Electric Dreams

An Excerpt From The Lucid Dream Exchange
Lucy Gillis, Editor

Book Review


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Katie (2003 December). Book Review.
(An Excerpt From The Lucid Dream Exchange, Lucy Gillis, Editor.) Electric Dreams 10(12).

On occasion, the LDE features book reviews of lucid dream related books.

This month, Katie - an accomplished lucid dreamer herself - shares her views of Olga Kharitidi's book, "Master of Lucid Dreams".

Book Review
By Katie

Master Of Lucid Dreams
by Olga Kharitidi, MD
Hampton Roads Publishing, 2001

I've been having lucid dreams all my life, so they seem wonderful but natural to me. I was astonished in my early 20's to come across one of Stephen LaBerge's books about lucid dreaming and find out that it was a recognized and studied phenomenon. I had the privilege of volunteering with the "oneironauts" for a while, trying out some of the masks, participating in the experiments. Great fun, amazing to hear other people's experience and carry their curiosity and enthusiasm into my next LD.

Kharitidi's book is about as far from the sleep labs of Stanford as you can get: don't let the "MD" fool you into thinking otherwise. Khartidi is a practicing psychiatrist; the subtitle of this book is "In the heart of Asia, a Russian psychiatrist learns how to heal the spirits of trauma". Kharitidi relates the story of her guided shamanistic enlightenment about human trauma and the use of lucid dreaming to resolve it. She brings this learning back to her psychiatric practice and gives us one example of a woman already trained in trance states and psychotherapy who hears Kharatidi's story and releases herself from the psych ward to go home and have a complete healing within a couple of hours. (I work at a psychiatric facility and am "professionally" skeptical of 2 hour cures.)

And yet... the book had a pretty strong impact on me. My belief about dreams is that they encompass every label ever applied to them, from the meaningless firing of neurons in the brain, to Freud's almost as meaningless day residue, to a brain function that helps build experience into memory and learning, to a kind of psychological mirror, to as far out as you want to go on the spiritual side. I've had such varied and amazing dreams in my life that I place dreams in the same category as religion: It's too profound a subject for anyone to comprehend completely, and anyone who believes they have divine truth does -- have part of it. Like the elephant and the blind men, whatever bit we're able to grasp and comprehend is true, but incomplete.

So I enjoyed Khartidi's book a lot; part of it rang quite "true" to me; others I rejected. But that's just my piece of the elephant. If you're looking for a read on lucidity from a shamanistic standpoint (what Jung would call "neuroses", where energy is "stuck" by an event; the author would refer to "memory demons"), this book will interest you. If your interest in lucidity is more based in brain function, probably not. If psychological integration is what you believe lucidity can help develop, maybe, maybe not. A reference point may be the books of Robert Moss -- if you've read him and found him worthwhile you may like this book; and the opposite may hold true as well.

The Lucid Dream Exchange is a quarterly newsletter featuring lucid dreams and lucid dream related articles and interviews. To subscribe to The Lucid Dream Exchange send a blank email to: TheLucidDreamExchange-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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