Dreamshare, an interactive, peer-led, moderated
on-line dream discussion, is open to new members. The letter that follows will
explain some of Dreamshare's procedures as well as the philosophical and
practical underpinnings of this group. We are, as always, a work in progress. If
you have questions or comments, please feel free to bring them to the attention
of the group moderators at
This dream sharing conference is open to all who want to work with us in a
supportive, nonjudgmental cyber-climate, exploring the fascinating and revealing
world of dream experiences. Members are free to post dreams they have had, ask
general questions about dream-related matters or dream themes, dialogue about
any dream on the list, and ask for commentary on their own dreams.
Dreamshare is somewhat unusual among Internet dream sites, in that we work to
build some of the trust and intimacy that we associate with a well-functioning
face-to-face dream sharing group. What this means, in practical terms, is that
it is a moderated forum in which all posts, including those of the moderators,
are approved by at least one other member before appearing in the general
In joining a moderated group, you are, in effect, accepting that some posts
may be delayed, discussed with you or by a group of moderators, edited, or
deleted before being posted to the entire group. The vast majority of
submissions here are approved without problem, but please understand that we
will sometimes act preventively to maintain group tone and cohesiveness
The original members met on another dream discussion board in the spring of
2000. We decided to start a moderated conference, in order to help to stay
on-topic and build a sense of trust and mutual respect. Dreamshare has been
meeting "in cyberspace" since May 2000. We are something approaching the ethnic,
cultural, international, and intergenerational mix that many of us have hoped
for. We also have considerable diversity of spiritual beliefs and practices, and
of lifestyle and perspective.
In trying to replicate some of the intimacy and group intelligence of a
well-functioning face-to-face dream group, we have needed to face some of the
differences between working in the same room at the same time with others, and
communicating through the disembodied medium of cyberspace. This has presented a
challenge at times as well as an opportunity, and thanks are due to everyone who
has contributed to this effort, whether or not those people are still
participants in Dreamshare. Without their contributions, it couldn't, and
We have also learned from some mistakes and unanticipated challenges, and
some of the guidelines have been revised to continue to make this a safe,
dynamic and entertaining dream site.
Before you attempt to comment on anyone else's dreams, please keep the
following in mind:
a) This is a supportive environment, based on the principles of kindness and
respect for all. You will encounter people with beliefs, practices, habits, and
language very unlike your own at times, both when posting your own dreams and
when reading the dreams and comments of others.
We encourage people not to censor themselves when relating dreams here. We
understand that dreams often involve situations, issues, and images that may be
painful or embarrassing to our waking-life selves. Our own relationships to
death, loss, violence in ourselves or others, old family dramas, racism and
other forms of prejudice and discrimination, and long-held secrets may be evoked
by our own or someone else's dream material. There are no types of dream that
are unacceptable, but language that insults someone or a group (e.g., "I was
being chased by a bunch of worthless Arabs") or that is clearly designed to
titillate or shock rather than to share an honest sleeptime dream and the
feelings it brings up (e.g., "It feels so good when I have a wet dream, ummm.")
will not be posted.
Obviously, there is an element of subjective judgment to all this, on the
part of the moderators. We'll do our best to be respectful of the dream life,
the dreamer, and the other members.
In responding to any dream posted, a member needs to be calm and open-minded.
Our feeling is that an insight is worth little if it is hurtful to the person
for whom it is intended.
One of the benefits to doing group dreamwork is that we can find common
ground and shared intelligence with people with whom we might have little in
common in waking life. Thus, a basic guideline for all members is to be
courteous (a word that, like "courage", means something of the heart) and take
an active interest in understanding others. Someone whose spiritual beliefs or
lifestyle are far from your own is part of the same Big Picture as yourself.
b) In the same spirit as the above: Only the dreamer can say for certain what
his or her dreams mean. Borrowing from friend and mentor to this group and its
founders, Jeremy Taylor, (whose dream-related web site, www.jeremytaylor.com. we
recommend strongly to all), we urge all participants to enter the dream world by
imagining themselves in the dreamer's shoes, and stating their opinions in the
first person as much as possible. For example, I might say, "If this were my
dream, the wedding dress might be about commitments I want to make public" when
responding to someone's dream about shopping for a wedding dress. Many group
members have experienced insights into their own issues using this process, as
well as sharing something of value to the dreamer.
This is not a hard-and-fast rule for posting, but we urge that everyone
consider and experiment with the "if it were my dream" approach when commenting
on anyone else's dream. Please be judicious in what you say, and practice
consideration. "Insights" that shame or criticize others will usually be poorly
received, and they tend to lead everyone away from the feeling of safety. Use of
the "if it were my dream" format is not necessarily a guarantee of mutual
respect: for example, comments such as "if this were my dream, it might be
telling me I really don't know what I'm talking about" are probably too harsh to
be of value to many dreamers.
On this note, we have learned through experience that we are all human and
subject to human frailties. In a group where people are
encouraged to "be themselves" on-line, you will undoubtedly feel more rapport
with some people than with others. Not every dream or dreamer will evoke equal
interest and empathy in each of us. This is okay; it's not necessary, or
necessarily desirable, to comment on every dream or for any individual to
interact with every member. We prefer that you confine your responses to those
where you have a genuine sense of empathy with the dreamer.
Please be civil, and as clear as possible on your inner motivations and
dramas before you write even to private e-mail out of anger or unrecognized
c) Clarification questions and dialogue are encouraged.
It's a good idea, though again not a strict rule, to indicate in the text of
a dream submitted whether comments are welcomed or sought, if this is a touchy
or painful matter for yourself as the poster, if there is graphic violence or
sexual imagery involved, or if there are other issues of which you feel that we
as readers and fellow members of Dreamshare should be aware.
If there is some part of a posted dream that is unclear to you as you read
it, or you want to know more about a dreamer's waking life, go ahead and ask,
keeping the principles of courtesy and kindness in mind of course. One good
thing about e-mail is that we can dialogue without the time constraints that
might exist in a face-to-face dream group. Before you comment on someone's
dream, you might want to make sure you understand what it is that you are
discussing. (This is often considered to be a necessary first step in the "if it
were my dream" approach.)
d) We understand that there are privacy concerns unique to the Internet. You
may choose to remain anonymous, using only your "screen handle" or you may give
your name at your discretion.
We ask all prospective new members to introduce themselves, saying a little
about their interest, and experience if any, with group dreamwork. As a friend
on another forum put it, people speak more comfortably and honestly when they
know who else is in the room. Some members' introductions are available in the
Files menu, and can be reviewed by selecting "Files" from the Main Page. From
time to time, we may request that continuing members re-introduce themselves as
well. It can be interesting, and cast more light on the dream as well as the
dreamer, to learn more about your Dreamshare "neighbors."
In a similar vein, if leaving the group after active interaction, a brief
note either to the moderators or to the group as a whole is appreciated. If
there is some way we can meet your needs better, we'd like to know about it.
(See also item h))
Please respect the confidentiality needs of everyone on this conference. Some
of this is basic Netiquette, and it is especially important here. Don't discuss
the people involved here with others outside the conference, especially if they
are identifiable by name or life circumstance. If anyone outside our membership
list is interested in these dreams, refer them to the moderators. Do not repost
anything that appears on this conference, or publish it in any form. Do not post
anything here that did not originate with you, whether it is a friend's dream or
an interesting piece of news. You may reprint published material on dreams that
is excerpted as long as the source is credited fully.
In this same vein, you are free to email anyone whose personal address is
available as a co-member of Dreamshare, but please respect their needs and
rights to decide what mail to receive and to answer, and on what schedule.
Remember that people are busy with their jobs and lives as well, and an answer
may be forthcoming but not precisely when you want it.
If you decide that this place is not right for you, there will be no offense
taken if you decide not to participate. Please don't stick around to post angry
"flame" messages, practical jokes, teases, or any form or harassment or putdown.
Life can be hard enough as it is, and people are sharing a vulnerable part of
themselves when talking about their dream life. As moderators, we will put our
collective foot down about this sort of behavior.
e) Everyone needs to understand that this is an egalitarian space in which
the validity of someone's opinion is judged by the response of the dreamer and
the people reading the dream, and not by credentials of any kind. No one,
including the moderators, is here in a "professional" capacity. Psychotherapists
are as welcome as anyone to join this list, as equal members of the Dreamshare
group. You are encouraged to consult a mental health professional of your choice
if you are seeking such services. This list is for mutual help and enjoyment,
and may well have a beneficial effect on your life, but it is not psychotherapy
as the term is commonly understood. All participants: please be prepared to be a
peer to anyone on the list; this is not a place to seek, nor to dispense,
"expert advice." Even suggesting that someone may need to speak with an expert
is sometimes seen as interventive and/or intrusive. Be very careful.
f) You are not obliged to comment on every dream, to visit or post on the
list every day or at any given interval. It's better to wait until you have the
time and opportunity to write a meaningful response than to simply hop in
because you feel you "should."
We actively discourage "over-posting." This is rather a subjective judgment,
but as a general guideline, more than five posts in any 24-hour period may be
excessive and give the impression of someone talking over others during
Don't become too impatient if there is no response for a while after you post
a dream. If some dream of really major impact to you has gone without response
for some time, you can ask, courteously, if anyone is able to work with this
dream. Please remember that Dreamshare is an all volunteer effort, and we are
all busy people.
g) We will be posting suggestions, as we go along, for improving dream
recall, working with dreams alone and with other people, resolving some
"nightmare" energy and other problems, and related topics. Please feel free to
post questions on these issues; there may be some wonderful ideas shared in this
way, and it will let us know what others want by way of improving their
relationship with their dreams. Again, we recommend, highly, the books and
materials available from Jeremy Taylor for a broad introduction to working with
dreams and the unconscious; see his web site cited above for ordering
information, or ask at your local bookstore.
h) Please let the group know when you are exiting as well as entering the
group, either by posting or via one of the moderators. This helps build the kind
of "caring circle" we envision and diminishes the "invisible cafe" feeling.
Repeated subscription and unsubscription is discouraged. We have found that
multiple arrivals and departures can be quite disruptive, especially if there is
some emotional agenda involved. If you are going to be absent for some time but
think you would like to return to active posting in the future, please consider
a "no-mail" membership in Dreamshare instead of leaving the group. Email a
moderator for the group if the mechanics of changing delivery options are not
i) There is a functioning group of several moderators (about 7 active at the
time of this writing, November 2002.) You can find out who they are by reviewing
the "members" page; moderators are marked with a star. Because all posts are
approved in advance of appearing, there is a fair amount of work involved in
reading and following the discussions on the site. This can sometimes result in
a delay before a post appears on the group list.
At times, a post may also be delayed if there are some questions about its
suitability or timing. .
j) As a practical note: please send plain, unenriched e-mail text whenever
possible. We welcome artwork and photos, which can be uploaded to Files, but to
prevent virus spread and make attachments easier for all to read, we encourage
non-HTML mail if possible. Not everyone can read posts with a lot of "bells and
whistles." Contact a moderator if this is unclear.
k) We encourage you to enjoy your dreams! We regard the dream as a living
entity, a visitor that deserves to be treated with respect and gratitude even if
it sometimes speaks a language that is difficult to understand.
As we see it, it's a mistake to separate and reject dreams that are
powerfully frightening when they occur, from the rest of our dream life. The
difficult dreams that some call "nightmares" or "bad dreams" are often those
that have the most valuable of gifts for us. As you continue to explore your
dreams, you will come to see beauty and perhaps humor as well as precious
guidance in all kinds of dreams.
The Dreamshare group.
P.S. In the interests of building group caring and rapport, we also encourage
friendly support and sharing of our waking-life triumphs and setbacks. We'd like
to recognize birthdays, graduations, and other important milestones in each
other's lives, express condolences to the bereaved, and send healing thoughts to
those afflicted with illness or other difficulties. We have a regularly
scheduled healing circle based on mutual dreaming; details on that will be given
in a separate post in the near future.