Storytelling for Health 2 conference, Swansea Waterfront Museum, 27 – 29th June 2019
I dreamt of a colleague who had died the week before. I am at his funeral. It is a shadowy day. I am walking into the crematorium, which has dark wooden panelled walls. I am shocked to see him there. He is standing against something, with beige shorts and a white shirt, chilled out clothes, and legs crossed. There is light behind him from a window. I ask him ‘is this you, are you really here?’ He says ‘yes, I am really here.’ I prod his arm to see if he is really here. I am checking what is real and what isn’t. I then ask him if he was in my dream last week, just after he had died, in which he was grinning, and saying goodbye to me. He was letting me know that he was happy, feeling free, and that he wasn’t wearing a mask anymore. We gave each other a hug in that dream; I was happy for him but also sad. At the funeral, with a cheeky grin, like he knows more than I do, he says ‘yes, that was me.’ He is watching what is going on, and looks cocky and happy. The dream then shifts to me weeing on a toilet. I have a feeling from him of asking ‘what is real and what is not real?’ I then wake up and go to the bathroom.
The Netherlands, 36th conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, 25th June 2019
We show here the finished artwork for a dream told at this conference, of the dreamer communicating with a dolphin, but the dolphin not understanding a wheat field, the harvest and seasons. Our finished artworks all have this format, with mounting board of appropriate colour. The original painting, and text of the dream, are at the bottom of this post, below the finished artwork.
The society of the dolphins, below water, want to ameliorate the communication between dolphins and humans. They have for many years been training below the sea to imitate human sounds and language, and have sent their best imitator and speaker to come to the land. They come to me because I am an engineer specialised in electronics and acoustics, and can translate their speech of a series of rapid acute sounds. I meet him. He has learnt to walk upright on his tail, but is unsteady. I say ‘namaste’. I know that dolphins see the sun when they stick their heads above water, and so I point to the sun as I say the word ‘sun’ in English, and ‘sol’ in Danish, the dolphin imitates me and says ‘sun’ with his thick lips. I then proceed with numbers. I put up one finger and the clever dolphin nods once, I put up two fingers and the dolphin nods twice. I know we understand each other. I am proud that I am the first human to speak to a dolphin, the first human being to speak to another species. The dolphin then points to a harvested wheat field and asks what it is. I try to explain about plants, and about the wheat field growing, and then the harvest and withering away and change of seasons. But he can’t understand as these do not occur under the water. Nevertheless, I am content that we have communicated about numbers and a natural element, the sun.
I am standing in a corridor, with my back to one wall, the wall opposite isn’t there. I am wearing a waterproof blue kagool, which I know I don’t own. My head is bowed, I have longer hair than now. There is a locked black security gate behind me, I know it is the entrance to my own flat, but in the dream it is like a portcullis of a medieval castle. I am distressed, what have I done? I have left my flat by choice, I know I haven’t been evicted, but I can’t go back and can’t change my mind. I am frightened. There are no people in the corridor but I hear two voices, both women. One says “you’ll have the flat for life, you’ll die there, if you want to.” The other is performing as a fortune teller, reading palms; when it is my turn she is agitated, saying “no, I don’t want to say.” I have feelings of dread. I am then sitting on a beach in just swimming trunks. My torso is nut brown, but my legs are pasty white. I have hair to my waist, and a beard and moustache. There is nobody else there. I swim out to sea, all is gentle but when I look round I can’t see the shore. As it is a cove I know that if I swim in one direction I will likely meet land, and so I choose a direction and do then get to land, but maybe a mile from my clothes, which are just blue jeans. When I find these I pick them up but don’t put them on, and then wander back to my tent.
I am flying over terrain, rivers and roads, and come down in Islamabad. I am outside a hospital and can see huge black crows in the dry grass of the hospital grounds. The hospital has smooth cement walls outside and inside. I am then in a hospital room, which is dark and cool. It has a metal framed bed but nothing else, no decor or equipment. I am watching a woman in the room. She has a long shawl covering her faceless body, like a ghoul. She goes into the bathroom. Just another smaller room, and without a window to see the crows lurking. It has very little light. There is an old squat toilet, a stool for bathing, and a bucket for a bath. Somehow, I know it is my mother’s aunt. She doesn’t make it back to the hospital bed, she dies in the bathroom. I know the water she poured on her body was killing her. I don’t see any fear or pain. Just an ending.
I am in my grandmother’s white bedroom. There is a small, fluffy, brown-furred dog, two months old, with long ears. His mother is there, and his five or six siblings, which are growing, but the small dog is the size of my hand and doesn’t grow. I choose this dog because it looks weak. I feel mutual emotional attachment between me and the dog. I am worried about his health and so I put it into a small black cosmetics bag and carry him with me all the time. I am then with other people in a large white, empty, bright gaming room, where we are fighting colourful cartoon-style zombies, which are clown-like and not scary. One of the zombies is purple, there are two zombies but I am expecting more to come out. The weapons in the room look like children’s toys, and sticks. With a toy gun one person shoots a powder at a zombie, which dissolves. I don’t take any weapons, I just want to make sure that the dog is OK. I open the bag and feel that the dog’s body is cold. I think he has died and I am sad. But after a few seconds his body becomes warm and he starts to move and I am relieved.
Sleep and Memory conference, Paris Institute for Advanced Study, 6-7th June 2019. Dream of organising two operations for my brother
I am in a hospital in a city in Switzerland. I have arranged for my brother to have two operations, at separate hospitals. He has travelled to the city so as to have both operations in one day. The first is on his mouth and throat. I am then waiting at the second hospital. I am in a room with the doctors. My brother phones me and says that he cannot make the second operation. I realise that a person can’t be intubated twice in one day. I am annoyed with myself for organising so much for him to do.
Dr Julia Lockheart