In Honor of Jeremy Taylor
Remembering my friend and mentor Jeremy Taylor.
Jeremy Taylor has been an extraordinary influence in my life. I was first introduced to him by listening to a tape that recorded his sermon at my church in Atlanta. I was out of town, but was curious about a sermon on dreams by some guy from California. I listened to the tape and was amazed and inspired that dreams had meaning and purpose for my life. I joined a small dream group that Jeremy encouraged my minister to start when he visited.
Then at Journey into Wholeness Conferences at Kanuga I met Jeremy. I was not very familiar with dreamwork and perhaps being in his group was my first experience of being part of a large group. I remember so well on the second day that he chose to work with my dream. It took me the entire first day and night to garner the courage to raise my hand and offer my dream. Maybe he would not think it worthy of his time and expertise. I was both frightened and excited, when he began his gentle yet focused approach to opening up my dream, helping me and others in the group gain more clarity. He gave me the sense that I could share openly and honestly. There were almost 50 people in the group, yet it seemed personal and safe.
Even to this day, I remember the dream I shared. Afterwards I realized that it was all about my opening up to the work that my soul yearned to do. I did not get the full meaning that particular day, but he suggested I honor the dream with a ritual. I made a little leather sack in the crafts room that week and put some toothpicks inside to represent the teeth of the shark in my dream. I carried them around for months and still have them as my dream continues to inform and emerge.
That began my personal journey with dreams and with Jeremy. The next summer I attended my first ASD conference at the Clairmont Hotel in Berkeley, CA. I knew little to nothing about ASD, knew no one and questioned why I came there. I ran into Jeremy there and built up my courage to ask if I could have some time to talk to him. I expressed my concern about leading dream groups since I had no education in psychology, etc. I was not licensed to do this work. With no further conversation, he said he would like to “ordain me as a Universalist Minister.” He thought that would help protect me from any repercussion. I was perplexed. This man barely knew me, but he was going out of his way to help me be involved in dreamwork.
We had an ordination ceremony the next day with witnesses. I was initiated into dreamwork in a way that I never imagined.
My life was quickly changing from the stay at home mom and community volunteer to the dreamworker that I now realize I had been preparing for my entire life. And I had Jeremy Taylor’s blessings!
That today still makes me wonder… what did Jeremy see in me? What did he see in all of us? How did he know what he knew? How did he trust the dream to inform?
He became my mentor and support as I wrote my first book Honoring the Dream: A Handbook for Dream Group Leaders, developed the Institute for Dream Studies and developed my process of DreamSynergy™. I invited him to Atlanta a couple of times to lead workshops for our Jung Society.
What did I learn from this kind soul, Jeremy… the thinker, the wise man, the trickster, the artist, the philosopher and the dreamer?
- The dream is sacred
- The dream belongs to the dreamer
- Everyone is equal in the world of dreams
- Anyone can work with a dream, their own or someone else’s.
- Patience in dreamwork.
- The connectedness of the Universe.
- There is no definite answer/meaning, nor time line, for working with a dream.
- Dreams unite us.
- All dreams come in “service of health and wholeness”.
- There is always new information through the dream.
- There is always more than one meaning to any dream. (multileveld)
I will always be grateful for this kind, generous and wise man for the ways he has enriched my life. For every dreamer that I work with, every student I teach, there is a part of Jeremy Taylor there working with them and teaching them.
I want to honor his wife Katherine, as well. She was the gate keeper/ protector for Jeremy. Even though I never met her in person, I got to know her over the years by phone and with email. She, too, helped me in my path forward… to trust others to be my assistants and help me do the work I yearned to do.
May they both rest, and dream, in peace.