1. You’ve written over forty books, ranging in topic from feng shui to angels to creative visualization. What inspired your new book, Spirit & Dream Animals, which addresses the symbolism of animals in our dreams?
I’ve always been fascinated with both dreams and animal symbolism. Despite all the books I’d read about shamans and other people communicating with animals in dreams, it never occurred to me to combine both interests until I accidentally overheard a conversation about animal dreaming. As soon as I heard this, I wanted to know everything I could about the subject, and spent a great deal of time seeking out people who could help me, or point me in the right direction. I had no intention of writing a book on the subject at that stage. The research was purely to satisfy my own curiosity. However, many of the people I spoke to encouraged me to write a book, and Spirit & Dream Animals is the result.
2. Why do you feel dreams are so important to us? Do sleep state dreams hold more power than waking daydreams?
There are many theories about why we dream, but researchers have not yet managed to explain the phenomenon. Dreams seem to serve a number of purposes. They help us deal with the thoughts and emotions that pass through our minds during the day. They help us deal with matters that are going on in our lives. They provide access to what is going on in our subconscious minds, in the form of images and symbols that can be interpreted. Dreams can also be precognitive, and allow us to gain glimpses of the future. I am convinced that dreams are essential for our mental and emotional well-being.
Daydreams are potentially more powerful than night dreams as (with the exception of lucid dreaming) they can be controlled and manipulated more easily. It’s a simple matter to visualize anything you wish while daydreaming. The symbolism and imagery is the same in both daydreams and night dreams.
3. Animal symbolism, in dreams and elsewhere, transcends cultures, countries, and ages. Why do you feel that is?
Animal symbols are universal; they are part of our collective unconscious. Consequently, they strike a chord that people from all cultures instinctively respond to. Animal spirits can be found in the legends, mythology, and scriptures of most cultures around the world. In the Bible, for instance, Solomon refers to his beloved as a dove (Song of Solomon 2:14). Many people today affectionately call their partners a dove. In most cultures, a dove has always symbolized peace, innocence, and love.
4. What advice do you offer those who have difficulty remembering their dreams?
You need to make a conscious effort to remember your dreams. Tell yourself before falling asleep that you will remember your dreams in the morning. When you wake up, try not to move until you have recalled your most recent dream. It is a good idea to keep a voice recorder or pen and paper by your bed, so you can record your dreams as soon as you wake up. You are more likely to remember your dreams when you wake up naturally. All memories of your dreams are likely to disappear if you’re woken by an alarm clock.
5. You also address the issue of finding your "spirit animal" and "totem animal" in Spirit & Dream Animals. How do you define these two terms, and why are they important?
"Spirit animal" and "totem animal" are sometimes considered synonymous, but there are subtle differences. Your totem animal is an animal that you have a special affinity for, usually because of its attributes or symbolism. In many ways, it could be considered an archetype of your animal inner self.
A spirit animal is an animal that can be called upon whenever the person needs the qualities of a particular animal. Many people consider their totem animal to be a type of spirit guide. I would call this a spirit animal, rather than an animal totem. However, for many people, these are all synonyms for the strength and protection provided by their personal totem.
6. Spirit & Dream Animals contains two parts, the first being an introduction to symbolism and our dreams, the second a dictionary of animal symbolism in dreams. What do you hope readers will take away from your new book?
I hope readers will gain an appreciation of the influence animals have in their dreams, and learn how to interpret and use this information to improve their lives. My aim in writing this book was to help people learn more about their true natures, and to help them gain the qualities of their particular spirit and dream animals.