Celtic Cailleach Guardian of Holy Nights

Photo: Tapio Haaja

Photo in Header: Rob Hurson 

Mindfunda has been organizing the Holy Nights Event for several years now. This year the Cailleach is guardian of our inner journey. This blog is your travel brochure.

The Dark Days around Christmas is the best time to dive into your Inner Light. Each year Mindfunda offers an opportunity to combine Mythology with Dreams during the Holy Nights Event. From December 24 until January 6 you can enjoy the wisdom of the Giant Goddess of Winter the Celtic Cailleach as Guardian of the Holy Nights.

But first let me tell you more about the Cailleach first!

My Dream Mandala

The Cailleach is the Creator of Land, Ruler of the Seas and the Whisperer of the Wind.

I have set up the structure of the Holy Nights Event as a Spiritual Journey, to look inside the dark and find light within. 

In the first night you will embrace an inner fear we all have: we are meeting our own death. From this dark place we candle our inner light.

Photo Susanne van Doorn Flower Festival Zundert

After we dive into our own darkness, we will, in the second night, celebrate Christmas with a sleigh ride across the sky. The Cailleach and her 12 elks will guide you to a feast to nurture your soul.

Photo Steve Gale

In the third night, we will concentrate on stones and their ancient wisdom, the rock on which our belief system is build. we will build our own dream temple where we can retreat to meditate and meet others

Photo Kiwi Thompson

In the fourth night we will tune into the wisdom of our inner animal nature.

In the fifth night we will dive into the eternal waters of our emotions: happiness, sadness, anger and fear. The Cailleach is associated with the healing properties of water and this night we will focus on an emotionally stable 2020.

Photo: Faye Cornish

The Cailleach is the veiled one. In the sixth night you will lift the veil of the Goddess to search for the best perception of your world in 2020.

in the seventh night we will focus on the Cailleach as Earth Goddess and invite her to dream the land together. Is the Cailleach dreaming you, or are you dreaming the Cailleach?

In night number eight We will fight the Cailleach as a Black Bull, the symbol of life fighting the Earth Goddess of Death.

Photo Jennifer Willis

In the ninth night we will descend to our inner sanctuary under guidance of the nine maidens. Sisters and helpers of the Cailleach. In this night we will align our spirit with the nine worlds of the Celts.

Nine Maidens by Froelich

In night number ten we will ascend the mountain of our inner spirit and meet the Cailleach in her natural realm.

Slieve Gullion Photo: Deathpool4 at English Wikipedia [Public domain]

In night eleven we will connect with the Cailleach as bestower of our inner sovereignty .

Photo Tony Hernandez

In the last night we will take a closer look at the Eye of the Cailleach. We will redefine our concept of Self drawing a mandala filled with dream images we received during this event.

Photo: v2osk

And in the night of epiphany we will look back at the past nights, share experiences and evaluate.

Ready to join this year’s journey?

Treat yourself to a dreaming bootcamp!
Come gather online and enrich your view on your own dream interpretations with mesmerising Celtic stories. Get inspired by exclusive incubations that will unlock your inner wisdom as a Christmas gift to yourself.

* 13 nights of online guided dreaming in the comfort of your own home;
* a mythological journey guided by daily Celtic symbolism
supported by dedicated and exclusive audio incubations that
will guide you to meaningful dreams;
*personal guidance for deeper connection with your own mythological and archetypical knowledge (extra in the Silver and Gold value packs);
*group dream sharing (private access included) to exchange your thoughts and experiences

Airgid- Silver pack additions:

You also can upgrade to the Silver package where you get more detailed insights into five of the dreams you shared in the private Facebook group. At the end of the event you will get all the dreams you shared during the event sent to you in an word document.- Silver pack additions:

Oir- Gold pack additions:

In the Gold package you get an online dream consultation on Skype on top of the dream analysis for five dreams and the word document with your dreams.

Visit the event page for all details and to sign up

Joseph Campbell Correspondence

Correspondence 1927-1987, Joseph Campbell
New World Library Novato, California
$17.67 for a hardcover

Careful Cradling Campbell

I received Correspondence 1927 – 1987 and after reading it I felt compelled by the information. Campbell has had a profound influence on me. How to honour him in the best way? When you say Joseph Campbell, you say Hero’s Journey, so I have tried to describe his life as the Hero’s Journey, using quotes out the book to illustrate the process.

Joseph Campbell Correspondence

First the hero is living in an unjust world. The health and wealth of the tribe are at a risk. In 1927 Joseph Campbell (Joe), born in a middle class family of Irish origin got a scholarship to travel to Paris. In Paris he crossed the threshold from the ordinary world into the world of symbology.

Correspondence opens with a poem written by one of my favourite poets. ‘Le Poet Maudit’ Baudelaire. I will use phrases out of this well chosen poem to illustrate the steps of Joe

Joseph Campbell Correspondence

The pillars of Nature’s temple are alive and sometimes yield perplexing messages; forests of symbols between us and the shrine remark our passage with accustomed eyes“.
Baudelaire, Correspondences

Baudelaire describes Mother Nature as the temple within we live and the forest as the place where an individual should retreat to find his own symbols. And exactly this is what Angela does for our hero Joe.

In the first chapter we can read letters written between sculptor Angela Gregory and Joel. She sculpted a portrait of Campbell, while they discussed the meaning of art together. And while we read how they dwell together in the forests of symbols we, as readers witness how the ‘wise’ mother Angela teaches Campbell about art.

Campbell, Gregory and Krishnamurti

And it’s no surprise that there is a third person who acts as a catalyst to elevate the creative tension between Angela and Joseph (Joe): Jiddu Krishnamurti. Both are impressed with his wisdom and character. But in a couple of years Joe comes to the conclusion he has to find his own bliss.

Joseph Campbell Correspondence
Jiddu Krishnamurti

Two years plunging after Krishna’s Absolute and then the sudden realization that there wasn’t any such thing! Two years plunging after the objective facts of scholarship and the realization that these twinkling objective facts hadn’t the least bearing on the conduct of my own life! And now? Two years of what? And then, what? I wonder if you can blame me, Angela dear, if I hesitate a moment! I wish I could lose myself sometimes in this clear blue sky or in this blue sea or in these green hills so that everything might be gone except whatever intoxications there may be in the present moment‘. (p21)

With the onset of the Great Depression, our hero did not know what to do with his life. He had gotten the call to adventure, but now where would he get the change to manifest his intelligence into concepts that could help the well-being of society?

Campbell and Ed Ricketts

Our hero has entered the stage of the tests and enemies. He had no job and no prospect on a good future. He met writer John Steinbeck. Apparently Campbell made out with the wife of Steinbeck and their friendship cooled down significantly (the friendship between John and Joe). His admiration of the story of Tristan and Isolde is said to be the result of this romantic encounter.

‘Like long-held echoes, blending somewhere else into one deep and shadowy unison
as limitless as darkness and as day,
the sounds, the scents, the colors correspond’.

Baudelaire, Correspondences

A friend of Steinbeck and another helper or mentor of Joe in his hero’s journey was Ed Ricketts. He writes to Ed about their financial distress: ‘Dear Ed,
Doesn’t it seem a disgrace that such men, everywhere, in every department of learning, sit in the chairs, while you and I, with our dear Toni and Jean, are trying to make ends meet?’ (p. 60)

Joseph Campbell Correspondence
Joseph Campbell

In the letters between Joe and Ed you can read about how they exchange titles of good books. Joe writes about Finnegan’s wake:

‘I am going to begin with an analysis of “Finnegans Wake.” (Half seriously I wonder whether anything else remains for the modern literati to do!)’ (p37).

He begins to settle down, marries Jean Erdman, a former student and secures a job at Sarah Lawrence Collge. He wants to compose a book out of the long held echoes, and tries to correspond the sounds the scents and the colours:

‘I always feel that I am on the brink of something like a unified field theory, and keep my pen waiting for the one root word (p 37)’.

Campbell’s Ordeal: East vs West

‘There are odors succulent as young flesh, sweet as flutes, and green as any grass,
while others—rich, corrupt and masterful—

possess the power of such infinite things
as incense, amber, benjamin and musk,
to praise the senses’ raptures and the mind’s’.

Baudelaire, Correspondances

In the next stage of his journey, Joe wanted to search for the laws behind mythological stories. The influence of Ed Ricketts had pointed him towards the undeniable fact that if nature is ruled by laws in the same way human nature should be ruled by unacknowledged rules.

Joseph Campbell Correspondence
Photo Erik Eastman

He started to compose a theory about the commonality in mythologies all around the world. One of his mentors at Sarah Lawrence Collge was Roger Sherman Loomis. Having been enchanted by Zimmer who saw mythology as an expression of energies, Joe proposed that the Arthurain Mytology had similar motives as the Asian mythologies. Loomis writes:

‘If you think there is anything to be said for Zimmer’s fantasies, I should be glad to discuss the matter with you, but at present am inclined to think him one more victim to the view that the one mythology one knows well is a key to unlock all other mythologies—no matter how remote in space and time’.
Yours sincerely, Roger Loomis (p. 129)

In a response Joe writes:

‘Zimmers’ theory about letting the myths operate on the imagination was based on an idea that fantasies are never really free but follow laws which remain constant in the human psyche, whether in 14th century England, 2nd century India, 20th century Germany, or on the plains of the Sioux’. (p. 130)

Having been able to find common ground in mythology of the East and that of the West, Campbell stressed that the divine, the Gods are energies to be found within. The religions adopted by the West are those that stress that religion has to be found outside, in churches and priests.

Campbell’s Ordeal: Anti Semitism

The book does not shy away from the controversy surrounding Campbell (and Carl Jung, and all other contemporary scholars who admired German lore. The Nazi regime adopted many mythological ideas, see for example this piece of Campbell explaining the origin of the Swastika.

Joseph Campbell Correspondence

Being a big a big admirer of Thomas Mann, he was in shock when he got a letter from him (included in this book) as a response to a lecture he gave on his university in 1941 called “Permanent Human Values.”:

‘It is curious: Since you are a friend of my books, you must think that they have something to do with “permanent human values.” Now these books are banned in Germany and in all the coun- tries Germany at present dominates, and anyone who wants to read them, anyone who offers them for sale, anyone who even speaks well of me in public, would end in a concentration camp, and his teeth would be knocked out, his kidneys bashed. You maintain that we must not allow ourselves to be excited by this, we must rather see to the preservation of the lasting human values. Once more, that is strange’.

I do not doubt that your lecture has won you great applause. You should not, I think, be deceived by this applause. You have wittingly or unwittingly told young people already inclined toward moral indifference what they would like to hear; but that is not always what they need. (p234)

Joe writes back:
Dear Dr. Mann,
Thank you for your letter of Jan. 6. I am sorry that my paper on “Permanent Human Values” seemed to you untimely. In defense of myself I can only say (and it is very difficult for me to say any- thing whatsoever in the face of disappointment from the author of the great works which for the past twelve years have been my guardians and guides) that, having been invited to speak from the standpoint of the speculative order, I strove to distinguish the virtues of this order from those of the practical.

I think the choice of the editors to include these letters in the book are admirable. It’s up to admirers of Campbell how they deal with this information.

The Reward

After years of reading, composing and studying Joe publishes his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces in 1949. He meets Carl Gustav Jung in 1953. He has established a name for himself as scholar and as a lecturer.

This letter of Jung can be found in this book:

Dear Mr. Campbell,
Thank you ever so much for kindly sending me your very beautiful book. I had already seen it before and have duly admired it. You are certainly shaping after my late friend Heinrich Zimmer. It is the same style and outlook. I am glad to have made your personal acquaintance this summer.

With my compliments to Mrs. Campbell and my best wishes, Sincerely yours,
C. G. Jung (p. 104).

The Road Back: Power of Myth

 Joseph Campbell Correspondence

In this book we can clearly see a man born in the upper class, with travel and art at his disposal. He traveled and moved in the upper classes with ease. Admirable is his hunger for spiritual food. We witness his search for inspiring books. We travel alongside him while he discusses edits he must make in his books. We are made aware of the way he despises of editorial changes (How I can relate to that! I once withdrew a review because the author felt she had to rewrite/edit my entire review of the book).

In 1988 The Power of Myth was recorded. Journalist Bill Moyers interviewed Joe on the Skywalker Ranch of George Lucas in California. It ultimately established Campbell as a mythologist and the hero’s journey became the concept of many scripts and (Netflix) series. But it was only after his death that the interviews were ready to be shown on television. Joe transitioned into another phase, into another adventure of his journey.

Due to the success of the Power of Myth, Jean Erdman founded the Jospeh Campbell Foundation together with Campbell’s editor Robert Walter.



It gives a detailed insight into the mind and life of Joe Campbell and his wife;

The reader gets impressed with the mind of Joe Campbell who learns German, French and Sanskrit in order to read books in their original language;

The book paints a picture of a man who interacts with ease with the great minds of his era;

This book makes a reader look at his own life to see if there is indeed a ‘greater force’ at work that has created the continuing art your life is.


On multiple occasions the book cites from A Fire in the Mind: The Life of Joseph Campbell. It does not become exactly clear how this book has a place of its own. It’s more of a supplement to this biography.

It is unfortunate that no letters of John Steinbeck are in the book. Either there are no letters or the affair was never mentioned by any of his friends.

Sometimes the letters are too personal, too intimate. For instance, while reading the letters between Joe and Angela, I often felt like I was reading love letters that where not meant to be shared with other people.

If you are a die-hard Campbell fan this is a must have.
Correspondence 1927-1987, Joseph Campbell


Imbolc Celebration


Imbolc is the old Celtic celebration of the return of the light. On February 1, the old ancient Goddess Brigid* returns after being held in captivity by the old Hag of winter. It’s on the horse of Angus Og, she rides while the cold winds are blowing.

Imbolc and Earth’s Fertility

Photo: Robert Lukeman

It’s a celebration of the first milk of sheep after the long dark cold winter. I invite you to contemplate how you are connected to the galaxy, knowing that galaxy stems from the Greek word galaxias, a word that means milk.

Cartoon: Funny-Joke-Pictures.com

I will encourage you to monitor the food you give yourself, the food for your body and that for your soul. We all know that those two are related like the web of Indra. 
In the web of Indra, the world is entangled, like a spiderweb. Everything is connected. Like the universe itself, the web has no beginning and no end. Each individual is a part of this net. At each node of the net is a jewel. And each jewel reflects all other jewels. E

Content Of The Imbolc Section Of Turning The Wheel

The Imbolc section of Turning the Wheel is divided into four parts:

The first lesson will tell you a mythological story about Brigid, the Goddess of (inner) light.

The second lesson is an invitation for you to interpret the mythological about Spring Goddess Brigid to get your creative juices flowing. Even though I would never suggest that the interpretation offered in the course is the only way to incorporate the mythological theme presented, I hope that these insights help you to connect with the archetypical energies that the story touches upon.


The third lesson consists of open-ended questions for you to contemplate. How do these archetypical energies manifest themselves in your life right now? Questions like: Bridged is the Goddess associated with poetry. If your life is a poem, what would be its tune? If you don’t read poetry, just play your favourite song. Dance like it’s a meditation (it’s the only way to dance as far as I am concerned).

The fourth and final part of this Imbolc celebration consists of a dream Incubation. You are welcome to share your dreams on the Facebook page that belongs to this course. Once you sign up you will be added this group. Enjoy a year full of dreaming and connection with fellow dreamers.

Cartoon: Lastlemondotcom

What’s in a Name?

*There is the question of the name: sometimes it is spelled Brigit, sometimes Brigid. According to James MacKillop, author of ‘Myths and Legends of the Celts’ the Celtic Goddess her name is spelled Brigit and the Christian Saint is called Brigid. No matter how her name is spelled, in my eyes the energy of both the Celtic Deity and the Catholic Saint is the same. Because the story I chose to share with you is based upon a story of a priest, I have chosen to write her name that way: Brigid.

Aim of the Imbolc Celebration in this Course

The aim of this section of the course Turning the Wheel is to focus on the inner spark of your soul. With Brigid being a symbol of the light of the sun, I invite you to reflect on the question Joseph Campbell asked a couple of decades ago: “What am I? Am I the bulb that carries the light, or am I the light of which the bulb is a vehicle?”

Excited? Register here: Turning the Wheel 

Invitation to join the Holy Nights


Ready to join and enjoy 12 nights of incubation, spiritual and mythological insights and a chance to share your dreams and get feedback about them? CLICK HERE

Holy Nights 2018 – 2019

Holy Nights are a special time for dreaming. It’s believed that the air between the different realms of being is thin, and that information about past, present and future can be communicated with more ease in this time frame.

It’s a spiritual gathering that consists of 12 nights of contemplation, meditation and education. The main character of these nights is an ancient Goddess: Hecate, Goddess of Earth, Sea and Sky. Ruler of the afterlife as well as of the unborn children.

Holy Nights Content

Christmas-night, December 24, you will be able to access the first lesson. It is dedicated to Hecate as psychopomp. This lesson will give you historical information about the role of Hecate as triple deity. The incubation of this night is tuned into igniting dreams about January 2019.




Christmas December 25, in the second lesson you will get information about Hecate her role as catalyst between the energy of the daughter as personified in Persephone and the energy of Demeter as mother. The incubation of that night is build around the idea of connecting, through the wind of the spirits with the energy of the three Goddesses: Hecate, Demeter and Persephone.


Eleusis Henryk Siemiradzki (1889)

On December 26, you will learn more about Hecate her tree, the Yew tree. A tree that can kill and can heal.  In this night’s incubation you can tune into the energy of your Tree of Life and receive a message about the month of March 2019.


Yew Tree


On December 27, the lesson will be dedicated on the mythology the transformation of Queen of Troy Hecuba. You will learn more about the integration of the animal part(s) that live in all of us and need to be accepted and integrated. The incubation of that night will get you in tune with dreams about the month of April 2019.


On December 28, the lesson will focus on Hecate’s association with the frog. You will tune in to your own fertility. That night’s incubation will focus on triggering dreams about May 2019.


On December 29, the lesson will be about Hecate as holder of the keys. You will be taught more about how Hecate is viewed as the keeper of the keys of alternative forms of reality. The incubation of that night is tuned into receiving your key to open up to the best reality that 2019 can give you. This dream might give you information about the month of June 2019.


The illustrated companion to the Latin dictionary and Greek lexicon


On December 30, the lesson will be about the light that is now gaining in strength after the darkest days and nights have passed. You will get information about Hecate in her manifestation as Phosphorus, bringer of light. The incubation this night might give you ideas about challenges in your life in the month of July 2019.


On December 31, we will focus on Hecate as bringer of transition. You will be challenged to create a list of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors in your life. Things that you are satisfied with and things that you want to part with. I will ask you to create those seemingly opposite factors into a triangle: the strongest construction in the world. In a triangle, both push and pull factors are in balance. The incubation of the night might give you insights on the month of August 2019.



Hecate’s wheel



On January 1, I will give you more information about the relationship between Hecate and Janus, God of the Doorways. The incubation of this night might bring you more information about the month of September 2019.


On January 2, I will give you more information about the three moon Goddesses. Hecate, Goddess of the Dark Moon, Selene, Goddess of the Full Moon and Artemis, Goddess of the Waxing Crescent Moon. The incubation of that night might bring you more insights about the month of October 2019.


On January 3, I will give you more information about Hecate as witch. You are invited to cast a spell. The incubation of this night could give you information on the month of November 2019.


On January 4, I will tune into the concept of the cauldron. Hecate, nowadays known as a witch, has a cauldron. What does it symbolize? This lesson shares some insights. The incubation this night will challenge you to brew your own psychological magic potion for 2019. Dreams of this night might give you information on the month of December 2019.


On January 5, I invite you to prepare for Epiphany. The birth of the light. The incubation of that night will invite you to dream about the alchemy taking place in your life.


On January 6, I invite you to share your dreams and experiences. I love to get feedback, compliments as well as points to improve.


Each dream can be shared in a private Facebook group. To take advantage of this, you need to have or create a (temporary) Facebook profile.

Ready to join? Give yourself or someone else this wonderful Christmas Gift CLICK HERE



Image in Header: Freestocks-org

Holy Nights 2018 – 2019



Hecate, Greek Goddess of the Crossroads
Stéphane Mallarmé


Christmas time, a time to Dream  

As a Dream expert, I noticed how powerful my dreams became during Christmas time. When I researched this phenomenon, I found out it is known as the Holy Nights.

The 13 nights leading from Christmas to Epiphany are recognised widely as a time of deep spiritual significance.  I translated this into an interactive dream group before, where I am happy to invite you to this year’s edition .

I have dedicated this year’s event to the Ancient mother Goddess Hecate.

Each night, from December 24 to January 5, signifies a corresponding month of the next year.

What’s on offer?

  • A Daily lesson featuring Goddess Hecate; 
  • A Daily Incubation;
  • A Mythological and Jungian Perspective;
  • A possibility to share Dreams and get feedback;
  • 12 Lessons about the Mythological aspects of Hecate: the liminal Goddess

Sign Up Now!

Holy Nights – 2018-2019 Content:

  • December 24: Hecate as Triple Deity; Dreaming for the month of January 2019
  • December 25: Hecate, Persephone and Demeter; Dreaming for the month of February 2019
  • December 26: Hecate and the Yew Tree; Dreaming for the month of March 2019
  • December 27: Hecate and the Dog; Dreaming for the month of April 2019
  • December 28: Hecate and the Frog; Dreaming for the month of May 2019
  • December 29: Hecate, Keeper of the Key; Dreaming for the month of June 2019
  • December 30: Hecate as Bringer of Light; Dreaming for the month of July 2019
  • December 31: Hecate Crossing Over; Dreaming for the month of August 2019
  • January 1: Hecate and Janus, Keeper of the Doorways, Dreaming for the month of September 2019
  • January 2: Hecate, Artemis Selene; Dreaming for the month of October 2019
  • January 3: Hecate Queen of Witches, Dreaming for the month of November 2019
  • January 4: Hecate’s Cauldron Dreaming for the month of December 2019
  • January 5: Epiphany
  • January 6: Closing and evaluation.



Halloween, meet the Banshee

Happy Halloween!

In ancient times, Halloween was the time when spirit could go and visit their loved ones. Tonight, 31 October, banshee, and other fairies and spirits may visit freely to reunite with loved ones. A Banshee does not only appear to a few rich Irish or Scottish families. A Banshee has a mythological origin that is associated with the Mother Goddess. She is linked to the sirens. The sirens sang a song so luring that sailors that heard it lost their mind with lust and sailed onto the rocks to their own death. This also reminds us of how Aphrodite was born out of the sea-foam.

Photo: Didyma Miletos

Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love and sex. The myth I will Share with you in this course is about the Celtic god of love Angus (also known as Aengus) and the Celtic goddess of dreams Caer Ibormeith. This is also a story of love and transformation.

Angus is the God who represents the sun. There is also a version in which his evil mother the Cailleach locks up the love-interest of her son and he has to fight to get her.

Want to learn more about the Banshee? Sign up and join tonight for a myth, an invitation to interpretation, questions to see where you yourself have lived this myth and an incubation  to tune into the energy of the Banshee.

This course will give you 4 moments of contemplation, dream sharing, and (re)living your mythical life, for only 30 dollars per event!

Precognitive Dreaming During the Thirteen Holy Nights

thirteen holy nights

Today’s post is a guest blog written by Steven Ernenwein, about his precognitive dreams during Mindfunda’s online Holy Nights Event*

According to ancient beliefs, the 12 nights between Christmas and Epiphany are a special time for dreaming. Each night should predict something about the month of the following year.

*click to read more and join the fun.

Click here to read another blog from a former client about this event

Precognitive Dreaming

The Thirteen Holy Nights of dreaming are revelatory. Since I took the course during the 2016-2017 season, it’s become a yearly ritual I look forward to now and possibly my favorite two weeks of dreaming during the year. Susanne puts together a very magical, mythical movement through these 13 nights. If you are craving for a very rich, mythic experience, she does such a phenomenal job creating and guiding the experience of these holy nights! I really can’t praise them enough!

My dreams from this experience gave me such a very powerful, symbolic road map for 2017 – and I was going to need it.

The Pre – Precognitive Dream

A week before our group began, I had a dream, which I believe was Lady Holle (whom our process was dedicated to) and I was told I’d have to surrender my “death” to her. What an introduction! Going into it with this, I felt like this process was definitely calling me!

Photo: Notavandal

At the time of this experience, I was at one of the hardest points of an internal rite of passage I am undergoing that was initiated by a lucid dream in 2015. I had no job, no money, and was about to lose my immediate family, and later almost my own family I’ve started.

Precognitive Beginning of the Year

January’s dream showed me coming up with the money I needed for rent and praising God for always taking care of me. This actually happened. I was beginning to receive ultimatums that if I didn’t have it, I was getting the boot. I couldn’t believe that between Xmas money, birthday money (my birthday is in January), and a very random money order sent to me by an anonymous friend contained exactly the remaining amount I needed. It was so bizarre and beautiful! Saved my life…till the next month!

Photo: Thought Catalog

Precognitive Dreams about Challenges

February’s dreams foretold of some steep happenings. One, I see a poster of my father and I in the style of a boxing showcase – as if some big showdown was coming. The second, my son dies in the dream and I could have done something to save him if I had only shown up for him. I didn’t want to tell anyone because how ashamed I felt about it.

In February, I did have a huge falling out with my father and we didn’t talk for about four months. He wrote me off, finally breaking, not understanding what I was doing with myself. It was a blessing in disguise, as I have given him and his opinion on certain things about me way too much power over me. This helped me to rectify a healthier dynamic.

Photo: Anna Kolosyuk

At the very end of February, very beginning of March, my fiancée almost finally left me, too. It had been a long, hard year and a half for her, as I was stripped of everything in my life that I gave my power over to. My son has shown up more times than not in my dreams as the “new life” that is emerging through this rite of passage into a new me (as he showed up right in thick of it). This dream of him dying was a warning dream that that month I would run the risk of letting that new life/new me die.

Precognitive Lucid Dreaming

In the lucid dream, I was told that to come into my power I would have to kill something and create some beautiful in its place in both my waking and dreaming lives. As I came to my great waking death moment of having nothing and having to see if I could still love myself, the temptation to surrender to the voices around me telling me I was wrong and stupid and selfish and despicable was hard. Trusting that this was what I was being asked and would be taken care of was brutal – especially in the face of breaking the heart of the one I love and losing my beautiful baby boy.

Photo: Billy Pasco

Something seriously died that day that everything crashed down, but what a gift it was to prove to myself beyond a shadow of a doubt that even with nothing I now know I have the strength to love myself before anything and anyone and an unwavering trust that Spirit will always take care of me. That next day, I was offered a job and I was able to begin the hard work of reconciling my relationship with my love. Providence on so many levels.

Precognitive Music

The next couple months had themes of shadow issues, new learning, and symbols of beginning to “get in the game” after what had felt like a lot of prep for the “game.” In one of the dreams for April, I tell my mother-in-law that there is still a “titch” in my victim archetype (which I had done extensive work with). I had the realization in June that my lyricist archetype had an enormous amount of victim energy attached to it. I had been unconscious of that being the reason I struggled to fully embrace it within me.

One of my dreams for July, spoke of me starting a new job, one as a musician, and that I started “next weekend.” “Next weekend,” once awake, felt like it implied the next month, so August. Which would end up being true. That month my dreams began offering me songs to write to help me in my attempts to heal my lyricist after becoming so aware of its dysfunction.

Photo: Spencer Imbrock

September saw a dream where I was freestyling and song lyrics were just flowing through me so effortlessly! The songs my dreams were inspiring were like this. It was like since they were being offered from somewhere deep within me that they were already there, just waiting for me to sit down and let it come through. It usually takes me a year to write an album. This one took two and a half months! It was SUCH an inspired project!

Precognitive Musing

Another dream for that month had a notion of my Anima being given the lead in my creative life and this, too, was very much true. She is my muse and I was surrendering to the process and giving her the wheel.

October’s dream was of me meeting the wise old man/wizard archetype. There was a notion of jumping in a circular pond. True initiates would feel pleasant, warm water. Those who weren’t yet, would feel soul chilling cold water. I get in and it’s pleasant. In hindsight, I feel this was saying that I was fulfilling the second part of the directive in that lucid dream for the waking state portion – something had to die and reviving my music was my act of beauty to replace it! I feel this point was the start of the Return aspect of my journey. That of which is still happening as I continue to climb back from my waking “death” and await yet what this death in the lucid state will be.

Christmas Gift

For November, I have an amazing dream that is of Christmas morning with my family. I go outside with a friend and he asks me if I will be sharing my story today. I say yes! Then we meditate and I say “I am one with the force, the force is with me” and I’m wrapped in a divine energy. November is the month I finished recording my album. It was a great ode to all the work I had been doing throughout my rite of passage – it was my “story!” During the recording of it, continuing to surrender to this process, I felt like the divine came through me. It was a gift from Spirit definitely (Xmas)!

Photo: Ben White

My final dream for December showed me at a club. I am recording myself talking, as if to post on social media to inspire others. I say “I’m here tonight trying to bring action to my dreams. To get out of my head and really bring them to life. I’m sure many people can relate to this problem.” This has always been my problem. Since September, I had begun performing again at a monthly open mic per request by my dreams. By December, I was getting my confidence back for being on stage and the beginning of 2018 would see me begin performing even more consistently than I ever have.

The Art of Surrender

The dreams of this progression are so special to me! They certainly showcase the dream’s prophetic potency in a way that baffles me. I believe our dreams always offer us what we need. I really needed this consistent of a road map, but I’m sure others in our group probably didn’t receive the same, but I suspect they did receive from it what they, too, needed.

I think surrender is key to this process. Susanne will offer you amazing incubations for each night. Hold those firm and deeply surrender for the wisdom of the dream to manifest that exactly as THEY see fit. You can trust them! When it comes to prophecy, we tend to brace ourselves and go, “show me…but it better be pretty and happy.” Let that go, affirm you trust even if it’s not what you’d want.

I hope you join us this coming season!

Steven Ernenwein*

*Steven Ernenwein has been an avid lucid dreamer and dreamworker for the past 13 years. He has recently created a blog platform for his dreamwork: www.MythicSoulDreamwork.com
He is also a mythic hip hop artist and musician of 20 years. To listen to the album mentioned heavily in this blog visit: https://steven-m-ernenwein.bandcamp.com/album/the-night-sea-journey
Photo in header: Photo: Max Busse

Hecate, Dark Goddess, Bright Star of the Holy Nights



Hecate is known as the Goddess of Darkness. An ancient Goddess who unfortunately became known as a witch and necromancer.



Hecate, Greek goddess of the crossroads
Stéphane Mallarmé


I want to present Hecate as a strong powerful woman. Accustomed to the healing qualities of nature. A goddess who views in 3 directions at once. Seeing different pathways.

Would you like to spent a period of 12 days, 13 nights in a dream-event that gives you:

  • A daily meditation filled with information about Hecate;
  • A daily incubation;
  • Access to a forum where you are able to share your dreams?

If I have already convinced you sign up here for the Combi Deal of the Holy Nights and Turning the Wheel of the Year.

If you are not convinced yet, read further, there is more information and some client reviews.

Hecate as Guardian of the Holy Nights


Hecate is a threshold goddess between pathways. She is the one who guided Persephone back to her mother Demeter.


Photo: Nousnou Iwasaki


The Holy Nights will introduce you to different aspects of this Crone Goddess. (A Crone being the archetypical elderly wise woman). For example: that are associated with Hecate: frogs and dogs. There will be a night when we tune into our inner Tree of Life. There will be a night when we focus our attention on Hecate as keeper of the doorway. We will ask for (dream) guidance in choosing our path.

It is going to be a precious new years’ gift, an investment in yourself.

History of Holy Nights

According to Rudolf Steiner: ‘When the light of the outer sun is faintest and its warmth feeblest, now is the time when the soul withdraws into the darkness but can find within itself the inner, spiritual Light that is kindled in the other darkness.

But for one whose eyes of spirit are opened the Thirteen Days and Thirteen Nights between the 25th of December and the 6th of January are a time of deep spiritual experience‘.

According to Steiner, each night represents a month. He assumed that a dream remembered that night would predict the events in the month of the coming year.

A dream on the night of Dec 24 would tell something about the month of January, Dec 25 would predict February and so on. My Holy Night event loosely follows that line, but not strict. I see dreams as vehicles for creativity, as gentle guidelines. I would never assume that a dream on a certain night would tell something about a certain time period. But you as participant are free to interpret your dreams as you see fit, It’s your dream, you are the only one who can attribute a meaning that resonates.

Reviews of former Holy Night Events:

Vicki Schroeder wrote this review about the course:

This is my second year taking Susanne’s 13 Holy Nights dreaming course. This course is an absolute treasure! Susanne’s wise and inspired focus on the many aspects of Lady Holle formed a colorful thread that was woven throughout her thoughtful abundance of materials and activities. I was overjoyed to learn so much about this ancient feminine archetype. Being able to focus on the powers of the feminine and welcome these into our dreams offered deep healing for ourselves and our patriarchal society. Although at this busy time of year I found myself unable to complete all of the offered activities, it didn’t matter, because I still received all that I needed, and much more than I could ever have anticipated, in deep insight and learning from my dreams!! Susanne’s and other participants’ thoughtful comments and additional resources provided an additional avenue of support and insight. Susanne is a spiritual midwife whose loving presence and touch move through this rich multidimensional dream workshop and provide the fertile environment for self-discovery and personal growth.

Lidia Tremblay wrote this about the holy nights:

The only word that comes to mind from that experience is ‘intense’. From the first guided meditation I felt myself wrapped in a constant state of mindfulness not only in the dream state but also in every moment of the waking day. By the time it was finished, only twelve nights later, I admit I was mentally exhausted, as well as exhilarated. This intense time took me to a completely different level of dreamingRead the full blog here

Interested? Sign up now for this online event or grab a 35 % discount and get the combi-deal.



Photo in Header: Chinh le Duc





13 Holy Nights

Today’s post is a guest blog written by Lidia Urban Crone Tremblay, about her dreams during Mindfunda’s online Holy Nights Event*

According to ancient beliefs, the 12 nights between Christmas and Epiphany are a special time for dreaming. Each night should predict something about the month of the following year.

*click to read more and join the fun.

Click here to read another blog from a former client about this event

Holy Night Dreaming Event: a way to Self Love

Last year, I had the privilege of participating in The Twelve Holy Nights, presented by Susanne Van Doorn. I am deeply grateful to Susanne for her hard work in pulling the meditations and incubations together, and for the opportunity to share in this course.

The only word that comes to mind from that experience is ‘intense’. From the first guided meditation I felt myself wrapped in a constant state of mindfulness not only in the dream state but also in every moment of the waking day. By the time it was finished, only twelve nights later, I admit I was mentally exhausted, as well as exhilarated. This intense time took me to a completely different level of dreaming.


A couple of weeks after the course was finished, I was thinking about all the dreams, going through them in my mind, and wondering what they represented altogether. I do remember I felt a need for a nap. I lay down, these thoughts still swirling within me, and drifted off – only to be awakened suddenly. As though I was a puppet and someone yanked my strings, I sat up, just as suddenly. The words blazed before my eyes: SELF-LOVE!

Holy Nights, Gateway to Inner Wisdom

Yes! Taken in its totality, my dreams of my ancestors, diamonds, ice-blue eyes of wolves, flying high on a Eagle’s back, finding myself in the Balance of an Angel, and much more, led me to this blazing understanding. ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’! As Thyself! Self-Love – now there’s a concept that too few seem to understand. We are taught to give, to look after others, and not count ourselves worthy. In fact, to think otherwise is vanity. But these dreams, these incredibly vivid other-worldly adventures were telling me that it’s not only acceptable to love myself, but also necessary and needful.

A few days later, when I had time to assimilate this epiphany, I had the opportunity to speak to our chaplain who services the building I live in. As I told him about my experiences, I saw new light and understanding dawn in his eyes. He suddenly flung back his head and laughed with sheer delight. He hugged me, saying his deep thanks for this, that in all the years of his studies, he had never thought of this himself, nor was he ever taught this all-important lesson.

13 Holy Nights and Epiphany

This understanding led me to explore this new reality through a number of different angles, but always, I came back to the twelve dreams, meditations and exercises I engaged in during the Holy Nights. Every day Susanne’s new message would add to and expound on what was already learned. Each day I wondered if I was up to the task. And each night, new revelations would come to me by way of dreams.


Now, it’s almost a year later, and I’m eager, as I hope you all are, to undertake another intense dream therapy session again. I cannot wait to see what Susanne has in store for us, and to share each others dreams night by night.

I wish you all insightful and blessed dreams!

Lidia Tremblay

I am so thrilled to read that the Holy Nights Dreaming Event is so appreciated. Thought I like the group to be compact and personal, there are a few openings left! If you are interested you can still sign up.

I would love to meet you online and share dreams for 12 days and 13 nights. This year we will also create a book with spiritual exercises: one each day. You will give yourself a little daily present: 15 minutes each day that you dedicate to your own well-being.

Nature Narrates its Wisdom


Nature misses you as much as you miss to be out in the air, feeling the cold breath of the wind kissing your skin. You are probably, just like me, all day glued behind your screen.


If you have trouble sleeping, if you feel fatigued, if you are a bit bored with life: adventure is calling you. You know that you’d better go outside and bathe in nature. In Japan this is called shinrin-yoku, and it reduces high blood pressure and boosts the immune system.


Photo: Fischer Twins


When you seem to have lost purpose in life, give yourself permission to spend four moments every season to reflect on your inner wisdom. Tapping into the well of your inner wisdom by reading a mythological story. Being challenged to interpret it. Getting guidance on how to work with mythology and archetypes. And last but certainly not least, to use the technique of dream incubation you’d be tuning into the wisdom that is locked in mythology.

Celtic Fire Festivals

Our ancestors had to be in tune with nature. The Celts celebrated each new beginning of the seasons. I have developed an online course that tunes in exactly on those needs.

By subscribing to Turning the Wheel, you are able, for just 25 dollars per season to:

  • Enjoy a mythological story of Celtic Mythology;
  • Learn some clever techniques to interpret a mythology;
  • Intriguing questions that will help you to rewrite the mythological theme of your life;
  • Tune into your dreams with the incubation of the season;
  • Share dreams and increase your insights.

On October 31 we will start with Samhain, dedicated to the darkness, the wisdom of the ancestors and the Irish Goddess of dreams.

If you would like to, you can also sign up for Mindfunda’s Holy Nights and profit from an extra discount of 35%. This year’s holy nights will be dedicated to the Greek Goddess of Dreams Hecate.

Hecate, Greek goddess of the crossroads


The next event will be at Imbolc, February 2, when we will honour the wisdom of Brighid. We will look for the fertile parts of our personality that might be buried deep into the depths of our dreams.

On Beltane, April 30, we will (re)search the wisdom of the mother of the Earth, as she is depicted as Guinevere in the Arthur mythology.

And on August one, we will celebrate the god of light who is at the height of its power now.


Read more about this offer here: Turning the Wheel of the Year 

If you like this post, feel free to share it with people who might benefit




Photo in header: Sorasak

The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman



The Mindfunda Book review is a guest post written by Meredith Eastwood. Wild Women, it’s time to gather around. Activist, Witch, and author, Danielle Dulsky has published a new book called The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman.


The Holy Wild
Click here to buy the book and support Mindfunda



The Holy Wild is a timely literary achievement worthy of a laurel wreath.  It is a poetically written book that explores the power of the wild feminine and her stories of loss, love, and transformation. The themes of the book transcend genre boundaries of any one feminine or goddess perspective.  Readers are addressed primarily as priestesses but also referred to as witches, prophetesses, wisdom keepers, sages, and hunters. Dulsky speaks to the threefold goddess, maiden, mother and crone, in each women while referencing lessons of the elements and associated wild feminine archetypes in the 5 Books of Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether.  


This photo was taken by Meredith Eastwood at the Indianapolis Museum of Art


The reader is invited to journey down the Red Road of healing, wholeness, and integration through verses, rituals, magick, and the revisioning of ancient stories surrounding shamed women archetypes in Western religion. They include Lilith, Salome, Mother of Babylon, Mary Magdalene, and Jezebel.  Each elemental Book provides rituals, and practices to the priestess for releasing social conditioning and for becoming “the authentic embodiment of the woman she needed when she was younger.”


Photo: Beto Silvestre


They involve writing, circles, incantations, divinations, prayers, dances, songs, and spell crafts for grounding, healing, protection, releasing, manifesting, vibration raising, intention setting, and energy infusing. All of these activities help the practitioner heal herself and her relationships, and ultimately enable her to become “a change agent” and “holy weaver” in the outer world. I followed the Red Road through each of the Books of Elements discovering through the rituals and exercises my own personal gifts of insight.

Book of Earth

The earth element is about rightful rebellion and tasting the forbidden. The Wild Feminine Archetype is The Priestess of the Wild Earth. This book offers the priestess validation for understanding how she outgrows a too small life. And how a woman like myself may seek liberation from a comfortable yet confined situation, which often involves a descent of release comparable to Inanna’s journey into the Underworld. 


Photo: Thor Alvis


I was reminded of how even a perceived garden can feel limited and restricted, and at the same time how difficult it is to leave its safety for the unknown. The gift is to become the largest version of myself.

Book of Water 

The water element is about reclaiming embodied feeling and awakening our creative art and sense of hope. The Wild Feminine Archetype is The Maiden of the Unbridled Sensual. This section affirmed for me of the importance of recovering and experiencing the juicy, joyful, and creative parts of life.


Photo: Jason Leung


The three-part water ritual described for communion, cleansing and succulence is an especially powerful ceremony for helping the Priestess release the too small in her life and to support recovered sensual experiences. The gift is the validation of my right to feel deeply.  

Book of Fire

The fire element is about igniting the pyre of release and purification, followed by maintaining the flame that sustains a holy will. It is the transformer that validates and transmutes righteous anger into soul affirming activism. The Wild Feminine Archetype is The Prophetess of the Wildfire.

Photo: Cullan Smith

The exercise, “Handwritten Verses: We Will Keep this Fire Burning,” clarifies the soulful longings the Priestess feels listening to the “sea of small faces,” the children who trust this generation to willfully tend the fire of hope for what has been wounded, that which we have loved. The gift is the acceptance of my anger as a rightful source of energy for holy speech and courageous action that supports change in the world. 

Book of Air 

The air element fills our hearts with the power of love and a desire for connective, supportive, and balanced relationships. The Wild Feminine Archetype is The Witch of Sacred love, which in the revisioned story of the Magdalene reflects the longed for balance between the divine feminine and sacred masculine within our inner and outer landscapes. 

Photo: Eberhard Grossgasteiger


And we are reminded that maiden, mother and crone live in all humans, not strictly bound by age or gender. The in-depth rituals for Circle Craft in this section are especially helpful for practitioners who form and facilitate spiritual groups.  A circle formed with clear agreed upon intentions allows bonding and the infusion of nourishing vibrations. The gifts are medicine for my personal support and a fertile ground from which to collectively create a mission that mirrors shared values for healing and changing the world.

Book of Ether 

The ether element connects us to the realm of spirit, the infinite, and the void, a place where the Priestess learns about the autonomy of her spiritual practice. The Wild Feminine Archetype is The Queen of Ethereal Divine. The activity “Meeting the One Who Waits: Simple Pathworking for the Wakeful Dreamer,” is an excellent method for a lucid dream journey where one enters “the fertile space between sleep and awake.” The priestess is asked to imagine a familiar earthy place and set an intention to meet an ancestral guide. Then to surrender within the liminal space, asking what she most needs to know at the moment. This particular method of dreaming opens a sacred space in a place of true knowing and is used effectively within groups led by dream teachers. The gifts are the empowering of goddess divinity within and my right to claim connection to her mysteries.

A Final Word 

Dulsky asks us to look at our own stories and “tiny soulful treasures long buried” for spiritual truth and to embrace our right to an authentic relationship with the sacred. Then to take these gifts to the world in ways that reflect our truth. Her book speaks wisdom to readers of all genders who in her words wish “to craft a world with a soulful voice which rallies against racism, patriarchy, and the spoiling of our planet.” I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it heartily. 





Click here to buy the book

Writer: Meredith Eastwood
Photo in Leader: Thought Catalog
The link to purchase the book is an Amazon affiliate link. Buying the book from this site will support Mindfunda


Celtic Mythology



Celtic Mythology is rich in symbolism of life death and transition. No wonder that Halloween or Samhain is a remainder of Celtic Mythology. This blog explores it’s origin, and how it still influences our lives.

Celtic Mythology

Celtic mythology was an oral mythology. Stories that originated in tribes that inhibited Europe as early as the Iron age, between 500 BCE and 500 CE. This period also includes the LaTène period that Joseph Campbell wrote so eloquently about, for example in the book Occidental Mythology. According to Campbell, La Tene culture overthrew the earlier, more primitive bronze and stone age populations of Wales and Ireland during the fifth century B.c.

Since the Celtic world covered much of Europe, and mythology was transferred orally, there was an abundance of gods and goddesses. In the next paragraph we will explore the main points.

Celtic Mythology Central Motifs

Divination through THE spirits of the death


The Mindfunda Online Course Turning the Wheel of the Year will give you information about Banshee. A fairy that is a messenger between the world, the woman of the fairy mounds.


celtic mythology


She is a messenger of death, but does not always need to be feared. When the Banshee sings her mournful cry, she is giving notice that one of its members will soon transcend to the spirit land says David Russel in his book about Irish Wonders.

Fertility of the land


At Imbolc the Goddess Brigid will steal the show and invite you to explore your life carefully. What traits do you want to preserve, which do you want to nurture? In the course Turning the Wheel of the Year you will be invited to explore the two sidedness of life.

Like every light also casts its darkness, in that darkness grow new things. It is the dark earth that has the nutrients that enable a flower to grow and to blossom.


celtic mythology

The light returns steady and slowly. Your vitamin D levels will rise, your sleeping and dreaming will probably improve in this period of the year. It is time to sow the seeds of the love you plan on reaping in the future.

Changing of Seasons


As the great mythologist Joseph Campbell clearly stated: the mythology of King Arthur and Lancelot, two friends fighting for Guinevere is the fight of two seasons for the Queen of May.

celtic mythology

In this season you are triggered to ask yourself about the love in your life. In what ways do you love and honour your soul? How much time do you devote at uncovering your “true Self”?



The circle of life, the seasons, the wheel of time. Or as Jung would call it: the symbol of Self. The last season of the Mindfunda course Turning the Wheel of the Year invites you to celebrate the light that now oh, so softly begins its return into the earth. The rise and fall, like a wheel. Where a wheel rides on the path of your life, it leaves its marks. You will be invited to explore boundaries you have set and boundaries that you have explored as well as ignored in your life.

Read more and register here. there is also a special offer that includes the Holy nights Dreaming. A special time for dreams between December 25 and January 6, that in ancient times was seen as the night that forecasted the year ahead.


Improve Dream Recall using Supplements (I am not a doctor, inform yourself before using)

A short Mindfunda movie about the spoonable use of supplements to improve dream recall. Click the image to access the film. To enable the English subtitles, click on this icon:


To access the presentation click this image:

Want a presentation like this? Sent a mail to susanne at mindfunda dot com.

The research referred to in this presentation: 

“Assessing the perceived differences in post- Galantamine lucid dreams vs. non-Galantamine lucid dreams” Gregory Scott Sparrow, Ryan Hurd, & Ralph CarlsonUniversity of Texas-Rio Grande Valley published in International Journal of Dream research, Volume 9, No. 1 (2016).

The Hidden Worlds: Book Review


This book review about Hidden Worlds is written as a guest-blog by Meredith Eastwood, Educator, Photographer and Dream Teacher.




The Hidden Worlds

The Hidden Worlds, written by Shaman Sandra Ingerman and Katherine Wood. Published Juli 2018 by Moon Books ISBN -10: 1785358200; ISBN-13: 978-1785358203. It’s available in paperback for $ 9.95 and in kindle for $ 3.86.


The Hidden Worlds
click image to purchase

The Hidden Worlds is a charming new juvenile fiction book by Sandra Ingerman and Katherine Wood. Through an adventurous tale addressing environmental pollution, it teaches middle school children about the power of shamanic practice and shared dreaming to find solutions to a critical issue in waking life.


The Hidden Worlds
Photo: Gaelle Marcel


In the story, Isaiah and his three friends, George, Rose, and Magna discover they can share spontaneous night dreams together. They encounter power animals, bear, octopus, giraffe, and panther who lend them special protection when an eagle guides them to a pond surrounded by dead fish and birds.


The Hidden Worlds
Photo: Robin Stuart


In waking reality, they skip school hunch hours to investigate a sinister plan to dump toxic chemicals into local waterways. With the assistance of their power animals and the elements of fire, wind and water they use shamanic journeys as a group to explore possible approaches for bringing the issue to the attention of appropriate agencies and government officials.


The Hidden Worlds
Cartoon: Bizarro.com


The Hidden Worlds: Conclusion

Hidden Worlds is an easy read, and the notion of shared dreaming is a theme that will appeal to young teen readers. The lively characters represent diverse segments of a school community, and readers learn that from dreams come answers and solutions to important questions and problems. I can imagine this story being expanded into a series for children and young adults.


The Hidden Worlds
Photo: Joshua Humphrey


Sandra Ingerman writes in her acknowledgements, “Our children are our future and need and deserve a way to work with the personal and planetary challenges they are facing in life.”

(Sandra Ingerman is an internationally renowned teacher of shamanic practice and award-winning author of ten books. Katherine Wood has taught middle and high school students for 31 years and is a shamanic practitioner and teacher)


Text by Meredith Eastwood
Photo used in header: Ray Hennessy @rayhennessee
The links provided in this blog are amazon - affiliate links. If you purchase the book using the links in this website, you will support the work of Mindfunda.

Dream Animals: Self and Planet

Dream Animals

Dream Animals
Christian Gerike M.A.

Today’s Guest Blog:  ‘Dream Animals: Self and Planet’  is written by Christian Gerike M.A,  teaching assistant in the Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California, Psychology Department. Christian has written several guest blogs for Mindfunda: Trickster archetype: An exploration in Writing the Tale, How to Remember your DreamsSleeping well, Remembering Dreams


Dream Animals

Once I had a dream about a “possum on a leash with whom I am crossing a bridge, the possum escapes, I turn back before getting to the other side.” A bridge takes one from one place to another; the possum is a slow primitive nocturnal animal that plays dead when threatened.


Dream Animals
Trichosurus vulpecula,
Photo by JJ Harrison


What might this animal represent as I unsuccessfully try to go from one place to another? What is this animal doing in my dreams? This blog explores possible meanings of the symbolism of animals in dreams.

Early Dream Animals

Possibly the first “documented” symbolic indication of animal dreams are images in cave art, such as Lascaux in France or Altamira in Spain, dating 10,000 to 45,000 years ago, which are images of animals of several kinds, such as bison and horses.


Dream Animals
Photo by Bayes Ahmed on Flickr


There are also therianthropes (human-animal figures).  The animal images, which are exquisitely painted, are considered by some to be depictions of experiences that shamans had in their visions and dreams. Do the paintings document the shamanistic experience as well as demonstrate the sacredness of the location (much as stained glass windows in a cathedral do)? These cave paintings suggest that humans have been dreaming about animals for thousands of years.

Animals in Children’s Dreams


Dream Animals are not uncommon in dreams. For young children it appears that 25% or more of their dreams contain dream animals. They often appear in nightmares and can be huge and ferocious, overwhelming, much like what adults are in children’s waking life.

By about age 10, the number of dreams with animals drops to what adults usually have, which is about 5%, though some studies indicate that as much as 14% of adult dreams have animals in them.

Dream Animals and the Self


We have learned that the elements of our dreams represent various aspects of our physical and psychological selves, and it is likely that the dream animals are informing us about some aspect of our being, including that most basic aspect of ourselves, being an animal. Most commonly, the dream literature states that a dream animal is a representation of our instincts. Archetypal psychologist James Hillman in The Dream and the Underworld notes that “Generally animal images are interpreted in-depth psychology as representatives of the animal, that is, instinctual, bestial, sexual, part of human nature.” Jeremy Taylor states on his web site: 

“Animals” in the dream world are a frequent metaphor of the dreamer’s instincts — those vital energies that are alive and active in the dreamer’s psyche, but which are not conscious. The more menacing or problematic the relationships with


Dream Animals


animals are in the dream — or the more ill, injured, or distressed the animals appear to be — the more likely it is that the dreamer is at odds with his or her instinctive energies, and needs to find a way to channel creative, positive expression of those same instinctive drives into his or her waking life.

Might a dream animal indicate that one is not fulfilling a basic need: exercise, proper nutrition, enough sleep?  Might dreaming about an owl or a bat suggest that one is spending too much time awake at night when one should be sleeping? 

Perhaps a dream animal indicates not paying sufficient attention to one’s intuitive self, perhaps overly relying on rationality and reason as contrasted with incorporating feeling and emotion.


Dream Animals
The Golden Bough
Jeroen van Valkenburg


Does a ferocious animal in a dream, a nightmare perhaps, indicate something that one fears or a shadow element that one is avoiding?  Does a dog in a dream indicate a presence or absence of loyalty, close companionship, or obedience?

Animals can be indications of one’s spiritual journey. I had a dream once about a white lion.


Dream Animals


At first, I thought it was about an albino, but I found out that it was actually a type of lion and research told me that native people of South Africa considered it to be a sacred animal, which is interesting since my dream had several priests in it.

A dream animal, such as a frog could be a metaphor about a life transition: a frog goes from tadpole, an animal that begins in the water, the unconscious shall we say, and develops into an animal that goes onto land representing consciousness. It is not surprising that we have frogs in fairy tales in which transformations occur (ugly frog to handsome prince for example).


Dream Animals


If I had a frog in my dream, I might ask what has been unconscious but is now coming to consciousness in my life. Similar could be the experience of dreaming about a caterpillar or a butterfly. 

A dream animal could also be about another major transition—dying. A dog, for example, is commonly associated with dying, as seen in the film Wise Old Dog, and they serve as a psychopomp, a being that accompanies one from our earthly existence to the afterlife.

Dreams of the Planet


There is quite another way of looking at dream animals. In his book Dream Animals, James Hillman states: “As if a dream animal comes to prompt our emotions of warmth or fear, of night terror or compassionate memory of love in childhood. What is their need, their reason for coming into our sleep?” Yes, let us ask what the animal’s need and reason is for coming into our sleep?”  

In closing, here is a dream I had 3 years ago:

A Mouse Asks for Help

I am walking and there are several mice; as I continue walking one of the mice is following along to my left, I finally realize it is trying to connect with me, to get my attention, I vaguely notice it has something tightly wrapped around its neck. I ask if it needs help and it answers yeeeesss in a very high-pitched, almost electronic sound, but clearly understandable. The mouse is now in front, facing me; I reach down to look at what is wrapped around its neck and it is on very tight and should not be there. I start to remove it, which reminds me of the small velcro type of strap that is used to bind electric cords. 


Dream Animals
Photo by Ricky Kharawala


Is this the unconscious reacting to the collective damage to and the possible extinction of animals? Is the velcro strap a metaphor for technology literally choking the life out of the animals? Is the mouse a metaphor for our digitized world? Are we in a position to do something about it, which the animals cannot do? The mouse, and by extension all animals, are asking for help to get out of a world of plastic (a plastic 6-pack ring entangling an animal is archetypal of this). 

Our planet is in a state of crisis and animals suffer greatly as a result of what we humans have done. The animals are helpless to address the situation, only we can do that, and they would like us to clean up the mess we made.  

So, learn about yourself by paying attention to the animals in your dreams, but ask not what your animal can do for you, but what you can do for your animal.

Photo used in header: @rawpixel

Me too, But Now What?

Me Too #MeToo. Alyssa Milano started this hashtag on twitter and I read it on Facebook. Several of my female friends used it to indicate that they, just like me, had been harassed, cat called, raped, and even worse.

Soon there was a reply on my post saying: I think every single woman on this earth can post this. My heart grew even colder.

I have decided that I refuse to share he humiliating stories that I and many women have to live through. But this touches my heart so much that I can not stay silent. Please let there finally be the change in society that women long for.

Me too and the message of my Heart

I seem to have a silent thermometer in my heart. And whenever a line is crossed, either in a tv show or in an interaction, my heart grows cold. I always have the feeling that my blood reverses and flows in the opposite direction.

I have decided that I refuse to share he humiliating stories that I and many women have to live through. Remarks made by men like: “you have big tits, that’s why people like you” are painful and degrading. I did what many women do. I laughed while I died inside.

When I was in kindergarten, little male toddlers used to have inappropriate remarks about tits. They used to laugh and share tits jokes. It felt horrible. I could not believe after that “joke” that nothing had changed in the 43 years since I left kindergarten.

Apparently, in the eyes of men, there is nothing valuable about me, but my body.


me too
Photo: Jamez Picard


When one of the most popular comedians of the Netherlands shared a joke about “how every men wants to do some nasty stuff with you in their mind”, and everyone in the audience was laughing and clapping: yes, my heart went cold again.

When I was young, guys used to ask: “are you horny?” and you needed to laugh and agree and walk on. That was the way to stay out of trouble. Things have not changed much in the 30 years since I left high school.

I feel completely numb.

I have been told what to wear, how to act, how to sit (ankles crossed), and never to go out alone at night (even though there are many plays and movies I would like to visit). But I have become well-adjusted to this rape culture. I stay indoors.

Me too: Will Something Finally Change?

Soon after the success of the me too hashtag, a reaction came. Multiple reactions. I divide them into two categories. The first one is: don’t exaggerate ladies, you can not all be raped. Only victims of rape may share the me too hashtag. 

In my eyes this response completely misses the essence of the metoo hashtag. We, women, finally want to let all of you men know what we are dealing with.

This is a time that in societies eyes a woman is supposed to be “fuckable” all her life. Do you know the expression MILF? Mother’s I’d like to Fuck. Terrible isn’t it? You can be assured that this is no end goal for any women I know. We don’t care.  There is no expression for “Father’s I’d Like to Fuck” and there is good reason for it. We are not interested. At all.

The second is: wtf? What can I do? So I have seen numerous posts of men saying: I am guilty. Good for you. But can there please finally be a change in society? We women have all been longing for it.

I fear that things will remain the same. After this metoo hashtag wears off. In the time that I have grown from a toddler to an elderly woman, I have not seen any change.

Photo: Shawshank Redemption


Now that’s a sad ending, and I hate it. I wanted to write something positive. Like in the Shawshank Redemption film: “get busy living or get busy dying” (again: this is about two guys). Its like I decided to die a little inside.

Me too: to all the young girls

My husband is always glad that we did not have a daughter. “I would lock he up until she’s 18”, he always says (see? you men know very well what it’s like to be a woman).

I know how hard it is to speak up. I have been there. I still feel unable to do it. I am afraid to share my stories here and on Facebook.

The first thing that happens facing a rape situation is that your brain seems to gain speed and you rapidly consult all the possible solutions to leave this situation alive.

Most of the time it means playing along, until you can get the hell out of there.
Once you decide to do that, you have already calculated inside your mind if you would ever be able to win a fight with this guy.

Is that good advice? O no, not at all. Please don’t listen to me. It’s the way I tried to solve one of the many problems of this misogynistic society.

Let’s choose hope. Do you think things will change now?


Trickster Archetype: An Exploration in Writing the Tale

Today’s Guest Blog: ‘Trickster Archetype’  is written by Christian Gerike M.A,  teaching assistant in the Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California, Psychology Department, for the Introduction to Psychology and Myth, Dream, and Symbol courses. Christian has also two other guest blogs  for Mindfunda: How to Remember your Dreams, and Sleeping well, Remembering Dreams.

You can read more about the Trickster on Mindfunda in Trickster Gods: Tricky ways to discover the Self,  and Trickster Tactics: from Archetype to Evolution 

Trickster Archetype

The whimsical and diabolical Trickster is a character found in folk tales and myths around the world.

The Trickster, generally recognized as one of the oldest expressions of mankind, originated in and is the chief mythological character of the paleolithic world.

trickster archetype
Paleolitic Paintings in Lascaux


Found among the simplest to the most complex of indigenous groups, this is a figure and a theme with “. . . a special and permanent appeal and an unusual attraction for mankind from the very beginnings of civilization” (Radin, 1956, p. xxiii).

The Trickster is a strange combination of benevolence, harmless mischief, and destructive malice.

trickster as archetype
Trickster by Bill Lewis

Erdoes and Ortiz, in their 1998 book American Indian Trickster Tales, describe the Trickster as:

“. . . always hungry for another meal swiped from someone else’s kitchen, always ready to lure someone else’s wife to bed, always trying to get something for nothing, shifting shapes (and even sex), getting caught in the act, ever scheming, never remorseful” (p. xiii).

In West Africa we find the Spider, the Tortoise in Nigeria, the Hare among the Bantu people, in Hawaii is the Trickster/Culture Hero Maui, in ancient Greece is androgynous Hermes/Mercury, in Scandinavia shape-shifter Loki lies and steals from the other gods, in Europe is Reynard the Fox, on the Andaman Islands is the Kingfisher, in Turkey it is Nasr-eddin, the hodja (clown-priest).


trickster archetype
Picture: Josh Felice


In traditional and modern Native American cultures, there is Raven in the Pacific Northwest, androgynous and shape-shifting Coyote in California, the Great Hare among northern and eastern woodland tribes, and in the southwest the Hopi have Keshari, the Clown. In looking at Native American traditions we see Coyote the Trickster par excellence.

Trickster Archetype Defined

Trickster is proud to be described as destructive, immature, devious, quick-witted, sly, deceiving, lying, thieving, villainous, cowardly, mischievous, shrewd, cunning, wise, self-centered, ingenious, ambiguous, bi-sexual, fool, lecher, and a cheat.

trickster archetype
An icon of chaos theory – the Lorenz attractor.
By User:Wikimol, User:Dschwen – Own work based on images


“Clever and foolish at the same time, smart-asses who outsmart themselves” (Erdoes & Ortiz, 1998, p xiv).  It is this aspect of the Trickster that has made him such an entertaining character around the world. In manifesting these characteristics, the Trickster represents the chaos principal, the principle of disorder.

Trickster Archetype: Dark vs Light

Jung (1956/1969) sees the dark side of the Trickster as being “. . . a collective shadow figure, a summation of all the inferior traits of characters in individuals . . . subhuman and superhuman, a bestial and divine being, whose chief and most alarming characteristic is his unconscious.”  A ‘cosmic’ being of divine-animal nature, superior to man because of his superhuman qualities; inferior to him because of his reason and unconsciousness (pp. 270, 263, 264).

There is another side to the Trickster.  As the giver of all great boons—the fire-bringer, teacher of mankind—it is common for the Trickster to be a creator figure who created the earth and brings culture and civilization to humans.

In his role of bringing inventions, agriculture, tools, and fire the Trickster is a cultural hero.  For example, the Japanese storm god Susanoo provided humankind with such necessities of life as daylight, fire, and water.

Among the Classical Greeks, Prometheus as creator brought into being all of the world’s animals;

trickster archetype
Prometheus Carrying Fire, 1637
Jan Cossiers


he brought fire, numbers, writing, farming, medicine, divination, metallurgy, and served as protector of humans.

Ikotomi the Spider, the Trickster of the Lakota and Dakota Sioux tribes, created time and space, invented language, gave the animals their names, and, as a prophet, foretold the coming of the white man.

archetypical trickster
Artist Gertrude Spaller’s rendition of Iktomi in the story Iktomi and the Ducks.


We should keep in mind that since these contributions were bestowed upon humanity by Trickster, that there might be a Shadow side to these advances in civilization.

Trickster Archetype: Time

The Trickster is alive and well in mythic time – an era when the world and its inhabitants were very different from they are now, a time when there were animals that walked and talked as human beings do; and Trickster lurks about in historical time, when the earth is no different than today, though there may still be mythical lands where mythical beings interact with humans.


trickster archetype
Time machine concept by oreocactus
©2014-2017 oreocactus


Even in modern times the Trickster abounds, as wide ranging as Charlie Chaplin, Wile E. Coyote, Richard Nixon, and the 3 Stooges.

Trickster Archetype: Gender

The trickster is usually male.  Lewis Hyde, in his 1998 book, Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art, explains that

  • Tricksters may belong to patriarchal mythologies, ones in which the prime actors, even oppositional actors, are male.

    trickster archetype
    Cartoon: Azilliondollarcomicsdotcom
  • There may be a problem with the standard itself; female tricksters may simply have been ignored.

    trickster archetype
    Morgan le Fay, female Trickster?
    Art by Sandys, Frederick
  • Perhaps the trickster stories articulate some distinction between men and women and even in a matriarchal setting this figure would be male. (p. 336)


Trickster Archetype: Native North America

Trickster, in its earliest form among North American Indians, is at one and the same time creator and destroyer, giver and negator, he who dupes others and who is always duped himself.

He behaves as he does from impulses over which he has no control, possessing no values, moral or social, he is at the mercy of his passions and appetites. The others in Trickster stories possess similar traits: the animals, the various supernatural beings and monsters, and man.

Paul Radin, in The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology, tells us that

The overwhelming majority of all so-called trickster myths in North America give an account of the creation of the earth, or at least transforming of the world, and have a hero who is always wandering, who is always hungry, who is not guided by normal conceptions of good or evil, who is either playing tricks on people or having them played on him and who is highly sexed.

Almost everywhere he has some divine traits.  These vary from tribe to tribe. In some instances he is regarded as an actual deity, in others as intimately connected with deities, in still others he is at best a generalized animal or human being subject to death. (1956, p. 155)

Trickster Archetype: Coyote

While appearing both in human and animal forms in Native North America, Trickster is generally an animal with human characteristics, such as the hare, raven, spider.

It is Coyote, however, who is the classic Trickster in the Native American myths of North America, if not worldwide.  Barry Lopez (1977, p. xv), informs us that

No other personality is as old, as well known, or as widely distributed among the tribes as Coyote. He was the figure of paleolithic legend among primitive peoples the world over, and though he survives today in Eurasian and African folktales, it is among native Americans, perhaps, that his character achieves its fullest dimension.

Kimberly A. Christen (1998), in Clowns & Tricksters: An Encyclopedia of Tradition and Cultures, describes Coyote as being most recognizable by his flaws: selfish, disrespectful, glutton, at worst a murder and thief.

trickster archetype
Click here to buy the book and support Mindfunda

“The coyote shares with other tricksters a total disregard for cultural mores and laws. In order to teach young people the proper way to act, stories about the coyote often focus on greed and wrongheadedness” (p. 33).  We can see Coyote at his finest among the Lakota:

“The Lakota coyote Mica has an unending sexual appetite, he steals, and he is greedy and generally disrespectful. Mica disregards all social mores by being selfish and rude. Mica takes advantage of his friends’ wives, he steals food from his neighbors, and he lies to get whatever he wants, never working at all. Mica outwits other people using lies, tricks, and any other means possible. He challenges people, animals, and other powerful beings to contests he is sure to win; if necessary he cheats to make sure he will be victorious. (Christen, 1998, pp. 32-33)

Trickster Archetype: Its Function 

The animal aspect of the Trickster indicates a close identification with nature. Howard Norman describes the Trickster’s role in explicating the relationship of humans and the natural world:

“These tales enlighten an audience about the sacredness of life. In the naturalness of their form, they turn away from forced conclusions, they animate and enact, they shape and reshape the world” (as quoted by Erdoes & Ortiz, 1998, p. xix).

Barry Lopez (1977, pp. xvi-xvii), in Giving Birth to Thunder, Sleeping with his Daughter: Coyote Builds North America, presents several of the Trickster’s social and psychological roles.

Lopez states that while “Coyote stories were told all over north America . . . with much laughter and guffawing and with exclamations of surprise and awe . . . the storytelling was never simply just a way to pass time.” Coyote stories

  • Detailed tribal origins;
  • emphasized a world view thought to be a correct one;
  • dramatized the value of proper behavior;
  • participating in the stories by listening to them renewed one’s sense of tribal identity;
  • the stories were a reminder of the right way to do things—so often, of course, not Coyote’s way;
  • telling Coyote stories relieved social tensions. Listeners could release anxieties through laughter, vicariously enjoying Coyote’s proscribed and irreverent behavior; and
  • Coyote’s antics thus compare with the deliberately profane behavior of Indian clowns in certain religious ceremonies. In a healthy social order, the irreverence of both clown and Coyote only serve, by contrast, to reinforce the existent moral structure.

trickster archetype

With the Trickster we experience paradoxes, if not outright contradictions, of being human.  “Coyote, part human and part animal, taking whichever shape he pleases, combines in his nature the sacredness and sinfulness, grand gestures and pettiness, strength and weakness, joy and misery, heroism and cowardice that together form the human character” (Erdoes & Ortiz, 1998, p. xiv).

trickster archetype

It is in the Trickster these combinations of qualities are recognized as being in the world, and from the Trickster we learn existential lessons as to the consequences of letting our darker side rule our lives.

Through the Trickster we can see that “Individuals have the power to recognize their shadows and in doing so, choose the better part” (Lundquist, 1991, p. 29).


Jung (1956/1969) sees the Trickster as “. . . simply the reflection of an earlier, rudimentary stage of consciousness . . .” (p. 261).

The Trickster symbol, however is not static and changes through time, with Coyote now right alongside Charlie Chaplin.

trickster archetype
Charlie Chaplin

The Trickster lets us know that there is no clear differentiation of the divine and the ordinary; that, in fact, the divine can have less than stellar qualities.

Paul Radin (1956) concludes that the Trickster

. . . became and remained everything to every man—god, animal, human being, hero, buffoon, he who was before good and evil, denier, affirmer, destroyer and creator. If we laugh at him, he grins at us. What happens to him happens to us. (p. 169)

The Trickster carries an enormous number of opposites and many of the adventures could be seen as arising from the tension that is found between these opposites.

Trickster dwells in the realm of the Shadow, but perhaps that is for our salvation. C.G. Jung (1956/1969), at the end of his essay On the Psychology of the Trickster-figure, states:

“As in its collective mythological form, so also the individual shadow contains within it the seed of an enantiodromia, of a conversion into its opposite” (p. 272).  Let the Trickster inhabit the darker side of life, while we use that force, through his stories, to bring us to the good side of life. Let us have balance by leaving evil in the realm of the gods and keeping good in the realm of humanity.



Bastian, D.E. & Mitchell, J.K. (2004), Handbook of Native American mythology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Bierhorst, J, (1985). The mythology of North America. New York, NY: William Morrow.

Bright, W. (1993). A Coyote reader. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Campbell, J. (1969). The masks of god: Primitive mythology. New York, NY: Penguin Compass.

Christen, K. A. (1998). Clowns & tricksters: An encyclopedia of tradition and culture. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Erdoes, R. & Ortiz, A. (Eds.).  (1998). American Indian trickster tales. New York, NY: Viking.

Hyde, L. (1998). Trickster makes this world: Mischief, myth and art. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Jung, C. G. (1969). On the psychology of the trickster figure. In Read, H., Fordham, M., Adler, G., & McGuire, W. (Eds.) (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.), The collected works of C. G. Jung: Vol. 9, part 1. The archetype and the collective unconscious (2nd ed., pp. 255-272). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1956)

Kirk, G.S. (1970). Myth: Its meaning & functions in ancient & other cultures. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Laffert, J.V. (Ed.) (2008). Essential visual history of world mythology. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society.

Leeming, D.A. (1990). The world of mythology: An anthology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Lopez, B. (1977). Giving birth to Thunder, sleeping with his daughter: Coyote builds America. New York, NY: Avon Books.

Lundquist, S. E. (1991). The Trickster: A transformation archetype. Distinguished Dissertations Series 11. San Francisco, CA: Mellen Research University Press.

Radin, P. (1956). The Trickster: A study in American Indian mythology. New York, NY: Schocken Books.

Shipley, W. (Ed., Trans). (1991). The Maidu Indian myths and stories of Hanc’ibyjim. Berkeley, CA: Heyday Books.

Vizenor, G. (1993). Trickster discourse: Comic and tragic themes in native American literature. In Lindquist, M.A. & Zanger, M. (Eds.), Buried roots and indestructible seeds: The survival of American Indian life in story, history, and spirit (pp. 67-83). Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press.

Asian Journals: the Allegory of American Mythologist Joseph Campbell

This Mindfunda Book review is written by Misa Tsuruta, Ph.D.

CampbellI have asked Misa, a Japanese psychologist,to write this review as she is very familiar with Western ways of thinking.Joseph Campbell, a Western man, was very familiar with the Eastern way of thinking. Usually we associate Campbell with the hero myth, but he was very aware of the differences in mythological world perspective between East and West. As a native Japanese inhabitant, Misa provides us with a unique perspective on Campbell's book.
Susanne van Doorn MSc, founder of Mindfunda.com


Campbell: Asian Journals, India and Japan

Click here to buy the book and support the good work of Mindfunda

Joseph Campbell, renowned for his mythological works, did not have a chance to visit any part of Asia until his 40s, despite his strong, continuing interests in and attraction to Asian religions and cultures. Culture is a hard substance to grasp, whether it is an attempt by the insider (native) or by the outsider (foreigner).

Asian Journals: India and Japan is an edited version of his travel logs.  It was in 1954 that he finally embarked on this journey around the world.  Before, between and after his main destinations India and Japan, he also spent short time in the Middle East, South East Asia, Hawaii and California.



Like any journey you are exposed to new cultures his was not entirely an easy one either; although he had previously idealized Indian culture through its religions and spirituality, he was so disillusioned with its anti-Americanism and “Baksheesh complex” as he called it that he sustained some sort of mental injuries for a while – until somehow they were cured in Japan.

Campbell’s Journey to Mythology

As a Japanese, I can be complimented by his implying that Japanese culture had such curative power – but to me it appears that one reason was that he finally finished working on Zimmer’s work that he grappled on for a good dozen of years. Heinrich Zimmer was the scholar who influenced him most.  In short, he was freer in Japan.  His observation was that Japan was more open to westernization and that ancient Asian cultures were somehow better-preserved in this country.  He was rejoiced with both.

While in Japan he played with geisha, attended numerous theatrical performances (Noh, Kabuki, Bunraku, Takarazuka, among others), visited famous temples and shrines, met friends, scholars, and priests, and fiercely studied the Japanese language.

Art: Shimura Tatsumi


Perhaps thanks to his wife Jean Erdman, dancer/choreographer/professor, he had a deep perception of theatrical works.  Jean shared parts of his travel.

Joseph Campbell and Jean Erdman

In this volume you can encounter Campbell as a prolific writer/scholar and experience how he generated his ideas and organized them.  While reading you will discover many seeds for his later works.
In fact, it was through this indispensable journey that he was able to transform from a professor in comparative religion to a mythologist.

Campbell and Manto-e

One of the culminations of this journey was the visit to Todai-ji Temple in Nara, renowned for its Great Buddha of 54-foot height (Daibutsu).  Luckily he hit the very date of Manto-e, or Ten Thousand Lights Festival.

Higashi Otani Manto-e Festival (Kyoto, Japan)
Photo copyright by https://imgur.com/user/zazuzazu001

Then a centennial event, according to Campbell, this festival takes place every year in our time, but not in April when he attended but in August.  I could imagine how otherworldly awe-inspiring the Great Buddha was among numerous quivering lights.

It is these unforgetable moments that make people long for coming back to the same place, or leaving for another travel… He also joined Aoi-matsuri (Aoi Festival) in Kyoto and even engaged in a fire-walking on the occasion of Shinran’s (the founder of Shinshu sect) birthday celebration.

Campbell: Asian Journals conclusion

Like many Japanese I like to hear what foreigners think of our culture and country.  In that sense I was very satisfied with his voice from some 60 years ago.

But the world he depicted was a bit foreign to me as well – the travel from Tokyo to Kyoto which takes less than 3 hours now took him some 7 hours and 20 minutes (before the advent of our bullet train Shinkansen), and he strolled in towns where streetcars were running (this method of transportation disappeared around the time I was born).

Magically cultures and traditions survive even though they somewhat change, and I am thankful that this great man of culture and spirituality had a chance or two to visit my country.

Civil War and Dreams: The Home Voices Speak Louder Than the Drums

Civil War soldiers had two things that helped them to survive the battlefields: imagination and dreams.

Author Wanda Burch, found a journal with letters from soldiers in Georgia. One of these letters said:

“soldier mortals would not survive if they were not blessed with the gift of imagination and the pictures of hope. The second angel of mercy is the night dream”.

A Mindfunda Book Review of: The Home Voices Speak Louder Than the Drums. Dreams and the Imagination in Civil War Letters and Memoirs.
by Wanda Easter Burch
McFarland & Company 2017 hardcopy $45.00 ISBN 9781476665580 ebook ISBN 8781476625256 $21.70

Civil War and Dreams

The American Civil War (1861-1865) was, in my European eyes, a war between the old way of agricultural living (in the South) and the new industrial way of living (in the North).

Due to the television show “North and South” (in the Netherlands pronounced as Norse and Sauce, because for us it is quite difficult to pronounce the th correctly), I always thought it was about the genuine wish to free America from slavery.

civil war
Picture from North and South

But reading the book The Home Voices Speak Louder Than the Drums. Dreams and the Imagination in Civil War Letters and Memoirs, has made me realize that it was not so much the desire to put an end to slavery that urged men to partake in the Civil War. Both sides were defending the life style they had grown accustomed to.

Of course, the heroine of many dreamers, Harriet Tubman, a woman who used her dreams abilities to guide people to freedom, is mentioned in this book.

civil war
Harriet Tubman

“Harriet Tubman (born in slavery as Araminta Ross and later taking her mother’s name, Harriet) has been described as a “Moses” of her people, a “Conductor” on the Underground Railroad and “Moll Pitcher”, a reference to her energy and daring (page 220).

Harriet just decided, after her master had died, to take a chance and walk out of the gate.

“In a pivotal moment for both Harriet and all those whose freedom she implemented, Harriet walked out of the gate of the plantation singing and just kept on walking, looking back only once” (page 220).

Because her family was not free, she kept on freeing others, using her dreams as guidance. There are even stories about her faling into a dream state and waking up with the “right” path to travel.


Civil War and Precognition

I like that this book treats dreams and imagination as the same type of energy. The imagination of home, no matter what the reality of that home was, could give a soldier the hope to keep on going.

One of the questions that immediately entered my mind when I opened this book was: would the danger of being on the battle field cause an increase in precognitive dreams?

Wanda dedicates a whole chapter on Precognitive Dreaming. “These dreams stayed with the dreamers like a mist when they were walking and reminded them that dreams do pry into futures and that paying attention is the better side of caution when the morning comes and the dreams persist” (page 100).

This chapter is filled with wonderful, but also with tragic stories of hope and loss.

I must confess that I was a bit disappointed that there was not a conclusion about if something as threatening to your mental and physical health like a war would increase the number of precognitive dreams.

Civil War

But I also realize that this is an almost unanswerable question. Intuitively, one would say that it is almost inevitable that a dangerous situation triggers precognitive dreams.

Civil War and the Voices of Home

This book is composed out of 18 chapters. It starts out with the dreams of Abraham Lincoln, his famous dream in which he foresaw his own death. Wanda challenges us here to (re)think about the philosophical question of predetermination.

Art, children, sacred soil, mutual dreams (dreams shared by family members), dreams of people who are mortally wounded, this book covers every angle.

It is filled with amazing stories, written in a very readable language, and if you have a soft spot for dreaming, this book will be an asset to your book collection.

The Home Voices Speak Louder Than the Drums. Dreams and the Imagination in Civil War Letters and Memoirs.

The Fiction of Dreams, A Book Review

Fiction and dreams are closely related. “The dream’s essence lies in its storytelling capacity. Dreams are autobiographical fictions that tell the story of the dreamer’s life history, her insertion in transgenerational family themes, and her ethnic and cultural identity”. That is how Otto Rheinschmiedt hooks me in the first paragraph of this book.

Oh yes, I agree with him and in my mind several cool and cruel dream stories of mine resurface…

There is the nightmare story I once told you about, there have been a couple of mutual dreams I had, that turned into what could have been a novel, and several childhood dreams that still amaze me because they seem to have been the seed of what turned out to be my life.

A Mindfunda Book review of The Fiction Of Dreams, Dreams Literature and Writing
By Otto M. Rheinschmiedt
Karnac, 2017, Hardcover $39.30 Kindle $25.61 ISBN-10: 1782204202 ISBN-13: 978-1-78220-420-6
Reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn



The Fiction of Dreams
click to buy

Fiction of Dreams: Design of Creation

“Dreams are governed by the universal sign of creation. They follow the principles of creation inherent in the strategies of genius, quantum physics, and chaos theory. Dreams cannot be understood completely if one applies a singular model of the mind” (page XV).

I have written about it in The Multiverse, a Dream Come True?.

And even though most of us dream lovers are charmed with the new scientific break throughs in cosmology, we still are not able to create a new way of working with dreams out of it.

That is not the intention of this book. But Otto still proposes a theory to explain human dreams and behaviour. His model has seven pillars.


And even though it’s quite complicated, I like the fact that Otto offers a model. In his beautiful, thorough book, you need a structure to hang on to.

This book made me think back at another interesting book that explored the theme of fiction and dreams. Philosophy, Dreaming and the Literary Imagination by Michaela Schrage – Fruh.

This book embraces a more philosophical standpoint, while The Fiction of Dreams can be read as a creative case study that aims to make a quilt of at least 7 pieces to keep you warm at night.


Fiction of Dreams: Who is the Dream Creator?

In his book Otto promotes a dream facilitator that is bigger than the individual mind. I’d have to fully agree with him on that issue.

He describes how Charles Steward in his book Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece has shown how dreaming was liked to economical circumstances and group feeling.

He gently hints, no almost seduces you, to open up to the idea that each individual dream is part of a universal dream quilt. And that the intent of such a quilt is to keep us warm and safe.

Fiction of Dreams: Freud

Otto’s admiration for Freud is a red theme across the chapters of the book. He honestly describes several cases he has had as a psychotherapist were ladies were as offended by Freud’s assumption of penis envy as I always have been.

But I must confess, the more I found out about Freud, the more I began to admire his mythological thinking mind.

In this book, Freud is honoured because of his prize winning poetry (he got the 1930 Goethe prize for literature.

fiction of dreams


And the book focusses on how dreams are stories. The Fiction of dreams. And he book is filled with incredible examples of precognitive dreams.

There is a dream about a lady who found out because of her dreams that she had jewish ancestry.

There is a dream about a son who grew up without his biological father. When he tracked him down, he recognized how several dream had hinted on his father’s profession and his half brothers and sisters.


This book is written with care, well researched and easy to read;
The cases used are very interesting;
The mythological background and the chapter about deities and Asclepius increases the yummy factor of this book.


The way the 7 human drives are abbreviated in F + H + L + B + P + S was a bit confusing to me;
There are many (mostly male) writers discussed, who have written from dreams or in a dream-like state. But I could not find a theme, or strain of thought that connected them.


Enthusiastic and want to buy this book? The Fiction Of Dreams, Dreams Literature and Writing

Dreams that Guide You on Your Life Path

Finding your life path. It can be quite a journey… To my great enjoyment I saw that the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) has decided that the theme of the new online psiberconference is going to be: “Illuminating the Path: Psi Dreaming for a Brighter World“.

Life Path

We live in a strange society. You are supposed to have your parents make all your decisions. You are not to speak up, not to be too smart are too loud. And all of a sudden you are grown up. You need to get into the world and earn some money.

The amount of money you make is inherent with the respect you earn. At least, most of the time. And I don’t want to complain but I work extremely hard and don’t earn very much. I even -like almost every blogger- contemplate stopping a couple of days each week.

life path

So in my last crisis I asked for a dream. I asked “What is the path I should take?”.

Life Path and Dreams

The last big decision I had to make was when I was still living with my parents. My parents were moving to Spain. I wanted to be a psychologist. My parents did not like that very much. It did not have much job security.

I dreamed that me and Carl Gustav Jung were taking to each other while we were walking in a garden. The grass was green. I could not remember the conversation, but felt it guided me towards my inner longing.

life path

And truly, getting into University and meeting other psychology students was a sort of homecoming. Finally nobody wondered why i was asking so much. Or reading so much. Or wanted to know so much about my dreams. I felt at home.

But soon the first disappointment came. There was not the slightest intention to talk about either Freud or Carl Jung. They were considered to be “unscientific”.

Life Path and Action

When I graduated I could not find a job. I started working dull stupid jobs way beyond my intellectual capacity. I’d much rather have work than sit at home and collect welfare.

Little did I know that my work attitude was bad for my resume. Employers seemed to be looking for young people who had experience, but not wanting to be the company that provided that experience.


life path




It made me so incredibly sad that my parents had been right. So I started working on the chain gang. Being a slave that obeys orders, isn’t allowed to think and gets paid. I was miserable.

Life Path and Love

I had saved some money. So when I met the love of my life, he and me agreed that I should use my money to enable me to stay at home and guide our children. Enjoying them, guiding them., Giving them love, shelter warmth and security


Life Path


Meanwhile I kept on challenging my mind. I read more about different subjects: consciousness was and is one of my main topics of interest. The cosmos, and how it takes the tiniest parts to explain the big things has got me captured. When I leave Mindfunda behind, that is the thing I want to get into.

Life Path: the Dream

The dream I had the night I asked my dreaming mind for advice was this.

I am driving and all of a sudden the road is not paved. There are stones and rocks. I panic: did I miss a sign? Should I have gotten off the road? Is it safe to drive her or will I ruin my car if I go on? On my righthand side there is a freeway. But i can not see clearly enough if it is safe to take that turn. I don’t want to take the freeway if it means that I will be in a car crash. I am unable to see clearly who and what is driving on that freeway. Should I stay on the left hand side and take the broken up road? Is it my road?

Confused I wake up.

What do you think? And did you ever have dreams to guide you on the path of your life? Let me know in the comments.


This Blog is written by Dutch Psychologist and Blogger Susanne van Doorn

I write a Mindfunda every other day. I also give online courses and workshops. The newest one starts June 19 2017: a week-long dreaming around the Summer Solstice.

Wonder Woman: A Female Perspective


Wonder Woman, the film entered the cinema’s and got a lot of positive feedback. Women said that they were crying when they saw the film.

I wanted to see the film to investigate if it isn’t an ultimate form of misogyny to admire a woman simply because she can fight like a man? Is Wonder Woman just a male soldier with big breasts and a vagina? Or is something else going on?

Wonder Woman: Amazos

The film starts with Wonder Woman as a child. She wants to learn how to fight but her mother does not want that to happen.

The noticeable thing for you and me – dream lovers and symbolism-freaks, is that the bed she sleeps in has a mandala-eye shape…

Wonder Woman-child is building her eye, her I in her dreams. You have got to love that. It soon became clear to me that my original hypothesis is wrong.

No, Wonder Women is not a male warrior dressed up as a hot chick. The film assumes that all human beings are warriors. Girls are just taught to stop fighting. Except for Amazon women.

Wonder woman
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman


The Amazon warriors, according to Greek mythology, were called Amazon because the word “amazos” means without a breast…

You see that Hollywood has taken a free interpretation here, the breasts of Gal Gadot are waving their hallo’s in her cleavage.

Fighting girls are hot. Do you remember Sense8? Sun is the female warrior over there. In the last Sense8 very she was also fighting in her underwear. It’s got to be a Hollywood thing.

Wonder Woman: The Female Perspective

Not a lot of movies have a female hero. Usually females are the “price” a hero gets after he has won his battle.

I recently read a blog, written by a father to both of his sons about Wonder Woman. He adressed the feelings of unease he assumed his sons would have watching the opening scenes without a male character in it.

Did you know I did not even notice the fact that there was no man present in the opening scenes? Yes, shame on me.

Because usually I do get a bit sick and tired of the male perspective in books, newspapers and films.

So, being reasonably experienced in the female perspective after inhabiting a female body for over fifty years, let’s see what my female perspective has to say about Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman: the Initial Female Paradise

Like all stories, the film begins in paradise. A matriarchy, inhabited by women.
It’s almost like every girl experiences her childhood. Father is away, into the wild world, and mother and sisters are close.

All of a sudden, and attractive spy rinses onto the shores. He is telling stories about a destructive war that is going on. In her heart Wonder Woman knows that she, with her magical powers can stop the fighting.

This is such a good point of the picture. Almost every heterosexual woman has had that attractive spy that invaded her I-land. And almost every woman fell madly in love and wanted to set him free of his inner battles. Feeling it was her magic that could safe him.

But should we? Should we still safe those spies? Shouldn’t we have a new power hero that tells us that spies have a natural ability to get out of trouble? Or would that mean a significant decline in birth rates? No more spies to safe, women, be prepared for a boring and lonely life?


Wonder Woman
Chris Pine in Wonder Woman


And in order to kill het biggest enemy Ares, her animus Steven Trevor has to give his life as well. Talking about integrating your shadow!

Both men are opposite shades on the Shadow Palette in a women’s personality. It makes you wonder, after you have seen this film who in your life have been your Ares and your Steven. And dip your brush into the colour shade you want the world to see this day.

Wonder Woman Beauty

All throughout the film people notice that Diana aka Wonder Woman is exceptionally beautiful.

This is NOT a thing we-avarege women- experience. Most of us are quite ordinary. The beautiful girls are species of a different kind to us.

They act from a set of different rules. They know they can break them because of their looks. One smile and such a woman is forgiven for every rotten thing she has ever done.

If you truly want a female perspective, make your heroine an ordinary looking person. But wait! That will not sell. And you are right my dear reader, films with male protagonists usually also have an extraordinary handsome actor playing the leading role.

Wonder Woman Half God

Wonder woman is a half god. She is a descendent of Zeus himself and -even though she is a warrior a heart, she battles against war.

She is fighting fire with fire: using her fighting skills to end a world war. But fire is a good servant but a bad master.

We, women have always tried to battle. Often much more in a psychological way than physical.

wonder woman

How many mothers have fought the school system like I did when my son got molested at school, and lost?

We are mortals, not half gods. In that way, Wonder Woman is a blessing for the soul. Finally a woman who fights and gets justice done.

A blessing for all of us who got our asses kicked to the core by society.

Wonder Woman Conclusion

I am a bit double hearted about this film.  I truly like the fact that there is a female protagonist.

But there are too many butt’s. Literal and psychological. Of course I can understand the need to show tits and ass if you want to make money.

Of course I can understand why the protagonist is strikingly beautiful. Of course I can understand why the motive of the first world war is just a side line.

Of course i can understand why there has to be a love-interest in the movie.

But all of those things make the movie kind of average again. But, my dear reader, you are right, criticism is easy.

Would you go and watch Wonder Woman? Let me know in the comments.

This Mindfunda is written by Dutch Psychologist and blogger Susanne van Doorn

I write a Mindfunda every other day. I also give online courses and workshops. The newest one starts June 19 2017: a week long dreaming around the Summer Solstice.

Susanne van Doorn

Midsummer Night Dreaming

The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet Are of Imagination all compact... 
Shakespeare, "A Midsummer Night's Dream” 

Midsummer Night is around the corner. The shortest night of the year could be the most important one for dreaming.  Since day and Age, the Summer Solstice has been a Magical time for Dreamers.

Midsummer: the sun gains power in the Northern Hemisphere. Days get longer, nights get shorter.

Butterflies seem to be kissing the multitude of flowers in an almost endless array of colours…

And even though the nights are getting shorter, dreams seem to be packed with meaning. A special time to tune into your dreams…


midsummer night
Frederick Howard Michael


To honour this special time I have created a Midsummer Night’s Week of dreaming, incubation and dream sharing on Mindfunda.  Celebrate this special week with me. You will get 7 incubations to induce dreams loosely based on the tale of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A story in which dreams are magical and nothing is what it seems to be…

Midsummer Night Synopsis

I know that not everyone is familiar with the story of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. He wrote it at approximately the same time as when he wrote Romeo and Juliet.

Here is a synopsis of the story, copied from the site midsummernightfilm.com:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream” deals with the universal theme of love and its complications: lust, disappointment, confusion, marriage. 

The plot focuses on three parallel stories: the trials and experiences of two sets of lovers camping in a magical forest, the world of the Fairy King and Queen and their elves, and a group of rough craftsmen attempting to stage a production of “Pyramus and Thisby” for the wedding of the Duke of Athens.

Hermia is in love with Lysander, but her father wants her to marry Demetrius. To escape the arranged marriage, she and Lysander elope into the woods. 


midsummer night
Hermia and Lysander
John Simmons


Demetrius follows them, and he is pursued by Helena, who nurses an unrequited passion for him. A love quadrangle develops among the young lovers when mischievous Puck plays Cupid. “The course of true love never did run smooth” says Lysander. 

Meanwhile, a group of amateur actors rehearses a badly written play in the woods, and soon all find their lives changed by the doings of Oberon and Titania, the warring king and queen of the fairies. 

Magic, action, love and humour are the ingredients for this unforgettable spell.

This work is widely performed around the world, and no wonder – it’s about the world’s most popular pastime, falling in love. But as Puck knows, falling in love can make fools of us all. Love is crazy, love is mad. Will love win out in the end?”

Midsummer Night Online Event

The main theme of a Midsummer Night’s Dream is Love.

1. Love for your soul;
2. Love for your imagination;
3. Love for your archetypical animus energy;
4. Love for your connection with your female side as it is reflected by the radiance of the moon;
5. Love for your inner wickedness;
6. Love for the energies in your psyche;
7. and most of all love for Dreams as you are ready to receive a gift from the realm of fairies.


midsummer night
Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing
William Blake


Each day you will get a new incubation to help you concentrate on that theme. But it is not only passively consuming information…

You will have to use the information gathered through dreaming in composing your own incubation, using questions I’ll provide. And be ready to receive a dream gift (Receiving gifts is hard for most people).

You are able to share your dreams in an online forum and I will give you my perspective on them using the “If it was my dream” method”.

The dream belongs to you, I can only give my vision on it. And I will do so with the greatest respect.

This event is for you to help you find out more about your inner reality. About your perception. The fools in Shakespeare’s play are easily tricked. What do your perceive as real?

Midsummer Night by Night, the Program

In the first night we will concentrate on the love in our life. The love for our being, the love for our soul, the love that we share with our significant other. If you look back on your life, does your love-balance check out? How can you honour your soul in such a way that it will increase your love balance?

In a Midsummer Night’s Dream the love madness is symbolised by three couples. Two human couples: Lysander & Hermia and Demetrius and Helena. And a magic couple: Oberon and Titania.

The magic that stirs the alchemic transition between these 6 archetypes comes from he Love-in idleness flower. And it happens while you sleep…

midsummer night
The Magic Flower: Viola Tricolor

So this first night, you will contemplate on the love in the story of your life, and ask yourself what you want to harvest to feed your soul during the winter.

In the second night you will focus on the fairy world. When you fall asleep, you will imagine that you enter a magic forest. Puck, who is very fast will take you on a journey. He will show you mountains in his country (or are they clouds?).


midsummer night
Illustration: Alfred Fredericks


He will show you his Queen Titania. Is she a Queen or just a whirl of energy? You will witness the energy between her and her husband Oberon. And when they both acknowledge you, they will give you a present. A gift of magic for you to take home.

In the third night, we will concentrate on the animus or male energy in our psyche. The animus has represented by the “sun” god Oberon is a symbol of the ego. Oberon just wants to get his way. He wants Titania to obey him. Just like your own ego can act like a spoiled little child. But it is also Oberon who resolves the confusion between the lovers and make sure that everyone ends up with a suitable partner.

midsummer night
Art by Vesner on DevianArt


How has your animus helped your soul? Tonight you will meet him and ask him a question.

The fourth night we will concentrate on the anima energy in our psyche. Tonight you will concentrate on your relationship with the moon. The moon is important in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Three of planet Uranus’s moons are used as names for characters in the play: Titania, Oberon and Puck.

midsummer night
“The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet / Are of imagination all compact”


The moon makes lovers go crazy. This night you will concentrate on how the moon affects your dreams.

On the fifth night, we will concentrate on our Puck energy. How, when and where have we been antagonists? Has it served our soul?


midsummer night
Illustration: Arthur Rackham


What in our lives need transformation right now? Are we willing to transform? This night you will open up to the trickster inside yourself and hear his or her message.

On the sixth night you need to draw a sketch of the energies you have encountered in the dreams you have experienced this far. You are able to scan and sent the drawing to get feedback on it if you would like so. Most of all, this sketch will make your inner energies more sustainable to you.

Play around with the energies for a day. Add energy where your intuition would like so. Do you need more animus power in your life? How is your connection with the moon as energiser for your dreams? How do you relate to the fairy world? These and more questions will help you to rewrite/adjust the incubation of this night to your specific needs.

On the last night, you will compose a specific question. If you have posted your dreams into the forum that this online workshop provides you with, you can ask me for help to formulate a question about every dream you posted on the forum.

This night you will visit the magic kingdom again and ask what we can harvest right now to nourish our souls. What is it that our should long for right now?

I hope you will join me on this adventure. Click here to register.

This blog is written by Dutch psychologist and dream expert Susanne van Doorn.
I write on Mindfunda every other day. If you like this post, feel free to share or comment.

Multiverse: a Dream come True?

I have this lovely theory that in my dreams, I visit a multiverse. In my dreams I step into this multiverse, live life and solve problems according to the laws that are applicable there.

More and more research is done to determine if we are part of a multiverse. A cosmos where there are several universes, that may or may not interconnect.


Origin of  the term Multiverse

Erwin Schrödinger was the first person to use the term ‘multiverse’.

Erwin Schrödinger








Sixty-five years ago, in 1952, he said that his Nobel equations seemed to describe several different histories, these were “not alternatives, but all really happen simultaneously”.

In sixty five years, what has science found out about the possibility of the multiverse?

Multiverse and Scientific Proof

Whenever you turned on the radio in the ‘old days” you could here a noise. A part of this noise is cosmic background wave of the Big Bang.

In 2004, when scientists examined the waves of the cosmos, the Cold Spot was discovered. This is a spot in the universe that is too cold to be explained by the Big Bang.


Cosmic Microwave Background Cold Spot
Photo: Nasa


This “Cold Spot” seems little in this picture, but is approximately 1.8 billion light years across. There is a void in this cold spot, and the temperature should be higher. So what could explain this cold spot?


Laura Mersini-Houghton






Laura Mersini-Houghton suggests that this cold spot can be explained “as the gravitational tug exerted by other universes” (source Wikipedia).

Other universes would ‘pull’ onto our universe, and in doing so they decrease temperature.

And even though I hope that science will find evidence of a multiverse, I am not really sure if gravity is able to decrease temperature.

Multiverse as an Intellectual Concept

Howard Wiseman of the Griffith University, suggests that the concept of the multiverse is a theoretical one.

A sort of glue that sticks pieces of information that have been unexplainable by the Big Bang Theory, nicely together.


Cartoon: Calvin and Hobbes


Treating the cosmos as an intellectual jiggle saw puzzle that needs to be solved. That sounds a lot like what we do when we try to attach some meaning to a dream, doesn’t it?

If you take into account that we live in a universe that is just one of many universes (an intuitively appealing assumption) you’d have to assume that each universe responds to different laws.

Wiseman also argues that quantum phenomena are the result of the interaction between the forces of those universes.




I have got to admit: the last point was a huge disappointment to me. It is like Wiseman tries to explain Santa Clause by pointing at the presents your child finds at his shoe each morning.


Multiverse and Dreams


I bet you are as disappointed as I was when I was composing this Mindfunda. When I got the idea for this blog, I felt positive that I would find some evidence for the existence of the multiverse. I failed to find any. I do have this gut feeling though…

I remember a time that I sent an email to a lady who did scientific research in quantum mechanics. I wanted to invite her to give a lecture for the Dutch Dream organisation of which I, at that time was part of.




Her answer was deadly. She responded with a barley hidden contempt that i had no clue what I was talking about. There was no connection between dreams and visiting paralel universes.

I dare to invoke all dreamers for a revolte against the current scientific society we get crushed into. Let’s explore all of our possible universes in (lucid) dreams!

Have you ever visited another reality in your dreams? Let me know in the comments!


This blog is written by Dutch psychologist and blogger Susanne van Doorn

I write a Mindfunda blog every other day. I also have an online course page. My newest online course is the Midsummer Night event that will start June 19. It will give you a week filled with incubations and possibilities to share dreams. Read more about it in Midsummer Night Dreaming or Sign up for it right away.

3 Facts about Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute defines it like this on their website:

“Sleep apnea (AP-ne-ah) is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.

Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.



Sleep apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep.

As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.”

This Mindfunda helps you to determine if you might be suffering from sleep apnea. Always visit the doctor if you think it is likely that you suffer from it.

1: Chronic Fatigue and Sleep Apnea

You can imagine how sleep apnea interferes with your regular sleep cycle. Nature has provided five sleep stadia for our brain. Each stadia is typified by a specific amplitude of brain waves.


sleep apnea
art: Psychologytoday.com


When sleep apnea causes a lack of oxygen, you wake up. When you wake up, you are not able to finish your sleep cycle.

If this happens at a regular basis,  your health will be affected.

2: Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Snoring is an underestimated problem. It can cause a lot of trouble in a relationship. Not everyone who snores has apnea.

There is an app called Snorelab.You download it on your mobile phone. You put it on and lie it besides you on the bedside table.

sleep apnea

It records the sound you make during your sleep and you can listen and analyse the moments that you snore.

3. Sleep Apnea and a Partner

Many people who suffer from apnea, are not aware of it. Because it has such bad health implications: an increased risk of vascular diseases, obesity and depression it is sometimes with the help of a partner that we can determine cheater we should seek medical help.

sleep apnea

Many times it is a partner that tells you that you seem to stop breathing at night.

4. Sleep Apnea and morning headaches

When you wake often witha dry mouth (because your mouth was open) and a headache, it cold be a sign that you are suffering from sleep apnea.

sleep apnea

Do you recognise one or more symptoms? Please visit your doctor. If sleep apnea is diagnosed you have several options to improve your situation. You will feel better.

Mindfunda is a blog from Dutch psychologist Susanne van Doorn.
Mindfunda publishes a blog every other day.

I have a new Mindfunda online event: The Mindfunda Midsummer Night Event. A week long reading, dreaming and contemplating around the theme of the summer solstice.

June Solstice Online Dream Event

The June Solstice is a special, magic time. The perfect time to tune into the wisdom of your dreams.

You can do so on June 19th 2017 when you participate in the Mindfunda Midsummer Night Dreaming Event. This Mindfunda tells you more about this online dreaming Event.

June Solstice
Art: Cicely Mary Barker
Flower Fairy Illustraties


A week-long we are going to incubate dreams about what wants to grow, how we are going to balance our energy and how to prepare for the winter. Because this event lasts a week, there is plenty of time to remember and a dream. Whenever you remember a dream you can share it on our online forum and I will provide objective feedback on it.

Click to subscribe to Summer Solstice.

Art: Cicely Mary Barker
Flower Fairy Illustraties


June Solstice: A Special Time for Dreaming

Cultures all over the world have celebrated the summer solstice as a special time.

I believe that there are times in each year that dreams have a tendency to have a special meaning. All you have to do is “tune” into it. And that is exactly what this online course will provide.

June is the month that the sun in the Northern hemisphere rises to its highest point. The fertility god(dess) has reached its highest point. Now it is time to sort out your inner balancing sheet.

Art: Cicely Mary Barker
Flower Fairy Illustraties


Participating in this an online dream adventure will enhance your dream capability in ways that you could not have imagined.


June Solstice: Power of Group Dreams

There is something about the power of dreaming in a group, that seems to enhance its power. If you focus on a problem and (try) to solve it by asking for a special dream, it is going to work. But if you dream with a group of other people, who devote their attention to a similar concept, it seems to have an effect that is called synergy. (I have written a nice book about this, you can download it here).




Art: Cicely Mary Barker
Flower Fairy Illustraties


Because it is a group dreaming process, you will experience that you start to ‘tune in’ with other people’s dreams. People seem to ‘pick up’ stuff much easier in dreams.

But you won’t only meet other dreamers. You will also tune in with the fairy world. The world you were so familiar with when you were a child.


Art: Cicely Mary Barker
Flower Fairy Illustraties


You will get information about the plants that have magical properties on the night of the summer solstice.

You will tune into the realm of dreamers, into the realm of plants, into the realm of fairies and you will explore your inner archetypical energies.

June Solstice: Prepare for Harvest


This shortest night of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere) is the temporary descend of the god(dess) of fertility. The power of the sun is going to decrease. Now it is a prefect time to contemplate about what you have sown this year and to prepare for the things you need to harvest.


Art: Cicely Mary Barker
Flower Fairy Illustraties


Not only a harvest of material things. What do you want to harvest in a psychological way, to get you through the times of darkness and deprivation that slowly start to arrive now.


Art: Cicely Mary Barker
Flower Fairy Illustraties

June Solstice online Dreaming

This online event will give you:

  • A Daily Dream Incubation, for 7 days;
  • Each night has a special focus:
  • The first night the focus will be on love and how you have manifested it in your life;
  • The second night we will focus on the magic fairy world and leave with a gift
  • The third night we will focus on the animus or male side in our personality;
  • The fourth night we will focus on the anima or female side in our personality;
  • The fifth night we will focus on the transformation our soul needs right now;
  • The sixth night we will focus on how to achieve/keep in balance with all the energies of different realms around us;
  • The last night we are going to ask for a gift;
  • Each day you will get new information about the psychological concepts hidden within the incubations. You will learn about the magic fairy world, you will learn about the five special plants, you be challenged to remember how you connected with this world with ease in the past;
  • Each day you have the ability to post your dreams in an online safe forum that is closed off from the internet to share your dreams;
  • You will get a respectful objective response on dreams you posted, this can be either questions that I think the dream is asking you, an If It Was My Dream interpretation, and usually a suggestion on how to undertake action to honour the dream;
  • Valuable information about yourself.


June Solstice
Art: Cicely Mary Barker
Flower Fairy Illustraties


Sign up now and enjoy your dreams during the Summer Solstice.

Initiator of this online course is Dutch Psychologist Susanne van Doorn.
Regular presenter on the subject of dreams, Blogger on Mindfunda, Board Member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.

Writing in the House of Dreams by Jenny Alexander



Writing has been important to me since I was a little child. I used to get moments of ‘possessed inspiration’. Moments that I needed a pen and some paper. When I put the pen down, words flowed out. Where a story just seems to present itself. As if it comes from another realm, just like a dream.

Those moments have gone, unfortunately. Possession has transformed into structure. Reading Writing in the House of Dreams, written by Jenny Alexander, brought back those memories.

This is a Mindfunda Book Review of: Writing in the House of Dreams
by Jenny Alexander
Five Lanes Press 2014
Kindle $ 4.17 Paperback $ 13.99


Support the Good work of Mindfunda and buy the book using this link

Writing in the House of Dreams Introduction

“If you are a writer interested in dreams, you will find here a guide to the dream world and a toolkit of techniques that you will need to explore it, such as how to recall and record your dreams, how to incubate a dream and how to tackle nightmares” Jenny promises the reader on page 9.

What a clever way of targeting your audience, I thought when I read that. I know that I am one among many dream-lovers who fantasizes of having her own book published.


Writing in the House of Dreams is divided into three parts. It’s build up according to the hero’s journey. Jenny encourages you to cross the threshold in part one. She enthusiastically shows you around in your house of dreams in part two. Than she lures you outside in part three when she tells you that there is a landscape beyond. And finally in part four you need to take the jump into the Dream-space.

Writing as a Means to Cross the Threshold

“Babies in the womb display all the physical signs of dreaming, and so it seems that the dream is the first, before mother, father, family, culture. We are born out of the dream and emerge, still cocooned, into the magical world of childhood, where teddies can talk, fairies grant wishes and monsters hide in the shadows” (page 11).

Jenny is very clear about it. Dreaming is our natural state of being. Before we take our first breath, we are already dreaming.

Art: Joseph Israels

“The call to dreams is a call to the soul. Writing fiction is similar to dreaming, but less intense. We enter the ‘writer’s trance’ and become, to some extent, our characters” (page 43).

The back ground story, that Jenny tells in an italic letter type, is how she has struggled with dreams. Having an exquisite dream memory and a traumatic past,  she talks about a recurring nightmare. We find out that where her talented older sister she has looked up to all of her life, suddenly commits suicide. Jenny feels lost now that her role-model apparently had been lost herself. What to do now? She visits several therapists and non of them can really help her deal with a recurrent nightmare.

The tide changes for her when her therapist advises her to read Patricia Garfield’s Creative Dreaming.

Each chapter has some very interesting exercises to improve your writing skills. For example, in the introduction Jenny suggests that each person three “seed stories”.

“Three random incidents you remember from your childhood can contain the seeds of all the stories in later life”. And she shares exercises that will reveal those stories to you.


Writing the House of Dreams

Once you have crossed the threshold and have re-acquainted yourself with the world of dreams, it is time to explore your house of dreams. To not only make yourself at home, listen to the voice of the dream however soft it whispers but also to hear to the cries of the beast in the basement…


“Your dream is like a person sitting next to you on the bus journey through life. If you choose to ignore them and look straight ahead, you probably won’t even know what they look like, let alone what they have to say” (page 116).

Even though it is pretty basic stuff about the technique of dream incubation, Jenny is onto bigger realities. At the end of part two, she invites us to “The Landscape Beyond”.

Writing the Mythic Dimension

“We don’t dream in isolation. The dream is bigger than our personal unconscious” (page 142).

I think this was the moment that I fell deeply in love with this book. In my own mutual dreaming experiment (The Mutual Dreaming Model) and in the (online) dream groups I have facilitated, I have experienced that ether is something like a shared dream consciousness.

I dared to speak about it one time, at a Dutch Dream Convention, where immediately a concerned dreamer raised his hand and said: “but a dream tells you things only about yourself”. I felt lonely at that moment and agreed with him just to get rid of the “yes/no” discussion I knew that was going to follow.
So I was excited to read about someone who is gutsy enough to accept this asa given fact.

Myths and stories resonate with a particular area of your life. Jenny invites you to write about the Persephone situations in your life. Persephone, daughter of fertility Goddess Demeter was captured by the God of the Underworld, Hades.

Artist unknown

There she became Queen. She learned the art of communication beyond the real of the living. Her mother wanted her back. But Persephone had already decided that she was going to eat 6 pomegranate seeds. She had children, she became queen instead of daughter and she had very important position being the Queen of the real of death.

At one point in life we all have been in hell. And we have come back from it. Somewhat more bitter, somewhat less trusting. But all who have been there know exactly to just listen to our own inner voice. Even when it tells us things we don’t like.

I especially like the writing exercise in this part that concerns six of your favourite stories.

Writing into the Dream Space

A dream offers a gateway to realms beyond all human experience.

“For dreamers and writers, this feeling that the ordinary world is not as ‘real’ as it seems means that the world of imagination feels even more ‘real’. Rather than leaving the ‘real’ world and going off into flights of fancy, we move easily between realities, which are all products of the psyche” (page 207).

Jenny invites you to explore the idea that Anne Baring (Dream of the Cosmos) has also written about in such an inspiring manner. Is there a dream that is dreaming you?


She shares some interesting ideas about her concept of the elasticity of time:

“Letting go of the idea of time as a line which travels in one direction has an interesting knock-on effect in terms of identity and the human journey”.

And my old friend synchronicity also appears in this book.

“As soon as you stop looking for cause-and-effect links on a line of time, you notice other links, things that are meaningfully connected, yet in a non causal way. Jung called this ‘synchronicity’.



I enjoy the exercise(s) at the end of each chapter very much. I will go back to all the exercises and see if I am able to rekindle that inspirational writing flow of my childhood.

I like the mythological approach very much. You can read the book as a personal record of Campbell’s Journey of the Hero.

I know that there are a lot of dreamers that long to write their own book, and this  book offers so many practical exercises to get the writing juices flowing again.

I admire the vulnerability with which Jenny writes down her story. It is honest. Nothing is brushed away or sweetened up.


The information about dreams that Jenny shares, tips to remember dreams is for beginners. More trained and advanced dreamers do not need those tips.

Sometimes the personal stories in italic letters are a bit too long. I found my eyes sometimes scanning a story instead of reading it.

A very practical downside: it has no index. This makes it very hard to look up a certain concept you are interested in.

Enthusiastic? Click here to buy Writing in the House of Dreams

Summer Solstice Online Dreaming

I want to invite you to celebrate the Summer Solstice with me. I have created a new online course that offers 7 incubations, loosely based on Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The summer solstice has always been a magical time, surrounded by mythology. And who has captured this better than Shakespeare?


Summer Solstice: 7 Night Plan

The first nigh, June 19 2017,  we will focus on love. How does love manifest itself in your life right now? I will take the confusion between lovers in Midsummer Nights Dream as an example so you can connect with love experiences in the past. In this way you can see how the past has shaped your thoughts about love and how it should manifest. This night you will ask your dream to advice you on how to best manifest your love in your life.

The second night, June 20 2017, we will focus on the magic Fairy world. Love is magic. Awake your inner child and connect again with the fairy creatures you used to see, talk and play with. In this night’s incubation you will ask for the gift that you need right now.

The third night, June 21 2017, we are going to focus on the animus side of our personality. each person, male or female, has an animus side. An accumulation of qualities that our culture call “male”. Tonight we are going to connect with our male side and how this manifests in your life right now.

On the fourth night, June 22 2017, we will incubate a dream about the female, anima side of our personality. How does this side manifests in our life right now?

On the fifth night, June 23, we will concentrate on transformation. Summer is the time of the ripening of our spiritual crops. We can see what has grown and determine what does not agree with our energy.

On the sixth night, June 24, after we have visited the living and the fairy world, it is time to ask our dream to advice us on how to balance this energy in a way that will support us in the best way possible.

The last night of this spiritual journey is on June 25th when we ask for a symbolic gift. This gift will have a clear symbolic meaning to us.

There will be a forum available were you can enter and share dreams.

Click to subscribe to Summer Solstice.


Brought to you by Susanne van Doorn, dutch Blogger, Psychologist, dream Expert.

The Body of Poetry: Sculpting Curves into Words

This is the last Mindfunda blog in my series about the body and it features the body of poetry. Female poetry to be more precise.

This blog is a part of a 4-blog series about the body.
The first blog is about Body Image and Self Esteem
This blog is about the spiritual body;
The third blog will be about the dreaming body;
This last blog is about the body of poetry.

The Body of Poetry

I know many sculptures of words. They cut away meanings, they design sentences and leave you, the reader behind with a mental image that entices your brain.


On Diverse Deviations

When Love is a Shimmering Curtain
Before a Door of Chance
That leads to a world in question
Wherein the macabrous dance
Of bones that rattle in silence
Of blinded eyes and rolls
Of thick lips, thin, denying
A thousand powdered moles,
Where touch to touch is feel
And life a weary whore
I could be carried off, not gently
To a shore,
Where love is the scream of anguish
And no curtain drapes the door.

Maya Angelou


Oh don’t you love that? We have all been there. Those situations were love was a shimmering curtain. the magic, the wondering, the fantasies not disproved by reality yet. The air filled with promises and desire…

Poetry as a song

Poetry is something you have to get used to. When I watched a documentary about Maya Angelou, I heard her poetry style described as being the result of someone who began to read poetry when she was too old.

It was archaic, with difficult words folded in over complex sentences. Be that as it may, I like the poetry I shared with you above. I have the sense that I understand it.


The way you can fall in love with a favourite song. Because one of the lines describes a feeling that your soul intuitively recognises.

And your heart cheers because all of a sudden you know that you are not the only fool who feels that way.

The first time I heard BAD from U2 I froze. The lyrics they poured into my soul. I later found out that Bono wrote it for a friend who was struggling with addiction. But the darkness of it attracted me. Often, when I would go out into town in weekends this was the final song of the evening. And everyone would yell along with the song.


If you should ask then maybe they’d
Tell you what I would say
True colors fly in blue and black
Bruised silken sky and burning flag
Colors crash, collide in bloodshot eyes

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
If I could, you know I would, if I could, I would
Let it go

This desperation
Separation, condemnation
Revelation in temptation
Isolation, desolation
Let it go

U2 Bad

When you are singing this with about hundred other people, the words take on another meaning. Singing the words makes them resonate in your body. When the whole dance floor would yell: desolaaaationnnn, dislocaaaaaation, and so on (and I always used to sing new temptation instead of “revelation in temptation”) the darkness that you felt in your soul became a shared experience in the darkness of night. And to add to the dramatic atmosphere, the disc jokey used to take care that the lights went down so we were all resonating with this cries of the soul in the darkness.

You did not have to be addicted to fully understand what Bono was shouting about.

Poetry and the Body

Of course poetry resonates with the body. The poetry in music makes us dance. Poetry is emotion. And most of the time when you feel emotion it is because the poetry resonates through the body.

Anais Nin once said: “It’s all right for a woman to be, above all, human. I am a woman first of all.” (from The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. I, 1966)





This post was written by Susanne van Doorn MSc, Dutch psychologist and Blogger. I also created a nice number of online courses on Mindfunda Courses. Soon there will be a Midsummer Solstice Dream Event, a week of joint dreaming between June 19 – June 25.

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.


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
Click here to buy the book and support the good work of Mindfunda

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

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.

Healing the Nightmare Freeing the Soul

I had my last nightmare  in December 2008. I stand outside a hospital room looking in. there is a young guy waiting to get an operation. A black strap is around his chest.



The door opens, and in walks a surgeon with black curly hair. From the moment he walks in I know he is going to kill this nice young guy. I am standing outside, feeling completely helpless.

Than I see that the young guy has escaped: the bed is empty. I feel so glad! But where did he escape to? I scan the operation room with my eyes. Nothing. I look up to the ceiling and I see his eyes. He has managed to hide behind the ceiling.


But the surgeon has followed my gaze and while I wake up I realize that he is going to kill the guy.


When I woke up I knew because of the emotional content of the dream that this was an important message. So i started to discuss the dream with a lot of people. But all I got was an interpretation that did not ring true to me.

Five months later I am in a hospital, at my father’s death-bed. Like anyone dying, his consciousness was fading. He was admitted to the hospital because of a lack of oxygen: just like the guy in my dream had a strap around his chest. I was whispering his name because i had read somewhere that people who are dying still can hear. He did not respond. I looked up at the ceiling while I asked myself: are you still here? And than it clicked. I had picked up on my father’s death five months in advance.

This dream has been a very powerful healing dream for me. Because of this dream I have found out that December is a powerful time to dream. Ever since that time I organize the online Holy Nights Dream Event. And I got more open to the ideal that there might be life after death: the boy escaped and his eyes, symbols of the soul where still visible.

This is a long introduction to a new Mindfunda book review.
Healing the Nightmare Freeing the Soul A Practical Guide to Dreamwork.
by Margaret M. Bowater M.A.
Calico Publishing, 2016, 40 New Zealand Dollar, that is about 25.00 euro or 28 $ with the current exchange rates of May 2017;
paperback ISBN-13: 978-1877429170
reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn

Healing the Nightmare Freeing the Soul

Margaret Bowater M.A., a lady with 30 years of experience in leading hundreds of dream workshops, has written a comprehensive guide for working with nightmares.

After reading it, I was impressed, because each chapter could have been a book in itself. Margaret has selected the most characteristic examples of each type of nightmare she has defined.

“Over three decades I have developed a step-by-step process that incorporates telling the dream, drawing it in its setting, identifying what the dream ego is doing and feeling, exploring associations, giving dream roles a voice to speak, creating new endings when the story is unfinished, and discerning how the dream connects with real life” (page 13).

The book is composed of three parts. Part one discusses the groundwork of dreams. Part two is about trauma dreaming and part three about spiritual nightmares.

Nightmare: The Basics

Part one of the book contains five interesting chapters about the groundwork of dreams and dreaming. You will come to know the six types of nightmares, the sleep cycle and suggestions for dream interpretation.

I especially liked and appreciated Margaret her insights on the dream setting. She gives eleven examples and I learned a lot from reading them. I’ll give you one example.

“A non-specific setting focused simply on the dream ego’s encounter with another being or object may indicate a close relationship issue, or a subjective aspect of the dreamer’s personality” (page 61).

Art: James Zapata

I like the fact that she only ever so gently suggests exploring possible meanings in a certain direction. But this is not a dream dictionary. It’s is so much more than that.

Throughout the book Margaret displays a profound understanding of archetypes and how their energy manifests in dreams. I wish she will write a book about that some day.

Nightmare: Trauma Dreaming

Part two of the book is devoted to trauma dreams. Post trauma dreams of adults as well as of children. A chapter devoted to sexual abuse, and the final chapter is about physical and mental illness.

In this part Margaret uses vivid examples:
“I would dream that I was lying in my own bed at home, when two shadowy black figures would appear in the doorway… (page 97). Don’t we all recognise that? I do vividly recall how I dreaded going upstairs alone in the dark when I was a kid..

Cartoon: Liz Climo

She uses archetypical symbolism: “The archetype of the serpent or snake has many mythological meanings, from sacred to satanic, but in all of them it is recognised as a primordial creature, linked with the origins of life” (page 113).

Healing the Nightmare Freeing the Soul will help you recognise how repetitive dreams and progression of trauma dreams all are factors to take into account when you work with nightmares.

Carefully unpacking the symbolism of nightmares in traumas can reveal the hidden treasures beneath each dark event.

Nightmare: Spiritual Gifts

The last part of the book is the most esoteric one. A nightmare can leave you feeling powerless, like my dream did. Such a strong emotion makes you want to look for a satisfying answer.

“Sometimes, however, there is another dimension to the nightmare, a sense of archetypical evil, belonging only partly to the dreamer’s memory but more to the mythological or religious level of the collective unconscious”.

It are quotes like this that make my hungry mind sing “tell me more, tell me more”. Not that I am particularly charmed by evil, don’t get me wrong. But there is but little attention for these kinds of archetypical energies.

In a very nice chapter about psychic dreams you can read about how psychologist David Ryback has composed criteria to analyse precognitive dreams (dreams that foretell the future).

One of the most charming stories was about a woman who was traveling and kept having dreams about her cat Coco crying in a very pitiful way. She had rented her house to other people and when the dreams consisted, she called them. They conformed that they had not seen the cat for several days but did not seem to worry about that.
The dreamer flew home and found her cat dehydrated, locked by accident i the ceiling space… Just in time to safe her life.


“I have a  dream of my own that sometime soon all health professionals, pastors, chaplains, teachers, social workers, caregivers and parents – really everyone who cares for other people – will learn how to use nightmares for healing, and value dreams in general for their insight and inspiration” (page 192).

I could not agree more.


A lot of the big names in the dream world are mentioned. For example: Deirdre BarrettErnest Hartmann, Gayle Delaney, Ann Faraday,  and Robert Hoss. In this way the book is a very good introduction to modern dream work;

Each chapter ends with a list of  self-help or how to’s;

Each chapter is written in an easy readable way, using lots of examples;


Each chapter might have been a book of its own. I know this is a pro too, i really wish and hope that Margaret will put her wisdom on the writers’ table again to educate us further in her wealth of archetypical and mythological knowledge.

Mindfunda verdict:




Click to Read more about Nightmare on Mindfunda

The Ideal World: Is Science Going to Create it?

In an ideal world we would learn from the past and create a future that is based on the progress of science. Adolfo Plasencia talks with some of the biggest names in scientific research to shed more light on big questions like Is there a planet besides Earth where we could live on? What if robots became intelligent? and Are we able to touch the soul of Michelangelo?

A Mindfunda Book review of Is the Universe a Hologram? And Other Questions. Scientists Answer the Most Provocative Questions.
By Adolfo Plasencia
MIT, 2017, Hardcover $26.87 ebook $22.21 ISBN-10: 0262036010 ISBN-13: 978-0262036016
Reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn



ideal world
Buy the Book using this link and support Mindfunda


Ideal World: Will Science save Humanity?

It is no surprise among lovers of mythology that one of the most modern mythological concepts is that science will safe humanity. In a lot of series you see a hacker that hacks into government and police data and gets the real villains arrested and the true heroes out of prison.

I think that the film the Matrix was the most explicit about it. In this film you saw both sides. The danger of a fully computerised world and how a hacker could turn this world aside so humanity could “wake up” to reality.

Morpheus and Neo Fighting

In Is the Universe a Hologram? And Other Questions. Scientists Answer the Most Provocative Questions revolves around three themes:

  • The Physical World;
  • Information;
  • Intelligence.

And almost all of the scientists interviewed have connections to MIT: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Its mission (I have copy pasted it from their website): “The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century”.

Adolfo Plasencia, Spanish presenter of Tecnópolis and blogger on science interviewed 33 people about these subjects. By transcribing those interviews in book – form, you get an easy digestible book that covers very interesting topics.

Ideal World and Physical Reality

The first chapter of the book starts with an interesting discussion about the possibility of free will. The Western Culture assumes we act out of free will and therefore are accountable for our actions. This created a whole profitable range of Self help books ass well. But we like that idea. The comfortable thought that we determine our future.

ideal world
Cartoon found on Buzzfeed.com

Determinism is the believe that things follow laws, and are therefore predefined. Quantum mechanics challenges that idea:

“Usually when you observe something, we see that it exists and is well defined. Whenever we see a yellow object, we think that this is on ‘objective’ property the object has, which doesn’t depend on me. That is, when I am not watching it, the object still remains yellow. Now quantum physics, according to you, says, no: it says that some properties of the microscopic objects in the movement are not defined when they aren’t being observed and ably become defined when we watch it” (page 9).

ideal world
Cartoon Tom Swanson

Now that is a cliffhanger isn’t it? The book triggers your curiosity like that. You just want to know what people who understand much more of quantum mechanics as you and me do, say about the possibility of free will.

And what does the book say? That science does not know yet: “The fact that physiologically we still have not found and perhaps never will be able to see, evidence of free will and voluntary decision-making doesn’t mean that those things don’t exist” (page 277).

Of course there are many issues that are discussed in this first part of the book. How Moore’s law has come to an end. Moore’s law says that the number of transistors in a circuit doubles every two years.

How there is energy in a vacuum: the Casimir forces, how satellites help us to locate where we are and where we are headed, if there are other planets that facilitate human life.

Ideal World and Information

Part two of Is the Universe a Hologram revolves around information. The world is filled with data. In 1987, when I went to University, my professors carefully explained that information is data that you attribute meaning to. And back than, there was already a worry that we as human beings were flooded with data.

ideal world
Cartoon: Jef Stahler

In an ideal world you would only get the information you want to and be protected from data. Reading this book I found out that the brain works this way. A large part of the energy that the brain requires is used for inhibition. It means that the brain does not receive all data.

This part of the book focusses on the digital world we have created. Some use this world to escape the planet earth and create alter ego’s on social media. Other people come alive when using social media to connect with friends. Did you know for example that there are more smartphones that there are people on the planet?

ideal world
Cartoon: Mark Parisi

Tim O’Reilly (yes, the guy of the open source software) describes the alchemy needed in the present between the knowledge  of the past and the expectations of the future.

“As I said earlier, i think chance is natural and good. And I think there is a stress in modern life from the pace of change, and certainly there are people throughout history who have looked back to times when in theory, at least, the world was more stable and peaceful. If you want to be stable and peaceful, you can opt out of a technology society. There is nothing stopping you from doing so. However, I actually think that the excitement of having come to grips with the future is a good thing. For me, it’s a fabulous intellectual challenge” (page 215).

So in the ideal world we embrace the new challenges technology produces. Are we as human beings up for that challenge? The next part of the book tries to answer that question.

Ideal World and Intelligence

I have to tell you dear reader that this part was my favourite part of the book. With my training as psychologist I drool when a chapter is searching for the I in the brain.

I always have the notion ether is a little I in my brain that guides me whenever my blood sugar is low (diabetic type 1). I can do crazy things but at certain point in time a voice in my head says: “You need to test your blood sugar level, because you are acting strange”.

Did you know that science can perform magic? In the chapter where Adolfo Plasencia talks with Alvaro Pascual-Leone he talks about Transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS technique where the brain (an electricity device in our body) can be charged with electricity without opening the skull.


ideal world


William James, the father of psychology is mentioned several times in the book as a source of inspiration. And dreams! Yes dreams are also mentioned. the Spanish researcher Javier Echeverria uses the analogy of Plato’s Cave to introduce the way that internet has changed reality.

He tells us that the binary number system is based on the I Ching. Leibniz, its creator was fascinated by how the I Ching was a binary system and he got motivated to create a binary system.

“He discovered the binary number system some years previously during his correspondence with Joachim Bouvet, french Jesuit missionary who worked in China. They had sent him the I Ching, a system of symbols with various functions but which Leibniz realized had a strong formal relationship with his binary system” (page 317).

Javier Echeverria explains how not everything can be digitalized. He has tried working with dreams and even wrote a book about it:

“So digitilization is a mathematicization of everything intelligible?
On that, I have to say no. I’ll give you a very clear example of how digitisation does not mathematizice everything: so far it can not mathematize dreams. I tried to do it, many years ago in another book. Trying to mathemitize dreams was one of the things I’ve done in my life, but there are enormous difficulties. We all dream practically every day, but not all thought processes are digitizable, at least not yet” (page 318).

In the ideal world we could hook ourselves up to a dream-machine, record our dreams and look back in the morning. It will remain a utopia.




Pouring the content of this book in an interview format makes the content digestible and relatively easy to read.

It is a very informative and intelligent book about intelligence, consciousness, global warming, technology, matter an other things you and I are worried about.

You will learn a lot about a variety of interesting subjects, never a dull moment.

I like the mixture of technology, philosophy and psychology. This book has all the ingredients to become a classic, an encyclopaedia of the twenties of the twenty-first century,


Only three women are in this book. I am not certain why this decision was made. I think the female vision on problems facing the world today might make the world a better place. Female researchers deserve more than a contribution of merely 10 percent in this book.

The promotion of the MIT Institute becomes a little dreary from time to time.

The subjects of the book are not for everyone. A reader has to have an explicit hunger for knowledge about the alchemy between technology, its limits and how it can affect the world around us.

I felt that the title was a bit misleading: I had expected to learn much more about the Universe as a hologram: the idea that while the world seems to have three dimensions in reality there are only two.

Mindfunda verdict:


Click here to buy Is the Universe a Hologram? and support Mindfunda.

Cailleach: Dreaming about Archetypical Energy


The Cailleach is an ancient mother Goddess associated with winter and rejuvenation. Cailleach means “the Veiled one”. She is the giant blue faced goddess of winter, associated with death as well as with rebirth. The resemblance between her and the subject of my holy nights dreaming event 2016-17: Frau Holle are remarkable…



Frau Holle
Art: Otto Ubbelohde

For those who are interested: it’s still a long time but each winter I organize an online dreaming event to tune in to that special time of dreaming, using incubations.  The dream we will look at today is from Sage Abella, one of the participants of that event.

Both Frau Holle and the Cailleach are connected to the realm of death and birth as goddesses of fertility. Both reign the time between Samhain (November 1) and Beltane (May 1). And both goddesses guide people through inner realities and dreams…

Calleach Queen of Winter

In her book The Calleach, Rachel Patterson tells us this about the origin of this Goddess: “She is probably most well-known for her landscaping, with many mountains, caves and landmarks named after her. She is therefore strongly associated with the elements of both land and water.”.

Art: Thalia Took

In this Mindfunda I want to tell you more about this rejuvenating blue old witch (and you know by now that I don’t use that word in a bad way).

The Cailleach is thought to drink of the water of a sacred well each year that rejuvenates her.

This dream was shared with me by Sage Abella, who also created the image on the top of this blog. She had incubated this dream. Incubation is a technique were you concentrate at a certain question during the day and especially before you fall asleep.

Sage says in her mail to me: “I actually went to sleep incubating a dream for an answer about if now is the right time for me to enter a specific spiritual learning path with a teacher”.

I have put my own remarks between quotation marks and in cursive, between the text of the dream.

Giving Offering To The CAILLEACH

I’m on the shore in Scotland. I’ve been taken down a steep cliff to a narrow band of rocky shoreline below.
The opening scene places the dreamer “between firm land and fluid sea, which might symbolise the encounter between conscious and unconscious; the known world and the unknown; or thought and emotion” Margaret M. Bowater in Heeling the Nightmare Freeing the soul (a book soon to be reviewed on Mindfunda). 
There are two elements that meet here: water and earth (the rock from the shoreline), it must be a holy place, a place of transformation of the personal (the water) and the universal (the rock). Given that in our culture gods and goddesses usually live high upon a mountain, stone or rock in this dream has a spiritual meaning for me. If it was my dream, the opening scene would introduce me as dreamer to an existential spiritual question.
The woman who brings me here is named Jewels. She’s all dressed in white and has long red hair.

Triple Goddess
Artist unknown to me

In this part of the dream the first dream character is introduced: a red haired lady named Jewels. This is an introduction to the manifestation of the triple Goddess: the dreamer, Jewels and the Cailleach.
Hair in a dream is often associated with thoughts that originate from the head. The colour red can mean that the dreamer is really passionate about this new course she wants to get involved in. And the colour red is associated with the mother goddess, while white is associated with the daughter and black is associated with the Crone Goddess”.

Cailleach and Corn

She fills a cloth bag between my hands with something fine and white (like sand – no, salt-no, cornmeal – nourishing like cornmeal, but not cornmeal). She says, “Take this and put it at the feet of the Mother.”
“In the book The Dancing Goddesses: Folklore, Archaeology, and the Origins of European Dance Elizabeth Wayland Barber writes:
“The reapers stood back and 
each in turn cast his reaping hook at the standing sheaf of corn  in an effort to cut it. When finally one go the reapers succeeded in cutting the last sheaf-the Cailleach or the old woman representing the corn (grain) just harvested-the sheaf was taken home and placed around the neck of the farmers’ wife during the harvest supper. The grain was ribbed off and mixed with the grain being sown in the springtime. In this way the continuous cycle of death and resurrection of the corn was shown”.
So, in this part of the dream the cycle of death and resurrection are introduced. What has to die here? Old knowledge? A clue might be found on the place were the corn has to be offered.

Cailleach and Feet

Where? She points to the edge where the ocean meets the shore. There are huge, giant feet down there and a woman so tall I can’t begin to see anything but her feet and lower calves.
In his excellent book The Dream Interpretation Dictionary J.M.DeBord writes:
“Feet in a dream can refer to where you “stand” meaning convictions, values, issues, beliefs, opinions and principles. we may say that a person “stands” for one thing or another…. What you stand on is your character, your personality, your personal foundation.”
If it was my dream, to me the dream seems to suggest to the dreamer to re-evaluate her inner knowledge, the basis of her assumptions about life and the cycle of life and death. 

Cartoon: Scott Hilburn

I sprinkle the white offering in a circle around her feet. Then the tide goes out, the ocean pulls way back, the waves going out beyond where I can see. It’s like the moment between an in breath and out breath but the rhythm of a Great breath.
What a beautiful ending of the dream. The mandala, the symbol of the Self sprinkled around the base of the Goddess of death and creation, while the line between conscious and unconscious begins to fade because the dreamer starts to wake up.

Cailleach: Vision of the Dreamer

In any dream, the interpretation of the dreamer herself is the most important. This is what Sage mailed me about her insights in the dream.
I called an Irish friend of mine to see if she could tell me more (I have some strong Scottish ancestry that I don’t know much about). She started telling me stories of the Cailleach, the Great Mother, Great Hag who forms the landscape. She said the way I described the feet was like stone which reminded her immediately of descriptions of the Cailleach, some legends of her entering the sea for cycles of rejuvenation. And the most striking thing to me is she said that the offering I was giving, the way I could describe it so specifically but couldn’t exactly tell what it was sounds exactly like bone meal and Cailleach gathers the forgotten bones of animals, people and beings to grind and bake into bread to feed the people. I got chills when she described all that and shared the stories she knows.
The dreaming landscape is so magnificent! I was gifted such a beautiful dream from a part of the world the blood in my veins flows from but have never gotten the opportunity to visit. How does that happen? So cool! And offerings to the Great Mother from your side of the ocean. I’m blessed by this dream for sure.
Sage I hope that my blog has helped you explore more layers of meaning in this remarkable dream.
Reader, let me know what yo think, I would love to hear your remarks



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 independent site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

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

Body in Dreams: Gender, Animals and Out of Body Experiences

This blog is a part of a 4-blog series about the body.
The first blog is about Body Image and Self Esteem
This blog is about the spiritual body;
The third blog will be about the dreaming body;
The last blog will be about the body of poetry.

In one of my dreams I am a little boy who is playing hide and seek. I am crawling under a blanket to hide and I have so much fun because I know the person looking for me will see me but if he does I will scare him and than we will both laugh. I am very joyful and full of anticipation about the game that is about to begin.


The Body in Dreams

In this blog I want to explore how your own body can be a different gender in your dreams, your body in dreams in animal form, and dreams and out of body experiences.

Have you ever been a different gender in your dreams? What was your interpretation?

body in dreams
Cartoon: Whyatt

When I woke up from my dream I was not worried at al. Not for one moment did I think that I was not at ease being a woman. in fact, I loved the playfulness of the young guy I was and it reminded me of the games my youngest son was playing at that time. He loved to play hide and seek and usually he was hiding in full sight, giving himself away with his soft laughter.

Most websites I researched while writing this blog, suggested that being a different gender in your dreams might indicate a subconscious struggle with your identity. I am not quite sure, given my own experiences with those dreams that I agree with that presumption.

But the fact is that we live in a patriarchal society. On some forums that were discussing this topic, there was the suggestion that females would be more comfortable dreaming that they were male because, as Simone de Beauvoir already stated in her book The Second Sex, the world perceives humanity to be male.

Unfortunately, I have experienced that when a man shares a dream in which he had the female gender the response on a forum is that he must be gay. I don’t think dreams in which you have a different gender represent secret wishes to change gender.

In my vision, these dreams are usually a sign of inner balance. You are as much at ease in a female as in a male role. Here is a dream that Patricia Garfield Shares in her book Pathway to Ecstasy The way of the Dream Mandala:

“At the end of an ordinary dream, I am in a bedroom looking into a mirror in the early morning. I am surprised to observe how large and dark the pupil of my left eye looks. As I examine it closely, I realize with a start that I have three eyes. They are straight across, with the third one directly between the others. I laugh softly to see this, realizing it means that I am dreaming.


body in dreams


I look into the mirror again and the reflection shows a man with two eyes, a broad face and curly hair. I say to myself with amusement: “And now I am a man!” Then the image shifts, and now instead of a middle eye, in its place between my brows is a round spot. at first uncoloured, the dot grows white and begins to pulsate, At that, my whole body starts to throb. I feel the familiar surge of passion and hurry downstairs, search for Zal… (page 209)”.

Of course each dream about being a different gender has its own unique meaning. At a Dream Conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) the ex partner of a transgender female shared her dreams about her partner wearing pink coloured pants long before that partner ever acknowledged the longing to be a different gender.

So, like in any dream you remember and wish to interpret, take note of the emotions you wake up with, the associations you have with the dream symbols and the meaning you attach to it. Because the dream belongs to you.

If your body in dreams has become a different gender than the one you walk around with in the waking world, you might interpret it as a sign of inner balance.

You can also interpret it as a misbalance between anima (female) and animus (male) energies that we all possess.

Body in Dreams: Animals

What if your body in dreams has taken the shape of a specific animal? Shamanism has got a wealth of associations you can borrow to help you interpret those dreams.

Usually animals in dreams symbolize a specific kind of power, a psychological strength.

There is only one excellent book about animals I know about: Ted Andrews Animal Speak the Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small. I wanted to buy it when I was in America years ago, and I still regret that I did not. If you know of any good animal dream books, use let me know about them in the comments and I’ll check them out.

Once upon a time, long ago, I wanted to do a series of blogs and interviews about dreams and animals. That is when I found out that Ted Andrews had passed away.

“Every animal is a gateway to the phenomenal world of the human spirit” says Ted Andrews and I agree with him.

“In my I am taking a bath. I look at my stomach and to my great surprise two antlers are growing out of it. I wake up because of my amazement”

body in dreams

“Antlers are the symbols of antennae, connections to higher forms of attunement.  Deer with antlers thus can be a signal to pay attention to your inner thoughts and perceptions, as they are probably more accurate than you think” says Ted Andrews about this.

This dream also connected me with the ancient wisdom about antlers and the moon. The crescent moon is often symbolized by the antlered Goddess.

There are multiple interpretations possible if your body in dreams takes on the shape of an animal, but for me personally, the shamanistic approach is the best one.

Body in Dreams: Out Of Body Experiences

Sometimes in Lucid dreams you can watch your own body. I experienced such an out-of-body experience in the early morning It was a very amusing one.

“In my dream I fly over my bed and check who lies in it. There is a lady that looks like me: a small body with dark hair and a guy lying next to her that could be my husband: that lovely mixture of black and grey hair and a similar nose like he has. I decide to “enter” the body and glide in. I feel the “click” that my spiritual body is attached to my physical body and i start to wake up.

When I was young, there was a lot of attention for Robert Monroe, who became a guru on the subject of OBE.

And there are a lot of practices you can do to consciously leave your body (or imagine that you do). It can be a lot of fun. When you are lucid it can be very educational.

I remember dreams in which i visited the land of the deceased. I remember trips I took while being lucid flying around in my body checking the health of my veins (a special worry for me since I am Type 1 diabetic.

If you have left your body in dreams , either by accident or purposefully by using designated techniques, there is a huge range of creative possibilities you are able to undertake.




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 independent site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

Mindfunda Free Give Away’s

If you subscribe to my monthly newsletter, you get a book filled with 10 tips to better remember your dreams and a book about a mutual dream experiment for free. I hate spam as much as you do and I will guard your email with my life. Once a month you will get the latest news on the subject of dreams, mythology an spirituality and about my latest courses (because i have to pay the bills to, just like you do).

This posting is categorised as Dreamfunda:
Everything you need to know about dreams. Practical How to’s, the latest scientific research, the most commonly used ways to attach meaning to dreams. This and more is given to you for your everyday use in this part of Mindfunda

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

Dream Song: 5 Mental Notes that Might Help You Attribute Meaning

There are days I wake up humming a certain kind of dream song, playing in my dream. This blog explores the possible meaning of dreams and music.

In one of my dreams I am sitting behind a mix panel, trying to create a song. There are multiple people present, all of them unknown to me, but we are working on this music product together.

It is important to know which buttons to adjust, to get the result you want to.

dream song
A music mixer

I have to push green buttons up and down, without really knowing what effect I was going to get. The other people in my dream are new at this too. We talk about the results we want to achieve. There is one archetypical old wise man, known as ‘mana’. A Melanesian word that means ‘full of power’.

*Mental Note: is music in dreams inviting you to create a new tune?

A Dream Song and (e)Motion

Most people who value dreams, agree that dreams carry a symbolic meaning. And most of the well-known methods (if you want to know more read my blog about dream analysis) argue that the emotional content of the dream is THE ultimate key to decipher its meaning.

Songs are perfect carriers of emotions. Hearing one single note, you can be transported back mentally several decades ago. The healing power of music becomes evident in mental diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinson.

Music triggers the motor area of the brain. that is why, if you hear music that appeals to you, you start moving. Jessica Grahn explained in her Ted Talk that people, unlike other animals, seem to have an innate rhythm she calls ‘entrainment’.

dream song

That made me wonder if the evolutionary cause of emotion is based on a necessity to get into motion? In other words: if you are so emotional about something you need to get out and do something about it, physically? I would love that.

It became clear to me while doing the research for this blog that there is no necessity to ‘motion’ in the word e’motion’. An emotion is not necessarily an evolutionary trigger to get off your bud and do something to change a situation.

*Mental note: a dream song usually (but not always) is about emotion.
In my dream, I mix up the ingredients of the emotions I want to evoke, together with archetypical forces wandering around in my personality.

Dream Song and it’s Language

Music is a universal language. Scientists have traced the origin of music back as far as 50.000-10.000 BC.

The oldest instruments where flutes and they were probably used by hunters in a ritual way, performing magic.

dream song

*Mental note: do your dreams with music in them invite you to perform magic? Or some ritual? I have one example of it, it has to do with love, or with breaking off a relationship.

Dream Song and Love: an Example

I wish I had a more positive example, but this dream with a dream song in it had to do with heart break.

Years ago, I was involved with someone, I knew was not good for me. He was in no way abusive, it was just that our characters did not match.

We would go on vacation and I really did not want to go. But I lacked the guts to say it, especially now that we booked a holiday together. That is an official step in a relationship that takes things to a more official level.

The night before I broke up with him, I was singing the Daryl Hall and John Oates song: Out of Touch

Dream songs
Daryl Hall & John Oates

“We’re soul alone and soul really matters to me”

I am quite sure that you look up the lyrics of a dream song to search for a deeper meaning.

But it was this song that gave me the power to start up the ritual to break off the relationship. This relationship did not nourish my soul, it was crystal clear to me, I had song it to myself that night as a gentle reminder.

*Mental note: Does the full written text of a song trigger any emotional memories that can help me associate further on this dream?
Does this song invite me to take certain steps I was not willing to take before?

Dream Song and Time (Traveling)

Like Mark Joseph Stern says in his excellent blog about Neural Nostalgia: “And no matter how sophisticated our tastes might otherwise grow to be, our brains may stay jammed on those songs we obsessed over during the high drama of adolescence”.

In “This is your Brain on Music” Daniel Levitin analysis how the music we loved as teenagers gets a special place in our brain. It’s that music that gets a Parkinson person dancing again. It’s that music that gets a smile of recognition on the face of an Alzheimer patient.

dream song
Bob Marley

I was never a reggae lover when I was a teenager. The Police, it was ok, but Bob Marley, I considered him “old age”. He was from the generation before me, and like (almost) all teenagers I thought that that generation was utterly stupid.

But in a dream, I saw my husband dancing on a Bob Marley song with a gorgeous black woman. I was very jealous but I knew I had no right to tell him we were going to marry each other, because I was traveling in time… We had not met in waking life yet and telling him bout the future would disturb the things that would unfold.

“Reggae music (most clearly exemplified by Bob Marley) can be felt happening half as fast as rock must because its kick and snare occur half as often for a given musical phrase” Levetin p. 113).

So this dream advices me to look for the offbeat in my relationship, because things are going to happen in the future.

*Mental note: (How) is the music in your dream related to your teenage years? what kind of genre was the music and what typifies this genre? Doe this give you further clue son how to interpret possible meanings of your dream?

Dream Song: Conclusion

If you hear music in your dreams, I hope this blog is the one that will encourage  you to look beyond the common symbolism of the music.

I write my blogs on Mindfunda to always trigger your mind to search and find the offbeat.

I hope my Three Mental notes will have given you new ideas on how to attach a possible meaning to dreams that feature music.

I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming 



Bernstein, L (1976). The Unanswered Question: Six Talks at Harvard. England, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, Havard University Press.

Levetin, D.J (2007). This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. United States, New York, Plume, Penguin.

Catcher in the Rye: One Dream, Two Layers

I have never read The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D. Salinger. When I had to prepare a reading list for my English class, I felt that the yearning and depression of a young teenage male was far beyond my scope of interest.

catcher rye
Click here to buy the book and support Mindfunda

So why would this book all of a sudden appear in a dream of mine?

Do you like this post? Subscribe to my blog using the sign up form on the left side of this page

Catcher in the Rye: The Dream

On May 15 2017, moon in Capricorn, I see A., a photographer. He walks over to me, gives me a kiss and says: I am going away on a long journey. I will read “The Catcher in the Rye” along the way.
I step back, feeling sad about his departure and confused 
because I did not care at all at one time of my life about reading The Catcher in the Rye.

catcher in the rye

When I wake up, I immediately decide to google a resumé to get a better understanding from the theme(s) in this book.

Catcher in the Rye: Day Residue

About a week before this dream I had watched a documentary on the Dutch Netflix about photographer Harry Benson: Shoot First. He has become famous because of his spontaneous photo’s of the Beatles. He was a personal fan of John Lennon.

When I was in high school, I was a big fan of the Beatles too. This was the early 1980’s so I was bit out of date, I confess. I wrote out the lines that I could understand and translated them.


catcher in the rye
Mark Chapman
Photo: Harry Benson


Harry Benson was also asked to photograph the murderer of Lennon: Mark David Chapman.

And… When Lennon was shot by Chapman, he had just returned from… a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz.

catcher in the rye
John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Photo: Annie Leibovitz


And.. the person who was going away to travel is also a passionate photographer. So the first thing to investigate further is the concept of photography and what it means to me.

Catcher in the Rye: Step 1

When I was relatively young, a go a photo camera from my parents. A simple one, but I took lots of pictures.  I experimented with subjects, light, angles. I loved it.

I grew up with parents that were born in the twenties of last century. It’s a long sentence to explain that I hardly ever got a compliment. But my parents did compliment me on my photography.

catcher in the rye
Cartoon: Buzz gasm

Do you see how John Lennon is completely naked on his last photo? Vulnerable like a baby?

When was the last time I dared to be vulnerable? I usually go to great lengths to prevent any kind of vulnerability.

And did you se the first picture I used in this blog? It says: “People Don’t Notice Anything”. That is something the main character, Holden Caulfield says about people. People are phony.  Photography can help you notice things.

Catcher in the Rye: Step 2

Another theme in the book is the male – female energy. Clearly, in the book, Holden Caulfield is not a person who handles the balance between his male and female energies well. Does this dream give me some advice to re-adjust my own balance?

In my waking life, my husband is a proud and good photographer. But it has let me to neglected my own photography skills and hobby.

If you look at John Lennon’s final statement to the world, the way he is clinging onto Yoko Ono for warmth and protection, it is almost like he felt safe to be nurtured by her. So in my eyes this dream also asks me to research the balance in my own relationship.

How did you like this post? Do you see any other possible meanings I have missed? Please let me know in the comments, I always love to hear from you.

I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming 


The Spiritual Body: Our Connection to Food

This blog is a part of a 4-blog series about the body.
The first blog is about Body Image and Self Esteem
This blog is about the spiritual body;
The third blog will be about the dreaming body;
The last blog will be about the body of poetry.

For me, the spiritual body is the way we relate to mother Earth. The way we feed our bodies. The way we understand plants and trees. The way we relate to the cycles of nature.

So this blog is not about chakra’s or about the soma psuchikon (the animal body which is sown in corruption and dishonour) as Paul describes it in the bible. It is about our relationship with mother Earth. Honouring our bodies as representatives of Mother earth.


Do you like this post? Subscribe to my blog using the sign up form on the left side of this page

If you are like me, you will not ever have perceived your body as representing mother Earth. We know all too well, the humiliation we have felt about our bodies since we have been young. Too big, too small, too fat, to tiny, when we look in the mirror we immediately see what is wrong. When we see a picture taken of us we think: OMGH, is THAT the way I look? I almost always feel so much prettier than I look on pictures…

With this blog I hope to show you how a simple girl like me, not very pretty with weird eyes that are too far apart, a funny turned up nose and freckles started to accept her body. But let’s first explore the origin of the repulsion of our own body: the Mother Wound.

Spiritual Body and the Mother Wound

Food and the spiritual body are interrelated. We learn at a very young age that we can ease pain, cold and loneliness with food.

My own struggle with food began when I was undiagnosed with type one diabetic disorder. I had no insulin, so my body could not process food. I began to become very skinny.

My parents did not notice that. When you see someone everyday that is getting bigger or smaller, at first you don’t notice that.

spiritual body
Cartoon: Dumpaday.com

But I ate chocolate like a mad-woman. I stole chocolate from my parents and ate it all. They were mad as hell with me. From that moment on,in my parent’s eyes I had a complete lack of character. That was very painful for me.

Eating chocolate gave me into a feeling of bliss. The world was kind and good when I had eaten a bar of chocolate.

What has this got to do with the mother wound you ask? Mothers sooth their child with food. You get a desert when you finish up the meal on your plate.

spiritual body

From the days that we are a child, food is associated with comfort. So you can imagine how I have an unhealthy relationship with food (especially chocolate).

And who is responsible for your meals? Yes your mother. She gives you food, she decides if you get that desert, or the candy.

And I dare to bet with you that about 55-60 percent of our mothers struggled with their own weight.

Spiritual Body and Food

In 2010 I started to educate myself again. I had been a stay at home mother for five years and I wanted to begin my own practice. Advising people about healthy food and supplements.

spiritual body
Cartoon Creator Unknown

I graduated with honours. But I could not get any customers. Well, i had to become a member of an official institute for my potential customers to get their consults repaid by insurance. And that official institute charged a lot of money.

And after a client was gone I had to get into the whole process of finding new ones. The same thing that has happened to me in this company Mindfunda. The chase, the hunt for customers is not something I am good at.

Let’s get back to the subject of this blog: mother Earth and Food. In my education I found out that you are the stuff that you eat.

Garbage in – Garbage Out. It is not only psychological, it is also physical.

I have written a good blog about how Tryptophan regulates sleep. But bottom line: if you eat natural things your body becomes more healthy.

So I tried, honestly, to get my daily magnesium so I could skip the chocolate.
NOWAY! My body would not let that happen.

When I was approaching my fifties, I began to gain weight. I always had eaten a lot of cheese and chocolate, but now I could clearly see how that was affecting my belly.

spiritual body
Cartoon: Growingbolder.com

I got all depressed because when sitting down my belly was hanging on my legs. I did not feel attractive at all.

I had to adjust to a whole new body image. My clothing style changed too. I used to wear cute dresses. Now I wore the uniform of ladies all over the world. The Jeans-Shirt uniform.

Spiritual Body and Clothes

I was so happy when I got money from my parents to buy my own clothes. Up till than, being the younger one in a big family of 7, my clothes had been wear me downs from older sisters.

It was the time when Madonna was emerging as an artist. She was showing off her boobs, shaking her ass and everybody, even the feminist movement thought she was strong.

spiritual body

I tied a ribbon in my hair, curled it, and I bought a long skirt with buttons and unbuttoned the last ones so my legs would elegantly be shown at each step. I felt reborn.

At my school they felt differently. Someone anonymous wrote some very offensive remarks in my school agenda.

My parents were offended too. “You should not wear make up” my father said. But I loved (and still love) to put on make up. It’s my creation time. I can understand why there are so many transvestites.

Anyway, the story about how I became aware of how male sexuality is tied to womanhood you can read in my first blog.

spiritual body


Spiritual Body and Friends

When I was writing this blog in my mind (Mindfunda is the blog by walking around: as soon as I think of a subject I take a walk and start to compose sentences and subjects) I could only think of times I got really hurt and disappointed in friendships.

How has friendship influenced the relationship with your body?

I always had very attractive ladies as best friends. Because I refuse to compete about men. (why on earth would I be even slightly interested in a man who has the hots for one of my friends?)

But it was inevitable that I would compare my body with theirs. And all spiritual schools say that comparison makes you sad.

spiritual body

But let me give you a tip. there is nothing more rewarding than spoiling your weight by drinking and eating and laughing with your friends.

I am glad you made it all the way down this blog! Share it if you have liked it and I hope you will leave a comment.

I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming 

Environment: 3 Ways a Place can Have an Impact on your Well Being

Grounding Religion. A field Guide to the Study of religion and Ecology.
Edited by Whitney Bauman, Richard Bohannon and Kevin J. O’Brien.
Routledge, 2017, $32.70 paperback ISBN-10: 1138194018 ISBN-13: 978-1138194014
reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn

Click to buy the book and support Mindfunda


Do you like this post? Subscribe to my blog using the sign up form on the left side of this page

#1: Environment the Power of Place

When I visited Stonehenge last summer, I felt the power of place. The stones, grey and giant, were statements of Mother Earth. How I longed to enter this sacred circle. You are only allowed to do that when you pay big money.

Photo: Jurgen van Nijnanten

Why was I so overwhelmed? First of all the stones where huge (sometimes size does matter). Second of all, the energy of the place felt like a sanctuary.

“The mapping of the sacred is always a mapping of social power… Sacred places mark “hierarchical power relations of domination and subordination, inclusion and exclusion, appropriation and dispossession” (page 104).

It was only after reading this book that I could get a grip on how many aspects are involved in the intertwining of Ecology and Environment.

Cartoon: McHumour.com

I selected this book for a Mindfunda review because I was intrigued by the fact that religion is grounded in a specific place. Sacred Geography by Paul Devereux was the first book I read about it. The book Paul has written takes a shamanic perspective.

Grounding Religion is a book, aimed at students. I had not realized that when I requested the review copy. But I enjoyed this book and learned a lot.

It is written in an easy accessible language and has some interesting questions in each chapter that will enrich your way of thinking even if you have left college decades ago just like me.


Or as Thomas J. Watson said: “The Ability to ask the right Question is more than half the battle of finding the answer



#2: Ecology

Did you know that Ernst Haeckel, A German biologist, coined the term Ecology? He is also the first one who envisioned the evolution of species as “a Tree of Life“.


Tree of Life

This book offers sixteen chapters divided over three parts. Part one is concerned about giving definitions. And as in many cases finding the one right definition for a concept is not possible. But the discussion in the book informs you of all the aspects involved in religion and ecology.

Part two makes things a little more personal. This part does not focus on the general definitions but on gender, on race and on the power of place.

Part three explores the Key Features like globalization and its devastating effects, animals technology and so on.

After reading this book, I felt like it opened a whole new concept of inter-relations for me. You as reader get a clear view on the multitude of variables that play a role in concepts regarding the environment.


#3: Environment Dreams Merapi Volcano

Each chapter discusses a case study. One of the most appealing case studies in my eyes is that of the Merapi Volcano.

Merapi volcano
Art: Raden Saleh


The Merapi Volcano is situated on the pacific “ring of fire”. Three of the major plates: the Eurasian, the Australian and the Pacific ocean plate. It is the so called “supermarket of disasters”.

“The interesting case is how science, religion and culture interpret these natural events differently, creating different and frequently conflicting approaches to deal with them” (page 51).

Mbah Maridjan was the spiritual gatekeeper who talked to the spirit of the volcano. In 2010 he was found death, killed by the hot ashes of the erupting volcano.

The BBC wrote about it on its website: “To us, Maridjan is as important as Merapi. Now that he’s no longer around, who’s going to look after Merapi?” Wanto, 56, a farmer, told AFP news agency.

The case study of this chapter contains an interview with Sumarno, a man who has the ability to hear the messages from the mountain. He describes a typical dream he gets before the volcano erupts.

“Me: Can you tell me why you have never moved away from your village during the eruption? Don’t you fear death?
Sumarno: I believe that anybody can die at anywhere, anytime…. I am always told in a dream what to do before the Merapi erupts.
Me: Who told you? The spirit of Merapi?
Sumarno: Usually an old man in a pious Muslim outfit (baja koko)… They come to me mostly after prayer (shalt).
Me: Merapi volcano is different from other volcanoes because it is extremely active, The dead people’s souls are taken by Merapi; they are working for Merapi*.

*I only quoted a only selected fragment of the text. Me refers to the writer of this chapter “Religion and Disaster: The Merapi volcano eruption” Najiyah Martiam

Your Environment: Conclusions


  • The book offers some nice questions that makes you re-evalute your surroundings. For instance: Does nature teach morality? and as writer Lomborg has suggested in The Skeptical Environmentalist: might the solution(s) to environmental problems we experienced today be embedded within technology? And isn’t it about time that theology reconsiders their view on animals?
  • I can only conclude that this book will trigger your mind. The assignments for students are appealing and all the books mentioned will make your book-loving heart sing.

The Death of Nature, by Carolyn Merchant shows how the dichotomy inherent in our culture has been an inheritance of the 16th century vision of the brute environment with the civilized culture on top of it.

On Animals by David Clough reconsiders the place of animals in Christian Theology.

Landscapes of the Sacred written by Belden Lane invites us to use our personal experiences to highlight “sensory exchanges” between places and people.

And these are just some examples. Each chapter is filled with numerous good references to interesting books.

  • The book is very easy to read. No difficult, dry definitions you’d have to plough through and re-read before you can understand what it is that the withers want to say;
  • The case studies are very interesting.


  • It’s a book aimed at students. Even though it means that you get value for money: a lot of information about all the aspects concerning the inter-connectiveness of earth and religion.



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 independent site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

Mindfunda Free Give Away’s

If you subscribe to my monthly newsletter, you get a book filled with 10 tips to better remember your dreams and a book about a mutual dream experiment for free. I hate spam as much as you do and I will guard your email with my life. Once a month you will get the latest news on the subject of dreams, mythology an spirituality and about my latest courses (because i have to pay the bills to, just like you do).

This posting is categorised as Dreamfunda:
Everything you need to know about dreams. Practical How to’s, the latest scientific research, the most commonly used ways to attach meaning to dreams. This and more is given to you for your everyday use in this part of Mindfunda

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

Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘#DREAMS‘?

Sleep: how long can you stay awake? and 15 other secrets about sleep

What is the longest time somebody did not sleep? What happens in the brain when we sleep? Why do you ...
Read More

Dreams that Guide You on Your Life Path

Finding your life path. It can be quite a journey... To my great enjoyment I saw that the International Association ...
Read More

Midsummer Night Dreaming

The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet Are of Imagination all compact...  Shakespeare, "A Midsummer Night's Dream”  Midsummer Night is ...
Read More

Comments or suggestions? Share your thoughts:

We hate Spam as much as you do, your information is safe with us and we will not provide your data to others. To authenticate you are human, you are kindly asked to opt-in on periodic updates as the Mindfunda Monthly. Please check the appropriate box below, and fill in the little puzzle

keep me posted on news (monthly)no mail please

Body Image and Self Esteem

This is the start of a four-part blogs about the body. this one is about the psychological body image of women.

A few days ago I saw the documentary Embrace on Netflix. It is about how photographer Taryn Brumfitt put two photo’s of herself online that would mimic the “before” and “after” picture that feature weight loss sites. She set out to portray how the photo of her trained self showed how she was much less happy than in her after photo.

Photo: Taryn Brumfitt

She posted the photo’s on social media and it went viral. She got a lot of (nasty) response, that was not always easy to cope with.

Do you like this post? Subscribe to my blog using the sign up form on the left side of this page

Body and Curves

The documentary made an impact on me. For several reasons. One is my mother.

I used to love my mother (I still do, but she is deceased now). I felt she was the most beautiful woman on earth.

My mother did not like her own body very much. She was obese. While I perceived my mother’s body to be soft curvy and inviting my mother was doing exercises and wearing corsets.

So I can understand why Taryn Brumfitt felt she could give her own daughter an important message if she posted those two pictures. The documentary shows how embracing our self-image leads to an easier acceptance of the bodies of ourselves and other women.

I grew up really skinny. And being diabetic, when I was 11, most of my fat was gone. I was skinny as a skeleton.


When I went to high school I craved to have some breasts. Girls with breasts were popular. I wanted to be popular too.

I remember looking into the mirror at that age, looking at my tiny flat chest with the ribs sticking out and mumbling to my non existing breasts: “please come out”.

A girl needs to have enough body fat to feed a baby, before her curves and her period starts to emerge.

So while my mother was fighting her curves I longed to have them. And finally, at the age of 16, there they where. And yes, I was happy. For a while.

The Female Body and Male sexuality

There is an odd thing going on in our society, when it comes to the female body and male sexuality. They are tied together. I found that out in a very humiliating way. But the humiliation was so devastating that I took notes and changed.

The perception, and maybe the appreciation of my own body changed. Now being a girl was not a thing to be joyful for. My curves made me an object. Society depersonalized me.

When I was a very young girl, I started to buy my own clothes. I enjoyed my new body with all its curviness. One day I bought an off the shoulder shirt. A black one.

When a wore it a couple of days later a guy made a very rude and explicit sexual remark to me. I was very young and deeply shocked about it.

But when I told it to my older sister and her friend, they said to me: “yes of course you are going to get remarks like that if you show half of your shoulder”.

I was in shock. No kidding. I was.

That was the first day I understood that the cultural perception of men is that they are nothing more than a walking around bags of testosterone, waiting to be ignited by a woman.

And that I, as a woman, should adjust the way I dress myself. Because if a man was sexually rude to me, it was my responsibility, not his.

I should stay indoors at night. Because if I am out, and I am being violated, it is my responsibility.

I felt and feel extremely uncomfortable with this. And I can honestly not imagine why we, males and females, have not joined forces to stop this.

But up to this day it is still a fact. I had a meeting a couple of days ago that was late at night, so I was required to be at a station in a big town. I felt so uncomfortable. Even now, in the twenties of this new century, I am not comfortable on the streets alone in the dark. I could not avoid it (even though I asked if it was possible to join the meeting online).

Aranja Yohar  has worded it in this film so much more eloquent than I ever could. What she describes, all women, everywhere have experienced.

Aranya Johar


Brown, black, orange, white, even purple women. We all know what she is talking about.

I cried when I saw this. She is at her age, so much smarter than I was. I had to be molested, insulted, nearly raped before I understood that male sexuality is considered to be my responsibility. But now I know. I am constantly aware of it.

Body and Acceptance

In Embrace Taryn Brumfitt assumes that the pictures of perfect girls have a great inpact on how we perceive our own bodies.

Because on the one hand we want to look nice but on the other hand we don’t want to look like the girls on the frontpage of Cosmopolitan. We know for a fact that if we would walk out in the street like that, we would get molested quite soon.


I am not sure if models and magazines really had that much of an impact on the perception of my body. I always perceived the lives of models to be completely out of my reach. It took place in another universe, not in mine.

Have the pictures in magazines had an influence on your body image?
What has affected your body image in a positive way?

Body: Tips?

I am aware that I have written this blog from a female perspective. Being mother of two teenage boys, I know a lot of them have body-issues too.

There are the “hunks” who sport a lot and look mature and attractive. I know some teenage kids are tempted to use testosterone to improve their muscles and become more impressive.


I know that when you are a guy, you’d better be tall. That is a cultural requirement if you want to be seen as a potential leader who can handle responsibility.

I would like to hear your perspective. (How) Has you struggled with your body? Has getting older helped you accept your body? Do you watch what you eat?

My next blog in this series will be about the spiritual body;
The third blog will be about the dreaming body;
The last blog will be about the body of poetry.


I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming 


What is Mindfunda about?

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

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

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

Ready for more free Mindfunda content on ‘SPIRITUALITY‘?

Woman Most Wild, 3 Keys to Liberating the Witch Within

Woman Most Wild, three Keys to Liberating the Witch Within by Danielle Dusky New World Library, 2017, $10.84 paperback ISBN-13: 9781608684663; kindle $13.51 ISBN-10: 1608684660 reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn "We are ...
Read More

International Woman’s Day: Be Bold for Change

Each year on March 8, it's International Woman's Day. The theme of 2017 is: Be BOLD for change. And unfortunately, even after so many decades of action, the female principle ...
Read More

Start of Spring: An Invitation to Dream an Ode to Freya

Let's celebrate the start of spring together! I want to invite you to join me on Mindfunda for a spring dream time celebration. This celebration is a part of my ...
Read More

Comments or suggestions? Share your thoughts:

We hate Spam as much as you do, your information is safe with us and we will not provide your data to others. To authenticate you are human, you are kindly asked to opt-in on periodic updates as the Mindfunda Monthly. Please check the appropriate box below, and fill in the little puzzle

keep me posted on news (monthly)no mail please




The Dream Interpretation Dictionary

The Dream Interpretation Dictionary. Symbols, Signs and Meanings.
by J.M. DeBord
Visible Ink, 2017, $16.50 paperback ISBN-13: 978-1578596379; kindle $16.09 ISBN-10: 1578596378
reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn



dream interpretation dictionary
Click to buy the book and Support Mindfunda


Do you like this post? Subscribe to my blog using the sign up form on the left side of this page

Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Reddit

When you remember a dream and it was emotional, you want to know what it means. It is a natural thing.

Jason DeBord is a dream expert who is also known as RadOwl on Reddit Dreams. Reddit is an online platform where people wo are a member can post their dreams and ask questions about them.

dream interpretation dictionary
Logo of Reddit Dreams

Another cool thing to know about Reddit Dreams is that it organizes “AMA” or Ask Me Anything” hours where a dream expert is invited and members are allowed to.. yes you have guessed right, to ask that expert anything.

Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Yes or NO?

In the field of “professional dream workers”, using a dream dictionary is a no-go. You need to dive into your own associations, and build up your own dream dictionary.

dream interpretation dictionary
Cartoon: awsome-tattoo-pics-edward.blogspot.com

It has to do with the way psychiatrists operated in the past. They where the “all knowing entities” and their interpretation of a dream was the only right one.

In the seventies of the last century, psychiatrists where pushed from their throne when it comes to dreaming.

Jason DeBord writes about this in his book: “Back than (in the mid-1990s), all I had to refer to were books written by psychiatrists such as Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. I’d wake up with a head full of dream memories and hunt around for anything to help me understand them.”

dream interpretation dictionary
Cartoon: Singer


“My approach is that dreams are stories told through symbolism and can by analyzed the same basic way you would analyse a novel or a movie. And your feelings can tell you more than anything else about your dreams… You are the best interpreter of your dreams; you just need to know how” (page xi).

dream interpretation dictionary
Cartoon: Bizarro.com


I always see dream as a sort of Rorsach test: whatever you see in it, tells you something about your own psyche. And a dictionary can give you a completely different vision on your original interpretation. I love that. I celebrate that. Or as my colleagues in the dream world say: a dream is multi-layered. And a good dream dictionary offers suggestions you can explore.

Dream Interpretation Dictionary: 2 Criteria

When I was preparing this blog I thought about how I could best show you, my reader, if and how this book could be useful for you.

There are already many dream dictionaries. Good ones like Ariadne’s Clue by Anthony Stevens but there are many, many more available.

What makes a dream dictionary stand out? For me there are two things. Let me know in the comments if you have other selection criteria, because I would love to hear them.

dream interpretation dictionary
Cartoon: Scott Hibuen

The first one is: does this dream dictionary tell me something I did not know already. You need to forgive my arrogance, but after interpreting dreams so long, most of the meanings of symbols are quite clear to me.

The second one is: does the dream dictionary invite me to explore my own emotions and associations? And unfortunately, most dream dictionaries lack in that department.

Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Example

I decided to use one of my own dreams to see if The Dream Interpretation Dictionary could live up to my standards. I choose a dream that falls into the category of often dreamed symbolism. It is a very simple dream. It features one of the most common dream symbols: back to school.

I am back at school and I need to put my bike away. Because the lesson is starting soon I don’t have time to put it away in the proper place, so I put it on the school square that in the middle of the building. This square is not used often, it can only be opened by teachers, who only do so on special occasions. But in my dream this square was accessible. I parked my bike and walked away with the intention of meeting the people I had an appointment with and I worried that my bike would be safe at this place.

The most important thing, as J.M. DeBord emphasizes, is my own interpretation. For me, school is about learning how to adjust to life. I get there on my own strength, using my bike. But somehow, now is the time to put my own way of moving forward aside and learn from other people. Another interesting feature in my dream is the square form where I park my bike with two wheels like round mandala shapes. Like there are two aspects of my psychology that help me adjust to the square, man-made world.

This interpretation is very general. Let’s get out the Dream Interpretation Dictionary and explore how this book can deepen my understanding of this dream. Does it offer me a new perspective?

Dream Interpretation Dictionary: School

Here is the list of symbols I have looked up in the book: School, Bicycle, Square.

School: “A school setting in a dream has a wide variety of possibilities for symbolism. The most obvious are related to learning and knowledge, but school symbolism extends much further to include topics such as authority, success and failure, social life, and preparation for adult life and career”* (page 347).

Bingo! That is why I sometimes use dream dictionaries: to get that different angel you had not thought off yourself. The last time I was at this square was at a high school reunion in the beginning of the century. I was at that square, standing next to the principle (a different principle as the one who was in charge when I studied there) and we were talking like equals.

dream interpretation dictionary
Cartoon: Bizarro.com

“A familiar school is more likely to represent something about that time of your life or what you experienced there*”.

There is no easy way to put into words what I learned in that period of my life (aged 12-18)… But if I have to relate it to this dream, I would say that, just like my bike has two wheels, my personality manifested in tow different ways.

As a junior I was self conscious about not being smart, and not beautiful enough to feel comfortable. I tried to adjust to girls in my class, who were only interested in boys, while I was interested in the nature of human consciousness. So I always was the odd one out.

In the second period of high school I found my own clan and dressed in a particular way, listened to “dark” music like the Cure, U2 and dressed in black. I still feels comfortable in black.

So what a wonderful way that this dream tells me that life is about balancing between those energies!

Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Bicycle

On page 50 J.M. DeBord writes about the symbol bicycle: “Since balance is required to ride a bike,, dreaming about riding a bike can relate to personal balance, such as balancing the psyche, balancing logic and feeling, and balancing work and play*”.

dream interpretation dictionary
Cartoon found on bike2power.com

“Bikes have strong associations with independence and free spirit. They are one-passenger vehicles powered by individual effort” (page 51).

Ai, yes that is true. I am a very complicated person to work together with. I usually have my own vision. My heart rejuvenated when I watched Steve Jobs tell a story about how he and his neighbour collected stones, put them in a machine and how the next morning they need up being perfectly polished.

Great work and great things are accomplished like that. You work together with other talented persons and ether is friction. But the end result is a much stronger product.

Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Square

“As a shape with balanced sides, the square is a symbol of strength and solidarity. Square shapes are closely associated with our material world, and in dreams they can connect with being grounded or materially secure” (page 365).

I had not thought about how a (material) bicycle is different from a car or any other form of transportation but this fragment triggered me to do that.

Cartoon Wand found on Gocomics
The Ultimate Square


I need to put away my bike, my way of moving forward in life on my own force. And I have no other option than to put it in a square, in a symbol of strength and solidarity. So in my eyes this dream tells me to unite with people. Search for, and connect with my tribe.

And I did so! Last year I became board member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.

Dream Interpretation Dictionary Conclusion

I can definitely say that this book meets the two criteria I defined in an earlier paragraph. The dream I used as an example has given me another vision, while I thought the dream was a walk in the park when it comes to interpretation. So yes, this dream dictionary tells me things I did not know before.

Now for the second criteria: does this book invite me to explore my own emotions and associations? Yes it does. And I think that is the Unique Selling Point (USP) of this book.

For example, this is what J.M. DeBord writes describing the concept of School: “Think expansively about what you learn. You can learn about yourself, another person, your limits, lessons in life and new skills. Life is a continual process of taking in new information and experiences and learning” (page 347).


  • This book offers a lot of suggestions to explore with each symbol that is mentioned;
  • You get invited to explore a particular symbol using your own experiences;
  • Some symbols are described at length. For example Shadow is described on three pages;
  • You can’t help but feel a lot of admiration for Jason who has so much knowledge about dreams and its symbolism.


  • A dream dictionary is a dream dictionary. Nothing compares to hiring the expertise of a dream expert, like Jason or Susanne van Doorn. A dream expert can provide depth to the meaning of your dream you have not experienced before because he/she can tune into certain memories with the view of an objective observant.

* the definition in the book is more elaborate, these are just fragments I selected from the descriptions of the symbols

Mindfunda verdict:


Click here to buy The Dream Interpretation Dictionary and support Mindfunda.


I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming