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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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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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

 

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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”.

 

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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

 

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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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‘Dreams and Spirituality’ : a triple 10 minutes interview with the editors

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep" William Shakespeare

In a time not too long ago, dreams were regarded as messages from God. Now society has become much more rational dreams are regarded as random neurological chatter of the brain. ‘Dreams and Spirituality’ a handbook for ministry, spiritual direction and counseling is a skeleton for anybody working with dreams. In the first place it is aimed at ministers and spiritual counsellors. But it is also a very useful guidebook for anyone who has encountered a dream about spirituality. Mindfunda talked with the three editors: Kate Adams, Bart Koet and Barbara Koning.

 

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Dr. Kate Adams is Reader at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln, Lincolnshire.
Dr. Bart Koet is Ordinary Professor of New Testament and Extraordinary Professor of Early Christian Literature at the University of Tilburg.
Dr. Barbara Koning is a clinical psychologist of religion and spiritual director in the Netherlands. Her website is dreampilgrims.com.

“Explain all that” said Mock the Turtle. “No, no! The adventures first” said the Gryphon in an impatient tone: “explanation take such a dreadful time“.
Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland

This book is an outstanding attempt to analyse and categorize spirituality in dreams. But everyone who has ever had a Big Dream, a confrontation with his own spirituality, knows that the most important thing in such dreams is the adventure. To drift away in another realm of being, to reach beyond the limits of what you thought was possible. My own spiritual dreams, especially the lucid ones where I was researching God, or my concept of God are of such intensity that I am afraid of writing about them. Afraid because I can not find the right words to paint you the picture. So the best way to read this excellent book is to interpret it as an invitation into your own realm of spirituality.

The book is divided into three parts, with dream narratives used as an interlude . In that way, the book reads like a poem, or a symphony. Part one gives an outline of the multi-disciplinary points of departure. Part two dives into empirical data. Part three serves as a more practical guideline for pastoral workers.

Each part consists of a number of chapters written by authors like Bob Haden of the Haden Institute, Robert Hoss, the man who put colors in dreams back on the map, anthropologist Charles Laughlin, Rev. Geoff Nelson. it is an impressive set of names. This structure takes care that every aspect of spirituality is covered. In this Mindfunda I will jump through the book, cherry picking the best quotes.

Dreams and Spirituality – part one:

In the first part of the book: Multi-disciplinary points of departure  Bart Koet is one of the contributors. He outlines the view on dreams in the bible. Religious ministers are often inclined to neglect the dreams of their flock. In the western world, since Freud published his ideas, the interpretation of dreams has been considered to belong to the psychological realm and maybe to the adherents of New Age movements. However, Bart Koet shows that  in Biblical traditions dreams and visions can be signposts. They stimulate people to look for new roads. . Biblical stories of dreams are also being used to wake the reader. At that moment the reader knows: ‘Be alert, wake up and listen carefully to this dream’. This approach does not stop with the Bible for there have always been people who have experienced some of their dreams as divine revelations, such as a lady like Perpetua in the third century, Saint Francis and also, for example, Don Bosco.

Charles Laughlin, author of ‘Communing with the Gods’ shares a chapter about the different cultural outlooks on dreams. “Human experience seems to be distributed across a range of states, from those concerned primarily with adaptions to extramental reality to those oriented towards internal relations within the being
Charles distinguishes between the Western Monophasic culture were dreams are disregarded and the eastern Polyphasic cultures where dreams are perceived as a form of reality.
When one does a cross cultural study, like Vincenza Tiberia did in 1981, there is across cultures the same distinction between common dreams and big dreams. Tiberia used the data from roughly 300 societies and collected 62 archetypical dreams from 43 different cultures. She found six archetypes: ‘the Archetypical Feminine’, (anima, Great Mother), ‘the Self’, ‘the Marriage’, ‘the Ancestor Archetype’, and ‘Loosing teeth’. In “The spirit of Psychology” Jung refers to archetypes as “the holy”.

The interview with Bart Koet makes clear that his work in prisons, probably the least spiritual environment possible, can bring about very deep spiritual experiences and dreams. Being in a situation of despair can help people to face and accept dark parts about themselves. Like the man who murdered his “brother”:

Dreams and Spirituality – part two

In the second part of this book: Dreams and religion: empirical data, theory and reflection Barbara Koning writes about varieties of religious dreaming. This chapter is a way for counsellors and pastors to categorize the content of dreams shared with them. The Hall and van de Castle system of content analysis is mentioned.

I am sitting in a circle of people around my minister who is leading a celebration. Suddenly he is giving me a kind of musical instrument: I understand I will have to accompany the worship. The instrument is broken and it does not work properly. I can’t fulfill the task given to me and I feel embarrassed about that”.

Such beautiful dreams we can all recognize are shared in the book. Barbara uses them to illustrate how pastoral workers can give a dream shared with them more depth and perspective.

The religion you believe in also influences the content of your dream. It is a pity that neither science nor atheism is considered a religion by the editors because that would have given the book an extra boost for me. Maybe the editors can consider it for the second edition of this book.

In the interview Barbara shares her vision on how science and spirituality can be united while working with spiritual dreams:

Dreams and Spirituality – part three:

In the third and final part of this book: Dreams and the practice of pastoral care Kate Adams and Peter Green share their chapter about the spirituality of children: “Out of the mouths of babes”.

Neither Christian pastors nor teachers are trained to respond to children’s dream narratives“. Being the mother of two teenage boys I can confirm that my children would be terrified if they would have to share dreams at school. They could consider it humiliating, even though they share their dreams at home. Charles Laughlin pointed out in part one that we live in a monophasic culture. And it is a shame because children dream often.
Both Peter and Kate stress the importance of listening to and accepting the dreams without interpreting them. Spirituality in dreams is an innate quality of dreaming:

“I was on a cloud and God was there. I was crying and God told me not to be upset. When I woke up I felt better”.

This dream was told by a nine-year old from a secular background. He only told his cat because “my cat always listens and never talks back to me”.

In the interview Kate shares her vision on the importance of spirituality and children. So many times the subject of children’s dreams are disregarded in literature:

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Please sign up for my YouTube channel to enjoy all the beautiful Mindfunda interviews with inspiring people. People like Jean Benedict Raffa, Anne Baring, Connie Kaplan, Ralph Metzner, Stanley Krippner and P.M.H. Atwater, Catherine Wikholm about her book the Buddha Pill and Justina Lasley about her book Wake Up to Your Dreams: Transform Your Relationships, Career, and Health While You Sleep , Evan Thompson about his book ‘Waking Sleeping Being‘. and Barbara Koning, Bart Koet and Kate Adams editors of ‘Dreams and Spirituality‘.

An interview with Wanda Burch about her book She who dreams will be published in November, so sign up and don’t miss out on some interesting new interviews.

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Psychology professor Stanley Krippner about dreams myths and visions

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Stanley Krippner

Mindfunda had the honor of interviewing Stanley Krippner, professor in psychology on Saybrook University about his life. You can watch it on my YouTube channel. Don’t forget to sign up because I will be uploading lots of interesting interviews.

Stanley Krippner is a featured speaker on the conference of the International Study for the Association of dreams (IASD) where he will be talking about his work on ptsd – post traumatic stress disorder -. *)

It was a dream of mine that triggered me to sent him an invitation for an interview. I dreamed that I was performing a ritual with my hands. I had to move my hands in synch with Stanley Krippner in my dream. I knew exactly what to do, intuitively and I woke up very happy. With a new sense of trusting my inner self.

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Stanley Krippner A life of dreams, myths and visions

If you purchase this book using this link, you will support the good work of Mindfunda

In this book Stanley Krippner, a life of dreams myths &  visions, a picture is painted of a psychology professor who combines a very analytical skill with tact and diplomacy. A rare combination. A lot of well-known scholars contributed a chapter to this book: Allan Leslie Combs, Jurgen Werner. Michael Winkerman, Charles Laughlin, Jean Millay & Suzanne Engelman, Deidre Barret, Daniel Deslaudiers, Faribah Bogzahran, David Feinstein and Deidre Barrett to name a few. This book is filled with wisdom.

Stanley Krippner has explored the field of psychology in all possible realms. He has a special interest in dreams. He has kept a dream journal from a relative young age. His article about how the magnetism of the earth influences dream content is just one of the ways he shows his love for the earth. Growing up in a farmer’s family he was involved in ecological agriculture at an early age. Slug the Bug! was his first ecological product that he sold himself at the local market. He always is very aware of his connection to the earth. His advice to students of psychology is: to stay grounded

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@nldreamtime

This connection to the earth must get nurtured by a believe in magic. In the Mindfunda interview Stanley Krippner talks about how his good friend Rolling Thunder surprised him with some magic. One day a bird was brought to Rolling Thunder, a Cherokee medicine man. His wing was broken. Rolling thunder just took the bird in his hands and it flew away, healed.

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Rolling thunder

If you buy this book using this link you will support the good work of Mindfunda 

In the Mindfunda interview you will hear Stanley Krippner talking about that event. The picture on the cover of the book was taken shortly after.

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photo @zoom.nl

The interview with Stanley Krippner made perfectly clear that psychology needs grounded people who base their conclusions on observable facts. But that only observable facts are not enough. You have to be open-minded for the magic to do its work. Otherwise the earthly facts would be too dry to consume.

His knowledge about magic (he used to study and perform magic tricks) came into good use when he investigated several paranormal events. A haunted house got analyzed by Stanley who deducted that every time something happened the grandson of the couple that lived in this haunted house was present. It turned out that the grandson wanted a place of his own and creating a story about the house being haunted made people crazy enough to experience weird things.
Magic also played a role when he conducted his experiments with Montague Ullman and Alan Vaughan concerning dream telepathy. The laboratory where he investigated dreaming persons using electrodes to measure their brainwaves was checked by magicians. It are those kind of details that make this man stand out.

I know Stanley Krippner not only from the books he has written but also because I invited him to perform a workshop Personal Mythology in the Netherlands. In the Mindfunda interview Stanley says that finding out your Personal mythology is important. Getting to know yourself better is vital for liking yourself. Liking yourself creates inner peace. inner peace creates the ability to give back to the world. If you want to join the Facebook group Personal Mythology I initiated click here. In this group we talk about mythology, mythological themes that penetrate our lives, we talk about dreams and how we have evolved from old personal mythologies into new mythologies.

There is one thing I have not mentioned yet. Shamanism. Deidre Barrett, in her contribution to the book “Every Tribe’s Wise man” talks about how a supervisee, Amaro Laria found shamans in remote places who all asked him once they heard he was from America: “Do you know Stanley Krippner?”

Stanley talks in the Mindfunda interview about how he used Carlos Casteneda’s hand method to aquire the art of lucid dreaming (for more info about lucid dreaming see my interview with Robert Waggoner).
Like Ralph Metzner he researched and experienced natural means of expanding consciousness and has written several articles about it.

Stanley Krippner gives psychology a new two-sided face. On the one hand he is about facts: analyzing data, reading the latest research. On the other hand he always keeps an eye open for magic. “The one thing I wish that students would do is gather facts about precognitive dreams” he stated in one of the interviews I saw while preparing my Mindfunda interview. Facts, sprinkled with a little touch of magic.

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Post-traumatic stress disorder

*)  purchase this book about PTSD, and support the good work of Mindfunda

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10 Dream books you should read

I have been working with dreams for several years now, and I read a lot of dream books. But sometimes there is that one book that really has a special edge. A way you have not looked at dreams before. Here is my list of 10 dream books you should read i.e. I can recommend all of you to buy and read. Please let me know if you agree with my choices. If one of your personal favorite dream books is absent, let me know by using the comment section below the blog.

  • Dream books tip #1: ‘Creative Dreaming’ by Patricia Garfield:
    Years ago, in the eighties, I read this book, in one night. It was the first book ever that discussed dreams as creative material. I fell asleep and had my first lucid dream (a dream you have while being aware that you are dreaming). This is not only about lucid dreams however. It is about getting the most out of a dream to make your life better. Patricia was criticized for not being scientific and for not having visited the Senoi people she wrote about. But that does not change the fact that this book gives you a method you can use that will change your dream-life. Patricia was on the panel I organized on the conference of the International Organisation of the Study of Dreams (IASD) in 2014 click here
Mindfunda.com: dream books tip #1
Dream books tip #1: Creative dreaming – Patricia Garfield

 

  • Dream books tip #2: ‘Extraordinary dreams and how to work with them’ written by Stanley Krippner, Fariba Bogzaran and Andre Percia de Carvalho. This book gives you such a good insight in all the different types of dreams: creative dreams, Lucid dreams, Out of body dreams, healing dreams, mutual dreams… It is carefully organized and there are a lot of references to very good research about dreams. There is even a paragraph about “Working with dreams within dreams”.  I have only come across this phenomena in books about dreams in Frederik van Eede’s Dromenboek  (A Dutch lucid dreamer and writer who was in the same circle as Carl Gustav Jung).
    This book will give you so much information about dreams, your head may spin. read it one chapter at a time so you will digest all the information in it. After all these years it is still a source of reference for me.
Mindfunda.com: dream books tip #2
Dream books tip #2: Extraordinary dreams and how to work with them

  • Dream books tip #3: ‘a Branch of the Lightning Tree’ Stanley Krippner came over in 2013 to do a workshop Personal Mythology in Utrecht. Identifying mythological themes in your life and your dreams can give you so much more understanding. About yourself, about the situation you are in and about the steps you can take. Reading  a Branch of the lightning tree written by Martin Shaw has taught me a lot about distilling mythological information out of stories. Dreams are stories told by the night. So even though this book is not about dreams, it will help you understand them better.

 

Mindfunda.com: dream books tip #3
Dream books tip #3: A branch from the lightning tree

 

  • Dream books tip #4: ‘Active Dreaming’ – Robert Moss is an excellent writer. He knows how to tell a story. When he came to Utrecht to give a workshop Active dreaming, people were glued to his lips. His books are filled with useful well researched information. Robert has written a lot of books and they are all good. I have chosen Active dreaming because I like the exercises in them. There are coincidence games in it, the mapping of your energy path, a low maintenance plan for your health… It is just a very good book. A dream is something to act upon and Robert gives you the keys to unlock the secrets in them.
Mindfunda.com: dream books tip #4
Dream books tip #4: Robert Moss Active Dreaming


  • Dream books tip #5: Another book that changed my way of looking at dreams is the ‘Woman’s book of dreams’. The knowledge Connie Kaplan shared about the moon and dreaming is something I have never read before in any other book.  She connects dreaming with astrology. It made me grab my dream notes and look at what sign the moon was in while I had these dreams. In that way I made discoveries about myself, my dreams and their content that I would not have been able to make without reading this book. She also discusses a way of working with dream groups that I have used several times. One time, before doing a workshop with pregnant women and their dreams I took this book out of my closet in a dream. It made me change my workshop in the “Connie Kaplan” way and it was a good decision. In the workshop some very profound discoveries were made and people were able to engage with each other on a deeper level because of the method I used.
Mindfunda.com: dream books tip #5
Dream books tip #5: The woman’s book of dreams Connie Kaplan

 

  • Dream books tip #6: ‘Lucid Dreaming’ – Robert Waggoner is a very experienced lucid dreamer. But what is so intriguing about this book is that he helps you to shift perspective. He asks you who the writer of your dream story is (you can read more about this perspective here). A lot of people who are involved in dreaming are against lucid dreaming. A dream should take its natural course. Don’t mess with it because that would be messing with the natural psychological process that dreams are made off. But Robert simply asked “Does the sailor control the sea?” and shows us that no lucid dreamer ever fully controls the content of the dream. And he has some other thought-provoking suggestions and experiences to share.

 

Mindfunda.com: dream books tip #6
Dream books tip #6: Lucid Dreaming Robert Waggoner

 

I have not read his newest book ‘Lucid dreaming plain and simple’ yet.
He wrote it together with Caroline McCready. But it is on my list. I plan to do an interview with him and put it on this blog, so stay tuned!

Mindfunda.com: dream books runner-up
Dream books runner-up: Lucid dreaming plain and simple Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready

 

  • Dream books tip #7: Robert Gongloffs’ book ‘Dream Exploration’ changed my way of working with dreams because he taught me to take a step back. In this book you will find a matrix that enables you to look at the theme of a dream. Not focus so much on the meaning of a single symbol but look at the greater picture.
Mindfunda.com: dream books tip #7
Dream books tip #7: Dream Exploration Robert Gongloff

 

  • Dream books tip #8: I used to think alchemy was mighty interesting but beyond my understanding. So many old manuscripts, very hard to read and even more difficult to understand. Then a friend of mine gave me a copy of Monika Wikmans’ ‘Pregnant Darkness‘. She leads you through the alchemical process using dreams and symbols. Reading this book gave me so much more understanding of the path of transformation we all have to travel in live. It is well written and the examples she shares with us make us reconsider our own dream material.
Mindfunda.com: dream books tip #8
Dream books tip #8: Pregnant Darkness Monika Wikman

 

  • Dream books tip #9: Communing with the Gods’ is a well documented anthropological exploration into dreams. Charles Laughlin takes the reader on a journey to explore his neuroanthropology of dreaming. An attempt for a cross-fertilization between neurology, psychology, sociology and anthropology. Ambitious yes, but very interesting. I wrote about this book before you can read it here. The way Charles Laughlin builds the evidence for his Neuroanthropology of dreaming will give you a new way of looking at dreams.
Mindfunda.com: dream books tip #9
Dream books tip #9: Communing with the gods Charlie Laughlin
  • Dream books tip #10: Last but not least, my translation of Vasily Kasatkins’ classic ‘A theory about Dreams’. You can hear my presentation about it in this link. The reason why this book will change your vision on dreams is that it makes the relationship between the body and the dream content crystal clear. Even a hard-core scientist as psychiatrist Vasily Kasatkin was convinced that dreams are the early indicators of physical illness. A dream can safe your life.
Mindfunda.com: dream books tip #10
Dream books tip #10: ‘a Theory about Dreams’ – Vasatli Kasatkin translated by Susanne van Doorn

Did you enjoy this list of Dream books? Please use the comments box below to share your thought!

 

Brain evolution

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In his book “Commung with the Gods” Charles Laughlin tells about brain evolution, with a special emphasis on dreaming. Being an anthropologist trained in neuroscience he shares some interesting facts about how we evolved into our current brain-mind.

Charles Laughlin Communing with the Gods

The evolution of the animal kingdom began with the origin of single cell creatures who very likely also experienced their environment in some rudimentary way” Charles Laughlin writes in Communing with the Gods. “Movement is adaptation to the environment. It implies that the moving animal has a depiction of the environment and its changes”. 

Reading this, I remembered a Ted Talk I saw years ago from Daniel Wolpert who made a strong argument for movement being the only reason for the existence of a brain. And it is true, movement does improve our chances of survival and procreation. But Charles Laughlin tells us more about brain evolution, its structures and how they affect dreaming.

Early on in evolution there was a thing called down time. Time for an animal to channel its energy in dealing with inside information. The Caenorhabditis elegans, a roundworm, is one of vertebrates who has downtime.

As the evolution of multi cell animals arose, it was necessary to develop control and coordinate somatic activities. Specialized cells that grouped together in the form of a neural tube with multiple sensory organs. So neurons evolved and began to specialize. Neurons can be divided into:

  1. Efferent systems: they carry information from the brain to the organs.
  2. Afferent systems: they carry information from the organs to the brain
  3. Interneurons: connect to each other to form local systems.
    The higher on the evolutionary scale, the higher the proportion of interneurons becomes. Interneurons are involved in making schema’s, inner movies; because they intervene between sensory input and behavioral output. These inner movies are what we use in dreaming, daydreaming, creativity and problem solving. This ability makes us able to predict the future with a certain degree of accuracy.
    Interneurons are sufficient to produce alternative states of awareness.

Sleeping and dreaming have an advantage, dreaming animals have a better chance of survival. Dreaming is a form of reality testing. The internal models are set into practice in dreams, and information about reality is assimilated.

This kind of testing and future planning involves the frontal lobe.  At a later stage in evolution the ability to conceptualize became part of the symbolic process. Conceptualization has to do with language. We have to not only comprehend our own ideas, we also need to talk about them with others. We do that most easily by using concepts. When we talk about the Big Bang, almost everybody knows we talk about the origin of the universe.

Language is an essential part of this process. Language processing requires many areas of the cortex. This ability probably occurred during the time of Homo habilis, 2.5 million years ago.

According to Charles Laughlin, early humans were dream sharers. Dream sharing would have given humans food for thought. The effort of searching for meaning is universal among animals with brains like the Homo sapiens.  It enabled them to address existential questions that arise as a consequence of dream sharing. Dreaming became part of mental reality.

Communing with the Gods is a very interesting, very anthropological book. The definitions of concepts are numerous, and the theory the author proposes to incorporate biological, evolutionary and neurologic information is very interesting.

If you are interested in the brain, in dreaming, in evolution, you must definitly get a copy of this book.