Lioness Dreaming: A Somatic Approach to the Animal Ally


  • Elizabeth Éowyn Nelson



dreams, Exceptional Human Experiences (EHE), Jung, numinous, peak experience, somatic dreaming, transpersonal psychology, visions, wild animal encounter


The essay uses transpersonal and Jungian psychologies to describe a profound encounter with an aging lioness in the South African bush. It explains somatic dreaming as a practice of intentionally dwelling with exceptional experience by focusing on the bodily responses of the dreamer and the vivid somatic aspects of the dream images, or figures, as embodied others. The autonomous figures of what transpersonal psychology calls an exceptional human experience (EHE) and Jungians describe as a numinous waking vision (in contradistinction to a night time dream) are both deeply strange and strangely familiar. What are the possibilities and challenges of somatic dreaming while awake? How might such an approach evoke and express soul? The author contends that hosting living images in and with the body can be powerfully transformative, altering the course of one’s life.

Author Biography

Elizabeth Éowyn Nelson

Elizabeth Èowyn Nelson is core faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute where she teaches courses in research, writing, archetypal psychology, and technology. She has been a professional editor and writing coach for more than 30 years. Elizabeth is the author of numerous scholarly articles and essays and has published two books, The Art of Inquiry (2017, Spring) co-authored with Joseph Coppin, and Psyche’s Knife (2012, Chiron).



2021-04-10 — Updated on 2021-04-11