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
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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.
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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.

 

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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.
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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.
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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.

 

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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!

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

Please support this blog by using the link in this story if you want to buy the book I discuss. It will give Mindfunda a little kickback fee.

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.