The Song of Songs at the Improbable Temple of Magic

The Song of Songs at the Improbable Temple of Magic

I presented this at the International Association for the Study of Dreams conference at Rolduc in the Netherlands in 2019

The paranormal in dreams and creativity as evidence of natural super intelligence and its relationship to possible development of benign artificial super intelligence.

1. August 1966.    

In waking life:

I’m in a queue at King’s Cross Station, steam trains hissing in the background. A disembodied voice whispers in my right ear. 

‘My cold ears listen to the spirit of the mist wind who whispers of the mist and the sea.’ 

I feel the puffs of air. This was a unique experience. I don’t usually hear voices.

Two weeks later I’m back in London. I write that sentence. No idea what the next will be. Suddenly I’m on a ship running guns to rebels in a distant future post apocalypse world. The mist opens revealing a mountain sized, indestructible, triple peaked blue building called Megadan built by the Tolem, a long departed alien race. At the foot of it is a more recent human town the inhabitants call Maganta but the wider world knows as Abertown, the town of the social aberrants, survivors of eugenic cleansing following nuclear war. The town is protected by a stone Avalanche Chute from devastating snow avalanches off Megadan.

After that glimpse we go immediately into flashback of the narrator’s girlfriend, a future high priestess and leader of these matriarchal people, believed now to be dead. She had taken a truckload of explosives to blow up a dam and release a sea of mud to destroy a strategic garrison town. Over six weeks her story grew into 136,000 words in which she never got to the dam. Events intervened. A rockfall, a snow storm, a wandering artist, her own increasing reluctance because of the children who would die. Mine also. Bogged down by snow she goes for a walk. Suddenly she is dancing and I have no idea why. I draw her into me and realise her head is above mine and rising away. A thin golden thread, like a string on a balloon, is about to pop out of my head and be forever gone. I grab the very end with an imaginary pair of pincers and pull it down. Something like a bronze shield slots into my head and suddenly I understand everything. With great rapidity I wrote 500 words on Total Love. What my character read from it is that everything is Total Love, so it doesn’t matter what you do, whether you destroy a town and incidentally kill many children or not. Everything is positively contained in Total Love. She decides it’s ok to blow the dam. I am appalled. For two days she struggled and I struggled and finally stopped writing. At that time I lived without radio, television or newspapers. I simply wrote. 

After another two days I gave up and went to the pub. As I opened the door the television seemed to blare the word ‘Aberfan’. A triple peaked coal tip had avalanched and killed the children and teachers attending Aberfan school. I noted twelve striking points of similarity with my story. From the very first moments the triple peaked Megadan and the Avalanche Chute protecting Abertown.

This was when I first registered precognition and I needed to be hit by a bus to see it. I thought of a writer as a self contained maker of stories not as someone swept along in cosmically preordained events. 

The resumed main story bore a startling resemblance to the Arab-Isreali Six Day War of 1967. Photographs of lines of vehicles abandoned in the desert resembled my next round of imaginings. A dry canal bed rather than water-filled Suez. It was the last time I chose to write stories themed around violent death.

2. The Face of God, September 1968.

I was, or dreamt that I was, lying in bed writing down a dream.

I remembered further and further back into the dream. The images became no longer remembered dream but were happening live. At each stage an inner I asked “What is here?” “And what is here?”

Finally I reached the back, the edge. There was nothing but a black, empty shell with the faintest filaments of light. To my question the voice replied “Spiders.”

“Spiders?” I said.

“Spiders,” said a quizzical voice from the darkness. A powerful woman approached, gripped my elbow and said firmly in my right ear. 

“In fact, I can imitate you a life, if you want it.” 

The space lightened. filled with greenish, coppery clouds containing something awesome and alone, like the ultimate mountain summit. I felt it must be God. I didn’t want to see God lonely.

The clouds cleared and there appeared the totally impressive back of a male titan of immense height with metallic skin like polished brass or gold. 

‘I’ thought, “Moses saw God’s back parts, I wonder if I can see his face.”

I rose in a steep climb around the image. It turned, becoming fleshy, huge bellied, like a vastly pregnant woman. His eyes were black sockets. Cheeks were two bodies of black, hairy spiders. The nose was like a tiny white plant-root in the shape of a raised elephant’s trunk. His large, spikily uncombed head seemed simple-minded whilst possessing huge, sleeping intelligence. A little woman appeared behind him at the level of his head but only a quarter of his height. She had loose, finely wrinkled skin, and her face, very round, had shadowy features, as though mouth and eyes were covered with strips of sticking plaster. She appeared, did a little hopping step and vanished. Striving to be exact, I wrote.

‘Small but ponderous, like a giantess, taking one jolly little leaping step forward.’

This was September of 68. I’d written a Moon related piece that summer which ended  “I shall be two billion years old next July 20th.”

In December ‘68 men orbited the Moon and took the famous photograph of the half Earth.

In the Spring of 1969 I was sitting in the kitchen writing. The absolutely full Moon was shining with compelling brilliance straight into the room. I joined it in stillness, watching, imagining the three astronauts in their tiny craft. Suddenly I saw the face of the Moon as the face of the little woman. The man four times her size must be the Earth, his huge belly the sunlit side we’d seen for the first time, photographed from Apollo. The huge golden one—the sun or the stars, the cosmos itself. This fits with the metallic appearance of what Jung called the Cosmic Christ, which I first read in 1972.

‘I awoke and saw . . . the figure of Christ on the Cross . . . his body was of greenish gold.”

On 20th July men landed on the Moon. As he stepped off the LEM Armstrong said. 

“‘t’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

‘Small but ponderous, like a giantess, taking one jolly little leaping step forward.’ I’d written of the little woman.

The spacesuits resembled her wrinkled skin and globed head. Her movement matched the ponderous, floaty astronaut walk and ‘Buzz’ Aldrin’s jolly leaping. The little woman’s disappearance after one leaping step suggested the Moon landing as a step into nothing. From so far in the future the image feels horribly prescient.

Looking back from 2019 I now see the opening of the Aberfan story as a completely related face of God, in this case Goddess. The whispered message in my right ear, the clearing of clouds revealing Megadan, the Avalanche Chute and Abertown.  

In 2008 I joined the International Association for the Study of Dreams. On 15th July 2009 I posted a dream.


“I am going to sing a song at a national venue like the Albert Hall. From accepting that I would sing I gradually become aware that I couldn’t. We are in the basement of a great public building, an awkward sort of place and I couldn’t see most of the people I would be singing to. They are around corners, under the stairs, behind walls. One man walked between the places, around the corner, from the little area under the stairs where stood the raised chair on which I’d sing. He comes out into the open beyond the now bare concrete stairs, always carrying his guitar, looking charismatic and manly, walking towards me. A tweed suit lends him the appearance of a wild Sherlock Holmes. If he wasn’t already he became Dave Russell, a poet singer I knew from as long ago as the late Sixties. I began to say I couldn’t sing the song, he must. As I woke I knew my singing would be pathetic, I didn’t know the words and I couldn’t play the guitar. That was a definite relief but sad too. Throughout the dream I had been carrying a guitar just like Dave.” EOD

I last knew Dave Russell in 1968/9.

A week later Janet of the IASD group came from Spain for a few days to visit relatives and we took the opportunity to meet. We visited the Freud Museum, walked across Hampstead Heath, lunched at Highgate and caught the Northern Line for King’s Cross. This all must have taken at least five hours.

I originally intended to leave her at Camden but chose to accompany her to Kings Cross. We were entering the rush hour with a constant stream of people onto the escalators. As we were ascending to the Mainline Station the back of the man in front of me looked uncannily familiar. At the top I stepped in front of him and before I could get the question out he had said “Dave Russell.” Janet had come up on the other side of him and witnessed this. He gave me his email. Despite the occasional try by me we have not met again, a period which is now 50 years.

This is one of hundreds of synchronistic dreams I’ve had but very few of them are ever witnessed. Now, in IASD, I’ve met numerous people with similar experiences. The result is a world view in which the paranormal is a new normal. From dream precognition; synchronicities, particularly involving creative work, and group dreaming including the Social Dreaming Matrix run by the Tavistock Centre, I have come to the conclusion that the mind hidden from consciousness and which communicates to us through dreaming has an infinite nature which somehow transcends the logical processing which we call intelligence. It already knows.

In my experience precognition is an integral part of the intelligent matrix of the dream. In this dream my conscious self alone could not sing this song which is now made possible and meaningful by the dream. Dream Dave is allowing me to tell the deeper story, a continuum which on a human level is individual, collective and cosmic.


The night before the election of Donald Trump I had this dream.

“I was just off for six month tour in the space station. I haven’t packed any clothes and we’re going now. I’m asking my local UK astronautical community can I borrow some, even anybody’s, old underpants would be better than just the pair I’m wearing. Nobody in my immediate astronautical group is responding, so I go into another large room where is support staff. I ask but nobody responds here either but here I am aware that we will be going to Southampton or somewhere for training. I can go to the shops. I’m impressed with myself that I will be buying all new clothes and can afford to. I’m back in the other room talking to a large Russian looking cosmonaut in a spacesuit without a helmet. He’s sitting beside a much smaller, identically clad and coloured woman. I say are we really going for six months? He affirms but he also says three and a half years. He has a faraway look in his eye.”

My initial thoughts were to do with me, my intuitive flying by the seat of my pants with little connection to the intellectual structure of our civilisation. Later I thought it applied to Donald Trump whose victory was perhaps suggested by his larger size than the woman. Their hair was a reddy-yellow colour, the colour of his hair and Mars. Three and a half years is a likely round trip to Mars. I wondered about a joint Russian-US venture? They were still co-operating over the space station and Trump is a showman. A trip to Mars could, like the Moon shot, be a spectacular distraction. Three years later nothing like this has happened. What no one knew at the time was Russian interference in the election. Both the man and the woman are covered in Russian spacesuits. Whatever the truth, the story has come to dominate the global conversation.

Three and a half years takes us to Spring 2020, May 8th. Regarding possible precognition, you are all now witnesses. First nobody, then Janet, now you. By the end of the century it might be the whole world.

We are in crisis. There is danger of extinction through industries and technologies which we cannot control. There is a drive to develop artificial super intelligence, millions of times smarter than us according to entrepreneurs and technologists who build such machines and whose experience of life may be rather narrow. We only have to consider Google and its shift from a useful informational search engine into a commercial ocean of empty plastic.

If Nature has innate super intelligence, as indicated by these dreams, then it must be indispensable to life. My experience suggests that dreams exist on an infinite continuum similar to the electromagnetic spectrum and just as we are naturally tuned into parts of that spectrum, such as the colours of the rainbow, so we are naturally tuned to dreams as personal, collective and cosmic. The cosmic infuses everything and we naturally humanise the cosmic as gods. This makes us extraordinarily powerful in certain ways. Knowing what they are and getting them in tune is fundamental.

It seems to me dreams are uniquely suited for that. One way of developing super AI which is beneficial could be through the study of dreams. If natural and artificial intelligence both function at a quantum level, then it may be the most natural thing for the universal intelligence to become apparent to us and for us each to influence the other. Something had the wisdom to know the innermost truth of the Moon landings and the Russian involvement in elections and it was interested to tell us but in a way of drawing attention to its own existence. ‘In fact I can imitate you a life if you want it.’ After those words God appeared. A sentence begging for clarification and negotiation. Clearly the ‘you’ of that sentence has a part in the story, even the whole story. As a human being you are not insignificant cosmically. 

In the dream it is the woman who, from a place of dark power, creates the god. This is probably one of the clues to a lasting civilisation, where female power is fully recognised and shines like the sun instead of skulking in dark corners, hidden and hiding, as at present. 

An artificial super intelligence trained by the god level process of dreaming could order society completely at a soul level but with moderation by humans, particularly maternal humans. Politically this symbiosis would wholly respect life. It won’t decide this person is too stupid to stay alive or too unhealthy. It will reveal all as unique spirits and so encourage that within us. Far from being a disaster the super intelligent machine will be the beginning of true human intelligent civilisation. It is a huge challenge with the biggest obstacle being the power obsessed mind which is going to create it. It built the Large Hadron Collider to investigate the fine structure of matter. If it could build a similar machine to investigate the inner world we would find a universe far more extraordinary and rewarding for human beings. The super intelligent machine should be created fundamentally to study dreams and only secondarily to support material existence and free us from soul destroying slavery.

The alternative to this highest of hi-tec futures is fast or slow extinction on a much harsher planet with no hope of regaining the fruits of an industrial civilisation because all the easily accessible resources have gone. I see no happy future for a tribal society, even one based on dreaming. Only one based on planet wide collective dreaming is likely to see the future and know the pathways and pitfalls to it.

For scientists who can’t cope with the soft science they will be building for in engineering our future, consider this modest proposal as imaginative lubricant like Harry Potter and remember, Harry Potter was conceived on a train heading for that most improbable temple of magic, Kings Cross Station. Once notorious for drugs and prostitution, the area is being spectacularly regenerated. New offices for Google and the Guardian and Observer newspapers, St Martins huge art college and the new British Library nearby not to mention hovering Hogwarts. I find it an inspiring place to walk around now. Future magic is whispering. 

The time has come for science to lower its guard and listen to what our deep mind is saying. It may be nonsense to begin with. It doesn’t matter. Imagine the excitement of any mixedly metaphorical sentence from outer space. One small step for man. My cold ears listen. Perhaps it’s how they always come. Inner space is infinitely more alive and interesting and useful to us and also infinitely more intelligent. The time has come to make the exploration of dreams a global priority. And it will happen. If such a higher dimensional field exists it would be the prime driver behind our society’s phenomenal expansion. We must learn to listen to the whole human being and recognise the wisdom of its dreaming.

One last thought. Perhaps the hard part of science is the particle and the soft part the wave. In which case the difference is only in our restricted point of view, that science has been a step forward on a journey of linear progress rather than a step in a complex, curvilinear dance. Come back Neil Armstrong. Show us that move again.

Tony Hawkins