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Senoi Dreamwork | Blog Your Blessings

March 30, 2008 on 5:13 pm | In Active Dreaming, Dream Books, Dreamwork | 1 Comment

I’m still reading Creative Dreaming, the wonderful dreamwork book by Patricia Garfield, Ph.D., that I reviewed in a previous post.

I keep finding more and more good information in it. In particular, there is a whole chapter on Senoi dreamwork that is worth the price of the book all on its own.

The Senoi are often mentioned in connection with dreamwork, but often without much or any explanation of who they are and why they are important. The Senoi are a tribal people of what is now called Malaysia.

Back in the 1930s and 1940s, the Senoi were studied in their homeland, while they still lived in their traditional way. What the anthropologists discovered was startling!

The Senoi were a peaceful people who lived in the midst of warring tribes, and everyone let them alone! Despite their entirely peaceful ways, they were considered to be powerful magicians by surrounding tribes. So no one in the other tribes wanted to mess with the Senoi.

What was the source of their power? Senoi life was centered on dreams and dreamwork!

Each morning everyone in the extended family shared their dreams. They helped each other interpret their dreams, and they trained their children in dreamwork.

From babyhood on, Senoi were trained to control their dreams and to use what they gained from dreams to live a happy, peaceful, creative, and fulfilling life.

If a Senoi child had a nightmare, she or he was coached in turning the nightmare around, killing and/or befriending the dream enemy, and demanding a gift. The gift must be a song, poem, artwork, play, or invention that could be brought back and shared with the village.

Senoi dreamers learned to pursue pleasure, including sex, and to enjoy adventures in their dreams. Always, they were to bring back creative gifts to share with the community.

The most famous writing about the Senoi was published in the late 1940s by an anthropologist named Kilton Stewart. What he had learned from the Senoi (and learned to practice himself) was so amazing that others began to attack his work. They said it could not be possible, or true.

Unfortunately by then Kilton Stewart was dead. His mentor, another anthropologist had also died without leaving many notes.

Others went to Malaysia and were told by authorities that Stewart was wrong. By then, according to Garfield, the Senoi had been forced out of their ancestral lands by the new Malaysian government and forcibly resettled in camps, where they were forced into lifestyles that destroyed their old ways.

The new government did not want it to be known that they had so persecuted and oppressed such a peaceful and creative people. So the researchers who had set out to debunk Kilton Stewart were easily convinced that there had never been a Senoi society like the one Stewart so vividly described.

Patricia Garfield had written about the Senoi and had tried their methods. She knew that they worked.

Determined to find out the truth, Garfield went to Malaysia herself and persevered until she found independent guides and translators who would go with her. She sought out the remaining Senoi and interviewed them carefully.

She describes that adventure in her book. Kilton Stewart was fully vindicated by the testimony of older Senoi who described their traditional life in their old homeland exactly as he had. Stewart was right!

For more on exactly how to use the Senoi dreamwork methods to enhance your own life, and that of your family and friends, you really should read the book, Creative Dreaming.

I feel very blessed to have found Creative Dreaming, and I think you will, too.

Creative Dreaming | Blog Your Blessings

March 9, 2008 on 9:24 pm | In Active Dreaming, Answer Dreams, Dream Books, Dreamwork, Lucid Dreams, Message Dreams, Nightmares | 2 Comments

When I started working with dreams, years ago, Patricia Garfield was one of the two best authors on dreamwork that I found. She is a clinical psychologist who also works with her own dreams.

Currently I’m reading the second edition of her book, Creative Dreaming, and I highly recommend it.

Creative Dreaming, a wonderful book by Patricia Garfield, Ph.D.

Garfield’s books are different from those of Robert Moss (Conscious Dreaming, Dreamgates, and Dreaming True). She spends a bit more time explaining the research that has been done on dreams and the methods that she recommends for getting/shaping the dreams you want.

She writes very clearly and simply, so her books are fun to read and easy to understand. I also think that she is a bit more detailed in explaining how to work with dreams. So it seems easier to understand her methods and put them into practice.

Garfield gives great practical advice on transforming nightmares into pleasant dreams. She also has a lot of interesting information on how to use dreams to get answers. And she devotes a whole chapter to Native American beliefs about dreams and visions, and what we can learn from their methods.

This is a great book, and I’ll probably write more about it later. Meanwhile, give it a try, and let me know how it works for you.

Creative Dreaming was published several years ago, so you should be able to find it in the library. You can definitely find it on Amazon, where I got mine.

Sorry I haven’t blogged for awhile. I got a new job—but with a long commute. Then I got sick. I’ll get back on schedule with blogging as soon as I can.

Meanwhile, I feel really blessed to have a great job, working with fun people.

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