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DNANZ BULLETIN Vol, 7  No: 3 November, 2020.

Dear Dreamers,
It is a great pleasure to be publishing our November DNANZ bulletin despite COVID uncertainty.  It seems we are the fortunate ones with Aotearoa being less affected by the pandemic than the rest of the world.  I am happy to say that since the last bulletin, we have been able to have two live DNANZ meetings which included open evenings in October and November.
  • In this issue, we begin by sign-posting our annual retreat which will take place
at the tranquil Tauhara Centre in Taupo.  A report by Marie Brand follows on my two recent presentations at the recent evenings.  The presentations (in two parts) were named Windows of Opportunity. They related my experience working with teenagers on their dreams and nightmares showing how insights opened up by these dreams allowed them to embrace new opportunities.
  • Rae Wensley discusses her interviews with people from the Quaker tradition
and ensuing research on the importance of dreams in  Research Corner.  She was surprised to find that, although dreams were an important part of Quaker spirituality, most people interviewed knew nothing of dreaming in their tradition.  She goes on to provide information on beliefs and practice in Quaker tradition over time.
  • In Book Corner, Margaret Bowater discusses The Science of Dreaming and
the Origins of Religion by world renowned dream scholar Kelly Bulkeley.  An extensive work, the book covers dreaming in world religions from the prehistoric period through to modern neuroscience.  Bulkeley focuses on what Carl Jung called “Big Dreams” which have influenced the world throughout history.
  • Finally, in Dream Corner, the dreamer reports a transformational spiritual
healing dream which she describes as more like a vision. The impact of this dream served to sustain her through a very difficult period in her life.

Happy reading and dreaming. 
Lynette Papp (Editor)

ADVANCE NOTICE for March 5-7th, 2021:
Book this date in your new diary:
5-7th March 2021, for another
inspirational weekend at this beautiful Retreat Centre on the hilltop overlooking Lake Taupo.  We will call for bookings early in February.  Cost is moderate, varying according to your choice of accommodation. Meals are organic, high-quality. Programme includes intensive group dreamwork and discussion, around the theme: “Spirituality in Dreaming.” The purpose is to build community as we deepen our understanding and skills in listening to the inner wisdom of our dreams.
You can email Margaret Bowater on, or Louise Belcher on, to register your interest in attending.


Part 1: Windows of Opportunity

Two presentations by Lynette Papp were held at St Luke’s,  Remuera on 19 October and 16 November 2020.  The audience was DNANZ members and other interested counsellors.  The presentations were linked and held over two open evenings.

Lyn started this first presentation with a review of literature relating to children’s and adolescents’ dreams. The studies were large and showed that girls were more likely than boys to report dreams, that the dreams were more likely to be disturbing rather than peaceful, and that the dreams were often associated with anxiety caused by various factors. A classification of themes within recurrent dreams was provided showing that being chased, falling, physical and emotional abuse, accidents, and confrontations with animals, monsters and zombies were amongst commonly reported dream events.

A small-scale investigation, Lyn based it on a subset of those attending the counselling services in a South Auckland multicultural high school setting. The subset comprised those who presented dreams for consideration – a small percentage of those seeking help. The majority of clients claim to not dream.

Nine case studies were presented, some with drawings made to accompany the stories they told. Six girls and three boys, ranging in age from 13 to 18, reported on matters that included unresolved issues in their lives and anxiety about the future. Two involved sexual abuse, four included thoughts and even attempts at suicide, one concerned anxiety about coming out as homosexual, another worried about transitioning from school to university and one was focused on OCD and eating disorder. The students included Pakeha, Maori, Cook Islanders, Samoan and Tongan backgrounds in various combinations.

Socratic questioning was used to help the clients to uncover for themselves what might be significant for them. Some needed re-assurance that dreams did not necessarily tell ‘true’ stories, nor predict dreadful future events but rather might be metaphors or signals to pay attention to things happening in their lives. With this knowledge the one student was able to reframe a nightmare of falling out of windows into seeing the same windows as “Windows of Opportunity” (the Title of this Part 1 of the presentation).

Generally the students created therapeutic outcomes (as do many adults), and in some cases the knowledge elicited had made it clear that further and more focussed support was needed. This was provided.

Part 2: Follow-up on two cases

In the second presentation Lyn began with summarising remarks about Part 1 for the benefit of those who had not been at the first presentation. Two of the nine cases were then followed up, with detail and developments in the months following the writing of Part 1. (Part 1 had been written for presentation in April 2020, but was only presented in October due to Covid 19 restrictions.)

Anya (not her real name), on the surface, was a cheerful, bubbly teen. It was only through sensitive and deep exploration of a dream in which she saw her best friend ‘hanging’ that sexual abuse issues were uncovered, and it became clear that this friendship had been summarily terminated with no discussion or closure. The friendship had been left ‘hanging’. It also became clear that Anya had hidden suicidal thoughts and two attempts at hanging herself. With the family’s co-operation, external agencies became involved and the nightmares stopped for some time and Anya was discharged. When the nightmares occurred again, they were a signal for further therapeutic intervention for herself and for her family. The exploration of her trauma through dreams made possible the process of her gradual healing.

Ella (not her real name), is a slight and somewhat frail 18-year old who has serious physical disabilities and spends most of her time in a wheel chair. She is bright, from a Maori/Pakeha background and has aspirations to attend university and achieve independence through education.

She dreams often and vividly and relishes discovering what her dreams might be telling her.

The first one has Ella as a plus-size fashion model in stylish self-designed clothes. She then appears as a character, Jules, from a Netflix movie, similarly dressed. But Jules falls (as Ella often does in her real life), is then astride a horse, which bucks her (as happened to Ella as a child) and she leaves the stage losing her modelling career. The dream continues through several scenarios, but the constant theme through all that happens is Ella’s longing for an independent and exuberant life, notwithstanding her history and disability.

The second dream is called the Escape Room and illustrates Ella’s tendency to procrastinate and to avoid some of the tasks that are needed to achieve her goal of entering tertiary study. There is humour in that it becomes clear that in the Escape Room, where she is planning her escape to where she wants to be in Life, she discovers that she is actually escaping her Escape Plan! With this insight and help from significant others, she manages, at the last moment, to complete all academic requirements for tertiary study. She had already confronted issues of accommodation, finance and so on – so her active engagement with her dreams gave her mental strength successfully and timeously to complete relevant art and writing assignments.

These case studies in Part 2 explored in some depth the ways in which adolescent dreamers found healing, or articulated purpose, by engaging creatively with their dreams.

Lyn’s two presentations displayed how the adolescents who came for help interpreted the dreams with reference to events in their lives. The dreams often had the negative aspects described in research and were indicative of past, current and future anxiety. Yet, Socratic questioning and reflection on possible meanings enabled therapeutic outcomes.

by Marie Brand

Research Corner:
My dream research project was an enquiry into the place of dreaming in the spiritual life of Quakers (also known as The Friends) today. I individually interviewed a small number, asking: What do you know about dreaming? Please share a significant dream. What part do dreams have in your spiritual practice? What do you know of dreaming in the Quaker tradition?

To my surprise, most of them knew nothing of the rich and varied dream accounts of the Quaker tradition. Only one made a link, saying, “Dreams are a part of our spirituality, a gift which for some reason we don’t use.” Later, another person I interviewed who thought dreams had little bearing on ordinary life, took a significant dream to her doctor for help – a salutary reminder of the beneficial value of dreams.
Interviews completed, I was keen to read “Night Journeys – the Power of Dreams in Transatlantic Quaker Culture,” by Prof Carla Gerona (Univ. of Virginia Press, 2004). Gerona accessed 300 archived dreams recorded by Quakers, often shared in women’s gatherings. She noted that “The American Quaker Community paid enormous attention to their night journeys because they thought of dreaming as an especially powerful spiritual experience.”

In effect, the Quakers developed a distinctive written genre, the spiritual journal, in which to reflect on inward experience, insights, and promptings including dreams.  Gerona’s extensive research portrays American Quakers as using dreamwork to “guide, influence or justify” their at times “subversive and competitive attempts to culturally and socially reshape American colonisation.” Notably, they were early leaders in the movement to abolish slavery.

The Quaker Way holds that every individual can access “the Light” and is challenged to “act truth” in response to “the promptings of love and truth in their heart.” Such insights were tested by meeting with others in silent disciplined waiting to discern the Light, the leading and the prompting to action. In the 17th century, they were politically active in obedience to their conscience, publishing tracts, personally presenting letters to the king, MPs, judges, mayors, colonels. They also refused to pay tithes to the Church, doff hats or take oaths. They encouraged one another to “let your lives speak.”
Quakers in Britain and America endured fines, dispossession of their property,
stockading, flogging, branding, repeated imprisonment, being unwholesomely    examined to see if they carried the “marks” of witches, even being hanged.
For me dreams can be a nudging, and a call to pay attention. Both dreaming and Quaker “centering-down” access the depths.  Perhaps Quaker dreams are little different from others in meaning or interpretation simply reflecting the values and spirituality of the dreamer.                                 
by Rae Wensley

Book Review                
Big Dreams: The Science of Dreaming and the Origins of Religion, 2016, by Kelly Bulkeley.
Published by Oxford University Press, NY.
    By any criterion, this is a significant book!  Kelly Bulkeley is a full-time scholar of dreams, religion and psychology with multiple qualifications in these fields, including Past-President of the International Assn for the Study of Dreams. He has created the Sleep and Dreams Database as a search engine for the study of dreams across cultures; and has authored a dozen books, including Dreaming in the World’s Religions (2008).
     In this book he seeks to integrate the whole field, from prehistoric cave-paintings through ancient records and religious literature to modern neuroscience, which he considers in detail. Acknowledging the recent evidence that dreams mostly reflect our current concerns in waking life he turns the focus instead onto the much rarer Big Dreams (so named first by Carl Jung).  These dreams have had a powerful influence on individuals and human history, especially in shaping our beliefs and spiritual values. He discusses four major clusters of these visionary dreams, diagrammed as a cross, stretching our minds in different directions:
  • On the horizontal, relational axis:
(i) aggressive dreams, including violent nightmares, at one end, such as memory-dreams of traumatic events, which keep us focused on survival;
(ii) sexual dreams, focused on intimacy and reproduction, at the other end;
  • On the vertical, elemental axis,
(iii) gravitational dreams of falling, failure, disorder, entropy, loss of power, struggle with physical forces, at the lower end, which tend to depress us;
(iv) mystical dreams of freedom, flying, beauty, joy, visitations from the beyond, at the upper end, which lift our spirits.
Bulkeley’s final section considers how Big Dreams have influenced religious beliefs from the beginning, especially about demons, prophecy, healing and contemplation, each of which he considers with clear examples. He even acknowledges the value of a sceptical philosophy as a way of sharpening our awareness to clarify what we understand.
  • This is a book to ponder deeply on what we believe, and on which to map some of our own - and our clients’ - experience of dreaming. In the dream workshops I have led over thirty years, I find that many people bring a Big Dream that has puzzled them for many years. Some of them, not knowing how post-trauma nightmares tend to repeat like an echo, have assumed that such dreams were predicting danger ahead. Consequently they had lived with constant anxiety, e.g that they deserved punishment or that loved ones would always leave them. 
Others, not knowing that most dream language is metaphorical, ascribe a literal meaning to their dream, e.g that a car-crash is coming, when in reality some other aspect of their life is currently collapsing, such as a project or hoped-for outcome;  while others are mystified by visionary dreams of peace and beauty, which offer balm to the soul, whether they are metaphors or glimpses of another dimension of reality.  Bulkeley’s book tackles many deep questions with solid evidence about the validity of dream science.
by Margaret Bowater
Spiritual healing dream
Elaine, now in mid-life, reported a vivid visionary experience which sustained her through a very difficult period in her life, when she suffered the loss of her health, her marriage, and a close friendship.  The vision came in advance, while she was lying in bed during the day, after a short spell in hospital having an abscess treated.

Dream report:                             Light on a Mountain              
I was with four other people, leading the way gradually over ugly and desolate terrain.  It was painful walking on stones and sharp gravel.  After a while I turned around, and I was alone.  The going got rougher, steeper, and very painful, but I had no thoughts of turning back, or looking for my companions.  I seemed to feel sorry for them and somewhat compassionate that they hadn’t continued, yet I missed them and felt lonely.  I remember the scenery – ugly, barren, rocky, beige, no greenery.  After a while of climbing and experiencing terrific physical pain, I came to a small plateau, and felt somehow encouraged.  I caught my breath, and started climbing again, and was soon surprised to find myself on a mountain top.  I thought it might have been the tallest peak, but it clearly wasn’t.  There were a number of mountain peaks surrounding a lake below.  I was comforted that I wasn’t alone, although I couldn’t see anyone.  But it was the colour that was invigorating.  The light was a brilliant yellow with a lot of white, which I had never experienced before – in fact, it was an unreal colour.  It was glorious, and somehow I knew that it was a helpful experience.

I woke up, never to forget this dream.  It sustained me in the next few years, paralleling my life. It was an un-dream-like dream – I was aware that I was on a pilgrimage in a real space that wasn’t dream-like.  The colour was an intense palpable yellow - white that was composed of tiny bits, like triangles that radiated the light.  It went into my body and changed it and, more importantly, affected my mind. It was as if the sharp edges of the triangles cleared my mind of nonsense and extraneous thoughts. It was mind cleansing and refreshing.
This happened seven years ago and I am still alive.  Astoundingly, my health is wonderful.
Following my exhibition "In Time" at Depot Artspace, I was asked by DNANZ president Margaret Bowater to be the keynote speaker at their 2019 conference, expanding on the themes contained within my show.
It was held at St Francis Friary and I spoke for an hour, showing pertinent paintings from the show as I went.
Many people approached me at the end suggesting I turn it into a book, so here it is!!
The book is called "Visions Of The Earth. Options For The Future."
It is a geo-political and spiritual journey that I hope you will all enjoy.
Please RSVP  if you are able to come.
Be lovely to see you all there. Love,
Claudie (Clare)

Another date for your new diary:
Thurs 7th-10th October, 2021:
           4th Dream Network Conference, on “Science and Soul in Dreams.”
                     At the Franciscan Retreat Centre, Hillsborough, Auckland.
Copyright © 2020 Dream Network Aotearoa New Zealand (DNANZ), All rights reserved.

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