BOOK REVIEW: PAGAN DREAMING
Highly recommended. Pagan Dreaming: The Magic of Altered Consciousness, to give it its full title, is an informed and thought provoking introduction to dreams and dream work. Although tailored specifically to a Pagan-oriented audience, it will be of interest to many other people as well.
Author Nimue Brown follows her familiar path of avoiding hackneyed or formulaic approaches to the subject. Instead, she draws on a rich variety of sources including her own experience of dreaming and working with dreams to ask fruitfully open questions and invite dreamers to explore this territory for themselves. She says of herself: “I am not a scientist or psychologist. I have not trained as a counsellor or psychoanalyst. … I am simply a Druid who has always worked with dreams, and I am sharing what I have. There is no dogma here, just ideas”. Whilst being clear that she is not writing as a therapist, she does indicate that dream work can have triggering (and therefore potentially therapeutic) effects, so that people doing it may want professional support in some circumstances.
The book discusses the physical, emotional and meaning-making aspects of dreams, emphasising how dreams work differently for different people – suggesting that standard schema for interpretation are of very limited use. Everyone has their own dream language and needs first to listen in to this. Only then are they in a position to interpret their own dream symbolism and develop their own dream work. The author includes a chapter on ‘Exploring a Dream Diary’ where she shares extensively from her own, and shows how to assess and draw conclusions from the material presented by the recorded dreams. She includes “daydreaming … along the edges of sleep” within the overall umbrella of dream work, and identifies this as a significant and creative state for her.
After a chapter on ‘Dreams and Magic’ (though “not the kind of magic that leads to definite outcomes”) the book concludes with ‘Into the Wilderness’, which explores the idea of “re-wilding your sleep” – physically, mentally, spiritually and socially. She moves on to speculation about where dreams come from – products of our own minds? The universe whispering to us as we sleep? The gods of dreaming as they carry us into other-worlds? Ancestral memories? She ends by saying: “none of these explanations is any less miraculous than any of the others”. That sense of an open and affirmatively questioning stance towards the ‘miraculous’ is for me the defining feature of this book: a refreshing treatment of a fascinating topic.
many thanks for this.
You are welcome 😊
After an intriguing dream last night, which is haunting my waking moments, I am definately going to read this new offering from Nimue. Thanks for recommending the book James. 🙂
You are welcome Reg. Hope you like it.
Thanks for that validation Nimue.
Reblogged this on Druid Life and commented:
it’s always nerve wracking when books go out for first reviews. Doubly so when the reviewer is someone I really like and respect. Happily, this one came out well…
As a facilitator of dreamcircles for over 30 years, I am always eager to learn more for myself and to share. I love your posts and wisdom, Nimue and will eagerly order this book! ❤ Thank you for so eloquently sharing!
I have forwarded this comment to Nimue.
Looking forward to reading this. I assume you got hold of a review copy as it isn’t out until August?
Yes. I had a review copy.
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