Electric Dreams

 Editor's Notes and About this Dreams and Creativity

Kathleen Meadows, Ph.D. 

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 Meadows, Kathleen, Ph.D. (1999 September). Editor's Notes and About this Dreams and Creativity. Electric Dreams 6(9). Retrieved July 13, 2000 on the World Wide Web: http://www.dreamgate.com/electric-dreams

Dreams and Creativity. Do these two human experiences have anything to do with each other? Is anyone really interested?

Well, if the response I received over the past month was any indication, it's a resounding, "Yes!" I want to thank each contributor for their willingness to share their experiences, learning and insights with the world, through this issue of Electric Dreams. One person remarked, "To generalize about the value that my dreams have for me is that they somehow are telling me that something went terribly wrong somewhere in time, and I must try to fix it." I read this statement as both a personal and a collective one, capturing the essence of dreaming and creativity.

One of the themes which has continued to surface over the past several years (a hundred or so) is the attraction or repulsion people experience with varying approaches to dreams. There are people who fall in the "interpretive" category (meaning of the dream), the "experiential" category (making changes in one's waking life in response to a dream message), and the "expressive" category (dancing, painting, writing the dream as it was remembered. These various ways of approaching the dream are all exciting, valuable and unique and all of them share a common goal of brining the dream into waking life. One woman sent me her dream, it's interpretation of the image, and how the combination led her to a discovery/invention which was incredibly helpful to herself and her community. I don't think the varying approaches to dreamwork have to be exclusive or singular. Interpretation of a dream image to waking life can result in the most amazing discoveries and there is a lot of material in print to support this statement.

I see "Dreams and Creativity" as natural partners. Dreamworkers are here on the planet to share a secret with the world. Original creative expression is present within all of us. It exists in our soul, it is in every cell of our being.

The soul/psyche is a part of ourselves dreamworkers are willing to communicate with as often as possible despite the fact that many of those communications are painful to receive. Dreams often comment on the darkness within our souls. Ah, we can't have Eternal Light without seeing first the Eternal Dark. To find the light, we have to be willing to peer into the dark and trust that there is Light in that Darkness. We are never disappointed.

Dreamworkers often refer to the term, "synchronicity", a word coined by Jung (or reclaimed is probably more accurate which Jung would be the first to admit), an experience that simultaneously combines inner and outer reality. We are living in a mythic time and dreamworkers are very "keyed" into this myth, as dreamworkers have always been.

What about creativity then? What does that have to do with dreams? Creativity is the vehicle that brings the unseen world into the seen world. It is our soul's journey manifested. Creative expression reflects the world back to itself and changes it. Let's review a few examples. Prophesy, music, sculpture, the engine, the telephone, etc, etc. The list is endless. Where has all that creativity brought us? It has brought us to the gateway of sharing our creativity with the world instantly in this medium. Creativity is the bringer of the light that we may all collectively stay in step as we move forward on our evolutionary journey.

When we manifest a painting, poem, or story from our dreams, we bypass the ego which is an extraordinary feat in itself. The ego is always busy nattering about what other people will think, whether it's pretty, or interesting or good enough. When we demonstrate something we experienced in a dream we don't have to take credit for it or be embarrassed by it because, we can just say, "Oh, this is something I witnessed in a dream."

I want to share a brief personal story that is at the heart of why I jumped at the opportunity to be Guest Editor for this issue. Fifteen years ago I lived in a wondrous city called San Francisco. Wondrous to me, moving from Toronto, Canada. Presently I am living in Kitchener which could very well be San Francisco's opposite if the truth be known. But that's another story.

While living in San Francisco I attended M.A. courses at the California Institute of Integral Studies and weekly ran up that hill on Clay St. to the Jungian Institute to see Michael, my therapist. Our work together is still emerging, and always, as magical.

At C.I.I.S. I enrolled in two of Angeles Arrien's classes. One was Creativity and the second one, a gift from C.I.I.S., was Transitions. When I began my course on Transitions, I had three months left in San Francisco. This course held special significance for me at that time. I knew I was soon leaving this city and time in my life, and synchronistic experiences were abounding as they are apt to do during times of transition.

The day I began my course with Angeles I went to a Hunan Restaurant on the Haight for a quick lunch. I was feeling sad about leaving, having just been refreshed on why I was in San Francisco in the first place! I wondered if I were making the right decision to return to Canada at this time.

After lunch I opened my fortune cookie which read, "You need a new environment, Try Canada." Since that's where I was heading, I assumed I was on the right track.

I had a series of dreams that winter and spring that stunned me with their intensity. When Angeles Arrien asked students to do a project that would express a feeling of transition, I knew I would do the dream series but I didn't know what form it would take. I wandered around Salvation Army Thrift Stores regularly.

Gradually, the form of this dream began to grow within me and I started buying the objects that were in the dreams. I picked up a Barbie Doll and cut her hair the way it was in a dream, I made her the outfit the dream character was wearing, and so it continued until it became a wall hanging on an opened black velvet skirt.

The first time I had it all laid out, I stood back and looked at it. I was stunned. I was looking at the unseen world with my waking conscious eyes for the first time in my life! I was incredibly excited. I trotted around with it everywhere, sharing it with everyone in my life then.

After my class presentation, several people approached me at break to say (nicely), "That was very dark, Kathleen." That's why I loved showing it to people. It wasn't pretty. It didn't even tell a nice story. It was shockingly powerful and I took no credit for it whatsoever.

Over the past several years I have been facilitating dream study groups, lecturing on dreams, teaching six- and ten-week courses at Community Colleges, Community Agencies, senior citizens's residences, and independently. Whenever I have a group spanning a period of weeks I give them "the project". On the last day of class everyone presents their project to the others, and describing the dream the work of art was inspired by.

Typically we never have enough time. People bring the most astounding works of art which I have ever been so honoured to see with my waking eye. And instead of anyone else analyzing them (as art critics and dream critics love to do) the dreamer/artist themselves do their own analysis with their presentation.

What is that impulse that is expressed through creativity? I believe at the core it is our spirituality. It is a prayer, sung in a song so old we don't even venture to guess its age. It is dreaming dreams of wonder and painting them all over our cave walls. It is singing and dancing the expression of its message. Sometimes we get to hear it and understand it more clearly. But even when we didn't fully understand it, we knew that someday someone somewhere would, and we acted with faith.

We still hear it in our dreams, our creativity and our prayers. We glimpse our soul and the unseen world through our dreams, and bring messages back to share in the manifested world... which itself began as a dream.

I wish for everyone in the world to have this experience just once. It would transform them and us forever.

Dreams and Creativity - articles


The first article by Linda Lane Magellon, "Sociability and the Creative Dream Journal" is a perfect balance of personal experiences and learning and really helpful advice to anyone journaling their dreams. Linda is absolutely right in saying that our dream journals are the perfect forum in which to explore the power of expressing our dreams creatively. As a wise person once said, "The most important book you will ever read about dreams is the one you write yourself."

"An excerpt from Jean Campbell's book, _Dreams Beyond Dreaming_ will inspire you to write stories from your dreams. For those of you caught in the snare of a writer's block, or those of you wondering how to find original and fresh material, Jean has some great advice and stories to share."

I am including here an article of my own on "Dreamy Writing" which looks at our spiritual voice at the core of creativity and also provides a multitude of plug-in points for anyone interested in dreams and dreaming.

In this issue I strongly urge you to read Richard Wilkerson's article, "Dreams and Creativity in the Electric Theatre of Cyberspace". Typical of Richard, he succinctly captures the power of Creativity, Dreaming and massive, instantaneous global communications. Remember to print this article for your files, you'll enjoy it's prophetic message for years to come.

Web Site Visits

The following are web site recommendations from people who are creating works of art from their dreams.

Click on "Publications" and go to Marie Kazalia's book of poems which she has written from her dreams.

Kristena West has begun an online Shamanic Art Gallery which is as beautiful as it is magical.

Jana Hutcheson has built a great site that pulls you into her world of creativity and dreaming. Jana believes that, "..creativity is a wonderful way to stay grounded while experiencing all that energy and gives it a structure and container. It becomes a boat and it is a way to survive a storm. It gives the energy a form to express itself."

Janice Baylis has written a couple of books (in particular Sleep on It) which give a historical account of inventions which have been inspired by dreams. She also provides some practical guidelines for using your dreams as a resource for creative expression. Janice
welcomes enquiries from interested readers.

Recommended Reading in Dreams and Creativity

Marie Kazalia provided me with a very helpful recommended reading list on Dreams and Creativity. The first book on the list has been recommended to me by several people - I think it's time to get a copy!

Writer's Dreaming by Naomi Epel
Dreams & Inward Journeys by Marjorie Ford
Kerouac's Book of Dreams
My Education a Book of Dreams by W.S. Burrough
Stuff of Sleep & Dreams by Leon Edel

I would also highly recommend
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Kathleen Meadows, Ph.D.