The Dream Toolkit:
Eleven Important Principles for Effective Dream Work
by Doug Grunther
mentor at the Wise Woman University
The most effective way I know to do dream work is to use the following “Toolkit” of principles. The original tool kit was devised by my teacher, Dr. Jeremy Taylor. I have expanded it, adding some principles based on my experience working with dreams.
In this article I present the first Principle which may be the most important. I predict it will likely surprise you.
An important point before I describe this principle and offer a famous example: I am not asking you to take my word on this or any aspect of dream work. There are many different theories about dreams and strategies for working them. If you already have dream strategies which work for you, by all means continue to use them on your own. That said, both I and the many people I have worked dreams with, find the following dream principle to be effective, creative, and inspiring.
All dreams come in the service of health and wholeness. This is another way of saying there is no such thing as a bad dream.
Many people reading this principle or hearing it for the first time often react with “How can all dreams come in the service of health and wholeness when so many of them contain horrific images and scenes of death and devastation?”
One of the best ways to answer this question is to cite a dream which is affecting every one taking this course right now (assuming you are not currently naked or wearing only hand-made clothing). Here is a horrifying nightmare experienced by Elias Howe in 1844 which led to the invention of the sewing machine:
In the dream Howe is chased by cannibals through an African jungle. Running for his life as fast as he can he nonetheless gets captured, bound, and thrown into a huge pot of water A big fire is lit to cook him alive. As the water bubbles up around him, the rope binding his hands loosen up. As he attempts to escape from the pot of boiling water the cannibals poke him back into the cauldron with sharp spears.
Howe awoke from the nightmare in a state of great agitation, literally sweating. Yet a part of his mind seized on a curious detail: The cannibals’ spears had holes near the points rather than at the broad end. As he fully awoke he suddenly had a huge “AHA!” He realized that the reason he had struggled so hard to invent a working sewing machine was because he had assumed the hole in needle where the sewing machine thread went through the cloth had to be at the blunt end where most of the weight was. But the cannibal spears had holes towards the point end. By moving the hole to the point end of the sewing machine needles, it was then relatively easy to design a mechanism to poke the thread down through layers of cloth, wrap it around another thread, and pull it up again.
This has been the design of sewing machines ever since. And because the invention of the sewing machine exponentially increased the amount of clothing provided to people around the world, Howe’s horrific nightmare and his creative use of it has had a positive effect on millions of people.
While very few of us will become great inventors through dream work, this is only one of countless examples where a frightening, horrific dream turns out to have a significantly positive message.
Our dreams often reveal challenging situations where we appear weak and helpless, yet they are never coming to say, ‘This is the way it is and there is nothing we can do about it.’ They may be coming to say that if we continue to ignore the situation of the dream or try to sweep its emotional content out of consciousness, then there may be future problems. At the same time our dreams always offer creative solutions if we are willing to dig deeply enough and become more aware of their underlying messages.
Listen to a 30 minute radio interview with Doglas Grunther
Online Course by Douglas Grunther
Discovering the Creative and Healing Power of Your Dreams
Learn how your dreams can provide valuable insights into your physical, emotional and spiritual life. Every night we dream between 4-6 times.
During this course you will learn how to remember more dreams by creating a dream journal and practicing “incubation” techniques. We will explore the fascinating symbols provided by our dreams and learn how to extract the deeper meanings behind them so you can apply them to major life issues. And after a discussion about the advantages of sharing dreams with others, you will learn some of the most effective ways to work dreams one-on-one and in groups.
About the Mentor:
Doug Grunther is a certified dream work facilitator and has been Woodstock, NY’s most noted radio talk show host for over twenty-five years. His program, The Dream Show, heard over WDST-FM, Woodstock, and over the Internet at WDST.com and WCBS.com, offers listeners the opportunity to call in with a dream and receive valuable insights from dream experts.
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Women of Wisdom:
Empowering the Dreams and Spirit of Women
by Kris Steinnes
Founder, Women of Wisdom Foundation.
An inspiring collection of keynote presentations from Women of Wisdom between 1995 and 2006, filled with stories, art, poetry and songs by Women of Wisdom participants. 360 pages with illustrations.
Kris Steinnes is the visionary founder of Women of Wisdom Foundation and in 1993 she organized the first WOW Conference in Seattle. Year after year she has brought together women leaders from many fields to to share their experiences and help build a world in which women’s voices are heard and feminine wisdom can be live to its fullest. Kris has a commitment to bring feminine consciousness to the fore of our collective experience.
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