Young Student’s Questions

Here is an interesting list of questions a young student sent me. I think the answers sum up in a simple way much of the content of this site.

Hi Mr. Crisp,

Thank you so much for your time, I greatly appreciate it. I have always been extremely interested in dreams, which is why I chose this topic for my senior project. Please answer however you can!

Thanks again!


I take your questions seriously and want to give you what I feel is outstanding information. So please follow the links I give, as I will write at length – Tony

1) How did you become interested in dreams? Have you always been interested in dreams?

It happened over a period of time but in 1953, when I was sixteen, and already deeply interested in the possibilities of the human mind, I took a course in deep relaxation. I practiced every day for three months, tensing my muscles, relaxing them, then passing my awareness over and over my body, dropping the feeling of tension. After three months I was quite proficient. One evening, after coming home from dining out with friends, I went to bed thinking I would leave my usual practice, but in the end decided to practice even though it was late. After going over my body several times I suddenly lost any awareness of my right arm. I had no sensation of it other than space, hugeness. Then I lost my left arm, and then my whole body. It was like falling through a trap-door into the stars. I had no sense of having a body. Thoughts had ceased, except for a murmur apparently a thousand miles away. Yet in blackness, in immensity, in absence of thought I existed vitally as bodiless awareness. We think that we are our body because we have no other experience of our existence. So we identify with our body and so are terrified of dying – which in a sense is what we do every time we go to sleep and leave our sense of a body behind.

I felt at the time, and still believe it correct, that I had fallen asleep yet remained awake. Waking, critical awareness, had been taken through the magic doors of sleep into a universe it seldom ever sees – deep dreamless sleep. I realised that as we enter sleep all our sense are switched off and we are fundamentally bodiless awareness. The experience gave me first hand experience that there are dimensions of the mind, of consciousness, most of us do not even believe in. It was a tremendous experience and left me with a hunger to really explore the unconscious that is beyond sleep. See You Are a Dual Being

Then two years later while I was serving in national service in the RAF I had an amazing experience of my awareness leaving my body – I had an extraordinary out of body experience. I was in the RAF living in Germany, and one night I had gone to bed early. I must have fallen asleep when suddenly I felt as if I were shooting upwards and experienced a feeling of coming out of pressure and was now free – like a cork out of a bottle. Then I was awake and looking down at my sleeping body and felt terrified (I realised afterwards it was terror that I was dying). Then I remembered reading about experiences such as this and was laughing uncontrollably through the release from terror. Then I was travelling across the German countryside where I was living, curled up with my knees to my chest, looking down at the countryside beneath me. I noticed as I passed over the rural countryside what looked like radiations emerging from several places; they were a bit like ripples on the surface of water when a stone has been thrown into it. But these ripples were three dimensional, and I wondered it they were emerging from people, perhaps praying.

Then I was over the sea and saw many ships below, but suddenly I was standing in our sitting room at home in London. It was such an astonishing experience I stood in shock looking down at my body, feeling it and trying to understand. My body felt solid and real and I was dressed in outdoor clothes not my pajamas, also I felt that I was awake for the first time in my life. I say this because normal waking awareness was only semi awareness compared to the mercuric consciousness I now had. Then with great enthusiasm I looked up and saw my mother sitting alone knitting, our Alsatian dog lying asleep in front of the gas fire. I felt sure my mother would see me because I felt physically present and absolutely and vitally awake in a way I had never experienced before. So I called out to her, “Mum, look what has happened.” She stopped knitting for a moment but obviously didn’t see me or hear me. So I felt if I shouted this would reach her. “Mum” I shouted, “look it’s me Tony”.

There was no obvious sign that she had heard me, but two things did happen. One was that I saw or realised that she had an upstairs side of her and a downstairs side. Her upstairs (conscious) side had no awareness of me, but her downstairs side (unconscious) gave me a wonderful welcome and I had the awareness of us knowing each other in a formless love.

These two things had a far reaching influence on future decisions. For one, many of the academic students of dreams had, as far as I could understand, never been out of their rational mind. All their research was from their thinking mind, and I saw that that was not the way to explore. When I went for a university entrance interview the man who was the person had written a book about Buddhist meditation. With great interest I asked him what he had experienced in practicing the methods he had written about. His answer was that he had never used any of the methods, he was purely an intellectual. I decided that I would carry on with my own investigations not be trained in way that cut out a huge part of my experience.

But there was a turning point in that I developed awful depression. Remember that it was years ago, but I had read two great books about dream work. So in 1962 began the study of dreams after reading/selling Dr. Leslie Weatherhead’s book on the subject, and P.W. Martin’s description of peer group work in his book Experiment in Depth. Also I had come across the work of Edgar Cayce and worked for while as their UK book distributor. I had already studied Jung and Freud, but Cayce, Weatherhead and Martin presented the subject as accessible and useful to the general public. All the other books on dreams I had read and sold presented it as a purely intellectual, clinical or superstitious subject. (Weatherhead, Leslie. Psychology in Service of The Soul. Epworth Press (Sharp). 1929. – Martin, P. W. Experiment in Depth. Routledge and Kegan Paul 1964. – Sechrist, Elsie. Dreams – Your Magic Mirror. Cowles 1968. Expressive of the Edgar Cayce view of dreams.)

2. What made you want to create the Online Dream Dictionary?

I started to explore my own dreams, not interpret them, and began to see a way out of depression. So after learning a lot more about dreams I put what I had learned so far in the book Do You Dream (Do You Dream. Spearman, 1971). The book led to me working for companies that brought hundreds of people writing to me about their dreams. And I started to file them with cards. Then came the computer and at last I could really learn enormous amounts from being able to search the dreams.  So as soon as I could I learned to set up an online dream dictionary. As first it was called Waves – but then in the late 80’s I put out a full online dream dictionary under the name

3. Do you continue to be surprised by new information regarding this topic?

I realise now that one can never know all there is about the subject of the human mind, dreams, and in fact the products of Life. So yes I continue to be surprised and even thrilled.

4. What process do you go through in order to determine the meaning behind people’s dreams?

When my wife of the time Hyone and I were faced with people asking us to give them some idea of the dreams they sent in, at first we would read the dream, then go and enter into the dream by imagining ourselves dreaming it. We noted what we felt about it and on checking it was usually the same information.

But doing it so often it began to be a remarkable intuitive process.  Here are two examples. I had no understanding at all what the dream meant and so asked my inner self to help. It felt like a voice speaking and explaining. And in explaining what it means I see that dreams images are like icons on a computer screen – you have to ‘click’ on your dream images to make them come alive. Thinking about them doesn’t work. You need to open yourself to the magic of them.

To make them into the wonderful gateways they are one has learn certain skills. Apart from dreams being the greatest school, the finest source of education in the process of life, there is the possibility of change. I went on the interior journey because my life wasn’t worth living the way it was. In the world beneath what is normally apparent to us, there are embodiment’s of your past, of your pains and your wonder. These embodiments confront you, and in meeting them you are transformed. The great myths of the past tell us of these meetings. They describe some of the adventures. But your journey is nevertheless unique.

My aim here is to show you how to understand your dreams and so meet the different aspects of YOU. So as an interpreter one’s emotions need to be alive and responsive; one’s mind needs to be open to the new, the VERY new that your dreams present you with; also the dimensions of you. To really be able to interpret dream you have to be able to personally meet and deal with every aspect of dreaming. That means meeting the horrors that most people wake up in terror of – the snakes, carnivores, the living dead, zombies, the devil and ghosts and also the high ground – meeting death and God face to face. For all these are presented in dreams and if you are not acquainted with them – not just intellectually – you cannot be of real help.

You have to have get hold of a Life Current that will carry you – perhaps into the unknown. Meeting the unknown is the adventure of Life itself. In the US they have great respect for the soldiers who fought – but I feel that anyone who meets the unknown is a Veteran too of many battles won. See

Dreams images are like icons on a computer screen – you have to ‘click’ on your dream images to make them come alive. Thinking about them doesn’t work. You need to open yourself to the magic of them.

To make them into the wonderful gateways they are one has learn certain skills. Apart from dreams being the greatest school, the finest source of education in the process of life, there is the possibility of change. I went on the interior journey because my life wasn’t worth living the way it was. In the world beneath what is normally apparent to us, there are embodiments of your past, of your pains and your wonder. These embodiments confront you, and in meeting them you are transformed. The great myths of the past tell us of these meetings. They describe some of the adventures. But your journey is nevertheless unique.

My aim here is to show you how to understand your dreams and so meet the different aspects of YOU. So as an interpreter one’s emotions need to be alive and responsive; one’s mind needs to be open to the new, the VERY new that your dreams present you with; also the dimensions of you. To really be able to interpret dream you have to be able to personally meet and deal with every aspect of dreaming. That means meeting the horrors that most people wake up in terror of – the snakes, carnivores, the living dead, zombies, the devil and ghosts and also the high ground – meeting death and God face to face. For all these are presented in dreams and if you are not acquainted with them – not just intellectually – you cannot be of real help.

You have to have get hold of a Life Current that will carry you – perhaps into the unknown. Meeting the unknown is the adventure of Life itself. In the US they have great respect for the soldiers who fought – but I feel that anyone who meets the unknown is a Veteran too of many battles won. See Meeting the Unknown

An example will help to understand.

 I am 23 years old and have been married for 2 years. Recently I dreamt I was on holiday in Egypt with my husband and parents. We were in the desert and I saw sand dunes ahead and camels with 2 humps. One of them licked my face. I also got very sunburnt. Could you please tell me what it means?  Eliza.

Here is the interpretation given after not understanding the dream at all

I get the feeling from this dream that you want children. Your life is empty – a waterless desert – without them. That is not to say you have an unhappy life, because the dream shows you in holiday mood and relaxed with your family. So you obviously have their support for becoming a mother.

The big thing in the dream though is when the camel licks you. Its two humps suggest you either want or will have two children, and the lick is a sign of approval and agreement. So the sun is shining on you in this area of your life as you move on to a new and previously unexplored experience of parenthood. And the sunburn warns you to take it slowly. Don’t rush things.

Later a letter was received about the interpretation:

Today 9/11/94 you printed the answer to my letter on my dream about the camel that licked my face in the desert. I would like to thank you for this and say that your interpretation of my dream was absolutely correct. I am desperate to have a baby and have been trying to conceive for over 12 months. I have full support on this matter from my mother as you suggested, she provides a shoulder to cry on through this trying period of my life.

Yours Sincerely Eliza

Later still another letter arrived, this time from Eliza’s mother.

Dear Tony,

Many thanks for your fax note sent just now to our daughter Eliza.

As Liz’s parents we know how much she wants a child, and we also know that she is aware how much we love and care for her.

Your interpretation was uncanny!!  We give you many thanks for the encouragement to our daughter.

The best regards

P and B Hanman

What is a wonder to me, even though I am involved in seeing these things happen, is that how can anyone who is totally at a loss to the meaning of a dream, receive such an accurate interpretation. And I cannot say it is through cleverness or worthiness, so I believe that through being open and having explored dreams ourselves, we became able to touch something bigger than our small personality

Another Example:

My wife and I were walking out in the countryside. I looked around suddenly and saw my four year old son near a hole. He fell in and I raced back. The hole was narrow but very deep. I could see water at the bottom but no sign of my son. I didn’t know whether I could leap down and save him or whether it was too narrow. Then somehow he was out. His heart was just beating.

This dream occurred to a newspaper reporter. It was so tricky to understand I asked the reporter to call back while the dream was investigated by praying for help. Here is what

I was told.

The son here represents the marriage. That is because the son was the result of their marriage. The man had an awful row with his wife. It was so bad he felt it was the end of their marriage; that was why the child fell down the hole and the man felt he was dead.

But suddenly the child is beside him and his heart was beating, and this shows that although it was bad, there is still a heart beating between them and their marriage is okay.

That was what was told but it was difficult to believe because how could it be so definite about an argument. However when the reporter rang back he acknowledged he had an argument with his wife and he thought it was the end of their marriage. Also it was such a relief to see the son was depicting their marriage and was not a prediction.

That was years ago and although I use intuition a lot, unfortunately I am getting old and the results are not so clear. See Using Your Intuition and Prayer and Dream Interpretation.

5. What are some common dreams that you often are asked about?

1) Being chased by animals and being afraid of them. My reply is usually:

Do you actually imagine that a real wolf/dog/bear/monster is there in your dreams?

How can anything die in the amazing world of your creative imagination? For that’s what dreams are – a world in which you create creatures to scare you, gods and angels to uplift you, and in which you are totally alone in sleep and dreams. Do you actually imagine that a real wolf is there in your dreams? So if it isn’t why you are afraid of it? It is like a realistic computer game in which you have creatures attacking you, presumably to scare yourself – but why, when you could make friends of your own inner powers; for each creature in our dreams is a projection of our inner world and its powers.

Example: I just woke up from a terrifying dream where there was me and these two little boys (no idea who they were, never seen them in my life) who looked about 10 or 11ish and we came across this bear that was eating at the dump (looked a little small, like a cub). As soon as I saw it I said “woah, okay boys, time to turn around” or something like that, then the boys started running and I told them not to because it might be a reason for the bear to chase you, so they were just walking, but still walking fast (too fast for me to keep up) then all of a sudden we heard this huge gigantic roar in the back and the boys turn around to look, screamed and started running. I tried to run too, but you know, sometimes in your dreams you can’t run, so I panicked and woke up with my heart throbbing.

2) Difficult relationship – how can stop myself dreaming about them?

There is no way you can ‘have nothing to do’ with someone you have been intimately involved with. It doesn’t work like that. Most people are often totally unaware of the experience they take in and how it interacts with them when we love or live with someone. In other words the memories and experience we gather unconsciously change us and are not lost. It is part of you and is symbolised in dreams as a person or event. See Moved on from.

So you have taken in millions of bit of memory, lessons learnt, life experiences along with all the feelings or problems met and they are what makes you the person you are. Your dreams tend to put the image of the past person when you are dealing with the influences left in your from the relationship

It sounds as if you are not honouring what you have taken into you, and it is giving you indigestion of the soul. What I have found over years of investigation that everything we take in, experience as well as food, needs to be dealt with in a particular way. We are a living process like all living things. We have to transform what we take in into living processes.

3) Many women dream of giving birth to a baby and often have no man involved, so are puzzled.

It is because woman have the creative power.

It is innate in women to dream of being creative and giving birth in their dreams. So I believe that such a baby is a very real part of you – though an inner and not always an outer part. But it is a creation of a part of you that is only now becoming real in your life. In other words a dream baby is a new birth of part of you that needs to be cared for. The point for a woman is that she is only incidentally part of the creative act of childbirth. The processes of creation are far deeper than her personality.

If you are a woman, this is your potential. You developed in this way because you are a creature of evolution. If you deny that part of you – the urge to procreate – you deny yourself. Do not cut yourself off from your roots otherwise you will die. To become free of it, it is not necessary to repress that part of you. In fact that basic, primeval drive is your source of power. It is a great river of energy. Out of that your power arises. You do not have to become childbearing to have that creativity. You do not even need to have a functioning womb, because at your core you are the power of creation.

So take hold of that primitive part of you, that ancient river of desire and longing, flow with it. Of course it will try to go in the old channels, the old pathways. But it can be creative in new ways as social actions, in caring for others, in creative art work, such as writing or music, or ways beyond counting. Life itself is infinitely creative, look around at all the forms it creates.

Many women dream of having a beautiful baby without any sign of a man in their life or in their body. It happens because of that wonderful power of your creation. It is you giving birth to a new and miraculous part of you. Nurse it and love it till it is strong enough to be a part of your outer life.

4) The biggest number of people click on pages dealing with death. Here are parts of the pages.

In every moment of our life we face the possibility of death. In fact we only live because we are constantly dying. Our body is all the time dying as thousands of cells die, and in doing so the new and living body can continue. If we allow ourselves to realise that it illustrates the meaning of the phoenix – it is consumed by the flames, and yet it arose anew. We have the fire of life within us, we eat and feed the fire that consumes us and gives birth to us continuously. It is the warmth of our body, the warmth, even passion, of our emotions and that is life – continuous through death.

Example: This was not a dream, but a direct perception during sleep. I saw that a large part of my being was dying, and another part coming to life. Andy

If we cannot meet the spectre of death, then our ability to live a full life will be diminished. At every turn death faces us in one way or another, and if we have not met and transformed fear into wonder, then we will be paralysed in expressing freely and lovingly to what life offers.

We have to remember though that what we first meet in dreams about death are the family and culturally inherited images and ideas of what death is. For instance Western culture gradually developed a view of the world based on early scientific theories. Namely that life is purely physical, and so there can be no survival of ones personal awareness at death. It is a view gradually being eroded by findings in quantum physics, and is not shared by many other cultures. The skeleton in the image below typifies this Western view of death. But the view in older cultures is that life continually flows through birth and death.

Dreaming of our own death

In the example below the dreamer does not face any great fear of death itself. The strongest feelings are of loss. Over a period of time the dreamer may move beyond such feelings of loss into exploring other possibilities of death.

I was due to be executed – what for I don’t know. I was not especially afraid of this, but my most vivid feelings were of great sadness at the people I was leaving behind, and for all the things I wanted to do in life, but would not now be able to. Then at the end I was watching myself being hanged. D.

This theme of facing death is quite frequently met, and it often leads to confronting what we really want to do before the end of this present life; what we want to express, say or give to those we love or are involved with; and what we want to achieve. So such a dream may wake us up from spending too much time in trivialities.

Examining many dreams dealing with death, it is noticeable that some dreamers are stuck in fearful or grief laden feelings, while others move on into a positive relationship with the ending of life. The difference appears to be centred on what level of emotion the dreamer can tolerate and accept, and how daring they are. Many people, on meeting death in their dream, awake with feelings of pain, fear, or dread. If they could fully meet those feelings they would pass on to develop a very different experience of death in their dreams. The following dreams illustrate this.

A young woman told me she had experienced a recurring nightmare of a piece of cloth touching her face. She would scream and scream and wake her family. One night her brother sat with her and made her meet those feelings depicted by the cloth. When she did so she realised it was her grandmother’s funeral shroud. She cried about the loss of her grandmother, felt her feelings about death, and was never troubled again by the nightmare.

(4) Can we deal with our feelings about death

Each of us meet our feelings and fears in different ways, and the next waking dream shows a very full meeting with death and its possibilities.

I knew I was dying and it was incredibly real. So real I wept deeply because I knew this was the end of everything and I would lose my children. All that I had created in life would be at an end too. But there was nothing I could do about that and I died. Then I seemed to be at a slight distance watching my dead body, and I saw my father, who had died some years before, come and carry the body over a threshold into a heavenly meadow. There a resurrection took place. My dead being was given new life. And the new life came from all that I had given to others, and all I had received from others, during my life. That was my spiritual life that survived death. A.C.

As can be seen from this beautiful experience, the dreamer meets the depth of feeling connected with the final ending of life, and then moves beyond it. So the last part of the dream is not an avoidance of pain, but an acceptance of the finality of death and how it is transcended by giving ourselves away to others, and receiving from them.

Because dreaming about death is a very frequent theme, and has many aspects, you must look at any death dream you have had and see each part of it in context with the other parts of the dream. For instance the context of death in the first example is connected with hanging and final loss. In the second it starts similarly but ends quite differently.

You can continue contact with the dead through your dreams

There is yet another level connected with dreams about people we have known in life. This next dream and exploration of the dream shows how we can continue contact with the dead.

Example: Our son passed away on 12/22/2012. He was 24 years old. Today my 13 year old daughter told me she had a dream last night. She said she was looking in a mirror and saw her brother. She said at first it scared her then she was okay. She said she joined her brother. She said they were on a beach but it was nothing like she had ever seen. She said he was in a bright yellow shirt and tan shorts which she thought was a bit funny because he would have never wore that when he was alive.

She said the first thing she asked him was if there was a hell. She said he told her no but there was a place for those who had done really bad things to learn from them. She said that she asked a bunch of questions that he told her he wasn’t allowed to answer. She said she asked him if he missed everyone and he told her no because he could be with us whenever he wanted to. He told her he could go everywhere. He said both to beautiful and not so beautiful places. It was all his choice. He told her tell everyone he was okay. She also said he looked really good but not quite the same as he did when he was alive.

The above dream is exactly what can happen when we meet someone we love in a dream. Usually people’s minds are so full of beliefs and information that clogs up their ability to have such a clear dream. The mirror is first an indirect contact, but then the girl joined her brother in his experience of death. The answers she was given to her questions are exactly my own findings in regard to death.

6. What is the most interesting dream that you have been asked about?

That is very difficult to answer as there are so many. But here are two.

1)  “Last night I had a dream which shook me somewhat, and I wonder what you make of it. I am a mature 40 year-old, don’t normally dream, and am not unduly fanciful, but this dream has really shaken me. It felt like death. In the dream, my husband and I are at some sort of social club. The people there are ex-workmates of mine and I am having a wonderful time and am very popular. My husband is enjoying my enjoyment. Then he and I are travelling down a country lane in an open horse-drawn carriage. It is very dark and is in the area we used to live in. We come to a hump-backed-bridge, and as we arrive at the brow of the bridge a voice says, ‘Fair lady, come to me.’ My body is suddenly lying flat and starts to rise. I float and everything is black, warm and peaceful. Then great fear comes over me and I cry out my husband’s name over and over. I get colder and slip in and out of the blackness. Then I start to wake up. It takes a tremendous effort, as my body is very heavy. I am extremely cold and absolutely terrified, with a feeling of horror. There seems to be something evil here. I force myself to get up in the dark and go downstairs. Even with the light on I feel the presence of great evil.”

The first part of this woman’s dream and what she says of herself shows her as an outgoing person, with a happy disposition. She likes people, and they like her; she is probably good looking, and healthy. She feels herself successful at what she has worked, and has left having acquired friends. The relationship she has with her husband is also depicted as one in which pleasure can be allowed within caring independence. Her dream image of herself is therefore created out of her own confidence. Dreams frequently summarise the quality of ones life and the ‘story so far’ in their first scene.

The second scene is made up of several parts – the journey, the woman’s relationship with her husband, the force of nature symbolised by the horses and the countryside, and the unknown seen as the bridge and the voice. To understand what this reveals of the dreamer, look at the vital clues: what she has said about herself and what she felt in the dream. If you strip away images to see what attitudes or emotions are exposed, you can see the forces behind the dream plot. The most poignant statement she makes is in saying, “It felt like death.”

If we consider the central image of the dream, the hump-backed bridge, in relation to what she says about her age, the feelings of death’s approach make sense. When you approach a hump-backed bridge you climb, but at the very brow, the descent begins. Isn’t that a powerful symbol of life? In our younger years our strength, sexuality and ability to meet life with resourcefulness and independence increase, until middle age, when the decline sets in. You cross over – as this woman crosses the bridge – from one type of experience or view of life to another. The passage of time is seen here as the horses pulling her carriage inexorably towards the change.

But the dream’s beauty, its depth and drama, are in the voice, and in the discovery of how death ‘feels’. They tell us something about women’s inner lives, PLURAL. They reveal how, in her prime, a woman confronts change and the view of death in a way few men do. “Fair lady” the voice of change calls, “come to me.” And it beckons the dreamer towards a hefty mid-life crisis, asking her to exchange her sexual peak, her firm body, her fertility, for the different perspective of post-menopause.

Many women – men too of course – gain their sense of value as a person from their ‘attractiveness’. Losing whatever it is that makes them sexually desirable and socially popular – or fearing that they are losing it – will lead to a significant change in their way of life and their feelings about themselves. This is what makes the dreamer call for her husband. This is what produces the feeling of isolation and terror. A woman needs reassurance and love at this point in her life. She may behave indecisively and deflect the advances of her man through a lack of self-esteem.

Fortunately the human personality is resilient. Even though we are reared to identify ourselves with what our body looks like, what it can do, what sex it is, what age it is, and how others react to it, we CAN grow to mature independence without constant reassurance. If you search your dreams in any depth you will come to realise that the body is not the end. We are all male and female, and have a character outside of what we look or are as a body.

Some people create these nocturnal horror movies when leaving school or sitting exams. But middle age is just another phase of life, with as much potential for growth and love as any other phase – and as much room for failure. This woman fears what she imagines middle age will do to her. The dream isn’t an intuition of her future.

2) She says, ‘I am walking with another girl (Who seems to be a shadowy replica of myself) outside the studio. Some young men who also work at the studio are following behind us, calling out to us and joking. I say to the girl, “If they ask us to have a drink with them when we pass this public house we will accept, but if they don’t, we’ll just keep walking.” The young men, however, do not ask us to join them. The girl turns back, but I keep on walking. I go down a subway station at Chancery Lane (near where I work) with the intention of going to Oxford Street. (Oxford Street symbolises Life to me.) I board a tube train. It is quite crowded with young girls, who look rather like myself. Suddenly, a charming, softly spoken woman of about mid-thirty (my age in fact) appears and tells us that we are all required to take part in a film. In fact, we have no choice, as our carriage is being driven off to a huge building. We are all ushered into a large room. There is a rather unpleasant man who seems to be the director. In the middle of the room is an enormous iron wheel, and on the end of each spoke is an iron chair, into which, one by one the “victims” from the train are being clamped by iron bands around the arms and throat. I get a distinct feeling of fear and distrust in spite of the charming woman’s efforts to reassure me. She says, “You will be released when the film is shot.” I do not believe her, and look around for some means of escape.

Meanwhile, my turn to be clamped into the chair is coming very close. The other girls seem to give no feeling of fear, they are submitting to the ordeal like sheep going to the slaughter. I am still aware that in the background the sadistic man is gloating about the whole thing. I make a frantic dash to the doorway. Outside there are tunnels leading in every direction. I run down one only to find the end is blocked by an iron gate, through which, grinning at me maliciously, is a ticket collector. I turn and run down another tunnel and suddenly find myself running along the top of the train in which I had arrived. It is stationary. I peer down when I see a group of young people walking along a street which is parallel to the train. They are dressed in “trendy” clothes, but their eyes are devoid of any expression and their gestures are mechanical. They are walking straight into a cul-de-sac. I decide not to join them; and turn to look the other way. A group of young children and some adults are playing in the street, yet everything is silent and dim. A man is leering at them. The buildings all around are high, dark and poor looking. I manage to bypass them all and find myself looking at a beach scene. Groups of people are sunbathing and playing on the beach. Yet again I am struck by the lifeless and mechanical actions and their expressionless eyes, as if they are living yet dead. I suddenly get a glimpse of the sea beyond them. It is beautiful, alive, moving, a translucent emerald green. The sun is sparkling on it. It is the only alive thing I have seen on my travels. I long to get to it. I will get to it, and drown myself in its purity and beauty. I start to make my way towards it when sand dunes build up before me, making the journey difficult. The sand slips under my feet, but I struggle on. Suddenly, out of the crowd, a matronly woman comes after me, trying to drag me back, saying, “You shall not escape.” I feel anything is better than living like the “puppet-like” people on the beach, and I make a frantic effort to escape her clutches and break away and enter the sea, quite happy to know I will die there.’

This amazing dream has so much information in it, one can no more than hint at its meaning. The dreamer is in fact reviewing the many avenues the world offers in the search for fulfilment, satisfaction and truth. The shadowy figure is her own desires she is aware of but does not express. The men are her desires for attention and affection, and the pub is social pleasure and enjoyment. Outwardly she does not push her desires for love and relaxation, but inwardly there is a desire to ‘turn back’. Unable to find full satisfaction in this direction, she looks for ‘life’ in the unconscious, in herself, deep down in the underground. Within she finds youthful urges for fame, limelight and approval.

The ‘charming’ woman is the outer appearance fame gives, but the cruel, materialistic, grasping man is the real driving force behind these urges, behind this life. The dreamer realises that such a life is more likely to crush than to satisfy. She is then faced by the ticket collector, who probably represents the petty authorities who block our way in life. The ‘trendy’ young people represent attempts to keep up with the Jones’s, which again, is not our true self, but a lifeless mimicry leading to a dead end. The playing children can be called ‘innocence’. If we try to remain innocent of life experience, then like the children and adults in this scene, we run the risk of being an unknowing plaything of the ‘leering’ and perverse. The beach scene is, once more, a direction in which many people seek ‘life’ and fulfilment. It symbolises the healthy outdoor life, the self enjoyment and relaxation of the playboys and playgirls of society. Once more, the dreamer sees this as a puppet like, mechanical existence, and not true ‘life’. But she sees ‘life’ in the sea, which is her inner self, her contact with the forces of life within her. To live in harmony with one’s basic self, with life, instead of only conscious desires, opinions, social pressures, promises fulfilment. But the sand of her intellectual doubts, family duties and social conventions hold her back, until she breaks free, and finds herself.

7. What is the most interesting dream that you have had?

Here is one that still is a major part of my understanding.

On January third of 2003 I had a dream suggesting that times of great change were on their way.

Having been professionally involved in teaching, writing about and using dreams to help people gain significant change in their life, I took the dreams seriously. I had learned that the unconscious levels of our mind that dreams portray have an amazing ability to look at the uncountable bits of information and life experience we gather, and arrive at a global view. The global view my dreams presented suggested the direction we are taking and confronting.

The dream was – I had the sense that I was in Amersham where I was born, but the physical features of the place were different. I believe I was walking along a road at night, possibly with someone else. I glanced up at the sky and was amazed how clearly the stars were visible. And as I looked I saw something that I had never seen before. Across the sky, from the horizon on my left to the horizon on my right, massive concentrations of stars formed stylised running figures. It looked to me as if these great figures resembling human shape, were running across the sky – I mean by this their shape suggested a beautiful flowing movement of running.

I thought perhaps this was the Milky Way, as I had never seen it before. But there were distinct edges to the massive concentrations of stars forming the figures. I felt very enthusiastic and uplifted by this sight and wanted other people to look at it. Then I seemed to be at home, perhaps where I used to live in Whielden Street, and my father was there. I told him about the figures and wanted him to look, but he seemed quite uninterested. I also felt somehow that he was locked into an intellectual cynicism that could see no wonder in the stars. To him they were simply random shapes in the sky. To me they expressed something that, perhaps, I would find it difficult to put into words, but nevertheless was very moving at a deep level of my being.

The dream so caught at my feelings and curiosity I meditated on it, explored it, and generally pondered on it for six months. In June of the year the gates to the dream suddenly opened for me, and a torrent of experience and realisation poured into consciousness.

As the gates of my dream opened I became aware of meeting actual beings. I knew in a direct way that these beings were the very substance and processes of our universe. Literally, the air we breathe, the water we drink is a part of their ‘bodies’. But we must not think of them as like us in the way we have a body. I was reminded at that point of the statement in Genesis where it says, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

God says, “Let us” and that is plural. He does not say I will. And in the same way that I sensed these great beings, I also knew that these beings were there from the beginning of time. We see them as the processes, the laws, the manifestation of our universe, and locally our solar system and earth. I also felt that these beings are described in astrology. In other words astrology attempts to define what they are and their influence in the cosmos and in our lives. Unfortunately we have a degraded and limited view of this. But literally they are our parents, and shape our body and life. It is difficult to conceive of beings whose very body is the world around us and the sky and stars. This is why I saw them in the dream as having a body of stars and dancing across the night sky. In the dream I sensed them as a cavalcade of life — ancient life. And that was an actual awareness of them, because they are the very pageant of life and death.

As I became aware of them I knew also that they were asking something of us, something that we were not giving. If we listen, they are telling us that there are shifts going on that will require something of us, something more than we are giving as a race. If we are not capable of giving it, then our time is nearing an end. Of course, what we have already done and lived will be absorbed if we cannot meet the shifts that will take place, that are already beginning to take place.

The message I receive from the ancient beings, the Star Beings, is that the time of the bull and the lion is approaching. This is simply a cycle just as summer and winter are cycles.

And I am shown that the lion represents what we can call the carnivore. The carnivore lives off the weak or the sick. It pulls down what is old or decrepit. In the terms of the Star Beings it represents processes or forces that pull down those things in society and in the world that are ailing, that are weak, that are not flowing with the energy of life. This force pulls down what is sick — the degenerative parts of society and of the world.

The bull, as in the ancient Mediterranean world, represents the Earth Shaker. In its most physical sense it depicts earthquakes. But it is really about forces that shake the world making weak structures crumble. So the lion and the bull together suggest incredibly powerful forces acting upon society and the world. Things that do not have a good foundation, things that are degenerate, diseased or weak are gradually cleansed. In a way, what is weak shakes itself to bits through its own internal energy because of the energy playing upon it.

There are major changes coming about. This is not to be thought of in anyway as retribution, as a judgment. It is simply a change of season. They are the processes of nature. If you were a tree and your leaves fell off, you might cry out, “Is this retribution? Oh God, all my leaves have fallen off! They all turned brown and fell off. And now look at me?” That is not retribution it is simply a change in the season.

But here is a great one showing the possibility of dreams

This morning at about 3am I was woken by an amazing dream, probably one of the most amazing dreams of my life. It started while I was asleep. I was in a spare piece of ground which was on the corner of a road I lived in after the war. It had been a house but when I knew it was flattened and slightly overgrown. There were stairs leading down to what must have been a basement. But I, with indeterminate sex, was sitting in the middle of this place with several others in the area. It was somewhat private as my memory is that it had a twelve foot wooden fence around it.
I was sitting with a great book in my lap, and I knew or was informed in some way that the book was special as only a few were available, and I had the book through an amazing sequence of coincidences. In fact the book had been promised to a man for his birthday, but had given up his right to it when he found out I had requested it or sought it.
At first I didn’t know much about the book, but was constantly informed by an immediate intuition what I should do with the book. I had it open to a page and I was told that I could go in any direction, so I took one of the sentences in the book and said it – I want that. And now as a woman I admitted to myself that I wanted to have sex with a very attractive young man who was looking at me. I had only just thought this when the young man, seeing my interest in the book, came over and we started talking. Subsequently we did have sex.
And that was my introduction to the  power of the book. At this point I began to wake and a very distinct voice spoke to me telling me that I could follow the directions or suggestions in the book, or choose to strike out in any new direction by making a decision to do so. Or if I was uncertain then I could stick my index fingernail into the edge of the closed pages and open the book at random page. He told me that this might be difficult because the book had not been used and it needed effort to pull the book open to each new page; not that I had any awareness of it.
At this point the man who was instructing me became very real to me although an invisible presence. I started to think and visualise what I would like to do. I saw myself walking up to a stranger and asking them if I could talk with them for a while, explaining that it was because of an unusual dream I had experienced. But then I realised the power of the book and thought I would like others to be able to use it.
After I had made that decision the man now told me – I was now a man – that he would give me the book. It seemed necessary and he asked me to hold my hands ready and he put it in my hands, explaining that this was The Book of Life – my life or whoever used the book. He intimated that it was not an external book but in giving it me  it had become conscious and I had been in  possession of the book, that in my  own mind could be also called The Book of Decisions. And at some point I was told that if I approached a person or an opportunity and they were not interested or said no, then I should not pester them or keep trying but walk away – unless there is a very different approach that worked.
Then all sort of wonderful things happened, although I cannot recall the sequence of them. For instance he said that I had made a choice of my partner, Ros. And the quality of our love that had survived things that many other relationships would have been shipwrecked by anger and bitterness, was a source of great creativeness. Then slowly his voice no longer seemed to an external voice but was a part of my being, a sort of higher awareness. I was directed to ask myself where I had got the book in the first place, and saw myself back in that spare ground standing on the steps down to a basement, running away from my friend Eddie. He had a small chrome plated revolver with at least one live round in it and was pointing it directly at my face. I cannot remember being terribly afraid, but I did feel awful with him pointing a gun at me. And it was then I made a decision – that I wasn’t aware of at the time – that I would never taunt anyone like that. And that decision was a shaping  influence in my life. (The business with the revolver actually happened, though I had forgotten until asked the question).
From that a whole sequence of decisions was seen. I saw how I made a decision to stay with my first wife Brenda when another woman came offering to be my partner – and then again when I was asked by S if I wanted to go with her. I decided I couldn’t leave my children. It was a hard learned lesson. And yet when I walked  out on my family with Brenda years later I did it easily – but faced years of terrible guilt. So, the lesson that was learnt was to meet the consequences of the choices, and in meeting the awful pain instead of running away, it always leads to some level of an enlightening experience. Running away presses one deeper into pain that is hidden and can lead to illness.
As I was experiencing an overview of my life I could see that who I was had been shaped by the choices I made.
I had a distinct feeling that if I presented the book to  others it would bring in a new chapter of my life, with a lot more contact and opportunity. It felt a real dawning after a long night of my  life. In fact it felt like culmination of my life.
I saw that after that we could  live anywhere we chose in a beautiful location with plenty of room. And then came the question I had on my mind for ages – can I ever escape from being trapped in the discipline of working every day to answer all the emails. I was shown the misery I had caused many people in the past, sometimes over lifetimes, and I was assured that the work I am doing is a recompense, a burning out  of that darkness, and when it is finished it will again be a new day dawning.
Oh yes – another question on my mind was who am I – what is behind me or my actions. How this came about was that the voice was clear in me – my own inner voice but with much authority and conviction. I had struggled with this question for days, and the voice said to me, “Are you ready to see this?” I answered yes and was told to now wait and watch. And there it was – the darkness, the void that is everything and yet is nothing. And it was explained that I had known it since I was a teenager, and had never fully accepted it – or at least never really understood its place in life. I had always felt it was a far distant thing, not an ever present daily experience. Yet now I could look back on my life, and I realised that we became what we are by our choices. Our choices materialise a potential that is within the darkness. That is a great secret. A secret I had realised many years ago and are still trying to live.

8. What does it mean when a person has a reoccurring dream?

If we keep a record of our dreams it will soon become obvious that some of our dream themes, characters or places recur again and again. These recurrences are of various types. A certain theme may have begun in childhood and continued throughout our life – either without change, or as a gradually changing series of dreams. I give an example:

One woman dreamt the same dream from childhood. She was walking past railings in the town she lived in as a child. She always woke in dread and perspiration from this dream. At forty she told her sister about it. The response was, ‘Oh, that’s simple. Don’t you remember that when you were about four we were walking past those railings and we were set on by a bunch of boys? Then I said to them, ‘Don’t hurt us our mother’s dead!’ They left us alone, but you should have seen the look on your face.’ After realising the dread was connected with the imagined loss of her mother, the dream never recurred.  Most children cannot think about their mother’s death, and the dreamer had never even thought of it, so it was a terrible shock.

Dreams recur because the dream creator is all the time trying to lead the conscious self toward healing and growth. This will be made clear later in the questions.

9. To what extent do you believe that dreams can predict future occurrences?

Most dreams do not predict the future. But those that do are of two types. The first is that all the time our dreams are working on the direction of our psychological growth, as the woman with the dream dealing with her menopause. So as we record our dreams it seems that we look back and see that our dreams are a wonderful indication of where our life has taken us. But there is another type.

But remember that many modern physicists, working with the information arising in experiments with quantum theory, tell us that our view of the world is based upon our blindness, and is very limited, and through its limitation, unreal. Yet this view we take to be the REAL universe. For instance we are only able to see a tiny fraction of the visible spectrum of light and as small amount of audible sound, so we are almost blind and deaf to the world around us. 

To quote Gary Zukav, ‘Quantum mechanics is the theory. It has explained everything from subatomic particles to transistors to stellar energy. It has never failed. It has no competition.’ The implications of the theorem are enormous. Something can be in two places at once. Apparently distant objects, or people, are intricately linked in an immediate way. There is no separate existence as we previously thought. Our view of the world is not one supported by the facts of physics. Time and space are transcended, so predicting the future is no problem. David Bohm, an eminent physicist, goes as far as to say that all things in our observable universe are inextricable linked. Nothing has separate existence.

But a statement from the science documentary says, “I want to tell you about the universe – I want to tell you how the future creates the past which then creates the future.” See So it seems we do not predict the future but know it.

“I listened and heard. I looked and saw, just as the hugeness told me. But what of the future, I asked? And the answer was; “If you turn your gaze in that direction you see the uncreated. And yes, there in front, the swirling possibilities of all my dreams, emerging forms of all my longings and my hopes. There before me the patterns
of my passions taking shape, and my working days moulding the road ahead.”

Bohm says that “if we don’t see this it’s because we are blinding ourselves to it.” He goes on to say that “If we don’t establish these absolute boundaries between minds, then it’s possible they could unite as one mind.”

Example: ‘I was startled by the muffled but unmistakable sound of a nearby explosion. While unexpected, it wasn’t entirely unusual – the high energy propellants and oxidisers being synthesised and tested in the chemistry wing were hazardously unstable. When I heard the screams I froze for an instant, recognising that they could only be coming from Rita, the one woman chemist in the all male department. I rushed to the doorway of her laboratory. Peering through the smoke and fumes I saw a foot sticking out of the surrounding flames. I was only in my shirt sleeves, unprotected, not even wearing my lab coat, but I had to go into the flames. I grabbed Rita by the foot and noticed with horror that her stockings were melting from the heat. I pulled her back into the doorway and tugged at a chain that released gallons of water on her flaming body. When satisfied the fire was quenched, even though my own clothes still smouldered, I ran for the emergency phone.’ From Dream Network Bulletin, June 1985.

Example: I dreamt that a female friend, Liz, and her husband David, with myself and my husband were busily and happily renovating an old barn to live in, and seemed to be living away from our home towns. All was blissful until, almost suddenly David and I were in love. We decided we must be honest and tell Liz. I told her and felt an overwhelming, powerful and radiant love coming from her, She was smiling warmly and said “That’s alright Shirley, I understand.” Still the glowing love was enveloping me as the dream trailed off. The following morning I heard Liz had died after the extraction of in infected wisdom tooth. S.P.

Example: I look back and describe myself at that time as a “straight psychology professor” having no knowledge of metaphysical events or higher consciousness studies. I was always taught that dreams went backward to reveal repressed sexual and aggressive impulses. Nowhere did I ever learn of a dream going forward in time to provide glimpses of future events. In fact, when I awoke from my accident dream, I looked at the car crash symbolically and wondered why I was trying to hurt or punish myself with such a violent action. Can you imagine my surprise, when I experienced the car accident three weeks later, in exact detail, as my brakes did indeed fail? This dream was the first of many informal lessons to follow.

Weeks after this spectacular car crash, I dreamed of another accident with brakes failing. Of course, this was ridiculous since I had purchased a brand new car to replace the totalled wreck. This time, sound effects were added to the dream as I heard a snap when I put my foot down on the brake. Again, wondering about my punitive gesture toward myself, I dismissed the dream since this couldn’t possibly happen to a brand new car. Again, the inside information was correct, as the brake cable snapped just days later.  Marcia Rose Emery.

I witnessed a number of extraordinary dreams told me by my first wife Brenda. One of them has become a landmark for me of what is possible in dreams. One morning Brenda woke and told me she had dreamt about the baby of two of our friends. The friends, who I will call Jane and Bob, were living about 200 miles from us. We knew Jane was pregnant, and about a week or so before the dream we had received a short letter saying the baby, a boy had been born. We were not on the telephone at the time, so the letter was our only means of communication.

In the dream Brenda saw the baby and a voice from behind her told her the child was ill. Its illness, she was given to understand, was serious, and would need to be treated with a drug taken every day of the child’s life. The reason for this illness and the drug use, she was told, was because in a past life the person now born as the baby, had committed suicide using a drug.

I did not take the dream seriously, thinking it was some sort of personally symbolic dream. But we couldn’t seem to extract any personal meaning for Brenda, so just in case I sent an account of the dream to Jane and Bob. About a week later we had a letter from them saying that the letter and dream had crystallised an already existing anxiety about the baby. It had not been feeding well and was fretful. On taking it to the doctor nothing definite could be found but special tests were made in hospital. From these it was discovered the baby was dying. It lacked an enzyme which was needed to digest calcium. To compensate it was given a drug, which it has had to take every day of its life to make up for the lacking enzyme. 

10. What do you know about lucid dreaming? Have you ever been able to control your dreams? Has anyone ever asked you about a lucid dream that they had?

I have explored lucid dreaming, and here are some of my own.

‘In my dream I was watching a fern grow. It was small but opened out very rapidly. As I watched I became aware that the fern was simply an image representing a process occurring within myself which I grew increasingly aware of as I watched. Then I was fully awake in my dream and realised that my dream, perhaps any dream, was an expression of actual and real events occurring in my body and mind. I felt enormous excitement, as if I were witnessing something of great importance.’

What my lucid dream describes is an experience of being on the cusp of symbols and direct perception. Considering the enormous advantage of such direct information gathering, it is surprising it is seldom mentioned except in the writings of Corriere and Hart – The Dream Makers.

‘After defining why I had not woken in sleep recently, i.e. loss of belief, I had the following experience. I awoke in my sleep and began to see, without any symbols, that my attitudes and sleep movements expressed a feeling of restrained antagonism or irritation to my wife. I could also observe the feelings were arising from my discipline of sexuality. Realising I did not want those feelings I altered them and woke enough to turn toward my wife.’

‘Although deeply asleep I was wide awake without any shape or form. I had direct experience, without any pictures, of the action of the energies in my body. I had no awareness of body shape, only of the flow of activities in the organs. I checked over what I could observe, and noticed a tension in my neck was interfering with the flow and exchange of energies between the head and trunk. It was also obvious from what I could see that the tension was due to an attitude I had to authority, and if the tension remained it could lead to physical ill health.’

These were a series of gradually developing insight and the last of the serious was one that is a wonderful wisdom.

Having woken up in deep sleep I was observing the play of energies in my being such as noticed before. So I asked my self if there were other levels and immediately was in the condition I described in my relaxation experience. I existed as a bodiless awareness. I was aware of being, but as if I was without the locality that body sense give one. Then suddenly I was told there is a level beyond this. Immediately I experienced being both bodiless and with a body with waking consciousness. It was truly amazing to realise that we are capable of being everywhere and also somewhere at the same time.

So I think that people who say they have lucid dreams and yet learn nothing from them except ‘controlling what happens are probably only in the shallows.

Also I found that you can have lucid dreams while awake – conscious lucid dreams – which will be explain later.

11. I have had a few dreams of my grandfather who passed away in 2004. What do you think this means?

I really cannot tell without knowing the details of the dreams. As I mentioned earlier most people are often totally unaware of the experience they take in and how it interacts with them when we love someone. In other words the memories and experience we gather unconsciously change us and are not lost. It is part of you and is symbolised in dreams as a person or event. You have taken in millions of bit of memory, lessons learnt, life experiences along with all the feelings or problems met by loving and living with someone, and they are what makes you the person you are. Your dreams tend to put all that in the image of the past person when you are dealing with the influences left in your from the relationship. Please read this wonderful example, it will show how much we take in from those we love or lived with.

So often it is more than that and can be a very real connection with your grandfather and a sharing of information. So to understand how dreams come about  and realise what your dreams are telling you, it can help if you realise that just as your eyes do not directly allow you to see, but nerve impulses are sent to the brain where they are translated into living pictures. Nothing we sense in the world is directly known, but it is all impressions that are translated into a sense of smell, sight, hearing, etc. So the eye receives reflected light from an object that is translated into nervous impulses, which is then received by the brain which translates what are formless nerve impulses into what we feel we see. So in dreams we tend to put pictures or images collected from everyday experiences to put an interpretation on our formless dreams. We do this because we tend to have an experience of the world based on our body senses, and our dreams and communications from the dead come from a very different environment, so we put it in images and ideas we understand.

So when we dream about a dead person communicating with us it can be distorted by our view of what death is – or our associations with the dead person. So if we believe in ourselves that when a person dies they are finished it creates our own view of death, or one that is a mixture of a real communication and our beliefs. Such thoughts, even if unconscious, can cause such dreams of seeing the person we know has died being seen alive in their coffin and assuring us that they are very much alive.

12. Is there any other interesting information that you think I should know about dreaming?

Yes, but I need to keep it fairly short but will give links to longer information.

1) You are a dual being, proved by you being asleep for a large part of your life. This swing between waking and sleeping can be seen as the extremes within the possibilities of our experience. Sleeping and waking are the polarities, the North and South Poles of what we can confront. In quite a real sense we can say there is nothing beyond what is included in those polarities. When we begin to explore the depths of sleep through dreams and other ’sleeping’ phenomena, then the apparently black depths of sleep begin to reveal an amazing life and energy. Light is taken into the darkness. Things become visible that were hidden. What was unconscious begins to become known. The huge area of our experience that seemed to be a blank gains life and substance. Then the unconscious is recognised as an area as vast and varied as the physical world.

This part of us is not limited in awareness by our physical senses, but has a more global awareness. As one person who experienced it regularly describes it, in our body awareness it is like looking through a crack in a wall at a big river. So all that we can see is what ships are passing in front of us now. But in the other level of us it is like looking over the top of the wall and seeing the whole river, what has passed us and what is coming. See You Are a Dual Being

2) Dreams are an expression of a life process that all the time works toward reconciling the difference between the waking self and the core self. It is called self regulation or homeostasis. It is accepted as a fact in physical science but not so well recognised by those studying the mind.

Ultimately, REM deprivation in rats is fatal.  One of the main symptoms during this time was hypothermia, despite observable effects to increase heat production (e.g., by eating). A trial sleep deprivation on Randy Gardener showed that in the first few days these included problems focusing, inability to repeat simple tongue twisters and moodiness.  By day four there was memory loss and the first hallucination, he imagined that a street light was a person.  Later in the same day he had a delusional episode, imagining himself to be a famous black footballer! By the end of the first week speech had slowed and become slurred and he was having problems. By the last two days his loss of cognitive ability was far more marked than Dement suggests.  When asked to count backwards from 100 in evens he stopped at 65.  When asked why he said he couldn’t remember what he was supposed to be doing.  He became paranoid and his speech was slow and without intonation.

But Dement and others have contradicted these findings, but it doesn’t matter because I have a different approach to dreams and the unconscious.

3) There are other factors that need explanation to understand what dream work means. One of these is a known fact that during dreams our voluntary muscles are paralysed. Yet movements occur. During REM sleep while we are dreaming our voluntary muscles are paralyzed – except for our eyes. It is thought this was developed during a period when our forebears were sleeping in trees. Any movement would have made them fall. The eye movements were of course not dangerous.

An important fact about dreaming is that all the signals for all the dreamt of movements are sent by the sleeping brain to the muscles but are blocked by a part of the brain called the pons. Without that block we would move and act as in a dream.

And here is an important fact that has been pushed away from being recognised. But the block by the pons can be bypassed by having a passive attitude while awake. In a sense we maintain the surrendered state necessary for sleep to persist while awake. This allows for a little recognised phenomenon which, while awake and in a passive state, allows the dream process to break through as spontaneous movement, sound and emotion, exactly as with dreams. In the past, and still in the present, this spontaneous movements and speech are all things that happen when this dream process breaks through into consciousness. Things like Seitai, Chi Gong, Tai Chi, Shaktipat, Pentecostalism, and Reichian therapy, where spontaneous movement are practiced by thousands of people.

4) However, there are things which leave it as a largely religious or strange experience if left – exactly as happens with dreams.

The real heroine or hero of the inward journey that comes from exploring dreams and incorporating them does not remain in a symbolised version of themselves. They do not accept the Devil as an exterior agent, or Christ as an outer and perhaps historical character. They do not accept their dreams at face value, but are ready to face themselves with the courage necessary. For it is an uncomfortable journey to actually see oneself. It is a demanding climb to have ones awareness stretched and widened beyond ones personal limitations in order to include a vaster experience of yourself. Therefore there are inbuilt or personal resistances to actually having direct insight. It is easier to remain at a symbolic level rather than discover the wonderful or uncomfortable truths about oneself. If you do not understand that accepting symbols as reality is very dangerous, especially if you are using drugs, you must read the following to get through to a real understanding of what you are meeting.

It helps to be clear about this point of allowing fantasy if one understands the way completely unconscious inner events gradually emerge into consciousness. W.V. Caldwell, writing about the way Van Rhijn has defined the levels of consciousness says there are four stages. It says that dreams come from a part of us that is not known – unconscious. To become conscious the impulse has to travel through levels of our mind.

a] The deeply unconscious physiological process, such as cell generation and digestion. Problems which cannot move more fully into consciousness and so are held at this level become psychosomatic pains or illness. This becomes clearer if we consider human life in relationship with other life forms. A plant for instance might have some sort of bacterial illness, but would not be able to bring that to awareness. In a sense many things which occur to us, although they are very real and definite, never become a part of our conscious life, but always remain in the ‘plant’, cellular or animal level. If they are to move from ‘deeply unconscious physiological process’ to becoming known consciously, there are stages such events go through.

b] As the physiological or psychobiological process moves nearer consciousness, its next level of expression is postural or gestural. Thus we may express our deepest hidden feelings in an unconscious body posture or movement. Not only our feelings express in this way, but also our physical tone or health shows in our postures and movements. Even the plant droops if it needs water.

c] Next, when something moves from the gestural to the next stage of expression it becomes a dream or a symbol, which although it may not be understood, is now entering the arena of awareness. It is still a part of the move toward consciousness. This is sometimes called the mythic level, and is something we see working in producing religious thinking or myth creation. It still remains at the symbolic level.

d] At this stage, what had been deeply unconscious, then symbolised, now rises into consciousness and is capable of being verbalised or thought about and analysed. If one had attempted to verbalise something in level two it would have been so far outside of consciousness as to defy description. Also, when looking at these levels or stages, they suggest that the dream process is a means by which deeper stages can be portrayed to awareness in order to make them known. Therefore, by working with the dream process we can tap deeper levels of awareness and make them known. It is not by thinking about a dream that makes it known but by working with the process that has taken it from the psychosomatic, through the postural upwards to the dream level. The process also enables our personality to work more efficiently.

When this level is reach you can describe a dream in a way anyone can understand.

An interesting example of these four stages and how someone can work through them is given by Reich. When the abdominal tensions of a patient were released the man found his body making spontaneous movements. These were allowed and the movements gradually led the man to take on the posture of an animal – he and Reich both felt it to be a fish. This puzzled both of them as to it meaning, but as the movements continued the man first realised he felt like a fish caught on a hook and line, then suddenly, that was how he felt in regard to his mother.

As can be plainly seen, the first level is seen in the example as the man’s unconscious abdominal tensions, built into his physical structure. When these are loosened and considered by the person’s conscious attention, and the spontaneous self-regulatory/dream process is allowed to function, level two manifests as movement and gesture. This moves to level three where the movements are recognised as a symbol – the fish so a dream could occur. Then the fourth level, insight and understanding are achieved when the man realises the fish represents previously unconscious feelings he has about his mother. At this point he can verbalise and analyse. I believe that being aware of such facts enables us more easily to open ourselves to the process of self-regulation and trust what it produces. It is not by thinking about a dream that makes it known but by working with the process that has taken it from the psychosomatic, through the postural upwards to the dream level.

5) It is now important to read Life’s Little Secrets. Also perhaps – Levels of Awareness, LifeStream

13. Can you recommend any credible sources that I can use while researching?

I would suggest Robert L. Van De Castle’s book Our Dreaming Mind; Ullman and Zimmerman. Working With Dreams. Crucible, 1989; Tart, Charles. Altered States of Consciousness. Doubleday Anchor 1969; Talbot, Michael. The Holographic Universe. Grafton Press, 1991; Newland, Constance. Myself and I. Frederick Muller Ltd, 1963; MacKenzie, Norman.Dreams and Dreaming. Bloomsbury Books 1989; Jung, Carl. Man and His Symbols. Aldus 1964.


THANK YOU SO MUCH! This is so extremely helpful! You really went above and beyond! It means a lot to me. I will be using so much of this for my project! Everything you said is so interesting. I am truly amazed! You are really a great person and I’m impressed with all of your knowledge!
Thanks again!


-Eleanor 2015-09-16 8:35:50

For the past two nights I have had dreams about death and drowning. Ok the first dream my mum was caught in a railway tack and died and the second one, I was on a ship with my brother, mother, auntie, cousin and we were getting told to hold on. I died after my brother drowned me. What does this mean?

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