November 11th, 2005

L.J. Washington

The Oneirophant

The word "hierophant" is Greek, and it loosely translates to "the one who leads the way into the holy place." An Oneirophant would then be the one who leads people in to dreams, or perhaps the Art of Dreaming (lucidly). I didn't gain much from the Carlos Castaneda book, but I still believe there is an art to dreaming. Oneiromancy would be the art of divination from dreams; the most common form of which is dream interpretation (the Greek root of the suffix means roughly "prophecy"; though I don't purport to tell the future, just the present). Through the synthesis of these two arts can come a great deal of knowledge about the self. If you can lead yourself into dreaming consciously and then recall the events of the dream, you, the oneironaut, can learn a number of things about yourself based on the narrative structure and the barriers you emplace upon yourself.

Last night, I had another different oneirophantic episode. I have performed "regular" lucid dreaming, with reality checks (such as asking yourself "Am I dreaming?"). I have performed WILDs (Wake Induced Lucid Dreams), where after an awakening you remain conscious as you return to REM sleep (very difficult if not impossible to do at the initial sleep onset because of the way that slow-wave sleep obliterates consciousness). I've also had dreams where I wasn't really lucid and yet I still exerted dream control (down to the level of controlling microbes). But last night, I programmed myself while falling asleep. I told myself over and over again that everything from this point on would be a dream would be a dream would be a dream. . . .

So I'm walking along an icy/snowy sidewalk in a hilly area not unlike Westmoreland County in the Pittsburgh environs. The idea comes to me to fly. Just like that; I start flapping my arms and I'm flying. Flight triggers my memory that oh yeah, I'm dreaming (usually, it's the realization that triggers the flight). So I decide to try out other dream powers and so help me I decided to try webslinging like Spider-Man. In the middle of bumblefuck, PA. Where there are no tall buildings. My dream-self has a fully developed sense of hubris (or does now, if it didn't) and I spent a few seconds looking for something to webshoot as I fell from a couple-dozen feet high to land unceremoniously on the wet, muddy gravel below. I came down pretty hard, but I was lucid-invulnerable so I didn't lose any teeth when the left side of my face hit the rocks (apologies for being so bloody descriptive, but it helps my eidetic recall when I reread this a year down the line). So I did it again but this time I had the common sense to whip together a spidey-parachute out of webbing half a second before I hit the ground running. As I ran, I thought about taking flight but instead decided to conceptualize some of my dream powers as comic book characters. So I ran faster, thinking of the Flash and then thought about teleportation. I almost felt the lucidity fade until I quickly came up with Nightcrawler. I don't know if the fading of lucidity was actual, or more likely imposed by my desire to conceptualize dream powers as superpowers (my subconscious was warning me to play by its self-imposed rules?).

So all that was fun, but then I slid into a Spider-Man dreamplot where someone had seen me use my powers and so now the hunt was on to find out who this mysterious Spider-Man was. So I turned into Tobey McGuire (and got to date a red-headed Kirstin Dunst) and accidentally left my laptop bag at the scene of a crime I'd foiled. The laptop itself was locked and encrypted, and I willed there to be no incriminating papers in the bag, but dammit if there wasn't a monogram stitched in there! The cops were going to run a search to see whose initials in the small town matched the monogram. Somehow, I managed to trick the cops who were taking the laptop bag back to HQ to roll down their windows (I think I leapt onto the hood of the cruiser and they rolled down the window to shout at me to get off) and from a nearby apartment building (only about three stories high; this is still the middle of nowhere) I grabbed the bag with a web and reeled it in. I returned home vowing to be more careful in the future. As I returned home, I thought about the two-family house my grandfather had left me (I believe Mary Jane and her aunt were living in the other unit) and how I had plans to turn it into a one-family, and as such I must do with my two lives (convert them into one). A little different from the usual "great power, less filling" rap from Spider-Man origin stories.

There was another subsequent dream where I was both of the Duke boys. There was never much ego-differentiation between the two ("I'm blonde!" "I'm not!"), but this is the first time I've ever been two people at the same time in a dream. It was third-person, so I was basically a puppeteer (move your mouth! now you move your arm!). It was something of an origin of the Duke boys, because they didn't have the General (but I did see the General as part of a racing team's fleet where the 18-wheeler semi and racing trailer—as well as a racing pickup and I think there was a dune buggy and a few motorcycles—were all painted with the same orange and stars-n-bars motif; the assumption was that they would win it in a race later in the dream but I never got there). That was kind of cool, thinking about how they got the General. Also cool was when they knocked a pie into the face of a football coach at a local scrimmage (at the same field where the General was parked for a later race, go fig).

This low-level of entry dream consciousness really helps keep from dispelling the dream entirely and effecting a scene change or waking. It's cool to experiment, because the normal reality-check is very dream-hostile; I usually wake up soon after. I honestly think my favorite dreams are the non-lucid dream control episodes. Just more fun stuff to practice. Assuming schoolwork does not CRUSH MY SOUL this weekend.
  • Current Music
    Spacehog - anonymous/The Strangest Dream


So yeah, I got paid money to dance in psych class today. I was to the tune of "Sex Machine." How can I resist dancing to my own theme song?

Also, there was singing in my comm class. What is teh up? I guess it's Friday and a holiday (couldn't get to my P.O. Box, d'oh!), so people are in a lighthearted mood. Whatever. I would dance in front of an auditorium full of people for free (except to Mmm Bop, which was the other choice). That's just how I roll.
  • Current Music
    B-52s - Roam