The dreams of this session of the SDE seem to express concerns about the safety, viability and purpose of the protest.

In the first dream, a man is in a city that is both mediaeval and modern at the same time – possibly mirroring the fragile Tent City and the modern (capitalist?) buildings around it. The city is bisected by a river in which the man is swimming naked. He is fearful of drowning and what people might think of him. He emerges from the river and looks for something to wear, finding only a vest. The SDE associates the vest with investments (capitalism) and vestments (religion; St Paul’s). What does one wrap oneself in? The protest movement expresses something about the nakedness of humanity and about concerns about who will clothe and protect the next generation. Can the different parts of society co-operate to look after the baby? (There was a baby in the SDE). Or are we exposed and naked and adorn ourselves with Emperor’s clothing?

A dream is presented involving cross-stitching that is beautiful and arouses jealousy. Cross-stitching is regarded as something firm and containing – a reference possibly to finding a way of containing the jealousy – the jealousy of those with lots of money. The SDE objects to the protest movement being dismissed as simply being jealous of people with money. But jealousy, it is also asserted, is a real live emotion and needs to be understood and worked with; it cannot be dismissed either. The SDE wonders if the cross-stitching is meant to be a protection of the other protest movements and concern is expressed about the clearance of the New York protests and the possibility that it may happen here too.

The ‘alter dream’ involves being in the place of worship, like a congregation, but non-denominational – it could be a church, a mosque or a synagogue. There is a man, standing next to a covered alter, who finds a small key, which is not actually a key, more like a key ring without a key. It is handed to the man who is South African and he immediately relaxes and is calm.

Associations to this dream are about a key to the ring; ring as in the circle of people in the tent; the ring of Tent City; and questions of whether one can find the key in the ring – ring as in music; the alter becomes ‘alteration’ that in turn links to cross-stitching. Can one find a way to worship and what is one worshipping? St Paul’s comes to mind – the dome of St Paul’s that is then associated with the dome of Capitol Hill in Washington which is also representative of the capitalist system; is it possible to find a new key, a new ring, that is the voice of the voiceless? Or does the protest enterprise have to destroy the system and replace it with something new? Wagner’s Lord of the Rings – is about the destruction of the old world – like St Paul’s once burned down and was replaced with something beautiful.

The SDE seems to move from wanting to throw the whole thing overboard to something that is more transformative – the key that has a new ring.

The SDE is small and only a small number of dreams is presented, but the people stay throughout and wonder how to turn fiction into fact – how is the protest movement going to turn the protest into something permanent and constructive?

Facilitators: Mannie Sher and David Armstrong