The Dream Journal
The Dream Journal
Dreamsense Definitions with Olivia Shiller

Olivia Shiller found that certain commonly experienced dream phenomena have no words to describe them so she decided to create words with the help of her close friends to help us talk about these situations. For example, the word Amoria is defined “An intimate relationship with a dream character who is unknown in waking life.” This dictionary is online at her webpage and is ongoing.

We also speak about how dreams deepen relationships when we share them: no interpretation required. Olivia compares the relatively anonymous kind of relationships that spring up around dreams to the more intimate relationships that arise from sharing dreams with family members and housemates. She describes how dream-sharing deepens so many moments in our life.

We also talk about Olivia’s ideas around how dream-sharing keeps us aware of the liminality of existence, reminding us of the dreaminess of waking life as well as the reality of our dreaming lives.

We take an email from Kendall who asks Olivia to say more about the care aspect of their thesis. Olivia talks about interdependency, vulnerability and presence that is focused on the “tiny everyday moments” of life that add up to be the parts of our lives that make life worth living.

Olivia says that “making dreamsense means sitting with contradictions, resisting singular interpretations, embracing mutual transformation, and acknowledging the limits of language.”

In the final segment, we take a call from Chris from Felton who describes the phenomenon in which a recurring unpleasant theme resolves into something more better. Together we come up with the word “relitement” such as “I was so relieved that my dream finally relited last night.” If you want to contribute your own word to the dictionary, do contact Olivia.

The three books that Olivia shares are:

The Lonely Letters by Ashon Crawley
Life Beside Itself by Lisa Stevenson  and
The Alchemy of Illness by Kat Duff
Katherine references the book How Emotions Are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett,

Bio. Olivia Shiller has been collecting dreams for as long as she can remember. She is a recent graduate from Lewis & Clark College, where she received her BA in Sociology and Anthropology. Her honors thesis focused on the relationships made inside of dreams and the types of care produced through sharing them. She is particularly interested in the transformative potential of embracing the liminal qualities of dreams in waking life.

A lover of language, a large portion of Olivia’s thesis involved the creation of a “Dream Dictionary.” Unlike many online dictionaries that are centered around defining dream symbols and archetypes, this one provides a vocabulary for experiences that follow “dream logic,” or the type of sense-making that is understood in dreams but is hard to translate retrospectively.

You can get in touch with Olivia through her webpage or at her email olivia.shiller at

We play clips from two guest-selected songs:

Strange Attraction by The Cure and

Isabella of Castile by STRFKR.

Live ambient music by Rick Kleffel.

Show aired on July 31, 2021.


The Dream Journal is produced at and airs on KSQD Santa Cruz, 90.7 FM, streaming live at 10-11am Saturday mornings Pacific time.  Catch it live and call in with your dreams or questions at 831-900-5773 or at

If you want to contact Katherine Bell with feedback, suggestions for future shows or to inquire about exploring your own dreams with her, contact, or find out more about her at

The complete KSQD Dream Journal podcast page is found here.

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