Check out Have You Ever Had a Dream Come True by Paul Ellis on Amazon Music. Stream ad-free or purchase CD's and MP3s now on triochitarristicodiroma.com
Todd plays "Never Had a Dream Come True" on the piano.
S CLUB 7 - NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE
A one-hit retrospective
Todd: Welcome back to One Hit Wonderland, where we take a look at bands and artists known for only one song. Now, as you know, I cover…
Montage clips of Dexy’s Midnight Riders –“Come On Eileen”; A-ha – “Take On Me”Todd (VO): …a lot of foreign acts on this show, most of whom turn out to be more popular in their home country than they were here.
Todd: But a lot of my understanding of music comes from critics based in the UK, and…that’s affected who I cover
Clip of Blur – “Song 2”
Damon Albarn: Woohoo!
Montage clips of Cliff Richard – “Devil Woman”; Take That – “Back for Good”; T. Rex – “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”Todd (VO): See, there’s a ton of British acts who are…technically one-hit wonders in this country, but in merry old En-ger-lund, they are not just more successful, they’re bona fide superstars. I simply cannot think of acts like these as one-hit wonders. So, I have always chosen not to cover them on this show.
Todd: That changes today.
Video for S Club 7 – “Bring It All Back"
S Club 7: Don't stop, never give up
Hold your head high and reach the top
Todd dances along in his seat
Let the world see what you have got
Bring it all back to youTodd (VO): Yes, as one of the requests I got, we are going to be looking at an act that was, for a few years at least, the biggest band in the Britain. [pause] Well, I don’t know the biggest there—I wasn’t there. But at the very least, they had very few rivals in the early 2000s British pop scene.
Todd: I am of course talking about the one, the only...
Video for “S Club Party”
S Club 7: S Club (There ain't no party like an S Club party)Todd (VO): That’s right. S Club 7.
Todd: Ain’t no party like an S Club party, ‘cause an S Club party is extremely irritating!
Clip of BBC trailer for S Club 7 in Miami
Jon: You Yanks might not have heard of our band, yeah.
Hannah: Believe me, you will!Todd: [shrugs] Ehhh…
Brief clips of S Club 7 in MiamiTodd (VO): If you’re an American, and of the right age, you might remember them for their TV show, which ran on the Fox Family channel for many years. S Club 7 in Miami, S Club 7 in Hollywood.
Todd: And then I think it was [shot of Law & Order title card with S Club logo stamped over; theme song plays in the background] S Club 7: Criminal Intent. I don’t remember. As far as I can tell, their show was decently popular here, but…
Clip of live performanceTodd (VO): …it was nothing compared to how big they were back home. Literally, every damn one of their singles broke the Top 5 in the UK. But in America, their presence on the pop charts was limited…
Todd: …to just…this.
Clip of “Never Had a Dream Come True”
S Club 7: I never had a dream come true
'Til the day that I found youTodd: [beat] Do you remember this one? Because I do not.
Todd (VO): I was in high school and I was way too good for that teeny-bopper, TRL crap by that point.
Todd: I was not too good for Matchbox Twenty, but I was way too good for S Club 7.
Todd (VO): But I feel like I should at least remember it, and I don’t. No memory of this whatsoever.
Todd: And actually, why would I? It’s not a very good song! [throws hands up]
S Club 7: I never had a dream come trueTodd (VO): In fact, I find this entire thing kinda mystifying. Big proven hitmakers, with the added promotion of a hit show. And yet their only American hit, which scraped into the Top 10 in the summer of 2001 was this forgettable, nothing ballad.
Todd: [shrugs] OK. A dream come true, I guess. Alright, let’s get this S Club party started.
S Club 7: No no no no
I never had aBefore the hit
Clip of S Club 7 - "Everybody Wants Ya"
S Club 7: You just gotta bump, see the people jump
I can't help thinkingTodd (VO): Our story begins in 1998. But the story of S Club 7 is not really that of any of its members.
Todd: No, their story is the story of [image of Simon Fuller] this man. You probably don't recognize him; you may or may not recognize his name, Simon Fuller. If you don't, well, guess what? Simon Fuller is maybe the most influential man in popular music of the past twenty years.
Montage clips of Pop Idol; American Idol; The X Factor; The VoiceTodd (VO): Yes, it was he who started the television revolution that was Pop Idol. Quickly exported to nearly every country in the world, and unleashing a whole onslaught of rival talent competitions that clog up the airwaves to this day. But in 1998, he was still riding high off his...
Todd: ...first name-making success...
Video for "Say You'll Be There" by...
Spice Girls: I'm giving you everythingTodd (VO): The Spice Girls. A pop sensation whose time in the spotlight was...actually surprisingly brief, but will forever define British pop music for me. [image of Simon with the Spice Girls at a charity event] And Simon Fuller was the brains behind the group. [clip of The Spice Girls - "Spice Up Your Life"] He found them, managed them, gave them their identities, and in 1997 [another image of Simon Fuller with red X stamped over his head] was rewarded by being fired by the group.
Todd: Why? [shot of article: "Exit Sixth Spice, a victim of girl power"] The Spice Girls themselves have never really given a clear reason. Personally,I suspect [clip from...] Spice Worldwas the main factor.
Mel C: Hold on to your knickers, girls!Todd (VO): Yeah.
Todd: But that's when Fuller got his next idea.
Clip of another trailer for S Club showTodd (VO): A band that had the backing of a sitcom. Just like The Monkees. It'd be just like Spice World except it's on week after week. And it'd be on television instead of film, so it'd be OK it had no budget. He named it the S Club 7. What does the S stand for?
Todd: The members eventually confirmed it a few years ago. [yet another image of...] It stands for "Simon." He slapped his initials on that band like a pair of [image of Calvin Klein boxers] designer underwear.
Brief montage clips of S Club 7 in L.A.; S Club 7: Boyfriends And Birthdays; Seeing DoubleTodd (VO): And they starred in their TV show for four seasons. Plus two TV movies, plus one feature movie in the UK. And I watched all of it.
Todd: No, I didn't even remotely, but I tried my best.
Todd (VO): It's about being a struggling English band trying to make it in America. Which is funny because they mostly didn't.
Todd: But here they are. Let me introduce you to [brief shots of cast with their names...] Rachel, Bradley, Hannah, Paul, Jo, Jon, and Tina. Or actually, let me introduce you to them by the character archetypes they played on the show. [same shots appear...] The dumb one, the dumb one, the dumb one, the dumb one, the dumb one, the dumb one, and the dumb one. I'm sorry, this show rotted my brain.
Clip of...Todd (VO): Like, you know how you can watch Saved By the Bell, and know who the different characters are or...[image of Spice Girls at the VMAs] how you could look at the names of each Spice Girl or even just look at their outfits and figure out what they represented?
Todd: I could not do that at all for S Club 7.
Clips of S Club 7 in HollywoodTodd (VO): The only real characteristics they have were that they were color coordinated like the Power Rangers. So, uhh, if you like yellow, you were Hannah I guess. But even though that show is not good, it's really easy to see how influential it was. You can bet that the Disney corporation was watching this, because that show is the model for every [clip of Lizzie McGuire] Hilary Duff and Hannah Montana that came after.
Todd: I don't know if I prefer this or the Disney model honestly.
Todd (VO): The BBC does things very differently. It's much less colorful and grubbier, and it doesn't have a laugh track, so it's a lot less memorable, but also less annoying.
Todd: I'll say this: I enjoyed it a lot more than HighSchoolMusical[shrugs].
Clip of S Club 7 in MiamiTodd (VO): But the songs...oh, the songs.
Todd: Oh, boy.
Clip of "Bring It All Back"
S Club 7: Don't stop, never give up
Hold your head high and reach the top
Let the world see what you have gotTodd (VO): Like, even in the days of TRL dominance...
Todd: ...this is edgeless.
Todd (VO): It's so chipper. It doesn't even sound '90s.
Todd: It's a direct recreation of what pop music [clip of live performances of The Partridge Family...] sounded like in the '70s. It's clearly trying to be [...and...] the Jackson 5.
S Club 7: Bring it all back to you
Clip of The Jackson 5 - "I Want You Back"
Jackson 5: I want you backTodd: It's-it's just too bland.
Video for Britney Spears - "...Baby One More Time"Todd (VO): What I remember about teen pop in 1999, the-the Max Martin sound, was that it was incredibly forceful...
Todd: ...and in your face!
Snippet of familiar three-note riffTodd: It's like a tank...
Todd (VO): ...rolling through your city. Unstoppable.
Todd: And S Club 7 are an entirely different genre.
Video for S Club 7 - "S Club Party"Todd (VO): Even when trying to be at their most in-your-face, they sound so innocent. Like, whatever is too kiddy for Radio Disney.
Todd: You play this on Nick Jr. Jr.
Todd (VO): Which is weird, 'cause every now and then they'll dip into something more adult than they should be.
Todd: And it hits such a weird note.
S Club 7: Ghetto Boys make some noise
Hoochie mamas, show your nanasTodd is speechless
S Club 7: Hoochie mamas, show your nanasTodd (VO): The mere fact that you call them nanas tells me you're not ready to be talking about them.
Todd: And that's not even getting into what [air quote] "ghetto boys" is supposed to mean.
S Club 7: Ghetto Boys make some noiseTodd (VO): Is [album cover for Best of the Geto Boys] Bushwick Bill hiding in the background?
Todd: I mean, they did get sexed up eventually. [image of Jo, Rachel, Hannah, and Tina in bikinis] They were young, hot people in a world full of UK tabloids. I watched their show, I think I [clip of Miami 7] caught a joke about Rachel having giant boobs.
Jo: Yeah, you're just like Ally McBeal. Except when she looks down, she can see her feet.Todd (VO): Let me guess, that never happened on Victorious. There's also a bit that sticks out to me from where they were trying to learn how to be American.
Tina: This...is a lift; over here they call it an elevator. This...is Hanson. Over here they call them talented.FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU!
Todd: How dare you?! [tries to compose himself] Hanson [clip of live performance] became a really good band when they got older! Yeah, I know it was...
Video for Hanson - "MMMBop"Todd (VO): ...the '90s, and everyone clowned on Hanson; me included, but...
Todd: ...if there's one group of people who weren't allowed to diss them...
Clip of S Club 7 - "Reach"
S Club 7: Reach for the stars
Climb every mountain higherTodd: I'm just saying. [text appears briefly: Hanson rules!] Well, anyway, let's cut to the end of the year 2000.
Snippet of spinning S Club logos which serves as the segue to...
The big hit
Todd: [pause] Uh...yeah. Well...
Clip of live performance of "S Club Party"Todd (VO): ...S Club 7 are now an international smash. Hit show across the world, two seasons, two albums. Mega-successful in the UK, but still no breakthrough in America. They were gonna need a real act of charity to get big.
Todd: And that's what they got.
Clip of BBC News...
Terry Wogan: ...million, two hundred and forty-four thousand...Todd (VO): The BBC does a charity drive called Children in Need every year. And they released a charity single for it every year, too. Sometimes it does well, sometimes it doesn't. That year it was delivered by S Club 7.
Tess Daly: "Never Had a Dream Come True." Go buy this song!And I'm sure they helped a lot of kids. But the real kids who benefited were themselves. [clip of "Never Had a Dream Come True"] It was their dream come true. They might as well have called it, "Never Had a Hit Break America."
Todd: Not 'til the day they found...this.
S Club 7: I never had a dream come true
'Til the day that I found you
Even though I pretend that I've moved onTodd: This is such a goddamn boring song. [throws hands up] I'm not sure what to say here, but here it goes.
Clip of Children In Need performanceTodd (VO): OK, first point, charity singles suck as a rule. For us Yanks, they were only [clip of USA for Africa - "We Are the World"] a thing briefly in the '80s, and all attempts to revive them have failed. But, the Brits have never gotten over it; they love it more and more every year it seems like. They have them for Children In Need, [clip of One Direction - "One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)"] for Comic Relief, a bunch of one-offs every year. I've heard a [clip of Cher, Chrissie Hynde & Neneh Cherry - "Love Can Build a Bridge"] bunch, and I don't know if there's a good one in them.
Clip of Children In Need performance of "Never Had a Dream Come True"
S Club 7 (with choir): 'Til the day that I found youUggh, the live version has a children's choir, too. The Brits must be a really generous people who love giving out of the bottom of their hearts...
Todd: ...because no one could like these songs.
Video for "Never Had a Dream Come True"Todd (VO): So why was this their only American hit? Well...
Todd: ...it fit the American pop scene in a way that all their other songs didn't.
Video for The Backstreet Boys - "Larger than Life"Todd (VO): Look, the Backstreet Boys and Britney and Christina, they had their big, giant Max Martin smashes...and S Club 7 were just not a band who could compete on those terms.
Todd: But boring ballads...sure. That was super successful in both countries.
Montage clips of Christina Aguilera - "I Turn to You"; Mariah Carey ft. Joe & 98 Degrees - "Thank God I Found You"; Ricky Martin - "She's All I Ever Had"; Faith Hill - "There You'll Be"; Celine Dion & R. Kelly - "I'm Your Angel"Todd (VO): You could be a TRL act, or an R&B singer, or a Latin pop star, or a country singer; no matter who you were, you could dip into easy listening and the public would eat it up. And then forget it entirely within a few months.
Todd: Soppy ballads ruled the airwaves, especially in England.
Clip of Westlife - "Flying Without Wings"
Westlife: I'm flying without wingsTodd (VO):Oh my fuckin' Christ, England by the way. What the hell were you guys doing? [clip of Blue - "Guilty"] From what I can tell, British pop was at a serious low point. Shitty ballad after shitty ballad. Awful. This is why no UK pop act crossed over for, like, the entire Bush administration.
Video for "Never Had a Dream Come True" startsBut yeah, this is, uh, this is as early 2000s as it gets. [opening notes play] Got the Spanish guitar in there, which is...like the sad residue of the Latin pop craze.
Todd: But I just don't have anything to grab on to here.
Todd (VO):When you got a ballad, you have to have some kind of memorable detail, like a sentiment, a hook, a something.
Todd: Like, "I Want It That Way."
Clip of The Backstreet Boys - "I Want It That Way"
Nick Carter: Tell me whyTodd (VO): That song's great, and its hook is that it doesn't make any sense. [clip of Celine Dion performing...] Or "My Heart Will Go On." It had the flute, and it had Celine's bulldozing powerhouse voice.
Todd: But..."Never Had a Dream Come True?"
Clip of "Never Had a Dream Come True"
Jo: There's no use looking back, or wondering
How it could be now or might've beenTodd (VO):I just don't see what I'm supposed to care about. They're even dressed in all white, they don't even get to wear their colors. That was all the personality they had!
Todd: OK, the opening lyric about having to leave someone behind does tug on one heartstring I have.
Jo: Everybody's got something
They had to leave behindTodd (VO): I mean, I kinda like the idea that it was just fate, no one's decision. And there's a lot of regret there.
Todd: But...it kinda shows the problem, too.
Jo: Everybody's got somethingTodd (VO):Yeah, everyone's got that someone. It's writing about it like it's a universal experience.
Todd: And a ballad needs to be personal.
S Club 7: And I know no matter where life takes me toTodd: Yeah...nothing. My heart remains cold and dead listening to it. [pause] I mean, it might just be cold and dead, period. [shrugs]
Jo: Somewhere in my memory
I've lost all sense of timeTodd (VO): I-I'll give it this. Jo is a good singer...and she's singing it like she means it. She's giving it her all. I mean, look. These kids, they haven't had the joy and life strangled out of them yet, so, you know, that does a lot. I've heard worse is what I'm saying, they're doing their best. Or at least Jo is, I don't know if the rest of them are all that necessary.
Todd: Are the guys even doing anything on this song? I think they're just lip syncing.
Todd (VO):[as one of the guys] Yeah, we're still here...maybe.
Jo: I just can't say goodbye
Clip of "Country Song (Pandering)" from Make Happy
Bo Burnham: Y'all dumb motherfuckers want a key change?
Back to "Never Had a Dream Come True"
S Club 7: I never had a dream come trueLook, I guess the S Club were trying to remake themselves in a more mature direction. But you don't gain maturity just by singing mature songs.
Todd: And maturity is overrated anyway. As far as I'm concerned, they should've stuck with their original direction. Next!
The same segue from before transitions to...
The failed follow-up
Todd: I'd like that to stop. Well, anyway, here's their next single, "Don't Stop Movin'."
Video for "Don't Stop Movin'" starts
Bradley: Yeah, come onTodd (VO):Oh, it's uhh, we're going disco, I see.
S Club 7: Don't stop movin'Ain't no disco like an S Club disco. It's got more of a groove at least. It's...
Todd: ...kinda like a middle school version of Daft Punk.
Snippet of Daft Punkian beatTodd (VO):It's got a good beat, you can dance to it. It's still really, really just for kids. Like, there's nothing that's ever gonna give this band any kind of edge; they could sing Megadeth and it'd still sound like The Wiggles.
Todd: But you know, I can't complain. It's their aesthetic.
Video for S Club 7 - "Have You Ever"Todd (VO):Unfortunately, they followed that with another Children In Need ballad, which was even more boring than the first one. But you know what? Those songs both still topped the British charts. And all their other singles did well, too.
Todd: I promised you a failed follow-up, so let me give you a failed follow-up.
Clip of opening for S Club SearchTodd (VO):You know how I was talking about Pop Idol earlier? Technically, that's not Simon Fuller's first reality show. Because, debuting just one month earlier, we had S Club Search. The quest to find the preteen spin-off group to S Club 7. It had a whole docuseries hyping up their arrival before their debut in April 2002, so...
Todd: ...let me introduce you to S Club 8.
Clip of S Club 8 - "One Step Closer"
S Club 8: One step closer to heavenTodd (VO):Actually, they were S Club [logos for...] Juniors at first, and then they changed the name to [...and...] S Club 8. Either way, they still sound like the shitty direct-to-video sequel of the original. And honestly, they weren't exactly failed either. For one album at least, they were very brief though. Their second album flopped, their show was cancelled after a season...
Todd: ...and they quickly disbanded. Although a couple of the girls eventually [image of promotional poster of The Saturdays] started their own girl group, which became much more successful. And I bring up the Juniors because it just reminds me of how mercenary this whole enterprise is.
Video for S Club 7 - "Natural"Todd (VO):S Club 7 were not a band, they were a franchise. Even other manufactured pop acts look more legit. There...
Todd: ...was no Backstreet spin-off. NSYNC didn't continue without Justin. [clip of opening for Hannah Montana] Disney didn't slap a wig on some random girl and make her the new Hannah Montana. [clip of another live S Club 7 performance] Meanwhile, here's the interchangeable 7, not a single one of whom could've been easily replaced, and their boss is trying to launch the S Club extended universe! Fuller tried to do something...
Clip of trailer for American JuniorsTodd (VO):...similar in America by the way. Like child stardom isn't fraud enough. Let's have them compete and pick them off one by one.
Did they ever do anything else?
Todd: Oh God, it's a mess.
Clip of S Club 7 - "You"Todd (VO):Look, the S Club 7 were big their entire existence. They kept having hits, but the S Club machine was getting really shaky. [clip of Hollywood 7] The show was brutal. And I don't mean it was brutally bad, although it was. I mean, the schedule. They were trying to be pop stars in Britain, and [screen capture of Google Maps trip from London to Los Angeles] TV actors in America at the same time. [underlined text appears: 5,437 MILES] That's nuts!
Another clip of Hollywood 7Oh, and at some point, the show had Hannah and Paul start dating. [as Hannah and Paul kiss] Woo! To be clear, Hannah and Paul [clip of interview with S Club 7] started dating in real life, and it got written into the show. To me, that seems like a recipe for goddamn disaster. But it turned out not mattering because, Paul quit the band anyway midway through the fourth season. He was gaining weight, he didn't like the attention, and he wanted to make his own music.
Todd: And as foreshadowed by his [image of Paul] awful Limp Bizkit goatee, he started a nu metal band, which ended up going nowhere. [shot of article: "S Club 7 star Paul Cattermole's shock Twitter rant about Hannah Spearritt"] His relationship with Hannah did in fact end pretty ugly, but that came later.
Clip of Viva S ClubTodd (VO):And since there weren't seven of them anymore, they renamed themselves just, S Club. Or S'Club as I call them.
Todd: I kinda wish they'd just become S Club 6 for maximum confusion.
More clips of Viva S Club; "Never Had a Dream Come True" plays in the backgroundTodd (VO):And there's too much other stuff. [shots of various articles: "S Club 7 trio cautioned for drug possession"...] Drugs, [...S Club's Jo Ordered To Rest Over Spinal Problem"...] injuries, [...and "TV show sold to 120 countries.. but the band got just 52k each"] lawsuits.
Todd: They called it quits in '03.
Video for Rachel Stevens - "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex"
Rachel: If I were in your shoesTodd (VO):Some of them [clip of Primeval (ITV): Aired 2007 - 2011] went on to bigger and better things. [shots of articles: "Big Brother star Jo denies racism"...] Some of them...
Todd: [...and "S Club 7's Paul Cattermole's desperate struggle for work"] ...did not.
Clip of reunion concertTodd (VO):They did do a brief reunion tour in 2015, and there are rumors they are going to reunite again soon for the 20th anniversary. [shot of yet another article: "S Club 7's Paul talks 'difficult' reunion and labels bandmate a 'bully'] But the last one didn't seem to go very well, so, uhh, yeah. Maybe it'll happen.
Todd: Right after that co-headlining tour of the original lineups of [images of...] Guns N' Roses and Smashing Pumpkins. [shrugs]
Did they deserve better?
Todd: In America, you mean? Well, how about I put it like this. I think they deserved to have any of their other hits be big rather than the one that did.
Clip of "Never Had a Dream Come True"
S Club 7: I never had a dream come trueTodd (VO):I'm not gonna say I liked them exactly, but I have had "S Club Party," and, "Reach", and "Don't Stop Movin'", and "Bring It All Back" intractably stuck in my brain since I started this episode.
Todd: They're cheesy, they're really grating. But I see why they're hits. Goddamnit, they're catchy.
Todd (VO):"Never Had a Dream Come True" just slides off my brain. And did they deserve better?
Todd: Yeah, they deserve better the same way every child star deserves better than to be ground up and spit out by the pop machine. [shrugs]
Video for "Never Had a Dream Come True" endsClosing Tag Song: S Club 8 - "Never Had a Dream Come True"
"Never Had a Dream Come True" is owned by Polydor Records
This video is owned by me
THANK YOU TO THE LOYAL PATRONS!
Check out Have You Ever Had a Dream Come True by Paul Ellis on Amazon Music. Stream ad-free or purchase CD's and MP3s now on triochitarristicodiroma.com
For whatever reason it was, I went to the distinctive location in the restaurant that I went to in my dream, and all of the sudden I felt like a piece of a puzzle that was put in its place. Every detail, every sensation, every inch of my surroundings, perfectly mimicked my dream. This brought on the most intense and overwhelming rush of Deja Vu that I have yet to experience in my life. I must have looked like I was seeing a ghost or maybe even losing my mind, because at that point in time everything for me froze as my feeble brain scrambled to make sense of it. This was it; I was to be fired!
Remembering how I had spoken to my coworker in my dream, I approached her, as she just so happened to be scheduled to work with me that night. I was so shocked by my recent revelation that I needed to reach out to someone, and who better than the coworker from my dream, maybe she could give me some more answers. I told her with grave seriousness that I was going to get fired that night. She looked puzzled but started rattling off jobs that she could help me find "if" I were to be fired.
Sure enough, what was inevitable had played out. I left that night for the last time, jobless. Having absolutely no doubt that this dream was a precise prediction of the future, I also have no doubt that the boss's wife being jealous of me was the reason it happened. But the most important thing to be learned from this story is how Deja Vu and dream premonitions are interlinked.
Some years ago, a Johns Hopkins University study found that pregnant women who had an intuition about the sex of their baby were correct 70% of the time—but women who had a dream about the sex of their baby were correct 100% of the time!
We have access to very deep knowledge in there, and we’re sleeping through it most of the time.
Dreams tell you what you really know about something, what you really feel. They point you toward what you need for growth, integration, expression, and the health of your relationships to person, place and thing. They can help you fine-tune your direction and show you your unfinished business. They’re meaning machines. And they never lie. Author Tom Robbins once said that dreams don’t come true; they are true. When we talk about our dreams coming true, we’re talking about our ambitions.
Dreaming is ultimately about awakening. The unconscious, from which dreams bubble up, seems to contain an image of the way you’re supposed to be, and continually works toward the expression of this potential, day and night. It often knows things about which you’re otherwise in the dark, things which in the broad daylight of consciousness remain invisible, just as the stars play to an empty house during the day when the sun is shining. Some things can only be seen when it’s dark. Trying to solve your problems or make your way or get a grip on your priorities without the information that dreams provide is like being a judge with only half the facts of a case.
To ignore dreams is to tear out pages from your own unfolding story, which winds right on through the night-shift, and cut yourself off from that place from which passions and callings emanate. Most spiritual traditions clearly regard dreams as revelations from the gods and goddesses, and consider the act of separating the waking life from the dreaming, the conscious from the unconscious, as not unlike separating a plant from its roots.
The Jungian author James Hillman has written that “When I ask, ‘Where is my soul, how do I meet it, what does it want now?’ the answer is, turn to your images.’” By which he primarily means dreams and art, since both speak a visual language. So if you want a homing beacon to help you know your soul and navigate your life, you can't do much better than turning to your dreams.
For one thing, they're masterpieces of metaphoric communication:
* You’re trying to decide between following passion or security, and dream of throwing a rock through the window of a bank, and then burying your briefcase in the backyard.
* You’re following a call toward a very public life, and don’t realize your true feelings about sacrificing privacy, until an anxiety dream shows the island you live on being towed toward the mainland.
* Someone with whom you’re considering teaming up appears in a dream wearing costume jewelry and fake leather shoes.
* You’re postponing an important decision, and dream of “missing the boat.”
* You’re unsure whether you have the ability to handle what seems like an impossible task, but then have a flying dream.
* In the weeks prior to losing a job early in my journalism career, one I was hanging onto primarily for the security and status, my dreams were splitting at the seams with portents of how I really felt about trading off integrity for comfort and a dollop of renown. And though I faithfully recorded them in my dream journal, I did absolutely nothing about interpreting them. At some level, I didn't want to know what they had to tell me. Which is another way of saying I knew what they had to tell me.
In one dream, I was handed a stack of hundred-dollar bills and later discovered that I’d been cheated: only the top bill was a one-hundred; the rest were ones. In another, I lost my wallet with all my identification cards in it. In another, I found a golden calf, deformed and chained to the ground. In yet another, I was invited to the boss’ estate for an extravagant pool party, but the pool was empty.
This is not exactly rocket science. The meaning of these dreams couldn’t have been more obvious if it was tattooed across the bridge of my nose. I was being invited to take a good look at what I was doing at that job, how I felt about being there, and because I didn’t want to look, the sudden loss of the job—the official reason, appropriately, was that “there isn’t a fit”—came as a complete shock to me when it shouldn’t have.
Contrary to the rationalist hooey that dreams aren’t real (“You’re just dreaming”), dreams are very much real. They convey real information, real impact, real emotions, and have real consequences if ignored. If you don’t honor your dreams, you’ll at the least dream them until you do, or the unconscious will “dream up” other channels for their messages to come through, such as symptoms, neuroses and compulsions. As with anything you avoid, the more you ignore dreams, the more insistent they become.
A tribe in Malaysia called the Senoi puts great stock in their dreams, and gathers each morning to share them. When they dream of being chased, they assume that whatever is chasing them is ally rather than enemy, and so turn and face their pursuer to inquire what the chase is all about, what the message might be that the pursuer bears.
This is the heart of dreamwork, of revealing the nature of the calls whose fins break the surface in your dreams, of deciphering the messages they bring. The challenge lies in turning around and facing whatever is there, rather than running from it. The fact is, there’s gold in them thar hills, but it takes some nerve to study your dreams, the same nerve it takes to examine a firecracker that didn’t go off.
This certainly helps explain why dream recall is such a slippery affair. A part of us doesn’t want to remember them, because of the messages they bear, the things they reveal, the directions they point us. The truth may set you free, but there’s an even chance that first it will scare the daylights out of you.
As for the dream material itself, some of it is like junk-mail, only a small percentage being truly useful and worth slogging through. Some of it also comes in such a crazy mambo of images, vignettes, metaphors, and other psychic ephemera, that trying to make any sense of it is like running down the street trying to grab the loose papers of a manuscript the wind has snatched out of your hands.
But don’t necessarily run with the first interpretation that comes to you. Brainstorm all associations you can conjure about the dream images or events, especially the most potent one in the dream. What words, ideas, people, memories and feelings does it remind you of? Then go with the one that elicits the most energy from you, that has the most oomph.
Avoid a dream-dictionary, this-means-that approach to interpretation. Dreams are far too subjective for that. Water, for instance, will mean something very different to someone who almost drowned as a kid than to someone who feels more at home in water than the fishes.
Since most dreams (though not all) seem to relate to something happening in present time, ask what, if anything, the dream ties into in your life right now. Where have you seen this particular scenario playing itself out lately? What is it trying to tell you? What is its central message? If you dream of flying, falling, conquering foes, being unable to find something, having extraordinary powers, being chased, ask how these may be symbolic of aspects of your life. But check the physical world first, before settling on an interpretation. If you dream your car loses its brakes, check your brakes. If nothing shows up, check where in your life you perhaps feel unable to stop, out of control.
It isn’t even necessary, though, to understand dreams or mine them for meaning, writes Thomas Moore in Care of the Soul. Merely giving your attention to them, granting them their autonomy and mystery, goes a long way toward opening the portals and shifting from analysis to responsiveness. In fact, what largely determines whether you recall dreams at all is simply the amount of interest you pay them.
Not only do dreams respond to attention, they respond to direct requests. In other words, you don’t have to wait around for them to appear. You can draw them to you by petition. You can bargain with them. If you get in the habit of asking for dream guidance as you’re dropping off to sleep, dreams will fairly beat a path to your door. Just be prepared to take dictation: keep a pad and pen by the bedside, or a tape-recorder. Promise yourself that if you're sent a dream, you’ll write it down upon waking, even if that’s at three a.m. Prompt them with specific questions. Ask for directions. Ask for clues. Ask what your next step should be. Ask for clarification of last night’s dream.
Just get to your dreams before the world does. Write them down before you even get out of bed, because the moment your feet hit the floor, you literally ground yourself, and the lightning energy of dreams disappears into the earth.
Finally, consider conducting a ritual to help concretize a dream, bringing it out of dream-state and into waking life, from the abstract down into your muscles, emotions and physical life. A ritual is an enactment of the dream message, of whatever change the dream is calling for. It’s a way of taking a small step in that direction, making an outward sign of an inward intention. It’s a little rite of passage.
There’s an old tradition in the Christian Church that one hadn’t prayed unless one’s lips had moved. It expresses the psychological truth that something physical has to happen to establish that you mean business, that your devotion to growth is real and not merely a high opinion you have of yourself.
If you dream of the necessity of choosing passion over security, for instance, you might ritually burn a one-dollar bill, while entreating the gods of courage. If a dream points to the need to make a break with tradition, take a stick of wood and break it in two. If your dream shows you flying over obstacles, set up a series of rocks in the backyard, give them the names of your obstacles, and make broad jumps over them.
A ritual can be as simple, too, as putting a flower in a vase, making a circle of stones, burying something that represents an old habit, kneeling down in prayer, washing yourself in the river, anointing yourself with oil, visiting the zoo to spend some time with the animal in your dream, planting something, drumming or singing, feasting or fasting, making a mask, lighting a candle.
“I can light a candle because I need the light,” says writer Christina Baldwin, “or because the candle represents the light I need.”
For more about Passion!, visit www.gregglevoy.com
For many (who have not yet experienced dreams coming true) this phenomenon can When I had Deja Vu about my dream, later on, that was simply my mind Have You Ever Experienced a Premonition in a Dream Before?.
I recently heard about a precognitive dream in a true story about a Welsh artist – a single woman in her fifties – who owned a house in the city. But at night she kept dreaming of a beautiful house in the countryside. After having dreamt of this house several times, she painted it, with all the details that stood out in her dream.
Then a few months later, she met a man and fell in love. He took her to spend the weekend in his home, which was in the North of England. She could not believe it when she saw his house – it was the house from her dream (and her painting) – right in front of her eyes, right down to the last detail. She showed him the picture she had painted. She later moved into that house with him.
People regularly send me emails recounting their weird/paranormal/intuitive experiences and so I hear stories similar to this one, relatively often. And I’ve had experiences like this myself, although not quite as romantic and dramatic as the story above.
Dreaming of the future is known as precognitive dreaming.
People usually ask me: how can I further develop this gift, and what is the purpose of it?
Here are my thoughts on those two questions.
To my mind, precognitive dreams have two main purposes:
A dream like this sometimes might show you something unpleasant that might occur if you continue on the path you’re on. You experience the consequences/unpleasantness in your dream, and it allows you to course-correct and make another choice if you want to, so that you avoid the outcome shown in your dream. Then what you dreamed may or may not come about, depending on the choices you have made.
Sometimes people have precognitive dreams about world events. If the experiences of readers of this blog are anything to go by, it seems some people who are very ‘tuned in’ dreamt of the 2011 tsunami in Japan the night before it happened or a few days before.
A dream like this is usually one in which you see yourself, in a particular place. The details are usually very specific. Perhaps you see yourself doing something very specific, or you notice the specific details of your surroundings. Perhaps you’re speaking to someone who says something very unusual that sticks out in your memory.
Then some time later, you find yourself in that exact situation, in those exact surroundings, with the person in your dream who says what they said in your dream. You might have the same exact feeling in your reality as you did in your dream, like a weird déjà vu moment.
This has happened to me several times. I have travelled around a lot since I was 19 and even before I know I’m going to move again, I have often dreamt of myself in a particular part of the world. It would be in a very specific building or house, or walking down a specific road, where I see something unusual in my dream.
A few months or several months later, I find myself in the house from my dream, or walking down that road where I see the thing I dreamt of. And I’m not talking things you see every day, but details out of the ordinary, that really hit you in the face as being from the dream. And a strange feeling of déjà vu that accompanies it.
In terms of how precognitive dreams work, I believe that when we’re asleep, we have access to the past and to the future. Have you ever relived a scene from your past in minute detail, in a dream? I know I have. Being asleep, and in the astrals, allows you to time travel – both to the past and the future – and then remember the parts that you need to remember.
I remember experiencing this vividly when I was about 19 and at university. I was taking a nap and dreamt that I had to wake up because the fire alarm was sounding. When we all got outside, it turned out my housemate had set the fire alarm off with the steam from her iron. She had been ironing her bedclothes. I thought in my dream: who irons their bedclothes – what a waste of time!
My nap was cut short by the fire alarm. It turned out my housemate had been ironing her sheets and the steam from the iron had set off the fire alarm! (This had never happened before.)
The details of this dream coming true showed me that we can time travel, both to the past and the future, when we’re asleep. Whether we want to remember much of our travels, and whether it serves us to, is a completely different matter.
For both types of precognitive dream, I tend to think that you cannot develop the gift and that it’s mostly out of your control. I feel you cannot develop the gift to see disastrous world events, because there is no point to you doing so. Because you cannot stop earthquakes or tsunamis.
When you develop a psychic gift further, it’s not a party trick. For it to work, it has to serve a purpose, and it has to serve you. Our Spirit Guides and Higher selves are not interested in us developing cool super-powers. They are interested in us developing the gifts that can help us progress further along our spiritual path. Psychic dreams do not always fall under that category.
If you dream of a future event and it comes true, to me it is just a little nod from spirit that you’re walking your path. You haven’t strayed from where you planned to go. But in my opinion, those little nods cannot be easily controlled. They are a blessing and they are comforting, but we can’t have them regularly because they would spoil the ending, all the time.
So I think it’s best to just enjoy the ones you do get.
There is a lot of value in knowing you’re on the right path because often in our lives everything can point to the opposite. We may feel that we’re not in the ‘right place’, or that everything is going wrong, and we’re not walking our true path. So a precognitive dream can be a blessing in this way.
I began to suspect I was on the wrong path in early Autumn 2010. I was living in Christchurch, NZ and juggling this website with a full-time job working as an English language teacher. Ordinarily, I would choose self-employment, but the career path of English teacher was supposed to help me to get residency in New Zealand (I am a British citizen, not a New Zealander…yet).
I began to feel in my heart that I was never going to get residency that way, and I was wasting my time. In hindsight, I was totally right for various reasons. But I was told by people around me that it would work out and I was also promised the kind of contract I needed in order to get residency.
I even got a little nod from spirit that I was doing the right thing, in spite of the fact that I was stressed, exhausted and convinced that it wasn’t going to work out. That reassurance came when I was teaching a group of Korean students, it was a beginners’ class and we were practising communicating date of birth/birthdays.
I asked a student when she was born. In the two seconds between asking the question and receiving the answer, a voice said to me: this student’s birthday is the 24th January and when she says that to you, you’ll know, we promise, you’re on the right path. There’s nothing else you should be doing right now, even if you feel this is going nowhere.
The student said: “My birthday is the 24th January.”
I did relax after that, as funny as it sounds. The time I spent teaching English served its purpose, although my contract fell through after the first major earthquake we had in Christchurch in 2010, and I didn’t get residency through that avenue.
I feel that precognitive dreams are like that – comforting nods that show us we’re on our right path, even if it seems that path is less perfect than we thought the ‘right path’ would be.
What about you? Have you had a similar experience?
"Have You Ever" was a single released by UK pop group S Club 7 on 19 November Following the success of the Children in Need track, " Never Had a Dream Come True", the BBC asked S Club 7 to.