Archetypal dreamwork is a powerful process of working with dreams for personal and spiritual growth. It has roots in Jung's basic approach towards dreams as a very natural experience. Instead of seeing dreams as riddles to be solved, the emphasis is always on what the dreamer feels in the dream.
Dreams were at the beginning of my work in poetry, and prose. But I first became interested in the power of images for spiritual practice after my encounter with Tibetan Buddhism as described in The Jew in the Lotus. In The History of Last Night's Dream I investigated the history of dreams and dream interpretation in the West, from the book of Genesis, to the rabbinic sages, the Church Fathers and on to Freud and Jung. I encountered a series of teachers, including Colette Aboulker-Muscat in Jerusalem, who taught me her unique methods of visualization based on Jewish mysticism, Tarab Tulku, a Tibetan master of dream yoga, and Marc Bregman, a dream teacher living in rural Vermont who first introduced me to archetypal dreamwork. I worked closely with him for 12 years and he has succeeded in passing this work on to me so that I can now bring it out in my own way. Since 2002 I have been seeing clients one on one and have spent thousands of hours working with people's dreams. I have also given lectures and taught dreamwork workshops in a variety of settings including synagogues, ashrams, zendos and universities.
My clients live around the world and we meet via phone, Skype or face to face. Although I've taught at the university and college level for over thirty years, this is the most powerful and moving teaching I've ever been involved in. It is so direct and personal, and so moving to my clients, that I've decided to devote the rest of my life to doing this work.
In my books since The Jew in the Lotus I've documented my own search for meaning and what I've learned from my spiritual teachers which have included Buddhist monks and mystical rabbis. But of all the work I've done, and all the teachings I've encountered, this dream work seems the most direct, the most powerful, and the most available.
It is open to all, regardless of belief or lack of belief. My clients include rabbis, deacons and Buddhist practitioners but also people with no religious practice whatsoever. Dream work does not require it.Yet I believe dreams can open us to the journey of the soul. The work is not moralistic or judgmental. It is not about lofty ideas or sentiments. Instead dream by dream, the work gives us a direct experience of a greater depth of feeling, of sensuality, of emotional relationship and soulfulness. And in time dreams reorient us to a life centered in the heart.
Dream work is not easy, and not for everyone. The level of honesty that dreams provide forces us to face the most profound and difficult feelings. This path requires and develops courage and I deeply admire my clients who have stayed with it over the years. There are times after a session where I just feel a sense of awe at what we have discovered together. That is the joy that sustains me in doing this work.
I only have room for a limited number of clients, but if you feel you might be ready for this journey in dreams, please write me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'll explain in detail what the work is about and answer your questions. And together we'll see if you are ready to begin.
Dreams engage us in a realm of dream consciousness, which lies underneath ordinary waking consciousness. Dream consciousness provides a different way of viewing ourselves, our relationships and our feelings. By entering into an extended sequence of dream experiences, the pieces begin to fit together into a greater whole. Jung said that every person needs to discover the myth of his or her life. This myth is decidedly different from the old story we know about ourselves, and that we have been telling ourselves and others for so long. Instead, the actual myth comes by descending below our usual self-concepts and explanations, into a realm of highly charged living metaphors, that is metaphors that are experienced within the dream as actual and embodied.
Through this descent into dream consciousness, we come to see how our afflictive emotions, our perpetual reactions are rooted in deeper unfelt or unacknowledged feelings. We separate from the old persona and its old story-- an old persona built up from years of unconscious reaction. Instead we find ourselves in a realm of pure feeling and relationships with personified figures, the archetypes, who embody wisdom, truth, understanding and love. We come to learn that at core we are deeply loved and that we need love. By experiencing this for ourselves, we gain the strength to separate from old self-defeating self-concepts, from old stories about ourselves that have constricted our freedom and marred our lives.
Sometimes in dreams we experience feelings we need to know better so that we may recognize them and value them in waking. Or we experience the pain of habitual reactions and stale responses that no longer serve us in our lives, and are actively hurting ourselves and others. Over time through dreams we achieve clarity about the distinction between reaction and feeling. And through dreams we come at last to an understanding of the area of numbness or blankness in ourselves, that surrounds our deepest traumas. In doing trauma work--- which is difficult and delicate-- we discover a key puzzle piece to the formation of the personality and we open places where we have been stuck a very long time.
The dream path involves an intimate relationship with a dream practitioner, a relationship of deep honesty. The practitioner is a person who has experienced the path in dreams over many years, and is familiar with the inner landscape that dreams reveal. The practitioner supports the growth and healing of the client and models an open non-judgmental and imaginative view of dream experience. Shame is undone and guilt is put away, long-hidden truths are brought to the surface, and the difficult feelings that caused us to hide from ourselves, are brought into daylight so that we may know that we are capable of receiving love.
The client's dreams are treated with great respect and even reverence-- both client and practitioner enter together into the dream realm with a sense of discovery and with an understanding that the feelings in dreams are extremely powerful, and sometimes quite difficult. The deeper part of the path involves a discovery of essential self or soul, and through relationships with the archetypes, a sense that one needs love and is deeply loved. This leads to a healing of old wounds, and a renewal of a capacity to grow and change.
What are the benefits of working with dreams? Instead of relying on impersonal thought to solve problems in life, and getting stuck in the same old knots and puzzles, the dreamer knows that feelings and relationships are paramount and that through acknowledging our deeper feelings, even the painful ones, we can find a way through our most difficult personal problems. There is a renewed capacity for faith in all sense of the word; for some this is expressed in a deeper commitment to spiritual practice or a felt sense of a relationship to a very personal God. For others it is simply the faith to grow and change, to make new decisions and get out of old traps. There is a growing sense of simplicity and wholeness, of greater clarity. There is a capacity to move more quickly through reactions and back to feelings, for it is only through our feelings that we can come to our true selves, and be in real relationship with others. Dreamwork leads to a greater capacity for change when change is needed Life decisions are no longer dependent on the opinions of others, but come from a deep inner core of knowing. For many it is an opening to greater creative intensity, and an invitation to explore self-expression through the arts of writing, painting, music and performance. A great benefit of dreamwork is understanding that it is never too late to change.
I wanted to share these beautiful statements from two of my clients.
Marian Gay writes,
It's no exaggeration to say that Rodger's book changed my life, and that his dreamwork is saving it.
My pride tends to seize on foolish things that don't amount to much. But if there is a good kind of pride, I think I feel that about this work, a real sense of accomplishment that's unfamiliar to me. I feel proud of the work I've done and feel I'll stick with it in a way I haven't with other pursuits. Usually I have trouble knowing desire, let alone following it, so I'm grateful for this strong desire that doesn't seem to falter.
When I was only a few years old I often dreamt of a fox floating beside me down a long tunnel from the dreamworld, who carried dream objects and people with us back to waking life. I had that dream so many times it's burned into my brain, and in a way feel I'm circling back to it now, some 50 years later.
Before the Saints finally won the Super Bowl this year, the local newspaper held a contest to choose a headline that could possibly express the joy of that moment. The winning choice greeted us in gargantuan letters the day after - a single word: Amen, showing us in the end the experience was beyond words.
That's how I feel now: By some miracle, it's not too late for me after all. I get to live before I die. Amen.
To read more please go here.
Kathy Samworth writes,
Rodger, the dreams, and I work together to open the door to my inner life. The dreams are part of that inner life but they also hold the key to it as well. They are so smart, so honest. They know more about me than I do --if that makes any sense. That is where Rodger's expertise comes in. Often, I think I have got the dreams figured out. Then I talk to Rodger and see that I have missed so much. All of us have blind spots that make it difficult to see ourselves. There is often much about ourselves that we don't really want to face, but that is exactly what we need to do in order to grow and become unstuck. Rodger has an ability to see further into the dream than I can. He hits on aspects of my life that I hadn't realized I needed to pay attention to. It is uncanny how "right on" he can be. He patiently works to tease out my feelings (or lack of feelings) associated with each dream. With every session, connection to my inner life, my inner world grows. With this connection, I continue to move toward a more fulfilled life with incredible depth and feeling.
THE REAL WORLD OF DREAMING (CBC)
Watch or download the complete webcast of Oprah's interview with me
This book by Rodger Kamenetz I loved from the cover. Because it's The History of Last Night's Dream:The Hidden Path to the Soul, and if there's a hidden path to the soul I want to know what that is. What's so exciting about this book is that it talks about how there's a whole other life that we are living when we sleep and that our dreams are there as offerings and gifts to us if we only recognize what the dreams are there to teach us, what they're there to tell us about our waking lives.--Oprah Winfrey