Collective Dreaming for Systems Change

"There is individual shit we need to compost and there is collective shit we need to compost. We need to figure out how to compost individual shit so that we can show up differently to compost the affective, cognitive and relational shit that creates the ecological and economic problems that we are facing."

Vanessa Andreotti in conversation with Jem Bendell []

Collective Dreaming for Systems Change

In 2019 vast numbers of people demonstrated around the world demanding radical systemic transformations to avert the worst future scenarios for the planet. This unprecedented unleashing of public energy revealed that millions across the world cared about the planet.

Perhaps this moment is a large-scale dream incubation? In London, many slept out in tents, close to each other, weathering the elements and discomfort to disrupt the workings of the city. The practice of ‘dream incubation’ began many thousands of years ago and the earliest versions of the technique involved lying directly on the Earth, attuning oneself to the vibrations and rhythms of the planet, entering into the dream of the Earth Goddess, learning how to serve her and receiving her wisdom in sleep.

Below are dreams collected in Brighton at the Systems Change Hive - a collective dedicated to informed dreaming and communicating Systems Change alternatives - and during the London Rebellion in Autumn 2019.

☆ With thanks to the dreamers! This creative experiment relies entirely on the generosity of creative humans tending the dream of systems change who replied to the invitation to share their dreams in 2019.

Dream Batch A

A1. On the cusp

A2. Solar age

A3. Tibet and spiritual value

A4. Robots

A5. 3 layers of protection in the rainforest

A6 Night-time scuba swim and Virtual Reality potential

A7 The family house is on fire

A8 Butterflies with closed wings

A9 Polar Bears swimming away and the wounded swimmer

A10 Combing the waterfall


B1. Anger at the control of the moon

B2. Political propaganda: seeing through lies and control

B3 Renewal through group work: the tired creative and the Hollywood star

B4 New vision and the black knight

B5 Computer stress and sisters in need

B6 Taranis photographs the exact place that lightning strikes

B7 Letter to King: music hides something unseen

B8 Mistrust between brother and sister and women weaving collaboratively

B9 What is your name?

Batch C

C1 Metal angels and birdsong: a weather signalling system for the jungle

C2 Electric musical spontaneity: singing together creates new songs, structures and forms

C3 Alcohol poisoning: sweating and rebirthing

C4 Down the rabbit hole

C5 WARNING! Predator in nature: the thing that seems cute and harmless is actually not

C6 Naming the problem: the big NO!

C7 Breaking the shell: careless desecration

C8 Trying to keep normal through tentacular terror

C9 Dharma not Drama

C10 Running for life!

Batch D

D1 Rescuing the young girl from the witch

D2 The spiral dance: new embodied communication

D3 Non-local perspective in Notting Hill: consumer objects replace landscapes as the maps for human lives

D4 The rainbow and the dark cave

D4 Sheldrake and animal communication

D5 Hold the presence !

D6 14 days on the circular train. Unchain the woman!

D7 Extinction Rebellion takes London

D8 MeToo Meditation Master

D9 Alchemical albedo - birth from confusion?

D10 The art exhibition on the sea edge: Emma Thompson and innovative mapping and technology

Batch E

E1 Scaling the cliff, cleaning up the shit…

E2 Chasing waves

E3 Up in the air

E4 Luminous Vesica Pisces Leaf

E5 The Booming Voice of the United States

E6 The horizontal to the vertical: hanging on for dear life

E7 The Female Gaze

E8 Accident prone: the bruised woman dies

E9 Where’s Dad? The silver gift of belonging

E10 The Cover Up: a murder and a cup thrown under the laurel bush in anger

E11 Vampire Lost Boy(friends)

E12 Release The Bats

E13 Face Squisher: hidden violence revealed

E14 Leaving the Heroin Saloon: Princess Julia and my Trans nephew

E15 The Multi-Dimensional Mother Mirror

E16 Anime boss fighting Mom: Self pleasuring / Self fashioning

E17 The exposure of the foundations: slavery and the church

E18 Wax works in London: time to lucidly change the story

E19 The zig zag Druid path

E20 Comedian dies to make way for divinity school and a careless truck driver

E21 New brand of ice cream: caramel honey and lime

E22 Makeshift plastic sail across the abyss

E23 Visual Language, Healing Sexual Union and wishing Julia luck

E24 Shampooing the toxicity out of the sea

Systems Change Dreams

Sharon Blackie on becoming the dreaming:

"I write and teach constantly about all of the ways in which our imagination can bring us into deep conversation with the land, so that we can not only listen to, but become part of its Dreaming. For me, the mythic imagination is key: our ability to discern and work with the archetypal energies at work in our places, and the wider world around us. The mythic imagination is about training ourselves to pierce the veil, and see into the Mystery. To value the beautiful physical and sensory everyday reality we occupy, but then to learn to perceive the archetypal river which flows above, below, and all around us. It’s about walking with one foot in this word and one in the Otherworld. For those of us who work as creatives – as writers, artists, weavers, stitchers, woodworkers – it’s about acts of co-creation. Letting the archetypal world inform our process and our output. Dreaming into all that lies beyond the merely visible. Dreaming into the foxfires and wolfskins; glimpsing the Old Woman in the heron and giving her a new voice; listening, as Irish poet Derek Mahon put it, to the sob-story of a stone. Letting the land reveal its Dreaming through our words and images. Revealing that Dreaming in any way you can. Giving it a channel, letting the soul of this beautiful world speak through us. It’s a sacred calling that speaks to a holy longing inside us.

For me, it’s all there is."

SALVAGE: Systems Change Dreams