Larry Dossey has written a fascinating book about premonitions, those events that forewarn of a possible future. Dossey blurs the line a bit by including intuition as well. Many people have these experiences and most of us are uncertain as to what to do about them. The book is full of examples including those of SIDS parents who often know something is not right, the high vacancy rates on the doomed planes of 9/11, and the use of psychics to predict the stock market (yes, it can be done- to a point). Arguments are presented that these abilities are natural and part of evolutionary survival. Some may be more prone to them and some may handle them better than others. So who is more likely to glimpse a possible future? Can premonitions be cultivated?

Artwork by Genia1016

Artwork by Genia1016


Dossey outlines some factors that may give some an edge to receiving premonitions or intuitions. Although more research is needed to establish the relevance of each of these, it is easy to see why they correlate. Here is the list, although other things could be added (for example- does the culture of the individual support premonitions, psi).

  1. Absorption- the ability to lose oneself in an activity, to be comfortable with imagination & fantasy
  1. Belief in the transcendent- not limited to the here & now
  1. Acknowledgement of intuition- open to the idea of spontaneous, innate knowing
  1. Comfortable with disorder- the ability to go with the flow and let go of control
  1. Seeking meaning- looking for underlying symbols and patterns
  1. Worldview- the world is a benevolent place
  1. Cultivation of a discipline which supports being present- these include meditation, prayer, being in silence, being in nature, etc.

Dossey believes premonitions can be cultivated, but also acknowledges that there are people who probably would not be stable enough to handle them. There’s a brief section and caution given about seeking psychiatric care. For someone who is having issues dealing with these types of experiences, it would probably be better to seek out a Jungian practitioner since their worldview is more open in regards to psi.



Another question running through the book involves when we should pay attention to our dreams and intuitions. The nature of these phenomena is that of being incomplete- often lacking the details of who, what, when, and where. Dreams especially, use a symbolic language that is often difficult to decipher. So what to do? Some common sense guidelines may help here. The experiences to really pay attention to are those that have a noetic quality- a sense of knowing. Without understanding how, you simply know. Anytime a dream is especially vivid or downright extraordinary, take note. Pay attention when the dream or intuition is accompanied by physical symptoms. One story related in the book, concerns an OB/GYN who can feel in his body when a patient is in trouble, and by honoring this, he often is headed to the hospital before he gets the call. Watch for those instances when the experience is intrusive and insistent. Pay attention when death or illness is indicated even when specific details are lacking. Over time, people can develop a sense of what’s important. The Rhine Institute conducted a study of 433 premonition cases where a person attempted to intervene to prevent an incident. Intervention was about twice as successful as not, indicating the future may not be written in stone. Premonitions don’t reveal fate, but rather a possible future.

Artwork by Genia1016

Artwork by Genia1016


Here are a few teasers from the book:

The Arlington Institute (TAI) works with precognizant dreamers formerly with government intelligence services to prevent disaster.

The FBI won’t release travel records for plane occupancy on 9/11. Was plane travel down just on the crashed aircraft or across the board?

There is a positive correlation between creativity/artistic ability and psi ability.

High performing CEOs score high on random number generator tests indicating they’re highly intuitive (although they don’t see themselves as such).

In 2007, Harteis & Gruber found intuitive predictions of stock market development were better than rationally justified ones.

In 1982, psychic Beverly Jaegers outperformed 17 of 18 stockbrokers (but not all psychics are that good- don’t ask a psychic for a lottery number, they usually can’t do numbers).

The stock market as a collective, “punished” the company responsible for the Challenger disaster before any investigations were done.

Dean Radin’s presentiment research at IONS showed people react to images before a computer picks them.

Rupert Sheldrake has collected many stories of animals refusing to go with their owners to areas where accidents later occur.

After an accident, Harriet Tubman had dreams and visions. This ability allowed her to guide slaves on the Underground Railroad.

Remote viewers see emotional images more frequently and that may give us a clue as to why premonitions usually indicate nasty events.

For centuries (and even today), fisherman in Iceland use dreams to locate a catch.

Join me next time when I sit down for a conversation with astrologer Mama Maga of Karma2Dharma Astrology.



Filed under Book Review

22 responses to “THE POWER OF PREMONITIONS by Larry Dossey, MD

  1. Invisible Ink

    Looks like a very interesting book! A therapist once told me that those who have experienced traumatic events typically have a heightened sense of intuition and perhaps premonition. Although I’ve always used the words synonymously. I’m going to add this to my “to read” book list!


  2. Thank you for a great review!


  3. A wonderfully detailed review of what sounds like a fascinating book. I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks!


  4. There is so much to say in response to your excellent summary of this latest Larry Dossey title, Ellis. Sufficient to say that I recognised all of it, and will definitely put the book on my reading list for this year. Many thanks!


  5. Sounds like this book treats intuition/premonitions seriously. Good to know. Thanks for the cogent review. sd


  6. The distinction between intuition and premonition is certainly a bit thin! 🙂


  7. Thank you, Ellis. I enjoyed learning about this book — I’ve enjoyed his others on prayer (and ‘toxic prayer’). I’ve just read Lessons of the Light by Kenneth Ring (as an NDEr myself, I’d not yet read his books!) and revisited Rupert Sheldrake’s The Sense of Being Stared At, so Dossey’s book seems like it’d be a good one to put in the queue. Thanks again!


  8. Theresa Crater

    Very interesting examples.


  9. Dossey is one of my favorite authors. His essay-editorials when he was editor of the medical journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine were brilliant, original, and insightful. He can pull together ideas from diverse sources and synthesize a new theme form them, tell a good story, and do it with science and wit. He’s editor of Explore, a journal on healing, now. More great essays. This book resonated with me because I’ve been dreaming the future most of my life, sometimes in symbols, sometimes in perfect literal detail, sometimes important event, sometimes trivial ones. This feature of time and mind, once experienced changes everything. It has made me open to the inexplicable.
    Great review with good pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Silver Threading

    What an excellent discussion. I get dreams that I don’t recognize for sometimes years. Then, suddenly I will be in that situation and remember my dream from long ago. I also get deja vu quite often. Interesting stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. reanolanmartin

    Ellis, I love Larry Dossey’s work, but have not seen this one. I and a friend of mine had very specific dreams about 9/11 two years, one year, and then again about two weeks before it happened. The dreams went back and forth between us in incremental fashion. We had no idea what they meant until the event actually happened. I’m thinking we weren’t the only ones, but we had each other, so we remember. It’s so important to share dreams of a certain noetic quality with someone you trust, just to remember them. I’ve had many more than those of 9/11, so will read this book with interest. Also, have to say…the artwork in this post is just spectacular!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dossey does take up 9/11. My one personal connection to the towers was that my brother was supposed to be working there that morning and was called the night before to go to another job. I had a different kind of experience with Sandy Hook. Had a very disturbing dream with a gunman, tons of blood (never have seen blood in a dream before), and the phrase ‘slaughter of innocents’. It woke me up and later found out my dream coincided with the exact time of the first 911 call that awful day. We are very connected and these kinds of happenings remind us of that. The art is from Wikimedia Commons under “psychedelic art”.

      Liked by 1 person

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