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Dreams: the Path to Wholeness

Author: Lisa Cornwell
Published By: SPCK (London)
Pages: 160
Price: £14.99
ISBN: 9 780 2810 5796

Reviewed by Johanna Clare.

Lisa Cornwell is a priest in the Church of England. She undertook a research project on the function of dreams for furthering understanding of self and God as part of an MA in Pastoral Theology.

In this book she aims to assist readers in understanding dreams which speak truth about our life and soul. Dreams, she says, are powerful communications for our good, from our unconscious to our conscious selves.

Cornwell draws heavily on Jung’s understanding of the self, archetypes and universal symbols, which she explains well. Because dreams may show us our shadow side, they can lead us in a process of individuation. They can also give us access to the collective unconscious which includes the Imago Dei. So in dreams the search for God and the search for self-realisation can by synonymous.

She devotes a chapter to observing how God speaks through dreams. Although the biblical examples are more direct and prophetic than those we often experience, she does believe that our dreams can also reveal future events.

The last part of the book explains in detail her method for understanding and meditating on our dreams. She offers a range of ways of working, because dreams never have just one true interpretation. She also offers suggestions for bringing dreams into our prayer life. She is confident we can work with dreams on our own, and also use them to help others in counselling and spiritual direction. However, to follow her suggested path would take a lengthy commitment to journaling and reflection. She talks of dreams which took months to unravel.

Although written for a general audience, the writing style is sometimes a little dense and I wonder whether a degree of self-knowledge is a prerequisite for engaging with its aims. At times I found the introspection a little self indulgent. But for all that, it is a good introduction to a fascinating subject.

Johanna Clare

Vicar in the Morden team, with an interest in psychology and mental health issues

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You are reading Issue 42 of Ministry Today, published in March 2008.

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