Davina Mackall: ‘I’ve Always Lived in a Parallel Universe’
The Wright Stuff’s Davina Mackail had never met her father, but through a powerful dream was able to discover where he was – in America. Since then she has used her dreams to heal illnesses, find her true love and unlock secrets to her own life. She tells us why it’s so important to listen to our dreams ahead of her new book, The Dream Whisperer, being released.
The phrase “following your dreams” might be hackneyed, but the world would be a different place if artists, scientists, musicians and writers didn’t do just that.
Dreams have inspired literature such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, inventions like Elias Howe’s sewing machine, the chemical structure for benzene, musical melodies like Paul McCartney’s Yesterday, and even Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Davina Mackail, Britain’s so-called dream guru, has used her own slumbers to unlock secrets to her own and others’ lives, including finding her long-lost father, helping to heal illnesses, and even discovering her true love. She argues that dreams can be a largely untapped resource.
Such is her resolute belief in dreams that The Dream Whisperer on Five’s The Wright Stuff has written a guide to understanding them.
Entitled The Dream Whisperer: Unlock the Power of Your Dreams, the book is filled with tips on recognising archetypes and symbols in dreams, unlocking metaphors, and how best to turn our dreams into a reality.
Dreams need a guide, she says, because the unconscious mind doesn’t – and can’t – speak the same language as our rational, conscious mind.
“Dreams have to speak to you in wacky imagery, through metaphor and symbol, because one, those metaphors and symbols are personal just to you and no one else, and two, it would take an enormous amount of time for that information to be delivered in any other way,” she explains over herbal tea at her West London, incense-filled home, a bright, airy top-floor flat that exudes calm and inspiration.
She alludes to one of her own recent dreams, in which she has a kidney infection and gives the Heimlich manoeuvre to a client to detox the client’s liver.
“It didn’t make much sense to me, but I was aware from a metaphysical point of view that kidneys are related to the home, infections are to do with anger, and the liver relates to the family,” she explains.
“So this dream was related to anger in the home amongst the family, and that was absolutely the issue of the consultation with that particular client.”
Much like learning to drive a car or learning to speak French requires patience and study, she says, so too does “unlocking” the language of our dreams.
And while it might seem complicated at first, the end results are worth it, as we find that we are more “in tune” with our “higher self” and “inner spirit”, and are, quite literally, “following our dreams”.
While many experts would argue that Davina’s theories are entirely specious, there is nothing nonsensical about her presence, nor her attitude to her work.
Wearing her light blonde hair pulled back into a neat bun, Davina exudes confidence of such magnitude that it is difficult not to feel small in her presence.
Maybe her self-assurance is due to her spiritual links with the “higher world” or perhaps it’s attributable to her past as a corporate superwoman.
A trained nurse and counsellor, Davina worked as a director of a commercial radio station, and both owned and directed a hi-tech call centre repair service, before leaving the corporate world in 1999, aged 35, to start afresh.
While she’d always dabbled in the alternative side of things (often “upping the business ante with a little Peruvian magic in the boardroom”), it was her frequent business trips to Hong Kong and China that saw her developing a move into both Feng Shui and dream interpretation.
“I’ve always lived in a parallel universe and always had an inkling I’d do this, I just didn’t know how,” she says.
“I was never happy in my corporate jobs, but just like so many other people, I got caught up paying the mortgage and bills, thinking I wasn’t free to follow my dreams.”
Now 46, and having studied with teachers as varied as shaman mystics in the Andes and gurus in the foothills of the Himalayas, Davina shares her home with Guy, a trumpet-playing jazz musician, where she works as a teacher, life coach, hypnotherapist, energy healer, and feng shui and space-clearing expert.
She’s the first to admit that it’s a far cry from her old life and a “fantastic, extraordinarily liberating and freeing” one at that.
But her life is bound to only get busier now with the success of her book.
“I’ve kind of created a monster because now everyone wants to know what their dreams are about,” she chuckles.
“I do have an extraordinary ability to key into a dream and see it for what it is, but that’s because I’ve spent all my life studying the basic building blocks of the metaphysical universe – numerology, astrology, the 12 planets, four seasons, five elements, nine numbers and seven colours.
“It’s what I escaped into as a child and it’s given me a fantastic synthesis into understanding dream patterns.”
Davina resolutely believes that dreams can act not only as therapy sessions, helping us heal past trauma in our lives, but can also be seen as prophecies into who and what we should become.
And while one needn’t always remember a dream or consciously understand the messages of it, “you do need to trust that your mind will work it out anyway”, she says.
“You’ll notice that you’ll get a thought in your head to do something unusual, like find that book or ring someone you haven’t thought of in a while.
“The key is to follow up on that, because those are the inspired hunches that come from dreams and can change your life.”
Davina’s hunches have had a profound impact on her own life. She was 38 when she dreamed that she would find her real father, a man about whom she knew only three things: his name, his nationality and his birth sign.
Using the Internet, she was able to track down a handful of people across America, one of whom turned out to be her father – an ex-serviceman who had had a tryst with Davina’s mother before being sent back to the US.
It took just three weeks for them to be united after Davina’s dream, but the two have spent the resulting years “getting to know each other and catching up on what we’ve done in our lives”, she says, smiling.
“A few weeks after that I discovered that eyes of my “true love” in a dream were those of my friend, Guy. So you could say I really do believe in the miraculous.”
:: Recurring dreams
Recurring dreams are incredibly common, says Davina, and are a sign that we need to take conscious action to change something in our lives.
“Recurring dreams are about emotional stuckness, so the best way to deal with them is to envision an alternate ending.
“Explore what’s happening in your dream and write out and visualise another ending to it. If you can really feel it, really envision it happening, then that should be enough to change the cellular memory of it and stop it from recurring.”
We often scoff at daydreamers, but they might be unlocking the magic of their nightly dreams, says Davina.
“Daydreaming can bridge the gap between your unconscious and conscious mind, allowing you to journey back into your dream and understand its associations with certain symbols and metaphors. They can be very powerful for creating solutions.”
Instead of running from our nightmares, we should unlock their secretive messages, says Davina.
“Often nightmares come up because we’re massively resisting the changes that need to occur in our lives.
“So we’ll dream of murdering someone or being murdered when actually there’s a habit in us that’s old or outdated that needs to change. And unless we change it, that nightmare will just get louder and more aggressive.”
:: Creating a dream haven
Get to sleep early and sleep without distraction, says Davina, to ensure the best shut-eye.
“Sleeping between 11pm and 3am, when the cells in our body renew themselves, when our immune system can rest, that’s when we get that cellular repair and slow-wave, non-REM sleep that heals us.
“If we can protect ourselves by unplugging all that electronic junk around our beds, keeping our bedrooms free of clutter, that does a lot to help us and encourage our dreaming minds.”
:: The Dream Whisperer: Unlock the Power of Your Dreams by Davina Mackail is published by Hay House, priced £10.99. Available now.