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Book Review – Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple: Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity and Personal Growth By Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready

March 1st, 2018

Book Review –

Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple:

Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity and Personal Growth

By Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready

No sailor controls the sea…Similarly, no lucid dreamer controls the dream. Like a sailor on the sea, we lucid dreamers direct our perceptual awareness within the larger state of dreaming.” – Robert Waggoner.

We don’t consciously create our dreams; we only ride their waves and direct our experience.” Caroline McCready.

 

I love dreaming. As a child, I woke up from dreams feeling like I had visited another world – a world that is as real as the “every day” world we move around in. I still feel that way. I love having a “big dream” – one the feels like a communication from another realm or includes visits from the Beloved Dead. These dreams feel so real, sometimes more real than what happens while I am awake! I have spent years recording my dreams, tracking patterns of dreaming by the moon and by astrological sign. I have participated in dream circles listening to the dreams of others, marveling at how we often had similar dreams or walked in each other’s dreaming on the same night. I often wondered how those connections come into being.

But, after all these years, I have had little experience with lucid dreaming. Other than listening to how easily it comes for some of my friends, that is. And wondering why I haven’t had a sustained lucid dreaming experience. In case you are not familiar with the concept, lucid dreaming occurs when dreamers “wake up” inside a nighttime dream, realize they are dreaming and can direct activity in the dream. Oh, I have so wanted to do this for such a long time. I’ve read lots of books, taken courses, explored all kinds of approaches to lucid dreaming, but have never been able to do more than realize that I am dreaming and shock myself awake with excitement! So, I was truly excited to read “Lucid Dreaming-Plain and Simple.” Authors Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready are lifetime dream explorers, like I am. They’ve not only experienced lucid dreaming, they’ve studied it. Their research started with the works of Stephen LaBerge, Patricia Garfield, Ann Faraday and Carlos Castaneda, among the better-known early pioneer writers on the topic. I, too, poured over these authors’ works, studying and practicing techniques for lucidity.

 

(Original Painting by Susan Rossi)

 

Waggoner and McCready are much better students than I! They have dreamed lucidly with great success and now offer us a doorway into dream deepening that is a synthesis of the lucidity pioneers and their own experience. And this book is more than a dreaming technique guide. It is a manual about consciousness and perception.

I devoured this book. It is well written and engaging, full of the authors’ experiences in the dream time and well sourced in independent dream research. I have tried several of the techniques for lucid dream entry the authors present. It still hasn’t happened for me. However, I am filled with new optimism. Because Waggoner and McCready broaden the approach to lucidity way beyond simply achieving it. They present lucidity not as the result of techniques or the ability to fly when you want to in a dream. Rather, they raise with the reader an inquiry into of the awareness of consciousness and its role in “waking” and “dreaming” reality. As a longtime meditator, I realized I can go through this doorway to get to lucidity and that truly, dreaming is about playing with the web of consciousness and its interrelatedness with all that is! Waggoner writes that through his practice of lucid dreaming, he discovered a “consistent framework of rules and principles beneath lucid dreaming events” and that this “hidden framework suggested that dreaming and the unconscious actually followed rules and had structure.” Dreaming is not just “random firing of neurons.” In fact, he explores the idea that there is an intelligent awareness that exists behind our dreams and that this awareness will respond to questions posed to it. For those of us who read PaganPagesOrg, this feels quite familiar, I’m sure. All that is has an awareness we can dance with and through this dance we engage in co-creation with the web of energy and intelligence behind the solid world that we perceive.

In examining lucidity with this broad view, McCready and Waggoner address the nature of what is “real.” We readers are encouraged to explore with a critical eye the nature of our assumptions about “waking” and “dreaming.” Through this process, the authors state, we will receive “an education in the nature of the mind and perceived experience that calls forth insights capable of transforming yourself and your waking life.” So, for me, lucid dreaming is now about so much more than remembering to look for my hands in a dream. It is about “waking up” to my assumptions about the nature of what is real. It is about lifting the veil of separation so that all that is does not remain compartmentalized in my mind. So perhaps I am already awake within the dream during daylight hours! I loved this book and recommend it to you to awaken within the dream of your life AND in your nighttime dreams.

For Amazon Information Click Image

 

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About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

 

The Witches’ Ointment

The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic

By Thomas Hatsis

This is a fascinating and unique offering! And a book I will definitely recommend to others, especially colleagues and students. It is well-researched and written in a scholarly yet very accessible way.

In this book the author Thomas Hatsis embarks on a quest to research and tell the (until now largely) untold story of a magical substance called “witches’ ointment.” In this book you will also encounter other names for this mysterious concoction.

Along the way he provides a detailed, thought-provoking account of witchcraft, magic and the use of hallucinogenic herbs. This book is underpinned with many footnotes and references to old manuscripts and publications in various languages.

Psycho-magical ointments had many uses, ranging from the dark end of the “magical spectrum” (bewitching, poisoning and murder) to healing, providing pain relief (such as anaesthesia during surgery) and divination or prophecy.

Psychotropic salves and ointments can trigger powerful hallucinations and surrealistic dreams or even facilitate direct experience of other realms and the Divine. (Your own conclusion will depend on your personal interpretation of this material!)

For me personally the most fascinating and valuable part of this book is the candid (well researched) history it provides of both the ancient art we call witchcraft today and the witch trials. Hatsis also describes in great detail (as the process unfolds over several centuries) the role the Church played in reframing the ecstatic experiences certain people have always sought (often using entheogens) into a satanic experience.

This is crucial information because this perception still casts a large shadow over our culture (and our cultural perception of healing and all things magical) until today. A fear of witchcraft and magical remedies (and my own profession: shamanism) lingers. People involved in such things today encounter that shadow (and the misperceptions that go with it) all the time.

This book is honest and scientific. It neither glorifies nor demonises witches ointments or flying ointments (or other magical remedies) It makes a distinction between the real undeniable shadow of this phenomenon (poisoning being an obvious example of these practices – one 21st equivalent would be the use of a date-rape drug) and a “satanic” layer or dimension deliberately imposed by the Church -that some people accused of witchcraft only confessed to because they were tortured (and told that if they confessed they would regain their freedom – which turned out to be a gross deception as most of those people were subsequently executed despite saying what the Inquisitor wanted to hear).

This book explains why witches are associated with broomsticks and toads and also what role village or folk healers played in European culture long before “mainstream medicine’ became accessible or affordable for most people. This book also makes it very clear that certain herbs (and other ingredients such as toads or mushrooms) have always been used in magical work, right from antiquity up to the present time.

This is an important and unique book. It has the power to shift some of our cultural perceptions – assuming enough people read it. Thank you Thomas Hatsis!

For Amazon information, click image below.

Imelda Almqvist, Sweden, 21 October 2017

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About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit 2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True.

For Amazon information, click image below.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

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