Posts Tagged ‘dreams


Summer Solstice and a dream of Louise Bourgeois

Summer Solstice yesterday, sitting in a South London park watching the sun go down over the city, talking about yoga., meditation, tai chi, art, schools and dogs.

Went to sleep and had an interesting dream. I was in a dusty flat in Berlin, which had belonged to the artist Louise Bourgeois (pictured). They were reading out her will, in which she had left ‘the Kentucky Instrument’ to me. It was kind of a cross between a ukulele and a dobro guitar, covered in dust, and with the words ‘Kentucky Instrument’ written on it. I was cleaning it and inside were long strands of black hair. I held it up to the light and it was like looking down a hair/dust lined tunnel with a glow at the end.

Then a guy called Tim appeared, who in real life I used to share a flat with in Brixton but haven’t seen for around 20 years since he moved to Australia.


A dream of Walter Benjamin

I have started recording my dreams; as it says in the Zohar ‘A dream must be interpreted, or else it remains an unread letter’. I have done this before and it is surprizing how quickly the practice of writing down dreams improves the recall of what was dreamt. Of course there is a danger of overinterpreting every sleeping as well as every waking hour, something unintentionally signalled in the use of the term ‘dream work’ to describe this practice – our days are already dominated enough by work, let us not subject our rest to labour. And indeed one of the depressing results of recording dreams is acknowledging how much of our nocturnal brain capacity is wasted on processing petty work anxieties- dreams of job interviews and office politics, of photocopiers and emails.

No noticeably Kabbalist content in my dreams yet, except perhaps this recent one. In the dream I came across a stall in Luton Arndale Centre, selling only books by Walter Benjamin. They were luxury hardback editions, burgundy and purple covers embossed with gold lettering and a portrait of the author. What Benjamin would have made of the Arndale we can only wonder – he did after all devote years to his unfinished arcades project.  But for me he is a key figure, a marxist in the 1930s who didn’t lose his critical bearings in the age of Fascism and Stalinism and who maintained an interest in jewish mystical thought as well as altered states of consciousness, experimenting with drugs in Ibiza a full half century before acid house!

He was also a close personal friend of the great Kabbalist scholar Gershom Scholem. Indeed the latter dedicates his ‘Main currents in Jewish Mysticism’, first published in 1941, as follows: ‘To the memory of Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), the friend of lifetime whose genius united the insight of the Metaphysician, the interpretatitve power of the Critic and the erudition of the Scholar. Died at Port Bou (Spain) on his way to freedom’. The latter is a reference to Benjamin’s tragic death – he took his own life after being refused entry to Spain while fleeing the advance of the Nazis.