A Look at “Oneirognosis” by Stephen Barnwell

Book Reviews

Dreams have always fascinated me, as I’m sure they do for most people. Their non-sensical logic and vibrancy brings a sense of entertainment to that special time of night when we all get to rest. Our minds are given the room to project and manifest whatever images and patterns that it  wants to, relegating us to the viewer instead of a participator. This is where the spin on dreaming is made by Stephen Barnwell in his captivating “Oneirognosis: The Art of Dreaming”. He presents the rather provocative notion that one can actually work with their dreams to gain insight, obtain answers, and even retrieve ever-so-repressed memories that are lingering up in that crazy house we call our minds.


beautifully bound and magnificently illustrated, Oneirognosis is truly a riveting work. Not only does it ask some really intriguing questions, such can one manipulate the seemingly random representations that our mind puts out there night after night, but it also acts as a narrative. The story is written in the voices of two of the characters that Barnwell created in his well-received work Nadiria, the Lost Colony of Antarctica. The story holds a tone and likeness to those 19th century characters, bringing a sense of realism to the story.

What I found particularly resonant was a section entitled “Sister Dreams”. In this portion of the book, the idea is introduced that there are certain dreams that are linked to others, either from a night before or a decade before. These sister dreams, as Barnwell states, are interlocking pieces of the same puzzle that when viewed together, yield a clearer picture of our own inner life. It allows the dreams a chance to see what links and patterns seem to emerge in their night visions and to provide a commentary or perhaps a little nudge to perhaps refocus on certain parts of ones life.

So many notions, so many theories. Barnwell masterfully introduces a topic that everyone can relate to instantly. While some readers will be a bit more willing to immerse themselves into researching their dreams, others may not be. If you’re looking for a sci-fi/fantasy take on dreaming then this book is not for you. However, if you’re looking to obtain some insight and strategies to piece together the power of dreaming to your waking mind, then pick this one up right away. This one is making the rounds in my social circle!


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