Culture/Deep Dreaming

General Description of the Process

Culture Dreaming is an innovative group dream-sharing process that allows individual dreams to be heard not for their personal meaning but for their implications for the collective. This process is open to the public, and may be on a selected topic. We can offer it to organizations for consultative, informational, and revitalization purposes. Culture Dreaming is somewhat akin to the Social Dreaming Matrix developed at the Tavistock Institute by Gordon Lawrence and described in his anthologies, Social Dreaming at Work and Experiences in Social Dreaming.

Deep Dreaming is a group dream-sharing process that has a devotional or shamanic orientation. It begins with a light trance in which dreams are invited to come forth. This reverses the more common ego-dominant position that privileges conscious choice. The dreams are then read as a single co-created narrative, which is explored for its themes. The process is akin to a group spiritual practice and is suitable for those with some background in meditation, hypnosis, guided imagery, or shamanic journeying who have felt a call to serve healing on a transpersonal scale.

I dream in my dream all the dreams of the other dreamers, and I become the other dreamers.—Walt Whitman, The Sleepers, I

Deep dreaming holds a place in our community which church used to hold, a place where we can join together in a deep, liminal space to receive, through the dreaming, messages from beyond: messages of the ecstatic and messages of the ordinary. When we dream together, we open ourselves to be touched by the Divine. That’s why I call it “church.” —C.M.


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Deep Dreaming: Fall Series

with Meredith Sabini and Richard Russo

Sliding scale: $80-150 for series

September 9, October 7, November 4, December 2


Deep Dreaming is a unique process in which dreams are not consciously chosen but invited to come forth during a group meditation. We then listen to all of them repeated together as one big dream for the collective, and jointly explore its themes and imagery. The process lets us observe and participate in the unfolding morphogenetic field. Even though we look at the dreams for collective rather than personal implications, you will see your own in new light.  Please see our website for articles and more complete description.

First-time attendees must come to the September meeting at 12:30pm for instructions about the process. No exceptions!

Meredith Sabini, PhD, is director of The Dream Institute and a licensed psychologist specializing in dream training and consultation.

Richard Russo, MA, is past president of International Association for the Study of Dreams, editor of Dreams Are Wiser Than Men, and Associate Director at The Dream Institute.

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given by Meredith Sabini and Richard Russo

Not listed are monthly sessions at The Dream Institute and fee-for-service consultations.

DINC = Dream Institute of Northern California

IASD = International Association for the Study of Dreams

IFPE = International Forum for Psychoanalytic Education


2004     “Social Dreaming Matrix.” Weekend CE workshop with G. Lawrence. DINC.

2005      “Culture Healing, Culture Dreaming.” CE program, DINC.

2005      “Culture Dreaming.” IASD conference, Berkeley, CA.

2005      “Social Dreaming Matrix.” Pacifica Graduate Institute.

2006      “Social Dreaming Matrix: A Deep Cultural Therapy?”                                           Presentation with  demonstration. IFPE conference, Pasadena, CA.

2006    “Cultural Dimensions of Dreaming.” IASD conference, Bridgewater, MA.

2007    “An Experiment in Cultural Healing.” Lecture and demonstration. IASD conference, Berkeley, CA.

2007    “Culture Dreaming: A Living Experience of Interconnection.” Weekend CE workshop. Los Angeles Jung Institute.

2008      “Dreaming and Truancy.” PhD. Dissertation by Salvador Trevino, Pacifica Graduate Institute.

2008    “Dreaming in Company.” Weekend CE workshop for contemporary                    psychoanalysts. Sunland Seminars, Los Angeles.

2008    “Culture Dreaming: A Living Experience of Interconnection.” Private seminar/workshop, by invitation. Los Angeles.

2009   “The Citizen in the Psyche.” Weekend CE presentation. DINC.

2009   “The Cultural Meaning of Dreams.” Analytical Psychology Club, SF.

2009    “Dreaming of Barack Obama: Using Dream Theater to Explore the  Cultural Meaning of Dreams.” IASD conference, Chicago, IL.

2009     “Culture Dreaming.” Invited presentation, Society for the Study of Shamanism. San Rafael, CA.

2010   “Culture Dreaming.” Lecture and demonstration, Center for the Healing Arts, Sonoma, CA.

2011   “Culture Dreaming: For Organizational Development and Community Building.”  3-part CE workshop. DINC.

2011    “Dreaming for the Culture.” Presentation, Society for the Study of Shamanism. San Rafael, CA.

2012   “Dreams of the Great Turning.” IASD conference, Berkeley, CA.

2012   “Deep Dreaming.” Society for the Study of Shamanism. San Rafael.

2012    “Cultural Dimensions of Dreaming.” 2-part radio interview, Voice America.

2014    “Dreams for the Culture.” IASD conference, Berkeley, CA.

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The following theme-based performance pieces, drawn directly from transcripts of Culture Dreaming sessions, have been given at The Dream Institute and other venues. Actors were often the dreamers themselves. To create a script, dreams were shortened and then arranged in a meaningful sequence, but no other dramatic material was added.

2005                                    “Dreaming with Eyes Open”

2006                                    “Winter Solstice Dream Play”

2008                                    “Dreaming of Barack”

Material for this play was taken from 350 dreams on the website “IdreamofHillaryIdreamofBarack”

2007–2010                        “The Earth Is Humming”

Performed annually for Earth Day. Each year, actors added their own fresh dream material.

2011                                    “Like Diamonds of Light” Winter Solstice

2012–2013                        “Dreams of the Great Turning”

This script included published and contributed material.

2014                                    “Visionary Dreams of the Future”

This script included published and contributed material.


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I am with a group of people in an unknown place. It makes me think of the group of Culture Dreamers I’ll be with tomorrow. We move our chairs close and briefly hold hands. The heart of what we are doing is here. Some of us are living, but some are the seemingly solid spirits of people who have passed. The man sitting next to me is in his forties and recently passed; he was a scientist with some far-out theories of physics and cosmology. It is he who says, “Some of the dead stay close, up to the end of a century.” Apparently at times of crisis, they remain to help with the outcome.


Our dreams are the only oases of spiritual vitality left to us. They represent our primordial habitat, our last wilderness, and we must protect them with as much fervor as the rain forests, the ozone layer, the elephant, and the whale.  —Anthony Stevens, The Two-Million-Year-Old Self, p. 123

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Culture Dreaming* for Organizations

There are times in the life of any organization when it needs to ask, “How are we doing?” The dreams of your board, staff, and/or membership are an untapped, renewable resource. Since Culture Dreaming is an entirely neutral process, with no hidden philosophical or psychological agenda, it can be utilized equally well no matter what the nature or scope of your organization’s mission and work.

Dreams open out into areas not commonly or easily reached in ordinary discussions, simply because the dreaming mind has a bandwidth considerably wider than that of the waking mind. The Culture Dreaming process tends to bypass personal defenses and can increase tolerance of diversity and complexity while also decreasing fear of the unknown.

Culture Dreaming is suitable for organizations of any size that already have an established identity, solidified structure, and stated purpose. It can also be especially useful during formative stages as a new organization is coming into being or when an existing one is re-envisioning itself. The Culture Dreaming session can be for any combination of board members, staff, membership, and/or constituency; as a single event or as a series. Your director or steering committee can opt to conduct a Culture Dreaming session or series with its focus on internal concerns or with an outward focus on your organization’s work in the world. Outcomes you might expect from each approach include:

An inward focus:

  • revitalizing a board or staff that is depleted
  • identifying unrecognized areas of difficulty
  • renewing a sense of commitment and focus
  • establishing a dreaming practice to nourish and sustain the organization on a regular basis

An outward focus:

  • evaluating how well your goals are being met
  • brainstorming new modes or areas of outreach
  • identifying unrecognized problems within your constituency or client base
  • enhancing connections between staff and members.

The session length will depend upon how many people attend and your goals.

© 2008/2015

“Deep in the rainforests of the Amazon, the Achuar and the Huaorani Indians are assembled for their daily ritual: every morning, each member of the tribe awakens before dawn, and, once gathered in that twilight hour…they share their dreams. This is not simply an interesting pastime, an opportunity for storytelling. To the Achuar and the Huaorani, the dream is not owned by the dreamer alone, but collectively by the group, and the individual dreamer is simply the vessel the dream decided to borrow to have a conversation with the whole tribe. The tribes view the dream as a map for their waking hours. It is a forecaster of what is to come for all of them. In dreams, they connect with their ancestors and the rest of the universe.”  –from “Sharing Dreams,” The Field, by Lynne McTaggart

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For more reading on Culture Dreaming, please see the “Articles” page and also:

Culture Dreaming: An Arena for Societal Reflection

Interview with Richard Russo about Culture Dreaming, Part I

Interview with Richard Russo about Culture Dreaming, Part II

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