- Under the umbrella of the Human Development and Training Institute of NZ, while she was a Director, Margaret Bowater developed a programme of experiential Dream workshops for their Counselling students. She incorporated Jungian theory, drawing, and action methods from her Psychodrama training, which made the workshops very popular.
- In 1991 she joined the Association for the Study of Dreams, based in Berkeley, California, and started to read their publications about the new dream research going on in America. In 1997 she published her book “Dreams and Visions, Language of the Spirit” (published by Tandem Press). In 1998 she went to the ASD Conference in Hawaii, and again in 2003 to the 20th Annual Conference in Berkeley, California, where the word International was added to their title. She was even more inspired and encouraged by their inter-disciplinary approach to the value of dreams, including Jungian analysts, medical scientists, classical scholars, Tibetan monks, paranormal explorers, indigenous shamans and artists!
- In 2001 she organised her workshops into a year-long course leading to a Dream- work Practice Certificate, later upgraded to a 100-hour Certificate in Applied Dreamwork. (Among the first group of 7 graduates were Joy Crabtree and Bev Rosevear-Kaho, followed soon after by Margaret Thorne, David Legg, Ximena Owens, Marg Toland.) Each year more dreamers graduated. They were keen to continue their training and practice, so they formed a monthly Advanced Dream Group, meeting on Friday nights at St Luke’s Church Centre in Newmarket. At this stage it was mainly for Dreamwork graduates. Margaret developed a Dream Leadership Certificate, subsequently gained by Joy Crabtree, David and Bev.
The Idea Grew
- In April 2012 the Dream Network Australia was formed, and ran its first Conference. 5 of our NZ group went: Bev Kaho, Marg Toland, Margt Thorne, Tay-Marie Yorston, Carol Drew. We were impressed with the range of presentations. We realised we could create a similar body, and began discussion with our Advanced Dream Group in November 2013.
- In Feb 2014 we created a voluntary Planning Committee of 8 and set to work: Kevin Dobbyn, Marg Toland, Bev Kaho, Margt Thorne, Lynette Papp, Tay-Marie, Chandra Marks and Margaret B (a confluence of Margarets!). We drafted a Mission Statement and Ethics Statement, both based on those of the IASD. We organised a Webpage through the TalkingWorks Website, for which Karen Field created a beautiful design.
- Lynette’s partner Walter Moore drew a series of bird designs for us, from which we selected our Logo; sadly, he died a few months later. The organisational structure needed more discussion, till we decided on becoming an Incorporated Society, and drafted the simplest Constitution allowed.
- We decided on 2 levels of Membership: regular and professional (qualified in Dreamwork). Initially we set a membership fee of $20, but later dropped it, relying on Open Meetings to cover our running costs.
Launching the Dream Network
We held the Inaugural Meeting on Fri 11th July 2014 in the Courtyard Room at St Luke’s. 30 people came, of whom 15 signed the document for Incorporation. Dr Lea Holford, a Jungian teacher, gave an inspirational address, “The Primacy of Dreams in the Well of Imagination.” We elected an Executive, with Margaret B as President, Kevin Vice-President, Marg Toland as Membership/Treasurer. We approved the Mission Statement, Vision and Ethics Statements. Our Website was launched, www.dreamnetwork.org.nz, with David Legg as our initial liaison monitor. Our first Dream Bulletin went out, edited by Bev Roseveare-Kaho. Marg Toland started to build up the free online Contact List, under the management of Mail-Chimp. Most of the new members came from Margaret B’s ongoing courses and workshops, and a few from Psychosynthesis. She also trained a group of 8 counsellors in Wellington over 4 weekends; they established their own ongoing practice group, and started to lead courses in Wellington.
First Conference, 2015
We soon began to organise NZ’s first Dream Conference, choosing the topic of “Dreams and Spirituality.” We chose the Franciscan Retreat Centre at Hillsborough in Auckland. 32 people attended. Our first keynote speaker was Dr Susannah Benson, then-President of the International Assn for Study of Dreams, who was based in Australia. Margaret Needham gave the second address, on her amazing experience of the “Journey to the Inland;” and Dr Lea Holford gave a presentation on spiritual symbolism. We ran informal dream groups at the breakfast tables, and a good variety of practical workshops, finishing with a hilarious presentation by Playback Theatre. It was a great success. We agreed to run the next Conference in 2 years’ time.
Conference on the Paranormal, 2016
Margaret B had observed in her workshops that many people had had some experience of paranormal dreams and visions, so she proposed a mini-conference at mid-year, in association with the AGM on June 17th. We called it “Frontiers of the Dream.” Kevin arranged the St Columba Centre in Ponsonby as the venue, and altogether 50 people came! Margaret B gave a presentation on Precognitive Dreaming. We showed a video of Dr Eben Alexander describing his astounding Near-Death Experience, followed by another of a panel on Mystical Experience; and after lunch a hypno-therapist spoke on Past-Life Experiences. The last session, on “Life Between Lives,” was more controversial, but many people thanked us for the opportunity to talk freely about such matters, and asked for more!
So our basic pattern was established within the first 2 years:
- A monthly meeting of Auckland Dreamers engaged in on-going study and experiential practice with dreams, including 3 or 4 Open Meetings a year;
- A free quarterly online Dream Bulletin for all interested;
- A major Conference every 2 years to consolidate the dream community and draw participants from further afield;
- A one-day event in the off-year, on aspects of Paranormal dreams and visions.
- Margaret B continued to run a multi-level programme of dream workshops.
- In 2016, Margaret B’s book “Healing the Nightmare, Freeing the Soul – A Practical Guide to Dreamwork” was published by Calico. We held a launching party at St Luke’s. Subsquently, Lynette Papp and Bev Rosevear-Kaho published a beautifully illustrated book called “Widows’ Grief,” about their experience of dreaming while both of their husbands were dying.
- In 2017, we ran a second successful Biennial Conference, entitled “Dreams, Imagination, Healing,” at the Franciscan Retreat Centre, led by Elaine Kennis from Australia on Grief Dreaming, Mark Skelding on Care of the Earth, and Clare Caldwell on her life and Art, plus a variety of practical workshops. Playback Theatre were glad to entertain us again, saying we were their favourite audience!
- And in 2018 we ran a second Mini-Conference at St Columba’s, focusing mainly on End-of-Life Experiences, led by Hilary Lovelace, Margaret B and Bev Roseveare-Kaho.
- Covid-19 arrived in NZ early in 2020, resulting in a series of Lockdowns which severely affected our programme. We shifted our Exec meetings onto Zoom, including the AGM and a subsequent Special General Meeting, when we revised and updated our Constitution.
- Our planned mini-Conference on “Science and Soul in Dreams” had to be cancelled, so we postponed it to October 2021, to become the basis of our 4th Biennial Conference at St Francis Centre, with an expanded range of presentations. 50 people enrolled, including several from the South Island.
- But after months of freedom at Alert Level 1, the more dangerous Delta-Virus arrived in Auckland, and suddenly NZ was flung into Level 4 Lockdown in August to stop the spread - Auckland for longer than the rest of the country. Sadly we had to postpone again, to March 2022, hoping we could be safe enough by then, and allowing time for everyone to get vaccinated.
- Meanwhile, we began to plan to do some presentations on Zoom in future. Who knows how long it will take, if ever, to overcome this deadly virus?