Dream journal

photo-62011 was an especially bad year for me: unemployed and facing homelessness, I became deeply depressed. By June, I had become suicidal and took a massive overdose of antidepressants, washed down with vodka. I passed out and spent eight days face-down and unconscious on the floor. I was found, ironically, by my landlord’s agent, who had called round to see why I hadn’t paid my rent. He rang the paramedics, who scraped me off the floor and I spent the next six weeks in the Mental Health Unit of the local hospital. I’m writing this nearly three years later; I’m still unemployed, still severely depressed, the threat of homelessness looms larger than ever and I now doubt that I shall ever heal in this lifetime – but perhaps that’s another story.

In the run-up to my attempted suicide, and for a long time afterwards, I sometimes had, and continue to have, very vivid, almost lucid dreams, in which I’m aware that I’m dreaming, although I’m unable to manipulate them in the ‘classic’ way of many lucid dreamers. This page records some of those dreams which I’ve brought back with me to my conscious state and which have stuck with me for many days and weeks afterwards. What they mean – if they even mean anything – remains a mystery to me.

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28 February 2011, 3am: I am standing on a finely-crafted, pale wood (possibly ash) decking in the front yard of a large house. The house, white-painted and double-fronted (like an old country house), is in the middle distance; it appears to be unoccupied and behind it rises a hill covered by a stand of coniferous trees. There are no other buildings around; I am in otherwise open countryside with fields and low hedges.

Behind me is a precipitous drop, an outcrop or a cliff (a promontory?), which seems to be part of a bank of a deep estuary – a small stream flows (from my left to my right) at the bottom of the cliff but I’m aware that periodically a huge torrent flows through the estuary/valley.

In front of me to my left, a couple of metres away, a drummer is seated at a kit – bass drum, cymbals, snare, a couple of toms – and he is wearing a red leather hat; perhaps a tam o’shanter, into which he has tucked his dreadlocks. He watches me intently and has a broad grin on his face. Next to him, on his left, is a tall skinny young man of unremarkable appearance. He is a bass player. Directly in front of me is a structure of some sort, something like a garden shed or a greenhouse, but unglazed. It, too, is made of the same beautiful pale wood and inside is seating with thick cushions covered in richly coloured abstract geometric patterns.

To my right, also at the edge of the promontory but facing out across it, away from the rest of us, is a woman with long fair hair that reaches the small of her back, and she has an electric guitar. The guitar has a pointed/angular headstock (and, I sense, body). The woman is quietly playing her guitar and singing, more to the scenery and herself than for us to hear.

There is another person here, another woman, to my right between the structure and the guitar player. She also plays guitar, a little, and some keyboards – but I have no idea of her appearance. She appears to be defined by her absence and manifests as a glittering smoky substance.

I am engaged in a discussion with the drummer and bass player – the bass player is telling me that although he and the guitar player own the house in the distance, he in fact lives and sleeps in the greenhouse and never enters the house at all. The climate is mild and he prefers to live outside. He says he lies awake at night, just looking at the star-filled skies.

The discussion moves on to how this band is going to succeed commercially; we are talking about finding the ‘right’ style of music that will be popular with a huge audience. We seem to be agreed that the rhythm section will play in a reggae-influenced idiom, the ghost woman will add layered, ethereal keyboards and the guitar player will write and sing the songs, which will be simple in structure; very catchy pop.

The drummer and bassist are keen for me to join the band and help forge the musical direction and overall sound; they want me to play some guitar, some keyboards and help with backing vocals. Even though I tell them that I have no great skills or talents in any of those areas they are still keen for me to join them. The ghost woman says nothing but seems to be in agreement with the drummer and bassist.

The guitar player, however, is unhappy. She wishes the band to remain a hard rock band even though she accepts that the fame and fortune she desires is unlikely to be found by playing in that style. She also realises that she will, as the most photogenic of the band, more than likely end up as lead singer – front woman! – but is reluctant to give up her guitar playing. She is a very good guitar player and she and the band all know that she will be impossible to replace when the offer of a solo career comes to her – as we all know it surely will. She seems resigned to making short-term compromises in pursuit of the fame/fortune that will enable her to return to making rock music in the longer term, even though she will do so as a solo performer using session musicians and not this band, with whom she has a deep bond of some sort.

[…]

I am standing now at the base of the promontory, looking up at it and wondering how I am going to get back up. There appears to be no way – no steps or path, nothing – and I’m aware that the stream is beginning to run faster and louder. The torrent is approaching, and although it is some way off, it will soon be on us, threatening to sweep me away. The guitar player is standing to my left (above and behind me), without her guitar now, and she is amused at my fear. I feel that I have been tested and found wanting. She turns around and tells me to follow her. I am afraid for my life; the flood is suddenly upon us. We climb the opposite bank, which is shallow and not at all precipitous, our path curving upwards, around and back – somehow – to the yard where the rest of the band has moved into the greenhouse structure and are seated on the comfortable cushions. The woman goes in to join them – and at that point I wake up.

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1 March 2011, 3.30am: I’m standing in the middle of a large room, perhaps 12 x 6 metres with a high ceiling. It’s a meeting or assembly room of some sort and is completely empty of furniture. On two sides, the walls are clear glazed from floor to ceiling; the other two walls, as well as the ceiling, are smooth and painted white. The floor is – once again – made of a pale polished wood laid in long thin strips.

I’m aware of the presence of many others in the room, but they take the form of transparent figures who are apparently rushing past in all directions. (I’m reminded of those visual techniques you see on television where footage of one person, usually a presenter, is standing still, speaking to the camera and that image has been overlaid by speeded-up time-lapse film of a rush hour crowd flowing around him).

Outside is parkland with immaculately mown lawns interspersed with huge, obviously very old, trees – perhaps maple, or sycamore, to judge by the shape of the leaves. It is the very end of summer, the low sun is still warm (at this point I realise the glazed walls are more like a series of big patio doors which have been slid aside) but the leaves are rich red and golden-yellow: autumn is upon us.

Two of the leaves fall from the nearest tree and drift slowly and lazily downwards, into the room, brushing against me before they fall to the floor. They are the softest things I have ever felt against my skin. I’m awake.

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6 March 2011, 1am: I am in a rectangular room with roughly-built brick walls; perhaps an outbuilding of some sort. It is well-lit even though there are no windows to provide natural daylight and only one door to enter and leave by. The door is in the corner of the room (behind me and to my right); it seems to open into the room under a rough wooden staircase which occupies most of the (long) wall to my right. In the middle of the room is a large brick pillar, possibly a chimney although there is no fireplace in it. The floor of the room is covered by stacks of books and loose papers strewn around, and there are some shelves, free-standing, in the middle of the room, also filled with books. The books appear to have been placed entirely randomly, almost as if dumped there in a hurry.

I am looking – unsuccessfully – for one specific book. I don’t know its title or the author’s name, or even what it looks like. But I do know that it contains the best, most convincing/authoratitive description that I have ever read of the tumultuous changes I’ve been through. I’m desperately trying to find it to give to my sister and mother – I became estranged from them as a result of my changes and I’m sure that if I could just find the book for them to read, they would – finally – understand, or at least have some meaningful insight into, what I’ve had to go through.

I’m crawling around on my hands and knees, opening each book in turn, flicking through it, trying to find the key passage or chapter which will explain everything succinctly and clearly. My eyesight is poor and I have to hold my face close to each page (for some reason I’m unable to pick the books up) and with every page I’m overwhelmed by the intricate patterns that the tiny printed letters and words make on the white paper pages. This slows down my search considerably and serves only to anger my sister and mother (my sister is standing over me; my mother is in the adjacent room) even more, to the point where I realise that, even if the next book I opened was the book, they’d still be unlikely to take notice.

I realise that I will never be able to reconcile things with them; they will never forgive me and that therefore I’m wasting my time. And then I wake up.

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10 April 2011: I remember only a tiny fragment of my dream last night. I’m standing behind a counter; there are two women on the other side of it and we have been discussing… something.

The woman nearest to me says, “We’re taking them to St Mary’s on the Cornish coast.” And that’s all I remember – but the phrase St Mary’s on the Cornish coast has been in the back of my mind all day. Having searched the web, I don’t believe there actually is such a place. Plenty of St Mary’s churches, and one of the Scilly Isles is St Mary’s Island, but I couldn’t find any St Mary’s on the Cornish coast.

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18 April 2011, sometime in the small hours: Another fragment of a longer (forgotten) dream:

I’m indoors, at the junction of three corridors of what I think is some sort of institutional building. One corridor recedes into the distance ahead of me, there are two other corridors, one to my left and one to my right. The light is muted – no windows – but things are clear enough: the sheen of the floor tiles. The walls and ceilings are white.

Close by, there are two women (to my left and ahead of me, “10 o’clock”). They are standing very close together, holding hands. Their faces are obscured by their hair: long, straight and black, it hangs down below their breasts. They are wearing white trousers.

The two women turn and walk away, down the corridor in front of me. I follow on at a short distance. They disappear through a white-painted door to their left and close it behind them. I stand at the spot where the door was, it has disappeared and all I see is the smooth white-painted wall of the corridor. I’m aware of a long window behind me, a bright light like the setting sun shines through it. Outside are trees, a forest.

I wake up.

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21 May 2011; 3.30am: It is night, warm and stuffy. I’m standing in the street looking at a tall, narrow-fronted, white-painted house where I live. To my right is another white-painted building, a bungalow with a verandah. Its gable end faces the tall house and has some graffiti-style marker pen writing on it. I cannot read what the words say.

I am holding a small gadget in my hand, it is made of dark grey plastic and resembles one of those motion sensors that are often installed inside buildings as part of anti-burglar systems. The lower part of the front of the device has three distinct horizontal ridges while the top part is clear plastic. It can be opened like a book and to reveal a dull green LCD display on which random characters display intermittently. The characters have meaning, perhaps they can be strung together to make words, but I do not understand them.

Between me and the house in front of me is a large overgrown hedge; I push past it on the left and enter the house. I am in a large, full-height room with a staircase ascending around three of the four walls. I begin to climb it and two older women follow me up. They are friends (or possibly relatives) of my housemate, and they are angry with me about being trans. They shout at me but I try to ignore them, glance down at the handheld device and continue to the top of the stairs. I turn left through a door into my bedroom – it has high, white-painted walls, a dark brown carpeted floor and no other furniture that I can see – and sit on my bed.

The two angry women follow me in, still shouting at me and begin to assemble two camp beds. I shout back at them but I have no idea what language any of us are using, although I know it isn’t English. The two women lay down and promptly fall asleep. In the silence, I look again at the moving letters on the gadget which I am still holding.

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2 June 2011; 3.30am I’m in a double bed, on the right-hand side of it, propped up awkwardly but comfortably against the headboard. Through the (uncurtained) window, to my left, I can see that it’s dark; the white-painted room is illuminated by an overhead pendant light. To my right is a big, old-fashioned chest of drawers and beyond it, in the right-hand corner of the room, there is a (closed) door.

In the left-hand corner is a small table or nightstand, on which is a pile of clothes. Some of the clothes are mine, some belong to the dark-haired woman who is asleep on her right side next to me. We are both naked. As I look down at the woman I remember that this is the first time we’ve slept together and have been awake for much of the night, holding each other, talking, laughing, and having sex. I’m filled with an indefinable sense of happiness and fulfilment, at the same time as being aware of my sadness that this relationship will not, cannot, last.

My looking at the woman seems to cause her to wake up. She smiles and murmurs something which I do not hear. We are making love again. For the first time I can recall in a lucid dream, I’m aware of being fully female, in both gender and sex.

[…]

It is morning, light is streaming in through the window and I can see that the room we are in is at the top of a hill. The landscape is green, rolling fields and hedges and trees; I can see no other buildings or roads or any sign of human activity. My partner is already up and getting dressed; bustling in and out of the room, to and from the bathroom, the kitchen. We are laughing and joking and she tells me I must get up now if I’m to accompany her. She needs to drive somewhere on some unspecified business and wants me to go with her. She promises me we will be back by nightfall.

[…]

We are driving in her car; it is a large vehicle with lots of glass. We travel to various appointments in various locations, some rural, some urban. We enjoy our day and she is happy to achieve all her aims.

[…]

We are back in bed, making love. I feel a happiness I have never felt before. She is ‘the one’ and I never want to be parted from her, at which point I am again overwhelmed by sadness, knowing that this relationship will end abruptly, and soon. I’m as struck by the extremes and intensity of my feelings as I am by her glowing brown eyes and luminous pale skin.

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17 September 2011: During my eight days lying unconscious on the floor, I had several vivid… I don’t know if dreams is the right word, maybe hallucinations would be more accurate. Lately I’ve been having various flashbacks to those hallucinations and, perhaps unsurprisingly, for hours afterwards they leave me feeling quite unsettled, anxious… disturbed?

I hope one day I’ll feel able to write them down; I have this vague hope that doing so will bring some kind of catharsis which will let me begin to leave them behind.

Today is not that day, but I had a dream last night which, although very different from the hallucinations in form and content, did bring back memories of the way I felt (feel) when remembering them. So, a sort of flashback without being a flashback?

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17 September 2011, 3.30am: I’m in a large room which I can only describe as a banqueting hall. The room looks to be very old with high walls, tall arched Gothic windows and an open ceiling formed by the sloping undersides of the roof above it.

There is a long table, laden with food and drink and brightly lit by many candles, both singly and in candelabras. I am sat at the table in the middle of one of the long sides. There are many others also sitting at the table, feasting raucously and noisily, although (as so often in my dreams) they have no physical presence; they are defined by their absence.

I rise from my seat and walk to the head of the table (there is a staircase to my right with more people walking up and down it).

The head of the table is wide enough for two people, one of whom is non-present like the other guests and the other is a girlfriend from my distant past. She wears a heavy, embroidered green satin and brocade dress. Her dark brown hair is long, cascading over her shoulders, down to her waist. She recognises me and seems happy to see me. We talk without speaking for some minutes and eventually I return to my seat back down the table.

This short sequence then loops, over and over – I lose track of how many times – before I wake, suddenly and abruptly.

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7 June 2012, approx 2.30am: I am standing in the middle of a bedroom – my bedroom. It is a good size, square, with much clutter (books, ornaments, lamps, candles, etc) on the furniture – a bookshelf, a table/desk, two chairs and a double bed against the far wall. The bed is unmade but has a faded blue blanket over it. It, too, is covered with all sorts of small bric-a-brac and clutter. The wall that the bed is pushed against is also the one external wall in the room; it has a wide window which looks out over open countryside (a hillside falling from left to right). In the distance, the fields and hedges give way to woodland. It is a sunny day and everything is green and leafy. Summer?

The walls to my left and behind me are white-painted, woodchip wallpaper, I think, and there are posters and fine line drawings made directly on to the walls in black paint (charcoal?). I share the room with another woman, my partner, she is younger than me, small and slim with long black hair but is more of a presence that I sense than a ‘real live person’. She comes and goes, sometimes she’s just there, sometimes she’s not. We communicate, but not with spoken words.

To my right is a carved wooden balcony rail (no wall). I think it is made of oak, stained a very dark brown or maybe black, high enough to stop someone from falling over, but not to the full height of the bedroom. It looks down on a large, rectangular full-height living room, also with white-painted, woodchip-papered walls. The walls (I sense) are thick, made of stone and the room is very tall: it rises to the height of both floors and the pitched roof overhead is open to ridge level (no ceiling).

The building is an ancient house set into the hillside. The gable wall is open to the outside to eaves level but the room inside is protected from the elements by a large, glazed patio door. Beyond it, the hillside slopes away – a continuation of the view from my bedroom: green fields, hedges, patches of woodland. No roads or paths. It falls a long way and I cannot see the horizon. The sky is blue with fluffy white clouds just hanging there. It must be a very still day.

In the wall behind me, to my right, is the door to the bedroom, an old panelled door painted in a similar shade of faded blue to the blanket on the bed. Beyond the door is a short corridor to a kitchen with a bathroom off it. The corridor leads to a short flight of stairs down to the living area. The stairs are against the wall of the room and on their open side they have a handrail which matches the balcony rail in my bedroom: carved oak stained a very dark colour. There is a square landing at the foot of the stairs; its corner is rounded and the last two or three steps down into the room follow the same profile.

Underneath ‘my’ upstairs part of the house is another living area with the same floor plan, but it has an internal window where I have a balcony. It is occupied by a man, he is maybe in his 30s or early 40s, fair curly hair (short) and a wispy beard/moustache. He keeps himself to himself; I think he is a writer or an artist, something creative, and he lives a quiet withdrawn existence.

I am aware of three pendants around my neck, on long silver chains. One is a large oval shaped pendant; it has a clear blue oval stone in the middle and writing (in a language I cannot read) around its perimeter. The chain is threaded through an L-shaped loop at the top; it too is covered in illegible symbols, much smaller. The second pendant is tiny, possibly a much smaller version of the large oval and hangs on a silver chain so fine that it is almost like thread. The third pendant is a sphere of clear crystal, about an inch (maybe a little more) in diameter. The top half of the sphere is encased in plain silver with a loop at the top for the chain. It hangs quite low on my body, below my ribs, and often bangs against me when I move. Despite its weight, it doesn’t hurt when this happens. I never take these pendants off.

[…]

It’s now night outside and I am downstairs in the living area where there seems to be a party in full swing. The room is full of people, both with and without physical presences. It is loud, with much chatter and joking, music is playing too, from somewhere – and yet it is simultaneously silent. I am holding a large blue transparent wallet, something like a ziploc bag. Inside it are various items of unknown significance to me – there are two long carved oak sticks, or rods, one is brightly painted, the other is the same dark carved oak of the stairs. There are other things too, maybe pieces of jewellery, small ornaments, but I cannot really see what they are as they are mostly hidden by what look like several large dried flowering heads from what I think may be cannabis plants, even though I never smoke them.

I am fretting because I know there should be more of the flowering heads in the bag but I cannot think where they could have gone. I am worried that one of the guests at the party may have taken them – not that they aren’t welcome to them, but because they are something more than cannabis and if the user isn’t prepared could find they suffer unexpected/unwanted side effects.

I am having a lengthy, intense but not heated, discussion with my downstairs neighbour who seems unconcerned and thinks I should be, too. Eventually he takes the pouch from me and turns his back to me to pick up a handful of flowering heads from a big pile on the table behind him, to replace what’s missing.

I go back up to my bedroom. Some of the guests have wandered in but take no notice of me; they are absorbed in their own conversations. My partner has also appeared and has been rearranging the furniture. The bed is now on a platform against the crosswall with the desk/table underneath it; the bookshelves and chairs have also been moved, but the general clutter and chaos is still in place. My partner and I are communicating, about what I don’t know. It is a calm exchange after which she disappears and I wake up.

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20 June 2013, approx 5.00pm: It is dark but I’m able to see clearly enough. I am in a large structure, an irregularly-shaped public space owned by many people and built on many levels. It is open at its edges to provide balcony walkways for people to circulate. There are many people around but I cannot see their faces even though they are not covered; they are all dressed in black clothes, loose and flowing.

I have been wandering aimlessly, a young teenager, on my own and alone. I am helping an artist called Reason with two of his projects. He makes street art from bright colours – the one he’s currently focused on is primarily pink and purple – and geometric shapes, all overlaid on top of each other. He knows when they are completed because their colours come glowing to life; he says their illumination is reason enough to make them. That is how he got his name: Reason.

The piece he is working on, which I am nominally helping him with, is about the size of a sheet of writing paper, roughly rectangular but with round corners and flowing sides. Its shape, like all his work, is very organic. He is on a footbridge leading away from the large building. The bridge is high in the air, made from vertical black wooden poles, with criss-cross lattices between and a handrail on top. He is kneeling down; this piece of art requires to be cut into the footpath and built up within the space he has cut out. He is applying the last few colours – I’m not sure how – and I am mesmerised by the way the colours are starting to come to life, vivid, bright, luminous.

He sees I am become increasingly transfixed by the colours and, knowing that it is bad for me to become so drawn in (even though I do not know it myself), sends me back to a small enclosed space – not quite a room, but also not public – to pick up a roll of tape, which I will recognise among all the other art materials in the space because it is in a red container. Red tape: somehow the joke isn’t lost on me. The tape is required to hold the clear laminated protective top over the artwork in place, so that pedestrians don’t trip and fall. Reason is cross with me because I have managed somehow to scratch the thick glass lid. He can fix it, but it is unexpected work and will delay him.

As I am moving boxes around as I search for this roll of tape, I am aware of two or three other people, adults, in the space with me. One of them, who appears to be the leader, tells me how proud he and his companions are of Reason; that although his work may look out of place, it fulfils a vital function. For reasons I can’t ascertain, his work makes him a threat to the powerful owners of the building, and I must remember to keep a lookout for Reason while he works.

I am upset that I have made Reason cross and have decided that I will run away from him as soon as I’ve found the tape for him. I am trying to change my boots. I have two pairs, one for the outside and one for indoors; I changed when I came in and now I’m trying to change ready to leave. The man who has been telling me about Reason – and the man’s friends too – are, I sense, outlaws of some sort. Although they are friendly enough with me now, their mood could change any moment and I am afraid. With their strange moods and Reason’s displeasure with me, I just want to be away; out of there.

So I run, as fast as I can, and am able to outpace the men and Reason, who has come looking for me to see why I’ve taken so long. The wait has made him even more angry with me, although the men are telling him not to be cross, that he and I are in some way kin and he must be patient with me until the day when I understand and can finally play my part. This is Reason’s burden and it is mine.

I have run a long way, away from the big building into open countryside, and now I am at the top of a bank, beneath prickly hedges which tear my clothes and scratch at my skin. I am looking for somewhere to hide my indoor boots as I know that I will not need them again soon and that for my escape to succeed, I need to travel as light as I can.

There is a field on the other side of the hedge with a path around the edge of it. I am sat in the hedge, hidden, watching an old man, dressed in the same style as the others, but his robes are grey, not black. Despite my best attempts, he knows I am in the hedge and stops as he walks by to talk to me. Although he is not angry with me like the others, I am still afraid and escape from the hedge, back down the bank and run off down the road.

I am awake.

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14 February 2014 (note): Although I only returned with fragments of last night’s dream, it nevertheless marked some sort of breakthrough in my understanding of my dreamworld. At the time of writing, I am still processing the dream, but I know now that the dreamworld which I visit is what the Ancestors knew as the Otherworld (Annwn), or parts of it, at least. It exists alongside the world of consciousness; the two are somehow linked although I do not know where the entrance to it is to be found.

I returned from this dream with a name – Arawen. It is pronounced with short vowels and the emphasis on the second syllable: Ar-OW-en. In Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed, the First of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, this name appears as Arawn, who is the ruler of Annwn, leader of the Wild Hunt (Cŵn Annwn) and owner of the Cauldron of Rebirth (referred to in Branwen ferch Llŷr, the Second of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi). Arawen is the feminine form of Arawn and it means “silver-tongued” or “eloquent”.

In addition to the name, I wore a silver chain with two (or possibly three) pendants around my neck. At some point, I held in my right hand a smooth, egg-shaped white stone or crystal (quartz), while in my left hand I held a similarly shaped black stone (either jet or obsidian). At another point in my dream, I was aware of the white stone in either a pocket or pouch worn on the right-hand side of my body.

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14 February 2014, 3.00am: I am in an enclosed moving vehicle of some sort, travelling along a road through a steep sided mountain pass, a bwlch in Welsh. The road is narrow and runs alongside a fast-flowing river, or nant; both sides of the pass are thickly wooded. The landscape opens out into a much wider valley with shallower sides, covered in gorse and bracken. The floor of the valley is covered by open fields enclosed by hedges and there are white-painted farmhouses scattered here and there. As the road enters the valley, it turns sharply left and crosses a narrow stone bridge before turning sharply right before entering the valley.

I see a heron above and in front, then I am flying above and slightly to the left of the heron, looking across and down at it. It is aware of my presence but is unconcerned, continuing its flight slowly and serenely onwards.

[Note: In Celtic mythology, herons are considered to be messengers of the deities and were thought to be imbued with superior intelligence. Manannán mac Lir, a sea deity in Irish mythology and a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann, with the ability to change his form, is associated with herons and Manawydan fab Llŷr (who appears in the Second and Third Branches of the Mabinogi) may be his Welsh name.]

I am back in the vehicle. There are others in the vehicle with me: two female presences and at least one male, possibly more. We are a group of musicians – [ETA: there may have been five of us in total – are we the same group that appeared in my first dream here?] – and we have been travelling for a long time, over a great distance. We are heading towards a building where we know we will find food and hospitality.

We are inside the building. It, too, is a farmhouse, sited on the side of the valley but much larger than those we have passed along the way [ETA: these other buildings appear to be derelict and abandoned, yet I sense they are inhabited]. Its roughly-plastered walls are white-painted, inside and out; its floors are dark wooden boards, perhaps of oak, polished over a long time by the feet of many visitors to a worn but shiny finish. [ETA: ‘patinated’ is the word]. We are in a queue for food, along with many others. The place is renowned for its food which, although simple and rustic, is filling, nutritious and healing.

I am sat at a rough wooden table with the rest of the group, eating a sort of vegetable stew from a white bowl, with a wooden spoon. One of the women sits to my right, the other sits opposite her. The man sits opposite me; he leans across to the woman on his left and kisses her once, tenderly and lovingly on her cheek. Around us are other people, some are also sitting and eating, some are standing, others are moving through the building’s many rooms. The place is full of talk and chatter, although nobody seems to be moving their lips and talking out loud. The atmosphere is warm and cosy, welcoming, and even though I’ve only just finished eating, mopping up the gravy in my bowl with a chunk of fresh crusty bread, I already feel much better, as though the food is healing something inside me which has long been broken.

I am awake.

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25 April 2014: I have two dream fragments to record in this entry. I came back with the first one about a month ago but found it too disconcerting to write about. Now I feel I must grasp that nettle, lest I lose it in the depths of my increasingly foggy mind.

Content note: description of rape

I am in a building in what appears to be a town of some sort, built on a hill. The building is tall and crooked with many stairs and steps up and down, and between rooms. The rooms are irregular shapes and sizes but all have rough-plastered, white-painted walls and ceilings. I am standing in a room with a red-tiled floor. It is at the front of the building; open to the world outside and a road runs down the hill from right to left as I look out.

[…]

I am on my back, possibly in a bed, being sexually penetrated by a a creature who appears to me as a man. We are both naked. He has a beard and long, fair, curly hair and he stares at me, unblinking, with his cold, blue eyes. I am overwhelmingly aware that, even though I do not wish to have sex with this man, I have no choice. When he has finished, he kneels between my legs momentarily to wipe himself off. His penis is very long and very thick. He laughs at me and disappears.

I wake up but I experience no emotion other than numbness and a sense of great distance.

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I returned this morning with the second dream fragment I want to record in this entry:

I am stood in an open paved area, perhaps a town square, with buildings on all sides, although there is a sense of space. There is a road behind me, leading up a hill and building in which I was raped is about halfway up, on the right. I do not go to that building, I am merely aware that it is there.

All around me in the air is a whirl of flowers of all shapes, sizes and colours, rising upwards quite fast, as if caught in a vortex or thermal. I’m not aware of anyone else around, it seems a very localised phenomenon. The flowers keep coming and coming, rising up from below me and ascending spiralling into the air as high as I can see. For one too short moment, I am happy, I am laughing and I am at peace.

I wake up and there are tears on my face.

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4 May 2014: I am standing on a remote, rural hillside. The hill slopes down from my left to my right. To my immediate left, rising above me, is an old, overgrown dyke-and-ditch boundary, possibly faced with stones (grey in colour, perhaps limestone).

In front of me is an ancient, gnarled and twisted hawthorn tree, growing out of the dyke and leaning almost horizontally out over the hillside to my right. Although it has no leaves or blooms, it is still very much alive. At its base, between its roots, I somehow know by intuition, that there is an entrance into the Otherworld, although I cannot find that entrance, no matter how hard I look as I climb over and around the base of this powerful and majestic ancient tree.

Eventually I give up my search and sit at the base of the tree, my back against its trunk, my head between my knees. I close my eyes and then I am awake.

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8 September 2014: I’m in a narrow, high-sided and wooded valley in a mountainous place – it looks like it’s back in Wales (Snowdonia to be precise) but it’s an island. From where I stand, I can see down the valley to the coast below. The valley I’m in has a road through it (leading down to the coast) and there is a row of houses on each side of the road.

Somewhere in the mountains is an active volcano which has recently erupted and lava is flowing down the slopes of the valley. There are a lot of people trying to get to the shoreline where there are boats in which they can sail away. I am aware of an unseen presence to my right and I am not afraid; the presence is looking after me and so I do not wish to run away.

I am in the basement of one of the buildings – the unseen presence is still with me – and although it is dark and I cannot see out, I know that the lava is flowing by without damaging the cellar where we’re waiting for it to pass.

The lava has passed by and cooled quickly enough for us to venture outside. Many of the trees have been burnt away and bare grey rocky outcrops are exposed on the hillsides above the village. We are watching the boats sail away and have the entire, now-deserted mountain island to ourselves.

I am awake.

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11 May 2015: Arawen came to find me. As beautiful as could be, long dark hair curling round her shoulders, down to her waist, eyes as grey as the mist over water.

I was afraid of her at first, I thought she was angry with me and would hurt me. I don’t know why I thought that, it turned out that I couldn’t have been more wrong. But I ran away and I hid. On the side of a hill, “under” the hill. Not far, but also somehow a long way away. But it made no matter, she called me back, drew me back, to the little house on the top of the hill – my house! I have a house in the Otherworld; a tiny, cosy stone cottage!

She was waiting inside, with Sally – my gods, Sally! I was so happy to see her again, I never thought I would. It must be 25 years, at least. Although… the fact that she’s there, in the Otherworld, means she’s not coming back to this world. Somewhere in my this-world reality, behind the dream, it hit me that she’s no longer here, and that hit hard. But still, she looked well, happy – and it was so good to see her again. How could I be sad that she’s no longer here when I “know” how happy she is there?

But, there was even more momentous news: Arawen had come to tell me that she is to have our child. *Our* child. Let that sink in… It didn’t seem strange, in fact, I think this is wonderful, joyous news and I was – still am, even writing this the day after – so happy. Arawen said that she & Sal will raise him until I join them.

That time before, that dream of 14 February last year, when I came back with the name Arawen but didn’t understand its significance: I know now that Arawen gave me her name so she could find me again, nothing more, nothing less. We agreed the boy’s two names – they will protect him and give him strength – but I haven’t been able to bring those back. Arawen said that would be the case but that it’s ok though; we have our connection, she and I, and I will find him through her.

She told me there are a few pieces of silver jewellery from my rag-tag collection that I needed to find (I have them already, before I sat down to write this I found them and they’re on the desk next to me) & keep them close always, in a small bag or pouch. It must have a cord to wear around my neck (if I can) or keep in a bigger bag with my everyday this-world stuff. I need to find both those bags – I currently own neither and have to figure out either how to make them or how to find the money to pay someone to make them for me (and find that maker!). They must contain no metal, though – that’s important. The jewellery that I must now always keep close is:

  • The engraved silver ring I made all those years ago in my past life when K. and I were together;
  • The quartz crystal that Lucy A. gave me before I went in for “the surgery” in 2007, and the other quartz crystal in the silver pendant mount that I bought back in the 1970s;
  • The Preseli bluestone pendant;
  • The small silver box I made all those years ago, the one with the green malachite lid and Celtic knotwork and key pattern engravings on its sides;
  • The gold ring with the small ruby that Grandma G gave me – early 80s? – for K. as a sign of our “understanding”. My Grandma was so sweet about K. and I moving in together; it must have been hard for her to accept that we weren’t married, not even engaged, but she was so gracious and lovely about it. But that nuance was lost on K. – she rejected the gift out of hand and, by implication, its symbolism.

I’ve also added three other things that have some hard-to-verbalise meanings to me. They seem appropriate, although I don’t know if I’ll be able to take them across when my time comes. But that’s ok too.

  • The small shattered mudstone pebble I brought back from the top of Penycloddiau that trippy autumn afternoon, late 1970s again, I think;
  • The gold cufflinks that my aunt gave me as a keepsake after the death of my uncle;
  • That little, back-to-front ‘om’ symbol on the silver earstud that Sal gave me.

I’ve also remembered what I wore in the Otherworld this time. I don’t think I’ve ever been aware of/recalled my Otherworld clothes before, and I feel I should make a note of it here. I wore a beautiful, rich burgundy-coloured dress of heavy velvet, ankle length. Low-ish square neck, long sleeves, puffed at the wrists, button cuffs. High waist, a bodice? I don’t really know dresstalk, I’m sorry. And over it I wore a long cloak, plain brown, wool, with a hood.

But I remember so much my joy at seeing Arawen again, and Sal. And knowing we’ll be together.

And, most of all, our child, our son.

I woke at 2.43am (or so says the timestamp on the note I made on my phone!) and I felt so happy. I don’t remember the last time I felt that happy and I’m savouring it still.

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