Delving Deep with Myths and Archetypes

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Dream Alchemy. What I discovered was an in-depth system for using your dreams to enhance your life. Author Ted Andrews lays out a comprehensive system for using visualization, myths, and archetypes to spark dreams that aid you in uncovering what’s going on in your psyche.

This book was originally published in 1991, though the techniques that Andrews discusses are timeless and apply just as well in this new century. In the introduction, Andrews equates purposeful dream work with shape-shifting. He tells us that dream alchemy is “using dream energy to initiate the process of transformation.” He outlines his belief that we can - and should - use the power of our dreams for personal spiritual growth.

In the first section of the book, Andrews further expounds on how his process of dream alchemy works. He shows how symbols, both personal and archetypal, populate our dreams and form “the means by which our subconscious mind can bring forth information that might not otherwise make it to the conscious, rational mind.” He describes the seven main archetypes that we can work with, shares his preferred method for keeping a dream journal (an essential part of the process), and offers methods for increasing dream frequency and recall.

It’s in the remaining sections of the book that Andrews gives us the meditations, exercises, and techniques to work with dreams in a deep and profound way. His system is well-organized and comprehensive. Andrews includes an exhaustive list of myths, folktales, and fairy tales which we can use to stimulate dreams on a wide variety of topics. He also offers several case studies to illustrate how working with dreams and myths can help us to solve problems in our lives and stimulate our personal growth.

My favorite parts of the book were the section on seasonal and lunar cycles, and the chapter on becoming the dream hero and creating your own personal myths. Although I’ve read many books that address the natural cycles and how we can live in harmony with them, Andrews has a unique approach that includes astrology, myths, and symbols. He suggests practices for aligning yourself with the seasons, and writes that “part of bringing ourselves into the rhythms of the universe requires that we recognize that nothing is insignificant.”

Andrews then takes us through creating our own mythology that reflects our personal concerns and desires, which we can use to work with our dreams in more depth. Myths, he writes, “have much greater import in our lives than mere entertainment.” Anyone who enjoys creativity will be drawn to this chapter, where you can use Andrews’ simple outline to begin crafting your own hero’s journey.

I highly recommend Dream Alchemy to anyone who is interested in exploring the depths of their own inner world. Using myths and tales from around the world and universal archetypes, Andrews will teach you to deftly use your personal dreams to shed light on your life and your purpose. This book can be used for transformation that will empower and inspire your spiritual growth for years, if not decades.

~review by Nikki Starcat Shields

Author: Ted Andrews
Llewellyn Worldwide, 2015
pp.252, $15.99