rachelmanija: (Sandman: Dream)
rachelmanija ([personal profile] rachelmanija) wrote2012-01-07 12:31 pm

Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth, by Robert Johnson

Another school book, this one for Personality 1.

A manual for accessing one’s unconscious via dreams and “active imagination.” Johnson is a Jungian and discusses archetypes, but emphasizes that most dream symbolism is highly personal. Whether one believes that dreams are literal messages from the unconscious, or that one’s interpretation of the largely random matter of dreams is a method for accessing unexplored areas of the psyche, if one has any interest in exploring dreams and the unconscious, Johnson’s methods seem likely to be helpful.

He outlines detailed steps for dream interpretation, as follows:

Associations: Write down all the associations for each element of the dream, one at a time, not censoring oneself. That is, if the dream involves a blue car, all the associations for “blue.” Then all the associations for “car.” Etc.

Dynamics: Connect the images and associations with one’s inner life. Which associations seem intuitively valid? What in one’s inner life might relate to them? He suggests that real people in dreams typically don’t represent the actual people, but characteristics one associates with them.

Interpretations: Search for the central message that seems to be communicated.

Rituals: Do a small but concrete ritual action to cement the meaning of the dream and its message.

He also explains and gives steps for “active imagination.” Basically, this is doing somewhat directed daydreaming while writing down the daydream as it occurs. This sounds potentially interesting, and I will try it. (There’s way too much involved to try to summarize it here, but the book is easily available in the US, if you’re curious.)

Caveat: some mild gender stereotyping, and romanticizing of the past and non-western cultures.

Last night I dreamed that Anthony Bourdain and I were strolling around an indoor-outdoor food court somewhere in Asia, sampling and discussing all the food. We each tried a lamb skewer with different seasonings, his tandoori, mine spice-rubbed, then took a bite of the one we didn't get. He deemed mine "tough but good." I also recall ramen, donburi, and some very fancy wagashi.

Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth
movingfinger: (Default)

[personal profile] movingfinger 2012-01-08 05:20 am (UTC)(link)
What would "a small but concrete ritual action..." be? I'm puzzled as to why writing it down isn't enough.

[identity profile] foibos.livejournal.com 2012-01-08 01:56 pm (UTC)(link)
A few days ago I dreamed that I mingled with Freddie Mercury and a couple of other people. Naturally, I tried my best to impress and flatter him, with limited results. On waking up, I realized that I had been calling him "Teddy Mercury".

I don't even want to start analyzing this.