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At the Pool of Wonder:

Dreams and Visions of an Awakening Humanity

Marcia Lauck and Deborah Koff Chapin; (Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Company, 1989), 113 pages

For those of us who have not given up hope for humanity, this book, a cooperative effort between author and artist, will encourage that hope.  For those who do not know whether to hope or not, Lauck and Koff-Chapin may influence you to expect better things than you may have experienced.  If your theology is that humankind is hell bent and is not going to get any better, then you may well be turned off by the deep visionary experiences of these two women.

Marcia Lauck, member of a contemplative community in San Jose, California, has recorded here, with little interpretation, 21 dreams that are replete with archetypal images such as the jaguar, the Goddess, the First Mother, the Rock, and the Native American image of the Firebird.  In that last dream, the Firebird is heard to say, “You who seek to embody the sacredness of God’s creation in everyday life are, collectively, a womb in which the embryo of a new civilization has taken root.  The disciplines you have observed and practiced, deeming them necessary for the birth of a new vision of humanity, are those which are the genetic building blocks of the firebird.”

Introducing another of her dreams, Lauck observes “there is a sweeping awareness that every single moment of our lives from birth to death is part of a great ceremony, a celebration, a liturgy of life.  Our work is to waken to the wonder of it, to meet it consciously every day.”  And so she does, apparently not only in her daylight hours, but in her nighttime visions as well.  That there is such congruence is not surprising in that our dreams reflect, among other things, our waking thoughts.  But one suspects—hopes—that in these dreams there may also be an element of the collective unconscious.  If so, they speak a reassuring word indeed that from the deep springs of God’s human creation, there may yet erupt that basic goodness with which we were created.

Aside from the messages of life and hope that come through the dreams, they may be seen as fascinating examples of archetypal images in dreams, imagery interpreted in the dreams themselves.  They are thus a helpful resource for understanding similar images in our dreams.

Deborah Koff-Chapin’s “touch drawings” (a painting technique described in an Afterword) are remarkably supportive of Lauck’s dreams, even though they were done independently with no knowledge of the dreams.  Her paintings are paired with the dreams and evoke many of the same archetypal images contained in the accompanying dreams.  Her artwork could just as well stand by itself, and does in exhibitions and other publications.

The vision of a new humanity this collaboration brings to us may well point us to a new vision of Christianity, a Christianity that calls us to live into the mystery of God’s incarnation in each one of us, a vision as much needed today as it was when the book was written almost 20 years ago.

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