Dream of Magical Traveling Companions
I woke exhausted this morning. I saw an image posted by another dharma practitioner, posted it to my own page here, and went back to sleep. I’m glad I went back to sleep, because I had another interesting dream. The constants of the dream were that it was another of many recent dreams involving traveling and that each scene involved my husband Kurt’s not validating my beliefs, fears, or experiences.
The setting was Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where I recently attended the Gathering of Poets. Here I was again at a conference, or rather the aftermath of it, but it seemed to be some kind of enlightenment conference. There was a crowd of participants moving past some tables that held chocolates, ice cream, and, weirdly, needlework samplers. I asked the man hosting the table why the needlework was there. He said, “Everything is a sample or a sampler.” I looked at the samplers. They all had scripted words in them, but all were unfinished, like my work on MCTB2. The table was like a vendor’s table at a professional conference, but it was also evident that these were offerings, as on an altar. I took a cup of chocolates and left.
While walking outdoors with the crowd toward a plaza where our cars were, I noticed that Kurt was walking on my left, and my teacher was walking on my right. Then my teacher’s form collapsed into a white light and vanished–except for his iPhone, which seemed to float through the air since he was invisible. I tugged at Kurt, saying, “Kurt–look at John’s phone, he is still here but formless!” But as Kurt turned his head to look, invisible John put his iPhone in his breast pocket, where it also became invisible. Kurt said, “There is no one there.” I told him what I had seen, but he didn’t believe me.
We got into my red Honda Accord, and I started driving back toward Raleigh. However, I saw a Honda dealership and pulled in near the mechanics’ garage. Kurt asked why I was stopping there. I didn’t answer. I opened up this piece of paper that was in my console. It had writing on it. I remember actually thinking, “If I cannot read what I’ve written again, then I will know that this is a dream.” Well, lo and behold: I could read it! So I failed to become lucid, which is just hilarious.
The writing said, “Ron Eckhart.” I knew then that my mission was to find this person named Ron Eckhart.
Instinctively, I went into the garage, among the mechanics. I saw this man in his thirties, with ash brown straight hair that was longer than his collar but not to his shoulders. I walked up to him and saw embroidered on his blue shirt “Ronald Eckhart.” My jaw dropped, and there was this moment of intense recognition between us. Then Ron Eckhart dropped his wrench and started sprinting in fear to get away from me, away from the Honda dealership. He ran into the woods.
I folded up the paper with his name, keeping it for later, and went back to my car. I drove us for a while but it was getting late, so Kurt and I took a hotel room with a king-sized bed.
As we were preparing to crawl into the bed to sleep, Kurt released a big, fluffy white cat onto the bed. I was pissed, saying, “Why did you bring that cat in here–you know I’m severely allergic to cats!” Kurt said, “Oh, you are not that allergic–you are exaggerating, and this is a clean white cat.” I retorted, “Things are not always how they look, nor are cats; how would you like having your psoriasis attacking every inch of your skin while I withheld the one remedy that could stop your itching?” I was protesting this way, but then, incongruously, I lay down on the bed beside the white cat. Then the cat stretched and its retracted claws popped out, looking sharp and lethal. As in my dream of the night before with the rat in my bed, I jumped up. But in this dream I was an adult and said to Kurt, “Okay, that’s it! This cat is not staying in this bed or this room!” And I got up, lifted the cat, opened the hotel room door, and literally threw the cat out. Kurt couldn’t do anything then, for the cat fled in fear, just like Ron Eckhart had.
Then, the next morning I was driving again, with Kurt in the passenger seat. After a while we stopped at a rest stop so Kurt could use the restroom. But the woods behind the restroom were suddenly a Florida scene, with Spanish moss. I saw before us this slanted-over tree. Up it had climbed this alligator. I told Kurt not to get out of the car, that the alligator was going to attack and eat me. Again, Kurt dismissed my fears and said that was nonsense, that the alligator was resting and still. I said, “Kurt, he is a reptile, so he may appear to be still but he will pounce on his prey in a flash.” I told Kurt to at least get a big stick to fight off the gator if need be. He sighed, rolled his eyes, and opened the car door. As soon as he got out and slammed the car door, that gator was at my car door, trying to climb in the half-open window. I was trembling but started the car and hit the button to close the window on the scaly bastard. I was yelling at it, “Take that, you bastard! No humanity, no opposable thumbs!”
Kurt ran back to the car, got in, and slammed the door. I raised his window too, saying, “Told ya so!” Then we switched places so he could drive the rest of the way back home. I said, “I’m too tired to drive anymore after dealing with all these crazy creatures and your incredibly stubborn system of disbelief.”
As with many dreams since October 2015, this one featured traveling. It also featured near brushes with lucid dreaming, but no cigar.
The formless teacher stems from another stupid discussion I had with Kurt the night before about buddha fields, other planes of existence, and formless beings. We had also just finished watching the finale episode of The Magicians.
The white cat was just like the one in my dream months ago, as narrated in “Dream of the Purrrre White Cat.” In that dream, I was in the passenger seat of my car, and the white cat jumped into my lap. I had remarked that I didn’t seem to be allergic to the cat. I had asked Kurt after that dream what he thought the white cat symbolized. He said, “I think you planted that cat in the dream as a clue to become lucid when you noticed you weren’t allergic.”
In the present dream I was allergic, still not lucid, but at least finally decisive and active, not putting up with a situation that interfered with my sleep if not my awakening. And, of course, the potentially wounding cat in the bed mirrors the wounding rat in my childhood bed in the dream the night before, where I felt helpless to resist the rats or even to call out for my mother’s help.
The alligator has something to do with my childhood fears. My dad used to get drunk and chase me and my little sister around the back yard, roaring that he was Alligator Man, and was going to get us. He would quirt us hard on our tender young thighs with one of those hose attachments set to “jet.” It hurt! He would laugh as we screamed and ran around the yard and learned to run faster. Of course this was all in fun, but it is a definitive memory, iconic, and Alligator Man, lacking opposable thumbs, except when it comes to operating jet spray, is not sufficiently human. Interestingly, the thigh is where the rat the night before wounded me, or rather near the thigh, on the inner knee.
Ron may be because my poet friend Ron attended the poet’s conference in Winston-Salem with me. Eckhart may be referring to Tolle or Meister Eckhart. In this case, Ron Eckhart was supposed to fit the greater vehicle for traveling, haha! Why did he run away? He was afraid of me, but why?
The invisible John walking beside me instantly reminded me upon awakening of the Biblical story of the resurrected Christ walking beside Simon Peter and another disciple on the road to Emmaus, giving them teachings (Luke 24:13-32).
And my favorite part of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land uses this story:
“Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
–-But who is that on the other side of you?”
Oh, and get this: I just ran across the following statement: “Carl Jung regarded the road to Emmaus appearance of Christ as an instance of the mythological theme of the magical traveling companion that still appears spontaneously in dreams today.”
This dream was elaborate, with many complex cross-references to life, myth, and other dreams. It was worth getting a little more behind at work to have it.