Electric Dreams

Dream Sharing Experiment: 

The E-mail Dream Circle 


Richard Catlett Wilkerson


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 Wilkerson, Richard Catlett (1995 June 8). Dream Sharing Experiment: The E-mail Dream Circle. Electric Dreams 2(8). Retrieved July 31, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://www.dreamgate.com/electric-dreams

While participating in John Herbert's AOL SeniorNet dream sharing group, I felt that a sense of caring that seemed to me to come from the give and take dynamic (See Electric Dreams vol 2 #6 for a full review). John's format is a little different, he has a mini- newsgroup bulletin board forum. But I felt we might be able to reproduce interesting variations with interested participants at Electric Dreams and so with four other Electric Dreams participants, the first Dream Circle began.

In this first experiment we had one dream and passed the dream around in a Round Robin using John's format that he developed from a variety of sources. In the first round we asked questions only and then let the dreamer respond. Next we gave comments and again let the dreamer respond. In John Herbert's group he requests that participants use the "if this were my dream..." approach, but in ours we left the comment approach up to the individual.

The dreamer, K, has generously given permission for the Circle to be printed and is given below with the instructions included that were passed around. Many thanks again to K.

If you have comments, questions about starting your own dream sharing circles or would like to participate in our next dream sharing experiment, send me a note at rcwilk@aol.com



April 11, 1995

Dream Circle 1

Instructions and notes. The dream has been selected and is listed below. If your dream was not selected, you will be in the top selection odds of the next circle. We will be trying various mailing methods in these circles. For this one, simply send to next LOWER person on the list and forward a copy to the Mediator. If the file gets to big for you mailer to send in one file, make sure you label or number the broken files so they all get passed and pieced together. Dream Circle 1 Participants: If you are uncomfortable with anyone on the list, send the mediator you desire to be removed during the First Clarification cycle. If you wish more anonymity, send your email address and pseudonym to the Mediator.

email address 1 -R. MEDIATOR & PARTICIPANT

email address 2 -K. DREAM SHARER

email address 3 - J. PARTICIPANT

email address 4 - V. PARTICIPANT

email address 5 - C. PARTICIPANT

(always send to next lower, lower to first on list)


Dream Circle 1 Cycle 1 Clarification. In this cycle we simply ask the dreamer questions that might clarify for us perceptions the dreamer may have left seen or given or things the dreamer might have said in the dream narrative but didn't. No questions here calling for interpretations, nor comments about meaning of dream imagery. Simple write the questions below as in the example and pass the email on, forwarding a copy to the mediator. The dreamer may or may not respond to these questions, as they wish. Lets keep the response brief too.

EXAMPLE: Dream: "The Open Window " by Blick

I saw an open window at the end of a hallway. End


EXAMPLE Questions:

>From R.: Hi, great dream! a. how long was the hallway, b. was it dark outside the window c. how did you feel when you saw the window?

>From QED: Thanks for sharing your dream! 1. Was it a home like hall or office hall? 2. Where were you in the dream? 3. How did you feel when you woke up?

Answers from Blick: OK, It was a 20 foot hall, it was an alley out the window, probably at night. I don't recall my feelings when I awoke, but the dream seemed disturbing. I'd say the hall reminded me of my grandmother's house.

Dream Circle 1 Dream: 4/7/95 A Horse is a Horse

Dream Circle 1 Dream: 4/7/95 A Horse is a Horse

I am an observer in this dream, along with another unseen figure to my right. The other characters in the dream are a brown horse and a man that is his friend. The horse is really a person embodied in a horse. The horse wants to get the man to recognize him (I think the man's name is Charley.) It's as if the horse wants Charley to recognize him in the horse form as the friend he has known in human form. But Charley is oblivious to this, just seeing him as an ordinary horse. I then see a close-up view of the horse's front right leg trembling. Somehow the horse thinks that if Charley will to look at

his leg he will realize, but Charley doesn't really get it. The horse then stands on Charley's foot, thinking when he feels the weight it will get through to him.

This is still too subtle somehow. Then the horse takes on the appearance of a stuffed animal and the scene now appears as if it is an old movie, in black and white. The horse rears up and puts it's hooves on the shoulders of the man, and when they see each other face to face there is finally a moment of recognition. I am deeply touched by this and burst into tears. The other observer holds me, partially blocking my view of the movie, apparently not wanting me to get too emotional.

The scene changes, no longer a movie. I see the horse, back to a real horse, running free over a sunny green field edged by woods. It is happy and free now.

Then I am in the scene. I am leaving, as if the event is over. I am commenting that the movie was filmed right here -- at the place I am walking in the dream -- green field, some woods and a dirt path.

I say to an unknown companion (possibly the other observer?) that it makes sense because the movie was taking place in Washington, D.C. (near where I live in waking life).



J.: so. as i understand the dream, it is a stuffed animal horse that puts its hooves on charlie's shoulders. right? nice dream.

K/Dreamer:: Yes, but it is still the same horse. It has only taken on the outward appearance of a stuffed animal.

V. - Did you feel you knew horse and charlie?

K/Dreamer: Not necessarily by sight but by emotion? Not exactly. I didn't feel much emotional connection to Charley. He was an older man that was not as important in the dream as the horse. The only waking life connection I can make to the name 'Charley' is that I am currently taking a course taught by C. T., and he addresses himself as 'Charley'. There was more connection to the horse -- perhaps the part of me that longs for that combination of freedom and inner power. For a time horses were frequent dream images. They've been absent for about a year, but in the past few weeks I've had several horse dreams again.

C: #1) the unseen figure--did you have any sense of it

being a male or female or male/female mix?

K/Dreamer: I believe the unseen figure is a male.

C: #2)did you have any sense of it being old or young?

K/Dreamer:: The figure is older than me.

C: #3) when the observer holds you did you have a sense of suddenly knowing more about this unseen figure?

K/Dreamer: No. I had the sense even before he holds me that he is some sort of guide, trying to help me learn more about life.

C: #4) did anything seem different about this figure from when you first are aware of the figure?


Just that he had a definite form for a moment, though this was vague.

R.: 1. Was the horse originally a riding horse, a farm horse, a wild horse?

K/Dreamer: Hard to say. He was a male horse, the only one around in the dream. Probably a combination of a wild horse living on a farm, but definitely not a riding horse.

R: 2.How did you feel when you woke up?

K/Dreamer: Seeing the horse running free was very satisfying -- some type of resolution. At the end, where I am walking away, I feel on the verge of realizing something -- trying to see how it relates to my life.


OK, CYCLE NUMBER 2. The dreamer may or may not wish to respond to the clarification questions and then sends the file on to the next lower person on the list. Plz forward the mediator a copy. If you receive the file now, you may comment on the dream and them pass the file on to the next lower person on the list and forward a copy to the mediator. The last person on the list sends the file to the first person on the list.

(The Dreamer (K) cleverly responded as in email, see above)




Comments on Dream "A horse is a horse"


J: if this were my dream i would be very happy to have such a fulfilling dream. i would be puzzled that charley recognized the horse person yet i don't seem to. or do i? it seems as though the recognition occurred way back in my childhood. some sort of union between my masculinity and inner being. i would look for any connections with 'charlie horse' though i don't feel any here.


i am also reminded of the old tv series 'mr. ed.'. i would look for connections between the dream and my current waking life, as the end of the dream seems very connected with the present waking life. or is this perhaps somehow about some kind of recognition or approval or bonding between me and some sort of father figure? either now or in the past or both? i would also look for connections between this and my other recent horse dreams. yes, as i think about it more, i feel that i am the horse and that's why i am so happy and free, having achieved this recognition from charlie. if this were my dream.


V: If this were my dream I would look into the possibility that I was interested in recognizing a part of myself that I wanted to recognize/explore but had not done so yet. As the horse (that part of myself that is yet unrecognized) I attempt in several ways to surface, finally doing so by a sort of disguise, but fully confrontational. Charlie is that part of me that has yet to recognize the horse/self, but finally recognizes when fully confronted. The other person is that part of me that in a way wants to keep me from fully seeing(recognizing) the horse/self, but not completely because he only holds me partially. There is recognition because of the emotion felt, and because of seeing the horse running free, and happy. To put it simply, if this were my dream I would be looking to see what aspects of self I had recognized/integrated/resolved that led me to great joy.

C:'s take on the dream: When the dream opens I believe the two observers are two parts of the dreamers self--a older, male guide figure perhaps representing the dreamer's masculine aspects a la Jung's anima/animus. The dream could be about the anxiety of bodily change--if one's outer appearance changes, with age, with trauma, accident, via a new job/wardrobe, will the inner self stay the same. Perhaps a new life change is approaching and there is anxiety about whether the new experience will change the person into something unrecognizable from the past. The efforts at recognition move from emotion, to physical jolting to a retreat into fantasy--fantasies associated with the past--childhood, old movies. Perhaps this is a dream about growing up and losing one's childhood self. The feminine self is emotionally concerned with connecting with the past, but the masculine self doesn't want the feminine self to get overwhelmed. The return to Washington is a return to the

present and the new life, more integrated with the past.

R:'s take on the dream: If this were my dream... In my dream the horse's desire for Charlie's recognition is the driving force. For the image is to have some time to work itself through me, I am kept from jumping in and forcing this recognition to happen to fast. In other words, the delay in recognition is *part* of the image, and in being delayed it unfolds and presents the desire of the horse who only appears to be a horse. In my dream I observe this. Perhaps the observing with the friend/companion is the loving attention that holds open the door through which my feeling parade. I feel for the horse who is not really a horse. Loneliness, sadness, loss. Charlie's not recognizing the being in the horse contributes to distance, the unseen gift of self offered and missed by the being in the horse. It didn't used to be this way. The horse tries to hold a trembling limb up to Charlie in a way that the horse is sure will get his attention, as if it would have worked at some other time. But the trembling limb is no longer the act that will get Charlie's attention. The connection to Charlie is so lost, that even direct weight on his foot makes no difference. No recognition. Its as if Charlie no longer connects through the appearance to essence and being via pain, wounds or direct pressure. One path is made available. Run the old movie. Its black and white and involves childhood horses . My guide/companion holds me for one more moment and glimpse before I dissolve back into fulfilled desire. It makes sense to me that this has happened in the place where I live. Thanks for sharing this very interesting dream.


DREAM CIRCLE 1 LAST CYCLE: In this phase the dreamer may or may not respond to the comments on the dream. The dreamers options are: 1. Don't respond, just send the Dream Circle File back to the mediator 2. Respond as you wish, and send the file back to the mediator a. to be printed in full in Electric Dreams (dreams, clarifications & comments& replies) b. to be sent out to the members of the circle only I'm open to other options, but I would like for the whole community to see our process so we can talk about what worked, didn't work, ect.

OK, dreamer, do as you wish, just be clear which option you are selecting.


From K/Dreamer:

got some wonderful aha's from the commentaries. I had done some personal work with this dream, but you all helped me see other levels I had not considered. THANKS! It's an important dream for me that just keeps having more to say. I especially resonated with the following:

From J: --recognition occurred way back in childhood --approval or bonding between me and a father figure

From V:--part of myself that I wanted to recognize/explore but had not done so yet.

From C:- * Big aha's here *--Will the inner self stay the same with a new life change approaching.


about whether the new experience will change the person into something unrecognizable from the past. --Efforts at recognition move from emotion, to physical, to retreat into fantasy . *--about growing up and losing one's childhood self. *-- feminine self is emotionally concerned with connecting with the past, but the masculine self doesn't want the feminine self to get overwhelmed.

From R:---the delay in recognition is part of the image --the unseen gift of self offered and missed by the being in the horse -- Charley no longer connects through the appearance to essence and being via pain, wounds or direct pressure. --Run the old movie. Its black and white and involves childhood horses. --I dissolve back into fulfilled desire.

Background From K: I had this dream on a night following a dream group meeting. In that meeting I shared a dream that resulted in an emotional recognition of lost childhood. In my personal work on this horse dream, I connected the feeling of the moment of recognition between Charlie and the horse with the feeling of recognition for lost childhood that I got in the dream group. I am also dealing with issues in waking life regarding a reunion with a past partner. There is some anxiety whether this return to past connections will undermine my new growth and sense of self. There is some additional concern over parental approval of this relationship. The appeal of it is our mutual childlike enjoyment of life.

Looking forward to more Dream Circles! K.

==== END DREAM CIRCLE 1 =====

If interested in joining us in the next dream experiment, please contact Richard Wilkerson at rcwilk@aol.com