I have been blogging about dream related subjects for almost two years now. My first blog was published in February 2015. Today you read blog post number 235 and I wanted to give you an oversight for blogs about dreams that I often read. The order of the links is at random, and 7 is my favourite number. Do you miss a link? Let me know in the comments…
I know Jean because of the invitation she got to be a keynote speaker of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) annual conference. I read her book Healing the Sacred Divide and asked her to do an interview with me.
Her blog is called Matrignosis, A blog about Inner Wisdom. Matrignosis means the knowing of the Mother: the creating principle. Jean wrote a guest blog for Mindfunda: Inanna: Myth of Descent. Inanna the Sumerian Queen of Heaven, who was trapped in hell, a paradox that every woman has experienced in her life,
Jean her perspective on dreams and dreaming is wise and I always learn from her. If you like dreams you will certainly love her films about dreams. What I like so much about her blog is that Jean continues to put every day life experiences in a greater perspective. If you are a fan of the Goddess, like I am, this is a blog that is worth reading.
Elaine has such an expansive knowledge about dreaming that you can spent hours reading her blog. I was deeply honoured when both she and Jean wrote a guest blog for Mindfunda, about their joint presentation on the decent of Inanna: The Redeeming Dark.
Just like Jean Raffa, she is a skilled author, who wrote Leaning into Love. She did an inspiring Ted Talk about Grief.
What I like so much about Elaine, apart from the fact that she is a very skilled writer, is that she is not afraid. She faces death, grief and how live continues without the persons we held so dear. In her vulnerability you can see how strong she is. She is a model for how I want to encounter life with all its ups, downs and dreams.
Delia is an awesome dreamer. But what makes her special is that she interprets her dreams not in the ordinary way. The ordinary way being: “What is your first association with … (name dream symbol)”.
Delia looks for patterns. Literally. Delia is an artist, and that has its reflection on the way she looks at dreams. Reading her blog will inspire your own dream life and you will soon detect new perspectives. Looking at geometrical patterns in dreams for example, and not only at symbols. I like to be challenged by that way of thinking about and working with dreams.
Trained by Jeremy Tailor, Kirsten has got such a clever way of looking for that one special angle in dreams that you yourself would have never thought of. I met her a number of times at the annual dream conference of the International Association of the Study of Dreams, IASD, and she stood out because of her intelligent questions. Each time, I thought to myself: “what a brilliant thought”.
I have the secret wish that Ryan Hurd will become my mentor. I admire what he has achieved! I always want to learn from the best. I remember one day participating in one of his lucid dreaming challenges: we dreamers had to go to the Roman times and participate in a gladiator fight: “let yourself be surprised by who your opponent is”.
If he is not busy lucid dreaming, he is doing research about dreams (for example his latest research about galantamine and dreaming), writing about dreams, blogging about dreams and changes a diaper in the process (of his newborn baby of course).
Robert Moss has a way with the word. He has written many books. The last couple of decades, his emphasis has been on dreams. They are all a joy to read. His blog is well-known, but I share it with you here because this guy is so original. Each time I am pleasantly surprised by his vision on things. He has the capacity to elevate common subjects into mythological struggles and carefully analysis the way the shamanic energies interact with each other. Never a dull moment when you are reading Robert Moss.
A Hawk is a messenger from the spirit world. On this blog you can find a wealth of information. If I am ever in doubt about a specific meaning of a symbol, or an archetype, I usually end up here. Tony, I have never met you but i hope you and your blog will be around for a long time.
#8: …. and some shameless self promotion at end; Mindfunda.com
I would love it if you would follow my blog op WordPress.com.
THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!
What is Mindfunda about?
My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.
This posting is categorised as 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.
The Shaman is usually the Wise Man, who has the ability to travel to different realms of being to guide his tribe through difficult times. A healer, a wise man, a trickster sometimes, if that is necessary for the healing of a soul. Shamanism is the oldest religion known to men. Well, actually the first religions were animist, a religion that attributes a soul to plants and objects. But that is a shaman way of thinking.
The shaman is male
Most of us are familiar with the concept of a guy-shaman. Think of Michael Harner’s Core Shamanism as he has described it in his book “The Way of the Shaman“. Think of the Shamanism of Robert Moss, who modernized the concept in a professional manner. Think of Michael Smith, Ph.D. (aka Mikkal) with his Crow’s Nest. You know what they have in common? They are all men. Wise old man. Even though in ancient times there where many female Shamans. The word shaman derives from the word ‘Shamanka’, a female shaman.
“The Goddess and The Shaman, The Art and Science of Magical Healing” isn’t a historical document about female shamans. If you are looking for that you should try a classic like “Woman Shaman’s Body” written by Barbara Tedlock Ph.D.
The Goddess and the Shaman is a personal story of a woman, taken over by the voices of the Elphame, The Elf World.
Kent describes how she became “taken over” by the other realm, the Elphame and had what she calls “an Ontological Shock”. She writes: “When the path found me, I discovered that I had a surprising array of psycho-spiritual abilities that emerged fully formed. It shocked me, frightened me, and caused me to doubt to doubt my sanity”.
She goes on to describe a process of Out of Body Experiences that occurred as epileptic seizures during nap time. Because her brother had read Monroe’s “Journeys Outside of the Body” and lended his copy to her, she began to feel more confident. She was not the only one experiencing this. She began to experiment, to travel outside her body.
The way to get to the Elphame is to perform a ritual. Rituals are very beneficial for the human psyche, as research has shown. Rituals create a doorway to the Elphame. Going to your therapist each week is a form of ritual. Going to the doctor is a form of ritual. Each ritual has its dedications, its energy, its own sacred language. The ritual circle is discussed but there is also the warning to protect oneself for bad entities.
But most of all, the ritual of re-connecting with nature is emphasized. There is a link to ecopsychology, that I had never heard of and seems very interesting. The view on “madness” is examined through stories of her patients. She shares a lot of personal dreams visions and experiences with her third vision.
What I like about the book is that the Goddess speaks to J.A. Kent in dreams. Dreams are the door to what Kent calls “The Elphame”.
I also like the very personal writing style of J.A. Kent. She talks about how her experiences made her question her mind. Being that vulnerable in a book takes a lot of guts.
This is a really informative book that gives you lots of insights into shamanism and into the pagan revival of the goddess. An important revival of honoring the female energy in a predominant male oriented society.
I was a bit disappointed about the information on how to reach in for your inner goddess. Do not expect this to be a workbook. It is more a personal story, filled with information about the goddess and its manifestation forms.
The way J.A. Kent leans on the Core Shamanism principle as defined by Michael Warner is either a big complement for his ability to reach his inner goddess, or a lack of creativity in J.A. Kent. If you dedicate a book to the Goddess and the Shaman, why not take the female line of shamanism. The Chukchee shaman women, or the Chinese Wu, or the Artemis Perasia in Anatolia, ancient Turkey for example. Maybe that will be a subject for a next book.
Do you want to learn more about the Mythology of the Goddess? Enroll in Mindfunda’s Mythology course. An online course that will help you understand the mythology in your life and in your dreams.
Since February this year, Mindfunda has been talking about dreams, mythology, spirituality and dreams. Looking back at the past months, this is the list of the best books I have reviewed. The Top books 2015 about dreaming, mythology and spirituality.
Top books 2015: Lucid dreaming, plain and simple
Lucid dreaming is a technique that became popular in the seventies because of Carlos Casteneda’s books. He described a technique that was easy: you look at your hands and you wonder if you are awake or asleep. Your hands are always with you. In his younger years Robert Waggoner trained himself to become a lucid dreamer.
Robert Moss is an expert writer, a gifted story-teller, and his connection to the Goddess has made him one of my favorite authors when it comes to the subject of dreams and spirituality.
When people ask me if I know any good books about dreams I always say: “any book that is written by Robert Moss about the subject is excellent. Mind you, Robert used to be a writer and a journalist before concentrating on the subject of dreams. Sidewalk oracles is filled with ways of bringing magic back into your life. A fun encyclopedia to have around in times when feel the need to breaking the circle to get out of a rut.
Top books 2015: Dreaming
Jennifer Windt has been the one who completed a philosophical map of the field of dreaming. I must confess this is not an easy read, but it will give you so much more insight into the field of dreaming. Its history, its philosophy, its challenges, its limits. Just the book for the cold winter days. A book that will illuminate your mind and hopefully will give you some crazy bold ideas yourself.
Consciousness, what is it? Were in the brain can it be found? When you have a dreamless sleep, where are you? Professor Evan Thompson, who has written the next book on the list, says: “This book sets a new standard for the science and philosophy of dreaming in the twenty-first century.”
Top books 2015: Waking, Dreaming, Being
Using the oldest known map of consciousness, Evan Thompson, uses the newest neurological insights as a form of cartography. You can see Evan Thompson talking about Waking, Dreaming, Being in my Mindfunda interview with him.
Waking, Dreaming, Being touches the fundamental questions about consciousness, combining the newest scientific knowledge of the West with the ancient Wisdom of the East.
Top books 2015: Wake Up to Your Dreams
Justina Lasley created a method called DreamSynergy. An easy to use method that enables you to comprehend the message in a dream you remember. And to take action. Justina told me in a Mindfunda interview how her dreams turned her life around. She found the love of her life, and followed a new career path.
Wake Up to Your Dreams is an easy to use book, with lots of examples and dreams. Justina says: “Because dreams can be complicated, I wanted to create an easy method in a book filled with exercises”.
Top books 2015: Romance of the Grail
Mythology and Mindfunda. Being as interested in dreams as I am, you can not avoid mythology. I have dreamed about Odin before I knew who he was.
And when you say mythology, you say Joseph Campbell.
The study of the Arthurian myth was a doorway for Joseph Campbell into comparative mythology. Using the mythological tales as symbols for spiritual development in the human psyche. In this book you can find Campbell’s dissertation: “The Dolorous Stroke”.
Top books 2015: The book of SHE
In November I started my first blog series. Throughout the month I publish 4 blogs around a central theme. This month the theme is the Descent. Going into the dark to find your inner light. In November the theme was the Goddess.
The book of SHE fitted right in. We know Joseph Campbell as the man who brought us the knowledge about the hero’s journey. Soon enough there was a lady called Maureen Murduck that acknowledged that women have got another journey.
Sara Avant Stover has taken this knowledge into the twenty-first century. Things start to change if you embrace your inner Goddess. The connection that Sara feels with Mary Magdalen is a heartfelt one. The heroine’s journey is a challenge all women must face. To have a guidebook is necessary.
Remember: Christmas is a very special time for dreaming, so join Mindfunda for the Holy Night Dream Incubations.
Mindfunda invites you for a Christmas celebration you will remember. For just 10 dollars you get exclusive access to a restricted private area on Mindfunda during the Holy Nights. Each night between December 24 and January 6 I will share a dream incubation. We will talk about and reflect on our dreams. Ancient belief says that during these nights the veil between the worlds is thin. Register now as Mindfunda More Member, to experience the depth of your dreams.
This blog is about the Mindfunda interview on the book "She Who Dreams". Wanda Burch -dream sister of Robert Moss- saved her own life by dreaming. In it, Wanda talks about how she followed her intuition, how she listened to her dreams and how she used mental imagery to assist her body in the healing process.
Cancer is a name used for several types of diseases. It is characterised by cells growing fast. Usually, when a cell is growing too fast the immune system triggers something called apoptosis: cell death. But in cancer, this system is blocked. Breast cancer is a very common form of cancer. As many as one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women.
Tip to prevent cancer #1: listen to your dreams
In the foreword of “She who dreams” Robert Moss* writes: “I learned that the Mohawk word for a healer or shaman is atetshents, meaning “one who dreams”.
Wanda tells in her interview that she always had this premonition that she was going to die young; her dance hall dreams. The dreams started in the 1960s. In those dreams she was in a dance hall and the only way out was through a door that would lead her through the other side. Her advice to anyone who wants to prevent any kind of illness or accidents is to listen to your dreams. “Our dreams are real. We must look at them as another room in our life where we can share and learn lessons for living, playing, communicating, healing, and even dying. We not only see the future in our dreams, but dreams about the future give us the ability to make choices and shape the future for the better.
Tip to prevent cancer #2: use visualization
Wanda tells about who her dreams gave her imagery she used to restore her body. “Dream healing is an active creative process which uses mind pictures to effect body wellness”. She shares in her book a very powerful image of the healing pool. “I had not realized, until that moment, how vitally useful and important a dream image can be in ones healing process. In this dream I was standing over a bowl of water, holding a sponge shaped like a wide, flat cone like a breast. I held the breast shaped coin under the water. I turned the coin over and squeezed the water from it again. This time a small cylinder filled with dark material flushed into the water, leaving the cone clear”.
Wanda her book is filled with healing meditations. Powerful images you can easily use yourself in any situation were you need physical or mental improvement. The mental imagery she presents is powerful, appealing and easy to use.
Tip to prevent cancer #3: bring the dream in the world
One of the hardest parts for people in dream groups I lead is to act on their dreams. Sometimes, all the conditions are ready, like for the artist in my dream group who dreamed about a painting. Another member of this dream group was organizing an exhibition. So I suggested that this dreamer would apply her art into this exhibition. But she decided not to.
Wanda also emphasizes that acting on dream images: bring the dream into the waking world, is a good thing. Acting upon a dream gives your dreaming mind a messages that you listen. That you are ready for its guidance. It is like you fall in love and enter into a new relationship. Any relationship needs devotion. Real-ness. To bring your dream into the world is like wearing the wedding ring to tell everybody that you are in a serious relationship.
Wanda Burch inspired my book “A Dreamers’ guide through the land of the Deceased”. In this book I look at over a hundred of dreams I collected worldwide as a universal story. The story our dreaming minds tell us about the path the soul will travel after death. I started to analyse the dream content using the dream content method developed by Hall and van de Castle. But I had this nagging feeling that by tearing the dream apart in components I lost the magic of the story. Wanda Burch her book reminded me that dreams tell a story. A story that is valid. So they idea of creating a voyage of the soul, after death was very exciting. Combining more than 100 dreams into a greater story was such an intellectual treat for me. I am still thankful to Wanda for her inspiration. (She did contribute a story for this book, a very moving story about her deceased father).
Cancer and dreams: Larry Burk
In 2013, when I was at the IASD conference in Virginia, I met Larry Burk. He told me that he was interested in dreams that could predict breast cancer. He got supported by the people of Dreamscloud. Wanda asks you in the interview to sent your dreams about breast cancer to Larry Burk, using his website Let the magic happen. Together we can save lives by showing people the healing properties of dreaming.
“Real magic is the art of bringing gifts from another world into this world“
Don’t you crave a bit of magic in your life? Sometimes you can get so bored: Everyday the same house, the same job, the same pair of shoes, the same type of clothes.
Everyday the same routine: breakfast, coffee, driving to work, answering emails, writing reports.
Everyday returning home: cooking dinner, watching tv, going to bed. You blink your eyes and another year has gone.
Wouldn’t you like to allow yourself to be surprised? Rediscovering the magic buried deep inside you? To brighten up your life? To break down your daily routine? To live your life following Jack Sparrows*’ compass: the one that leads you were your heart wants to go?
A big promise. One that I am excited about because of a dream I recently had. In this dream I am a God, who is very disappointed that people have forgotten the rules about magic. The magic of my kingdom is gone. And like God in Genesis, I judge humanity and decide to destroy it. I wake up feeling very frustrated…
Since synchronicity played its card, this book might be just what the doctor ordered.
Magic fact #1: synchronicity played its card
Several years ago I asked Robert Moss to do a workshop in the Netherlands because of a dream I had. In this dream I was talking to the head mistress of the Folk University about performing a workshop about dreams there. In the next scene I am in a school, but my class is in another room. Me and some other students walk outside to find our new classroom. Just before waking up I hear a voice-over saying: “You belong to Arthur’s court“.
I did some detective work after waking up. Wikipedia has become my best friend after I discovered it in the beginning of this century. My Watson. Wikipedia says about the name Arthur: “An alternative theory, which has only gained limited acceptance among scholars, derives the name Arthur from the Latin Arcturus (the brightest star in the constellation Boötes, near Ursa Major or the Great Bear.”
And Robert Moss has a special connection with the Bear:
“Don’t cry little one
Don’t cry little one
The Bear is coming to dance for you
The Bear is coming to dance for you”
The Bear is the great medicine animal of North America and in Native tradition, the most powerful healers are those called by the Bear in dreams and visions.”
Because all of Robert Moss’s books are so good I connected with the publisher to ask for his book “Sidewalk Oracles“. I wanted to play them all for about a month and report my findings in a review as soon as I read the title. You can read what happened next in my post about the Grail. Kim from New World Library (who signed her email with Onward and upward, which reminded me, of course, of Robert van de Castle) suggested that I would also review Romance of the Grail. Once again Robert Moss and the myth of Arthur were united. Captain Sparrow has spoken: I have to find my Grail within. I have to find an answer to the questions: “What makes my heart beat stronger?”, “What gives me goose bumbs?”
Magic Fact #2: Jung and synchronicity
“Sidewalk Oracles” is divided into 6 chapters and a prologue. The prologue is an ode to the land. Let the earth speak to you. Robert Moss pays homage to the Goddess. We are children of the land but we drifted off so far that we don’t hear its whispers anymore.
The second chapter is devoted to Jung’s tower. The hand constructed Bollinger Tower of Carl Gustav Jung were he lived the way -in his eyes- humans were supposed to live . Without electricity or plumbing. Pure and simple, going back to his essence. In this tower, according to Robert Moss, Jung produced his best work. Robert shows us different approaches to synchronicity by taking an Eastern, a Western, a northern and a Southern approach towards synchronicity.
In the East you have the I Ching. Jung discovered the Secret of the Golden Flower a book his friend Wilhelm was working on. A divination system that considered the interplay between light and dark, between receiving and creative forces.
“The West emphasizes the human incarnation, and even the personality and historicity of Christ, while the East says: ‘Without beginning, without end, without past, without future” Carl Jung.
In the West you have the Iroquois. Robert Moss has a special connection to this tribe. He lives on land once owned by the Iroquois and started to dream about a woman who gave him knowledge in her own language. He educated himself about their habits. In Sidewalk oracles he tells that the word Orenda is used to indicate the power that is in everything and beyond everything.
In the South you have the speaking land. You know when it is time to do something if you listen to the land. Connect with your totem animal to tune into this wisdom.
In the North you have the Trickster. When the Trickster plays his cards things get weird. Time gets ruptured, things turn upside down. You are played for a fool, but you get the last laugh. Or you think you will going to get the last laugh but everything turns out quite different. I remember when I organized a workshop for Robert Moss. He was going to give a two-day workshop on Active Dreaming in the Netherlands. I could not find the way to the location of the workshop. I remember I was feeling completely embarrassed. Thinking about a bad organizer I was, I felt terrible… To my relieve Robert Moss enjoyed being lost. He said: “Open your eyes, the trickster is talking to us”. The intersection we were on was interrupted by several other streets, so we had to search really well before we found the second part of the road were the location of the workshop was. And like the trickster had already predicted, several people decided to change the course of their life. One man had a calling to become Shaman. Another lady had an emotional experience to let go of the pain of her past.
Magic fact #3: become a Kairomancer
Kairos or Caerus is the Greek god of opportunity. That one moment in time that you can seize good fortune. Gone before you know it.
Chronos represents linear time, Kairos represents “that special moment in which you can break the bonds and operate in a spacious Now“.
Robert Moss goes on to discuss 12 rules of Kairomancy. I do hope this word gets integrated in the literature about synchronicity because it is a clever word play. Moss, being a succesful and gifted author, could just be the one to coin this term.
The rules are as simple as they are effective. Dance with the Trickster (don’t we all do that several times during the day?), trust the universe, listen to the land, listen to and honor the gods. You will love this chapter. It will open your mind so you can seize the Kairos moment.
Magic fact #4: playing games is magic
I had a lot of fun playing the synchronicity games. You must buy the book to read about them all. Robert Moss has listed no less than 17 magical ways to play the game of synchronicity. In this way he brings Huizinga’s “Homo Ludens“, the playful way of living, popular in the seventies, back to the twenty-first century. Let me cherry-pick in his comprehensive list:
Side walk tarot: on your daily walk you either have a specific question in your mind you want an answer to, or you just let the world guide you. I tried both of these approaches. Loo out for things that “pop up” like they are tarot cards dealt to you by the world.
I concentrated on the question: “What step can I take to generate more money by doing what I love?” and I let things pop up on the street. Looking for something that catches my eye, that really stands out. Two streets away from my house I saw a car parked. On it was a mandala contracted from pieces of mosaic. Some of these pieces were flying above the mandala so you could easily see that it was built out of loose fragments tied together to a mandala shaped form.
My conclusion is that the wold supports the idea of putting a page of products on Mindfunda aimed at discovering the Self. I am in the process of creating an online product to embrace and incorporate your shadow side.
One day I let the world give me a card. I walked around keeping an open mind and I saw a lovely young girl, completely dressed in black but with a pair of white chunky sneakers. I reminisced about the contrast. No color on the top and all colors at her feet. Then my eye caught this beautiful feather with the same pattern:
Black and white united again. This image has such a synchronistic relationship with the mandala of a few weeks earlier: You are on top of the world one minute of life and down on the bottom the next. And you might as well wear your light white shoes to get you trough on your way back to the top. The dove combines the absence and the spectrum of colors in a feather, designed to make him fly high.
Deja Vu (already seen). Have you ever had the experience that you are re-living a scene? You might be having a deja vue experience. Art Funkhouser is doing research about these experiences and dreaming right now.
My experience with deja vu was at the death bed of my father. I was standing by his bed that Friday, not sure that he was still in his body. I remember looking up at the white ceiling plates and wondering: “Where are you?” when a remebered a dream in which exacltly the same thing happened. A nightmare I had five months earlier had preparde me for this terrible moment.
In that dream I young boy had escaped his hospital bed because the doctor was trying to murder him. When I looked up in my dream I saw his green eyes (the color me and my father share) shining through the white ceiling plates.
My father died that night of pneumonia. With a little help from the doctors who eased his pain with medication. The medication that eased his pain made it more difficult for him to breath. It was a medical descicion non of us could prohibit. The doctors had decided there was no sense in keeping him alive. It took me a long time to forgive them, even though I have always realized that in medical terms it was the most sensibvle thing to do.
Another game most of us know very well an dis always fun to play is bibliomancy. Robert Moss starts out with the story about the Sibylline Books. Roman Emperor Stilicho at first refused to buy the Sibylline books because of their absurdly high price. But each time he refused, three books were destroyed by the Cumaean sybil. Finally he gave in. The books became used as oracles with information about everything that appears and disappears. They were consulted to get a second opinion about decisions the state made. General Stilicho, master of Rome, destroyed them. Out of grace by the Gods for this offense, the Roman Empire collapsed.Now that we have a fair warning not to offend our shelf elves, we can concentrate on an issue we need guidance on. Close your eyes, grab a book and open it. Let your eyes feast on the text and see what resonates with you in this moment of time. I reached and grabbed out Dreams and premonitions:”Every time I envision my black panther walking besides me. I feel fearless, powerful, free and invincible“.A line from the story “Into the panther’s cage” about a woman getting an early warning about a brain tumor. Her deceased husband gives her a dream warning and she decides that she will get into the cage of this wild animal to look him in the eyes. It saved her life. Now she envisions herself walking around with this beautiful guardian animal.
There are a lot of games in this book: 17 in total. Using your own dream diary as a way of performing bibliomancy is one of my favorites. Too bad my dream diaries are online. Maybe someone could make an app for that?
“Sidewalk oracles” conclusion
Now does Robert Moss put his words into action? If you want a real good book about the games you can play inviting magic in your life, “Sidewalk Oracles” is the one to buy. But when you are knowledgable about synchronicity there won’t be many new facts in the book. This need not be a bad thing. It is always good to have a rule book in your shelf that you can use every day. And Robert Moss has a way of presenting known facts with stories from history that will enlighten you. He is a great story teller.
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THIS CONTENT IS CREATED BY SUSANNE VAN DOORN, AUTHOR AND OWNER OF MINDFUNDA; MAKING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY EASY TO USE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!
What is Mindfunda about?
My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.
This posting is categorised as 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
“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature”.
Grail and synchronicity
Several years ago I had a dream that ends with a voice-over telling me: “You belong to the court of Arthur“. I respond that Arthur is just a story.
I was wrong. The myth of King Arthur and the search for the grail is so much more.
Do you believe in synchronicity? When I requested a review copy of Robert Moss’s new book Sidewalk Oracles (a review is coming up, I am playing the games so I can walk the walk just as much as I talk the talk) something happened. Kim of New World Library asked me, “Would you also like a review copy of Romance of the Grail?” I gasped for breath; synchronicity did not just knock on my door, but kicked it in.
Years ago, after having the dream I mention above, I discovered that Arthur meant bear and bear was the totem animal of Robert Moss. The Bear is the oldest worshiped deity of the world, “So this is a bear god: the valley, and the river there , running by Lourdes, is called the River of the Bear (the Ourse). This is the God Arthur. I think I can make the point that Lake Geneva is therefore the source of the whole idea of King Arthur’s departure on a boat after his death to the Isle of the Golden Apple, the Isle of Avalon” (Romance of the Grail).
So I invited Robert Moss to give a workshop on Active Imagination in the Netherlands. And now his book about synchronicity guided me back to Arthur and the Grail
Romance of the Grail
Joseph Campbell coined the term monomyth. To quote Wikipedia: “..Monomyth refers to the theory that sees all mythic narratives as variations of a single great story. The theory is based on the observation that a common pattern exists beneath the narrative elements of most great myths, regardless of their origin or time of creation”.
That is an attractive idea isn’t it? The idea that we, members of the human race, are so very much alike in our needs, in our challenges and in our solutions, that the basic problems myths guide you through boil down to a couple of themes.
I want you to know that I find this a very work-able assumption even though it is criticized now. I also agree with the critics. Ellwood stated in 1999: “A tendency to think in generic terms of people, races … is undoubtedly the profoundest flaw in mythological thinking.” But putting that aside, I think the contribution Joseph Campbell made to mythology is phenomenal. He brought mythology to you and me, into our simple lives and made us feel the energy of the Gods and Goddesses.
The book is composed by Evans Lansing Smith who spent many hours reading and listening to lectures of Campbell and who attended a lot of his travels and workshops. By reading the notes of Campbell Lansing Smith was able to present the wealth of knowledge that Joseph Campbell left behind. The work of a man who used to read 4 hours every day for nine years with the sole purpose of educating himself. Reading this book will let you reap the fruits of his work on what is called “The most important mythology for the Western World”.
Romance of the Grail discovery #1
Editor Evans Lansing Smith, chair of the mythological studies at the Pacifica Graduate Institute, has composed a book that will elicit several aha’s.
He starts out with painting the background of Europe through the centuries. His main point is that there simply was no European culture. Europe was invaded by Indo-European tribes since the Neolithic times, 10,200–8,800 BC. and Roman Emperor Theodosius I, Roman Emperor from AD 379 to AD 395, issued decrees that made Christianity the official religion of his Empire. Europe became subjected to a religion that had its origin in Jerusalem. The old pagan traditions were destroyed. The European (Western) emphasis on the individual shifted towards the Eastern sense of community spirit.
“So this totally alien point of view was imposed on Europe. Europe had perfectly good religions and mythologies and this other thing was brought on top of it.”
The Christian church believes that we are born in sin. Jesus Christ can save us but the only way to come close to Christ is to get the sacraments from a priest. And a priest was able to behave in a rather un-Christian manner, without being disciplined by the church. Of course not all of them, but many did. The Arthurian Romance is a way of dealing with this controversy.
Joseph Campbell’s never before published master’s thesis “The Dolorous Stroke” in the Appendix of this book provides clear insight into the genius of Campbell’s mind. His analysis of the similarities and differences in Grail stories with great detail. The Fisher King, based on Jesus his statement: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” is wounded by a lance at the time of a feast. So the King is wounded. Worse than that: he is made sterile. He can not reproduce anymore. And he is closely related to his land: his land also becomes infertile. This fertility God is wounded. The church is too much about following rules and ignores the spiritual side of the sun. The connection of people with their own sense of spirituality was cut off. The King was wounded.
The solution was to be found in love. Joseph Campbell’s Romance of the Grail distinguishes between erotic passion and agape: spiritual love. The romance that the Grail perspective prescribes is a combination of love that is born in the eyes as well as in the heart. Parzival as described in Wolfram van Eschenbach (German knight and poet who inspired Wagner’s Parsifal and who uses the name Parzifal spelled with a z), is a happily married man who enters the Castle, meets the Fisher King but does not ask the question: Who serves the Grail?
I just told you that love was the answer.
No here is a happily married man, married out of love which was quite uncommon in these days. He is in the castle, with the wounded King. So all the variables are present but no catharsis. No solution. He fails to ask the question that could heal the King. Why?
Blame it on the mother? He was told not to ask too many questions. He did not want to come across as impolite. So he dismissed the question in his heart. Growing up you need to decide if you are going to head your parental advice or if you are going your own way. And make some mistakes along the path. Because the mother of Parsifal wanted him to be polite.
Again here is a mythical notion to let rules be rules. To follow the heart. Campbell said “Follow your Bliss” for a reason. Don’t we all know that moment when we follow conventions while our heart screams out something different?
Romance of the Grail discovery #2
An important theme in the Grail stories is the theme of enchantment versus disenchantment. Sometimes in dreams you are the only one who sees flowers. Sometimes in waking live you are the only one who sees the beauty of a person, of an event or of a tragedy.
“Everything needed is already there only it is not being seen. And what the hero is to do is to clarify the situation”
I remember a few months before my mothers’ death I had a dream of her sitting with a sister of mine at the couch in the palace of the Bishop. I saw flowers everywhere. All the guests where talking, laughing and eating and I seemed to be the only one aware of those flowers. I followed the trail outside. In the hallway there was an undertaker. I felt so much grief in my heart when I handed over the flowers to him (a lot of the flowers lay on the floor at his feet). I asked him to take good care of my mother. Waking up I realized that I could only survive the loss of my last parent by seeing and honoring the flowers embedded in the situation.
There is enchantment in the descent to the underworld to meet the dark aspects of your soul. To become aware that deep in the darkness is the soil that nourishes the flowers. And to realize that not everybody will appreciate them. That there are people who do not even see them. What was the last time when you saw flowers where no one else noticed them?
Romance of the Grail discovery #3
Almost all of us know the Grail as the story of the love between Guinevere and Lancelot. In our time this theme is relevant and the most handsome actors and actresses depict the honorable fight between lust, love and honor. In 1995, the film First night depicted Richard Gere as the attractive Lancelot who tried to walk away from temptation. Romance of the Grail explains how a story about the ancient Celtic fertility gods was reshaped in a story about adultery.
“After Renaissance, a god wounded by a lance, whose injury entails the blight of his land and the misery of his people, revived by a magic question or salve of blood was incredible. Therefore it was not surprising that Tennyson should have substituted a sin of adultery: the sin of Guinevere and Lancelot”.
In the middle ages in the story Lancelot, le Chevalier de la Charrette written by Chrétien de Troyes this love mentioned for the first time.
Guinevere was abducted by a Lord that belongs to the underworld. In ancient times ladies were in the habit of being abducted, waiting for a knight to come and rescue them. While Arthur stays at Camelot, Lancelot climbs on his horse and goes out for his love. He drives so hard that two horses die. He hesitates for three steps if he would take a cart driven by a churl. He would be faster in the tower were Guinevere is kept prison but a card is used for people who ride in the cart are being taken to be hanged or punished in some way. He hesitates for three steps but takes the cart.
Next trial is what we know as the Perilous bed.
“This is the masculine experience of the feminine temperament: that it doesn’t quite make sense, but there it is. That’s the way it’s shifting this time, that’s the way it’s going that time. The trial is to hold on, be patient and don’t try to solve it. Just endure it, and then all the boons of beautiful womanhood will be yours.” [Transformations of Myth Through Time]. Once a hero has integrated the anima or the feminine side of his character there is another challenge. The bridge of Swords.
The bridge of swords is the Razor’s edge as Somerset Maugham described it in his novel.
If you follow your own path you can be swept away by your own passion. As Jeffrey Leach puts it on Amazon in a review: “The Razor’s Edge” really has a simple message. It asks us to reflect on how we lead our lives. Do we follow the masses or seek inner fulfillment? Is it right or wrong to drop out of society and follow our inner selves? Maugham makes us ponder these questions as he introduces us to his characters.
Finally our hero frees Guinevere out of the tower but she is as cold as ice. Why? Because he hashesitated for three steps. His ego for that moment was a few seconds stronger as the passion in his heart. No mercy for the brain. Ask yourself: when was the last time I acted out of love, without thinking? At this moment whose path do you follow? Your own? And if so: that is still no guarantee for fulfillment: you have to walk on a sharp edge to avoid getting cut. It is almost impossible, but it is worth it.
Romance of the Grail conclusion
I started this blog by telling you that being offered Romance of the Grail for a review was a moment of synchronicity. So while reading it and making notes I tried to look at why Arthur, the Bear, came knocking again. In four years I have made certain steps to follow my passion about mythology, spirituality and dreaming. And what everybody told me: that it does not pay the bills, unfortunately is true. Still I feel rewarded in so many other aspect: the people I meet, the books I read, controlling my own time.
I like the way the Romance of the Grail is crafted. I like the fact that The Dolorous Stroke is an appendix of this book. I feel so much more informed about the symbols and the themes that prevail in the Arthur myth that I can only advice you to read the book and let the magic work for you. As Joseph Campbell explains:
“We have recognized at the heart of the Celtic mythology, a belief in the might of magic”. I think we should all shelter and nurture this believe.
“Can the Grail be here? You range through the house seeking, only to return to the great sky-lit space. She says, “Be still, and open. Stand like a tree, open like a flower, like a chalice, at your crown.” You remember the crown you once wore and you let that go, and open. “Drink the light.” You drink deep, and something opens deeper in you in the cavity of the heart, a cup is filing with light. Light streams from the heart, pure waterfall, and you know you have found the Grail, in the one place it can be found“.
Remember when you were young? How your history teacher would tell you with radiant eyes- about the Greek mythology? Mythology seems far away. How are mythological stories relevant in your life today? Mindfunda explores mythological themes in 4 blogs
Today I want to explore different cultural mythologies. Halloween, celebrated October 31st is an inheritance of the Celtic culture. The Celts invaded Europe and brought their own gods and mythology. Rowan Moonstone has written a lot already about the festival of Shamain. The word is pronounced “sow-in”.
The Celts came from Asia and settled in Europe. We can still see similarities between Indian religion and Celtic paganism.
For example, the horned Indian God Siva Pasupati and the Celtic Cernunnos look very much alike.
On the eve of October 31, when the Celtic New year began, the souls of the death who would still wonder about on the earth, were allowed to come visit their loved ones and say goodbye this night. The veil between the worlds was thin and spirits and fairies roamed the earth this night.
Professor Emeritus of European Archaeology Barry Cunliffe tells in his excellent book “The Celts”: “In the Christian calendar Toussaint (All Saints) follows the ceremony of All Souls 31 October – 1 November, when the souls of the death are said to visit the realm of the living… Liminal interludes were dangerous. They were times when anything could happen and it was only by careful adherence to ritual and propitiation that a precarious order could be maintained. in Irish mythology it is the period when divinities and spirits of the death move from the underworld among the living and sometimes interfere with devastating effect in human affairs. It is this same concept and package of beliefs that comes down to us today in the rituals surrounding Halloween. In the last two decades of the twentieth century, Halloween saw something of a revival in western Europe, largely as the result of a reintroduction of an Americanized version in a form attractive to young children“.
Halloween in the Roman culture
In his ‘Dreamers book of the death‘ Robert Moss* writes about Lemuria. An old Roman religion where rites and exorcism drove the lemures, the wandering evil spirits away by giving them beans. The Vestal Virginis prepared their mola salsa, salt cakes made of the first wheat of the season.
After the church tried to suppress all traces of the old pagan festival by appropriating it; May 13 became All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day. A century later, satisfied that the Lemuralis was history, but troubled that the Celtic Samhain was very much alive, Pope Gregory III switched the date of All Saints Day to November 1.
The feast of Lemuralia lasted three days. The earth was occording to the Romans during three days in May, from the 9th – 13th visited by two kind of souls. The gentile souls who came to guide their offspring: the Lares. And the evil spirits called the Larvae. The evil spirits were fed beans: food for the spirits and driven away with loud noises.
“Ovid reports that it is the duty of the head of a Roman household to get up at midnight and walk around the house in his bare feet tossing black beans over his shoulder and chanting “With these beans, I redeem me and mine”. Family members then turned out in force, clashing bronze pots together and bawling “ghosts of our fathers and ancestor, be gone!” nine times.”
Robert Moss in Dreamer’s book of the death
Halloween in America
In the thirties “trick or treat” was played by children in America but it wasn’t untill the fifties that it became populair. Donald Duck, as well as the Peanuts’ strip of Charles M. Scutz refered to it in their comic strips.
In Europe, when I was a child, we never ever played trick or treat. It was not until the beginning of this century that stores began to sell witches hats and pumpkins.
Today, September 22, the book ‘Dreams and Premonitions’ is launched. This book was born on twitter. Amy Newmark twittered about wanting to publish a book about dreams. She is a publisher on Chicken soup for the Soul. And Kelly Sullivan Walden let her know she was interested. you can listen to the book launch and the stories behind the scenes.
I have met Kelly Sullivan Walden at a conference of the International Association of Dreams in Berkeley. I know about her energy and her determination when it comes to promoting the magic of dreams. And I know several people who did a great job of reading all of the dreams that were submitted. So you know that when you buy this book you get a very good selection of amazing dreams. If you buy the book using the link on this page you will support all of the good work of Mindfunda.
In the book is a collection of 101 dreams divided into 10 sections. They are: Navigating life, Messages from heaven, Facing fears, Early warnings, Next generation, Waking up to a new life path, Life savers, True love, Personal transformation and Miracles happen.
Each section has about 10 dreams from different people. Among them are ‘famous dreamers’ like Patricia Garfield and Robert Moss.
I would like to share the painting that belongs to the dream that Patricia shares in the book. You would have to read the dream to get the full appreciation of the picture. In her dream, Patricia looked in the mirror and saw that out of her head two antlers were growing. This dream inspired dream artist Brenda Ferrimani to create the painting “Branching Woman”.
Dreams and premonitions
It is always nice to read a book filled with magical dreams. I hope that this book will inspire lots of people to look at their dreams more closely. I want to share one very nice story about the book. Me and my dream group decided to do a pre-cognitive challenge to see if we could dream up dream number 101, before the book was published. We did not know the dream, we did not know the participants, we did not know the subjects.
The title of the dream 101 is ‘Stella Sky’. Several people in this group are very talented dreamers and they had dreamed connections with sky. Others picked upon the medical theme of the story. There are two names in the story: Stella and Janet that were dreamed about by members of our dream group. Other themes in this story have to do with the all intriguing question if the future is predetermined or not: “The question I ask myself is this. Can writing a story about someone where they are saved from dying safe that person from dying?”
In our group we had a vibrant discussion about writing because lots of dreamers that participate in that group (including me) are writers or contemplate writing a book about dreams. So in general, our group of precognitive dreamers picked up on health issues and writing in all of our dreams.
I had my share of premonitions and dreams that changed my life. The precognitive dream about my father’s death was the most impressive one. It came as a nightmare where I felt completely helpless. In waking life, seeing my father in his hospital bed with nothing I could do to make him feel better made me feel the same way. The dream wanted to prepare me for this new phase in my life.
Right before his death I dreamed of painting a garage white for a friend of my brother. In this garage, there was a motor cycle, which made perfect sense to me because my brother rides a motor.
In waking life, my father used to ride a motor bike but stopped doing that years ago. My father and my brother where best friends.
After his death my brother dreamed about going to a garage to take a bike ride with one of his friends. The garage opened and my father came riding out. He said to my brother: “she has to come with us too”. And he put me -as a little baby- on the front of the motor.
In my experience dreams that tell (a bit) about the future (or a possible future) are ordinary dreams. there are no angels with trumpets singing hallelujah. But in retrospect you can find a lot of clues to things that will happen. Is that coincidence? It could be. I always say to people who are interested in dreams: dreaming is like training a muscle. The more you do it, the stronger this muscle becomes.
Imagine that you are in the cinema late at night. You sit down in your chair, comfortable, relax and watch the screen. Looking at your own dreams….
This used to be an exercise Robert Moss did with his students but now it has come reality. Michio Kaku talks about it in his book the Future of the mind.
Dr. Gallant of Berkeley University is developing the tools to envision your dreams. He decodes the neurons that fire and translate them back into images. In Future of the mind Michio Kaku says: “Gallant’s MRI machine is so powerful it can identify two to three hundred distinct regions of the brain and, on average, can take snapshots that have one hundred dots per region of the brain“.
So while researchers are building databases that enable us to decode the simultaneous firing of neurons, we would like to know if we are the only ones reading our own mind…
Another very interesting chapter in Michio Kaku’s book is that about dreams.
“As mysterious as they are, dreams are not a superfluous luxury, the useless ruminations of the brain. Dreams in fact, are essential for survival“.
Michio distinguishes five characteristics of dreams:
#1: Intense emotions.
#2: Illogical content.
#3: Apparent sensory impressions.
#4: Uncritical acceptance of dream events.
#5: Difficulty in being remembered.
In 2011, for the first time scientists where able to generate pictures based on the firing of neuron patterns in the brain during sleep. It might just be possible in the future to connect two sleeping brains to an MRI scanner that would merge their dreams into one. If you want to read more about the magic of the brain, here is Michio Kaku’s book.
I read it with a lot of pleasure. It tells you about the mind, about telepathy, about consciousness, a favorite chapter of mine is the one about the mind as pure energy, and of course he talks about his great hero Einstein and his brain.
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I have been working with dreams for several years now, and I read a lot of dream books. But sometimes there is that one book that really has a special edge. A way you have not looked at dreams before. Here is my list of 10 dream books you should read i.e. I can recommend all of you to buy and read. Please let me know if you agree with my choices. If one of your personal favorite dream books is absent, let me know by using the comment section below the blog.
Dream books tip #1: ‘Creative Dreaming’ by Patricia Garfield: Years ago, in the eighties, I read this book, in one night. It was the first book ever that discussed dreams as creative material. I fell asleep and had my first lucid dream (a dream you have while being aware that you are dreaming). This is not only about lucid dreams however. It is about getting the most out of a dream to make your life better. Patricia was criticized for not being scientific and for not having visited the Senoi people she wrote about. But that does not change the fact that this book gives you a method you can use that will change your dream-life. Patricia was on the panel I organized on the conference of the International Organisation of the Study of Dreams (IASD) in 2014 click here
Dream books tip #2: ‘Extraordinary dreams and how to work with them’ written by Stanley Krippner, Fariba Bogzaran and Andre Percia de Carvalho. This book gives you such a good insight in all the different types of dreams: creative dreams, Lucid dreams, Out of body dreams, healing dreams, mutual dreams… It is carefully organized and there are a lot of references to very good research about dreams. There is even a paragraph about “Working with dreams within dreams”. I have only come across this phenomena in books about dreams in Frederik van Eede’s Dromenboek (A Dutch lucid dreamer and writer who was in the same circle as Carl Gustav Jung).
This book will give you so much information about dreams, your head may spin. read it one chapter at a time so you will digest all the information in it. After all these years it is still a source of reference for me.
Dream books tip #3: ‘a Branch of the Lightning Tree’ Stanley Krippner came over in 2013 to do a workshop Personal Mythology in Utrecht. Identifying mythological themes in your life and your dreams can give you so much more understanding. About yourself, about the situation you are in and about the steps you can take. Reading a Branch of the lightning tree written by Martin Shaw has taught me a lot about distilling mythological information out of stories. Dreams are stories told by the night. So even though this book is not about dreams, it will help you understand them better.
Dream books tip #4: ‘Active Dreaming’ – Robert Moss is an excellent writer. He knows how to tell a story. When he came to Utrecht to give a workshop Active dreaming, people were glued to his lips. His books are filled with useful well researched information. Robert has written a lot of books and they are all good. I have chosen Active dreaming because I like the exercises in them. There are coincidence games in it, the mapping of your energy path, a low maintenance plan for your health… It is just a very good book. A dream is something to act upon and Robert gives you the keys to unlock the secrets in them.
Dream books tip #5: Another book that changed my way of looking at dreams is the ‘Woman’s book of dreams’. The knowledge Connie Kaplan shared about the moon and dreaming is something I have never read before in any other book. She connects dreaming with astrology. It made me grab my dream notes and look at what sign the moon was in while I had these dreams. In that way I made discoveries about myself, my dreams and their content that I would not have been able to make without reading this book. She also discusses a way of working with dream groups that I have used several times. One time, before doing a workshop with pregnant women and their dreams I took this book out of my closet in a dream. It made me change my workshop in the “Connie Kaplan” way and it was a good decision. In the workshop some very profound discoveries were made and people were able to engage with each other on a deeper level because of the method I used.
Dream books tip #6: ‘Lucid Dreaming’ – Robert Waggoner is a very experienced lucid dreamer. But what is so intriguing about this book is that he helps you to shift perspective. He asks you who the writer of your dream story is (you can read more about this perspective here). A lot of people who are involved in dreaming are against lucid dreaming. A dream should take its natural course. Don’t mess with it because that would be messing with the natural psychological process that dreams are made off. But Robert simply asked “Does the sailor control the sea?” and shows us that no lucid dreamer ever fully controls the content of the dream. And he has some other thought-provoking suggestions and experiences to share.
I have not read his newest book ‘Lucid dreaming plain and simple’ yet.
He wrote it together with Caroline McCready. But it is on my list. I plan to do an interview with him and put it on this blog, so stay tuned!
Dream books tip #7: Robert Gongloffs’ book ‘Dream Exploration’ changed my way of working with dreams because he taught me to take a step back. In this book you will find a matrix that enables you to look at the theme of a dream. Not focus so much on the meaning of a single symbol but look at the greater picture.
Dream books tip #8: I used to think alchemy was mighty interesting but beyond my understanding. So many old manuscripts, very hard to read and even more difficult to understand. Then a friend of mine gave me a copy of Monika Wikmans’ ‘Pregnant Darkness‘. She leads you through the alchemical process using dreams and symbols. Reading this book gave me so much more understanding of the path of transformation we all have to travel in live. It is well written and the examples she shares with us make us reconsider our own dream material.
Dream books tip #9: ‘Communing with the Gods’ is a well documented anthropological exploration into dreams. Charles Laughlin takes the reader on a journey to explore his neuroanthropology of dreaming. An attempt for a cross-fertilization between neurology, psychology, sociology and anthropology. Ambitious yes, but very interesting. I wrote about this book before you can read it here. The way Charles Laughlin builds the evidence for his Neuroanthropology of dreaming will give you a new way of looking at dreams.
Dream books tip #10: Last but not least, my translation of Vasily Kasatkins’ classic ‘A theory about Dreams’. You can hear my presentation about it in this link. The reason why this book will change your vision on dreams is that it makes the relationship between the body and the dream content crystal clear. Even a hard-core scientist as psychiatrist Vasily Kasatkin was convinced that dreams are the early indicators of physical illness. A dream can safe your life.
Did you enjoy this list of Dream books? Please use the comments box below to share your thought!