Electric Dreams

Book Review :Sex, Symbols & Dreams by Janice Baylis

Fae Richards

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  Richards, Fae (1997 December). Book Review :Sex, Symbols & Dreams by Janice Baylis, Ph.D. Electric Dreams 4(12). Retrieved July 26, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://www.deramgate.com/electric-dreams


SEX, SYMBOLS & DREAMS by Janice Baylis, Ph.D. Sun, Man, Moon, Inc. 1997

What a delight. Sex, Symbols & Dreams is as entertaining as it is informative and scholarly. Thumbing through the book I first noticed all the little comic strips - over 50 of them. The delight was in discovering that Janice Baylis had found a connection, a definite parallel between the dream-mind's use of associative thinking and cartoonist's use of the same associative links.

For example dreams sometimes present pictures of idioms. Baylis presents a dream Carl Jung reported having in which a man was trying to jump on his back. Jung interpreted it as a picture of the German idiom 'you can climb on my back'; which means 'I don't care what you say about me.'. This is similar to our American 'Go jump in the lake'. Baylis also presents a DRABBLE comic picturing an idiom.

Penny, the daughter, asks, "Mommy can we all go to the water park today?" Mommy answers, "That's a wonderful idea. Why don't you put a bug in Daddy's ear?" "OK" says Penny. The final picture shows the little girl putting an actual bug in the sleeping daddy's ear. She is calling to her Mommy, "Now can we go to the water park?"

Sex, Symbols & Dreams goes on like this for seven chapters with dream examples from various sources - Artemidorus, Bible, Cayce, Delaney, Freud, Jung etc. - and coordinated comics ADAM to ZIGGY.

*Her premise, that the dream-mind operates mainly on an associative linking process methodology, is extremely well supported by her research through the dream literature.*

For each type of associative link Sex, Symbols & Dreams provides a coordinated dream using sexual imagery. For example in this dream the bed has sexual connotations. A twenty-three year old woman dreamt she was in bed with her step-father. She is facing him. He is dead and blue and wrapped like a mummy.

This step-father had sexually molested the dreamer when she was fourteen. Bad feelings from that experience had been in bed with her ever since, affecting her sex life. But now the feelings were finally dead. The "blues"/sadness are dead. The problem is "all wrapped up", an idiom for concluding a task successfully or striking the winning blow.

*That is how Part I of Sex, Symbols & Dreams is organized. This lesson plan is applied to seven symbol systems each with several elements. Idioms are an element in the Figures of Speech System. The other systems are Life Experiences - personal, cultural, universal; Qualities; Words; People; Family and Psychological. The Psychological takes three chapters, "Your Personality", "Personality Plus" getting the components into balance; and "Beyond Personality", the transcendent function connecting to higher consciousness.*

Part II focuses on sexual dreams including the Freudian kind. But, the other side of the coin, dreams with overt sexual imagery, are Baylis's special interest. There is a plethora of dream examples where sexual images function to represent or symbolize something non-sexual. For example the alcoholic woman's dream of being raped in a public bar to picture how her alcohol addiction was overwhelming and violating her body and her life.

Part III presents a case study of one young woman's dream series dealing with her self-esteem issues and her relationship to men.

Part IV gives the reader a set of summary charts for the elements in each symbol substitution system. There is also a mini-dictionary showing how the same image would have a different meaning in the different systems. The reader can apply this to images in their own dreams.

Perhaps the material should have been presented in two separate books. One book for the associative symbol systems and another book for the sexual symbolism might have been better.

I learned an enormous amount about the way the dream-mind substitutes images for related ideas/meanings. I enjoyed the studying. I agree with Rita Dwyer, she remarked, "Fascinating stuff!"

SEX, SYMBOLS & DREAMS is available at bookstores by special order; on Internet at amazon.com or at 1-888-522-9547.