Unveiling the Mysteries of Dreamwork: A Review of Dreaming the Soul Back Home by Robert Moss

Mar 21, 2024
A book review of Dreaming the Soul Back Home by Robert Moss
Dreaming the Soul Back Home:
Shamanic Dreaming for Healing and Becoming Whole

by Robert Moss
New World Library, 2012

As my own students know, I spent years sitting in ceremonial circles with a woman who learned her spiritual craft while living on a Native American reservation and marrying into a tribal family of healers. It’s hard to describe what such an experience is like to those who haven’t had it; even more so since I have no direct connection to the tribe of my own and so what I share could smack of cultural appropriation. All I can do is share my personal story, honor its lineage, blend it with my own research into the practices of other places and times, and support it via the lived experiences of others.

That’s exactly what Robert Moss does in his own works, and why I always whole-heartedly recommend them to my own students of magic, astrology and other esoteric arts. His work Dreaming the Soul Back Home is no different; it serves as a guidebook for dreamers and lovers of ancient wisdom who want to work with dreams to find deep soul healing and self-transformation. Though Moss is not from an indigenous culture himself (nor does he claim to be), his works are infused by his prolific research and decades-long personal dream practice, as well as by the stories from the thousands around the globe who consider him their dream guide. 

Moss emphasizes the interplay between all who dream (meaning everybody) and shamans and visionaries. In contrast to a modern psychological approach to dreams as something to be intellectually analyzed, Moss explores how shamans see nighttime adventures as a source of inspiration, divination, and magical empowerment. And, since in his works “all dreamers are shamans,” that means that you can too.

What sets Dreaming the Soul Back Home apart from Moss’ other books is its focus on soul retrieval, or the power of dreams to reclaim the fragmented bits of our vital psychic essence that many have lost due to trauma, heartbreak and neglect. Drawing from his extensive experience in shamanic journeying and dreamwork, Moss presents an extensive framework for harnessing the transformative potential of the dream realm. Through engaging anecdotes and lucid prose, he illuminates how dreams can serve as portals to our personal and collective unconscious; offer glimpses into our past selves, other lives, or ancestral wisdom; as well as other pathways for soul healing.

Of course, all that sounds intriguing on paper, but how do you actually do this? Fortunately, Moss does not leave us wondering. Central to his approach is "active dreaming," the psychologist Carl Jung’s term for this practice that blends elements of guided visualization with intuitive exploration. He introduces readers to a wealth of techniques for deepening their dream experiences, from dream reentry and dialogue with dream characters, to dream theater and soul retrieval. Through hands-on exercises and guided meditations, Moss empowers readers to actively participate in their dream journeys, learning to navigate the soul’s labyrinthine landscapes with courage and grace.

Throughout Dreaming the Soul Back Home, Moss infuses his writing with his sense of reverence and wonder for the mysteries of the dream world. His prose is poetic and evocative, weaving together strands of mythology, folklore, and personal insight into a tapestry of enchantment and revelation. Whether recounting his own visionary experiences or elucidating esoteric teachings, Moss's storytelling prowess captivates and inspires, inviting readers to embark on their own quest for wisdom and illumination. 

(And, if you are an audiobook lover, you’ll be pleased to know the audio version of the book is read by the author himself. His resonant, lilting cadence swiftly transports the listener to one of Moss’ live workshops. You can almost feel the drumbeats in dream ceremonies.)

But that means that if you are looking for a step-by-step instruction manual for dreaming or a dictionary of dream symbols, this book is not for you. It’s written in the non-linear, story-telling style of dreams themselves. Packed full of dream recollections from himself and his workshop participants, the book shows how to dream, rather than tells. The best way to engage and understand is to do the suggested exercises. And sleep on it.

Dreaming the Soul Back Home is a lyrical blend of ancient wisdom and modern insight that offers a treasure trove of tools and techniques for reclaiming the soul's vitality and other lost treasures. Whether you're a seasoned practitioner or a curious seeker, this book will ignite your imagination and awaken your inner dreamer. Read Robert Moss’ books, and you will never approach sleep the same way again.

My Goodreads Rating: 4 of 5 stars | View all my reviews