Waking up short of breath, I dreamed I was Hildegard von Bingen, who outsmarted a female demon robed in the bone-white garments of death. Stealthily exiting from behind my small fortress wall, I could see her, but she could not see me; I had frustrated her well. Waiting for me was a darkened, stone nunnery cell, but when I entered it became light and beautiful and full of good things. I entered and I lived a milenia there, and I did not die, because the little cell became a pathway unto The World, and The World was with me while I overcame my heart’s loneliness. A thousand years later I emerged from the cell into a world that was waiting for me in whispers. So many stones had fallen around me, a sea of small rocks. Bear tracks, huge and clearly present: I saw them, and followed them to where awaited an violent, small wolf, rabid with anger and pain. He lunged at me. I deflected him; he lunged again, I caught him, held his small self as his little body surrendered in howling tears, now loosening and reaching for comfort, the curse dispelled, a loving puppy once more.
The heart of religion is to stand in the presence of beauty. This is the experience of divine beauty, which is not confined to appearances but does sometimes communicate through the sense of sight.
Dream entries from years past:
July 2nd, 2016.
Looking west across rail tracks to San Francisco on the other side of the Coastal Mountains, my Grandfather appears. The City is quiet now. An earth quake is coming, and an inundating wave, and there will be blackness. Grandpa says I can follow him to where I will be safe, and I go to gather from our cabinets the fragments of my childhood. A strange light is breaking, dusky and blue. “We must go now, Sugarpie,” says Grandpa. “The mountains are calling, and I must go,” –these words that are loved. At the edge of the forest Grandpa makes a proper burial place for those who were soon going to die, so that they would not feel lonely or scared when crossing over. The loving dead do this for the living when we cross over, so that we will be comforted and at home.
Grandpa died in 2008. Yesterday I got word from my uncle Larry that Grandma fell and became blind.
October 11th, 2015.
There are too many empty houses. Many are newly built, but where are the people? So many are hollow inside.
March 19th, 2011.
Riding a horse to my old home, I knew that something evil was beginning to invade there. On the dining room table there was lain a horrible corpse, charred black as if by a fire, but not fully skeletal, yet 9 or 10 feet tall. This is wrong! This should not be here! This evil must be expelled! Who else can see this for the horror that it truly is?! But around me they were saying, “Oh, honey, it’s only natural.”
December 1st, 2010.
I loved the spindle in my hand. It was in a strange town in another time, but it was a beautiful village, with roses. A double-steepled church was in the middle of this town which was pressed into a hillside. The sight of the church. Turning back to my spinning, I could see no longer. A long brown dress with a shawl for my garment, a circle of comforting wool. Towards the hills and to the left there was a room, and the day began to grow dark, and someone was coming for me, calling my name. I was ordered to a certain meeting unknown to me. When I entered there were many people, and women in particular. They asked why I was still wearing my brown, why my spindle was still in my hand when, don’t I see? The veil has been lifted. And what did they mean, I asked, as they moved in a circle around me. They turned toward a wall with a huge painting of a demon and fire on it. They said to me, “That is where we are going to send you this Sunday, instead.”
December 8th, 2010.
Over a dark lake I flew with my cloak as my wings, navigating toward the sparkling lights of the shore. Halfway to home there was a raftsman with his own warm house of light floating out on this dark lake and I flew down and landed here. The man, a friendly ghost, held a lantern. He offered to feed me, knowing how I hungered. A variety of delicious dishes were available upon the instant of magic. Immortal fish and fellow water beasts provided their bodies as food to me. With fondness and gratitude I finished my meal. I thanked the friendly lantern ghost and continued toward the far shore.
I have dreamt the mountains are so close to my house in the city, the whole long range spanning the Cascades down to the Sierras, huge and magnified, their icy caps leaning over small neighborhoods in primeval protection. American Cordillera. In my dreams, the mountains spell the nearness of God. They are the mother mountains where clean waters come down and angels go to live in animal bodies a while. From the car driving by the foothills it looks sometimes like you can jump out of the car and run up there to catch fish in clear waters. Glitter white-gold sand, burnt-sienna Ponderosa pine needle trails, my California; wet Western Redcedar mossy deep green curling ferns, my Cascadia– I turn to the great land and the land turns in closer to me. A banner of turquoise in lakes, Milky Way trail of spirits –Inland Pacific! Lands of my birth! And the Range of Light is always at the edge of my mind, moving mountains in dreams.
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Last night I dreamt I was a traveller in a strange land. I was at first with an old friend, Aaron, but we were not ourselves. We were walking through an old industrial part of a city, where there were brick buildings from over a century ago. They had metal ladders trailing upwards beside them. Looking out west, over a field in this city, the sun was rapidly setting amidst red and yellow clouds. But most notably there were large cylinders, part of a large factory refinery of some kind. These large cylinders were like the water or milk towers we see. I asked, exclaiming out loud, “Where is that music coming from?” A haunting symphonic melody floated out over the landscape from the refinery’s source, like from a music box.
Aaron said, “That’s the Wind Bellows making the music. Whenever the wind blows, it powers the large arms of the machinery, by the power of immense bellows, and there is also a music maker inside it, so that every note of this ghostly music is created by the particular wind as the motion of the factory functions.”
Rapidly the sun set behind red clouds, and all became darkness, and the sound of the music quieted to silence. In such darkness we knew it was time to seek shelter for the night.
We came to a tavern, an inn of some kind. We were all set at long tables in preparation for dinner, when an army of assassins burst in. They demanded to know who were the Jews, and I was one of them. They said, it was my choice, they either take me, or the whole inn is killed. I went willingly to save my friends, but I had a plan, so I was not frightened. In this plan I escaped without my shoes, or bag or anything else except the blue “blouse” and skirt I was wearing, and I walked into a bright white city at noon day. The sidewalks were clean and easy to walk barefoot on, and I knew I had come into San Francisco. But it was the 1950’s. I knew I had to get to the other side of the city where they were waiting for me, and as I travelled on foot across the city, the decades went forward, so that I was now in the late 1970’s thereabouts. People were dressed in the styles of that time. This is all I remember.
A gathering beside the sea, the vastness of the ocean immense, even we land-dwellers aware of the creatures who lived deep down in it, from time to time coming up to the world of sky and land to breathe the upper air. This sand reaching down to the water iss clean in my eyes. It was beige-speckled but also clear with tales of the imminent.
Our gathering is near to the ocean but a short walk back inland. The area is grassy and hilly. There are few trees, but the grass is an extreme hue. Many friends are gathered in mourning. The dead body of a beloved friend is near us, laid in her coffin. Her face, lips especially, are purple and grotesquely bloated. She is already far along the stages of decay. Why is she laid in an open coffin? We have her coffin exhumed because her recent burial was not correct. She had been laid into the earth without love. We knew she had wanted her arms folded across her chest, her body in fetal position, as the ancestors were known to be buried. Her spirit is restless. Did she die in the ocean? But I am stricken by this night, by how the sight and nearness of her decaying corpse does not frighten me. I feel only tremendous compassion and a comforting love. In this way a great peace of relief comes over me, for in seeing her laid here I am not afraid of death. There is no terrible unknown to scare me; the dead love us and watch over us. It is by God and their love for us that we are cradled in the earth. My exhumed dead friend is an ancestor to be honored. For this was her body brought up from the ground again, to remind us.
I meet Saint Anthony, “Saint Antonio”, I heard him called by some –a handsome, medieval dragon-slayer (who says the saints are boring?). He had come traveling through the centuries to aid our dark electrical city where purple-lit skyscrapers shrink into shadow when the demon dragon appears, a titanous reptile with terrible eyes, come to crush and devour all. Magnificent but terrifying when I know it has seen me, though I am so small and shrouded in darkness. The monster, leagues away, already knows I am one of Saint Anthony’s exorcists. I flee to my saint and companions. He leads us to quickly camouflage in the greenery, which itself has come alive to aid our hiding in the earth. Creation, our ally. Saint Anthony, who in this dream of an apocalyptic time is shown to have a handsome face, is all the more poignant because of what homely, even unattractive physical characteristics he had in his earthly life, though his spirit glowed for the Creator. Now the trickster’s veil of his prior dullness was rolled away to reveal a physical beauty that signified the brightness of his soul. It was his time now to be resurrected and return to us, to help us fight the great demon, whom he has battled before.
I dreamt that Antarctica warmed, and instead of melting, it became a great conifer forest. Birds of the Americas delivered the seeds of trees carried in their gut and their wings. When the seeds touched the ice, out came green saplings writhing like caterpillars in a protective ball around animal fetuses, cocoons for refugees from lost lands. In time, this new world blossomed into a dark green forested land not unlike Alaska, full of giant new beasts who glow in the night from radiation. Long ago, the humans entered into this place from South America, and hid deep in the ground to survive the war of ice and fire washing over the planet. One century, many lifetimes later, when a quietness not known for eons had settled over the whole earth and the war of the elements ended, a new creature crawled out from the darkness beneath. Her eyes ice blue and transparent-wide, her skin a membrane of milk and watery veins which had forgotten the sun and the moon; her kind become the descendent of the remaining Homo sapiens. On claws, groaning songs like the whales who once were, her people crawled like spiders into the forest, Homo mutatur, the last of the awoken apes. The time of their species stretched out as a nebula’s hourglass, howling their new and final prayers into the boundless forest beneath the shadows of the mountain.
Memory from a dream on October 7th, 2012
From 3,700 feet in the sky I write of the world below, a patchwork of gravel-brown and winding blue-green beneath patchy blankets of white. I love to be on the ground, and feel unexpected gratitude that gravity hugs me always downward. What would it be like to walk the whole way north along the undulating edge of the coast-line, heading north between the great continent and the waters.
When I was five years old and took my first plane flight, I looked out the window and saw an unfathomably large grey brick wall in the sky. It does not matter if I was awake or asleep. It was there in the clouds, to my eyes.
Last night I dreamt of an intersection of cars in the city, but on the corners were green and flowering trees. The sun was rising in the east and it caught the beauty of these shapes in gleaming angles, defiantly shining its light through the cars saying, “look closer”. God was near in this patch of land, unseen by others, hidden among weeds and small trees. Children and my peers were there, and we knew what we were sent out to find. It was as happy to be found by us as we were to find it.
We were learning to fight. We were becoming fierce to resist, and I was up against my opponent. Watch me, my good teacher, and guide me. I could not see her face, my worthy opponent. She was like me, like a mirror. Battling, she came too close, too quickly with anger. I thought we were just practicing, but she had a knife now. I could not see her face; I could not see her at all now. In our motion entangled she held up the knife with her right hand, pointed at me, leveled at the crook of her underarm and aimed at my heart, now moving too fast at me. Swiftly I deflected the knife back toward her, and I pierced her deeply, and bright red came her streaming blood. How frightening the satisfaction of blood in defensive battle, and too quickly it happens. Is this the origin of evil? “Tell me!” I cried to my teacher, “Is this the way of nature? Is there no other way?” His chest sighed heavily, looking into a far distance. He turned to me. “It is the way of nature. There was no other way.” Sorrow came to me, and I feared being found out by the Patrollers, the ones who strive to wrongly monitor peoples’ minds without care, extracting violence from where it was meant to sleep peacefully, while propagating such worse violence themselves. I fear they are coming, and they will see that I am an animal, that I have spilled blood without calculation or scheming. I have killed my own image. But as we battled we had also entangled in dance, and what now shall I do with her body? Where shall it be laid? Now she is a hatchling of a new life, and it is I who have sent her there.
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There is a portal to the Underworld in Fresno, California. In the middle of the unassuming, circular on-ramp to Highway 41 heading south on Friant, north of Riverpark, you may find it. I recall it was a beautiful small piece of unrecognized land. But in my dream it is an off-ramp. Through this door you can see the big businessmen and the greedy and powerful who abuse their power are half human, half beast. We are all half beast, but these who are evil have bloated bellies and foul fluids dripping from fangs. They pull their sweatshop workers behind them in chains. Their money is blood and gold trinkets which they bargain in lives for.
I have a partner here with me, my companion exorcist. We find the portal to the Underworld in the earthen middle of this circular ramp to 41. There is a spiraling pathway into the center of the circle from the asphalt, a miniature map of where the wild begins, and reclaims what she lost. “Do you remember the way in?” My companion asks me. “The Earth will open for you, and will close around you. Darkness will be all you can see and your breath will leave you entirely as the weight of the ground presses in. There will be no breath for a moment, and all will be blackness. Then your breath will return in a great rush, and your eyes will open, and your ears and nose will open, and you will be on The Other Side.”
We go into this place, and my breath is lost to the darkness. When it comes rushing back, it is a new breath unlike in the world above. My name here is Edath, and my companion is Adair.
The spirits here are up to no good, and it is up to myself and Adair to foil them. Scouts on reconnaissance, Adair is to fly the plane, but the bad spirits discover this and are angry. We must go quickly. We fly above their dwelling with our invisible wings, the ones I always have when I am an exorcist, attached to my arms and down my back and legs. But we have dropped our silver sword, Adair falling toward the abyss along with it, but by a great energy I lift him back up to me.
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