the mountain teaches the dreaming

Mount Tamalpais, Marin County, northern California

On the Two-Year Dreaming Ritual Project
© 2008, 2009, 2010 Antero Alli


Throughout 2008 and 2009, ParaTheatrical ReSearch explored the power of dreaming through the choreography of a dreaming ritual structure I developed decades ago after a fortuitous meeting with Australian Aborigine (or Koori) elder of the Yuin tribe Guboo Ted Thomas. I asked Guboo how he taught the dreamtime techniques. He laughed and said,“I don’t teach the dreaming, the mountain teaches the dreaming”. I didn’t know exactly what he meant by that but I felt enough resonance with his presence, his truth, to keep my mind open. This meeting turned out to be an initiatic encounter of spiritual transmission that I would not understand until much later.

Guboo Ted Thomas


This dreaming ritual involves recalling and extracting a series of movements from dreams. By its origin in the dream itself, each movement emerges to consciousness from incubation in the Personal and/or Collective Unconscious; each movement carries its own innate force and power of dreaming. These movements were then practiced separately and then combined to form a movement cycle, a kind of dream choreography, capable of triggering dreamtime memory, emotion and visions when performed in the waking state. This ritual aims to evoke the presence of the dreamtime/daytime interface through its embodiment in action. In this 2-year Dreaming Ritual Project we were also careful not to assign, assume, or project any meaning onto these movements but instead allowed the dream's innate meanings to emerge on their own.

The dreaming ritual enacted in the Dreambody/Earthbody lab of Spring 2008 culminated in two nights on Mount Tamalpais. The strong tellurian currents of the mountain amplified the power of dreaming, shocking us all with direct experience of the Dreamtime/Daytime continuum. Like Guboo said, “the mountain teaches the dreaming”. We would probably never have experienced this shock of dreaming without the rigorous preparation we underwent in the preceding six weeks, where certain ritual skills were developed to maintain the structural integrity of our choreographies and where specific sources were served to sensitize and empower the energetic body, a.k.a. the dreambody.



Throughout four separate labs (2008 and 2009) this project was advanced through three areas of paratheatre work: 1) Shadow work; exposing power drains 2) Technique; development of ritual skills and 3) Sourcing; nurturing intuition and the talent for fluid access and expression of the internal landscape. These three levels of work served the continuing excavation and enactment of dreaming ritual choreographies.

This paratheatre medium acts as a means to empower the energetic body and expose the existing symptoms of power loss in our lives. Only when we are willing and able to examine what is draining and ravaging the energetic body can we begin to resuscitate our power. I call this process Shadow work as it addresses the excavation of unconscious and often self-destructive complexes into the light of day for their transformation into more creative expression and play.

Click this for more on what drains the energetic body.


Before any Shadow work can safely occur certain techniques must first be learned and adhered to. Technical proficiency in this medium allows us to enter the volatile “magma” of the internal landscape within the safety of a container, a ritual structure, without which our good intentions can drown in self-indulgent soup. I call this process Technique as it addresses the structural integrity of this ritual technology. The techniques incorporated throughout this Dreaming Ritual Project included: No-Form, Polarizations, Contact Point, Verticality, The Warm-Up Cycles, Resonance, Service, Surrender, Immersion, Precision, Sanctification, Territoriality, Containment, Spatial Awareness, Jogging Forms, Ritual Actions, Sourcing, Prayer.

Click this for more technique notes.


Paralleling the ongoing development of skill and technique were the equally essential virtues of personal freedom, spontaneity, and intuition. Without the capacity to give oneself totally to a given source, force, or archetype, no amount of technique can hide absence of vitality. Sourcing nurtures the talent for direct access to, expression and embodiment of, whatever sources of energy are being engaged and expressed. Sourcing means to leave the self-conscious watcher behind and enter the circle of participation. Words, images, explanations all belong to the watcher. To the participant -- experience is everything.

Click this for how the term "archetype" is being used.



There was no dream interpretation or dream analysis in these ritual labs. If left alone, the dream themselves occasionally presented their own innate meanings. The deeply somatic focus of this dreamwork demanded our full attention to the dream movements themselves and the power they carried. Dream councils, or group circles, were held after each individual lab session to share notes on what happened and how we were impacted emotionally and otherwise. Verbalizing our experiences also helped us language our perceptions and helped neutralize the excess charge our bodies absorbed from the rituals themselves. Some participants kept dream journals but they were not mandatory to the actual dreaming ritual process which involved direct physical replication of movements recalled from dreams, rather than our analytical interpretations of these dreams.


dreaming and paratheatre links


Links to World Dreaming Cultures

Paratheatre F.A.Q.

Paratheatre Manifesto

Paratheatre-related articles

Paratheatre video documents on dvd site map