Excerpt from a chapter in Sleep Monsters and Superheroes: Empowering Children through Creative Dreamplay by Clare R. Johnson and Jean M. Campbell, Editors, Foreword by Deirdre Barrett
Chapter 12: Young Superheroes of the Dreamtime: Dreams of Time, Space and the Future, Linda Mastrangelo, MA, LMFT, author
By sharing our dreams, we are also sharing the story of the Universe. And as James Hillman poignantly wrote in his opus, The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, we must first look to childhood as a signal of The Call as “an urge out of nowhere, a fascination, a peculiar turn of events struck like an annunciation: This is what I must do, this is what I’ve got to have. This is who I am.”
Hillman cites the biographies of famous people such as Mahatma Gandhi and Ella Fitzgerald where a pattern of the “the Call” or genius emerged in the early stages of life. As children we are much more in tune with our destiny than we are as adults. Dreams can give us the map to this terrain of who we once were, where we are now and possible futures. Which means as the keepers of children’s stories and dreams, we can find clues to the Call to help support them in their journeys towards an authentic self and the superheroes they were destined to become.
World-renowned contributors across several disciplines reveal how dreams can aid and empower children in daily life.
Children can feel powerless in waking life, a fact that is often reflected in their dreams. This book shows how to take an active role in guiding children’s dreams to help grow their confidence and improve their coping skills for real-life difficulties. Contributors from across various fields provide simple techniques to help children utilize dreamwork as a conduit for creative discovery and empowerment.
- Addresses how video games and today’s news media can affect children’s sleep/dreams and how trauma can trigger PTSD-like nightmares
- Details how children’s dreams reflect their emotional and physical development
- Includes vignettes/case studies of children’s nightmares from countries around the world, including a heavily war-torn country
- Explains what may trigger nightmares for children and how “monster” dreams can be guided to become “superhero” dreams
“This is the book for which we have all been waiting. It is a comprehensive, articulate discussion of children’s dreams, their nature, and their nurture. As the title implies, there are plenty of monsters and heroes in children’s dreams, but this book provides guidelines for using children’s dreams for creativity, enjoyment, and for the healing of mind and body. Such timely topics as videogames, trauma, and death are mirrored in children’s’ dreams as well as how they can help children cope during their waking hours. -Stanley Krippner, PhD, Alan Watts Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University; coauthor, Extraordinary Dreams and How to Work with Them
“What a delightful book these IASD authors have created. It is not only an insightful trip into the impact your own childhood dreams may have had on your life, but a very important guide to help parents and adults to work with children’s dreams and nightmares. Something every parent should read.” (Bob Hoss, Director and past President, IASD, Dream Language, Self-Understanding Through Imagery and Color)
“A compelling and readable book that captures the innocence, creativity, and universality of children’s dreams, their vulnerability to nocturnal monsters, and cataclysms and capacity for creative and spiritual inspiration… It will be a source of guidance, insight, and solace for parents, teachers, mental health and health professionals, clergy, and to anyone interested in the creativity and resilience of the human spirit.” (Alan Siegel, PhD, Associate Clinical Professor, UC Berkeley, Dream Wisdom: Uncovering Life’s Answers in Your Dreams)
“Many children must face nightmares and learn about dreams on their own as I did. With this captivating and comprehensive book, talented dream experts have created a detailed guide designed to enhance the inner and outer worlds of the young and old alike. If I’d had access to this practical advice, I might have begun my lucid life at an even earlier age!” (Beverly D’Urso, PhD, Teacher of Lucid Dreaming/Lucid Living at http://wedreamnow.info/)
“If we care about children, we must care about their dreams; this means being willing to listen without judgment, to help with the scary stuff, and to encourage dreamplay that is safe and fun. The authors of the excellent collection Sleep Monsters and Superheroes know this well. They offer us a treasury of techniques and experiences that will help us to cheer on-and learn from-the kids we know as they draw guidance, healing, and creative energy from their dreams and become dream magicians, operating consciously in the place between sleep and awake, braving up to night monsters and crafting bigger and braver stories for life.”-Robert Moss, Best-selling author of The Secret History of Dreaming, Active Dreaming and The Boy Who Died and Came Back