Review by Marie Friend reviews_she_dreams.html
By Wanda Burch
New World Library 2003
Price $14.95
This is not your average, run of the mill dream book, whereby the author gives interpretations of dream symbols or guides the reader into recalling their dreams. Not that there is anything wrong with such books, (I have several of my own) - but She Who Dreams is in a class all by itself and it is superb.
This is the story of one woman's survival of the dread disease of cancer. She has such faith in her dreams that she is alive to tell her story thirteen years after the fact. No, it isn't another self-help book either, although it will inspire you and uplift you whether you have a life threatening illness or not.
In her Introduction to her story, Wanda Burch makes a simple, yet profound statement. "I am alive because I dream." (pp xiii). From this opening declaration she tells a story that resonated with my spirit and my own innate belief in the importance, no the absolute necessity of taking note of our dreams in order to lead our lives as we vowed to do when we entered this world. Our dreams are an integral part of our existence and Wand Burch brings this home to the reader in no uncertain terms.
She was born and raised in the South, of Irish/American stock. Her maternal grandmother was a strong influence during her childhood, teaching her the importance of her dreams. It became a morning ritual, at the breakfast table, to discuss her nightly dreams with her Mother. She grew up to marry 'the boy next door' had a son with whom she obviously has a strong bond and a job that she loved. In other words, she lived the proverbial American dream of a happy family unit. Added to this she enjoyed the friendship of Robert Moss, author of Conscious Dreaming (he writes very good Foreword to her book.)
For years she ignored a continuous warning dream of her imminent death, that would take place at the age of forty-three - - until this dream became almost a reality. She knew that she had breast cancer. After fighting the medical professionals who initially scoffed at her announcement that she had a malignancy, she was finally diagnosed as having a mass in her left breast, jus as her dreams had foretold.
This is a book that I had a hard time putting down until I'd come to the last page. The writing flows rhythmically and her descriptive style kept my attention without flagging, with its warmth and poignancy. She gives a clear portrayal of this crisis in her life and how it affects the people around her. We can all relate to a seemingly, impersonal, medical society that can appear to be cold and uncaring at times. Fortunately, as she soon learns, there are supportive doctors such as the oncologist that she shares her dreams with during her chemotherapy treatments. I felt the courage of this woman and empathized with her fears, as she kept control of her life and her sanity by following the messages of healing that came to her through her dreams.
She takes the reader along with her as she shares her dreams and healing experiences with a candor that I found admirable and certainly fascinating. I found myself becoming emotionally teary eyed as she describes a dream that she has when she is desperately trying to renegotiate her 'contract' for the extension of her life. Her dream/vision of being in the presence of an almighty power is awesome and humbling. It made me very much aware of a human being's vulnerability and powerlessness when we are confronted by that all encompassing Power we call by a myriad of names.
Prior to her surgery, she makes a commitment to make a journey to Africa and for three weeks, lives among an Ashanti tribe. These people honor nature in a way that reminded me of the ancient Pagans of Europe and the Native American Indians. This journey not only helps her to prepare for her ordeal ahead but also brings her into contact with a race of people who live by their old traditions and metaphysical concepts. This part of the book is worth reading even if you didn't read the rest of it, but of course, you will finish it as the story keeps pulling at you. After reading about these Ashanti people I was left pondering the question as to whether they are really a third world culture - or if we are!
It goes without saying that She Who Dreams is a book for everyone who values the importance of our dreams. It should be in the library of all dreamers.