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A Little Course in Dreams
Robert Bosnak
A Basic Handbook of Jungian Dreamwork
Published by Shambala Pubs in 1986
Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2002


A small book in size (3X5 inches) and number of pages (120), the book takes place during a group session in Robert Bosnak's Cambridge office. The initial dream is his: a bulldog has Angie by the neck. From this dream we enter other group members' dreams and follow Bosnak as he dives into his fear of his dreams and working on others' dreams until the feelings of the dream engulf us with meaning.

The fantasy trip "into your house and out again" provides a powerful anchor for entering Jung's "active imagination" process. Bosnak delineates the alchemical process as it proceeds from Nigredo (through a glass darkly) to Albedo (reflection in the silvered glass) to Rubedo (the glowing light of the sun). the most interesting aspect to me was the underwater rabbit dream. The rabbit is living underwater but is not touched by the water in the stainless steel bowl. The meaning of the dreams seems obvious when you apply the four types to the earth (sensate), air (thinking), fire (intuition), and water (feelings). The dreamer (rabbit) is immersed in the water (feelings) of the group room ( stainless steel bowl) but is not touched by the feelings. As the group begins to talk (thinking/air) about his predicament, he notices the water (feelings) beginning to drain out (leaving him in the air).

Where did I first encounter these four elements for functional type matching? I remember using it to interpret a dream in a Jungian group several years ago. Although Bosnak does not refer to them explicitly, he seems to understand the relationship intuitively his comments about the meaning of the water running out of the bowl.

An excellent introduction to the Jungian approach to dreams - he gives you techniques for sinking into dreams (rather than running off on associative chains as Freud suggested). This is a "Cook Yourself" book for beginners in dream interpretation.

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