Around the World and Across Time: An Anthology

Leland E. Shields, MS, MA

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Dreamwork Around the World and Across Time brings together compelling writings on dreams from the pioneers of Western psychology, modern psychotherapists, world religions and myths, and from great philosophers, scientists, poets and more. This wide range of selections can inform and inspire personal and group dream work, as well as offer ways we can engage with, understand, and interpret our own dreams and dreaming.

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"Over the millennia dreams have been assigned different meanings by different people in different cultures. Dreamwork provides its readers an opportunity to sample them all, from indigenous shamans to famed storytellers to contemporary psychotherapists. The scope of this book is incredible, and anyone who reads it emerges with a changed perspective and a deeper appreciation of these nightly gifts." Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., co-author, Extraordinary Dreams

"Dreamwork Around the World and Across Time is a tremendous contribution to the soul of humanity. After working as a therapist doing dream work for many years, Leland Shields has done the 'work' and given us this amazing gift of insight into the dream. My sincere appreciation to him, and to the dreamtime that continues to dream itself and the unfolding of Creation in each moment." Eduardo Duran, Ph.D., author, Buddha in Redface

"Dreamwork presents a vast selection of perspectives on dreams from psychotherapists, philosophers, novelists, poets, and native traditions. The author's commentary to each of these offers us a path inward to appreciating our own mysterious dreams as well as to developing an understanding of ourselves that transcends our ordinary waking consciousness." Mitchell D. Ginsberg, Ph.D., author, The Inner Palace: Mirrors of Psychospirituality in Divine and Sacred Wisdom-Traditions

"Dreamwork is an exciting entrée to a flyby across time, continents and cultures, inviting dreamers to alight anywhere in this amazing anthology of writings to find inspiration and insights for pursuing their own dreamwork practices. Compiled by our guide, a practicing psychotherapist, this treasury of dream fact and fiction from famous personages of various times and perspectives provides brilliant illumination into everyone's nightly journeys into the Dreamtime." Rita Dwyer, International Association for the Study of Dreams, Past President and Executive Officer

Table of Contents

Definitions of "Dream"

Pioneers of Psychotherapy

Sigmund Freud
Psychic preparation
One image at a time
Stephen Mitchell and Margaret Black: An introduction to Freud; Freud's dream interpretation

C. G. Jung
Dreams unify the soul
Bring an open mind
The shadow: Dark aspects of the personality
Who speaks to us in dreams?
Balance the psyche
The cave of regeneration
Transformation and individuation

Alfred Adler
Personality manifests in dreams
The purpose of dreams
Emotionally intoxicating

Ongoing Developments in Psychotherapy

Marie-Louise von Franz
The stages of a dream
Karen Walker: Summary of key von Franzian concepts
Direct and unique experience

Gerhard Adler
Case example: Archetypes and three-part dreams
Myths and meaning

Marion Woodman
Dreams and the body
The demon lover

James Hillman
Soul making
Abandon attempts to find a dream's worldly use

Arnold Mindell
Dream and body
Compassion as inspiration

D. W. Winnicott
Dreaming versus fantasy

Viktor Frankl
Dream, liberation and hope

Clara Hill
A three-stage model: Exploration, insight, and action
Four ways to explore
Construct meaning
Act on insights

Kristin Heaton
Defusing nightmares

Gary Tucker
Nightmares & PTSD treatment with imagery rehearsal therapy

Walter Bonime

Eugene Gendlin
Associations, story, and character
Decoding and development

Stanley Krippner
Lucid dreams
Working with lucid dreams

Leland Shields
Questions from narrative therapy
Deconstruct the story
Develop the story
Broaden the perspective
Others' dreams
Explore meaning

Science, Sleep, and Dreaming

Jeanne Achterberg
Dream therapy in ancient Greece

Dreams and diagnosis

Ilan Kutz
Brain chemistry and dream recollection

Siri Carpenter
Brain scans and Freudian dream theory

William Dement
Dreaming, hypnosis, and image perception
Dreaming is not a random process

Charles Fisher

Andrea Rock
Dream content across the world

August Kekulé
A breakthrough in chemistry

Deirdre Barrett
Problem solving

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Animals dream

David Foulkes
A research overview
Biological theories
Critique of biological theories
The Freudian tradition
Cognitive science theories
Children's dreams

Philosophy, Philosophers, and Dreaming

Chuang Tzu
Am I awake or dreaming?

Kai-wing Chow
Confucius' dream interpretation

Inspiration from the irrational

Friedrich Nietzsche
Dream reality/waking reality
Socrates the logician
Responsibility for your dreams

Søren Kierkegaard
Insight in the night

Ilkka Niiniluoto
Philosophy and dreaming
Perspectives on dreams from prehistory to Freud and Jung
Current perspectives on dreams
Living in a dream?

Indigenous Peoples, Visions and Dreams

The Oto and the Sioux
Vision quests

Lame Deer
Crying for a vision
First vision quest

Richard Erdoes
Sioux dream preparation

Transformative dreams
Cultivating the strength of the chickadee

Dream group of Crow elders

Oglala Dakota dreamer
Bring the dream to life

Blackfoot dreamer
Fooled by a dream

Cheyenne dreamer
Rejecting the gift

Frank Waters
Hopi cycles of life

Terri Andrews
Living by the dream
Misusing symbols

Tim Ingold
Ojibwa way of being

James George Frazer
The soul's journeys

Mimi George
Barok communal dreams

African dream worker
Feel the "click"

Sylvie Poirier
The Kukatja and dream setting

N.Scott Momaday
The Gourd Dancer

Myth, Religion, and Dreams

Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Skeleton woman

Joseph Campbell
Myths and dreams

Ewa Wasilewska
Dreaming of the world's end

Thomas Bulfinch
Halcyone's dream of death and release

The Brothers Grimm
Master Pfriem
Jorinda and Joringel

The Hebrew Bible
Joseph's cellmates
Pharaoh's dreams

The Talmud
Dream wisdom
Shocking images
Dreaming of the Bible

Yosef Marcus
Kabbalah and Pharaoh's dream

Yakov Leib HaKohain
Kabbalah and the interpretation of dreams

Gospel of Matthew
Joseph's dream of the virgin birth

Thomas Aquinas
Internal and external inspiration

Mark and Patti Virkler
Christian dream interpretation

Kelly Bulkeley
The Qur'an and Islamic dream traditions
Dreams in the hadith
Islam and later developments in dream interpretation

Refik Algan
The dream and the sleeper in Sufi tradition

The Dalai Lama
The unconscious and dreams
Sleep, orgasm, and death
Dreaming, sleeping, and death

Pema Chödrön
Monsters in the night

Joseph Campbell
Vishnu, the Hindu God that dreams the world

Janice Hinshaw Baylis
Yin, yang, and the balance of opposites

Writers, Creativity, and Dreaming

The Odyssey

Lewis Carroll
Alice's dream of Wonderland

Charles Dickens
The reality of dreams beyond words

Mark Twain
The bear bite hurts!

Kahlil Gibran
Trust the dreams

John Steinbeck
Committee of sleep

Anaïs Nin
Dreams are necessary to life

Robert Bly
Shadow: Our hidden personality traits

Kilton Stewart
The Senoi: Ask nightmare spirits for help
The Senoi: Resolution of social tension
Negrito good dreams and nightmares

Joseph Campbell
Dream design

Patricia Reilly Giff
Art like a dream

William Blake
Comfort for a child

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Nightmare's anguish

Remembering Dreams
Copyright Permissions


In this book I have brought together a variety of perspectives on dreams so that you, the dreamer, can discover what is helpful to you. Some selections are specifically about dreams; others are about how symbols can be helpful in understanding dreams. How did the founders of psychoanalysis suggest we work with dreams? What have contemporary psychologists contributed to the study of dreams? Does scientific sleep research provide helpful information? What insights do indigenous peoples offer for understanding nightmares? In what way have spiritual traditions addressed dreams? We can learn from all the ways that people before us have used and understood dreams. Mine them all for answers to your own questions....

Choose an area of interest and read until you find an approach that strikes you. How would you apply it to a dream that you remember? Or, if you have trouble remembering dreams, look up “dreams, remembering” in the Index for some ideas about how to recall dreams when you awake. Some selections give insight into the nature of dreams or dreaming, rather than serving as aids to interpretation. Even these, if you find them interesting, will inspire your dreams and dream work in experiential ways.

I have used many of these selections and quotations as catalysts for work in dream groups. As we turn dreams over in new ways the group’s vitality and creativity heightens. Some perspectives, such as noting the dramatic flow of the dream, will almost surely help you (see “The stages of a dream,” by Marie-Louise von Franz, p. 25); others may stand out for a time and be forgotten. When you find something that stands out, you may want to delve deeper into the original source or author. Those that do not strike you today may be the key to a dream tomorrow.

You will find few answers in these pages about the specific meaning of your dreams. Instead, you will find much about the process of dream work, different approaches or points of view, and ways to formulate questions that can lead to the discovery of dream meaning. It is certainly possible and worthwhile to work alone with your dreams, but be aware of one common pitfall: when each of us looks at our own dreams, it is easy to bring the preconceptions of the waking mind to our interpretations. For example, if I am embarrassed by my weight in waking life, I may be horrified and self-critical when seeing a dream image of my body, even though my loved ones in the dream seem unconcerned about this characteristic. To avoid this kind of misreading, approach the dream with an open mind, asking what new image your psyche offers (Gendlin on bias control, p. 72). Particularly when starting out, it’s also helpful to share your dream work with someone you trust, someone who can share their own questions, body-reactions, emotions, and associations. Trust the questions, your own and others’, to lead you to connect with the dream. And of course, if working with your dreams doesn’t lead toward health and healing, or gets you in trouble, back off and find someone you trust or a professional counselor to help.

I believe you can trust your dreams. Our unconscious offers us dreams as messages that relate to our lives right now. Accept the dream as a gift given by your Self to yourself.

Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2008

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