Listed below are resources for those who are interested in more study on the subject of dreams, visions, and mystical Christianity. While a number of contemporary titles are listed here—that is, from the past fifty years or so—the interested student should realize that ancient texts, especially those from the early centuries of the Christian experience, are far more insightful than that which has been written in recent years. The early Christians writers were far more likely to have had direct experience of the spiritual realms. They had a more profound understanding and a much deeper insight into the nature of Christianity and they had a more complete appreciation of the work necessary to engage and develop the many dimensions of human spirituality. Reading from the ancient texts, though at times challenging, can be very rewarding.
Many of the books and monographs listed below can be found online, where I have found reliable editions I have included the reference for your convenience.
GENERAL BOOKS ON CHRISTIANITY AND DREAMING BY CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS:
Four books by Morton Kelsey—Mr. Kelsey has been a leader in opening the modern Christian mind to the potential of dreams within our religion. His work in these and other writings is excellent.
• “God, Dreams, and Revelation.” Minneapolis; Augsburg Press, 1974. (Published originally in hardback with an extensive appendix and index as “Dreams: The Dark Speech of the Spirit.” Garden City, N.Y. Doubleday, 1968.)
• “Dreams: A Way to Listen to God.” Published by Paulist Press. A very accessible booklet, brief, easy to read.
• “Healing and Christianity.” New York; Harper and Row, 1974. Examines the importance of the soul in healing, and thus the role of dreams in relation to the healing process.
• “Christians and the Supernatural.” Minneapolis; Augsburg Press, 1976. Examines the nature of the spiritual realm and what we call ‘supernatural phenomenon’ from a Christian point of view.
“Bible Dreams: The Spiritual Quest.” By Seymour Rossel. A look at the Judeo-Christian tradition in dreams, combining traditional insights with contemporary science.
“The Secret History of Dreaming,” by Robert Moss. New World Library, Novato, California, 2009.
“Something More: I Search for a Deeper Faith.” By Catherine Marshall. New York; McGraw-Hill, 1974.
“Dreams in the Life of Prayer: The Approach of Edgar Cayce.” By Harmon Bro. New York; Harper and Row, 1970.
“Dreams, Your Magic Mirror.” By Elsie Sechrist. Ms Sechrist is a student of Edgar Cayce, and writes about his methods, techniques and understanding regarding dreams.
“Dreams: Language of the Unconscious.” By H. L. Cayce. The author is the brother of Edgar Cayce and writes about his approach to dreams and dreaming.
EARLY CHRISTIAN ALLEGORIES AND TALES
THAT MIGHT BE CALLED ‘DREAM VISIONS’.
“The Shepherd of Hermas.” This book written in the 2nd Century AD and once considered to be a part of the New Testament, is comprised of a sequence of five visions and a series of allegorical dream experiences. An online version is available at this link:
Pilgrim’s Progress: In the Similitude of a Dream.” by John Bunyon. Published in 1678, Pilgrim’s Progress has been one of the most widely read books in the English language for over three centuries. There are many versions of this book on the market; contemporary Christians have taken it upon themselves to simplify this book in an attempt to make it more accessible. However, having read Bunyon’s original and some of the simplified versions, I find that the revisionist approach to this Christian classic is unnecessary and does much to dilute the strength of Bunyon’s narrative. The edition published by Dodd, Mead, & Company in 1968, includes scriptural references to the many Biblical allusions in the text, plus illustrations by William Blake, and other highly regarded artists from the 18th and 19th Centuries.
Also try, “Pilgrim’s Progress”, published by Grace Abounding Ministries, 1986. This edition includes extensive explanatory notes written by Thomas Scott, and includes a biography of John Bunyan by Josiah Conder. Published in 1986.
“The Ladder of Divine Ascent.” By John Climacus, also known as John of the Ladder. Written about AD 600, this allegorical book defines the means by which a Christian may attain perfection before the Lord. This book is available online from a number of sources either as text or in a PDF format.
CHRISTIAN AUTHORS ON THE INNER CHRISTIAN PATH:
“The Cloud of Unknowing.” A Classic Book of Western Spirituality. Edited by James Walsh, Paulist Press, 1988. An anonymous fourteenth-century Christian mystical treatise written in English. It is addressed to readers, who by virtuous living, aspire to the Christian ideal of contemplative living.
“A Mirror for Simple Souls,” by Marguerite Poretes; edited by Ellen Babinsky, Paulist Press, 1993. A medieval classic on mystical Christianity. A unique and deeply realized vision of what it means to seek and achieve union with the Divine Presence.
“The Holy Book of Hierotheos.” A Christian mystical treatise written in the fifth century A.D., by Stephen Bar Sudayli a Christian monk living in Jerusalem. The book deals chiefly with the quest for the perfect union of the human soul with God.
Four books by Dionysius the Areopagite—(a Greek disciple of the Apostle Paul, see Acts 17:34). Dionysius had a very keen insight into the spiritual realms.
• “Concerning Mystical Theology,”
• “Concerning the Heavenly Hierarchy,”
• ”Concerning the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy,”
• “Concerning the Divine Names.”
“The Practice of the Presence of God.” Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. This book presents the wisdom and teachings of Brother Lawrence, a 17th century Carmelite monk. This book is available as a PDF file at: www.jesus.org.uk/vault/library/lawrence_practice_of_presence.pdf
St. John of the Cross (Juan de Yepes) (1542-1591)—Poet and Mystic. His works in mystical theology explore the journey of the soul from the darkness of the material realm to the light of union with God. Beautifully evoked descriptions of the experiences one finds in the depths of contemplation, meditation, and prayer.
• “Spiritual Canticle”.
• “The Dark Night”.
• “The Ascent of Mount Carmel”.
Teresa of Avila (Teresa de Jesus) (1515-1582), who is among the most remarkable and advanced of the mystics of the Roman Catholic Church. St. Teresa’s deep insight and clarity of expression communicate the essence of her mystical experience. Her work and her insight is among the most exalted in the Christian mystical tradition. Her titles are:
• “Way of Perfection”.
• “Meditations on the Canticle”.
• “Interior Castle”.
• Also, see her autobiography entitled, “The Life of Teresa of Avila.”
There are many websites that feature information on dreams, visions, and mystical experiences. For the serious Christian very few are worthy of serious attention. From time-to-time I scan some portion of the offering on the world wide web and on occasion find a site that is worthy of inquiry. Here are two:
• www.spiritualitytoday.org — This is an article written by Philip St. Romain, and is entitled “Dreams and Christian Growth.” This is a balanced and intelligent discussion of dreams and Christianity.
• www.cwgministires.org— This is a informative overview of dreams and Christianity.