cover image Dream Animals

Dream Animals

James Hillman, Chronicle Books, Margot McLean. Chronicle Books, $21.95 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-1327-3

In his bestselling The Soul's Code, Hillman challenged traditional psychology by suggesting that each person has a spiritual path or destiny, distinctly separate from genetics or environment, that is always trying to live itself out. Now he challenges conventional dream analysis, suggesting that animals present themselves in human dreams with motive and purpose of their own. Attempting to answer the questions, ""Why do they come to us, the animals? What do they want, inhabiting our dreams?"" Hillman begins with the story of Adam naming the animals of Eden. Encouraging anthropomorphization, and suggesting that people ""find again Adam's eye,"" he leads readers to ""get inside"" animals, so that they can teach people about themselves. Instead of projecting human thoughts onto the animals, or covering them up with stock symbolic interpretations, Hillman suggests focusing on the dreamstate itself, where people and animals meet ""image to image."" He recounts examples of people's actual dreams involving snakes, mice, bears, horses, rats, lions, tigers, giraffes, pigs, crabs and insects, from the animal's viewpoint. McLean's haunting, full-color paintings are a marvelous accompaniment to Hillman's words, drawing viewers into dream-like vistas where animal images are buried deeply, sometimes barely distinguishable from their surroundings. Together, author and artist succeed in reawakening ""the primordial mind,"" wherein ""humans know themselves primarily through animals."" (Oct.)