Interviews

Hear it First Hand.

 

Margaret Bowater

Interviewed by Dr Susannah Benson on Aug 12, 2015

MARGARET BOWATER, President of Dream Network Aotearoa-New Zealand.

When did your interest in dreams begin?
Not till I was in my 40s, re-training as a Counsellor. I joined a group of other counsellors who had attended a workshop by Anne Faraday in Auckland, and wanted to keep practising the skills they had learned. Six of us met fortnightly for 4 years - a wonderful support group - as we incorporated dreamwork into our various fields of practice and read all the relevant books we could find – mostly Jungian in the ‘80s. Within a year, three of us were also running dream groups in the community. We knew we weren’t experts, but we went on learning. I was an experienced teacher, with a degree in Literature and Language, so at first I simply ran a high-school night-class in Understanding Your Dreams, and was astonished at the immediate public interest.
 
Do you have a regular dream practice?
I’ve been keeping a dream journal for 30 years, and meeting with one or more “dream buddies” monthly all the time, to reflect on the more significant ones. We interview dream roles to bring out meaning. This is a valued part of my personal growth. For 25 years I have also collected vivid examples of dreams, mainly from trainees in the workshops I run – with their written permission – initially to use in the book I published in 1997, Dreams and Visions – Language of the Spirit; and since then for the many journal articles I write, and seminars I run.  I have been teaching a basic Certificate in Applied Dreamwork (100 hours), since 2001, and leading a monthly Advanced Dreamwork Group.
 
Could you share a dream that was transformational for you?
Within the first couple of weeks of starting dreamwork, I had a striking dream that has inspired me ever since:  I am standing on a harbour beach at dawn, watching a woman in oilskins walk down to a row-boat. She gets into it and rows out in the dark, to go fishing. As she rows, suddenly the sun comes up from behind a headland, and the whole scene is illuminated in brilliant gold and blue colours. I stand there, amazed and delighted. 
     I used to go rowing at dawn in my student days. Fishing is a metaphor for catching dreams from the deep! Sunrise feels like a divine blessing – and illumination reveals both meaning and value. Every aspect of the dream speaks to me.
 
Why are dreams important in your life?
They are a continual source of feedback on current aspects of my life, and at times bring profound spiritual insights, or sometimes warnings. In my work with clients, dreams often get to the heart of the issue very quickly. In my workshops, participants often bring ‘Big Dreams’ or recurring nightmares that give them significant insights into their lives, or release them from a long-term stress. I understand dreams as being like an underground river in our life, a source of insight, healing and potential guidance that everyone can tap into!  And a major resource for all forms of counselling.
 
What do you feel has been your most important contribution to dreamwork?
In one form or another I have always been an educator, so it’s second-nature for me to want to encourage others to learn more too. I’ve been writing articles and leading dream workshops ever since I discovered dreamwork myself; and last year my advanced group joined me in setting up a nation-wide Dream Network with a website, free quarterly bulletins, open meetings and a conference. This is a first for NZ, with potential for giving dreamwork a more well-known public face.
 
What is your most important learning from honouring your dreams?
That there is a deep Self within me that knows how to keep me growing and offers a constant commentary on my experience!
 
What advice would you offer to anyone wanting to learn how to work with dreams?
Go to a dream workshop to learn the basic skills!  And read a good book for the theory.
 
Do you have a favourite dream author who has inspired you?
I am grateful for the range of presenters and authors fostered by the IASD, who take the art and science of dreamwork seriously, and provide a range of valuable source-material. I greatly enjoyed the two IASD Conferences I went to; and I recommend Barrett’s Trauma and Dreams and Hartmann’s Dreams and Nightmares as basic reading for my students.
 
What are your hopes for the future, personally and collectively?
Personally, to continue offering dreamwork to those who request it, and publish articles wherever I can. Collectively, to support the growth of NZ’s Dream Network as long as I have the health to do so!  I also want to do a thorough review of over 2000 dreams in my dream journals, and extract what generalisations I can for others’ benefit. 
 
Thankyou for this opportunity to crystallise my thoughts about the value of dreamwork.
Margaret Bowater
 
 

 


Join Our Newsletter

Sign up to get workshop updates and the latest news on dreaming.

Study Your Dreams

Embodied Imagination 3 year Dreamwork Training Program commences March 2016.

Embodied Imagination 3 year Dreamwork Training Program commences March 2016.

The Embodied Imagination Approach developed by Robert Bosnak works with dreams and waking memories and is practised with individuals and groups in the felds of psychotherapy, medicine [triggering the self-healing reflex], theatre, business, art and creative research.

  • Apr 06, 2016
Finding our inner library of dream symbols

Dream Inspirations Jane Austin

Group Dreamwork is a powerful portal to connecting to our personal and collective libraries of dreams, symbols, stories and myths.

  • Nov 15, 2015
DNA 2018 Program Update

DNA 2018 Program Update Dr Susannah Benson

See our full 2018 schedule.

  • Feb 28, 2018
Dr Sally Gillespie

Dr Sally Gillespie Dr Susannah Benson

In this interview, Dr Gillespie shares how the experience of feeling both accompanied and guided through life by dreams has been both a gift and a challenge. She shares how following the impact of a powerful dream, she retired from her long term psychotherapy practice and embraced full time doctoral research into the psychological experience of engaging with climate change issues.

  • Mar 31, 2016

“Inspiration, new knowledge, renewed sense of clarity and direction, new connections and lots of joy.”2014 Dream Alchemy Conference