Friday, October 23, 2015

A Review of Dreamwork for Visionary Living, by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

 (New Milford, CT: Visionary Living, Inc., 2014). ISBN: 978-0-9860778-3-8

Over the past five years, I have reviewed many of the encyclopedias and books on the paranormal by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, one of the leading experts in both the paranormal and metaphysical fields. I have also been able to accompany Guiley on some of her field investigations, and have never been failed to be impressed by her professionalism and scientific approach to phenomena.
Those traits consistently carry over into her books and numerous radio and television appearances, and her dream workshops and accompanying books (this is her eighth on the subject) are no exception.
I was first introduced to the value of using dreams for both self-improvement and as a source of creative inspiration early in the new century, first by a spiritual mentor and then through the books of Robert Moss. Since that time I have kept a dream journal, incorporated dreamwork into my theatre workshops and training of actors and playwrights (bolstered by the work of pioneers in the field like Jon Lipsky), used considerable amounts of dream material for my own creative projects, and used lucid and intentional dreaming as part of my spiritual practice and quest for self-improvement.
There are, of course, a flood of books on the market that deal with dream interpretation and using dreams for, as Guiley terms it, visionary living. And I have read many of them. Their flaws are often numerous, from disempowering the dreamer with lexicons of dream interpretation tables and charts, to making false promises and myriad mis-interpretations.
So, I was pleased when Dreamwork for Visionary Living was published. After having applied many of the 37 practical “Dream Labs” included in the book in my practice in recent weeks, this review will provide an overview of the book’s contents and a few comments on what I found through using the practical portions of the book.
One of Guiley’s many strengths is her ability to break complex practices into their core parts, so you are in a safe zone of experimentation and practice in areas often seen as mystical and sometimes dangerous. Dreamwork for Visionary Living begins with contextual material and moves right into the tools of the practice, before introducing the first of the Dream Labs, which build in complexity as the reader moves through them and the supporting material of the book. Whether you are a seasoned dreamworker or new to the practice, the early Dream Labs are invaluable for (re)establishing the basics.
Another strength in Guiley’s work is her use of science to take some of the needless mysticism out of one’s practice. Her discussion of the body’s energy field, the chakras, is erudite and gives the reader-practitioner a clear understanding of how energy moves through the body and connects us to higher consciousness and the dream realm.
With the basics established, the book moves on to Lucid Dreams, a fertile creative and self-improvement dimension of dreamwork that is invaluable to our journey on this plane, before moving on to the means of moving beyond this plane through Out-of-Body Dream Travel.
For the more skeptical reader, this could be further than you want to go, but I can say from experience (and the feedback from a Reiki master after a session) that this phenomenon, whether “real” or imagined, does exist and it can be used, as Guiley demonstrates, for self-education (in dream libraries), creativity, and healing.
It is at this stage in the book that case studies from interviewees and others that Guiley has been in contact with begin to provide myriad practical material, both in their relating of dreams and the larger stories they tell. These case studies also give the reader a plethora of implanted dream symbols with which to work.
The book then moves on, continuing to mix scholarship, case studies, and Dream Labs, into Psychic Dreaming (there are many fascinating anecdotes of premonition dreams and the various attempts to use dreaming to avert disasters and predict the future, including for financial investments), Experiencing God in Dreams, and Spiritual Turning Point Dreams. This latter chapter, which addresses “conflict, crisis, and inner struggle,” is made up primarily of case studies, which give the reader both inspiration and proof of the power of listening to our dreams. It is followed by the chapter “Calling Dreams,” which is in some sense a continuation of the story of how our dreams provide crucial guidance and direction as we take the journey of this life.
Later chapters deal with such topics as spiritual masters that appear in our dreams and dreaming for creativity. I can personally attest to how life-changing such dreams can be. And using the Dream Labs in these chapters has provided answers, confidence, and an undergirding energy at a time in my life when transition and big opportunities are in equal abundance and, without spiritual and dream tools such as these, I would be easily overwhelmed.
If you are interested in using dreams for healing, or dreams in pairs or with groups, the final chapters are essential reading.
Of all of the dozens of professional writers, teachers, and workshop presenters I have the pleasure of knowing, there are only a few that are as prolific, erudite, and effective as Rosemary Ellen Guiley. It is clear after reading Dreamwork for Visionary Living that her ability to lucid dream and make the most of her other dreams is a major contributing factor to both the quality and quantity of her work and her well-deserved success.

Given this point, Dreamwork for Visionary Living is an invaluable tool in a complex, challenging time in humanity’s evolution.

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