REVIEW: A Little Course in Dreams by Robert Bosnak (1998)

I had read many books on dreamwork before I came to read this, enticed by a talk given by Bosnak. The book, as some others of his, is a mix of personal working diary on dreams, with reflections and advice to the reader and to himself. This is a little wonder of a book, little as in introductory, not as in simple. Bosnak is a Jungian analyst so you can’t get the Jungian out of him, nor would want to). This is, precisely, what makes his approach to dreams so profound.

The Goodies.

Bosnak is the father of Embodied Imagination, so he speaks of it as this was his daily bread. He also makes a terrific effort to put things in every-day language with minimum jargon; also, he makes difficult concepts accessible to the general public.The book has the right balance of depth and practicality, and it is a terrific initial guide for people wanting to become dream practitioners or for those of you who want to work with your own dreams in a group setting.

The author gives terrific advice through simple but very effective exercises to favour dream recall in general, to recall specific dream objects and spaces, to create a memory storage room, explore the awakening space, and write/record your dreams.

The case studies he chose to show his dreamwork system are really interesting, intriguing and enlightening. They perfectly exemplify what dreamwork is all about, the magic that brings to your awaken life, the psychological emotional and spiritual depths it takes you, and the juice you can get from even the most ‘normal’ dream.

Some of the things Bosnak says about the nature and essence of dreams are really wow.

One finishes te book wanting that the book had been less smaller. To read more. To Google Bosnak up.

The Downsides.

Lay readers, with no previous knowledge of Jungian stuff and not familiar with Embodied Imagination  might find some of the things Bosnak says difficult to understand. He only sketches up some of the basic concepts for both Jungian and Embodied Imagination dreamwork. I found that this was the case with the chapter on psychological alchemy in dreams, which is very good, but too short for the average reader to understand the specific way that some of the associations related to the three main alchemical elements link. That was my case, at least.

I found the chapter on image amplification the weakest in the book. It is not well developed, or round enough, to be successfully used by a person with no previous experience in image amplification.

Active imagination is something easy to grasp for people who are mostly visual, like me. However, many people aren’t visual at all. They are more audible or kinetic, so I wonder how should do those people approach active imagination. Nothing is said.

Bosnak wrote his book in the late 1980s, so it shows sometimes. An example, recording your dreams on a voice recorder. Unless you’re really nuts about audio-recorders, you can easily use your smartphone voice recorder, or any of the many applications that allow you to record, write and explore your dreams.

In Short.

Overall a wonderful read. Especially good to familiarize yourself with dream recall, Jungian dreamwork and Embodied imagination. Also, a book with great insight on how dreamwork works, and tools and tips to start dreamworking the Bosnak way.

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