Dr. Angel Morgan IASD Presidential Address 2019
June 24, 2019, at the Rolduc Conference Center in Kerkrade, The Netherlands, Angel K. Morgan, PhD, gave her address as incoming President of the global dream community, International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD). In this speech, she shares the many ways dream studies have woven through her life since childhood, how she discovered the IASD, and the positive impact IASD has had on her life. She describes many opportunities and benefits of IASD membership, and demonstrates how she sees IASD as a positive force in the world.
This is the International Association for the Study of Dreams. Why do we study dreams? Because we had dreams as children that we could not forget. Because as teenagers or young adults we discovered lucid dreaming, or experienced phenomena such as sleep paralysis or sleepwalking. Because we have questions about life, existence, and hope to find deeper meaning by understanding dreams. Because we feel we have found great answers to these questions in dreams already, and want to extend our discoveries to help benefit humanity, and all life on Earth. We study dreams to help improve mental health, physical, spiritual, and emotional health. We study dreams because they are authentic and we seek authenticity. We study dreams because we are curious. We are dedicated. We are the IASD.
At age four, my first dream guide was my father who had been inspired by the work of Kilton Stewart. He taught me to confront my fears and transform my fears using Stewart’s Senoi Dream Theory. Later, at the age of fifteen, I was mentored by Eduardo Duran, an Apache-Pueblo shaman, who gave me tools to work with my dreams from another perspective of the life-world. When I was nineteen years old, I became a regular member of a dream group led by my next mentor, Clara Stewart Flagg, who was the widow of Kilton Stewart. Stewart, as many dream enthusiasts are aware, was the person responsible for introducing Senoi Dream Theory to grassroots dreamworking communities in the United States after his life-changing experience with the Senoi Temiar tribe in the 1930s. Clara’s group had been meeting for fifteen years before I joined them in the late 1980s. After Clara passed away, in 1995 she visited me in a dream. That same year, I began facilitating dream circles and stimulating communities in California and Oregon with the seeds of Senoi-inspired, cross-cultural dream education.
As a doctoral student at Saybrook, when I was developing a Dream-Arts curriculum for all ages, using phenomenology and documentary filmmaking as methods for researching the dream-creativity link in community, and designing an architectural structure for a Dream-Arts center, Stanley Krippner said, “You really must join the IASD.” I did, and he was right. On many levels my experience as a dreamworker opened up, my ideas blossomed, and I found that the IASD not only supported and encouraged my work in the multi-faceted field of Dreams, it gave me a place to give back that I support and believe in 100%.
At my first IASD conference in 2009, when I was the sender for the annual Dream Telepathy contest, I spent my time as “agent” alternately sending images of the target picture, which was a space shuttle blasting off from its launch pad, and engaging in a series of lucid dreams. This is the first part of the first dream in the series:
I climb in the rocket and blast into space. After shooting into the sky, I swirl around with all the DT Contest sendees. They are full of love—we sing of the Dream Movement and how it is literally going to save the world.
Since as long as I can remember, Dreams have been saving my world. Who knows how many times Dreams have actually saved the world, or we have saved the world together, in Dreams. Each of you know how dreams have saved your world, and the worlds of others you have helped, by simply: listening to a dream, honoring a dream, studying a dream, drawing a dream, acting out a dream, writing a dream, singing a dream, dancing a dream, researching a dream in a laboratory, or meeting up with friends in a faraway dreamscape.
Dream sharing, when done in the right way, empowers individuals with sympathy, understanding, self-esteem, and a sense of community. Having an open mind to the experiences of others and co-creating a safe, non-judgmental environment are important elements for dream sharing. In my opinion, honoring and working with our dreams in a community of safety and trust replaces the decrepit paradigm of an unsafe, untrusting world. I believe well-informed dream study groups and well-prepared dream-sharing circles can benefit the psychological health of any group wishing to find truthful daily interactions. Montague Ullman wrote that dream education and social dream sharing is a needed, perhaps necessary piece to help support the survival of our species. With Board approval, input, cooperation, and collaboration from the IASD Dream Study Groups committee, the Regional Events committee, and the Education committee, it is a great pleasure for me to see that IASD Dream Study Groups will be forming soon online. If that interests you, take a look at the Education section of the IASD website for more information about how to sign up and get involved in one of these groups.
If you are researching anything related to dreams and dreaming, there is no better place to find what you are looking for than on the IASD website, in the IASD journal or magazine, at IASD conferences, and amongst the high caliber, multi-talented, IASD membership. Over the years, I cannot count how many times I have heard IASD members say that attending their first IASD conference and becoming a member improved and changed their lives in astonishing ways. We also have some pretty stellar regional events, and you can read about those on the IASD website. I want to encourage IASD members to get involved with events on a regional, as well as global level. We’ve made great technological advances and can achieve a great deal in cyberspace, as evidenced by the success of our October Psiberdreaming conferences. But as our annual conferences and regional events have shown us, nothing can exactly replace the experience of gathering in physical space. In today’s world, we need both.
I love the way IASD manages to maintain a healthy balance between science and art. We’re all on the edge of our seats to see what the latest scientific discoveries can reveal to us about dreams. At the same time, we leap for joy to experience the next dream art exhibit, dream inspired performance, or the epic performance-art-infused Dream Ball. Since ancient times, writers, artists, musicians, scientists, and a variety of people from other professions have logged their dreams or shared them, then acted upon them creatively in waking life. As a psychologist I have many interests, but I specialize in the link between dreams and creativity. I enjoy working with all ages from children, teens, and parents, to my doctoral students, peers and colleagues, to unfold the empowering magic of this link. Dreamwork and creativity, development, and dream education are my passions. So I am happy to say that the IASD has started to collaborate with some dreamy, artistic organizations of a much larger scale than we have before. It is my hope that more artistically inclined people discover the IASD and learn to nourish the natural relationship between visual, performing, or literary arts, and dreams.
There are so many great reasons to study dreams. We study dreams because we are students, teachers, professors, scientists, psychologists, anthropologists, dreamworkers, filmmakers, artists, authors, and enthusiasts. Within the vast diversity of our approaches and perspectives on studying dreams, working with dreams, and even dreaming itself, we all share an interest; a love; a passion for Dreams. And because we share that bond we get to learn from each other. Open our minds to different approaches and viewpoints. Add to our knowledge about dreams and dreaming. Share our wisdom about dreams and dreaming with each other. Grow together as an organization, a family, a tribe.
It is a great honor to serve you as the new IASD President, and my heart is full. I look forward to getting to know each of you better, hearing your ideas, learning about your strengths, and helping you find ways to get more involved. And to those of you who contribute to the IASD so much already, Thank you! You are all superheroes. Here’s looking ahead to another great year of collaborating, working, playing, dreaming, and manifesting, together.