Octavia Sheepshanks: Week 4

This week, OCTAVIA turns her attention to the world of dreams.

column columnist dreaming dreams festival Octavia Sheepshanks postgrad Sidgwick sleeping suzi holbeche week 4

Wow. It’s happened, and so soon! I thought I’d be able to struggle through to Week 6 at least, fuelled only by amusing anecdotes about my thrilling little life. Unfortunately, the only event to report this week is that a young man stopped me on my way to the Sidgwick site. Based on recent trends, I assumed that he was either going to ask me on a date or congratulate me on my column, but he merely wished to inform me that my skirt was tucked into my pants.

But just when I was beginning to get flustered at the notion that I might have to write about a subject other than myself, I remembered.

Instead of my daily life, this week I will be discussing what I get up to at night. Before you get all hot and bothered, I don’t mean my sex life. I mean my life in my DREAMS! My dreams are always so exciting. It is a constant source of mystery to me that nobody ever wants to hear about them.

In a bid to become more knowledgeable on the subject, I recently purchased ‘The Power of Your Dreams’, by Soozi Holbeche (author of ‘The Power of Gems & Crystals’). According to the blurb, I would soon discover how easy it is to ‘incubate’ dreams to solve problems and ask for help and insight. Following Soozi’s helpful hints to ‘mentally honour the night’, I tucked myself up early with a chamomile tea, and drifted off.

In the morning, I couldn’t remember a thing – nothing! I felt very irritable. Later on, however, I spotted the postgrad I had a bit of a crush on, and it all came flooding back. We’d been on a cruise and he’d tried it on with me, completely unannounced. Naturally, fancying him, I let this progress, but he turned out to be really leery and pervy and just generally rank. Gazing at him across the buttery I realised that all previous attraction to him had vanished.

Thanks very much, Ms Holbeche. So much for ‘improving relationships and sexuality’.

But, according to the book, ignoring your dreams is the worst thing you can do. Paul had a recurring dream of being chased everywhere by his car, which had acquired gigantic teeth. When Paul’s mother suggested that the dream was trying to tell him something, Paul ignored her! But ten days later, Paul’s car was smashed to smithereens in an accident. Paul escaped unscathed and resumed his studies – but would I be so lucky?

Accordingly, I assigned myself the task of using my dreams ‘as a pathway to the soul’. How hard could it be?

First, you need a detailed record of your nightly adventures. Nothing must be left unrecorded; apparently, abstract ideas can often be expressed in a more literal form. One woman who was trapped in a cycle of frigidity dreamt she was stuck in Iceland. Interesting. Remembering Soozi’s instructions not to judge (but observing that she seems to be doing quite a lot of ‘judging’ herself), I have been writing down every small detail as soon as I wake.

Highlights include:

‘There are some stale BLTs in a shop’

‘At some sort of festival. There’s a war on with cannons and bombs, but I’m pleased because we’re camping close to the main cool festival spot’

‘On train, there is a lovely wooden bathroom with Body Shop bath beads and loads of other red toiletries’

‘In a swimming gala but I’ve forgotten my goggles and get waylaid on the way back from getting them by someone giving me clementines’

I even had a dream within a dream! First I was in bed with my best male friend (more on him later) in the gyp room, and then I dreamt I was swimming with dolphins! Soozi would be so proud.

Despite my Inception-esque experience, I’m not convinced that the pathway to my soul is strewn with bath beads and clementines, delightful as that sounds.

Just as I was about to give up on the whole thing, I chanced upon the chapter about astral travel. I’m still not quite sure what this is, but it seems to be a more intense form of dreaming, which also occurs in near death experiences. Upon learning that Soozi’s great aunt used to visit Harrods in her astral body long after her legs refused to carry her there, I was sold.

I aim to master the technique this week, being rather taken by the prospect of attending lectures without physically getting out of bed.

It’s a life-changer…