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Posts tagged ‘dreams’

Anna Featured as “Wilderness Thinker in Residence” this week!

annakeleherfeature3 “As a wilderness thinker I’m turning my gaze upon the world of the very small and towards the possibility of a wilderness even inside my own insides! Is there a wilderness inside of you too?” asks Anna in her essay for the Thinking Wilderness project. Check out her featured work “The Wilderness Inside” at the Thinking Wilderness website HERE. It will set you thinking!

Anna was invited to participate as a “Wilderness Thinker in Residence” in the Thinking Wilderness project, a one-year series marking the 50th Anniversary of the USA Wilderness Act. Anna’s piece,”The Wilderness Inside” which she created specifically for “Thinking Wilderness” explores many themes that have cropped up in our own Dreaming Place project and even showcases one of the postcard drawings that Anna created on our “Irish journey” (see above!).

What are your thoughts on “The Wilderness Inside?” Please let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Dreaming of Ancient Ecologies

There are many ways to find out more about a place. You can read up about it, swim in it, ask locals for stories, watch birds or go on a hike.  As artists and Place Dreamers we have invented a tool for use in the field, which gives great insights. We used it a lot at MAC Geopark to help us obtain glimpses the unknown. It happens like this:-

1. We spread our our DREAMING PLACE  mat; a blue ripstop nylon groundsheet that stops ticks from crawling onto us while we dream and keeps out the wet

2. We lie down and look up at the sky

3. We cover our eyes

4. We do nothing

5.We watch as images and sometimes sounds drift into view

6. We record the content of our “dream” either by telling each other about it, writing it down or by making an audio recording

So  here we are on a millstone grit bluff on top of Cuilcagh mountain in the borderlands of Northern Ireland  and Éire. It’s a place as much “on the edge” as anywhere I know. It has magnificent views over tarns and  on the other side of the blanket bogs are incredibly green limestone hills.  I’m speaking into my audio recorder about ancient Cuilcagh ecologies.

Wild dreams and stories Claire and Anna’s Skype snippet audio

Just 4,000 miles of ocean, desert and  rolling hills lie between us, so at the mo’ a lot of our collaborative dreaming happens over Skype. In the new year we’ll be using  google docs to storyboard our 3 new Radio Dreaming Episodes, then we’ll be using dropbox to share our audio files and texts to create our pieces for broadcast on local community radio.

Its 3.30 pm in Compton, Devon and Claire is still crunching toast in her  off-grid earthship home in Questa New Mexico, when I decide to record our  Skype conversation.

So listen in to us discussing dreams, stories and other DREAMING PLACE things.

Radio Dreaming Episode 1 is here!


We are oh-so-pleased to share Radio Dreaming Episode 1 with you all! It is called “Dreams, Food and the Edible Landscape.”

Listen to the entire radio program here.

This first episode of our Radio Dreaming series will debut on air in the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark on Cavan Community Radio 97.4 fm, today, Thursday 21st of June at 2:40 pm, GMT. Other broadcasts are also scheduled for this summer. If you can’t catch the program on air, we invite you to listen to the entire radio program here at our blog.

Our evolving broadcast schedule can be viewed here and the Radio Dreaming press release can be viewed here.

Many thanks to all the people, places, creatures and things at Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark for teaching us about DREAMING PLACE. And special thanks to those that contributed to this program and helped make it possible in a myriad of ways.

Please let us know of any radio stations that might be interested in broadcasting Radio Dreaming! More Radio Dreaming episodes are in the works so stay tuned….

We hope you enjoy listening and look forward to your feedback.

Audio footprints in the lough

Creative ideas can be illusive. If you approach them too quickly or too directly, they may turn tail and be lost. But like wild creatures they can be lured from their hideouts if conditions are favorable, perhaps at a particular time of day by a special treat. A ritual pot of tea, a piece of music, the sound of a waterfall or a beautiful pattern.

It may be enough to go outdoors and sit on a tree stump to allow the ideas to flow. It’s  exciting to consider some of the forms and patterns we observe outdoors have companion patterns inside our bodies;, the swirl on our finger tips, the filigree of veins and in the very patterns of our lives and relationships.

So enjoy your shower or walk the edge of the lough and let the bubbles rise.

These Dreaming Place audio footprints were recorded at the watery edge of Lough McNean, Marble Arch Caves Geopark.

Animals Dreaming 2


Remember this lovely springer spaniel from the beginning of our journey? It turns out that scientists agree with us that non-human dreamers, like this lovely 4-legged, have a rich dream life.

This topic often captures our attention and has appeared in several previous posts such as here and here.

You can listen to some of our musings about animals dreaming at these previous posts, Fisherfolk Dreaming and Dream Food Vision.


So, according to scientists (as represented on Wikipedia’s dream page), “Sleeping and dreaming are intertwined….REM sleep and the ability to dream seem to be embedded in the biology of many organisms that live on Earth. All mammals experience REM. The range of REM can be seen across species: dolphins experience minimum REM, while humans remain in the middle and the opossum and the armadillo are among the most prolific dreamers.”

Apparently there have been studies that have “observed dreaming in monkeys, dogs, cats, rats, elephants and shrews [and] ….There have also been signs of dreaming in certain birds and reptiles. 

Here is another interesting twist offered on Wikipedia:

In 1954 the theta rhythm was discovered by two scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles when experimenting with rabbits, shrews, moles and rats. The theta rhythm is the oscillatory pattern of electric activity in the brain. [Interesting discovery, but the idea of experimenting on animals makes me cringe!] This discovery lead to a commentary published in 1972 that explained differences in Theta Rhythm where defined by respective animal behaviors. Awake animals showed high Theta Rhythm when behaving in ways that where crucial to their survival, for example: eating and reproducing. This apparently was a response to a changing environment. The theta rhythm occurs during REM and studies suggest it “reflected a neural process whereby information that is essential to the survival of the species” is gathered throughout the day and is “reprocessed into memory during REM sleep”. In conclusion: “dreams may reflect a memory-processing mechanism inherited from lower species”.

Some scientists argue that humans dream for the same reason other mammals do. From a Darwinian perspective dreams would have to fulfill some kind of biological requirement or provide some benefit for natural selection to take place. Antti Revonsuo, a professor at the University of Turku in Finland, claims that centuries ago dreams would prepare humans for recognizing and avoiding danger by presenting a simulation of threatening events. This threat-simulation theory was presented in 2000.

This makes sense in a way, as we humans are in fact mammals. But how, I wonder, does this theory fit into modern human dreaming patterns? If dreams served to prepare us for danger in the past, what purposes do they serve now?

If you would prefer a religious/spiritual perspective over science, here is another take:

“God sleeps in stone, breathes in plants, dreams in animals, and awakens in man”
– Hindu Proverb

Dreaming Yews

We climbed in the wide branches of two famous, ancient, entwined male and female Yew trees on the Crom estate. They are reputedly the oldest Yew trees in Ireland and possibly in all of Europe. According to the National Trust website, the trees were planted in the 17th Century, but other websites proclaim the trees to be much older – as many as 800 years.


The Yew Tree is now a rarity in Ireland, but the tree still has a mythic cultural prominence. Rich in mythology, symbolism and historic and prehistoric cultural uses, Yew trees are shrouded with mystery and power. The large, majestic trees have a commanding presence, not least because all parts of the Yew tree contain poisonous alkaloids, except for the bright red arils encasing its seeds.

As we climbed, swung and perched in the grand branches of the trees,  we mused about the dreams shared and the hundreds of years of history witnessed by the arboreal pair. What do Yew trees dream of? How many dreamers have taken refuge in the protection of these trees and which of their dreams were caught in the great web of their branches?


We are sure that dreams and yew trees are tied up together somehow and here is a bit of proof. Read about a Yew dream from the 1600’s “Somnium ex Eubernea porta” from Mrs. Cl., of S. here.

For more information about Yew trees visit the Ancient Yew Group at  www.ancient-yew.org.

Inhabiting others’ dreams + 2 more Alans

Have you ever found yourself inhabiting another person’s dream?

Well that’s exactly what happened to us one rare bright and sunny morning, when through a series of surreal events, we found ourselves dreaming in the posh front seats of John McAllen’s dream cars – a classic red Jaguar and a jet black Porche with cream leather seats.

Inhabing Others Dream, Jaguar

These DREAM cars were brought to us at Knockninny jetty as we cooked our porridge. Part of John McAllens’ love affair with danger and risk-taking they are two of just nine fast cars that he owns. Though they are good looking vehicles their allure for him is less about beauty and more about the “danger flavours” he craves.

“There is no such thing as courage,” he says, “There is either fight or flight and I always choose fight.”

For him experiencing the exhilarating edge of danger is a kind of dreaming. Along with his single engine airplane and other fast cars these two cars are just some of his “danger dreaming props”.

On this same sunny morning we were able to update our “Alan Count“,  having met 1-John McAllen. (John is a descendant of the Allendes via a shipwrecked sailor of the Spanish Armada . The original Allendes changed the name to McAllen to blend in with their new country of Eire) And 2-Alan of the lovely cottage and canoe, who has already been referenced on this blog. So that take us up to five  Allens so far….. and how many Macs?