Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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Walking away from an outdoor tourist-trap cafe, I wander down a winding path into thick woods. The surroundings take on a magical air, light sparkling in the spaces between the leaves. The path dips below the water level of a pond contained by a thick, twisted mass of roots, reminiscent of cypress. The wood is beautifully grained, looking like a painstakingly drawn etching, very much three-dimensional and real.
Walking on further I sense I am approaching the entrance to an enchanted forest kingdom. People begin appearing around me until there is quite a crowd. I figure they must have gotten wind of it down at the cafe. We enter an area that has the appearance of white walls, though it is more like a solid mist or light barrier to be passed through. Within this room or space are racks of women’s clothing lining the “walls.” Looking around, I see the men have been filtered out, to their own room perhaps, and all are women here in our dressing area. We are to search the racks for the appropriate clothing for our passage into the enchanted kingdom. A spirit guide voice lets it be known that there is only one correct costume in the room for each of us; we’re to look until we recognize it.
I begin at what seems to be the starting point, though they’re arranged in a circle with no beginning or end. I see mostly dresses, of an older style, some elegant, many cheaply made. About halfway through I find an incredibly beautiful silk or satin robe of a deep rich blue swirled with intense rainbow colors. “This has got to be it!” I think, and spot at the same time a complementary scarf. My feeling is that the robe contains a special magic — a wizard robe! But I have to find the dress to wear under it, as it quite obviously does not go with my T-shirt. The last item on the rack is the dress I am looking for — a rich blue satin, floor-length dress with fitted bodice and long sleeves. Directed by thought alone, they replace the clothes on my body and I pass through the “wall” of the kingdom. My role, as I’d suspected, is that of wizard, and I’m immediately called upon, person after person, to help people in trouble, perform small miracles, and so on. (When I related this to my seven-year-old daughter the next morning, she said, “That sounds more like God than a wizard.” Actually, I had a similar perception — not that I was God, but His/Her messenger. I felt an immense responsibility and caring, wanting to do the right thing.)
In a series of events that slide into one another, I have two strong images. In one, I am able to see into a distant city where a woman and her small child are in danger, in a severe black thunderstorm. My arms fill with energy and I draw the blackness away from the city with huge circular motions. The clouds are sucked across the sky toward me and away to the left and right, losing their power as they dissipate, the sky becoming sunny. I have a brief flash that the woman and child are myself and my daughter, a few years back in the big city, when we indeed lived in the precarious darkness of fumbling souls — and that it was myself, my higher, magical, God-self that sucked away the black clouds to illuminate my life.
Another image that sticks: I am passing into a new section of woods when, appearing from the trunks of trees, come dwarf-elf men, no higher than my waist or knees, approaching me for assistance. They speak not in my language, but in music. By way of introduction, they show me their trick of appearing and disappearing among the trees. It is rather like the visual trick in cartoons where an elephant runs behind a skinny tree and vanishes. They swish in and out of the vision, becoming one with the trees and moss, then back into the air — like a prism that divides the image as it slowly circles.
Then, as they come to speak, looking way up at me, I feel too lofty and try to shrink down to their size to communicate better. I’m not sure how to do this, then arrive at a method: I do a shallow knee bend, then through magic straighten out the bend while maintaining the same height. I do this over and over, feeling rather like a car jack being lowered, until I gradually shrink to their size. About midway down, I realize my arms will drag on the ground if I don’t shrink them too, so I draw them in like sucking on spaghetti. The rest of my body and clothing alters proportionately as needed. I then go somewhere with them, right on their level, built as they are built, and fully accepted.
Nancy D. Wood
I dream I am back at grammar school, which is a combination of a Catholic girls’ school and a secular all-girls’ college prep school. I’m standing next to a big dark swimming pool, when all of a sudden I’m propelled by some force (outside myself) into the pool. The water is deep, and dark blue-green. To my surprise, I have no buoyancy; I sink down deeper and deeper, like a stone. Nor do I have any problem breathing under water. When I’m far down, I come to a stop next to a woman who seems to have been there forever. She is keeping quite still, and is very mysterious. We are close to one another. She is looking right at me, though I can’t see her eyes because she is wearing sunglasses draped with a dark veil. I am uneasy; I wonder who she is, and think she might be me. What is behind those veiled glasses? I want to know, but I’m afraid to see. She removes the glasses, but behind them are another identical veiled pair. Her face is unrevealed. This frightens me.
In a low voice she says, “I am the wounded.” This unnerves me all the more. I stammer, saying “Oh, I see . . . I understand what you mean . . .” The woman leans in very close and says, “Do you think you really know what I’m talking about?” I am very frightened now — I know I’m in way over my head (so to speak!).
Intent now on escaping, I call out loudly, so as to be heard above the water, “OK, Sisters, Angels, pull me back up now; bring me back!” (“Sisters” refers to the nuns of the school.) I find myself starting to rise up slowly to the surface.
This dream came the night after I had an interview for a two-year program at the L.A. Jung Institute, centering on dreams and on a process called “active imagination,” in which one comes to decipher one’s own personal myth. I was very happy when I learned I had been accepted, and could expect to start sometime in October. The dream I recount here underlines for me the seriousness and the importance of my undertaking, and serves as another signpost to me about my own growth. “. . . the living truth breathes darkly, out of sight,” writes Sy in a recent Editor’s Note. “To go down into it is to meet ourselves. . . .”
Deborah E. Stevenson
Los Angeles, California
Caesar willfully forgot his wife’s dream. Remember? Pilate willfully forgot his wife’s dream. Remember? Nebuchadnezzar forgot a dream that Daniel helped him remember. Martin Luther King had a dream that he wouldn’t let rich white honkies forget. Remember?
Well, sorry, but my name’s not as illustrious as these guys, nor is my dream as large, famous or romantic. All my younger days I dreamed of being a cowboy. When all the other boys said they wanted to be firemen when they grew up, or doctors, I always said “cowboy.” I wouldn’t let them get me down. It was always “cowboy.” Ask my mother. Remember, I grew up with Roy Rogers, the Cisco Kid, and Gene Autry.
I have been horse-back riding four times in the last ten years. I’ve never been to a bona-fide “ranch.” You could say that my dream has been smothered by the reality all those city slickers assured me would sober up my outlook.
Yes, you could say that, except you’d be wrong. Because I am a cowboy. I wear a white western hat. I don’t swear. I believe in God, the Bible and the right. I make my living as a tree topper, trimming and taking down big elm and oak doggies, using ropes often thrown cowboy style through the air.
There’s no purpose in writing any of this if not for this last paragraph. It’s a word to honest fellow travellers. It’s meant as a spur and a goad to help you along the trail. Your dreams will be shattered and you embittered if you can’t see the way the Good Shepherd is modifying them to fit what you really need, and can handle. Roll with His karma, knowing it is really best. You dancers can be dancers without dancing, you know. And you discouraged and failed novelists remember it’s infinitely more important to live the truth than to try and write about it in the third person. Your ship’s coming to port, brethren, if you’ll let it. The Author of Providence is a good and righteous captain, no dreamer. Maranatha.
Elk Grove, Illinois
I was seventeen and upon a spiritual path. As a senior, I found myself attracted and attractive to an appealing young woman, a freshman. This new romance was both exhilarating and scary. A romance a few months before was short and I seemed to be the sole participant. This one was different!
The romance is a backdrop to the dream of a race. Fellow high school students, Karen and I sat in the stands before the race began. The young woman I had previously dated was having a fight with her new beau. The fight ended when a young man slapped her and walked away. This young woman was in tears and the bystanders, the entire audience, in one movement, turned to look at me. I wasn’t sitting near her and didn’t feel that everyone knew I had been her previous boyfriend nor sense any connection between the fight and myself. We all turned toward the runners gathering at the starting line. The race began and we were drawn into the excitement. The race took a curious turn when all the runners prematurely quit. They gathered in the center field and the audience reacted with a standing ovation in which I participated without knowing why, just swept away in the event.
The race between all of us is over when we reach a consensus and begin to celebrate life cooperatively. Several years later I have encountered the girl I was with during the dream. I spoke to Karen through the drive-in window of a bank and was reminded of the dream. For four years after the demise of our romance I could not speak to her, ashamed of my vulnerability and my attraction toward her. Today I have Karen not as a competitor in the race of life but as a fellow runner on the journey towards fulfillment.
4/24/82 I’m captive with others in a coastal town, an Outer Banks setting. There are many men captive, two other women, a child. We are to be carried out to sea and dumped overboard. We are told that those who survive and reach a certain place will be allowed to grow orchids. I think, I’ve always wanted to do that. I’m scared, angry, but settle down to figuring out survival. The initial departure is delayed because of bad weather. We fantasize that we’ve been spared, but no, we’re off. In preparation I find a gauze swimming cap, to hold my glasses. I have to be able to see. We leave port, go out a narrow, winding channel, across a sound, head out to sea. I see how far it is, how unlikely it is that I will make it. The water will be cold. Will I get asthma? I’m a lousy swimmer. If I can relax, float, let the current carry me, I will have a chance. Suddenly I see Daddy (who died two years ago) sitting in the boat in front of me. I am startled, haven’t noticed him in the crowd before. I’m aware that the time left is precious, that I must use it talking to him. I tell him not to struggle when he is put over, to let go and go under, that the struggle would be too much for him and he shouldn’t suffer. He doesn’t speak or look at me but I’m very aware of his presence. I tell him that I’m going to fight to survive. I don’t know what my chances are but I will fight. The guards start discussing how they’re going to dump us. They will put us overboard in three groups, a woman with each group. I wonder briefly if I can attach myself to a good swimmer. I’m controlling panic as much as possible. I’m not dead yet!