For anyone interested, as part of the book display project I created an annotated bibliography of the books that appear in the display:
Annotated Bibliography for “Are You Dreaming?” Book Display - March 2020
Dreams are a precious gift, a phantasmagorical wonderland we visit nightly. Everyone dreams multiple times each night, although not everyone remembers their dreams easily. However, the vast majority of people can greatly improve dream recall through practice – making sure you get enough sleep, setting an intention to remember dreams when you go to bed at night, and keeping a pen and dream journal next to your bed are a good way to start. Lucid dreaming is a particularly interesting type of dreaming. Lucid dreaming is simply dreaming with awareness that you are dreaming while the dream is still going on. Lucidity may occur spontaneously or as a result of the dreamer noticing incongruities or impossibilities in the dream. There are many practices one can employ to cultivate the ability to have lucid dreams. Below are some books that can help you explore and more deeply understand the world of dreams.
Dumpert, Jennifer. Liminal Dreaming: Exploring Consciousness at the Edges of Sleep. North Atlantic Books, 2019.
Self-described “dream hacker” Jennifer Dumpert draws on decades of research and self-experimentation into blended states of consciousness that occur at the edges of sleep. Traditionally the dreamlike state one enters on falling asleep is referred to as “hypnagogia,” and the corresponding state when emerging from sleep is called “hypnopompia.” Dumpert uses the blanket term “liminal dreaming” to highlight the nature of these states as being a combination of waking and dreaming consciousness. As the liminal state includes waking consciousness it is intrinsically lucid, and it is much easier for people to start consciously exploring dreams via this route. Liminal Dreaming explains how everyone can access and use these states for creative, therapeutic, and meditative purposes, or just to have a rolicking good time.
Garfield, Patricia. Dream Messenger: How Dreams of the Departed Bring Healing Gifts. Diane Pub Co, 1997.
In this moving book, Garfield explores the common phenomenon of dreaming about loved ones who have died, and shows how such dreams can provide healing, closure, and even a form of continued relationship with the departed. Drawing on in-depth studies of grieving individuals and their dreams, she describes nine common patterns that occur in such grief dreams, how they tend to evolve over time in a natural healing process, and how you can work with them as part of your healing process.
Godwin, Malcolm. The Lucid Dreamer: a Waking Guide for the Traveler between Worlds. Element, 1995.
A wide-ranging treatment of lucid dreaming through a philosophical and mystical lens, discussing significant dreamers throughout history, religious prophets, ancient shamanic practices, modern lucid dreaming research, and much more. The book is lavishly illustrated with almost 200 color and black-and-white illustrations of dream masks, Zen paintings, surrealist paintings, art done by Schizophrenics, Australian aboriginal art, etc. Includes exercises to cultivate lucid dreaming.
Jansen, Karl. Ketamine: Dreams and Realities. Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, 2004.
Ketamine is widely used as a surgical anesthetic, and in lower doses has profound psychedelic effects comparable to LSD or psilocybin. Jansen comments that the hallucinatory effect of ketamine resembles the experience of dreaming – especially lucid dreaming – and notes that certain physiological aspects of dreaming (such as rapid eye movement, or REM, and “K-complexes,” a type of brainwave measured by EEG machines) are sometimes observed in subjects dosed with ketamine. While this book only mentions dreaming in passing, its in-depth treatment of a fascinating pharmacological agent with dreamlike effects helps expand and shed light on the phenomenology of “dreaming” in a broader sense.
Mindell, Arnold. The Dreammaker’s Apprentice: Using Heightened States of Consciousness to Interpret Dreams. Hampton Roads Pub. Co., 2001.
In the preface Mindell explains that “the basic idea of the present book is that dreams can be understood by watching carefully how we use our attention, how we move, and what we experience in our bodies and in our altered states of consciousness.” He draws on Carlos Castaneda’s shamanic teachings, Jungian psychology, Buddhist meditation, mysticism, quantum physics, and other material to formulate his own unique approach to cultivating a more conscious approach to dreaming. According to Mindell, dreaming in a broader sense is a process that is happening all the time prior to the arising of physical and experiential phenomena. For Mindell the dreaming process occurs not just within an individual, but also in interpersonal relationships and the world as a whole.
Norbu, Namkhai, and Michael Katz. Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light. Snow Lion, 1992.
Tibetan master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu approaches dreaming from the Dzogchen tradition, a system of Buddhist meditation that focuses on what they believe to be the foundational level of mind/consciousness. In doing so he and his coauthor Michael Katz (psychologist and Tibetan Buddhist scholar) go far beyond the typical Western approaches to lucid dreaming. The goal here is less based in individual psychology and personal adventures – typical of Western approaches to lucid dreaming – and more focused on spiritual awakening to the true nature of being from a Buddhist perspective.
Reklaw, Jesse. Dreamtoons. Shambhala, 2000.
For several years cartoonist Jesse Reklaw created a weekly comic strip called Slow Wave, in which he converted written descriptions of dreams sent in by his audience into 4-panel comics. Dreamtoons is a best-of collection of these comic strips, a delightful excursion into the diverse dreams of many different people.
Warren, Jeff. The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness. Oneworld, 2009.
Science journalist Jeff Warren takes readers on a tour of the landscape of human consciousness, relating both his personal experience experimenting on himself as well as what is known scientifically about a variety of states of consciousness. Most of the stops on his wheel of consciousness relate to dreaming in one way or another, including chapters on hypnagogia (the half-dream state experienced while falling asleep), hypnopompia (the corresponding half-dream state experienced while waking up), and lucid dreaming.
Yuschak, Thomas. Advanced Lucid Dreaming: the Power of Supplements: How to Induce High Level Lucid Dreams & out of Body Experiences. Lulu Enterprises, 2006.
Yuschak gives detailed instructions on how to use a variety of legal, over-the-counter supplements to manipulate brain chemistry in ways that greatly increase the likelihood of lucid dreaming and “out-of-body” experiences, and/or alter the nature of dreaming. Of particular note is his chapter on galantamine, a memory-enhancing substance used to treat Alzheimer’s disease which has been shown in scientific studies to vastly increase the chance of dreaming lucidly when used appropriately.