By Dr. Clare Johnson © 2017
In a series of three dreams, I journeyed to a wondrous city
In the first dream,
I found myself
on an incredible journey
I knew that I was travelling somewhere far away from the waking reality. I did not think of it as a dream, it felt more like being in an older realm of magic. I felt as though I was being pulled towards somewhere that had immense power, as well as following a calling, almost like a song.
In the dream, I was ecstatic and privileged to finally be travelling towards this place. As the sun began to set, I found myself on the steps of a white marble hotel, set high on a cliff, overlooking the sea.
The colours of the sunset seemed to permeate the walls of the hotel, creating gently coloured forms in the air all around me. Everything seemed to intermingle; everything had consciousness, and I was part of that consciousness.
The second dream
a few months later.
I found myself on a beach and suddenly remembered my journey. I recalled the purpose of the journey and the destination. I felt incredibly physically strong in the dream and found a canoe. I started to paddle along the coastline, to find the inlets that led inland.
I then had an outer body experience, where I flew upwards for an overview of the destination. From the sky, I could see the coast and various canals and deep inside folds of green moss. I could make out a wondrous city. It was Venice in the dreaming.
Flying back into my body in the canoe, I felt an amazing rush of power and excitement. I knew I could find this city and experience everything that was there. As I paddled, the sea became turbulent. The stronger I paddled, the more the sea pushed me backwards along the coastline.
The power of the sea eventually overcame my physical strength, but I was left with a reassuring feeling that I knew this place existed and I knew how to get there.
About a year later,
the third dream.
In this dream, I travelled to the city from the mountains. I’d been walking for many months, surrounded by the flowing colours. I was so thrilled to arrive on the outskirts of Venice and found a hotel which overlooked one of the outer canals. I stepped out of the hotel, to wander and take in the evening air.
Outside the hotel, I was approached by a man of the cloth. He held his hands humbly in front of him and, bowing his head, greeted me with a gentle smile. He said, “We’re so glad you’ve arrived. We’ve been waiting for you.”
I excitedly exclaimed that it had taken me three dreams to get here and I couldn’t believe that I’d finally arrived. He smiled patiently and then asked, “Do you have a guidebook?” I told him that I did not, but I could probably buy one the next day or just wander about.
He told me that this was not possible and went on to explain, “You see, without a guidebook you will only see the veneer of Venice. You won’t be able to access anything behind the façade. This city is so full of wonderful things, immense things beyond your understanding. You really do need a guidebook.” Then he added, “And of course, you also won’t be able to visit the places that lie beneath the canals, the subterranean world.” He then opened out his hands in a gesture of condolence and said, “Well, you made it! You know where it is and are always welcome back here, but you do need to bring a guidebook.” With a reassuring smile, he left.
It has been about three years since I dreamt of Venice in the dreaming and I’ve never been back. Part of me was slightly disappointed upon waking from the last dream, but I also had a sense that the experiences awaiting me there were something that I wasn’t quite ready for, that I needed more preparation.
Interestingly, I’ve also been to the real Venice three times and I find it utterly magical. I’ve experienced many ‘overlays’ whilst wandering the streets, where the aging, crumbling buildings will suddenly transform into perfect stonework and faint images of people from another time wander past me, chatting and laughing.
One day, I found myself in a tiny side street, which ended in a small quiet canal. As I stared at the mesmerising colour of the water, I had an outer-body experience. I was one of a group of four people. We were walking one behind the other, down a set of steps into the canal. As the steps ended, we found ourselves in a candlelit cavern beneath the streets. We all emerged from the water into the cavern one by one, perfectly dry. We were on our way to who knows where, but I knew it was going to be wonderful.
Perhaps I should try to focus on dreaming about bookshops. Maybe one night, I will find my elusive guidebook and then I’ll be on my way again.