|When the first plane struck the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001, I was at my computer. “Turn on the television,” came the post from a friend. “A plane has just hit the World Trade Centers.” From my vantage point in front of the television I, like millions of other Americans, watched in horror as yet a second plane flew into the landmark buildings.
Those of you familiar with my work on dreams know that, for the past twenty-five years or so, I have studied the so-called “paranormal” realms of consciousness. My first thought on seeing the second plane hit was, “This is changing the course of history.” My second thought was, “Oh lordy, there are going to be a lot of precognitive dreams reported.”
Back to the computer I went, broadcasting a message to the ASD Online Bulletin Board, which I moderate, and to other online dream groups, that people were welcome to share their dreams and thoughts about the disaster on the Bulletin Board.
True to my prediction, the first dreams of the hundreds of 9/11 dreams to appear online were the precognitions. So many dreams, in fact, that I could begin to detect a pattern. A lot of these dreamers were totally new to the world of dream sharing, and some of them were scared out of their wits—not by the possibility of further terrorism, but by the implications of the dreams they had dreamed.
After a few busy days of reassuring dreamers and helping them to join online forums such as the ASD psidreaming group, I wrote an article, “Dealing With Precognitive Dreamer Guilt,” (available online at http:dreamtalk/hypermart.net/campbelldreamer_guilt.htm ) which I asked Richard Wilkerson to publish in Electric Dreams [2001, 8(10)]
In it, I talked about my own 9/11 precognitive dream, a snippet around 5:30 a.m., in which I stood in the control tower of an airport, watching as an air traffic controller dealt with what was obviously an emergency.
The question with my dream, as with any precognitive dream, was what to do about it. Obviously I had not averted disaster, nor probably could I have averted disaster if I’d tried. So why did I have the dream?
I tend to believe that *all* dreams—lucid dreams, shared dreams, precognitive or telepathic dreams—have meaning for the dreamer. In this case, there I was, standing in the control tower, but only watching as others dealt with the emergency. Why?
In early October, ASD member Victoria Quinton from Australia posted to the Dreamchatters online group, a dream she’d had of seeing a single, lighted candle.
My response was a childhood memory of watching Bishop Fulton J. Sheen stride onto the black and white television screen, while offstage a chorus sang the theme song of the Christophers, “If everyone lit just one little candle, what a bright world this would be.”
Following the initial outpouring of precognitive dreams after 9/11, I could sense the growing frustration of the dream community. We might be able to dream in advance of an event, but what could we possibly do to avert disaster?
That was when the World Dreams Peace Bridge came to my mind. There are many dream workers who believe that we not only perceive but *create* the world through our dreams. What if dreamers were to become proactive rather than reactive? To take “control”, as my dream said? To light a candle against the darkness?
In October I sent out around one hundred e-mail messages to dreamers, many of them ASD members but also to family members, friends, and others, asking if they would like to participate in an experiment to see if we could dream up some world peace.
Because at the time I was deep into work on the ASD’s Online Guide to International Dream Work, I was blessed with the friendship of many of ASD’s international membership. The response to the idea of forming a World Dreams Peace bridge was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. Several people said they didn’t have time for an online forum, but wanted to be kept informed of other projects. At the same time, the response from those who wanted to become part a forum to discuss peace dreaming grew steadily, until it leveled out at around forty dreamers from all over the world: Australia, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Mexico, Japan, India, China, Greece, Korea, and of course the United States.
Right from the beginning, this was an active group, generating well over 1,000 e-mails per month, delving quickly and deeply into feelings and dreams. It did not take me long to realize that we had created something unique to dreaming: an online, interactive, long-term group dream journal, focused toward a particular subject, peace, but spreading ripples into all other areas of dreaming.
Not unexpectedly, some of the members of the fledgling group had dreams about the formation of a World Dreams Peace Bridge.
“When I mused on your invitation,” Jody wrote on October 21st, “I had a dream…surprise, surprise. Here it is.”
I am talking with some people, dark haired beautiful women, I think. They ask me to commit to the task of growing, harvesting and preserving a set of heirloom seeds. I hesitate, thinking of the task and that I may not be so successful with seeds as with plants. Big responsibility these rare seeds, and I’m not completely confident of my skill to do this. Also, that it will require a long-time commitment and patience.
But in fact I do accept the commitment, and receive a small, brown envelope with seeds in it. On the package, it says: GOLDEN ERA. The name of the seeds! But I immediately realize what I have been given and what my task is: I have been given the seed forms, the “memes” or images of a “Golden Era,” the golden or high time of culture, and it is my job to perpetuate these seeds, these memes or life forms.
By accepting the package, I accept the commitment.
“Here is a brief dream which I had the night after the September 11 attacks,” Sandy wrote:
A closeup on the face of Beau Bridges. He looks directly at me (directly into the camera, if this were a movie) and I know there is something really important happening. He does something with his hands. It’s out of frame, and so I can’t tell what it is…and then he raises his hand up, and he has opened a lipstick tube. Once again, he looks directly at me, and then deftly applies the lipstick. He smiles and I know this is really important.
“Here is what I make of it,” she said. ‘Beautiful Bridges’ (instead of burning bridges, which is how I was feeling after the devastation). Here is a really strong man. A man who can take charge. He has power, but he needs something else. When he applies the lipstick, I think of it as a metaphor for feminizing his power, and I reckon that this is exactly what we need in these times.”
Not only was the idea that we could build a beautiful dream bridge impacting the dreaming minds of the people I actually, verbally contacted, but it seemed as if it was impacting others as well.
One morning, as I was taking my usual walk in the park near my home, I encountered a couple I often saw there. Moving quickly toward me, the woman, Isobel (who is at best a casual acquaintance) said, “I dreamed about you last night.” By this time they were standing in front of me, the embarrassed husband ready to run if necessary. “I don’t know if you believe in dreams,” she said.
I encouraged her to tell me the dream. What she said was that my entire house and yard were being remodeled and renovated. “And you know that ditch by your house?” she said, referring to an old rail road right of way. “That was all landscaped too, with a bridge and these beautiful gardens.
“I probably dreamed for you because I couldn’t dream for myself,” she said as they began to walk away.
“Well, next time I’ll dream for *you*,” I replied.
Turning to face me, walking away backward, Isobel smiled. “But I don’t want no house and garden,” she said. “You can send me on a world tour. I want to go on a world tour singing!”
Of course, the World Dreams Peace Bridge was a place to talk about post- 9/11 nightmares. After posting a dream, one New York City resident said, “These dreams are nightmarish when I awaken, but then I look forward to working through them. I know that this is the way my brain is processing all of this…. I am grateful for the opportunity to share with you all.”
In early November, Jeremy wrote from Korea: “Just now, I lay down to nap and dreamed I was awake in my study, and suddenly white dust, like thick snow, started falling from the ceiling. I got up and went to the living room and saw it floating down there too. I alerted my wife, who was already aware of it, and she said we should get some masks. Our child was in the house too, and suddenly I filled with fear. End of Dream.
“Obviously this was about Anthrax,” he went on. “Death could come so suddenly and soon. All the peace in my heart, that I’ve been carrying several days now, was swept away by the catastrophe.”
Members of the online group struggled with the idea of what it might mean to dream the world into peace. There were some people who declined to join the group, because they saw dreaming for peace as an imposition on others. “I would no more want to focus on creating peace than I would on creating war,” one woman said. “Who am I to decide what other people need?”
I was glad when the members of the World Dreams peace bridge, at Rita’s suggestion, adopted the words from the song, “Let there be Peace on Earth, and let it begin with me,” as their informal theme song. George put it most succinctly when he wrote: “I have known that piece for years and have heard it in church. I used to think of it as meaning peace has to begin with my being peaceful with others and working to make peace in the world. Now I see it as even more relevant to our purposes than that.
“Through dreaming, we work through our own opposites or conflicts. We may speak of this as working toward an integration of consciousness with the unconscious, or working for peace within ourselves. These are the opposites which, when resolved, create a harmony that is seen in mandala dreams. When we resolve conflicts within ourselves through our dreaming, we are more psychologically ready to resolve old conflicts of ours with those around us in waking life. And so we work from our inner harmonizing to our outer harmonizing to, we hope, being able to contribute to peace and justice and harmony in other parts of the world.”
This having been said, members of the World Dreams Peace Bridge set about deepening their understanding of themselves and each other, even resolving conflicts, when they came up in the group, in the spirit of a deeper opening to the meaning of the dream. Not that this was easy: “I tell you,” one member wrote. “If my personality had known what I was signing up to with your Peace bridge, she probably would have taken a vacation instead.:)”
When I invited people to “experiment” with dreaming the world toward peace, I meant just that. I had no idea what might happen in this group, nor did I want us to go into it with preconceived notions. I must admit though that I had some clues.
Years ago, when I directed Poseidia Institute, a consciousness research organization, we devised a series of dream experiments called “Dreams to the Tenth Power.” Over a period of years, we asked several groups of people, ten in each group, to dream together. We would give them specific goals like, “Meet at a restaurant,” and see who dreamed together.
Sometimes the results were astounding. From the reports of participants, it was obvious that people who had never met in waking life could accurately dream one another’s waking physical appearance and share many other elements of the dream.
Therefore, I was not too surprised when the synchronicities began to show up unmistakably on the World Dreams Peace Bridge.
One of the earliest came when Jeremy, in Korea, wrote to a new member from India, asking her if she happened to know a woman he’d met in India earlier, someone he’d not heard from in a while. Not only did the two women know one another; they were also friends and neighbors.
These were the delights of the sharing, while at the same time, this same woman, Radhika, wrote from her home in India, near the border with Pakistan: “Today, and this has been building, I am tired of this war. The Taliban says that Osama is no longer their guest. Bush’s picture is in our papers every day—looking really important. Apparently the same terrible lords that had Afghanistan under their control before the Taliban took over are back in. These men had long tyrannized and destroyed Afghanistan for their power. So what if there is music in the streets for a while? What really is the fate of Afghanistan?
“Remembering Rita’s outsider dream and feeling outside. Hmmm.”
Beyond the synchronicities it manifested, this group began to dream together. Symbols were tossed back and forth from one person’s dream to another and, occasionally, people shared the same dream.
“What I realize I am doing in this group is staying fully in the flow with my authentic self,” one person wrote. “…I am not censoring what my heart chooses to discuss and say. I am staying open and present to the energy of each person, and the group energy. I have not done this ever before in my life in an ongoing group setting.”
“I continue to be amazed by the richness of the threads in our tapestry,” wrote another.
The sense of purpose among group members continued to grow, both in the dream state and in waking.
In early December Sue wrote: “I don’t really understand why the white buffalo are showing up in my dreamtime, but last night I had another dream.”
I had been walking through a museum of sorts, looking at all the exhibits of animals and I remember a kite exhibit. We went outside to another area that was kind of like a county fair. All of a sudden, I see this huge, beautiful white buffalo standing there, just waiting to be touched! I was so excited I said to my husband, “Look, it’s a buffalo exhibit.” And then as we got closer I could see all sizes of white buffalo. Many were babies….
Though Sue, at the time of her dream, was not aware of the Native American legend of the white buffalo, many others in the group were. After recounting a vision from earlier in her life, Valley said, “I have always felt that the return of the spirit of the buffalo meant the return of the People. The return of the old ways that have been gone for much too long.”
Many experiences like this continued to happen in the group, but the most amusing to me was when the group energy seemed to spill out into the ASD Bulletin Board. All of a sudden, in January, visitors to the Bulletin Board began to post bridge dreams, dreams that had many parallels to the dreams I was seeing posted to the World Dreams Peace Bridge. Some of the Bridge group members then jumped into the discussion on the Bulletin Board.
“My feeling when I read about these bridge dreams,” wrote Birdy, “is that they were connected to the Internet, because a while back I had a teaching dream that told me the Internet was a bridge.” She went on to say, “I found this list (the World Dreams Peace Bridge) through my interest in dreams (but)…. It was when I read Jean’s purpose for the list that I became excited. It was not the word ‘peace’ that drew me, as much as it was the word ‘bridge’ and the realization that this was a place I could go where others believed in their abilities to dream a bridge to their world.” The apparent impact of the World Dreams Peace Bridge on the online Bulletin Board was not the only “paranormal” result of participation in the online group, however. Shortly after joining the online conversation, Pam wrote: “Also, I wonder if anyone has noticed an increase in what I can only call psychic activity since being on the Bridge?” She told about a friend who had incubated a dream. Without knowing that the incubation was taking place, Pam said, “I had a dream which referred specifically to the question which I didn’t know she was asking. My dream even included the first name and the last initial of the person she was asking the question about.”
In January, Bob wrote that he and his wife, Rita, both members of the Bridge community, had shared a dream, “But this is the first time we have ever dreamt directly related dreams at the same time,” he said. “So, Jean, is that an oddity or what?” Or what, I had to reply, since I have seen this sort of mutual dreaming grow in any dream sharing group with which I’ve been involved.
After a particularly amusing interchange in which Juhani telepathically picked up that the dog represented in one of Jody’s dreams was the famous Belgian cartoon character Tintin, to which Jody replied that she was not only a Tintin lover, but was actually of Belgian descent, Juhani wrote. “Wow, what a surprise. Creepy. Tintin is kind of a Global Action Peace Maker. If we ever get trouble on the Bridge…then comes his dog and saves us.” It was Juhani who suggested I might change my name from Campbell to Dream-bell because, “You really gong-gong shake up people . :)”
After a discussion in the group about dreams of Monarch butterflies, Yvonne eloquently summarized what seemed to be developing as the group’s philosophy in a post from Mexico: “We, as collective souls, travel and ‘migrate’ to each other’s consciousness. Some faster or deeper, some slower or superficially….
“Butterflies do that: start as simple ‘worms,’ but suffer a metamorphosis until they are ready to share their beauty, touching each other’s souls.”
“Oh, golly,” Donna wrote one day in April, this world is so much stranger than I knew.” And a day later, “Sometimes I think I could just live here on the Bridge and ponder everyone’s dreams and all our synchronicities. But that doesn’t do too much for my children.”
It might have occurred to me, when I was first creating the Bridge, that it would have a particular appeal to artists. People who regularly create new universes of meaning with words or paint or cameras might not see an insurmountable barrier in the notion of dreaming ourselves toward peace. Still, I was surprised to discover the artists who joined the group: several published authors, one of them winner of the coveted PEN New England award for fiction; poets; quilt makers; photographers. The World Dreams home page at Yahoogroups.com soon filled with art of all kinds—which inspired further dreams and more art. Art like these wonderful tee shirts some members of the World Dreams Peace Bridge are wearing tonight, with a logo designed by Elizabeth Diaz. Profits from the sale of these shirts go, in part, to women in India and Afghanistan who are working to help their people.
One of the most impressive artistic projects to grow out of the World Dreams Peace Bridge in the first year of its existence was a dance called “The Crow and the Phoenix,” choreographed by Valley Reed and danced in April at the Cincinnati ASD Regional meeting.
This event had an innocent beginning when Valley posted a dream to the World Dreams Peace Bridge group. She had spent the day making books with her six-year-old daughter, Valley said, and she thought we might enjoy the dream from which her book had been made. (It seems that Valley’s daughter has an entire library of hand-crafted dream books.)
The story Valley told was about a dream character, Annabella, whose best friend was her umbrella. Old Crow takes her to the underworld, where she almost forgets who she is until she is rescued by her umbrella and a friendly Phoenix, who helps her recover.
It wasn’t until one group member said this sounded like a dance that Jody mentioned she had already been in contact with members of the Cincinnati Ballet Company about the possibility of presenting a dream dance at the Regional. She wondered if they could use Valley’s dream.
No one in the group knew that Valley was herself a dancer who, at sixteen, had been tapped for the Dallas Ballet Company; or that the ensuing weeks, when Valley agreed to choreograph the dream and then dance the role of Annabella in Cincinnati, would be a transformative process which had several members of the Bridge group dancing in their dreams. The video tape of that dance is available for viewing here at the conference. I’d like to mention, as an aside, that the moderator of this panel, Cynnie Pearson, has called the activities of a group, in which images are passed between dreamers and between waking and dream life, arabesques. “The Crow and the Phoenix” was an arabesque with arabesques!
Has the World Dreams Peace Bridge managed yet to bring peace to the world? Obviously not. Jeremy wrote late in April, “The dilemma that the conflicts in Palestine and India that you mention strike my soul as well—against violence, and yet victim of it…(The ways of violence on both side have begotten even greater amounts—like two drunkards fighting in a ring, not even remembering who started it all, blaming the other entirely, one thousand percent!). At wit’s end, I turn back to poetry.”
Nonetheless, the members of the Peace Bridge have attempted to attune themselves to peace. There has been an exchange of news and ideas from around the world. Sometimes I have heard breaking world news on the Bridge, given with a personal perspective, before hearing it from the media: the earthquake in Afghanistan and the recent assassination of Dutch political leader, Pim Fortuyn, for example.
And the members of the World Dreams Peace Bridge have attempted to pay attention to their dreams as if their dreams were of some consequence in the world.
In December, due to the possibly precognitive dream of one member of the Bridge, relating to terrorism, the World Dreams Peace Bridge held a week-long meditation specific to that event.
One of the dilemmas of precognitive dreaming, as I have often pointed out, is that if it is possible to use dreams not only to see the future but to, apparently, *change* the future, then it is possible we may sometimes change a future without knowing it.
We cannot really say that the terrorist act predicted by a powerful dreamer might *not* have taken place without the intervention of the Dream Bridge. We simply don’t know.
However, what members of the World Dreams group *have* done is to take seriously dreams which involve possible future violence, particularly if several people in the group seem to be having similar dreams.
In the past few weeks, several dreams have been recorded on the Bridge, talking about possible terrorist attacks in the U.S. later in the summer. Rather than ignore these dreams, the members of the World Dreams Peace bridge have agreed to maintain a daily World Dreams Peace Vigil between the full moon of May and the full moon in June, a period which includes the Summer Solstice, traditionally a time of powerful energy. There is no particular form to this meditation, only that one concentrate on bringing peace into the world. We invite you to join us.
And we invite you to join us online if you’d like. There are never too many people to dream of peace. Just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .