Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 93–106 | Cite as

The Religious Content of Dreams: A New Scientific Foundation

  • Kelly BulkeleyEmail author


Dream content is meaningfully related to waking life religiosity, so much so that reading a person’s dream reports “blindly,” without any other personal information or associations from the dreamer, can reveal with surprising accuracy his or her basic waking attitude toward religion and spirituality. Two long-term dream journals are analyzed in this manner, and the results demonstrate that dream content is an accurate reflection of a person’s religious beliefs, practices, and experiences. The significance of this for pastoral psychologists lies not in specific new techniques of dream interpretation but more fundamentally in supporting the practice of paying attention to dreams in the first place. The goal of the article is to build a bridge between pastoral psychological interest in dreams and the latest findings in the scientific study of dreaming. Contrary to the assumption that religion and science inevitably conflict with each other, dreaming offers an area of potential religion–science convergence.


Dreams Religion Spirituality Science Content analysis 



My gratitude goes to Merri and Barb Sanders, along with G. William Domhoff, the students of the Dream Studies Program at John F. Kennedy University, Patricia M. Davis, and Roger Knudson.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Theological UnionKensingtonUSA

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