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Book Reviews (excerpts)
WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD: "In his fascinating, well-organized and lucid book, Marc Ian Barasch carries us along with him on a brave night journey through the dream world....Healing Dreams is a book for readers who can let go of preconceptions... packed into 11 chapters which never fail to capture the reader's interest thanks to Barasch's own enthusiasm, his profound research, and his poet's eye for the heart of the matter....The spiritual component of the book as well as its poetic intensity add a depth to a subject that is all too often treated as a sort of parlor game. Healing Dreams, based as it is on over fifteen years of research and on a profound personal investigation, is saved from both the Scylla of New Age psychobabble and the Charybdis of a true-believer's pomposity by the quality of the author himself. In these days of journalistic sensationalism and excess, Barasch remains an honest reporter with a respectful tone of gentle inquiry into the mystery of his subject. It is clear that he has grown and deepened along with a book that is as wise and healing as a dream."
"Marc Barasch is the Nabokov of contemporary dream writers. He gives his dreams and those of others voices that speak intimately, powerfully, and unforgettably. The stories of lives dramatically altered by dream experiences startle, and then convince one of the seriousness, richness, and beauty of the mind in sleep. The power to profoundly enhance our appreciation of reality is the gift of dreams and the gift of this fine book. Read it if you want to live a bigger, more vivid life."
-- Gayle Delaney, Ph.D., Founding President of the Association for the Study of Dreams and author of All About Dreams
"Healing Dreams is destined to be remembered as a watershed event in the study and appreciation the psyche. Marc Barasch takes us on an intimate journey through the complex world of the dream and, with stunning clarity, distills for us the emotional and spiritual riches to be found there, leaving us stronger, wiser, and better equipped to bring the power of our dreams into our waking lives."
-- Joan Borysenko, author of A Woman's Book of Life and A Woman's Journey to God
"In all my years of working in the field of human potential there are perhaps only a dozen books that I would accord the status of 'critically innovative.' This is one! The writing is luminous, and speaks to everyone who has ever had an important dream. This book offers new pathways to self-knowledge. I myself am buying hundreds of copies for my students, and strongly suggesting that others in my general field do likewise. Healing Dreams could mark a revolution in the study of consciousness and its capacities. "
---Jean Houston, Ph.D., author of Jump Time and The Mythic Life, founder of The Mystery School
"Marc Barasch is a daring thinker, a mesmerizing writer, and a fully conscious human being who never fails to take us on an eye-opening romp through our own minds."
--Hara Marano, Editor at Large, Psychology Today
"This book sets a new standard in the field of dreams. Barasch compellingly shows how dreams can provide us with greater wisdom. He also writes like a dream, which makes this book an uncommon joy. Highly recommended."
-- Larry Dossey, M.D., author of Reinventing Medicine and Healing Words
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY:"Provocative and thoughtful...one of the most compelling and convincing accounts of the significance of dreams. Healing Dreams is distinguished by the author's reluctance to claim to have the answers---his ego takes a backseat to the evidence--and by the quality of his prose (he draws readers in from the get-go)...Barasch has the gift of making readers want to journey with him. This title has the potential to break out."
THE BLOOMBURY REVIEW: "Echoing Freud, Barasch insists that every dream, no matter how fantastic, has some meaning that can be brought to bear on our conscious lives---a meaning that goes beyond our mind merely talking to itself, and that connects to some larger, shared reality whose language is one of symbols...Barasch's notion of a 'healing dream'---one that offers a commentary on some imbalance in our lives and seeks to redress it---is an attractive one, and certainly more useful than the less poetic notion, held by some cognitive psychologists, that dreams are little more than static on the wires connecting one part of our brain to another. ..Unlike some writers in the psychology genre, Barasch offers no easy formulas for this sensitive work; a dream, he wisely observes, is a pointer, not a prescription. Ferreting meaning out of dreams is difficult work, work that forces an exquisite attention to detail, an awareness of the endless possibilities for misdirection in the mind's gnomic utterances, and an analytical approach that is attentive to the symbolic and the literal alike... Folktales, the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss observed, are 'good to think with.' They help us arrive at truths that other paths of thought can obscure. So it is with dreams; as Barasch notes,' they bring parts of ourselves---and the world---alive.' His book provides a helpful grammar for a language the mastery of which can change our very being."
"Marc Barasch has a remarkable ability to discern the deepest, most spiritually charged forces that emerge in people's dreams. Healing Dreams is a testament to the powerful potentials and mysterious insights available to anyone who is willing to listen to the natural wisdom of their dreaming imagination."
--Kelly Bulkeley, Ph.D., author of Transforming Dreams
BOULDER DAILY CAMERA: "Is dreaming, as some researchers believe, nothing more than a nonsensical firing of neurons, devoid of all meaning? Or is it that dreams represent another reality, a world on the other side of sleep's curtain? Marc Ian Barasch, former editor of New Age Journal, takes a good, long, fascinating look at the meaning of the worlds behind our sleeping lids...He wants to know not 'What do dreams mean?' but rather, 'What do dreams want?" Healing Dreams is a beautifully written, complete answer to that question, offering insight into how to discern when a dream really has something to say to you. This is 'dream interpretation' as you've probably never read it before---and it's also a lot of fun."
"Heartily recommended to any intelligent reader interested in the deeper mysteries of dreams. This wonderfully written book deals sensitively with a termendously important topic. It contains a poignant and compelling story with clear, universal psychospiritual implications for the entire species."
--Rev. Jeremy Taylor, author of Dream Work and Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill
"Marc Barasch's beautifully written book brings the healing capacity of dreams front and center. It can not help but resonate with those who pursue its wisdom."
--Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.co-author The Mythic Path and Dreamscaping
THE DENVER POST: "Western culture too often discounts its dreams as the weird, often nonsensical ramblings of our subconscious. But Barasch labels some as 'healing dreams' that help make us complete; dreams which, he writes, 'stop us in our tracks and tell us that we're not who we think we are.'...His is not a handbook or manual in the self-help tradition. He cautions against simplistic one-size-fits-all interpretation so common in dream analysis. His book tells, through anecdotes, of a path toward self-awareness that can be accessed by paying attention to our most profound dreams."
"A breakthrough book that calls upon fifteen years of research and hundreds of real-life dreams to expertly explore this mysterious frontier...Excellent, poetic prose that speaks to the transformative powers within the bizarre, shape-shifting landscape of the dreamworld. Barasch reaches far beyond the typical dream analysis into the more ambitious realms of spiritual turning points, personal relationships, and mystical opportunities. This is a life-altering book, one that forever shifts the dreamer's approach to dreams as well as to the conscious world."
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: "Barasch believes that certain 'healing dreams' are not humdrum affairs, but oracles or inner advisors... If this smacks too much of moonlight and unicorns, you might be surprised---Barasch is an excellent writer, and he makes a lot of sense."
THE SHAMBHALA SUN: "Healing Dreams is a book of first principles for the home dream researcher. Barasch treads skillfully around the potential pitfalls of pop psychology: this is neither dream dictionary nor guide, and there are no pat answers. What Barasch does is offer categorizations, examples, and interpretations that suggest the power of dreams to transform us, both as individuals and as a society...By mapping a possible landscape of interpretation---from dreams of the body to time-bending dreams of social significance---Barasch builds an argument for the transformative power of dreams."
"Marc Barasch is a wizard with dreams and the written word. Healing Dreams is a jewel. Don't miss this book!"
---Judith Orloff, M.D., author of Second Sight
Praise for Barasch's previous book THE HEALING PATH: (Penguin, 1995) To Order The Healing Path
THOMAS MOORE (author of Care of the Soul and Soul Mates):
"Illness remains one of our few windows to mystery and eternity. Marc Ian Barasch's captivating book looks through that window and finds a world of hinting dreams, necessary questions, and trickster solutions. For its honesty, style, and wise wariness about cures, it's a book that could help all of us deal with both bodily illness and the soul sickness of our lives. "
THE WHOLE EARTH REVIEW:
"Here is the strongest case yet for a spiritual understanding of health and illness. The Healing Path is sympathetic to the bodymind viewpoint, but not willing to settle for wishful thinking. The result is a more expansive view of the territory, and a clearer and more useful reckoning of its features, than I've seen anywhere.
INSTITUTE OF NOETIC SCIENCES:
"Without fanfare or jargon, proposing neither a blind faith in technological medicine nor an unwitting escape into mystical or unorthodox approaches, Barasch asks the reader to explore the inner journey. All this is done with exceptional sensitivity, well-developed case histories, and a poetic and easily readable style. A remarkable book."
LARRY DOSSEY, M.D. (author of Healing Words):
"If you read one book about the mind-body connection, make it this one. Both high drama and fine literature, The Healing Path is a work that affirms all of life. Amid all the current hype, it is a beacon of science, spirituality, and sanity.A magnificent contribution! "
JOAN BORYSENKO, Ph.D. (Author, Minding the Body, Mending the Mind):
"Sometimes I can barely suppress a groan reading yet another book on healing, but I devoured The Healing Path in a single afternoon. I have rarely felt so riveted. The book itself is a kind of healing. Marc Barasch is a uniquely talented writer whose words and images conjure up long-forgotten memories and inner stirrings of wholeness. It is scholarly and wise, poignant and funny. Best of all, it rings of the authenticity that is the very hallmark of healing. This book is going to become a classic in the burgeoning field of bodymind medicine."
THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE:
"While much has been written about the notion of the "bodymind," the idea itself has entered our culture without much of a map to help one negotiate the way through what largely remains terra incognita. The Healing Path is that map."
TRICYCLE: THE BUDDHIST REVIEW:
"In this elegant memoir, which mixes the author's own reflections with those of forty others stricken with serious disease(including poet Deena Metzger, psychiatrist Oliver Sacks, and Buddhist anthropologist Joan Halifax) as well as with the wisdom of mythology, theology, psychology, anthropology and medicine, Barasch retraces the steps of "soul-retrieval." The Healing Path is relevant not only to its obvious readership of those suffering from an illness, but to all of us. For the way of healing discerned here---the way marked by acceptance, even joyous affirmation, of all that exists, be it good, evil, ill or healthy---is akin to the way discerned by the Buddha and all great teachers before and since. Barasch writes about "a higher form of fidelity---an obedience to awareness" that will be inspired in all who read this brave, insightful, and powerful book. "
ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES IN HEALTH AND MEDICINE (Reviewed by Jeffrey S. Levin, Dept. of Family and Community Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA):
"The Healing Path is the most engrossing, challenging, and empowering book on this topic I have ever read. Barasch's honest, literate portrayal of his personal journal and the healing journeys of others, combined with his thorough citation of biomedical references make this a unique contribution to the medical literature on healing and an important addition to the libraries of scientists, physicians, nurses, and other health professionals."
RACHAEL NAOMI REMEN, M.D. (Medical director/co-founder, Commonweal Cancer Help Program; Assistant clinical professor of Family and Community Medicne at the UCSF School of Medicine, author, Kitchen Table Wisdom.) From Advances: The Journal of Mind-Body Health:
"This book is an example of what can happen with a sensitive, thoughtful, and articulate writer and editor encounters the challenge to seek and find healing. The Healing Path is a dense and rich tapestry of investigational reporting, scientific evidence, personal experience, and literary scholarship. One envies the sure hand with which Barasch weaves together ancient and contemporary healing wisdom. He does not offer a simple answer of universal formula, but presents the complexity of genuine experience. Even after a lifetime in the field, many facts offered in the book were new to me. Barasch uncovers some of the foundational principles of the healing process and shows them to us in myth, in ritual, in literature, in poetry and dreams, in anthropology, in medicine, and in the lives of our neighbors and ourselves. This book is a masterful, awesome feat; an unnervingly accurate reframing of the nature of wounding and task of becoming whole."
BARBARA H. WARREN, M.D., (Medical Director for Managed Care, University Physicians, Inc., and Assoc. Prof of Clinical Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine):
"The Healing Path addresses a side and sense of patient care needs that one would be hard pressed to find in the bills in our legislature, the claims of the managed care industry, or the halls of medical science. Marc Barasch has created a compendium of literature and experience, revealing the roles of mind and spirit in serious disease.His style is reminiscent of the lost art of rich description of disease found in the nineteenth century, which used keen observational skills we sadly have all too often lost. We need to heed this book as a clarion call to physicians to try to better understand and address the emotional needs and forces of illness."
NATIONAL CENTER FOR CANCER SURVIVORS NETWORKER:
"In an age of clinical specialists and alternative hucksters, a cancer survivor has explored---in refreshingly humanistic, non-medical guise---the full range of issues that confound, confront, and encourage cancer survivors. Like a kind of Hermes, Marc Ian Barasch guides the reader through the abundant and textured terrain of the soul and its healing, opening a world alive with possibility. He respectfully relates each story to his 'own, still dark interior." His history is thereby resuced from the prison of self-absorption, and becomes a kind of communal deposit, which he mines gently but thoroughly, opening its luminous depths. Reading The Healing Path is itself a healing act, melding one's own journey to his compassionate guide for the oncologically perplexed. "
C.K. (patient, Amherst, MA):
"I have just finished reading your book for the second time. When I read it the first time, I closed the cover, held it close to me, and cried---for all of us who have experienced the illumination that illness brings, and the pain, terror and isoloation--for our connection and our separateness. I have read virtually every book related to healing since I became ill almost 14 years ago. In my opinion, you have written the best one of them all. Not only is it beautifully and lyrically written, and the topics so significant, but your soul permeates the book. Thank you for taking the risk."
"Last April your book was given to me as a gift. From its very first pages, I was held captive by your words. Their authenticty was all the more remarkable because they told of my journey after-the-fact. There, in the pages, was a revelation to me about the magnitude of my experience in language I could grasp. I had to reread the entire book, for I was---and am---astonished and grateful. No one else could have given me the coordinates to my own map of this strange, new place."