Dream Helper Ceremony


Our Dreaming Mind

(Ballantine Books, 1994)


Robert Van de Castle, Ph.D.

After my son Brett's death, I participated in some monthlong dream workshops sponsored by the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), where personal and spiritual growth were emphasized. The A.R.E. is an educational organization lo'cated in Virginia Beach that disseminates information about the trance-based 'read'ings' of Edgar Cayce, the psychic known as the 'sleeping prophet.' Through my activ'ities with A.R.E., I met Dr. Henry Reed, a former psychology faculty member at Princeton University, and we became in'volved in some A.R.E. research projects. One of the guiding principles of A.R.E. was that everyone participating in a research project should have an opportunity to experience personal growth as a result of his or her participation. This was a new twist for me. I had been accustomed to carrying out studies similar to those at Denver or Chapel Hill, where I collected data from subjects about something that I was interested in, but the subjects, who were obliged to participate, received only class credit. I wasn't used to thinking about how to enhance the personal growth of a research subject.

Henry had been aware of my participation in the Maimonides studies and ap'proached me to ask how some happy fusion might be found between the experi'mental protocol developed at Maimonides and the humanistic service-oriented proto'col that was typical for A.R.E. projects. I wasn't sure that such a rapprochement could ever be accomplished, but as Henry and I traded thoughts on the topic, we eventually developed a protocol that we called the 'dream helper ceremony.''

We decided to utilize telepathic dreaming in a group context as a way to be of service to others. Rather than focusing upon a target picture, the 'dream helpers' focus telepathically upon a target person. This target person acknowledges that he or she has some troubling emotional problem but does not discuss it or give even the slightest hint what it is. The dream helpers dedicate all of their dreaming activity for that night to helping the target person bet'ter understand the problem and place it in a new perspective.

On the following morning, the dream helpers gather and each describes in detail all the dreams they remember from the preceding night. As the dreams are recounted, a pattern of consistencies may be detected that seems to be related to the problem, which the target person reveals after the dreams have been processed. Henry and I have participated in the dream helper ceremony on many occasions, and each time we have been impressed with the collective accuracy of the dream helpers in identifying the problem for which the target person sought help and sometimes coming up with a possible solution for it. Serving as a dream helper allowed each participant an opportunity to experience a journey similar to that undertaken by a Cuna nele when he ascended to one of the higher aerial levels.

(the above taken from the preface, pages XXIII-XXIV)

My initial motivations as a subject at the Maimonides lab involved strong narcissis'tic and egotistical needs to be the most successful percipient ever and to 'leave be'hind a performance record that would be unbeatable.' After the death of my son, I found that my values underwent some defi'nite changes, and I became much more in'terested in spiritual matters. In the preface, I briefly described how Henry Reed and I developed a dream helper ceremony to di'rect telepathic dreaming toward service and healing. Rather than determining who could most successfully dream about a tar'get picture, the goal in the dream helper ceremony is to dream collectively about a target person's problem and to help that person find a solution to the problem.

The telepathic dreamers are called dream helpers. Before retiring for the night, these dream helpers gather around the designated target person and engage in some activity to create a feeling of bond'ing. They might meditate, pray, sing to'gether, or sit silently holding hands. It is useful if the target person can loan some personal object'jewelry, a photograph, or an article of clothing'to each dream helper. Wearing that object or having it by the bedside will enable each dream helper to feel a special connection with the target person when they go to sleep that evening. The target person does not disclose, or even hint at, the nature of the problem for which he or she is seeking guidance.

The dream helpers renounce the right to experience any personal dreams that night and dedicate all their dreaming ac'tivity to being of service to the target per'son. They ask to he used as a psychic vehicle to achieve understanding and heal'ing for the target person. At home they might not make the special effort to record every one of their dreams for themselves, but since they have dedicated all of their dreams to the target person, they work dil'igently to maximize their dream recall dur'ing the night. They don't want to cheat the target person out of the dreams to which they are entitled. The next morn'ing, the dream helpers gather again with the target person, and each one describes in detail the dreams remembered from the preceding night. A fascinating pattern emerges as the warp of one dreamers im'ages is laid against the woof of another's and dream strand after dream strand is woven into the rich collective tapestry.

In one of our ceremonies, the dream helpers reported a black car driving into the town of White Hall, someone being hesitant to accept an Oreo cookie, some'one ordering an ice cream cone with one scoop of chocolate and one of vanilla, someone noticing the black and white keys on a piano keyboard, and Martin Luther King, Jr., preaching in front of the White House. With each successive report, the theme of black and white became more predominant. Several dreams also dealt with family dissension and parental lec'tures about obedience.

The target person, a white woman, was very surprised by these dreams. Most of the dream helpers were strangers to her and none were aware that she was dating a black man and struggling with the ques'tion of how to deal with the negative reac'tion she anticipated from her family. One of the helpers dreamed that his watch was slow, and another about seeing a movie in slow motion. As the dream helpers dis'cussed these dreams about slow motion, they suggested to the dreamer that she might move slowly in bringing up this rela'tionship to her parents until she was sure she wanted to continue it.

The group was astonished and delighted at what they had accomplished. They felt they had been so successful because they were not attempting to gain anything for themselves; they were en'gaged in a healing service nourished solely from a sense of love. Everyone benefited and felt energized by their participation. The target person was deeply touched by the obvious sense of caring that the group communicated to her. Although she had not verbalized the problem she sought help with, the dream helpers had been able to comprehend her problem, empathize with her feelings, and reflect on how she might lessen the anguish her conflicts generated.

Seldom does any single dream helper grasp the full significance of the target per'son's problem. Like the proverbial blind men and the elephant, one describes the tail, one the leg, one the trunk, one the tusks, one the ears; but only when these discrete bits of information are assembled it is possible to grasp the nature of the el'ephant.

The dream helper ceremony can be a very powerful technique for uncovering or'dinarily hidden issues. It should not be at'tempted unless everyone is fully committed to dealing with whatever emotional issues are uncovered. The target person's problem should not be something trivial (What sort of car should I buy?). It should be some emotional concern that one might discuss with a very trusted friend or counselor in the hope of reaching a better understand'ing of the overall problem.

For one dream helper ceremony, the target woman's question, which she re'vealed after all the helpers' dreams had been reported, dealt with whether to enter some new, as yet undetermined, vocation. Almost every dream helper reported dreams of extreme violence: wild animals were involved, someone was hit on the head with a hammer, and other acts of ag'gression were mentioned. There were also several mother-daughter dreams with dis'turbing content; one had a mother duck and several drowned baby ducks. When I asked the target person why she thought there was so much violence in these dreams and why the troubled mother-daughter relationships were portrayed, she broke down and confessed that her mother, who had been a psychiatric patient, had been quite violent and cruel to her when she was younger. Her mother had once tried to drown her in a tub of boiling wa'ter, which helped explain the image of the drowned baby ducks. The subsequent group discussion suggested that maybe the target person needed to resolve this old is'sue with a therapist before moving on to a new vocation.

During one dream helper weekend, we had so many participants that we divided up into two groups, with Henry leading one group and me leading the other. We discerned that although each of the target persons was a female of about the same age, education, and socioeconomic status, the dreams of the two helper groups di'verged widely. The dreams for target per'son A were right 'on target,' but did not apply to target person B at all, and the dreams for target person B were amazingly specific to her problem but had no perti'nence for target person A. It seemed as if each target person were a psychic magnet attracting only dream filings of a very specific metal.

I think the dream helper ceremony is a convenient way for an open and interested person to observe psi in action and to experience the inner personal and collective power that results from shared awareness.

If the time ever comes when we all agree to use the formidable power of our dreaming mind as dream helpers for each other, we will witness a positive change in planetary consciousness greater than the negative change in planetary consciousness following the dropping of the first atomic bomb.

(taken from pages 436-438.)