‘Shower of Stars’, Dream & Book

The Initiatic Dream in Sufism & Taoism

Peter Lamborn Wilson

A rare little gem, perfect for discovering unexpectedly in a second-hand shop (as I was lucky to). This labyrinthine study of esoteric traditions of dreaming weaves its way through Ibn Arabi’s imaginal Islam, Siberian shamanism, African diaspora spirit cults, and endless other rich hotbeds of magical practice. Two threads stand out in my memory. One is the significance of “dreambooks”—not the interpretive catalogues of symbolism, but mysterious texts received as objects within the dream state itself. Much discourse around dreams and altered states emphasizes the transcendence of language, or at least of the written word; Wilson reveals here part of the profound imaginal significance of printed matter. Further, in looking at the concept of dream initiation, he finds a perfect exemplar for his “spiritual anarchism”. If luminous figures in the dream world serve as your initiators, you are—in theory at least—released from the bonds of external guru-disciple lineages. Call it Gnostic dreamwork.

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