Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (Spring, 1997). A History of Dream Sharing in Cyberspace -
Part II & III . The Association for the Study of Dreams Newsletter 14(2).
Also, special notes on dreams and
spirituality from the Net.
Richard Catlett Wilkerson
The Cyberphile this issue includes the Second installment of aHistorical
Notes on Dream Sharing in Cyberspace with references, an update on the ASD Web Site Links and how to join the Spiritual Online
I put out a request for comments about dreams, spirituality and the Net which was
poorly written and got back responses about dreams and spirituality in general. I didn't
include them in the article, but have included them here online as an appendix to the article. My apologies to the respondents who may
have expected to appear in the DreamTime issue on Dreams and Spirituality. - Richard
LINKS and ASD
Whooopeeee! We have joined the league of Civilized Web Sites and become true Netizens! You
can now explore the world of dreams online via the ASD site,
If you have links you wish to see on our site, send them to Jayne Gackenbach for
discussion among the Electronic Committee. You can also join in discussions of links or
leave suggestions on the ASD Web Bulletin Board.
A History of DreamSharing Part II and III
IRC, Chat Rooms and Dreams and Spirituality on the
Last month I began a History of Dream Sharing In Cyberspace and
covered the first telecommunication links and how e-mail groups have evolved from a desire
to share dreams to sophisticated processes linked with education and international
attention. In this issue Chat rooms and IRC are mentioned briefly before jumping into the
topic of Dreams and Spirituality on the Net.
Note: Links & references for all the sites mentioned are on
the Web version of this article, since I assume that anyone interested will have to go
online anyway. The contact link point and index will be at:
II. IRC and Chat Rooms
Not all of Cyberspace is filled with e-mail and message boards!
A popular but less formal mode of dream sharing is Internet Relay Chat, or IRC. IRC
provides a group with a real-time screen that allows for several conversations via text to
take place at once. As soon as one finishes typing, the message is displayed on everyone
else's screen that is participating in the chat "room". Thousands of rooms are
open at any specific time and anyone who connects can create a topic room in a few
seconds. When you leave, the room disappears.
The advantage to IRC dream sharing is that there is immediate
processing of imagery which leads to more emotionally toned sessions and the sense of the
person being "there". I have not found any research on dream sharing on IRC, but
participants have reported that the meetings are valuable to them. Fred Olsen mentioned
during the 1996 Berkeley Panel that some participants preferred chat style sharing to
face-to-face groups because they are anonymous and they didn't feel embarrassed.
Successful and favored techniques by the groups include non-directive questioning, such as
variations of Gayle Delaney's Interview Method, Dream Re-entry approaches such as those of
Fred Olsen and Explorational techniques like those used by Jermey Taylor. (For a sample in
print, see Barbara Viglizzo's chapter in Mark Stefik's Internet Dreams, 1996, MIT Press,
These Chat Channels are also popular with the commercial online
servers, such as America Online, Compuserve, Prodigy and Microsoft Network, and have
spawned some very popular shows. On Compuserve, for example, Donna Campos host the Dream
Studio regularly on Monday Nights in the New Age Forum. Jeremy Taylor hosts the Dream Show
on America Online at Channel One in the Hub on weekday mornings. Ed Kellogg hosts Alien
Talk, where discussion of Lucid and other kinds of dreaming take place on the MSN,
Often, these shows will combine with other dream resources,
bulletin boards and information centers, full of dream info and references. The
disadvantage is that only those who have subscriptions to these specific providers may
connect and join in the group. With IRC, anyone with a connection to the Net and IRC
software may join the group.
Explosion of Dream Sites World Wide Web
The past two years, 1995 and 1996, have seen the launching of a
fleet of dream sites concerned with dream sharing. I'm using the term "dream
sharing" very loosely here to include journal exhibition, dream inspired art, sound
recordings, dream predictions, dream inspired poetry and texts using dreams, as well as
cultural & other exhibitions inspired by dreams. Some dream sharing web sites turn the
dream into a huge hyperlinked image that becomes linked to a multitude of other sites. The
elephant in my dream text, for example, can link to a site about elephants, or the Hindu
elephant god, or both.
Since one of the earliest cultural uses of dreams was to connect
with the sacred, the topic of dreams and spirituality online is a good starting point for
exploring the variety of dream sharing sites and venues in Cyberspace.
III. Dreams and Spirituality on the Net.
"Ask the Internet search engine Alta Vista to locate sites related to
"Sex", and it returns 683,643 documents. Request "God" and it lists
nearly three times as many: 1,772,945"
(quote from )
Dreams and Spirituality on the Net are part of the emerging
concern about the meaning, significance, and highest potential value of this new
electronic omnisphere in general. How can the electronic global nerve network be used to
communicate real wisdom, and to advance a vision of our best possibilities? What unforseen
possibilities will arrise out of our choice of this medium? Preliminary speculations range
from dire warnings to beautific visions. Some see the Net as the Anti-Christ falsely
promising world peace while enslaving us to mere simulations of reality. Lonny Brown and
others, on the other hand, comment on how the optimistic spiritual community sees the net
as a multi-dimensional link-up which amounts to nothing less than the next step in the
evolution of human consciousness and the emerging self-awareness of the Planetary Mind.
While most religious and spiritual movements and organizations on the Net have come
online with the intention of putting up important information, they have just recently
begun to catch on that Cyberspace is a "place" where people meet and interact,
not just a big warehouse were we leave things. And so, dream activities and spirituality
in organized movements still tend to trail and follow spontaneous grassroots spirituality.
Organized Major Religions
When the Pope's E-mail address went online last year, it was
only a short time before the computer server hosting the spot collapsed from too much
mail. The site still remains (minus the E-mail address) with links to sacred texts and
other online resources. Recently, I saved myself a great deal of time by doing some
preliminary research online with the Catholic Church. I was investigating if dream sharing
had perhaps been occurring in confession. According to the priests they haven't, being
considered non-volitional and thus not something one had to confess. But this now brings
up the question of whether volition in lucid dreaming means that the catechism will have
to be re-written. A few phone calls may have achieved the same results, but I doubt that I
would have gotten written replies so quickly.
Although the Net has temples where one can incubate dreams, and
copies of sacred scriptures that refer to dreams, there really has not been a Dream
Religion that has emerged yet on the Net. The absence and re-emergence of dreams in
organized major religious programs will probably follow the same pattern online. There is
a great deal of opportunity and potential for distribution of information as well as
ecumenical dialogue on the matter.
Alternative Religious Movements Involving Dreams
Spiritual insight from dreams have been taught by several
alternative religious movements, and these groups are now meeting in Cyberspace. Harold
Klemp, the spiritual leader of Eckankar says on his web page "Dreams are a starting
point for many who wish to begin the spiritual journey to God and do it in the easiest
possible way. Dreams taught me to face myself, let me see the future, and took me to the
heavens of God."
For the Eckankar, the meaning of "Spiritual" has to do
with becoming a better person, bringing more patience, compassion, and love into one's
life and recognizing one's divine purpose. Whether the Eck dream program can transfer well
to Cyberspace is still unclear and may be part of a larger question of whether guided
meditations can transfer to the Net. Sending sound requires a lot more memory and
resources than simple text.
This definition is also assumed by another spiritual dream group
that has come online A.R.E., The Association for Research and Enlightenment, the legacy of
Edgar Cayce. Dreams are seen as foreshadowing all important events, and so physical,
mental and spiritual are all included. Although dreams are often seen as containing
symbols of a universal nature with similar meanings in diverse cultures, the Cayce
readings stress the highly individual nature of dreams. It is frequently mentioned that
each person is his or her own best dream interpreter, even though outside feedback can
certainly be valuable. Since their offline dream groups have been so popular, I suspect we
will soon see them offer groups on the Net as well.
Psycho-Spirituality and the New Age Online
Perhaps the most powerful ally in spiritual dream work at this
time is psychology.
While the practice of psychology is still highly questionable
and controversial online, the curiosity and discussion of these ideas can be found
everywhere. The influence of the spiritual need in psychology is apparent not only in
traditional depth psychologies that pioneered such needs like the Jungians, but is also in
Alternate Healing, Astrology, Native Spirituality, Neo-Paganism, Magick, Wicca and other
New Age practices.
The Hayden Institute, offering a psycho-spiritual program, is
now getting their program out online for parishioners, lay readers, and clergy who wish to
lead church dream groups, therapists who wish to enhance their therapeutic skills, and
community small group leaders who wish to learn dream group skills. There are not any
activities yet online by the Institute directly, but as mentioned above, some of the
teachers like Jermey Taylor have regular online groups and programs.
The Jungians have been slow to come online, but are gaining in
numbers and resources. There is always a struggle between making resources available to
the public, selling intellectual property and maintaining the copyrighted text under the
publisher's control. Many major religions have made their sacred texts available to the
public, but what does a psychological school do? For now, there are sites with generous
quotes and copious reference materials, but don't go looking for a copy of the Collected
Works of Jung.
A site that exemplifies dreams and archetypal views on dreams
has been developing for over a year at Dreamwave. Timothy Tate & Associates lead dream
concerned individuals through a soulful maze of self reflection that continues to pull at
the larger than human experiences that can be contacted through dreams and dreamwork. Tate
unveiled this program at the 1996 ASD conference and plans to extend the program to
include a wide variety of ways to contact the soul via dreams and Cyberspace.
One of the first programs for exploring the meaning of dreams in
our lives via the Net and Web was DreamLink, coordinated and developed by Linton &
Becky Hutchison. They originally provided a message board on the Web for people to leave
dreams and comments on dreams. Now the site has grown to include a wide spectrum of
resources and programs. Sites like these are the new dream temples. Just as with the
Ancient Greek Asklepion sanctuaries, one can enter, leave a dream, become involved with a
group, and hope to be touched by a healing presence. The new dream sites tend to invite a
wider range of participation. And unlike the ancient Greek sanctuaries, one needn't be
sick to enter.
Jayne Gackenbach continues to take a leading role in dreams and
spirituality online. Her expanding online program that began with courses online teaching
students how to discover the meaning and value of dreams in life has expanded into several
online dream programs and resources, including SpiritWatch. This site includes not only
information and backissues of the Lucidity Letter, but explores non-traditional dream
spirituality blending Native and Christian Traditions.
The Lucidity Institute continues its forays, explorations and
investigations into the spirit of lucid dreaming and their site now offers articles &
research as well as information about lucidity and spirituality connect. The spirituality
of lucid dreaming very popular online, as can be seen in the many sites and programs like
the D.R.E.A.M.S. Foundation, and the Oneiro-Network. People in the network here meet on a
regular basis and discuss the meaning and value of their lucid experiences.
By far the oldest and most active group online exploring the
meaning and value of dreams is the Electric Dreams community. The resources are
continually distributed among the participants and thus the newsletters, web sites, mail
lists, message boards and information sites are spread around Net, under no particular
person's control. There is no particular spiritual emphasis or bias, but as participants
go through the major issues of life, death, birth, relationship and change, the dreams
shared form a kind spiritual text. The dreams and comments allow the community to draw
upon new ways of moving with dream imagery to understand the major and minor spiritual
concerns that effect most all of us. As more and more dream journals appear online, we
will be able to draw on a even larger range of metaphors for giving meaning and vision to
The Spiritual Frontier
Dream groups online will become more diverse and offer a wide
variety of approaches to spiritual concerns, issues and topics. People now use the Web to
display not only dream texts, but images, sound and other media. What makes this different
from Television of the Film Industry is that so many people can participate. TV and movies
are done by a few for the many. The Net is many to many. My spiritual image of the Net is
of a place like Avebury or Stonehenge where the tribes meet and exchange ideas and
experience. We erect new cosmic compasses that give us bearings in relationship to one
another and the Infinite, as well as finding new metaphors that will move us into the new
Millennium. Each meeting we re-construct the compass, adjust the boundaries and add new
For a pilgrimage through cyber-spirituality, See
Spirituality Online Below.
Next issue, the exploration of Dream Sharing on the Net
continues with alternative dream work sites and ideas, from dream inspired art galleries
to telepathic dream forums and global social experiments.
Richard, I can t wait for the next issue and want to know
everything that is happening about dream sharing in Cyberspace!
OK, drop me a line and I'll connect you to the dream community online. E-mail email@example.com
Special Web Supplement:
Spirituality Online - Links to the Divine, Maybe
Just as the Internet both valorizes and makes fun of everything it comes into contact
with, so to is Spirituality represented, from prank religious movements worshipping the
Net Deities, to serious attempts get the Word out.
A Place to Begin Searching Online for God
Time's God Online An excellent summary and
starting place to explore Spirituality Online.
Religion, The Story If
the Internet has given us anything, it has given us choices--including web sites for all
manners of faith and all kinds of spiritual wisdom. From official religions with millions
of followers to sites for potential cults still looking for their first converts, they are
each in their own way setting out to chart a path toward everlasting life, on the
Index of Cults Index of
cults, occult, newage organizations and New Religious Movements.
By Rick Branch, James Walker, and the Staff of Watchman Fellowship, Inc.
An attempt to be fair.
Looking for God On teh Internet! Visit
MSNBC's feature site Looking for God on the Internet and Time's GOD.COM. Both sites are
exemplary of what the secular news media can do to cover the "religion beat" in
creative and imaginative ways. And we invite you to share your own reaction on our Message
Catholic Information Center on Internet
The Spiritual Frontier of Emanuel
The First Church of CyberSpace
The Association for Religion and Intellectual Life has
assembled a list of informative Internet resources concerning world religions, including
Enlightenment On-Line Lonny J.
Brown, Ph.D. shares a vision of the Net and the Planetary Mind.
Spirituality and Dreams
Spirituality Letters Notes from Netizens about what dreams and spirituality mean.
Dream Screen is a project of combining
dreams and Christianity, and yet reaches out to everyone interested in how dreams and
meaning can be extended into the community and beyond.
Search the Koran for occurances of
'dream' and other words.
Search the Bible for
'dream' and other words.
Eckankar and their view on dreams.
A. R. E. and Dreams A quick Guide
from the legacy of Edgar Cayce.
Seth Network This group used to have a lot
to say about dreams, and I expect the soon will again.
AOL: John Herbert's SeniorNet Dream Sharing Groups. Conducted in a variation of the
Ullman/Zimmer style of dreamwork. Contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org
These are really wonderful dream groups and I consider John the grandfather of
Dreaming Online. (We have no fathers or mothers in cyberspace) John's groups were later
modeled by other's all over the Internet. Be sure to see his Dream Group Sample Session
AOL : Jeremy Taylor's Dream Program : Daily DREAM SHOW with Jeremy Taylor on America On
Line. Start your morning with cyberdreamwork! Former ASD president Jeremy Taylor has
expanded his AOL dream show to Monday-Friday. Show time 6:00 am Pacific or 9:00am Eastern.
Share a dream or tune into his comments about working with dreams, If you can't be there
in person, you can post your dream on his electronic bulletin board. Sign on to AOL, use
Keyword: HUB chose Enter and to Channel Zero, go to Program Guide and pick DreamShow.
Sometimes the show is in the main auditorium. Go to the main chat area, look in the
program guide for daily events and find the schedule of who is on. Have questions? You can
e-mail the Taylors at email@example.com
Donna Campos holds chat room discussions each week at the Dream Studio. Monday Nights
10:00 EST in the New Age Forum B. Variety of Guests. See issues of Electric Dreams and
Global Dreaming News for the guests and schedules.
MSN - MICROSOFT NETWORK:
Dr. Strange Hosts the Paranormal Chat on the Microsoft Network on Thursdays from 7-9 PM
PDT. To find the Chat room, go to "Classic MSN" (MSN now has a new format
available for free on CD ROM), and use the Go to word ...AlienChat. Topics usually focus
on lucid dreams, OBEs, or other paranormal occurrences Dr Strange also includes a number
of practical, how to, handouts in the Lucid Dreamer's Library(Go to word ..AlienDream) on
topics such as Lucid Dreams, OBEs, AAEs, Mutual Dreams, Healing Dreams, Hypnagogia, and
Incubation techniques. You can contact Dr Strange at DoctorStrange@msn.com
Generate a randomly "thrown"
DreamWave - Have we done dreams a dis-service in
interpreting them, inspecting them and using them for our Day Time, egoic goals and
purposes? Have we perhaps lost our souls, the very thing we were after in the first place
in dream investigations and theories? Shed your daytime concerns and re-enter the mythic
underground, the imaginal realm of psyche on her own ground and in her own twisting
labyrinth. Regain access to the imaginal underworld. Come to DreamWave.
M A I L -- L I S T S
- JUNGPSYC Mail list information
Discussion of Jungian topics, announcement of conferences, seminars and lectures.
- DREAM-ON An
Electric Dreams and DreamGate sponsored dream sharing group.
- ED-CORE Though this
sounds exclusive, its really open to anyone. Subscribers distribute dreams and comments on
dreams, and both are published on the Electric Dreams E-zine.
- The Oneiro-Network maintains
a mail list that focuses on lucid and other kinds of dreaming.
- The Noetic Institute is in process of updating its many new-age mail lists, including
the list on dreams. Should be available by March 1997.
Looking for a reference or site not mentioned here? Try ASD WEB LINKs
And for th e lastest updates on links to Dreams and Spirituality and other areas, be
sure to stop by DreamGate - Electric
Dreams Links & Dream resources