When you don’t remember many dreams, the ones you do remember can seem weird and random, but most people find that as soon as they start to recall and record dreams regularly their dreamlife settles.
It’s like when you first start writing. It feels as if you could write absolutely anything, but gradually you discover your own inner landscape with its particular themes, characters and environments.
Each person’s dream-world is surprisingly consistent. It is characterised by certain landscapes, flora and fauna. The open spaces in my dreams are invariably coastlines and mountains – I can’t remember ever dreaming about woods or jungles. The built environments are parks and gardens with ponds and statuary, old houses, churches and castles.
The flora fits with the dreamscapes so, for me, there are very few trees in my dreams but lots of cultivated flowers, open grassland, mosses and lichens. My animals are mostly fishes and birds, but I have occasional visits from lions and tigers, lizards and snakes. I have never once dreamt about sheep, goats, cows or elephants.
The animals you dream about are like companions, or daimons, to use Philip Pullman’s word in ‘Northern Lights.’ Your favourite animal is probably your life-long guide, but others may be with you for a season. You can find your dream animals without waiting for dreams.
Simply take a slow breath to centre yourself. Close your eyes or look down. Relax your mind, and enter your inner world. The first animal you see in there is the one that has something for you right now. Run with that one, whatever it is.
Draw your animal with your non-dominant hand. Consider its qualities. Collect some pictures of your animal, and possibly a model or ornament of it. Look up more information about it online. Have these things around, so that you are living alongside them for a while. Allow your animal to reveal itself to you.
This is what my guest Scotti did, after she dreamt about wolves, and out of that process came a beautiful children’s book.
Read Scotti’s story tomorrow