Memories of Jeremy Taylor

The world has just lost one of its greatest, wisest, and most compassionate dream teachers.  The Reverend Jeremy Taylor died two days ago, just two days after the death of his wonderful wife and life companion Kathy, a sage dreamer and artist herself.  Their passing together makes a tragic kind of sense, as an ultimate expression of their profound love for each other.  I miss them both deeply.

For more than fifty years, Jeremy has been traveling the country and the world, teaching people about dreams in an incredibly wide variety of places and circumstances.  I’m not sure any single person has devoted more of his life’s creative energy to the cause of increasing public awareness of dreaming.  And I’m not sure any single person has had a greater beneficial impact on the overall tenor and ethos of contemporary dream research.

It will take a long time to reflect on his legacy and take in the full scope of his influence.  What strikes me immediately is how he taught us to find the exciting potentials in even the tiniest dream fragment, and how he welcomed everyone, from all backgrounds, into the great spiritual adventure of exploring the world of dreaming.  He also taught us to think of dreaming as a window into social conflict and cultural change—an idea with more resonance than ever right now, as he well knew.

Below is the card he sent me on July 10, 1987, in response to my asking him for an opportunity to meet him and talk about his work.  I had just finished my first year in doctoral studies, and was trying to figure out where exactly I wanted to focus my research.  The meeting that ensued from Jeremy’s warm invitation (at 10 am at their home in San Rafael) had a direct impact on how my studies proceeded from there (he had published Dream Work in 1983).  And it all ties together in a way, because I first heard about Jeremy through my mother, who was working for a time with Kathy Taylor in Marin County and happened to mention my interests to her.  Kathy suggested I contact Jeremy, which I did.  And my life changed as a result.

6 Replies to “Memories of Jeremy Taylor”

  1. The long time needed to reflect on his legacy will preserve our sense of connection. I imagine him advising us to withdraw our “bright shadow projections” on him. This too will take some time. While it may make us better dream-workers, it will not reduce our gratitude to him or our appreciation for him.

  2. How did they die?

    Four of us, including Jeremy, back in the 70’s met several times for a small dream group. Bob Towbridge, Ken Kelzer, Jeremy and me.

  3. WOW. My wife received an email from a student and good friend of Jeremy’s this evening. She yelled for me to come and read the email. My first reaction was, ” Oh crap”. Now I feel a great loss. He was a major presence in my life and an influence and inspiration to me that I carry around with a sense of gratitude that I have known something of who he was. I first met him at the Unitarian Universalist Church in San Rafael over 35 years ago when he gave his talk on dreams. I was mesmerized by everything about him. I immediately signed up for his extended workshop. I have sporadically, attended his workshops whenever he came into my geographic area and sometimes a bit further. I probably quote Jeremy’s wisdom ( and always give him credit for the words) at least once a week. I was lucky and fortunate to have worked with him at a couple of his Sonoma State Adult Workshops. He never failed to be infinitely interesting. He was an exquisite thinker. He was comfortable enough and patient with conventional thinking – he probably even did it once in a while when he had to. His gift – his true treasure was his very unique ability to think, see, conceptualize and articulate with beautiful English and great logic oppositional ideas – that made more sense than all the other ideas in the room. And he could do it without judging or shaming or diminishing all the other ideas, but rather incorporating them into the discussion. Needless to say like anyone who has known him I will miss his presence – as well as Katherine’s. He was a blessing in my life.

  4. Thank you for your beautiful eulogy Kelly. The wisdom of Jeremy Taylor will be missed by so many of us. He had a very strong and positive effect on my life and my husbands. While attending The Institute of TranspersonaI Psychology I took Jeremys dream class and it changed my perspective the direction of my education and my life in profound ways. Jeremy was a truly authentic human being, his inclusivity opened my heart and mind to connect more deeply with other people. He showed us in a profound way that to be aware of our dreams was to be more awake and more alive. Dear Jeremy and Kathy you are in our prayers as you transition. Thank you.

  5. I am saddened to learn of the passing of Jeremy and Kathy, I have known Jeremy since 1957, and he was a dear friend of my brother.
    His mother was my English teacher in High School in Buffalo, NY.

  6. Jeremy was one of my two greatest mentors for dream work. The other was Brugh Joy who Jeremy and I used to reminisce about during the the limited time I had the privilege to know Jeremy.

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