5 participants, some moving in and out and presenting 6 dreams, much about love and loss.

I compare it to the peripatetic way of gathering dreams where the facilitator seeks out the dreamers. There’s almost an overlap around the tent. As I speak to potential participants outside the tent, they begin to tell their dreams, and then they are persuaded to come into the tent. They are really waiting for another, housing meeting, but the convenor is still asleep.

Someone comes in to get support for a decision to let the St. Paul’s camp take some of their water supply. It is agreed, but there are remarks about St Paul’s not being as organised as they are led to believe.


1.         A girl I had been in love with and broke up with, appears again and I realise that she is in love.

2.         I had left the camp to go home and when I return I find it isn’t there.

3.         I am sorting things out and making piles, what is mother’s and what is father’s.   I’m clearing up a great mess in a large kitchen. There has been a feast. The cat    appears and I have no cat food to give it and I feel guilty.

Associations: about neglecting dependents.  A later association is to the neglect of responsibility towards each other in the camp, like arranging meetings and not turning up. This seems to be accepted as the norm. 

4.         In the dream, I have a girlfriend, but know that in waking life she is another girl. In the dream, everyone takes it for granted that I’m going out with the dream girlfriend, yet somehow I know it’s not right. The dream girlfriend wants to kiss me. I don’t want to, but I fear hurting her feelings.

Association: do we conform to things that don’t feel right for the sake of pleasing others?  A piece posted on Facebook about a list of regrets from aged dying people is that they regret that they had conformed to others’ expectations and worked too much. Not enough love and time with those they loved.

5.         A dream comes from an image described the other night about a man covered in bandages. The dreamer is in a car driven by the bandaged man. It’s going uphill and gets to a village. The man removes his bandages and becomes a tour guide taking a small, straggling group around a city like Barcelona, showing the Gaudi-like architecture. There are military buildings there too.

Associations: include thoughts about the importance of the physical environment. Some nostalgia is expressed for the rural settings of childhood that get mixed up in dreams and memories creating an inner landscape that is constantly changing. Others speak about feeling hemmed in by the imposing buildings surrounding Tent City.

The bandaged man brings associations about a TV ad and an Egyptian mummy (a reference to ancient Egypt and what is happening there now and the dream about separating ‘mummy’s’ things?).  A young man had stayed after visiting Tent City and is proud that he would be able to say he had been there. 

6.         A latecomer brings a dream he had as a child about the ‘Dumbo’ train going over the hill full of Disney characters.

This brief dream brings forth a great number of associations. The word ‘Dumbo’ is/was used to mean stupid. Dumbo was born disfigured by having enormous ears (possibly a reference to the Tavistock facilitators who come to listen?). Someone says there is a community called Dumbo (if I heard it right, it was difficult to hear because of noisy road works) perhaps a reference to the TCU community.  Though deformed and ridiculed, he discovers he can fly. Most of the group say they have forgotten the story.

Reflecting afterwards: it feels as if I am in a grandmother role holding stories of the past. Reference was made to 1970s – digging potatoes and wearing dungarees. Now there are Transition Towns doing the same thing.  Someone speaks about the anger towards society, but then, referring to his earlier dream about the lost girlfriend who he recognises as love, thinks we get angry only with those we love. Is this what is being shown here in Tent City?

There was discussion about dreams and various theories, including information about sensory deprivation tanks in which people hallucinate without sensory input. 

I am asked if I believe in a collective unconscious – most say they do. We think there is plenty of evidence in the dreams in Tent City to support this hypothesis.

Facilitator: Jacqueline Sirota