Despite its two-column, textbookish format, an unpedantic survey by a self-described ""dreamworker"" of how dreams have been...



Despite its two-column, textbookish format, an unpedantic survey by a self-described ""dreamworker"" of how dreams have been regarded throughout history, with emphasis on the author's own experiences during 30 years of investigation into ""clear-seeing at night."" The former director of the Sleep and Dream Laboratory at the University of Virginia Medical School, Van de Castle (who will be featured in a Discovery Channel series, ""Dreams,"" in August) argues ardently and articulately that dreams are a proper subject of scientific research. He engages the reader immediately with lots of anecdotes about dreams that have inspired military and spiritual leaders, artists, and scientists. He looks briefly at views of dreams in early civilizations, when their interpretation was the province of shamans and priests, and then moves briskly on to the 19th and 20th centuries and the ideas of Freud, Jung, Adler, and a dozen or so others. Dreams have been regarded by some as the reflection of unconscious needs and by others as merely responses to sensory stimuli. Van de Castle, however, sees them as a source of creative power that should be tapped to improve the course of human history. He reports on recent research into paranormal, prodromal (i.e., diagnostic), and lucid (i.e., conscious) dreams, describes his own studies of the dreams of women during menstruation and pregnancy, and responds vigorously to those who have questioned the validity of his telepathic-dream research. Likely to provoke similar questions is his account of ""dream helper"" ceremonies, in which a group of telepathic dreamers -- whom he refers to as ""midnight swimmers in a common cosmic sea"" -- dream collectively about a target person's problem and help find solutions to it. For those eager to explore the land of dreams this is an amiable guide, with lots of leads on how to get more deeply involved; skeptics, however, will not be persuaded.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994


Page Count: 576

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994