you will find a carefully listed summation of important scientific research, but also a heartwarming and enchanting personal tale of Robert van de Castle about his life, and his dreams. It is like an invitation to you: to get real about dreams and to scientifically straighten out your thoughts about all the revenues he reveals for you.

Chapter 1 and 2 are called the treasure chest and discuss dreams as portals between inner and outer worlds and the dreams that have changed the world. Ingmar Bergman, William Butler Yeats, Mary Shelly and lots of other famous persons’ dreamstories are told.

Part two of “Our Dreaming Mind” consists of a historical review of the early thinking about dreams. We are taken back to Artemidoris who wrote the first dream-translation list, taken into the Romantic era. The ideas about dreams being messages from God are still relevant today for some people.

Part three of “Our Dreaming Mind” catapults us into the twentieth century: Freud, Jung and others. In parts 4 Robert is at his best: he introduces research into dreams.

Part five of “Our Dreaming Mind” is a blessing for the eyes where Robert can dive into the content analysis, the method that made him famous in certain circles and that has brought forth so many good research about dreams.

Part six is the icing on the cake. Robert always did the dream telepathy contest at the IASD: the International Association of the Study of Dreams, and this chapter is about the dreams with that extra tiny bit of magic.

Our Dreaming Mind
Our Dreaming Mind

“Our Dreaming Mind” is definitely a book to read if you are interested in dreams, it has become a classic. You cannot buy a new print, but you may find “Our Dreaming Mind” as used copy over here:


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  Spirifunda:
psychology for everyday with a spiritual layer of meaning, searching for the soul. Our brains are wired for believe in magic. In a world filled with rationality, you sometimes need a little magic, a little “I wonder why”. Synchronicity, the insights of Carl Jung, the mythology used by Freud, the archetypical layers in the Tarot, the wisdom of the I Tjing, Shamanism, the oldest religion of humanity, all that information gets published in the Spirifunda section of Mindfunda.

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