GDI Story

tree rooted in the earth

The Story of the Global Dream Initiative™

 “Human Behavior is rooted most deeply in nature’s intentions – our Actions are fundamentally expressions of nature’s desire. The rhythms of nature underpin all of human interaction: religious traditions, economic systems, cultural and political organizations. When these human forms betray the natural psychic pulse, people and societies get sick; nature is exploited; and entire species and, in fact, our entire Earth, are threatened.”

—Stephen Aizenstat, “Basic Elements for an Earth Charter: inclusion of Psychological Considerations,” submitted at the Earth Charter International Workshop in The Hague, 1995


In 1994, one of Pacifica Graduate Institute’s students, Angela Harkavy, was involved in the formulation of the draft of the Earth Charter which was taken to The Hague for the Earth Charter International Workshop in 1995. Pacifica’s President, Dr. Stephen Aizenstat, was invited to be a participant in that workshop, consisting of 60 world leaders and representatives from over 30 countries. During the workshop, Dr. Aizenstat advocated the inclusion of psychological considerations in the Earth charter. Posing the question, “What is being asked of us now?” Dr. Aizenstat responded with the following goal for the Earth Charter Project. “In order to build a respectful and sustaining relationship with the world, we must first recover a sensibility that is informed by the psyche of nature, awareness that our essential psychological spontaneities are rooted most deeply in the psyche of the natural world. We are born out of the rhythms of nature and to destroy nature’s psyche is, ultimately, end our own. The responsibility of all who are involved in the Earth Charter Project is advocacy on behalf of the world and all who share it.”

Since that time, Dr. Aizenstat and others of the Pacifica community have endeavored to support the Earth Charter Movement in various ways, and the importance of the Earth Charter has often been a principal topic in community discussions. In January of 1998, the Pacifica students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends were invited to consider and respond to “The Earth Charter Benchmark Draft” which was reviewed during the Rio+5 Forum in March 1997. Numerous individuals praised the efforts of the committee and sent along their encouragement and support for the ongoing work. Pacifica’s academic community provided ongoing input to the international committee which was developing the Earth Charter to be submitted to the U.N. for adoption in 2000.

The Global Dream Initiative™ evolved from Dr. Aizenstat’s work in the ‘90s with the Earth Charter, using Dream Tending as an ecological approach to dreams which awakens a way of knowing: that the images of dream live in the “inscape” of all being – now and always here, behind, beneath, surrounding visible reality. Dream images are living constituents of a world alive with psychic vibrancy. Such a perspective requires a way of imagining which remembers that the world, too, is alive and always dreaming.

Through the Global Dream Initiative and the Dream Tending skills, we realize that we, too, are imaginal beings hosting the very images that, in turn, imagine us. In this ecological view of psychological life, the Global Dream Initiative hosts an approach that attends mindfully to the particularity of each image – discovering its nature, wondering about its activities, and listening to its experiences.

Over the years, the Global Dream Initiative has evolved with a network of partner organizations around the world. The next steps are to take action on the mission of the Global Dream Initiative: The mission of the Global Dream Initiative is to: 1) Gather dreamers and to bring into awareness the intelligence of the dreaming psyche, 2) Listen to the voices of the planet as they speak through the images of dreams, 3) Bring this awareness into organizational, institutional and governmental policy formation forums and,  4) Further develop educational approaches/offerings fostering archetypal activism in service to the soul of the world.