RIP Bob Van de Castle 2014.

Robert Van de Castle

When I started 350 Dreamers in the spring of 2008, I recalled something I’d read in Robert Van de Castle’s book, Our Dreaming Mind. It was a reference to the Dream Helper Ceremony in which a group of dreamers focus their dream intention on helping an individual to heal. I wanted to apply this concept to dreaming for the environment, so I emailed Dr. Van de Castle to request permission to share this information on my brand new 350 Dreamers blog.

At the time, I only knew of Bob as a famous dream expert, and I had no connection at all to any community of dreamers. In fact, 350 Dreamers had only a handful of members at the time: My sister, my friend Molly, and myself.

Nonetheless, within 24 hours of trying to contact Dr. Van de Castle (as I thought of him at the time) I received a return email inviting me to give him a call. When I reached him by phone, he encouraged me to keep going with 350 Dreamers, and he suggested I attend the upcoming IASD conference, which would be taking place in Chicago that June—which was less than a month away.

I tried to turn him down; explaining that I had vacation plans that week. (And besides, I’d never even heard of this group). “Vacation plans?” he bellowed. “Cancel them!”

Long story short: I did. I cancelled my vacation plans, and bought a plane ticket to Chicago.

En route from Massachusetts to the Windy City, the airline lost my luggage. I arrived at the conference alone, after midnight, knowing no one, in an unfamiliar city, with only the clothes on my back. In the morning, feeling disoriented and anxious, I found Dr. Van De Castle and introduced myself. He greeted me as if I were a member of his family, and introduced me to his partner Bobbie Ann Pimm. In an instant I was transformed from a lost soul to a member of the community, all thanks to Bob and Bobbie’s warmth and enthusiasm.

In the four years since I made that phone call I have become an active member of IASD, I have become a certified dream therapist, and I now host two dream blogs, lead dream workshops, and provide individual dream consultations. The IASD community, of which Bob was a powerful leader, truly has become like family to me. Bob actively promoted 350 Dreamers, helping us to quickly reach our goal of having 350 dreamers signed up to dream for global healing.

I’ve had many wonderful dream helpers and dream teachers along the way, but Bob Van de Castle was one of my first; through his book, his encouraging emails and phone calls, and then his friendship, he helped set me on this beautiful dreamy path.

Today I learned of Bob’s death. That’s the sad news. But the best part of this story is that there are hundreds if not thousands more just like it. All of us who value dreams owe a debt of gratitude to Bob Van de Castle. I am honored to be able to add my voice to the chorus of those whose life was touched by Bob’s.

We will all miss Bob, and it’s almost impossible to imagine this year’s dream conference without him. But I know he’ll be present in countless ways, in all of our hearts and memories.