I am a certified Educational Psychologist with over 35 years of experience working with adjudicated youth and with children with severe emotional disabilities.
I have authored several books and manuals on meditation, behavior management, Affective Education, and Dream Interpretation. Currently I have a novel, The Archipelago of Dreams available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble on-line book stores. I have interpreted nearly 4000 of my own dreams and many thousands more of others professionally and through those sent to me through the http://thedreamingwizard.com website. I have been trained in the art and science of dream interpretation and follow a Jungian perspective.
I am a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and The International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD). Currently I serve on two boards, for a private school serving children with autism and on the Adult Education board for a local church. My wife and I have also presented in-class development activities in conflict resolution for a local elementary school over the last 10 years.
We have three daughters and three granddaughters and one son who have all made our lives richer and made me a much better and more compassionate psychologist, father, person.
This blog is only for those who have the courage to explore a reality beyond their own limited biases. Minds that are playing small, conservative, boxed in and un self-aware need not click on this site for it will only confuse and distort the safe little world you have built for yourself.
a dove. Don’t even open your mouth for even a coo.”
From Soul of Rumi by Coleman Barks
Deep within the hidden reaches of your unconscious mind and in the place between your thoughts there lays a stillness that when embraced opens the door to your true nature.
Carl Jung believed that we all have aspects of both light and shadow within us and that the process, some would say goal, of life is to integrate the two into one whole thus reconciling both good and evil. The shadow or dark sides of ourselves cannot be merely hidden, shoved down into the caves of our unconscious mind for they don’t disappear just because they are no longer seen. They will have their say in everything that we do and if repressed long enough they will rise to the surface causing chaos in our dreams and in our waking lives. The energy of the shadow is always there and can be used for good or evil.
Not too long ago I read an article in the New York Times. It was a story about the museums of death found in many places around the world. I was surprised by the title for I thought all museums were about death aka Natural History museums with all its carefully displayed dead animals, Art museums where most of the painters have been dead for such a long time, The National Funeral museum in Houston, Tex., antique auctions museums where you can find really old furniture from the houses of dead people, well you get the idea.
And what’s the fascination with cemeteries and skulls and horror stories?
I think that we dwell in awe and fear at the world’s greatest mystery, death. It’s that part of life that terrifies most of us because it portends something we can know nothing about, non-life, specifically our own. What is non-life? We know it’s the opposite of what we have now, but what is the opposite of life really? And why do we even ask the question? Fear? Fear of the unknown, fear of what is dark to us? Our unconscious mind is dark to us but as long as we are alive we have potential access even though we’d rather not, but death? Now there’s a darkness and unknown we can’t even begin to fathom. It’s a bottomless abyss that goes on forever.
For some it’s not death that is feared but the process of getting there because it can be so frighteningly painful and mostly uncomfortable or so it looks. We humans will enter into almost anything if we truly believe there’s a pot of gold at the end of it– something better than what we have though we’re never satisfied with what we have. But not to know? Too scary.
The promise of no pain and eternal peacefulness seems a pretty good draw for letting go of life so as to enter some kind of heaven, but the “Great Decider” determines whether we wind up there or in the burning cauldron’s of hell, or so we’ve been told, though I’m pretty sure those stories come from the same type of folk that wrote the stories for the Brothers Grimm and for the same reason, to keep the children in line, whether they be little children or adult children. This reflects the belief that left to their own devices people won’t do the right thing. That is of course a pretty cynical view of humanity usually portrayed by the “fearful ones” who don’t know who they really are and by extension who we are. In the United States we call them Republicans or the Alt-right.
Some folks have solace in the belief that they, body and all, pass into another realm. But the ego part of us is of the flesh, that 3lb squishy thing inside our head that some of us occasionally think with and that decays and shrivels and turns to dust– we like with everything else in life can’t take it with us. So what is it that goes on to wherever we imagine consciousness continues on to?
“The soul! The soul goes on” cry still others. But what is that? Have you ever seen it? How often have you been aware of it? Do you actually identify with it? How many of us truly know of that invisible, ephemeral ghost in the machine that we imagine to be us, after all aren’t we the thinking, feeling, frightened, pain wracked, opinionated, memory-filled, squealing thing with a name and social security number?
So what is the soul? Is it a living thing? Well if it is living within the body wouldn’t it be subject to the same decaying effects after death? Ahh, so it’s not alive, it’s, what, a spirit? What’s that? And why does it need us as a host to visit the world? And if it loses its host where is it, what does it experience then? Is it conscious? Was it our consciousness all along only we became duped by the not so long lasting ego that convinced us that we were actually the ego?
Recent research has shown that even after a person has been pronounced brain dead, usually a no-turning-back step beyond clinical death when the heart stops, that “consciousness” may in some cases continue beyond the functioning body1. This is known as an OBE or Out of Body Experience. What that consciousness is however, that appears to be separate from the brain has scientists stumped.
This soul thing probably has no fear of death because death isn’t part of its life but the ego is a jealous thing and envies and fears the soul because of its non-death. It dreams of being like its opposite and creates a myth of everlasting life. There is everlasting life, but probably not like the life we currently experience, but the ego doesn’t want to hear that, so let’s just keep that between us.
Still others see the soul as a transmitter of the spirit into the receiver of the brain that then allows it to be manifest in the world making us sort of like a TV with arms and legs.
“Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.”
The Psalm of Life
by– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I go into greater depth with the exploration of death in the Chapter from the “Dragon’s Treasure”titled Death, Yours, Mine, Ours (pg. 168).
1 Life after death? Largest-ever study provides evidence that ‘out of body’ and ‘near-death’ experiences may be real, independent.co.uk/news/science/life, 7 Oct. 2014.
Q: Do you think there is something like a magical person, Bob? Are some people really magical or is it an illusion we create?
A: There are mystics, who seem moved by the spirit of something ineffable and there are those who are so integrated with the world around them that they seem to make things happen. There are also those who have the unexplainable* show up in their lives at a greater frequency than normal. There are those people who seem to exude magic as though there is some unseen source of energy about them as well. There are yogis, gurus, shaman and just ordinary people who can do phenomenal and extra-ordinary things. I don’t think there are Harry Potter wizards and witches with wands and broom sticks, but there are those who seem to wield a form of magic.
One of my favorite writers of this kind of magic is Carlos Castaneda who wrote about a Yaqui shaman named Don Juan who I believed after three books was a real magician. Though the character was fictional, Castaneda wrote from what he knew and what he knew was truly magical and extra-ordinary. I have tried a number of the lessons taught in these books (they are novels not self-development books) and have found them useful both in my practice and in everyday life.
And this would be my definition of “magical”, the ability to produce and perform the extra-ordinary. Some people are very adept at that. Some are able to see things that the rest of us do not and are able to use what they see in extraordinary ways. Some have phenomenal talents that they are able to boggle the mind with. As you know I believe that within all of us there is a magic waiting to be unleashed. Some are closer to it than others, meaning they have fewer obstacles to its expression. What I write about is how to deal with and overcome some of the obstacles.
Keeping in mind my definitions and caveats, in my nonprofessional opinion my answer to your question is “yes” there are probably magical people e.g. people who wield magic.
*I use this word whenever I come up against a phenomenon that appears real, but is without any scientific corroboration, or explanation.
I don’t often do this i.e. copy or “mirror” from another blog but the following post from the Book of Dreams Blog is perfect for the Dark Knight of the Soul as well. I hope you enjoy it and get something from it as much as I did in writing it (yes, I’m the author of both but they’re my blogs so I get to be a little narcissistic if I want, besides I couldn’t decide in which blog it belonged).
A lesson from our dreams: From Plato’s Shadow World to our own
“I have often said that every person in a dream represents an aspect of the dreamer e.g. their emotional and behavioral characteristics are a mirror of your own. Though this is a truth in dreams it’s also a truth in our waking lives as well.
Each of us is mirrored* in the others that we meet. Hate a certain behavior in someone and you are seeing your own rejection of that behavior in yourself. Dismiss someone out of hand it’s probably because you don’t want to acknowledge their behavior that they reflect from yourself no matter how small it may be.
How are the people you reject just like you? How are the people you like just like you? Both reflect parts of you.
This fact leads me to compare the dream world with the waking world and helps me to see that maybe both worlds really are a dream, the sleeping dream and the waking dream. Interestingly learning to decipher each dream can help us understand ourselves better and where we fit in the overall scheme of things. Both dream worlds can act as a personal therapist and guide through the journey of our life.
Often when a dark and scary being shows up in a dream we want to run from it, hide, or verbally or physically defend ourselves vigorously. This type of dream being is known in psychology as a shadow aspect. When the shadow shows up in a dream either in the sleeping or waking world** take a break before reacting for there’s an opportunity being presented here for you to see a part of yourself that may need dealing with and perhaps modifying so that you can begin to manage the darker aspects that show up throughout life. In short, seeing others as a mirror for self-improvement and/or self-acceptance is a sign of a maturing and evolving psyche.”
**If you want to look deeper into this concept of the Waking Dream and how it is used therapeutically for greater self-awareness you might like to read “Life as a Waking Dream” by Diane Kennedy Pike, Riverhead Books, 1997.
When we fall asleep we enter a world of the unconscious where the personality, the ego-self, surrenders itself and the self-conscious barriers to reality dissolve into nothing. Suddenly we can walk through walls, traverse time in all directions and jump from one place to another without any external transportation.
Time and space seem irrelevant to this world and our individual self seems to all but disappear allowing us access to what seems to be a universal mind or the collective unconscious as Carl Jung described it.
In this world one does not have to be located in any particular place, we are neither here or there i.e. we are no longer dualistic in nature.
Here we can sift through incredible amounts of data to solve the unsolvable problems of our waking lives. We become particularly attuned to our inner body messages as well as the body messages of others we have seen, but have not been conscious of, during the day.
There is even some evidence that dreamers who are close or in some way genetically linked can meet each other in their dreams– the walls between us, what Alan Watts termed, “That skin encapsulated ego” that is us, seem to dissolve allowing for a connectivity beyond the body.
Dreams in fact seem to be a meeting place between the older archetypal self and the conscious personality. This older self is often seen as being eternal in nature with the younger self only being temporary. The conscious self seems to stop at the end of the finger tips while in a dream one can easily extend beyond this imagined or believed to be real body limit.
In our wakeful state we believe the body to have a limited range of sensory experience. This disappears when the boundaries of time and space fall away as they do in the dream state where we become transpersonal in nature. Here consciousness seems to transcend the limits of space/time. In the unconscious one seems to be nonlocal, being everywhere at the same time, a phenomenon thought to only exist in the quantum or atomic realm of reality.
There are some scientists who suggest, wonder, or imagine that consciousness itself exists in this nano-world of quantum physics and not in the body. Some suggest that our brains and bodies are more like radio receivers than transmitters. Perhaps our dreams are our link with our true nature?
If we are more than our bodies, might we then be more than that body’s limitations?
A reader recently commented on a posting from The Dark Knight of the Soul Blog. He noted that the reduction prayer I had used at the end of the post looked very much like a 13th century magical incantation from the Liber Medicinalis (Book of Medicine).
Accident? Coincidence? Not really, both the incantation and the reduction prayer act pretty much like mandalas in that they focus the mind inward towards its center. It is in this center that the wisdom of our soul lays. It is from this place that magic can happen.
These incantations, prayers and meditative practices tend to focus on the centers of our being while removing the outward directed conscious mind that is restricted in its perception of reality and opens a door to a whole new way of being and perceiving.
So what have we discovered so far about magic that might allow us to practice being in it and thus allow for a different creation within our lives?
1) Magic is all around us; we are already in it.
2) Magic cannot be controlled; in fact, we must release control in order to wield it. Magic is about “being” not “doing”. Magic cannot be understood, or controlled, because the process itself is a “doing”. Magic arises on its own and not through your manipulation.
3)Magic is a way of living and not separate from everyday experience.
4)The consciousness can open to Magic when the soul is allowed to express freely.
5) We have access to magic when we don’t place limits upon our expression.
6) To know magic, watch children at play.
7) Maintain authority over your expectations/standards by remaining at choice with your behaviors and self-expression. Be what you are, not what someone else wants you to be.
8) Magic becomes available when one dissolves the separation between ones opposite aspects and recombines them into a more functional whole e.g. dissolve the internal gender differences. Aspects of the assertive, decisive, thoughtful, creative, compassionate, emotional and intuitive can exist side by side within all of us.
9) Call out your shadows and your demons, do not suppress them. Note: you are not your negative aspects; you have negative aspects, but are not them.
10) Quiet the mind. Stop thinking things to death. Magic cannot come from the “thinking” mind. Live at least some of your life in the incomprehensible.
11) Magic does not come from the rational.
12) Magic grows from the secret orderliness of chaos. Allow yourself to be confused. Thinking that you know something about what is real can be very limiting to living what is real.
“It [magic] opens spaces that have no doors and leads
Magic, or at least the image of magic is showing up everywhere. There are several new TV shows that take place in magical kingdoms or libraries and magic and wizards show up in the mainstream cinema several times a year. I’ve written an entire chapter on magic in theDreaming Wizard website and spent several chapters in the book The Dragon’s Treasure on the subject.
In our dreams magic often symbolizes the need to shift a point of view or to approach something from a different angle. It also can symbolize wonder and awe. A magician in a dream might be saying that some problem is trickier than you thought. Through the Magus, or Magician, it is thought that one can perceive their origin, their eternal nature. Often he is an archetype for a wisdom guide.
But is there really magic?
There is a place where magic and enchantment exists, a place where all potential lies in waiting to be manifest. It is the space between your thoughts– that still quiet place where the essence of human kind resides. It is beyond the ego i.e. the personality, in a place where there is only stillness and pure awareness without judgment, or categorizing, contrasting, labeling or analyzing. If you could be in this place where you strive for nothing, where you let go of trying to control, or get power, where you let go of fear i.e. have it when you do but don’t become it, then this is where you can find magic, real magic.
In order to access the magic one needs to expand the space between their thoughts, let go of judgments and just ‘be’. Take just a moment and be still and be neither beneath nor superior to anyone. It is here that you will experience your true nature.
Try doing this when looking at another person. At first you will see the mirror to yourself. All your judgments about them are merely a reflection of you and your relationship that you have with yourself. But eventually when you allow the mind to be still, you’ll begin to see who they really are at their core and in that moment get a glimpse of yourself at your own core.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Being still is not easy, the mind is constantly chattering away, judging, labeling, analyzing and the world requires a constant inner dialog as a means of handling our fear, our anxiety, and our loneliness. But the chatter masks a profound background within which the soul resides with the wisdom of the world.
The “voice” in your head, the thing that is talking to you all the time, the thing that’s saying “what voice?” right now, is of the ego that is an object-based, fear-based construct that masks the sound of the real power of the soul beneath. Don’t be fooled by the loudness and forcefulness of your mental voice because the loudness doesn’t mean power, it’s there to hide power. Real power resides beneath, between, and behind the chatter of your personality. Real power is the scriptwriter behind your actor, it is your core self, it is what you want to be in relationship with.
You want to perform magic? Be not the voice and know what you are.
“Sit, be still, and listen,
because you’re drunk
and we’re at
the edge of the roof.”
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I
Be still and know that
Be still and know
Be still and
–a reduction prayer, meditation, into silence (try it! Say it slowly)
A shared dream about visiting over and over again a “Hippie” village, or commune where all the houses were fanciful conglomeration of cast off parts of other houses, brought up some interesting symbols related to excess and the rejection of shared values. In this dream the dreamer entered a darkened room and saw the shadowed silhouette of a hippie lying on a sofa, drunk, or stoned. The dreamer also climbed upon a wall on the hippie’s property to get a better view. All primary symbols suggest societal mores rejection and perhaps a form of addiction. Climbing upon the wall might suggest the need for a new perhaps even higher perspective on life or some specific issue.
One of the first questions I asked of the dreamer was, “What in your life are you obsessing about?”
I also asked, “Is there something missing, e.g. some void, in your life that you’re trying to fill and that might be an inappropriate way to do it?” And finally I questioned whether there was a shadow side to their life that they might not be confronting e.g. that they may be in denial of?”
This person may very well be suppressing the concept of addiction as it may be related to their particular behavior. For example, they may not be addicted to a substance, but an action (as in a habitual response pattern), or even a way of thinking (as in a habitual negative inner dialog, or a belief that persists despite evidence to the contrary, such as a prejudice). These can be subtle in nature, yet still be important enough for the unconscious mind to shine a light on them through the dream. There are, of course, less subtle addictions e.g. sexual, porn, food, smoking, risky behavior, and etcetera.
The morals rejection part of the dream is also interesting in that it begs the question, “What societal norms are you rejecting and why?” The village in this dream is put together by the cast offs from other people’s houses (persona’s) might suggest a depressing loss of personal identity and/or the person is creating a sense of self that further alienates them from the society they live in. But it also may reflect an attempt to cobble together an identity from what they admire in those around them.
Again, the dream can be very useful toward revealing inner material that may be affecting one’s mental health and even social health. Both learning to read the symbolism and asking questions can be equally important and can bring a light into the darkness.
A Dream of Shadows
I stepped into the night–a lonely, frigid blackness with glowing lanterns here and there. I sighed and my breath rose into the sky and a part of me became one with the stars.
Animals came out of the inky dark to greet me–raccoon, rat, and owl.
They whispered some ancient wisdom, sharing from a place that only they could bear, dancing to a rhythm that only they could hear.
I pulled the night around my shoulders like a robe to comfort me against its emptiness.
Owl, rat, raccoon, and I walking through the night, walking toward the light of home.
The other night I had a disturbing dream where I saw a child being abducted and carried away. My heart went out and I desperately tried to recapture or save her.
On the next night I was carrying two books, one was a large book with beautiful illustrations and embellishments and the other with the word “Hope” emblazoned on the dust jacket. As I carried them across a deck overlooking the water I dropped them and they sank to the bottom, I quickly reached for them and saved them from a watery demise.
The dreams followed a two day run of depression and negative self-talk.
While writing the dreams in my journal the fog of meaning started to clear and I jotted down the beginnings of my interpretation.
“Innocence: The phenomenon of seeing without judgment, notions, bias, or to see purely i.e. to take something in without changing it or “adulterating” it. I have lost this reality and want ever so badly to recapture it, to make it my own again. It made sense to me a sense that adulthood has never made.
The world of imagination (a child’s world) captures my heart and holds it with far more interest than anything the material world of the adult has to offer. The imaginal feeds, the material does not. The material leaves me empty no matter how much I have, unfulfilled, and un-nurtured.
This is also the message of the “Blue Fresco” dream a number of years ago where I first met a Spirit Guide, Sophia, who invited me to leave behind the adult world that is so very childish in its pursuits and follow a path of my own. Basically she gently admonished me to stop trying to get what will nurture from the material world. It cannot fulfill or nourish what is truly important in and to me.
I have been acting as though I am my thoughts rather than being that which thinks.
The dream where I drop the books into the water may also be an encouragement to stop looking to the material world for my satisfaction, soul, or sense of being.
The answer i.e. “Hope” for me is only to be found in the intuitive, imaginal, mystical, and spiritual realm. As with the “Blue Fresco” dream these dreams remind me to leave behind my childish search for acknowledgment in the material world because it’s not there.
The “Retrieval” aspect of both dreams seems to be speaking to a transformation of thinking metaphor suggesting a need to transform my current negative inner narrative in order to save me. I need to reach into the primal waters and pull myself out. The drowning book in the second dream may also represent the rigid intellect being drowned but allowing the creative to be saved. The inner self desires to be free. It may be my only “Hope”. By continually looking for rigid intellectual “consensus reality” I will always be drowning and stifled. I need to reach into the deep dark waters and save myself.”
Sitting outside one morning watching the sun rise above the hills of the Colonial Valley and sipping from a cup of coffee cradled between my hands and warming the air around and within I looked down into the cup of dark liquid and this came to mind…
A shadowy and bitter brew somehow satisfying some hidden emotional need.
In its liquid darkness the Daimon hid and waited to spring forward on my not fully awake soul and wrestle me to the ground demanding that I pay attention. With the next sip I paused to look inward and again found the other self.
Reflections from the dark mirror within the cup transformed into intuitive murmurs and visions from the unconscious like Scrying mirror images from the imaginal.
Suddenly, as these things always seem to come, the quiet turned to tension and I knew that it was time again to get up and confront the Daimon.