The Internet as a Dream Journal by Richard
The most common way to record a dream today is in a dream journal.
However, this was not always so. Early dream sharing was most likely verbal and done
around a village fire. Whoever else happened to be awake at the time acted as the journal,
a human surface against which the dream was recorded. Rather than the private and isolated
act that keeping a journal has become, the dream was originally distributed across the
Contemporary dream groups have helped bridge this gap between the isolated
dreamer and his/her society. But since we dont wake up within direct earshot of the
group, sequestered journal keeping remains our primary recording medium. The Internet
cant yet give back the intimate social experience of the village fire, but it does
offer new opportunities in social recording and processing. With a few selections, one can
both record and share a dream at the same time. The dream might go out anonymously to a
general public or be shared with more personal details in an intimate group.
E-mail will automatically stamp a date and time on your dream record. Even
if you send the e-mail to yourself, this creates a dated journal. Many e-mail programs
offer special mail boxes, that will automatically sort through both incoming and outgoing
e-mail. Most people use these for sorting incoming mail from a particular topic area or
person, but they can just as easily be used to keep a record of dreams.
E-mail can be further configured to distribute to a group. Different
groups now online offer different methods for recording your dreams and getting different
types responses. Willem Linschoten offers a group called the Daily Analyst. Willem is a
psychiatrist but offers the group as a public exploration of psychoanalytic dynamics.
Participants, mostly from the Netherlands and America, create a living journal of dream
adventures against a heuristic background of educational essays and comments.
The Daily Analyst - http://callisto.worldonline.nl/~cb008448
For those who like group projects, mutual dreaming and psychic dream
tests, the Intuition Network offers the e-mail list email@example.com.
Here dreams are send in with subject titles marked with a "d." indicating a
dream, or a regular subject title for conversation. The group has different levels of
self-revelation, from full anonymity to full disclosure. Everyone is on a first name basis
and the feeling tone is very friendly.
http://www.intuitions.org select Conferences
to find the Dream list.
MorpheusDreams is a new list that specializes in dreams and spirituality.
The forum leader, Dr. Deus, is quite active and responsive and the center of the group.
Special topics, such as dreams of the dead and transcendent dreams will cycle from one
week to the next. The moderator likes to generate lots of mythological associations, and
has as his stated motive the proof of a divine soul.
The Electric Dreams community offers three different dream journal
opportunities via e-mail. The first is a list called dream-flow. This is an open list,
where dreams and comments on dreams flow in and out from a variety of sources. The dreams
and comments are doubly recorded. The e-mail posts are archived publicly and they are also
published once a month on the Electric Dreams e-zine, which is the second e-mail list.
Electric Dreams also allows dreamers to send in pictures and dream inspired graphics in an
illustrated version of the same e-zine. Electric Dreams is also archived online in
a distributed manner, with members keeping full and partial collections on mirror sites,
creating a redundant and thereby robust memory and archiving system.
The Electric Dreams community offers a third e-mail group, called the
DreamWheels. [No connection with the wonderful Ramsay Raymond Dreamwheel] These are more
private groups that are limited in number and time or duration. They experiment with
various kinds of dream sharing, the most popular being the styles developed by John
Herbert for electronic channels in the early 1990s. [see Cyberphile 1997 ASD Newsletter
14(1)] The records of these groups are usually keep confidential, though they are
occasionally published with the permission of the participants.
Bulletin Boards, Usenet Newsgroups and Web Sites.
Another way to use the Internet as a dream journal is to post dreams on a
bulletin board. The most popular bulletin boards on dreams and dreaming are the Usenet
Newsgroups. To contact these, you really need a news-reader program and your Internet
provider [ISP] has to carry the groups. If you are on America Online, you can use the
keyword "usenet" and then subscribe to the newsgroups you want.
The most popular dream boards are alt.dreams, alt.dreams.lucid and
alt.dreams.castaneda but there are several others that talk about dreams and dreaming as
well, including alt. jung alt.psyhology, alt.psychology.help and talk.religion.newage.
Posting to these boards creates two kinds of archived records. The first
lasts about two weeks. During that time, people can comment on your posts, creating
"threads" of notes that are connected to the original post. After that time, the
posts go into long term holding archives. The best way to access these archives right now
is via a search engine called Deja-News www.dejanews.com
This service will also allow you to post messages without having direct access to the
As an archiving service, these groups are very convenient. Dreams sent in
to them will be time stamped and dated. Researchers can search via keywords. Dont
expect too much in the way of intelligent comments at this time. The Oneiroatti have not
yet found these groups. There are Internet Service Providers (ISP) such as America Online,
MSN and Prodigy that offer bulletin board posting of dreams as well in their local forums.
But the status of the posts, how long they will last and what happens to the archives over
time is at present unclear. See for example the AOL Psych Online forums or the Alternative
Medicine Forum, Altmed.
An alternative to the Newsgroups and ISPs is the individually owned web
site. Jeremy Taylor, for example, provides a dream discussion area where dreams can be
posted in the same style as on a Usenet Newsgroup. The guestbook has archives, but it is
unclear what will happen with the posts over time.
An artistic variation is as site by Gail Bixler-Thomas, where dreamers can
post the dream with a picture and the dreamers own interpretation.
Jesse Reklaw has been providing a unique dream recording service for
years, but only a few special dreams get chosen. He turns the chosen dreams sent in into
comic strips, and these are archived.
Again, the length of the post is up to the individual Web site owner. The
solution is to put up and maintain your own private Web site.
The private dream journal sites are too numerous to mention individually,
but I wanted to point out a few of the characteristics and general flavor of these sites.
Often they are like a normal journal, with dream collections from various time periods.
These can vary widely. Some people have put online dream journal collections that cover
many years of dreaming, while others have put up collections that cover a few days or
months. Many of the sites include illustrations and are more like dream inspired art
galleries, while others are completely text entries and pages. Some of the online journals
include feedback forms and comments to the dreamer, while others allow for sorting and
searching of particular dream themes. A new appearance has been the appearance of
Web-Rings, which tie together themes, such as dream journals, together in a connected
hyperlinking indexing system. Dan Cummings attempted a similar project within one web
site. He linked themes within dreams to other sites. For example, creating links from a
dream alligator to a site about mythic alligators and save the crocodile clubs. [see ASD
Newsletter, 1995 12(2), 7]
Storing dreams and recording dreams in computers offline have been
discussed by Peggy Coats (see above article) and others, such as Sarah Richards
[http://www.iris-publishing.com/] and Cynthia Pearson. ["The Dream Index: Thanks to
Bill Gates, It's Working." Paper presentation, ASD-12, June 22, 1995.]
The channels of these journals used to be read-out-only or print. That is,
we could print the files or read from them verbally or to ourselves. Now they are becoming
more integrated with online programs and beginning to distribute themselves across the
If you have been feeling anxious about this dispersal of private material
into the public arena, you are not alone. The Internet has made the issue of private vs.
public as problematic as the issue of nurture vs. nature. What happens, for example, when
your boss reads your dream journals, or your husband, or children?
For those concerned about how dreams might expose material too personal to
share, but still want feedback & social interaction, there is always anonymous
sharing. This is the Internets solution to confidentiality. E-mail accounts online
are now free. That is, once you have established one e-mail account, you can sign up for
several others. Netscape, Hotmail, Tripod and other ISPs give these away free in
exchange for attention. AOL offers its members 5 or 6 e-mail name accounts. With these
accounts you can send and receive mail anonymously. To protect people with dream about
close friends, some people use the global find and replace on word processors to exchange
personal names with pen names and pseudonyms.
Anonymous intimacy, public privacy, exteriorized interiors, networked
emotional fields, computer mediated souls. Sound crazy? Welcome to the 21st
Century! Here the boundaries of recording dreams and sharing them are in flux. Archiving
can now just as easily be publishing. Recalling dreams may include a wide range of
computer mediated assistance. The word "journal" becomes more of a perspective
than an object, an organizing intelligence as well as a repository of data. We
neednt get lost in the chaos. As the term "journal" begins to take on
additional meanings and values, it forces us to more carefully extract and define the
essence of these activities and practices. We begin to unfold the value that we place on
dating and time stamping our dreams. We begin to explore the differences within and
between the textual, verbal and graphic recordings.
We begin to examine the boundaries of representing and presenting dreams,
of their beginnings and endings, their resistance and persistence. Is the dream over once
we wake up and begin recalling it, or when we semi-lucidly begin recalling before fully
waking up? What kind of record is it when the text is distributed over global networks and
returned with comments?
There is one thing we can be sure of and that is the methods for recording
and keeping dreams will continue to evolve and overflow the boundaries of our present day
techniques and practices. This becomes especially so when the Internet itself is used as
the village fire that acts as the pages of the manuscript. This digitally mediated journal
is a fountain of networked flows through which you can truly transverse the inscription of
your own dreams.
The Santa Cruz ASD conference will offer a drop-in computer and
Internet lounge. This center will be for those who are just curios and want to learn more
about dreams and computers as well as those who have extensive online dream projects to
share. Your host for the Café with be Peggy Coats and if you have any special dream
projects online or related software please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org Also, if you have something
special you would like to see or learn about in the Café, send in your requests or
Why do we dream? Whats the latest scoop on MRI scans and
dreaming? What do dreams tell us about human nature?
We have two online projects that help to answer these and other
questions that continually come to ASD. The background project to build up the Common
Questions and Answers list is being addressed by the Education Committee. The second
project is more urgent, the continual questions from people posted on the ASD Bulletin
If you dont use the Web, but have and email account and would like
to help, I will even post the questions for you. Just send me an email saying you are
willing to answer questions now and then. I will send questions out as they come in, and
you can pick the ones you want to answer and send them to me for posting.
Many thanks to those of you who have been voluteering time, including
Art Funkhouser, Robert Van de Castle, Ernest Hartmann, Harry Bosma, Nichole DiSorbo and
the many anonymous helpers!
If you are using the web site regularly for getting news and
information, joining discussion groups, posting messages or just enjoying a stroll through
one of the wonderful online dream art galleries, then you may want to *hot link to
the site map. This gives you links to all the major pages on our site in one glance.
*Hot Link? Depending on the web browser you use, there is a way to save
the addresses (URL) of the web sites you visit. If you are using a Netscape browser, you
can pick up the little icon next to Location and drop it on the icon for Bookmark. If you
are using an MS IE browser, select the drop down menu Favorites and then Add To Favorites.
The most popular browser visiting our site is from AOL. If you use the America Online Web
browser, simply pick up the heart and drop it up at the top of the screen where it says
Favorite Places. You must be ~on~ the web page you want before taking any of these
Get subjects for research project, join a project, or find out how
to reference online material. All these and more are now available to you as an ASD member
in the Research Requests forum hosted by Peggy Coats.
For researchers, we provide a free Web page that explains your research
project and allows you to make request for subjects. Whether you need information for a
book, want people to take a survey or have a more complex request, the Research Requests
forum can help. Also, we have information on how to cite material gathered and referenced
online from APA, MLA and Chicago Styles.
You can help the research projects listed by stopping by and picking the