Lucid dream: n. a dream in which the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming and can sometimes influence the course of the dream.
Mrs Anna Arbre—who incidentally, lived in a forest for not-an-insignificant amount of time—was my Sixth Form Psychology teacher. She was an enigmatic plant of a lady who spoke with a tongue of crisp French curtsies that felt to blossom and flower from one clause to the next. These florets formed from an ocean of remarkable experience—such remarkable experience that I did wonder whether she was leading us up the beanpole or had imbibed too generously of the forest fruits.
One such remarkable incident involved a dream, a lucid dream.
“I dreamed of a monk last night,” I told the fellow students around me. “He was—”
“What colour were his robes?” She intruded, her perfectly round and pointed consonants clipping the topmost spire of a fully-bloomed rose.
Mrs Anna Arbre took me entirely by surprise, she commanded an ivy stealth when she wished to.
“What colour were his robes,” she asked again, hemlock firm. The lazy Thursday twilight session deconstructed under the intensity of her words, as though the room had been placed on jury service.
“Brown,” I whispered, feeling the room blooming with eyes and ears.
“Not orange?” she said. “They are usually orange.”
And then, she launched into Her Incredible Story. I cannot guarantee its authenticity; I have personal reasons, and my own research, that tilts my kilter quite fiercely towards ‘truth’, but you must decide for yourselves. I tell this story exactly as my memory recalls it:
Mrs Anna Arbre, was living a particularly tumultuous period of her life—in a forest (yes, this is the bit where she lived in a forest for not-an-insignificant amount of time!) It was, I gathered, a fairly substantial mid-twenties life crisis. She had a newly born baby boy, recently delivered under the lush woodish canopy of the British wildlands, and Mrs Arbre was scraping by, barely finding enough food to survive. Each night she would fall asleep in the bitter British winter, hoping her baby made it through the night. Such was her circumstance, that she could not return to her family in France for support. She had nowhere to go. Mrs Arbre, it seemed, was planted in her situation for the foreseeable future.
One night, cuddling her son close, she fell into a deep slumber.
I apologise here—my memory fails on some of the details. I will try to recall the story as well as I can.
This was the night Mrs Anna Arbre dreamt of the orange-clad monk. She said she felt an awakening in her dream, a tangible quality to the subconscious, and she grasped for contact. He reached out to her and spoke.
He soared in her subconscious in robes of orange, framed in white. “I have soared the astral planes in search of you. I am so glad I found you.” He told her. He showed her directions to his monastery with a promise to help her situation, pleading that she find her way there.
Convinced by her dream, and with nowhere else to go, Mrs Anna Arbre packed up what little she had, and followed the monk’s directions, holding her baby in her arms. She recognised one landmark after another from her dream. This was no coincidence. She immediately found familiar the long wooden doors and stone exterior marking her journey’s end. She knocked on the door. It opened immediately.
“Hello Anna, we have been expecting you!”
It was the same man from her dream. Clad in orange robes.
She lived in the monastery for over a year. They took care of her and her child, and gave her the means to build a steady life for herself and her baby, never asking for a penny in return.
I suppose it is no wonder she followed the subject of Psychology afterwards, wanting to find the reasons for her ‘astral planes’ encounter, and the limits of the human psyche.
This drove me with a fascination. It might have been my first ‘obsession’. I swept myself in papers and journals and internet garble to find the answers—what is the astral plane? Is this possible?
The answer seems to be yes, it is, and the out of body experience leading to the astral planes can be reached through learning to lucid dream. This, I guessed, is how Andrew achieved the highly improbable events that took place later that night.