Dream Collective

In the late 1980s, Connie Kaplan was stricken with a mysterious illness that left her sleeping as much as 18 hours a day. As she slept, she had vivid dreams that introduced her to her spiritual side that needed expression. "While I slept my life away, I dreamed myself awake," she says.

Kaplan came to a realization: Dreams are communications from deep within that both represent where we are on a path of spiritual growth, and also guide us onward. She began to record her dreams and noticed that there was a message in all of them.

She started a dream circle—a gathering of friends who shared and discussed the themes and meanings of their nighttime ventures. One woman was haunted by a dream of her father's death, but after sharing it with the group found out that others had the same dream. "It was not about the death of a specific person, but more a symbolic message about patriarchy," they deduced, according to Kaplan.

In her new book, Dreams are Letters From the Soul (Crown, 2002), Kaplan writes about the soul-nurturing aspect of dreaming and about the 13 different types of dreams. As we grow, dreams move from personal topics to collective dreaming that connects us with a "unity" consciousness, she says. To share dream experiences and learn more about Kaplan's work, her Web site is www.turtledreamers.com.

—Barbara Hey