I, the Woman, planted the tree: a Journey through Dreams to the Feminine (Dreams Along the Way Book 1) by Pearl Gregor [book review]

Dreams are Indeed the royal road to the unconscious. This path of women healing is not the hero’s journey. It is instead the cycling, spiraling of the feminine in search for itself. –Pearl E. Gregor

Pearl E. Gregor is a Dreamworker and educator based in Alberta, Canada. I, the Woman, Planted the Tree is her first book. It is the first book of the series Dreams Along the Way. The book is a memoir of a life, but not just the common themes we encounter in a typical autobiography. Intertwined with the events of the author’s life are her dreams – which is just as important as real life events. As a student of dreams, the author speculates on her dreams, interprets it in a personal as well as universal level. For women, this is a magnificent exploration of feminine dreams and unconscious. In telling her story and sharing her journey, the book invites us to be more sensitive to dreams and recognize them as something that can help us.

The book tells of the author’s life and strict Catholic upbringing. Later in life, having clinical depression and still looking for answers, she tries meditation, dreamwork, and other things that will raise eyebrows in a conservative religious environment. Though, she continued on her search. As Jesus said in the Bible, “You will know them by their fruits.” Though not the main subject of the book, there is reflection on how this religion we believed and never questioned since childhood is not all that perfect. And for women, some ideas in the status quo are especially dangerous.

As someone who grew up (and still live with) a parent whose family is Fundamentalist Baptists, I can really relate to the author’s struggle with religion. In my experience, there was one infallible authority to believe in and questions are not encouraged. Anything else outside of that is ‘from the devil’ – rock and roll, video games, yoga, the Buddha, role playing games, you name it. When I was old enough to think for myself, I became an atheist for a brief period. I eventually went back to church on my own terms when I read the Bible again and learned what Jesus was really like. But eventually wanted out because the environment of “We only have the real truth and everyone else is wrong” mindset is not something I agree with.

 Whether you have a casual interest in dreams or a more serious student, you will find the dreams and the author’s commentaries and reflections on them very insightful and interesting. Symbols, myths, and archetypes are often mentioned, read, and unraveled in terms of the dream. It is not a typical memoir, it is a memoir of dreams and how those dreams served as keys, stepping stones, clues, and reminders; all leading to look at the real self. Though all genders can benefit from it, it is especially enlightening for women with inclination to the spiritual (though all of us are). The book also talks about the old, unhealthy beliefs that toxic patriarchy has instilled in women, and also men.

The book is written in a somewhat stream-of-consciousness style, though this is quite an appropriate writing approach when talking about the unconscious and the world of dreams where all rules of physics are broken. The book is arranged in chapters divided by diary-like entries about a specific dream, arranged in chronological order by date.

This is a story of a woman shrugging off the heavy cloak of repression, the shackles of patriarchy, and continuing on the journey to freedom. As the book says, the woman’s hero’s journey is not a linear road but a spiral – there will be turns, ups and downs, and labyrinthine paths.

 I am looking forward to reading the next book, Authoring Self. I will also review it here in my blog soon.

I will die on every level if I continue to accept obedience, ritual authoritarianism, rigidity, orderliness, denial of feelings, totalitarianism and subservience. –Pearl E. Gregor

Get the Book: Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

Author's Links: Author's Website Official Page of Dreams Along the Way and Pearl E. Gregor

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