If you’re interested in the intersection of dream research and sacred landscapes, then you’ll be happy to hear there’s a new wide-ranging collection on the topic.
The book is titled Transpersonal Ecosophy: Reflections on Sacred Site Dream Research, the Mind/Body Problem, Parapsychology, Spiritual Emergency/Emergence, Transpersonal Psychology, the Anthropology of Consciousness and More.
That’s a heady title, and actually, I didn’t even include the subtitle: Volume 1: Theory, Methods and Clinical Assessments.
Edited by Mark Schroll, a frequent lecturer at Saybrook University, the work has a wide spectrum of topics, but it all ties together with the concept that humanity can only be understood in context to nature.
We are not just in relationship to material environments and ecologies, but also informed and transformed by the consciousness of other creatures and perhaps a unifying field of awareness that is currently best understood in light of Bohmian physics. This is why Schroll prefers the term ecosophy to ecopsychology, as this is philosopher Arnie Naess’s original term that better incapsulates the range of inquiries that address how humanity and nature relate.
Schroll explains, “At its basic unit of meaning, the term ecosophy refers to a spirit of place, and our personal relationship to this place. This can be both a natural location, or part of the built environment: urban, rural, wilderness, jungle, desert, ocean, etc. The transpersonal aspect comes into play because our ecosophical orientation also includes a transformative, ecstatic, or transpersonal encounter within us, as well as necessitating a relationship and/or co-evolution with planet Earth and all its creatures. This includes, to the extend it impossible, our co-evolving awareness with spacetime, matter and consciousness.” (p iii).
You might get the impression that this is an academic book, and you’d be right. In fact, it’s a bit of as tome, with over 600 pages.
But it’s also surprisingly readable, as Schroll has a wonderful conversational style as a writer. Having seen Mark present for a decade, I can tell you he writes like he speaks, full of passion, wit, and story, and with a memory for detail that can only be called encyclopedic.
Besides showcasing Schroll’s decades of work in ecosophy, the collection has many valuable studies and commentaries from fifteen scholars who also are pretty readable. Including, by the way, three chapters by myself.
If you have more than a passing interest in the research about dreaming and sacred sites, as well as its context within the evolution of parapsychology, transpersonal anthropology and anomalous experiences, then the volume is a must have.
What also makes it unique is the high level of dialogue among the chapters.
For example, in Part 4: Using Dreaming to Investigate Anomalous Phenomena at Sacred Sites, Curt Hoffman opens the section with a chapter that discusses my work on rock art and dreams and its implications for cognitive archaeology. Then I have a chapter about my intuitive field methods in Nicaragua. Then Beth Hagens has a chapter that puts my work into perspective with Jean Gebser’s integral theory, casting my work as art-based research. Next, I have another chapter, this time discussing Paul Devereux’s body of work in the new “anthropology of consciousness.” A reprint of Devereux and colleagues’ classic study on dreaming at sacred sites in Wales and England follow. Then, Mark Schroll and Stan Krippner discuss the impact of this study, including its shortcomings and implications. And then Bethe Hagens comes back with a chapter discussing those comments.
This high-level of interpenetration and commentary is unheard of in a single printed volume. It feels like you’re in a heated panel debate! clearly gives a snapshot of the ideas and practices currently ramping up in the field.
Other notable contributors include: Charles Tart, Stanley Krippner and Daniel Deslauriers, all of whom have been researching transpersonal psychology for decades and who have hoped redefine anomalous experience as not just pseudoscience but a serious and fruitful pursuit that belongs in academia.
It’s a lovely volume and it makes me want to go outside right now, so I’m wrapping this up! You can pick up the volume below.