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Lesson 1 | Recall and Community Connections

 Introduction  to Dreamwork and dreamwork communities online.

Electric Dreams CommunityIn the first class I encourage all students to sign up to the  Electric Dreams E-zine. Get plugged into the major source about dreams and dreaming online, the 1994 e-zine of the global grassroots movement. Electric Dreams is also an online community and is highly interactive. Included are dreams groups via e-mail with dreamers from around the globe participating in easy to understand, non-defensive, creative dream sharing. Also included are leads to other dream related communities online, from the dream activists at the World Peace Bridge to the researchers at the Association for the Study of dreams.

Dream Recall Basics: Some basics and helpful hints for those who don't recall dreams or keep a journal, or those wanting to improve these skills. Connections to online sites offering help from the simplest tips on recall to exploration of long term dream journal keeping.

Lesson 2 & 3 | Sigmund Freud Recovers the Dreamwork

Dream Techniques From Freud:
 Free Association & the Unconscious
Since my interest is less in teaching psychotherapy and more about how you can interpret your dreams on your own, my approach to Freud is playful. You will still get the historical basics, but the techniques adapted from psychoanalysis will in this course be used to explore more the surface of dream.

Also, since Freud's model for dreaming is still so often referenced in academic and clinical thought,  I felt it was essential to include in this lesson an overview on his dream theories, particularly the Dream-Works which are such a wonderful model for how the zany parts of our imagination operate.

So, light up your cigars and get ready to be surprised by what Freud thinks you are really dreaming about!

Lesson 4 & 5 | Ancient Dreams and Carl G. Jung I

Ancient Dreams: Dream texts & practices in Early Western Cultures.  A quick tour of Western Roots and its classical attitudes towards dreams and dreaming. Again, a focus on how to not just see this as abstract information, but rather a doorway techniques allowing new approaches to dream imagery.

C. G. Jung I. Me and my Shadow. I feel that even a quick foray into Jung yields potent tools in perception and significant relationships with oneself. But its a little odd for many to learn how to approach icky, yucky stuff in dreams as potential gold mines.

C. G. Jung II: Beyond & Through the Personal.  - This essay carries Jung's basic model into contact with the non-personal realms as they relate to dreams and dreaming and extends the idea of what a relationship with the unconscious might look like and how dreams may mediate this relationship.

Lesson 6 & 7 | More Jung, Jungians and Mythic Campbell

Jung III: Archetype & Myth.  One of the most accessible & popular aspects of Jungian thought and practice evolves from Jung's love of story, fables and myth. Joseph Campbell also helped bring to us this love of story and together, Jung and Campbell offer tools for using dreams to chart our own mythic journey. By combining our own dreams with myths and fables, our mythic journey is given a map that will carry one beyond everyday life to the world where we all meet and struggle with bigger meaning and value of life.

Jung IV: Jung and Dreams. Though Jung never wrote a separate book on dreams, there is *so* much material that a special essay is needed to give a general lay of the land. Although Jung felt *each* dream should yield its own new theory, the Jungians have developed a wide array of helpful standard techniques. While one could spend several lifetimes mastering these techniques, many are accessible right away with a little practice. As a matter of fact, Jung thought dreams were *already* doing what they needed to be doing. We simply help the processes along.

Lesson 8 & 9 | Adler, Surrealism, Phenomenology, Gestalt Dream Work

Other Pre-1960's Dream Theories: All is not Jung and easily Freudened! The Surrealist Movement championed dreams as a path away form the deadness of everyday worldviews and a gateway into novel experience and surreality. Phenomenology combined with psychoanalysis to produce ideas about approaching dreams on their own, bracketing out our pre-conceived notions and allowing the imagery to evolve on its own. This lesson explores these and other dream movements and theories that haven't gotten as much attention as they deserve.

Perls, Gestalt & Dreams: The 1960's brought with it an explosion of new therapies and with them a renewed interest in dreams. None was as popular as the Gestalt movement. While many saw Fritz Perls' techniques as derivative of others before him, none can deny that Perls brought dream awareness to millions of people seeking a more profound life outside of game-playing and emotionally dead relations. This lesson explores this history and the relevant Gestalt techniques that we can use outside of therapy to integrate the fragmented parts of ourselves though dreamwork.

Lesson 10 & 11 | The DreamBody and Couch to Culture.

Dreambody and Experiential Dreamwork: One of the major advances in self knowledge has been the shift from the mind to the body. This lesson looks at two major practitioners who have combined Freud, Jung, Reich, Eastern Practices, and phenomenology to produce methods we can use to free up the rigid character armoring that develops over time. There is a paradigm shift here from content to process. The dream is recognized a part of our process that we come into dialogue with. Much of this work can be done outside the therapeutic setting.

From the Couch to the Culture: Walter Bonime & Montague Ullman.  While the Jungians have always enjoyed working with manifest dream material, the psychoanalytically trained schools have only come to this more recently. Bonime and Ullman were two pioneers in this regard. Bonime shifted the emphasis to the manifest or visible dream and Ullman taught practices and held groups that could work with this material in non-clinical settings. These techniques have become the standard in grassroots dream work and are used by the Association for the Study of Dreams at their conferences for introducing new participants to group dreamwork. Modifications of these techniques are used on the Electric Dreams DreamWheel groups that are part of this course.

Lesson 12 & 13 | Grassroots DreamWork & Lucid Dreaming

Grassroots Dream work in America. There has been an explosion in the number of regional, small dream groups in America since the 1960's. They now has their own history, journals, magazines, mini-movements, and conflicts all apart from the therapeutic and clinical dream interpretation community. Sometimes this grassroots movement has been organized by social institutions and communities, but the soul and heart of the movement has been the local dream group. These are the people tinkering in the garages and after work in groups with techniques that now form a larger body of literature and practices that can be found in popular literature.

Lucid Dreaming and Lucid Control. One of the popular new offshoots of dreamwork is lucid dreaming, or knowing you are dreaming while you are dreaming and being able, to varying degrees, to control the events and content of the dream. The lucid dreamers have formed groups and organizations to address the particular issues involved in lucid dreaming and advance the techniques used to increase the frequency of its occurrence and the depth of the experience. This lesson explores these techniques as well as looking at the scientific history of lucid dreaming's development and key figures in the field.

Get ready to interact with your dreams in real time.  Perhaps you are dreaming right now. How can you tell?

Lesson 14 & 15 | Dreaming Science

Dreaming Science. Why does a dreamworker need to know anything about dream science?

How many times have you heard someone say, "Oh, science has shown that all dreaming is just a bunch of random thoughts."

I would like for you to know what dream science really says about dreaming and all the benefits and functions science has found. 

 From the first R.E.M. discovery in the University of Chicago labs in 1953 to the latest debates on neural networks, to the revolution in MRI/PET brain scans and discoveries in neuropsychology,  this lesson not only explores the history of empirical findings, but takes a more positive approach and looks at how dream science can aid in finding the meaning and value of your own dreams.

No previous science course is needed for this lesson.

Lesson 16 & 17 | Anthropology  & Dreams and Religion

 Anthropologists and Dreams:  While early dream anthropology was busy trying to see aboriginal cultures from the Western viewpoints of psychoanalysis and evolutionary theory, later anthropologists began to look for how the dream works within the culture. The Senoi dreamwork evolved out of this cultural relativism and while highly controversial, it stands as a model of cultural cooperation rather than colonial imposition.

Dreaming Anthropology: If science is correct, we have been dreaming for as long as we have been mammals, maybe longer. If Campbell and Jung are correct, we have been making meaning from dreams before recorded history. This means that we have been practicing dreamwork for millions of years. This essay explores a general, brief overview of what we know about native cultures and their dream practices.

Dream and Western Religion: Dreams were at the beginning of every major axis religion, both East and West, but were later repressed by the orthodoxy. What happened? In this class we trace the development and repression and revival of dream work in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Take the psycho-spiritual trip that other cultures have been traveling for millennium.

Lesson 18 - 20 | Psychic Dreams, Mutual Dreaming, Incubation, Proactive Dreaming and Dream Sharing in Cyberspace

Alternative Dreaming. There is now a wider range of dreaming practices that are being explored besides the the use of dreams for therapy. Some make intentions before going to sleep and incubate dreams. Some find that telepathic powers are increased during dreams. Some people like to meet in their dreams with others at pre-designated places, some like to use dreams for inspiring writing and other arts. Some simply like to *do* things in dreams, increasing the chances of flying, eating, having sex and going on virtual journeys.  Get ready to learn about recreational dreaming!

Post Jungians: James Hillman & the Archetypal school have opened the dream to the culture at large, and soon the postmodern writers & cyberspace will be opening us up to unheard of categories yet to be explored. This lesson explores the alternatives and offers options to our usual willful efforts that impose uses on dreams. Yes, even "being open" is an imposed paradigm.

Dream Sharing in Cyberspace: From early attempts at exchanging dreams via modems and telephones to the democratic graphics of the World Wide Web, dream sharing has entered Cyberspace. What are the places where dreams are shared and how is this dream sharing different that traditional methods? Learn all the alleyways and side streets on the Net as well as the major sites for information and community.

Resources on Dreams and Dreaming

One of the more practically useful aspects of the course is that you will be plugged into the online dream community. During the first few years of the Net, this community was quite small but has now grown considerably, making it difficult to navigate all the areas. Some people are interested in dream interpretation and dream sharing groups, other in lucid dreaming, mutual dreaming, telepathic dreaming, and a wide variety of other interesting dream themes.  How to find just who and what you need can be confusing. I'm a great guide! 

 I have been creating and exploring these online communities since 1994 and have developed a wide network of groups and individuals that I can put you in contact with. Besides being the editor for the Electric Dreams community e-zine, I am also the Chair of the Electronic Communications Committee at the Association for the Study of Dreams and the ASD webmaster.  I write a regular column for Dream Time magazine, the Cyberphile and have contributed to the New York Times, Wired magazine, Psychology and Self Help, Dream Tree News, Dream Newzzz and many other publications. I am the author of  A Brief History of Dream Sharing, Theory, Techniques and Cyberspace. (1999, DreamGate Publishing, SF isbn 1-58548-008-8 ) and wrote "Dreaming in Cyberspace", a chapter in a book called DreamScaping with Stan Krippner, Mark Waldman, Marie L. von Franz, Robert Bosnak, Eugene Gendlin, Oliver Saks and others.  I have assisted and consulted many contemporary dream titans about their websites, including Cyber Psychologist Dr. Jayne Gackenback, Dream Scholar Kelly Bulkeley, Dream Pioneer Ph. D., Patricia Garfield, Ph.D., First President of ASD, Gayle Delaney, Ph.D., 2000 President of ASD, Alan Siegel, Ph.D., Strephon Kaplan Williams, author of the Senoi Dreamwork Manual, Expert witness at the O.J. Simpson trial, Robert Van de Castle, Bob Hoss, the Telecommunications Center manager for IBM and author of Dreaming in Color, and many others.  See my latest project as guest editor with ASD Dream Time, Dreaming in Cyberspace.

Richard Wilkerson

More Information about the Class, Dreams and Richard Wilkerson

*Class Syllabus changes slightly from course to course but always includes the same basic material. return

Classes begin at the first of each new month. Sign up today!