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Hello, my name is Debbie Winterbourne and welcome to The Academy of Dreams. My passion for exploring the nature of dreaming and reality has been a life-long journey. The Academy of Dreams is the culmination of my life’s work to date, with the aim of introducing those equally passionate in learning about dreams to the [...]

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More Dream Interpretations by Peter

BLOG 2 – JUNE 6 2011, PETER COX.


Continuing from Blog 1, I hope these accounts of my dreams and attempts to analyse them throw some light on the mysterious processes of dreaming and that in the words of one Henry Root, I have made “a valid contribution to the great debate. I look forward to joining in further activities at the Academy of Dreams.


In three dreams- trying to revisit my first home after over 30 years, revisiting my old school and walking into a strange house, I was an outsider, and showed concern with ideas of trespass on unfamiliar and previously familiar property.

 In 2005, I dreamed of knocking on the door of my first home in Northfield, Birmingham at the end of a weekend cycling round Birmingham. I awoke before the baffled owner of the house had made up his mind whether to admit me for a short visit or tell me to go away.

 In 2004 not long after having revisited Birmingham and noticed my old school had put up a tall hedge blocking the view of the playing fields and school buildings behind them, I dreamed of being expelled from the school grounds by prefects who stood by the back gates and called to me through megaphones. They patronisingly told me I must have a letter from the headmaster permitting me to enter school property..

 On the afternoon of Saturday 14/10/2006 I fell asleep in my kitchen for an hour and in a dream, went into a strange suburban house just because the front door was open.

My visit would have gone unnoticed had I not shut the front door behind me when leaving. I faced cross-examination in the house by the owner’s elder brother who accepted my apology and assurance that I had not stolen anything then asked his younger brother to show me out of the back gate, whereupon the sun came out after a dull day with continuous light rain. Then I woke up.


 This district borders on Bournville among other districts and I last saw it in 1973 when 24 years old. In that year I moved to Surrey and nobody I know lives there now.

I am not sure why I dream so very often of Northfield and what all these dreams are telling me. Here are a few more, one comic, one frightening, one semi-lucid, one very accurate in detail and one somewhat non-descript but puzzling. All of them were in 2000 or afterwards, and one of them was only a month ago.

 1. A SECRET LAUNDRETTE. ( March 2010. )

 I rang the bell of a private house number 25 in a road near my first home because a lady had lived there who owed me money. ( in reality the lady lives in London. She owes me £25, and here the 25 became the house number.) The door was opened by a very red-faced Irish lady aged about 45 who told me she had no knowledge of previous owners. I saw that she ran a secret laundrette in a room that had curtains always drawn to prevent people from seeing the washing machines and tumble dryers from the outside. All machines had been very cleverly fitted with noise reduction devices. I asked for a leaflet with prices of services and opening times. The Irish lady said “We don’t usually give these out” and I felt I had received a top secret Government defence document and could end up being cross-examined by the Special Branch. Opening times, as I guessed, were very restricted and you had to phone first before visiting.

 2. HANGING LANE. ( FEB 1 2000.)

 In reality it is an ordinary suburban road not named after any gallows. I thought, when I lived in Northfield, that it was named after cottages no longer there which had been decorated by hanging baskets of flowers!

  In this dream, I re-visted Northfield to confront my fear of death and walk from what was once my local church to Hanging Lane. Like Alice in Wonderland, I began in Northfield then entered an awful world nothing like Birmingham then thankfully came back to Northfield and “civilization”.

 The Hanging Lane of my dream was a steep hill through a forest with a Gothic church at the top that was disused and padlocked. Further on was a very eerie road unsuitably called Toytown with cottages that somehow I knew ( nobody was about ) had been uninhabited for over 150 years.

 Although the church was disused, I nevertheless heard the sound from within it of a choir singing in Latin. I also could not reach a road which was located behind the church.

A localised fog descended right in front of me along a path within the church grounds as I tried to reach this road lying behind the church, and I found this frightening and peculiar.

A voice told me “Beyond here there is nothing.” Then I went up the peculiar street called Toytown which ended abruptly. Again this peculiar fog descended in front of me, and again the voice told me that “Beyond here, there is nothing”.

 I went down the hill being Hanging Lane and at the bottom, noticed an entrance to a park.

I went in and stood near to the entry gate. It was now sunny whereas around the church it had been overcast, but still the atmosphere seemed mournful. A man walking his dog spoke to me. He told me of the gallows where up to 1845, hangings had very regularly taken place. “The gallows was exactly where you are standing, Sir, and this area is haunted. Very mournful, I would say, Sir. Very mournful.”

 3. IS MY GRANDMOTHER 120? (2004)

 I think my grandmother lived in Northfield for 70 years as a married woman until her husband my maternal grandfather died aged 63 in 1935 and then then as a widow. She died in Surrey  in 1973 aged 94.

 In this dream I had visited her house in Pamela Road and was talking to her. I became aware with a shock that she was no less than 120 years old, but began to feel that something had gone seriously wrong with my brain. How could she possibly be so old?

The dream was partly lucid in that I had begun to disbelieve in it. 

 4. MY GRANDMOTHER IS 100 (2005).

 I dreamt I was in Birmingham City Centre having telephoned my 100 year old grandmother and assured her that I would not arrive at her house later than 10 pm. I then caught a bus number 41 and paid the fare to its terminus in Turves Green close to Longbridge, planning to walk the one mile back to her house ( all such detail accurate relative to reality ) but never arrived at either Turves Green or my grandmother’s house. I had never when young thought of taking such a route when visiting her, finding Turves Green for some reason rather depressing.

Perhaps for that very reason Turves Green featured in this dream.


 I remember this road as a short cul de sac with late Victorian terrace houses on only one side It was off Norman Road and I passed by it when going along Norman Road in order to visit my grandmother. It led towards a nearby council estate. Unsurprisingly, I had never dreamed of this road before but now it appeared most vividly in this recent dream- a road I had not seen for over 40 years. I knew the road is called Barron Road, but in the dream it was called Norman Close.

 In the dream, I was most concerned that the road should be opened up and made to lead to Overbury Road on the nearby Council estate, forging a link between two different worlds as well as providing a short cut for people wanting to get from Norman Road to the estate.

 Some days after the dream, I looked at a road map of Northfield if not a recent one, and saw that Barron Road and an estate road Overbury Close were both dead ends which very narrowly failed to connect. My dream suggested I found Closes and all dead end roads pointless and frustrating, and had used this example to make my point.


 Losing or fearing that I have lost belongings of mine has been a recurring theme in my dreams as it has been in reality.


 I dreamed of a day in the country near to Guildford. All other walkers in my group soon left me, I met a psychologist who found me most interesting until he ran away from me as if I had had leprosy, and the father of an 8 year old boy threatened to call Police on his mobile phone to arrest me for harassing his son.

 Then I became convinced that I had absent-mindedly left my cycle by a stile, and from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm. was trying to resign myself to the loss of the cycle and need to buy another. Then at 5.30 I realized I had left my cycle in a garage before the start of what was an organized walk.  Retrieving it, which I did, was the only thing that mattered. 

Guildford was hardly my favourite place in 2009. In March 2008- I was unfairly dismissed from a job there after 6 days by an agency which rang me on Bank Holiday Monday at 7 pm. to give me the bad news ( offensively as well ) then in May 2008 I had to attend a medical interview to assess if I remained worthy of sickness benefit, an appointment for which had been made by agency people who rang me at 10.30 a.m. on a Sunday morning thereby aggravating the anxiety for which I was being treated.

 And the psychologist in the dream was modelled on an American psychologist I met on a train with his family. He gave me an e mail address when I knew he did research into Asperger Syndrome and I then said that I myself had Asperger Syndrome, but when I originally asked for his address to stay in touch with him, he had thought me decidedly odd.


 The dream reflected anxiety I had felt when trying to get all my luggage off a train at my local station a few hours beforehand, anxiety that I would leave property on the train or the platform or simply fail to alight in time.

It also reflected anxiety concerning an incident in July when I was running round the Inner Circle road at Regents Park. When with a group, it had been fine to leave my bag with other bags behind a certain fence but it was foolish of me to leave my bag unattended when I was later on running by myself. Luckily, I found my bag at the nearby police station.

 I dreamed that I was getting off a train at my local station and having placed a suitcase on the platform, went back on to the train to retrieve my coat but illogically closed the door behind me. The train moved on. The platform was deserted and with absurd illogicality I waved frantically from the train, pointing to the suitcase.Later in this dream I was given a lift by police in Birmingham who somehow knew my suitcase 140 miles away had been taken into Lost Property.


 The dream referred to an incident in Czechoslovakia prior to boarding the return coach to Ostend. It was Monday 23/9/1991 around midday and I had stayed a week in Czechoslovakia. We were all told to put our luggage in a place within the coach station so that it could be loaded

on to a truck that was going to accompany the coach. I put my suitcase down in the right place and went for lunch at a nearby restaurant, a verygood and cheap lunch, but came back to find my suitcase had gone.

I was assured it must have been loaded on to the truck but so many suitcases were on the truck and quite a lot like mine and of the same dark blue colour that it was impossible for anyone to pick out mine.

I had an anxious journey back to Ostend, but luckily my suitcase had not been stolen and was found at Ostend.

 In the dream the coach had arrived at a terminus in London that was not Victoria but a merger of different places I know in London,  tantalizingly recognizable but unrecognizable. I asked the driver to pass me my two suitcases but he refused to do so, telling me that he would feed their contents of clothes and toiletries through a cylindrical conveyer belt called The Tube and I must remove my belongings at the other end.

I complained later that only about half of my belongings had come through but he said he had no more time to spend on me as he hadanother coach to drive. It was a brilliant Friday evening in July and I went into a nearby park where to my surprise and relief, I saw “car boot” people selling my clothes. Although they must clearly have already sold some of my clothes to other people, I was able to buy all my clothes back that were on display, and then woke up.



 In the fourth episode of this dream I was unhappy to be looking at a lot of graves of children in a churchyard and a Voice told me that “The well of happiness is shallow, but the well of sorrow is bottomless.”

It was not, as I had thought upon waking, a quotation from something I had been reading.

 2. THE BUS CONDUCTOR ( E.F.BENSON (1867-1940)- DREAM NOV 1 1993.

E.F. Benson’s story is about a pre-cognitive experience. The narrator at 11.30 pm. can see a carriage from his bedroom window so clearly that it

seems to be surrounded by daylight. In an episode of my dream at dawn, I saw a carriage though minus horses very clearly from quite a distance.

But when I came up to it, I found it was or had changed into a police panda car.


 In the story, a person looks through binoculars and sees a gallows which is not actually there. In my dream I was walking for 5 hours on a Tuesday then came to the beginning of a motorway on my left. On looking down it, I saw in the distance a number of road signs and buildings of a nearby airport and much to my surprise, I was able to see that one of the signs had something fixed on to it which was moving.

 Whether I went down the motorway to get a close look or used binoculars the dream did not specify, but I saw the different signs at close range.

Horrible to relate, I also saw a gallows with a body still swinging from it.

I then tried to find a police station in order to report on this matter, but woke up before I had found one.


4. PSALM 23. ( DREAM OF 8/9/09).

I dreamed that I did not walk but cycled through the valley of the Shadow of Death, and contrary to the words of the Psalm, feared evil the whole time I was in it, so felt very glad that I had my bicycle..


 Five spectral figures in a procession through my local town were each like the harbinger of death in The Masque of the Red Death. All five were dressed as monks with hoods hiding their faces. All five were clearly not local people in fancy dress.

They were all dreadfully thin, and plainly skeletons under their clothing. Somehow I knew, for nobody told me, that they were the ghosts of monks who all died around 1480.

 They advanced towards me merely because the procession was heading in my direction..I was looking out of an upstairs window, and felt very relieved when they turned left and went away down the High Street.  

I stated earlier that I had never dreamed of a near accident and then an accident when cycling but have this week remembered what I have been taught. Messages in dreams can be conveyed symbolically.

 On March 3 1990, I was riding a very old cycle in my home town against repeated advice that it was beyond repair, and as I went down to a main road, my brakes failed. I quickly swerved left into a hedge, emerging unhurt. The same day I bought a second hand bicycle.

 I was riding that very same second hand bicycle on Sunday August 20 1995, a warm sunny day, and yet again against advice. I had been reminded the day before that the tyres had hardly any tread left and that I should not even ride the cycle home if home was over than 4 miles away. Preferably, I was told, I should not ride it any more at all while it was in this dangerous condition.

 Foolishly I had cycled 15 miles on the Saturday and now I had cycled a further 25 miles. Past Beaconsfield Bucks I came down a hill to Wooburn Green and at the bottom, the tyre on my front wheel exploded causing me to fall from the cycle.

Instinctively I put forward my hands and knees and swerved quickly to the left into a grass verge. I had a very badly injured upper lip, though lost only a fragment of one tooth, and fingers, hands, arms and knees were covered in cuts and grazes.

It was a little after 2 pm when I was taken to Wycombe Hospital. Then I was transferred to Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Only minor injuries. Praise the Lord. I prayed that films on the hospital television would be TOTALLY non-violent and one was about a disco competition while the other was a documentary about American forests with David Bellamy, so my wish was granted.

 My lip operation tok place at 11.30 pm. Fourteen stitches were put into my upper lip.

I felt so very happy to be alive and listening to music to help me relax as a skilled plastic surgeon was restoring my looks.         

 Undoubtedly the 1999 dream of spectral figures was a symbolic enactment of my two narrow escapes from death. Just as I in reality swerved left in order to avoid being killed in the 1990 incident, and swerved left as well as putting forward hands, arms and knees in the 1995 incident, so the spectral figures who were coming for me fortunately turned left and went away.

 In the dream of Sep 8 2009, there seems to have been a speculation on what kind after-life experience I might have had had I been killed in either of the cycle mishaps.

After cycling through the Valley of the Shadow of Death following my witnessing undertakers removing the body of an old lady, three days had gone by then at last I was in a brighter world on the council estate. But coming to think of it, I found no shops, no post office and nothing to do so it was not a wonderful place but it was ordinary and close to everyday life.

 This dream of Sep 8 2009 began by showing me Lonsdale Road, Barmes a road running parallel to the Thames. The only reason for this road appearing in the dream is that on Sunday July 16 2006, having failed to visit a cycle shop the day before to have tyres checked, and having omitted to carry a puncture mending kit, I had a puncture in this road after only 7 miles of cycling when trying to cycle 40 miles for charity and had to abandon the ride altogether.

 There was, I am sure, a message that while my cycle maintenance had improved and I had looked after my present bicycle bought on August 26 1995 quite well, I still should have avoided that puncture or at least carried a repair kit and then I might have cycled the full 40 miles.


Dream interpretations by Peter

About me.
A tall man aged 62 ( born in March 1949 ) with Asperger Syndrome who might pass for 50, I joined the dream group in June 2009 and interests include writing, classical music, mental health, psychology, and the paranormal, and I’ve done cycle rides, running and swimming events for charity.
Born in Birmingham with a degree from Birmingham University, I moved in 1973 to Surrey. My parents moved to Surrey in 1972, my mother died in 1973, and I lived with my father. I am still in Surrey living alone.
I was only diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in Nov 2007. When made redundant in April 2007 from a job handling a lot of cash and collecting very overdue debts which I did for 22 years, I met a former colleague who believed I had the syndrome and advised me to find out.

Since then I have been supported by National Autistic Society and Cooltan Arts, done voluntary library work, written poetry often humorous and had some published, and helped the Institute of Psychiatry which gave me a much fuller diagnosis of Asperger in July 2009. I also cope with OCD, anxiety and some depression but cope better since the diagnosis of Asperger. 
Through the dream group I have learnt about indirect and symbolic meanings in dreams, though apparently nonsensical or surreal details or happenings may be distracting. For example, on 18/4/08, I dreamed of a park. Nonsensically it led me from near to my first Birmingham home to South London, but most of the park was tidy with nice tennis courts, flowerbeds and well mown grass while about a quarter of it was dark with trees overhanging a stagnant filthy stream and neglected. The park symbolized my life, in many ways organized but with disorganization due to clutter at home.

The message was that the untidy part of my life was rather like rotten apples in a box of otherwise good apples. I needed to be tidier. 
In a dream of May 9 1999, at a time when I was recovering well from depression that had affected me for 7 months until January 4 1999 when my mood became brighter, I dreamed of walking with friends across a demolition site and through a concrete jungle of council houses and some derelict former shops towards the awful Gothem City. Suddenly I said “I have had enough of this” turned round and walked in the opposite direction. On the following day I crossed a blue sea with seagulls flying overhead along a wide suspension bridge then went up a road with large light bright detached houses, realizing that the scenery had improved from a sooty bridge over an absolutely filthy canal and a narrow road with old houses that were mostly boarded up.
On 8/9/09, I firstly dreamed of being out cycling and seeing a funeral procession. Oddly the old lady to be buried had not yet died- I was, impossibly, able to see people upstairs in her house waiting for her to die.

Undertakers then took her body away. I then cycled on, finding myself in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

Contrary to the Psalm, I actually DID fear evil, so I was glad I had my bicycle. I ended up on a council estate looking for a post office, and believe this indicates a hope that life after death will be ordinary and similar to everyday life.
On May 8 2011, I attended a one day seminar on how dreams often reflect important events in our life. I realized there were many important events in my life good or bad about which I had never dreamed- three minor operations, an accident and near accident when cycling wherein in each case I might have been killed, short holidays to Newcastle and Durham in which I ran in the Great North Run.
But I have certainly dreamed about losing things or fearing they were lost, and many times especially from 1999, have dreamed about revisiting the South Birmingham district of Northfield in which I lived until I was 22. Though I revisited Birmingham in Nov 2003 for 4 days attending a student reunion, I had only been in the north of the city or Edgbaston.
So dreams of revisiting Northfield continued. In one dream, Bunbury Road where I first lived had become a motorway, while in another dream I could not find South Road, where my second home had been. I dreamed that the old Bell Inn had been demolished ( correctly- there is now a branch of Curry’s and a charity shop in its place.) I dreamed a road leading to a council estate had acquired a Pork and Port restaurant literally serving only pork and port, and also of a new Pakistani restaurant where I had to remove my shoes before dining but could not find them afterwards so had to travel 140 miles home to Surrey in my socks!

Dreaming Back to Life

Dreaming Back to Life

by Kim Thomas BSc Nutritional Therapy and Dream Student

Dreaming has been an escape for me.  Struggling to get out of bed and to face the day was always a challenge; I would want to disappear into my dream world to find some kind of solace from waking life.  I think we can all relate to this on some level.  But what about using the time when asleep for healing and not hiding?  My intention with these words is to describe the process of gaining lucidity and how it is aiding me on my journey to wholeness.

I have a history of lucid dreaming; so when I discovered the Academy of Dreams in Euston, London I was “over the moon”.  For sometime now I have intuitively known that the peace and understanding I sought in my existence could be found in reawakening my consciousness to the inner dreaming realms.  In the past, dreams have been a comfort during the most difficult times of my life. 

After the Lucid Dreaming seminar at The Academy of Dreams, (one of four day workshops to open our hearts and minds to the power of our dreamtime) my attention shifted to my inner world and my search to harness the healing power of dreams.  I felt truly inspired by the day of dreaming discussions.  My dysfunctional, energy robbing habits seemed to drop away instantly, to make way for enthusiasm and a newly learned dreaming practice. 

The seminar taught us techniques on how to encourage lucid dreaming abilities and  emphasised on choosing one of them and sticking with it.  I chose the Reflection Technique devised by a german psychologist, Paul Tholey.  I borrowed an old digital watch and set it to beep every half hour, with that signal I question my state of awareness “Am I awake or dreaming?”  Eventually, the questioning is supposed to carry over into your dreams and allow for an opening up of lucidity.  The watch is a cue for awareness and also plays a part in my chosen state test.  A state test helps you to determine whether you are in the waking or dream worlds.  Studies have shown there are differences between the waking world and the dream states, one of which being an inability to read digital watches.

And so I practice daily, hourly and wait.  Recently I got so close but my excitement woke me up.  An extract from my dream diary

“The scene jumped to me watching me, gazing out of a bay window overlooking a stormy sea.  Something felt different and snapped me out of my non-aware state, I knew I was dreaming.  Then suddenly I am me again shouting what’s the time?  What’s the time?  Looking around the room, I realise my eyes are open, I am lying in my bed staring into the darkness. I lost it, my dreaming energy had run out.”

The next task is to maintain lucidity, several tasks are based on energising your senses to strengthen the dream experience.  I will keep you posted…

Interpretation of Dreams Workshop 15th February 2009

A great group of dreamers attended the Interpretation of Dreams workshop on 15th February. All were given a set of Academy Dream Cards, and each person worked with a dream to uncover its meaning. Some great meanings were uncovered.

Here’s a comment from a dreamer:

‘I found the whole day really interesting. It was fascinating to see how many different interpretations were possible for someone’s dream. I thought the day was structured very well and everything was presented in a way that was easy to follow and understand. I thoroughly enjoyed it!’

Toltec Dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga

I was very excited to host my first Toltec Dreaming and  Tibetan Dream Yoga class at the Academy of Dreams centre in Euston.  I was joined by a group of people from a variety of backgrounds all eager to know more about these two very fascinating dream perspectives.

 We first explored Toltec Dreaming where shamans are able to shift their perception and enter the dream world through trance.  During the course we practised a number of exercises including how to ‘gaze’ as taught by Carlos Castaneda. We worked through the three ‘gates’ of dreaming and learnt about ‘tensegrity’: movements to enhance energy.

Tibetan dream yoga is a powerful practice designed to help us recognise the illusory world.  Its a valyuable tool in which we can learn to recognise the dream state.  During our course we delved into karma, chakras and the six realms of cyclic existence. We discussed day and night time practice of dream yoga. 

Applying meaning to your dreams

I quite often get asked how you can understand or at least apply some meaning to a dream.  Dreams can be such an eclectic selection of symbols and events that it can be hard to know where to start or what on earth the dream meant!

Here is an example of one of my dream client’s dreams, with a short analysis and how the meaning could apply to their waking life:

“I’d joined a search for a missing woman and was scrambling up a steep slope covered in low growing bushes which were good for grabbing hold of to help you move up the mountain.  It was quite fast going and was being televised about all these people joining the search.  As we got further up we found potential signs of life . . . half eaten corn on the cob which increased hopes.  We carried on  . . I came to a point where I stopped and the main group carried on and I lost sight of them.  It was quiet and eerie and I was scared.  Saw a woman to the side of me  . . or a ghost? Frightened. Knew I could blow a whistle but didn’t.  I woke up feeling scared . . . . “

The dreamer in this example is a woman who was just about to leave her employed job and become freelance. But she did not quite have a hold on exactly what it was she wanted to do. She related to the ‘missing woman’ as she felt that she had not yet formed her identity. She had a ‘mountain’ ahead of her to climb symbolising the challenge of a new work life, and she is scared of the journey ahead. The dreamer identified that there were some areas of help (low growing bushes) relating to her security of friends and family. The television theme was interesting as the dreamer was thinking about moving into working with video and media. Luckily there were some signs of life (corn on the cob) showing that the dreamer still had some hope about her new future. The main group carries on (people in her current workplace) and she is left alone. The dreamer knows that she is able to ‘blow the whistle’ and go back to her former life at any time. But she bravely chooses the road less well travelled.