Note: Please also see the Electric Dreams DreamWheel Instructions by Kathy
Turner and Richard Wilkerson.
The Electric Dreams community started as a dream group whose members
originally met on the Usenet newsgroup alt.dreams in early 1994. The group
formed to see if they could deepen the responses to dreams via e-mail, as the
alt.dreams format seemed to get stuck at more superficial levels of interaction.
The original Electric Dreams group sent dreams in to an editor who compiled
them and send them out with any comments from previous dreams every couple of
weeks. For a few months this was fun and created a core community, but over time
people wanted to share more recent dreams and discuss them more quickly.
I started the DreamCircle (1995) as a way to speed up the dream/comment time
for the Electric Dreams community. We tried some round robins and other methods,
then used the CC: field to create the feel of a mail list. That was Jay Vinton's
suggestion. Since it went out in spokes, but turned, I named it the DreamWheel.
I set up a mail list (listserv/majordomo) in 1996 through IGC, the Institute
for Global Communications. We used a variation on a technique developed by John
Herbert, Ph.D. for dream sharing on AOL SeniorNet bulletin boards. The technique
the wheel uses now is very similar to John's, though we are often looser with
its application and tend to exaggerate the question period. John feels this
makes it harder for other in the group to give "...if this were my
dream." comments. But we have found that people really, really, *like* to
answer the questions and get that kind of attention for parts of the psyche so
To make the Wheel acceptable to the Association for the Study of Dreams,
Sarah Richards implemented a change from "If this were my dream..." to
"In my respondent dream..." to avoid the issues with the techniques
being claimed by Montague Ullman. It was reported that Ullman was unhappy that
John Herbert claimed to be using his technique, as it didn't include many
elements of the original process, some of which Ullman felt were essential, such
as the emotional work. Still, "If this were my dream..." is a phrase
so many people use, and though perhaps differently, it immediately signals to
many the general idea of what's happening. John and I both prefer to take this
one step further and directly or indirectly say "In my dream..." to
continue the notion that we are not giving the dreamer advice and taking our own
personal journey. Sometimes "if this were my dream..." gets
unconsciously translated into "If I were you..." rather than
"When I pretend it really is *my* dream and about *my* life." which
was the intention we want to get at. However, I am also looser about group
process and only *suggest* this way when I moderate groups. I prefer new
participants at least try it out.
Anyway, to further make the DreamWheel acceptable to ASD, Jayne Gackenbach
wrote up a questionnaire that was given out at the end of each series of dreams.
We used to do five or six dreams, then call it quits, unsubscribe everyone
and start over. This make people actively take a part in staying with the Wheel,
and make it a more intimate group. At the end of each series the questionnaire
would be given out to make sure the moderator had not become a tyrant and
everyone was heard if the process didn't allow for various important expressions
or ideas. But eventually the Wheel became permanent or continuous, and we
accepted lurkers like the elders that hang out at the edge of a village, rarely
participating unless they see something troubling. Since the Wheel was
continual, it became hard to know when to put out the questionnaire. I still
would like to include it as an option once every month or two instead of our
We often took turns being moderators in the beginning, but it takes a lot
more work than you might imagine, so finally I was the only one left from the
original group. Eventually Chris Hicks volunteered during one of our madhouse-DreamWheel
fests. Sometimes we would have several wheels and sub-wheels going at the same
time. Chris was very attentive and eventually moderated the main wheel for a
year or so. We have had about three other moderators since then, and I fill in
the gaps. Now the two groups have some of the finest moderators the wheel has
every had, Kathy Turner <email@example.com> for the main DreamWheel
and Phyllis Howing <firstname.lastname@example.org> for eDreams.
Also, participants have gone on to create their own DreamWheels and some in
other venues and languages. Roger Ripert, for example, has a IRC gathering on
the first Thursday of each month for people who speak French. Visitors, like Jay
Belbo have visited the groups and initiated special dreamwork projects.
Once a year, we get the permission of one of the groups to publish the
transcripts. The intention is for others to see the process and be able to learn
and use it themselves.
Here are a few other places where the story is told differently:
Wilkerson, Richard (1999). The Origins of the Electric Dreams Community: Part
Electric Dreams 6(11), http://www.dreamgate.com/dream/ed-backissues/
Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (Winter, 1997). A History of Dream Sharing in
Cyberspace - Part I The Association for the Study of Dreams Newsletter 14(1).
A History of DreamSharing in Cyberspace
Wilkerson, R. & Herbert, J. (1995). John Herbert and the Internet Group
Dreamwork . Electric Dreams 2(6), www.dreamgate.com/dream/ed-backissues/
Look for 1995, Electric Dreams volume 2 issue #6
Herbert, J.W.(1991) "Human Science Research Methods in Studying
Dreamwork: Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Face-to-Face and Computer
Dream Work Groups" Unpublished Manuscript, Saybrook Institute, San
Herbert, J. W. (1991). "Notes on the creation of alt.dreams." In
"Human Science Research Methods.. (see above) http://users.aol.com/john0417/HuSci/Greet.html
(28 Oct. 1996)
Herbert, John (1996). The Founding of alt.dreams Some historical
cyber-dreaming notes. Electric Dreams 3(9). http://www.dreamgate.com/dream/ed-articles/ed3-9her.htm
Herbert, J.W. (1991) "Human Science Research Methods in Studying
and Quantitative Analysis of Face-to-Face and Computer Dream Work Groups"
Manuscript, Saybrook Institute, San Francisco, (pps 155-157).
Wilkerson, Richard C. (1995). "Dream Circles: A Sample Session of Dream
Sharing using E-mail Round Robin.". Electric Dreams. http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~mettw/edreams/circle
(28 Nov. 1996)
Wilkerson, R. & Hicks, C. (1996). "Dreamwheels: a Sample Session of
Dream Sharing Using Mail List Formats." http://www.dreamgate.com/asd-13/2lb12.htm
(28 Nov. 1996)
Gackenbach, Jayne (1996). Unlocking the Secrets of your Dreams. Grant MacEwan
Community College. http://www.outreach.org/dreams/
(25 Oct. 1996)
Wilkerson, Richard C. (1996). From Ancient Thrace to Cyberspace: The History
& Practice of Dream Sharing. DreamGate Classes. http://www.dreamgate.com/class
(28 Nov. 1996)
Wilkerson, Richard C. (1999). The History of Dream Sharing: Theory,
Techniques and Cyberspace. San Francisco, CA: DreamGate Publishing.
Spivok, Lars (1999).Interview: Electric Dreams Interviews Richard Wilkerson
about his new CDRom, _A Brief History of Dream Sharing_.
Sample Session - John Herbert
Sample Session - Electric Dreams Dream Wheel
Sample Session - Electric Dreams Dream Wheel