A Witch's Book of Dreams
by Karri Allrich
Published by Llewellyn
228 pages, 2001
Buy it online
Reviewed by India Wilson
You wake in the cold light of dawn, hours before you need to get up. In the reality of your bedroom, safely surrounded by your own things and near your loved ones, you try to push back the images of the night and, perhaps, try to make some sense of what you've been shown. It was so vivid, after all, it must mean something. Right?
According to Karri Allrich, author of A Witch's Book of Dreams, those dreams have meaning. Absolutely and without question. It's just a matter of deciphering the message.
Dreams are fragile gifts, abiding in the realms of our subconscious mind, rich with insight and authority, resonant with a wiser, deeper perspective than our waking ego consciousness can muster. To ignore dreams or diminish their importance in our lives is to literally cut off ourselves off from one of the most fertile resources we all possess.
With that admonishment in mind, we set off to find the answer. Unlike many dream guides that simply provide facile alphabetized synopses of each dream component (money, water, loss of hair, teeth or virginity), Allrich spends some time explaining dream possibilities in chapters with names like "Animal Dreams," "The Importance of Shadow Work" and "Nightmares and Night Terrors." She also addresses some of the practical aspects of dealing with dreams in a waking way, discussing how to begin your dream work, how to use dream symbols to heal and how to begin your own dream group. In these sections, she invites the reader to use A Witch's Book of Dreams as a guide to your personal dream world, rather than some sort of stiff-backed bible.
In beginning the process of dream work, always operate intuitively. Follow hunches and feelings. Allow your emotions to surface as you study your dream images. Let your intuition and feelings guide you to associations and correspondences. Follow the leads given in the Witch's Dream Dictionary, and make note of your own symbolic meanings in your own personal dream dictionary.
Of course, no book about dreams and dreaming would be complete without the aforementioned light dictionary of dream meanings and Allrich has included her "Witch's Dream Dictionary" accordingly. This comprises slightly less than half the book and offers "symbols and concepts culled from personal and shared dreams, as well as from research I have collected for over two decades." Allrich writes that her intent in including these dream definitions is to help "familiarize you with the universal language of dreams, collective concepts, and common symbols. As always, I encourage you to apply your own personalized viewpoint... shading the meaning with your own emotional response."
The underlying message in A Witch's Book of Dreams is gently Wiccan -- there's that "Witch" word, after all. Allrich introduces the idea of "witch" as positive and wholesome, in some ways synonymous with the divine feminine.
In working with people's dreams and observing popular culture, I have come to feel that the powerful Witch or Goddess is returning to the Collective Unconscious in her positive form.
You get the feeling that, in Allrich's vocabulary, the word "witch" has a nurturing, New Age meaning and nothing to do with J.K. Rowling's conjuring take. After all, Allrich's last book was last years' Recipes from a Vegetarian Goddess, which began by saying:
By aligning us to Nature's cycles, we bring the Goddess back into our everyday awareness. One way to enhance our awareness is through food and celebration.
Another way to enhance that awareness, it would seem, is through understanding our dreams. | March 2001
Freelance writer and artist India Wilson believes in magic.