Dream Explorations: A Journey in Self-Knowledge and Self-Realization by Rachel G. Norment. Balboa Press. Paperback. 286 pages. $19.99.

Dream ExplorationsRachel Norment has ventured into the unknown lands of her own dreams, and has returned to share what she has learned. While many people record significant dreams, most have a limited capacity to articulate what these dreams have to do with life events and personal development. Perhaps some take the time to reflect on dreams, but few have made this a regular practice over many years, as Norment has done—noticing and investigating the patterns in dreams and their long-term relationship to waking life. By pursuing this kind of in-depth study, she has not only increased her own self-awareness, but has also grown and adapted her life through experiences and insights that will be relevant to the explorations of any dreamer. Her inner work, so generously shared, becomes a guidebook for those who wish to follow a similar path of self-discovery.

In Dream Explorations, selected dreams are grouped into categories according to common dream elements such as relationships, body and clothes, houses, food, bathrooms, color and music, water, babies and children, animals, travel, etc.—and Norment considers some general features of the dreams in each category. Using a Jungian model, she comes to her own understanding of the ways that these key images and themes in specific dreams were meaningful to her life circumstances at the time.

Jeremy Taylor has pointed out that we are all “uniquely and selectively blind” when it comes to our own dreams. Of course, Norment is only suggesting some possible ways of looking at her dreams, not a conclusive interpretation. But she does demonstrate that, even though there will always be aspects of our dreams that we can’t see clearly, there can still be great value in the process of exploring the edges of those blind spots, finding meaning in what we can see. And she acknowledges,

“Dreams always have multiple meanings and layers of significance. They can deal with our physical health, emotional and psychological status, spiritual life, and relationships with other people. They may also be bringing into consciousness a collective issue or circumstance.”

Dream Explorations is an excellent book for those who are beginning to explore the possibilities of personal dreamwork. I hope that readers will follow Rachel Norment’s example, starting with a recognition that dreams reflect meaningful patterns, following those patterns over time, and learning from the surprising perspective that dreams can offer on life challenges and choices. I hope that some will also take this personal dreamwork process to the next level by sharing dreams with others (as Norment does), going beyond initial interpretations and diving into blind spots.

[click on the picture for more about dreamwork]