Monday, March 12, 2007

Dream Journal -- "Madmen & Other Conjurers" -- 7/25/02

Dreaming can be excellent practice for waking life. We have the opportunity to prepare for many of the tests Spirit sends our way by pre-living them in our dreams. I will not say exactly what scenario the following helped me be ready for, but I'll say that when we learn to face fear and the unknown in the dreamworlds, courage comes more easily in the waking worlds.

"Madmen and Other Conjurers"

I am in a funky cafe-type performance space located out in the woods. The place is pretty full in anticipation of the evening's performance. People are finishing up their dinner and then a space is cleared (tables moved, etc.) and the two performers enter the room. One looks a lot like Joaquin Phoenix but rougher around the edges. The other fellow is slighter and a touch feminine. "JP" is holding a small apparatus like that used to control a puppet or marionette. The clear implication is that the second fellow is going to be the marionette. The apparatus is energetically connected to an ancient-looking Roman-style iron helmet (with the T-shaped opening for the eyes and nose in front). JP holds the helmet it front of him at head height, and the second fellow slips underneath it and then rises to his full height, sliding his head into it. The two of them begin to sway back and forth a little, and then #2 closes his eyes, concentrating fiercely. JP starts working the controls of the apparatus deftly. Suddenly, #2's face begins to change inside the helmet, becoming the color and texture of a plaster-of-Paris bust of himself. When the transformation is complete, there is a click/crack -- like vertebrae splitting -- and the body of #2 falls insensate to the floor, headless. The head/bust slides down out of the helmet slowly and floats up towards the ceiling, bobbing gently around the room.

The audience give out a shocked collective gasp of fear. This performance has taken a very odd and scary turn. #2's body levitates back up into an upright position with the stump of the neck under the lower edge of the helmet. There is a further cry of shock and amazement from the crowd as #2's eyes appear in the horizontal slot of the helmet -- and then his head blooms out from there until he's whole again. He raises his arms up in a gesture of both challenge and supplication. He is also projecting a sense of fear and dread. He closes his eyes, and the flesh-to-plaster bust transformation recurs, as does the head/body split, followed once more by the head/bust taking flight to join its twin up near the high ceiling above the frightened audience. A humming in the air seems to be coming from the two heads as #2's body rises up again underneath the helm.

JP seems edgy or frightened, not so much of the goings-on but of the possibility the restive audience may attack the two of them to stop the performance. The people in the room are on a razor edge of fight/flight reactiveness -- the air is electric with the energy of it, and the humming coming from the floating heads.

The duo perform a third transformation, and when the third head joins the first two, the floating busts begin to whisper and gibber freakishly. This galvanizes the audience into a panic. People rush out of the room, knocking over tables and each other in their haste to be quit of this terrifying display.

[Every time we come face to face with fear there is a moment -- sometimes swiftly passing, sometimes it seems to stretch endlessly out -- where we choose to fall back, to run away, or we choose to stand fast. When it's our own fear, we must stand on the razor edge between giving in to or facing fear -- until we act one way or another. It takes presence of mind, courage and exquisite balance to hang in that moment, know what is happening, and then choose to be courageous. That balance is hard to come by usually, but the more we practice the better our balance gets. When the fear in question belongs to one or a number of people around us, the moment of truth comes in recognizing that this clutching fear isn't our own, and letting its sticky tendrils slide off of us without dragging us down into the panicky maelstrom those around us are drowning in. This act takes less pure courage, but it still requires presence of mind and balance. And indeed it gets easier the more times we do it. In this moment of my dream, the situation combines a little of the first and a lot of the second sort of confrontation with fear.]

For a long moment I am pulled and panicked by the goings-on and the reaction of the audience. I hold myself separate from the fright of those that ran out of the room and their fear leaves with them. My mind clears a bit and I realize that my own fear is minimal. Whatever JP and #2 are up to, I sense no danger in their display. I am the only person other than the two of them left in the room.

JP looks sardonically around the empty space, and then over at me as he begins to conjure the fourth transformation. The scene goes slowly dark. As the vision fades completely, I am considering pulling up a chair and watching where the performance is going. (End)

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