Mythological Studies and Dream Tending

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 19, 2017, 10:09:28 AM

A guest post by Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D.

dream_boat.jpgAt Pacifica, Joseph Campbell once said, "dream work can be a yogic practice." I'll never forget him sharing that with us. To this day, his insight informs my practice of Dream Tending. Touching into the same loam, the mythic imagination, Dream Tending opens a way to listen to the movements of psyche as she tells the stories that implicate us in larger mythological motifs. To tend a dream is to befriend the living images, each with an intelligence of its own, each with a story to tell.

When we interact with these imaginal presentations of the night/day, we hear the myth, the dream that is moving through our life. Implicating us in all aspects of our engagements with family, friends, and our work, dreams bring inspiration, as well as insight. Dream Tending teaches ways of evolving a sustained relationship with imagination and the figures/landscapes of psyche. Cultivating these engagements and learning to interact with regard creates an on-going living relationship with the figures of soul. Indeed, Dream Tending becomes life praxis, a yogic "way" of living a fulfilled soul-centered life.

I have always enjoyed teaching the Dream Tending approach to Mythological Studies students. Already, steeped in the imaginal intricacies of mythic life, tending dreams becomes a natural, at times an enhanced mode of fulfilling a mythic life.

Dr. Aizenstat will present Introduction to Dream Tending: A Practical Approach to Dreamwork on July 14-16. More information can be found here:

Explore the coursework in the Mythological Studies Program, specifically the course Dreams, Visions, Myths under the course section titled Depth Psychology and Culture.


Stephen_Aizenstat.jpgStephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., is the Chancellor and Founding President of Pacifica Graduate Institute. He is a professor of depth psychology with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, licensed marriage and family therapist, and a credentialed public schools teacher and counselor. Dr. Aizenstat has provided organizational consulting to companies and agencies and teaches extensively worldwide. Dr. Aizenstat has explored the potential of dreams through depth psychology and his own research for more than 35 years. His Dream Tending methodologies extend traditional dream work to the vision of an animated world where the living images in dream are experienced as embodied and originating in the psyche of Nature as well as that of persons. His work opens creativity and the generative process. His book, Dream Tending, describes multiple new applications of dreamwork in relation to health and healing, nightmares, the World’s Dream, relationships, and the creative process. His other recent publications include: Imagination & Medicine: The Future of Healing in an Age of Neuroscience (co-editor with Robert Bosnak); “Dream Tending and Tending the World,” in Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind; “Soul-Centered Education: An Interview with Stephen Aizenstat” (with Nancy Treadway Galindo) in Reimagining Education; Essays on Reviving the Soul of Learning; The Soul Does Not Specialize: Revaluing the Humanities and the Polyvalent Imagination, with Dennis Patrick Slattery and Jennifer Leigh Selig: “Depth Entrepreneurship: Creating an Organization out of Dream Space”, in The Transforming Leader: New Approaches to Leadership for the Twenty-First Century; and “Fragility of the World’s Dream”, in Eranos Yearbook 2009-2010-2011 Love on a Fragile Thread.

Topics: The Psyche, Mythology, graduate school, images, active imagination