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Publication details for Dr Iain Edgar

Edgar, I. (2009). A Comparison of Islamic and Western Psychological Dream Theories. In Dreaming in Christianity and Islam: Culture, Conflict, and Creativity. Bulkeley, K., Adams, K. & Davis, P. New Brunswick, USA.: Rutgers University Press. 188-199.

Author(s) from Durham


In one essential respect there is an ontological gap between Islamic and most western psychological theories of the dream and that is their differing conceptions of the self and what western psychology views as the unconscious. The unknown hinterland of the self in Islam and also Christianity, two such similar Prophetic religions that one is tempted to call Islam, metaphorically, an ‘upgrade’ of Christianity, is deemed to be the house of God, the Godhead, from which the voice of the Lord, the Prophet, Satan and Shatan can all be heard, often in dreams. No such spiritual ontology defines the broadly secularist ontology of the hidden worlds of the psyche in western psychology. Freudian psychology, in particular, obstinately defines all psychic contents as reflections and transformations of daytime reality, ‘day residues’ in the Freudian vocabulary. Yet western psychology’s attempts to create a universal and secular language and structure for the nature of the unconscious has defined the very terms in which someone embedded, particularly in western culture, now approaches the rather mysterious, and usually confusing, language of the night dream. Perhaps alone in western psychological theory, the conceptual and applied work of Jung, the famous Swiss psychoanalyst offers a bridge between these differing schematisations of the unconscious.