In this book, Stephen Larsen and Tom Verner examine dream traditions from around the world, beginning with the oldest records from ancient Egypt, India, Greece, and Australia and expanding to shamanic and indigenous societies. The authors investigate the psychology of dreaming, the neuroscience behind the dreaming brain, the Jungian perspective, and the intersections of yoga and modern dream research. They show how dreams and myth are related in the timeless world of the archetypal imagination and how dreams often reveal the wishes of the soul. They explore the practice of dream incubation, an age-old tradition for seeding the unconscious mind to help solve problems and gain deep insights. They examine the profound role that dreams have played in the survival of exploited and persecuted cultures, such as Native Americans and African Americans, and share inspirational dream stories from exceptional woman dreamers such as Hildegard von Bingen, Joan of Arc, and Harriet Tubman.
Drawing on their more than 50 years' experience keeping dream journals, the authors offer techniques to help you remember your dreams and begin to work with them. They also explore the clairvoyant and telepathic dimensions of dreaming and the practices of lucid dreaming and shamanic dreaming. Revealing how the alchemical cauldron of dreaming can bring inspiration, healing, and discovery, the author’s show how dreams unite us with each other and the past and future dreamers of our world.
STEPHEN LARSEN, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of psychology at SUNY Ulster and the author of several books, including The Healing Power of Neurofeedback and Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind. The founder and director of Stone Mountain Center, he lives in New Paltz, New York. TOM VERNER is a practicing psychotherapist and professional magician and was a professor of psychology at Burlington College for 35 years. The founder, with his wife Janet, of Magicians without Borders, he lives in Lincoln, Vermont.
This book is the outcome of years of dream work and research by the authors, who have also been friends for more than forty years. Stephen Larsen and Thomas Verner have both served as university psychology professors as well as practicing psychotherapists. But more important than any academic standing, they feel, is their mutual love of dreams. Each has recorded more than fifty years' worth of dream journals and thousands of personal dreams, as well as the analytic dream work they have done on these dreams.
Both Stephen and Tom have used dreams as a source of creative inspiration for books, festivals, music, and yes-magic! Tom is a practicing and stage magician who founded the philanthropic organization Magicians without Borders, which works with children in refugee camps all over the world. Stephen, with his wife, Robin, began the not-for-profit Center for Symbolic Studies in the Hudson River valley of New York. Focusing on the study of myth, dream, and creativity, the center works with budding young cultural creative’s-sometimes also called "youth at risk."
Stephen and Tom have apprenticed to some of the great dream-teachers and mythological scholars of our time. Both have studied with Stanley Krippner and Ira Progoff. Tom has also studied with Robert Bly, Renee Nell, and James Hillman; Stephen with Joseph Campbell, Stanislav Grof, and Jungian training analyst Edward Christopher Whitmont. In this book they recount what it was like to learn from these influential twentieth-century thinkers and writers. Is there such a thing as a lineage of myth and dream? If so, this book offers to bring this living tradition out of the twentieth century and into the new millennium.
We begin the book with the ancient dreamers of prehistory, moving into the oldest records that we have (chapter 1, "Ancient Dreaming"). This chapter discusses shamanism and then moves on to the topic of Greek dream incubation and a discussion of the first modern dream interpreters (who lived more than a thousand years ago). Chapter 2, "The Dreaming Brain," shows how inseparable the lore of yoga is from modern dream research. This chapter details how dreams both depend upon and yet reach far beyond the brain and its states. Chapter 3, "Remembering Our Dreams," moves to the practical concerns of a reader who might wish to become a dream apprentice: How do we remember, and begin, in a systematic way, to work with our dreams? Chapter 4, "What Makes for a Big Dream?" takes up the intriguing notion of the big dream and moves into a discussion of how dream and myth are related in the timeless world of the archetypal imagination. In chapter 5, "Standing Naked before the Dream," Stephen tells of his early encounters with Jungian psychology and those formidable pioneers Joseph Campbell and Edward C. Whitmont. (The appendix, "The Dream Portal Method," outlines the elegant dream work method Stephen learned from Whitmont.) The first half of the book concludes with Tom's equally magical story found in the book's sixth chapter, "Archaeologist of the Morning, a Digger of First Things."
The last six chapters of the book help remind us how dreams unite us with each other as well as with the past and future dreamers of all time. Although the science of materialism has dismissed prophecy and extrasensory perception as quaint and outdated, in chapter 7, "Precognition, Telepathy, and Synchronicity in Dreams," the authors take exception to this reductionist thinking. We feel we have help; the timeless magic of dreaming itself shows us a world far larger than our own historically bound notions. Chapter 8, "Dream Incubation," shows that this time-honoured practice (of dream incubation) lives on in the present time and articulates how it can bring healing and inspiration of the wounded warriors of our current world, as traumatic in its own way as that of the ancient Greeks.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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