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OPEN MEETING  
'DREAMS OF THE COSMOS'  
 

A presentation by Bro. Kevin Dobbyn,

based on the work of Anne Baring.

Friday 9th December, 7.00 pm,

at St Luke’s Community Centre.

Please bring a small plate for supper.

Entry $25, members $20, unwaged $10.

EDITORIAL
Dear Dreamers,
Welcome to the October 2016 edition of DNANZ Bulletin. This month our team are covering some very interesting events plus therapeutic work related to dreams and nightmares.  There are two major highlights since the last issue.  The first is the very successful launch of Margaret Bowater’s second book Healing the Nightmare Freeing the Soul at St. Luke’s in September which Bev Rosevear-Kaho reports on.  The second is the psychodrama workshop conducted by Craig Whisker which I have covered where Craig demonstrated to members of the Advanced Dream group how to use action methodology therapeutically for dream work.   Then in Research Corner Margaret Bowater examines Bonnelle Lewis Strickling’s work on dreams of the divine.  In addition to this, I have contributed a brief article on research reported in Scientific American 2016 about the link between nightmares and suicide and how important it is for therapists to ask about dreams when conducting risk assessments with clients. I have also included a book review of part 1 of Jung’s Red Book (Liber Primus).  Finally, Margaret Bowater has included a piece of dream work given to her by a workshop participant showing how to work therapeutically with a child’s nightmare.  We hope you will find these articles of interest.
Lynette Papp
WORKING WITH A CHILD’S NIGHTMARE
 
A child’s nightmare:  Burglars
Roi, a wise grandmother, told the story of how she helped her little granddaughter of 4 ½ to deal with a nightmare from which she had awakened crying the night before.
In the morning Nana Roi set up two large sheets of paper on the painting easel and asked Emmie about her dream. Emmie told her, “I dreamed that Burglar Bill and Burglar Betty climbed through the window. I was scared” (characters from her favourite storybook).
“Let’s make a painting about it,” said Nana Roi. “Emmie is very big. Paint her from the top of the paper to the bottom of the paper.”
Emmie painted herself very tall in red, blue and yellow. Then she painted the two burglars very small in green. Nana Roi wrote a caption and they read it together.  “Emmie is bigger than Burglar Bill and Burglar Betty. Emmie is the leader – hooray!”
They fastened the painting to the kitchen door. They pointed at the figures of Burglar Bill and Burglar Betty, and said loudly together, “GO HOME!”  Later, when Aunty visited, Emmie “read” the caption to her and the three of them pointed and said loudly together, “GO HOME!” When Daddy and his partner came to pick her up, she “read” the caption to them. They all stood at the door, pointed, and said loudly together, “GO HOME!”
Emmie was very happy dealing with her nightmare this way!
And the picture stayed on the door.


This charming story demonstrates beautifully how a simple intervention by a supportive adult empowered a small child to stand her ground courageously against the fearful figures that threatened her in sleep so that she was able to sleep peacefully again. It also offers a metaphor for grown-ups facing their own inner fears!                                        
Margaret Bowater 
 
PSYCHODRAMA WITH DREAMS
 
– A WORKSHOP WITH CRAIG WHISKER.
The Advanced Dream Group was privileged to have Craig Whisker (psycho-dramatist) conduct a psychodrama workshop using dreams as the focus at the Friday October 14th 2016 meeting at St. Luke’s Remuera.  Margaret Thorne and Margaret Bowater provided the dreams that Craig used with the group to demonstrate his process. 

Starting with a short mindfulness reflection he invited the group to recall a dream that has stood out in their lives and focus on it for five minutes with eyes closed.  Each participant then briefly described their dream and either volunteered, or were nominated by others, for a psychodrama.

Props were simple – a blanket and pillow plus anything else in the room (chairs, cushions, coffee mug).  The volunteer dreamer was invited to recreate the space in which their dream took place. This involved creating a bed and bedside table in both cases.  Craig then asked the volunteer to tell her dream to the group.  Lights were dimmed and invitation was given to lie in the bed, close eyes and simulate sleep.  Craig used a form of guided imagery to induce a relaxed state allowing the dreamer to re-dream their dream.
 
Margaret Thorne’s dream involving a shark, a hippopotamus, a red ball and her son and grandson was the first dream to be workshopped.  This was followed by Margaret Bowater’s dream involving herself, her youngest son at age four, a doorway and tiny, colourful birds fluttering about.  Auxiliaries (other group members) were asked to assume various roles so that each part of the dream, both objects, animals and people, was represented.  Cushions in the room were used to delineate the tide and land.  The dreams were then re-enacted, guided by Craig who directed the process cuing auxiliaries and dreamer as needed. 
 

A very lively three-dimensional image of the dream resulted after which Craig discussed the dreamer’s “lived experience” (context).  She was then sent back to bed to fully re-enter the dream.  The instruction “you can now go to any part or place in the dream” was given and once again a re-enactment followed in which various role reversals were invited between dreamer and auxiliaries. and between auxiliaries.  Actions and emotions were also amplified through invitation by Craig.
 
Finally, the dreamer was asked to return to bed for a third time, create a new ending and then enact getting up after the dream, thus bringing them back into reality.  He asked the dreamer to walk around and reflect aloud on how the new ending impacted on them. The dreamer and facilitator then sat and shared the experience with the other members of the group.  Each participant was also asked to share how the process impacted on their own personal process or experience. 
 
Craig Whisker demonstrated through action how the process of psychodrama can concretise the dreamers’ lived experiences, relieve emotions which provided a very moving experience for all involved. The second session is for the same group, ie members of the Advanced Group – not an Open Meeting.
Lynette Papp
BOOK CORNER

JUNG’S RED BOOK
Unpublished until 2009, Jung’s Estate released Liber Primus (the Red Book) to editor Sonu Shamdasani and a reader’s edition was available in 2012. The book was the result of a visionary quest by Jung in an extended period of self- experimentation during the years 1913 to 1917. It is a beautiful monumental piece of work organised like a medieval illuminated manuscript with calligraphic writing reminiscent of the work of the early monks. Originally bound in red leather some of the text is illustrated with paintings, historiated initials, ornamental borders and margins. The paintings use strong colours with mosaic- like forms, two-dimensional figures without perspective. Many mandalas were also included. Showing Jung’s take on the type of background activity that dreams elicit through switching off consciousness.
 
This experience was so different that at times he thought he was experiencing a type of psychosis (“doing schizophrenia” (P.201).  Today we understand this process as Active Imagination where one closes off consciousness and evokes a waking fantasy which is entered into dramatically.  He writes “I must learn that the dregs of my thought, my dreams, are the speech of my soul. I must carry them in my head and go back and forth over them in my mind like the words of the person dearest to me” (P.233). In the Red Book he describes the work he undertook as a “voluntary confrontation with the unconscious through mythopoetic imagination.” (P. 233).
 
Jung’s experimental process seems to be a type of rumination within the unconscious in a waking state if his perspective on the role of dreams is considered. In the first section Jung uses the metaphor of going into the desert (twenty- five nights) for his exploration and in many ways it presents as a “dark night of the soul.” In Soul and God he implores: “heal the wounds that doubt inflicts on me, my soul…How far away everything is and how I have turned back! My spirit is a spirit of torment; it tears me asunder under my contemplation… I am still a victim of my thinking. When can I order my thinking to be quiet, so my thoughts those unruly hounds, will crawl to my feet.” (P.236).
 
Jung came to normalise his experience believing that his dreams and visions originated from “the subsoil of the collective unconscious.” His precognition of the catastrophic World Wars is an example of his “big” dream. Much of the subject matter of Liber Novus is Jung’s attempt to understand the meaning of his fantasies in relation to such public events. Also his extensive study of mythology is evident in these fantasies where an important figure whom he names Philemon emerges. Philemon is a figure of superior insight who provides Jung with his own inner guru providing a dialogue between those parts of himself and his soul.  
Ultimately the book’s theme is related to how Jung regains his soul from spiritual alienation. In it Jung attempts to understand himself integrating and developing the various components of his personality in relation to society, community of the dead and the psychological and historical effects of Christianity.  One of his most poignant insights is evident in a quote in the section Refinding the Soul:
“He whose desire turns away from outer things, reaches the place of the soul. If he does not find the soul, the horror of emptiness will overcome him and fear will drive him with a whip lashing time and time again in a desperate endeavour and blind desire for the hollow things of the world,” (p. 232).

 
Jung’s concept of embracing paradox is evident in his belief that the spirit of the time allows him to believe in reason and himself as a leader with “ripe thoughts.”  However, the spirit of the depths teaches him that he is a servant of a child and that his soul is a child and the god in his soul is a child.  Throughout the first section there is a battle going on between Jung and his soul in which he seems to be seeking a freedom beyond Christianity.  Here he encounters the desert of himself where he challenges that he has avoided confronting himself by engaging in the distractions of the world – “Have I lived too much outside myself in men and events?” (P.235).  He concludes that he must be alone with his soul and that the way to truth stands open only to those without intentions and that one must take on a “poverty of spirit in order to partake of the soul.”
 
With dimensions 29.4 cm by 39cm Jung’s Red Book is physically not an easy read and better suited to reading on a church lectern. It is dense, complex and, like the Bible, requires careful examination and reflection with plenty of time for exegesis in order to give Jung’s work justice it deserves.
Lynette Papp


MARGARET BOWATER’S

BOOK LAUNCH

 
Linda Cassels with Margaret Bowater
 
Some thirty people gathered in the St Luke’s courtyard room on the second Friday in September 2016 to celebrate the many months of hard work and combined effort that goes into publishing a book.  In this case it was Margaret’s second book “Healing the Nightmare, Freeing the Soul”, published by Calico.
 

Linda Cassels, Managing Director Calico, spoke first to express her appreciation of the content of the book which in her view is full of practical advice, much experience and many stories. She anticipates an international market for the book as has been the case for Margaret’s first book “Dreams and Visions”.

Margaret then spoke on the journey of writing a book for publication, collecting material since 1989, sifting through a box of permission slips and selecting concise and colourful examples for publication noting that her first book went to three publishers before being accepted.

Margaret paid tribute to the late Evan Sherrard with whom she worked from 1999 to the present on the ethics involved in working with people’s dreams given that the symbolic nature of dreams can often be linked very closely with trauma. Statistics show that one in four girls and one in six boys in New Zealand have been the victims of sexual abuse, and working with the dreams can encourage healing from this trauma. Margaret notes that children in particular need skills to handle their fears and cited the example of a grandmother who was able to make a simple and effective intervention in her grandchild’s dream.

In her book Margaret gives examples of the power of working with dreams to heal other forms of trauma such as school or workplace bullying, trauma for refugees from war zones and earthquakes, the suffering incurred by alcohol and drug misuse, domestic violence and anxiety in general. She presented ways in which interventions can be used in dreams which often end at a crisis point whereby the dreamer extends the dream to create new memories. The unconscious then changes the experience into a form that can be assimilated into the psyche.  Action fantasy can be an important healing resource. Writing a new ending to the dream allows the dreamer to find their own solution.

Many examples are used of victims of all ages, gender and culture telling their own stories. Through dream symbolism they start to place responsibility in the appropriate place beginning to regain their assertiveness and problem solving skills. Finally, Margaret reported how she eventually found an illustrator for her book whose work displayed an element of humour and whimsy which seemed to fit and whose work she was pleased with.
 ‘Healing the Nightmare, Freeing the Soul’ by Margaret Bowater, is available in bookstores throughout Auckland.
Bev Rosevear-Kaho

 
HEALING THE NIGHTMARE, FREEING THE SOUL,
with a Foreword by Dr S. Benson, immediate Past-President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, and a commendation by Prof Keith Tudor of AUT.
Contents include how to work with adults and children, post-trauma nightmares, physical and mental illness, anxiety, sexual abuse, stress, spiritual crisis, psychic warnings, grief, fear of death; with 80 processed examples, and 24 attractive drawings by Clare Caldwell. Sale price $40, plus $5 posted.
Order your copy direct from mbowater@clear.net.nz, or from www.calicopublishing.co.nz/book/healing-nightmare-freeing-soul.

 
Research Corner 
A Scientific American article by Michelle Carr (October 14th, 2016) suggests that treating nightmares may help prevent suicides. Citing statistics of 40,000 suicides in the USA in 2015, Carr quotes Mississippi University psychologist Michael Nadorff who posits that nightmares are a hidden treatable risk factor.  His research over the last five years, published in the journal Sleep, shows that nightmares are associated with higher risk for suicide.
In scientific terms suicide risk is usually measured by three elements: thoughts of suicide, suicidal behaviour and the person’s belief that they will die by suicide.  Researchers discovered that having bad dreams predicted suicide above and beyond all the other factors.  Moreover, in a study published in Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior (2013) Nadorff showed that duration (months or years) mattered. The longer the person has had bad dreams the higher the risk.  Another study published in Sleep Medicine Reviews (2016) suggests that just being awake at night increases the risk of suicide and that there needs to be targeted treatment for nightmares and insomnia.
 
Nadorff has found that when asking colleagues if they inquire about nightmares when they conduct risk assessments, they never do.  He and his colleagues use a technique called IRT (Imagery Rehearsal Therapy) which is similar to Margaret Bowater’s technique of creating a new “happier” ending for the dream.  He asks his clients to visualize and rehearse the happier ending for ten to twenty minutes during the day.  Nadorff found that this significantly reduces frequency of nightmares.
Lynette Papp


Research Corner   2                                                  
How do we know when a dream comes to us from the Divine?
  • Often it has a sense of being numinous, conveying depth, creating awe; or it may use religious symbols that we recognise; or it may convey unexpected, powerful emotion, with a sense of deep meaning. If we belong to a religious tradition, it may disturb or enrich our understanding. If we have no such connection, it may be baffling, but still call us to seek its meaning.
  • So I was pleased to find a book which presents this subject more fully: Dreaming about the Divine, by Bonnelle Lewis Strickling, 2007, published by State University of NY Press. The author, a Canadian Jungian therapist and practising spiritual director with a background in Philosophy and Theology discusses many examples from her practice. She uses a triple framework of interpretation roughly equivalent to objective reality, subjective inner-world, and spiritual relationship.
  • Strickling observes that dreams of the Divine tend to happen in “boundary situations,” when we are confronted with death, suffering, struggle, guilt, disappointment or loss – cutting across our ego’s chosen path of life.  Our attitude needs to change and deepen to accept a larger reality including more of the shadow side of life.
  • She identifies three main categories, illustrating them with vivid examples; dreams of comfort, healing and renewal when the psyche has been wounded; dreams of strong energy when we seem to be stuck in an impasse; and “bad dreams” to disturb us out of complacency about life.
  • She concludes with inspiring stories of longer-term therapy or spiritual direction in which dreams of the Divine have contributed to deep healing and authentic personal and spiritual growth. I resonate warmly with Strickling’s emphasis on discovering profound guidance and challenge in our dreams – including her belief that all therapeutic work is ultimately about our spiritual journey through life. Margaret Bowater
Copyright © 2016 Dream Network Aotearoa New Zealand (DNANZ), All rights reserved.


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