Who’s Dreaming Who?

A Dream Within a Dream
by Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Am I dreaming you or are you dreaming me? If you dream about someone, does that mean they are also dreaming about you at the same time?..

Nicolas Dipre, The dream of Jacob, ca. 1500.

I’m not trying to be all philosophical or “far out, man”. I wanted to write a post about why I chose “Who’s Dreaming Who” as the title of this blog and this is what happened. I was led to that beautiful poem by Poe because the final two lines from the first stanza were in my head: “All that we see or seem // Is but a dream within a dream.” Which then led me to share this quote I’ve always liked by Alan Watts about life and dreams:

Alan Watts

“Let’s suppose that you were able every night to dream any dream that you wanted to dream. And that you could, for example, have the power within one night to dream 75 years of time. Or any length of time you wanted to have. And you would, naturally as you began on this adventure of dreams, you would fulfill all your wishes. You would have every kind of pleasure you could conceive. And after several nights of 75 years of total pleasure each, you would say “Well, that was pretty great.” But now let’s have a surprise. Let’s have a dream which isn’t under control. Where something is gonna happen to me that I don’t know what it’s going to be. And you would dig that and come out of that and say “Wow, that was a close shave, wasn’t it?” And then you would get more and more adventurous, and you would make bigger and bigger gambles as to what you would dream. And finally, you would dream … where you are now. You would dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today.”

Alan Watts (taken from one of his many talks, so it’s written as he spoke it)

What are your thoughts on dreams? Do you remember your dreams regularly? Have you ever experienced lucid dreaming? Wikipedia describes lucid dreaming as:

“a dream during which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. During a lucid dream, the dreamer may gain some amount of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment; however, this is not actually necessary for a dream to be described as lucid.”

I remember parts of my dreams most nights. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been able to control my dream(s), but I have managed to pull myself out of a particularly unpleasant dream on a few occasions. I once had a pretty harrowing experience of what felt like being attacked in a dream by some kind of entity which had the appearance of a black dog. Yes, I know it was “just a dream”, but I remember a feeling of being drained by this black dog. It felt like it was sucking the energy out of me and I had to almost fight my way out of the dream, waking myself up with a loud shout. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. Weird!

Have you ever had a similar experience in your dreams? Perhaps you only dreamed that you read this post if you made it to the end 😉

Ike no Taiga (Japan, 1723-1776) – Zhuangzi dreaming of a butterfly (or a butterfly dreaming of Zhuangzi)

Thanks for reading!

20 thoughts on “Who’s Dreaming Who?

  1. You know, I had never actually looked at the title of your blog. I just assumed it was the same as your address 😀 Learning something new every day!

    I do not remember about 99% of my dreams, for which I am thankful. When I do remember my dreams, good, bad or meh, I always wake up exhausted from merely existing instead of getting my rest.

    As a Christian, I certainly do believe in the supernatural and it seems completely logical to me that evil would attack us through any venue possible, including our dreams.

    Great non-review post. Do you have any more planned in the coming months or was this a one-off?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you😀 I have reviews to write but I wanted to share something different today. I was planning to write a “Why do I do this blog” post, but it morphed into this.

      My wife doesn’t remember her dreams, either. She thinks I’m a bit weird because I remember them regularly. 🙄 I’d never thought about dreams exhausting us. Does it mean I’m not getting enough restful sleep? I don’t know.

      Speaking of the supernatural, did you ever watch the TV show? I haven’t got into it but have been hearing things about it recently. I’ve also heard about the black dog symbolism in British folklore. Not in dreams but as an apparition which is supposed to foreshadow death in some form. Spooky!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Non-reviews are a blog’s lifeblood. They’re what give your blog character and show your readers something about you, outside of your reviews. It’s how your “persona” gets across to everyone 😉

        I don’t know if dream exhaustion applies to everyone or not, but it certainly does to me. I’d say if you’re not waking up feeling exhausted, then you’re safe 🙂

        I watched that show up until the 10th or so season? Then it just turned into an estrogen fest with the two brothers verbally girl slapping each other and acting like two 14 year old girls. In my opinion, the first two seasons are the best.

        I’m assuming you’re referring to hell hounds in one form or another? Folklore the world over has all sorts of interesting tidbits 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • “A black dog is a motif of a spectral or demonic entity found primarily in the folklore of the British Isles. The black dog is essentially a nocturnal apparition, in some cases a shapeshifter, and is often said to be associated with the Devil or described as a ghost or supernatural hellhound.”

          Memories of reading the Hound of the Baskervilles are flooding back right now. 😲 Conan Doyle’s story was supposed to be based on an old British legend:

          On Dartmoor, the notorious squire Cabell was said to have been a huntsman who sold his soul to the Devil. When he died in 1677, black hounds are said to have appeared around his burial chamber. The ghostly huntsman is said to ride with black dogs; this tale inspired Arthur Conan Doyle to write his well-known story The Hound of the Baskervilles”.

          I know who to turn to if I am ever plagued by the hounds of hell in future 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a deep subject and one that I love. Alan Watts is great for entertaining the mind in a spiritual way. He claims in his speeches that is what he is, an entertainer.

    I have my speculation about dreams, but as most things outside the visible spectrum, it’s very difficult to have any solid opinion about them.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Often, yes I do. I’ve had some very vivid dreaming and some play like a movie. I also have had some vivid dreaming. One where I was a speedboat in the crystal clear ocean on a perfect, clear day. The one with the movie was where I was on a a luxurious ocean liner where someone had stolen a prized jewel. There was a recap at the end where they showed who did it.

        I honestly used to have falling asleep hallucinations where a large room would pop into view and very slightly startle me. Or, I would see a grainy man walking on a 2d platform, very staticy almost like old CRT TV static. But, I don’t suffer from that anymore, even though I wouldn’t call it suffering so-to-speak.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Those are really interesting experiences. I often dream of a place I used to work at when I still lived in the UK, even though it’s almost 20 years since I was there. I interact with some of the people I worked with and it all feels very real at times. Then I wake up.

          I haven’t experienced hallucinations when falling asleep. But I once dreamed that I’d woken up in the early hours and was in my bed and I could hear someone walking up the stairs. That one felt very very real and freaked me out when I did wake up because I thought there was someone or something in the house. Creepy!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Love that little non-review post!
    I do remember many of my dreams, some I forget soon after waking up, but some stayed with me for years. I did have some recurring dreams and some lucid dreams too. I had a few dreams that later became reality (partly, at least – images and bits of storylines), so while I fully ascribe to the theory that our dreams are a way for our brains to clear the detritus gathered throughout the day, there are some things I can’t satisfactorily explain through this theory 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hah! Even though it sounds quite inviting, I prefer to stick to the reviews and the occasional tag and political post 😉 And my art 😉
        But I will be checking the discussion here – I find it very interesting! I actually haven’t realized many people don’t remember their dreams at all…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A Dream Within a Dream has always been my favorite of Poe’s poems. I often wake with that night’s dream still clear in my mind, but very shortly afterwards it fades from memory, perhaps leaving me with just a face or scene or feeling. Occassionally I’ll remember much more, and some I still recall from years ago. I used to keep a notebook beside my bed so I could write down as quickly as possible everything I could remember before it faded. As for lucid dreaming, I have done that but only once that I recall, and when much younger. It was the strangest feeling, as if I were about to wake but being able to stay in the dream, knowing I was dreaming, and to move it the direction I’d like instead of just being swept away as happens most nights. I tried to make it happen again but it never did, at least not that I can remember. This was an interesting post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, that’s cool that you were able to control your dream that time. I’ve never been able to do that, as far as I know. Waking myself up from an unpleasant dream is the best I’ve been able to do so far. Don’t you love that feeling when you realize it was just a dream and that everything is okay in the “real world”?!

      I also kept a dream diary for a while but I don’t think it made much of a difference to me. I continued remembering parts of my dream(s) the same as before. It’s worth a try though, if anyone else is reading this 🙂


  5. This post made me think of Inception a lot hahah I don’t always remember my dreams, unless I purposefully try to as soon as I wake up, then again, I also don’t dream regularly either. I haven’t ever experienced lucid dreaming but I’ve always found the idea fascinating. I bet I’d have tried remaining Batman during the entire dream or something hahah 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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