Few areas of modern spirituality have changed quite so fundamentally iver the past few decades as that of dream work.
For a long time the common understanding regarding dreams was limited to that of a passive state. That is to say that the general belief surrounding dreams was that they were something strange, inexplicable and often the result of eating too much cheese for supper.
Similar ideas permeated the world of spirituality for a long time with dream analysis very much rooted within dream dictionaries and folklore beliefs.
A Modern Approach
A great deal has changed and today so that it is common to treat modern dream analysis from a more psychoactive perspective.
That is to say that most books on the subject view dreamwork and analysis not so much from a passive viewpoint but from an active one – meaning that it is now generally accepted that we can, to a degree, interact with our dreams in advantageous ways.
Dream ESP by Carly Llewellyn Weschcke explores the world of dreams as if it they were simply another aspect of our mundane consciousness – a psychospiritual aspect to ourselves that can be worked directly with and upon in a many different ways.
Weschcke opens his book with an acknowledgement of the idea that dreams can and do link us with our highest state of being and here he integrates his own magickal interests into the subject of dreams by referencing Aleister Crowley’s popularization of the existence of the Holy Guardian Angel – our most supreme exemplification of the totality of higher mind and Self.
Here he sees the whole function of life lived under the auspices of the HGA as one in which
We are working to become more than we are and all that we can be.
The Great Brotherhood of God
For four years Weschcke was in charge of the Californian offshoot of the fraternity known as the Gnostic Brotherhood of God. The group used specific dream recollection techniques for personal growth and self-development.
In Dream ESP he references some of these advanced techniques – skills that utilize a range of tools including Jungian and Freudian psychoanalysis as well as actively conversing with the God Proteus as a way of, as the author describes it, creating a “Union With the Borderland of Consciousness”
Weschcke details three specific pioneers who he feels, through their unique approach to the subject, made valuable contributions to our understanding of the Borderland Consciousness.
These are Paschal Beverley Randolph, Dr. J Rhodes Buchanan and Ida C Craddock.
Whilst not household names in today’s spiritual movement they were all important occultists with their particular techniques for accessing the unconscious.
Dreams and Symbols
Most of us are aware that dream content is, in the main, based upon symbolism and allegory. Indeed, most dream dictionaries reeference this by offering a mundane explanation for unconscious dream symbology.
In Dream ESP, Weschcke reverses this process and advocates the use of occult symbols at a conscious level in order to access the deeper, less accessible parts of the unconscious.
Symbols that he advocates using include the equi-armed cross, the seven-pointed star of Babalon, the Eye of Horus in a Triangle, the Ankh, and the inverted pentagram.
Prophetic Causal Dreaming
In the second half of ‘Dream ESP’ the author introduces a technique of dreamworking developed by the magician Louis T Culling which he called ‘Prophetic Causal Dreaming’.
This system is centered upon the union of dream symbolism and the hexagrams of Taoist philosophy as expressed through the I Ching, or Book of Changes.
This technique also utilizes the process of symbol seeding into the unconscious – firstly by selecting a symbol that replicates a problem or issue that you wish to consult the wisdom of the HGA, personal Daemon or Higher Self on, finding its related Hexagram and then visualising it so that it percolates into the deeper realms of mind.
Subsequent dream recollection should then illicit an answer, direct from the Higher Self, as to the correct form of action to take in relation to the issue.
Dream ESP closes with a large glossary of related occult terms and a full index for reference.
Dream ESP has the dubious honor of being one of the naffest book titles that I have come across in a very long time – which is a pity as, on the other end of the scale, this is easily one of the best books on the subject of dreams that I think has ever seen the light of day.
The part-editor, part-author, Carl Llewellyn Weschcke’s sympathetic and illuminating revealing of Louis T Culling’s ideas as set out in this book is somewhat eccentric, fractured and spontaneous but these characteristic makes ‘Dream ESP’ a wonderfully colored exploration of that area of dreamwork so often neglected – its relationship to magick.
Here the slightly ludicrous title – one that conjures up that somewhat touchy-feely world of New Age paranormalism, fails dismally to reflect the gems of magickal knowledge and instruction that are to be found within its pages.
Riddled with some great stories about those who have employed the various dream techniques promoted in the book as well as anecdotal tales about some leading lights in the ritual magick movement this is a book that grabs the imagination and does not let it go.
Whether the techniques outlined in Dream ESP – ones that involve the cross-pollination of Western and Eastern philosophy, really work is something that I do not know. However, its approach to magick work, not unlike that of Spare’s system of personal sigil creation as a way of communicating with the unconscious, is fascinating, easy to apply and potentially powerful.
With a rich glossary of terms to help the reader this is a book that will be enjoyed by anyone looking for an edgier and more occult perspective to dreamwork. I recommend it unreservedly for all explorers of that Borderland of Consciousness.
Dream ESP presents a unique take on dreamwork – one that magickians of all styles will appreciate for its sheer entertainment and instructional value. Highly recommended!