with Lenny and Elizabeth Gibson in Southern Vermont

“Dreamshadow” reflects the words of the ancient Greek poet Pindar, who wrote, “What is anyone, what isn’t anyone, a human is but the shadow of a dream.”

Pindar was an initiate of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the most important cult of the ancient Western world.  Initiation, which involved a powerful potion, gave participants the experience of “dying before dying.” The cult developed from prehistoric shamanic rituals that celebrated Orpheus’s descent into and return from the Underworld, and it honored the death/rebirth myth of Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of growing things.

The most important lineage in Western philosophy traces to the Orphic practice of Pythagoras, the mathematical wizard who discovered the musical octave and profoundly influenced Plato, whose practice-linked philosophy established the fundamental ideas of Western thought and grounded them in a transcendent, mystical experience of self-understanding.  Plato, an Eleusinian initiate, brought the influence of Pythagoras to the inspiration of his teacher, Socrates, who spent his life in service of the injunction of the Oracle at Delphi, “Know Thyself.”

Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork is an applied, practice-linked philosophy that uses the method of Stanislav Grof’s Holotropic Breathwork as a modern shamanic practice for self-discovery through cathartic re-experience of events from a person’s biographic history and the process of birth, as well as the potential apprehension of archetypes and events in the cosmos.

The experiential aspect of Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork uses a combination of group process, intense breathing, evocative music, bodywork, and expressive drawing.

The term “transpersonal” refers to those experiences where our sense of self-identity expands beyond our personal biography and ego boundaries and transcends the usual limitations of time and space. These experiences facilitate deeper understanding of ourselves, our relation to others and our place in the universe. They help us gain increased comfort in daily life and a spiritual intelligence that fosters calm and optimism amidst the difficulties of the world.

Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork draws on the work of William James, Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow, Stanislav Grof and others. Grof is a pioneering psychedelic researcher, investigator of exceptional human experiences and cofounder of the transpersonal psychology movement. Together with his wife Christina Grof, he developed Holotropic Breathwork, an inspiration of Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork, Integrative Breathwork and other methods. In his book The Holotropic Mind, Grof describes Holotropic Breathwork as a seemingly simple process with “extraordinary potential for opening the way for exploring the entire spectrum of the inner world.”

We offer Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork as a means for people to develop a way of living, based on our experience with philosophy, psychology, and our life together as a family for 45-plus years.

Our workshops provide a safe setting for significant personal experiences.  They do not substitute for psychotherapy, but the experiences they foster can significantly deepen and enhance psychotherapy and personal growth efforts included in the spectrum of healing endeavors.

Stanislav Grof, M.D., and his wife Christina created Holotropic Breathwork at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. They drew from his ground-breaking psychedelic research in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and at Johns Hopkins University, as Chief of Reaserch at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. They also used material gleaned from Eastern disciplines, including Yoga, from practices of indigenous peoples, from depth psychology, and from intense experiential psychotherapies. The Grofs have refined Holotropic Breathwork over the course of more than forty thousand participant sessions.