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.
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.
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’.
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
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.
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.
“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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Do you consider yourself a Goddess? You should. The Goddess is the earth. We are all part of the earth. How has the main religion in the Western world, Christianity, shaped our beliefs about femininity?
The bible tells us about how Eve was seduced by a snake and had to suffer for it. Almost every woman and man I know has been injured by this story.
In today's blog Susan Scott shows us another side of Eve. Eve making a conscious choice. Eve walking hand in hand with Adam. Let's dive into our Goddess concept of Eve today to make us reconnect with our inner Goddess.
Mindfunda explores the Goddess in 4 blogs
The Goddess was hot in the seventies of last century. Marija Gimbutas put the Goddess back on the map. She inspired a lot of scientists, anthropologists and mythologists up to this day. But the attention for the Goddess seems to have faded away. Mindfunda want to invite you to reconnect with the Goddess. During the month of November Mindfunda will share 5 blogs:
Today’s Guest blog is written by Susan Scott. Blogger on the Garden of Eden, author of In Praise of Lilith, Eve & The Serpent in the Garden of Eden & Other Stories.
Susan Scott is currently working on a book on ageing and becoming with Jungian analyst Susan Schwartz.
Eve as Goddess : Susan Scott
Susanne, thank you very much for inviting me to participate in this theme on Goddesses for mindfunda.com for November. It is an honour indeed!
Throughout the ages, stories with basic themes have recurred over and over, in widely disparate cultures, emerging from the goddess Venus from the sea of our unconscious
Joan D. Vinge
The myth of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is a patriarchal one from around 4000 BC. It is not a very old myth, although it begins at the beginning of humanity on this earth as propounded by the creationists. It stems from the Iron Age onwards and replaced earlier myths which were matriarchal in kind, for example, the myths of Sophia, the consort of God; the Indian myth of Kali, or the Greek myths of the goddesses, Artemis, Aphrodite, Demeter and Persephone to name a few. These matriarchal myths had Mother Nature as her Supreme Goddess. They were replaced by the worship of the monotheistic Sun God Apollo who assumed ascendancy as the matriarchal goddesses began their descent. The cycle turned – replacing the mother goddess with the father god. No longer was there reverence for Nature and living within her cycles.
However we view the biblical creation story in the Old Testament, it remains deeply embedded in the contemporary psyche of men and women, and in the collective unconscious too. Its echo continues. It has lasting value as all good myths do when they illustrate similar dynamics irrespective of time and place.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden where beauty, peace and order reigned supreme. All was at One, all was perfect.
Imagine: Eve languishing against the tree on which hung plump, delicious, glistening apples within arms’ reach. She knew there was a prohibition that she could eat anything within the Garden, except for the fruit from that one tree. After Eve told the serpent that she may not eat of this tree, for fear of death, the serpent beguiled her with its words:
‘You will not surely die. God knows, that as soon as you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be as God, knowing good and evil’. (Gen. 2:17).
What are we to make of Eve going against this patriarchal injunction, accepting the apple, ingesting its seeds and swallowing them and offering it to Adam? What are we to make of God’s appearance and asking Adam why he disobeyed; and Adam then blaming Eve and Eve in turn blaming the serpent? Their subsequent exile from the Garden, covered in cloths and ivy leaves to cover their newly discovered nakedness, with shame as their dire companion? For Eve to suffer in childbirth …
Was she the original disobedient bad girl who deserved her reputation as being sinful and seductive when she offered the apple to Adam? Does she deserve the blame for her and Adam’s expulsion? And for bringing death, sin and sorrow into the world? Was this to be an ongoing ‘fault’ in forthcoming generations of women? Is this to be the legacy of the Old Testament?
What was it about Eve that threatened the new patriarchal order?
For millennia onwards, not only in western culture, we’ve witnessed the repression of the feminine principle. The animosity toward women has been expressed from time immemorial. Even the converted Paul upheld the subjugation of women, referring back to God’s word in Genesis:
‘Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression’. (1 Tim.2 10-14)
And the dogmatic St Augustine, brilliant in many ways, who referred to women as being vile and cursed, corruptible and filthy; her infant was infected with original sin from the moment of conception and was borne in faeces and urine; menstruation was close to the beasts; and that women have no souls …
The Mother of all Living (named so by Adam), once sacred, now degraded. Now also, the Mother of Suffering and Death.
The demonizing of women has caused a grave psychic wound to men and women. We’re all damaged, Mother Nature too. The concept of ‘sin’ keeps us bound to a paternalistic, vengeful, guilt ridden and narrow view of life. It is far removed from the image of wholeness that is deserved. It is a long repressed wound which needs healing.
We go back to the Garden where all was quiescent, yet too tranquil, too stable and too domesticated. It’s usually the best time for something to happen! There must have been a longing in Eve for change, away from this languor and passivity, dependence and homeostasis. The status quo. She’d been a child for too long. What did those seeming opposites of good and evil mean and why did they also appear to belong together? Two words, each holding great weight. And, after all, what would the knowledge of Good and Evil be if one were permanently in the Garden where all was ‘good’? The serpent offered a way out.
Eve acted on her instinct and used her initiative. She acted unconsciously because at that moment consciousness was not yet in her purview. There must have been a sense within her of wanting to move from this complacent security where there was no room for growth.
Her act resulted in the rise rather than the fall of man. A rise into consciousness, lifting the veil from that uroboric childlike innocence. An awakening. A growing up – into a new world, where pain and pleasure, life and death, sunlight and shadow, love and power, saint and sinner, wildness and conformity, joy and sorrow, strengths and vulnerabilities, solar and lunar resided side by side. A world of opposites. A world of duality – where distinctions and discriminations are necessary. Yet, identification with one side of the polarity and repression of the other means immobility and stagnation and movement towards wholeness is prohibited. Our task in life when faced with a conflict is to hold the tension between the opposing forces until a transcending symbol reconciling the two appears. It does mean that the old ‘pattern’ or way of relating to life will die, yet we consciously allow that to happen for the new to emerge. We begin to see that those opposites are complementary to each other and not necessarily in conflict. They need each other. Eve’s innocence in the Garden died yet allowed the discovery of the ever-present paradox in the new world, as we do too. Death endows life with meaning. We were not meant to be immortal.
Why else were we given the gift of free will? Yet, free will carries with it an enormous responsibility, so it is not so free after all. It sounds enticing, yet it is also a burden. It is a meaningful paradox illustrating being bound to the treadmill of Fate and Destiny by our freedom of choice –
Eve was a catalyst for growth for herself and Adam. She wanted more than just the taste of the apple. Those seeds had potential, activated by her swallowing and digesting them. Her knowledge of Good and Evil was an intuitive knowledge, embodied in experience, not rational knowledge. She opened up a new way of knowing. This is the mystery, the uncertainty and the wisdom of the unknown, which is the field of all possibilities. Hers was a beginning knowledge ‘…of the opposites, a knowledge necessary for higher consciousness’.*
Her breaking the rules meant that ego consciousness previously lacking, was given the opportunity to develop. We leave home eventually, making our way in the wider world. In my view, I think it’s reasonable that God precipitated Adam and Eve’s exile from Paradise. A loving parent knows that its child must leave the security of the nest eventually – and push them out if need be so that they stand on their own two feet – and experience first hand the challenges of the outside world. He knew that they would have to navigate their lives with all its ups and downs as they ventured forth; but that it would be of value to them as they entered a world of conflict and paradox, never a straightforward and easy task. They would experience community and responsibility, cooperation and the continued search for their spiritual identity in their alienation. Perhaps Adam and Eve also came to realize that both of them were guilty of laying the blame for taking the apple onto the other. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. In other words, each denied their own role and blamed the other. It sounds familiar doesn’t it. We still do it …
Wise choices are made only when the conflict or difficulties in our lives are made conscious, afterdifferentiation and discrimination between the seeming opposites. Too often in our contemporary lives the difficulty seems insurmountable and we ‘choose’ not to confront it – we’re not prepared to do the hard inner work.
We can thank her for her curiosity about the serpent’s words offering her the tantalizing apple. She considered the offer very seriously before her acceptance. She wanted to share ‘knowledge’ with Adam. It was not an act of corruption but one of cooperation. She sensed the hidden world of human potential. Besides, she felt an intuitive kinship with the serpent who, according to legend, was Lilith, Adam’s first wife. Lilith was the woman prior to Eve who was also exiled for exerting her standpoint and demanding fairness, banished this time to the Depths of The Red Sea. The first two woman, both exiled, both repressed, both wanting to be a help-meet to their partner and both prepared to do the hard work necessary in meeting the challenges in everyday life to proceed authentically on their journeys –
Incidentally, the literature invariably shows Goddesses in time past with the revered serpent alongside as a symbol of fertility and rebirth. In Hatha Yoga, the serpent (kundalini) energy lies at the base of the spine, coiled upon itself in a ring.
With certain breathing exercises the snake uncoils itself upwards, releasing energy into all the chakras until it reaches the third eye where awakening occurs. Hermes, the winged messenger and trickster has two entwined serpents, symbolizing good and evil, health and sickness at the top end of his staff. Worthy of consideration is that the staff is rigid, straight and unyielding related therefore to the masculine, whereas the serpent coiled around it is flexible and yielding thus representative of the feminine principle. This image of the staff and the serpent graphically illustrates the union of the opposites, masculine and feminine inter alia, contained therein.
We know that the serpent sheds its skin to be born anew. We individually need to shed skin when it becomes too tight and does not fit any longer. Society needs to shed skin when ideas are outdated or outmoded. We become too comfortable and complacent, afraid of change and thus do not shed our skin. The serpent can be likened to Hermes, the trickster and messenger, precipitating change. Perhaps God too …
Eve can be seen as an agent of change bringing an end to the status quo in the Garden. In a way, she sacrificed herself to bring about change. Though the price was high, she stepped out of the Garden, with Adam’s arm around her, unaware of the blame that would be forever accorded her or the projections she would have to bear, not only from men but from women too who’ve accepted a fully submissive role, as in doormat. She’s been a scapegoat for far too long and the doctrine has been far too pervasive. Women’s voices continue to be silenced in many parts of the world, as we know.
Eve was to learn in the second Eden of the world’s repression of her feminine principle. She would come to learn of man’s repression of his own feminine principle (the anima) as she would of her own masculine principle (the animus). Men and women contain within themselves both male and female energies in varying degrees. Women can successfully use the male energies of e.g. assertiveness and ambition, reason and courage if they consciously don’t sacrifice their feminine energies in the pursuit, but manage to keep the balance. Men too would benefit from being more in touch with their feminine side where qualities such as reflection, patience, openness to life, and the willingness to initiate and explore life’s mysteries were not suppressed. Eros and Logos need each other and require emergence from the unconscious so that transcendence within the individual, and collectively too, can occur.
Women throughout the ages have defended Eve and thus allowed women’s voices to be heard from their own experience and not from that of a patriarchal view. They’ve said No! to the projection of sin put upon them. Having to be patriarchy’s scapegoat was something (and still is) unacceptable.
Abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was benign to Eve, seeing in her the person who bestows divinity onto humanity, and seeing in her also the prefiguration of Mary. Pain in childbirth is not seen as inevitable or a curse; rather each time the mother gives birth, the hidden image of God is revealed in every child who is born.
Christine de Pizan (1365-1430) rehabilitates Eve in The Book of the City of Ladies, arguing for equal status, stating that Adam and Eve were made in God’s image.
Sarah Joseph Hale (1788-1879) contends in her book Woman’s Recordthat Adamneeded assistance in cultivating his good qualities and ‘left to himself, his love becomes lust; patriotism (becomes) policy; and religion, idolatry. He is naturally selfish in his affections, and selfishness is the sin of depravity’. She contends that Eve took the apple because of her ‘higher faculties of the mind’, her ‘desire for knowledge and wisdom’. She also states that Adam ate with ‘compliance’, typical of a person with of a ‘lower nature’ and motives no higher than ‘gratifying his sensuous inclinations’.
To this day, writers grapple with Eve, she is painted, poems are written of her. Analyses of the implications of her role are ongoing. A psychological approach to what she stands for is always needed. As Edward C. Whitmont (ref. below), and many others who look at her in depth, writes: ‘Thus the dichotomy of the virgin and the whore, the good mother and the witch, continues to gnaw like an unresolved canker at the soul of modern man’.
Eve, mother of all living, mother of suffering and death – opposing poles of the archetype of the Great Mother. Is it possible that a woman can hold these polarities within her at the same time? Is this an archetypal image still felt deep in the collective unconscious?
It is our task, men and women alike, for us to venture into the wilderness, explore beyond boundaries, into the depths of our being, to find authentic meaning for ourselves and thus for the collective, this troubled world in which we now live.
Eve was such a woman. It is fitting that she appears in Genesis, the book of origins. Hers is a universal story, one in which we are accountable for our responsible use of free will. If we want to live less stressful, less fear-filled lives we have a moral responsibility to stand up against injustice in any shape or form, to ourselves, another, animal and Mother Nature. It begins with the individual. What is positively transformed on the micro level has positive effects on the macro level.
She offers us the chance of a new beginning, a new way of relating between men and women, a new way of relating to the earth, a way yet to be born when we come to the fullest expression of our adult selves. We too, like Adam and Eve, can walk together, arm in arm, bound perhaps by adversity and love, courage and trepidation as we continue on our journey.
“The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves”.
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.