Book Review: Pagan Dreaming by Nimue Brown
The most important magic is what happens in my mind; in the leaps of connection and insight and often quite random things can spark that. The important bit is the way our wiser, unconscious minds can be triggered into recognition by the introduction of some random element. – Nimue Brown
For too long the world of dreaming has been relegated to finite descriptions of interpretations found in the varied Dream Dictionaries already published. Anyone hoping to learn more about the magic and mystery of dreams is forced to do a great deal of independent research and shifting through the limited books of dream symbols. Nimue Brown has changed that with her book Pagan Dreaming. This book instead focuses on the processes used in dream work, the many varied influences (physical, cultural, momentary, ect) on our dreams, and how one can use dream work in their Pagan practice.
What I love most about this book is that the reader is wholly respected. The author spends a great deal of time walking the reader through the process of dream work without ever reducing dreams to mere acts of neuron randomness or elevating dreams to an illogical height of mystical power. Balance is both the key to dream work and the success of this book. One of the biggest take aways for me is that the meaning behind a dream is dictating by many elements and the best person to bring those elements together with clarity is the dreamer.
I myself have only done limited dream work. I’ve never kept a dream journal or intentionally set out to have a deity inspired dream. My dreams are just a fantastic part of my night that I enjoy reflecting on in the morning or sharing with friends. I recognize when my dreams are just reflections of the day before or when they are bringing up problems I’m not addressing in my daily life. This book has empowered me to continue in this work and put more energy into recognizing the patterns in my dreams.
I found this book to be fascinating and easy to read. The author does a wonderful job making her point of view understood without saying it is the only method or idea that is correct. For instance, towards the end of the book the author talks about different lifestyle and cultural choices that can impact ones dreams. If one hopes to re-wild their dreams, there are certain elements that might be useful to change. The author points out many of these elements including porn and video games. As a reader I didn’t agree completely with those points in particular. Never did I feel like the author didn’t allow for the disagreement. Such issues can be hot button issues and they were handled with grace and clarity.
If you are looking for a book to kick-start some dream work or are just curious as to how dream work might enhance your practice or understanding of self, you should pick this book up. Skip the dream dictionaries and go right for the juicy stuff!