Best Books on Dreams 2017

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

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

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

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

Best books on dreams 2017

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

best books on dreams
Robert Waggoner

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

Deirdre Barrett

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

best books on dreams 2017

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

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

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

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

best books on dreams 2017
Stanley Krippner

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

best books on dreams 2017
Elaine Mansfield

 

 

 

 

 

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

best books on dreams 2017
Buy the book using this link to support the good work of Mindfunda

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

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

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

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

best books on dreams 2017
John van Rouwendaal

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Susanne van Doorn, Dutch psychologist, blogger & author

best books on dreams
Susanne van Doorn, MSc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mother’s Day: A Tribute to all the Mothers

Mother’s Day, a day to honor all mothers around the world. Including the ones that did not bear children. In this blog I will tell you about how I became captured by the archetype of the mother. And how it influenced my own relationship with my mother.

mothers day

Continue reading Mother’s Day: A Tribute to all the Mothers

The Redeeming Dark

In the month of December Mindfunda will publish a series of blogs about the descent. Today’s Guest blog, written by Elaine Mansfield, is about The Redeeming Dark.

  1. The first one was about depression as descent.
  2. In the second Guest blog, Jean Raffa explored Inanna’s descent as a personal myth.
  3. The third blog will focused on the common themes found the Descent Myth of Inanna and Sleeping Beauty.
  4. This last Guest blog, written by Elaine Mansfield, will talk about Redeeming the dark.
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Elaine Mansfield

Elaine Mansfield’s memoir Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey through Grief (2014) won the 2015 Gold Medal IPPY Award (Independent Publisher’s Book Awards) in the category Aging, Death, and Dying. Elaine has been a student of Carl Jung since 1970 and has studied mythology for thirty years. She writes for hospice, facilitates bereavement support groups, and gives workshops and presentations. She gave a TEDx talk called “Good Grief! What I Learned from Loss.” She also writes a weekly blog about the adventures and lessons of life and loss. To learn more about Elaine’s work, please visit her website. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Listening in the dark

“From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below.” 1

The descent of the Goddess begins with listening. Inanna, the Listener, is the Great Goddess of Heaven and Earth (~3500 – 2500 BC, Sumeria/Mesopotamia). Her story is the oldest written goddess myth, and what a goddess she is: Erotic, wise, powerful, conniving, loving, fierce, courageous, and ruthless.

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Inanna, Burney Relief (Flicker—creative commons photo) 1800 BC, British Museum

In the Sumerian language, the word for ear also means wisdom. Inanna is called to listen to the Great Below because, despite her many powers, she lacks something. Without knowledge of mortality and unconscious realms, she is not whole. Without some relationship with inner depths and darkness, we are helpless when faced with forces beyond our ego’s control.

When my husband Vic was diagnosed with incurable cancer in 2006, I knew I had to listen. I bought a new notebook and recorded our experiences from medical to psychological, from hope to anguish, from spiritual peaks to deep despair. As Vic neared the threshold, I wrote and reflected at his bedside. I wanted to remember. I wanted meaning. It was my job to remain in the Day World or the Great Above. Vic needed me to be conscious and competent, just as Inanna needed her trusted female advisor Ninshubur to witness her descent and call for help.

After Vic’s death, exhausted and filled with disbelief, I faced a new descent. Grief, Death’s companion, became my new teacher.

In the descent myth, Inanna tells the gatekeeper to the Great Below or Underworld that she wishes to attend the funeral of the Great Bull of Heaven, Ereshkigal’s husband. Ereshkigal is the Underworld Death Goddess and Inanna’s Dark Sister. Inanna intends to witness a death, not face her own. That was my plan, too…

Inanna arrives in full queenly regalia at the gates of the Great Below. I had arrived in the oncologist’s office with my notebook, my numbered list of questions, my suggestions, and my fierce resolve. My mission to save my husband succeeded—until it failed. When Death won, my personal descent began.

As Inanna passes through each of the seven gates on her way to the Great Below, she is stripped of a garment symbolic of her power. For example:

When she (Inanna) entered the first gate,

From her head, … the crown of the steppe, was removed.

Inanna asked: “What is this?”

She was told: “Be quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect. They may not be questioned.” 2

Hadn’t I given up enough? I thought when the stripping began. Apparently not. As long as my husband lived, I retained position in the world and community. I had a job to do.

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Inanna worship/ Bringing Gifts to Inanna, c. 3100-2899 B.C., Hirmer Verlag, Munich (Wolkstein/Kramer, p. 105)

With his death, I lost my role as wife and partner in a deeply satisfying relationship. I was demoted to widow, a social label for the scorned and abandoned feminine. I had been a women’s health counselor, but lost my own motivation. My erotic life disappeared—not only sexual, but daily intimacy with someone I loved. I lost my sense of proportion and could no longer measure where I was in life. My notebook felt useless. My ego and persona crumbled. I was stuck in grief. Like Inanna, I was “naked and laid low.”

When Inanna reaches the Great Belowshe steps toward her sister’s throne. For this last remnant of pride, she is condemned by the Eye of Death and Eye of Wrath. She is pronounced guilty for refusing to honor a power greater than her own. Then, Inanna is hung on a hook. Dead. In this startling image, day world abilities are useless in the face of the Destructive Dark.

So there they are, stuck in the Great Below. Ereshkigal cries out in rage and pain. Inanna hangs on her hook. All is dark depression and stasis. Nothing moves. There is no hope.

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Door to the Underworld, 1600 BC, Louvre (Wolkstein/Kramer, p. 55)

Is there a divine force that can save Inanna and us? Ninshubur, Inanna’s trusted and grieving advisor, sends for help. Enki, the God of Wisdom creates two small mourners from the dirt under his fingernails. These seemingly insignificant mourners have one skill: empathy. They see the suffering of Ereshkigal and mirror her cries.

“Oh! Oh! My inside!” 

“Oh! Oh! Your inside!” 

“Oh! Oh! My outside!” 

“Oh! Oh! Your outside!….” 3

The mourners provide compassionate witnessing in a long call and response. As it does in therapy or close friendship, empathy creates a miracle of transformation. Ask the Dalai Lama what power is equal to Wisdom. He’ll say Compassion.

Ereshkigal, the neglected, unloved, and shunned, grieves for her husband, but we now learn that she is also crying out from the pain of giving birth. Within the deep darkness, something new is being born. Perhaps Inanna. Perhaps you and me.

Ereshkigal asked (the mourners):

Who are you,

Moaning—groaning—sighing with me?

If you are gods, I will bless you.

If you are mortals, I will give you a gift. 4

They don’t want all the riches and resources of the world. They want the corpse which they sprinkle with the water and food of life.

A sliver of light has penetrated the Dark and released new energy. Birth will follow darkness. Seeds quicken after Winter Solstice. Light returns. The Goddess of Heaven and Earth rises and the cycle continues.

As Inanna ascends, there are complications. Aren’t there always? Demons cling to her and demand more sacrifice to appease the judges of the Great Below. We learn that another cyclic round is always waiting in Feminine Realms. There is no end to death and trauma, but there is also no end to compassion and rebirth.

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Inanna with date palm, c. 2400 B.C. Staatliche Museum, Berlin (Wolkstein/Kramer, p. ii)

 

I returned to life, wild and humbled, displaced and dismantled. I wept uncontrollably about my fate, even though I knew loss was everyone’s destiny. My forest, the kind mirroring of those who witnessed me, and a search for meaning were my water and food of life. I bowed to Inanna’s wisdom and Ereshkigal’s necessity knowing that death and destruction fuel a new cycle of life.

We descend, not because we want to, but because we must. Descent is an integral part of the Great Feminine Round of Life and Death. We are mortal. We are vulnerable. We live in a world of catastrophe and chaos, personal loss and social threat. We are thrown down. We are helped up. Miraculously, we find our way to life again.

NOTES

1. Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer, Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, Harper and Row, 1983, p. 52.

2. Ibid, p. 57.

3. Ibid, p. 65.

4. Ibid, p. 66.


THIS CONTENT IS a Guest blog Created For SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

What is Mindfunda about?

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

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

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


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

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Sleeping beauty as modern day Inanna

In the month of December Mindfunda will publish a series of blogs about the descent. Today’s blog is about the resemblance of the story of Sleeping Beauty with the Descent Mythology.

  1. The first one was about depression as descent.
  2. In the second Guest blog, Jean Raffa explored Inanna’s descent as a personal myth.
  3. This third blog will focus on the common themes found the Descent Myth of Inanna and Sleeping Beauty.
  4. The last blog, written by Elaine Mansfield, will talk about Redeeming the dark.

Sleeping Beauty and Inanna

The story of Inanna was the greatest and most influential of Bronze Age myths, apart from the Epic of Gilgamesh” say Anne Baring and Jules Cashford in their “The Myth of the Goddess”, still one of the best handbooks around when it comes to Goddesses.

sleeping beauty
“The Myth of the Godess” – Buy the book using this link and support Mindfunda

Anne Baring and Jules Cashford write in their chapter about The Descent of Inanna: “While Inanna is in the Underworld, during the three days of darkness, it is as though a spell has been cast in the upper world. Fertility is suspended; everything falls asleep. The imagery of the Sleeping Beauty comes irresistibly to mind. Was the story the origin of the fairy tale whose lunar princess, together with the parents and the court, falls asleep on her fifteenth birthday and who is awakened by the prince, who restores her and the whole court to live?”

 

sleeping beauty
Sleeping Beauty: Disney

 

The sleep was the result of a spell of one of the wise thirteen women who was not invited to the party, celebrating the miraculous birth of the couple that had been infertile for years. To conceive a child, the couple gets help from a frog. But this kind of dark side magic comes with a price.

So here is the Dark Mother Goddess.  A spinning Goddess, who spins out life, giving form to new ideas, new creations. The fifteenth day of the cycle of the moon is the day the moon begins to wane. So the Goddess not invited has to be the Goddess of the Dark Moon. To quote Anne Baring and Jules Cashford in The Myth of the Goddess: “The Mother Goddess begins to loosen the threads of the cloth she has woven”.

Sleeping beauty and number 13

Thirteen is the exact number of full moon’s in a year. And it was Apollo 13 who got into trouble in 1970: “Houston, we got a problem”. It is an unlucky number. Friday the 13th is the day that, according to legend, Jesus got crucified. That sacrifice, giving up his consciousness for his belief in an afterlife, is exactly the same as the sacrifice in the Quest that Inanna undertakes in her journey to the Underworld. The Mother Goddess Inanna, travels to the realm of her Sister Queen Ereshkigal. The Earth becomes infertile. Like the Kingdom of the parents of Sleeping Beauty became infertile, when the curse casted by the uninvited Fairy  was completed.

The Sleeping Beauty and the Waste Land

So here we have a theme of a King and Queen, and their daughter sleeping. The Kingdom goes to waste. Every sign of growth is put on hold. The land has become a waste land. We have seen this theme in the Grail Story. Like Sleeping Beauty, the Grail story is a story of enchantment and disenchantment. Like the Wounded King, Sleeping Beauty gets stung. The King by a lance, Sleeping beauty by a spindle. Both are unable to fertilize anything. The wounded King is wounded in his thighs, suggesting that this is the reason for his infertility. The father of Sleeping Beauty has this same  fertility issue. And now, at the onset of her own menarche, the wounded princes falls asleep. Postponing her entrance on the marriage market for a staggering 100 years.

 

sleeping beauty
Waste land
toppixgalery.com

 

We have all been there. We have all been so hurt by a stinging remark of somebody that we fell sleep. Our light, vividness, sense of humor was gone. Trapped in an infertile land. New thoughts, new creative ideas did not have a chance to reach maturity, just like Sleeping Beauty.

I remember the hurt and humiliation I felt when an older Dutch person who works with dreams said when he read one of my books: “You need to go out and get some life experience”. I have never tried to write a book again, feeling quite sure that it could not be good enough. In that way I am Sleeping Beauty, who needs to be kissed awake.

Innana’s myth of the descent is a tale about life after death. Inanna visits the Kingdom of her sister who hangs her on a meat hook. Like Sleeping Beauty she is paralyzed for a short while. Striped down, hung out ty dry, with all the creative juices dripping out of her flesh. Like Sleeping Beauty, who is rescued by the prince, Inanna receives help from her animus as well. The King of Gods, Enki, creates beings from the dirt underhis finger nails.

Sleeping Beauty
Enki
Photo: Wikipedia

 

The integration of the animus in a woman is in both stories the way to turn the tables. Getting out of the helpless stage, embracing your own masculine side is an important step before one can enter any marriage market. Theater you want to propose to your boyfriend, or if you want to court a new idea for a book, a play or a writing.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

REMEMBER: the CHRISTMAS period IS a VERY SPECIAL TIME FOR DREAMING, SO JOIN MINDFUNDA FOR THE HOLY NIGHT DREAM INCUBATIONS.

Mindfunda invites you for a Christmas celebration you will remember. For just 10 dollars you get exclusive access to a restricted private area on Mindfunda during the Holy Nights. Each night between December 24rd and January 6th, I will share a dream incubation. We will talk about and reflect on our dreams. Ancient belief says that during these nights the veil between the worlds is thin. Register now as Mindfunda More Member, to experience the depth of your dreams.