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Spells and Curses

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"King Aroo", a surreal comic strip from the 1950s, had a witch who pushed an ice cream cart around yelling "Spells and curses! Spells and curses! A prize in each and every pack!" In dreams, I think that's true. Every spell, even a curse, has a prize inside--an insight or message. At the bottom. If you open it, if you look.

What I mean here by spells, as opposed to mere wishes or prayers, are structured, deliberate attempts to channel power to get something done magically or psychically. There's a structural reason crystals, rhymes and songs are associated with spells--like mathematical formulae or programming languages, these are compact, complex, yet transparent structures... traits giving them power to affect the world. From the crystal, a spectrum blooms; from the song, people dance and cry; from the formula, a bridge doesn't fall down (usually); from the program, a patent infringement lawsuit flourishes. (Sorry, I lived in Silicon Valley too long.)

Anyway, spells work in dreams, and I wouldn't be surprised if they work in the waking world either, since the people who say they can't are the same clowns who said dream lucidity, telepathy, and predictions are impossible--claims any serious dreamworker knows are false (see psychic dreams; if you're still unconvinced see the Rhine Institute's even larger online database).

Me, I tend to let the world roll along--I like meeting life like we're two creatures playing. I'm just not a programmer/wizard type. But if you are, try making up your own spells (constructive ones, please!) and test them in dreams. You may be surprised to find you're a wizard if you assert things firmly and clearly enough. And fairly. Lies and selfishness don't make you a wizard or shaman, even if your spells work. That's a different job title. That's called a jerk.

The ancient prophet Isaiah came to William Blake once in a vision. Blake asked him "Does a firm persuasion that a thing is so, make it so?" And Isaiah said "... firm persuasion removed mountains; but many are not capable of a firm persuasion of any thing."

And frankly, given what many folks think they want... I'm glad their brains are mush.

RELATED TOPICS: prayers and wishes - loaves and knishes (sorry, building 20,000 links under the sea is hungry work) - Oh yeah, impossible dreams: lucid dreams - psychic dreams - telepathy - precognition and prediction - See also the full INDEX OF SUBJECTS.

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AMPLIFIER: by Alder; 1999/11/13, a dream on self-underestimation
I was always the weakest magic-worker I knew. But when demons threatened my grandchild...
ANNABEL ROSE: by Emily Joy; 2006/12/14, a ghostbusting dream on... love? sex? what?
Edgar Allen Poe confronts his dead girlfriend, who wants to drag him into the grave with her...
CAUTION: HUNGRY GHOST, SEX TALK
ARAGORN'S LIVER: by Wayan; 1983/1/29, a nightmare.
I'm a hobbit in Silicon Valley, stalking Ring-wraiths down El Camino. But one of them's stalking me...
CAUTION: VIOLENCE, MADNESS
THE ASILOMAR OF DREAMS: by Wayan; 1986/3/5, a dream about dreams.
Jungian angels at a conference of dreams test my progress. But I'm all backwards!
Struggle with the easy stuff; did all the hard stuff first...
THE BATTLE FOR THE RAI DRAGON: by Rikutsu; 2015/12/6, a dream declaring change is ready at last
In a corrupt world, a talisman called the Rai Dragon offers hope of real change--
IF it can be found, AND used by someone decent-hearted...
BLACK MAGIC: by Wayan; 1986/11/10, a dream of love and rage;
Chapter 8 of UNICORN TAG, though it can stand alone.
A packet of magic soupmix sends me upstairs to a secret wizards' lab.
They've summoned a demon they can't handle: the furious Black Unicorn...
THE BLAMMOR: by Wayan; 1984/4/20, 4 linked private-eye dreams.
I'm a Fast-Food Detective tracking down a kidnapper-sorceress.
I find castles, monsters, magic carpets... and unexpected love.
CAUTION: SEX
CASSANDRA AND OTTER: by Wayan; 1982/3/14, a reassuring nightmare.
I take Cassandra's prophecies seriously, but she can't make sense of my future.
So we go see an otter with a crystal ball. But he's installed a new security system...
CAT AND CRAB: by Wayan; 1981/3/12, a dream about teasing?
My cat keeps going into heat and sneaking out for sex with my godmother's pet crab, and...
CAUTION: SEX, BAD PUNS, CRABBINESS
COSMOLOGIST: by Wayan; 1994/12/2, another physicist's nightmare.
A mad gunman breaks in and shoots at me, but I start him talking, and learn what's eating him...
CROCODILE DREAM: by Ellen Frank; 2015/10/5, a nightmare-poem on recklessness
Closer I edge to admire their scales, the glint of their teeth, and shape of their tails. They cast a strong spell...
CURSE HER IN THE OAK: by Wayan; 2009/9/28, a short dream poem with sketch; Dreamverse #56
I'm a girl in rural Victorian England working as the county's magical protector. I have my
hands full: a gang of thievish orphans has holed up in an invisibility tree! Showdown at the oak...
CURSES!: by Wayan; 1995/7/29, a rant on how we fear the power of wishes.
Studies confirm that prayer can heal. So can curses harm? Yet fearing curses leads back to witch-hunts...
CAUTION: DISTURBING IMPLICATIONS, IF TRUE
CURSING ISABELLA: by Wayan; 1992/8/19, a thoughtful dream of sorcery.
How I cursed Isabella the sofa sorceress, cursed her with a blueberry. And why that stinks...
CAUTION: UNDER THE MAGIC, IDEAS
CUTE WITCH, BAD HEAD: by Wayan; 1992/1/31, a sexual healing dream.
A witch with a messed-up mind makes me her sex slave. But what if I can bypass her brain?...
CAUTION: SEX
THE DEER'S HOLY LAKE: by Wayan; 1995/5/15, a dream of holy turf.
A magic lake where deer glide on water... so I try it. And start to realize I could build such a lake...
DEER SORCERESS: by Wayan; 1981/5/18, a dream on the virtues of chaos.
A witch-girl turned to a deer flees hell-hounds who just CAN'T get organized...
DINO FOR A NIGHT: by Wayan; 2017/7/9, a sci-fi-movie dream poem
I'm turned into a small dinosaur and treated as a guard dog. But I meet a dino girl. We have fun,
once we see it's a movie--they won't kill off the love interests. Hollywood rules make us invulnerable...
DON'T SETTLE FOR HALF: by Wayan; 2010/1/21; an advisory dream about dreaming
Struggling to recall a magical dream, I suddenly get a single, simple image. ...
DON'T TREAD ON ME: by Herdis Bollisurdottir; c.1040, a psychic dream of a ghost with an agenda
A ghost complains Herdis's grandma bothers her. Herdis wakes, tells Grandma, and they dig up the floor to find...
THE DREAMSUIT: by Wayan; 1992/7/12, a dream on unconscious programming.
An experimental helmet knocks me out. I'm groggy, miserable, till I learn what it did to others...
THE EGG PROBLEM: by Wayan; 1990/3/2, digital painting of a magical dream.
I was an intellectual ballerina trying to stop zombies hatching from stone eggs...
ELBERETH PAUSES: by Wayan; 1989/6/26, a dream on postwar ethics.
After the Lord of the Rings falls, Elbereth herself is sent to heal the land. But she has a troubling neighbor...
EMADRO: by Wayan; 1983/6/4, a wild dream on clinging--and letting go.
An elephant sinks in the North Sea, and the Oracle Mink says a wizard did it. Can old Lady Gandalf help?
EMBARKATION, or, THIS PORTAL COIL: by Wayan; 2013/8/28, a magical dream on dreams
A spiral pillow-path leads to an astral portal. But creatures arriving and departing
jam the same path! Squeeze by, hop over, apologize... flirt
Wait, isn't this a dream-image of death & letting go? Then why's it look so fun?
THE ENCHANTED WOMAN: by Anna Kingsford; Feb. 1877, an epic prehistoric dream.
Goaded by a green spirit of envy, an Ice Age sorceror kidnaps Adam's Eve, arresting human evolution...
ERODE THE MUTING CURSE: by Wayan, 2014/8/23, a dream of... health advice?
The Fairy Queen curses me, taking away my language. Recovery often takes years,
but I practice hard, and speak full sentences--the next day. The Queen is slipping...
FAERIE: by Wayan; 1995/7/18 & 95/8/6: two linked dreams of postmodern Faerie, with sketches
I'm the daughter of a mortal doctor working in Faerie as it faces social upheaval (and I look for a decent date...)
FALCON AND FÜHRER: by Miriel; 1985/7/31, an epic flying/transformation dream
A mysterious "Führer" hypnotized all my companions. So I become a human-sized falcon and hunt him...
FAMINE: by Marilyn Stablein; 1968, a dream while visiting Nepal... for six years
Famine in the monastery. We add weather charts, leather laces
and walking sticks to the menu. Even the ghosts are hungry...
FOX-BOY: by Wayan; 1997/2/28, a dream fable.
A boy offends his uncle the King, who transforms him into a fox. Grounded! But Fox-Boy runs away...
GOD-SHIELDS: by Wayan; 1990/8/21, a confusing dream of growth.
I'm a fat guy hired as a temp by some unethical gods. Or are they trying to teach me something?
HARRY AND THE HORCRUX: by J.K. Rowling; mid-December 2006, a dream of creative ferment
People have asked me if I ever dream that I am 'in' Harry's world. The answer was 'no' until a few nights ago...
A HAUNTED HOUSE INDEED!: by Anna Kingsford; 1887/4/12, an epic ghost dream
I was warned about soul-devouring art in the haunted house, but I didn't expect to find an entire art salon...
CAUTION: ABSORBING ARTWORK
THE HEDGEHOG DISPENSARY: by Wayan; 2004/10/2, furtopian watercolor 12-page dreamcomic (or text + pics)
A rabbit shaman makes his student drape dead hedgehogs round her neck til she bleeds. How to free her?
CAUTION: FURRY NUDITY, ABUSIVE MENTOR
HELPLESSLY LUCID: by Alder; 2007/6/23, a lucid dream in which Iím powerless!
Iím a homeless elf. Weíre a persecuted minority group. I know Iím dreaming and try to change it but...
HOMEBOUND: by Sunshine; 2015/3/21, a dream posing an ethical dilemma
Elves are making humans grow tree-doors back to Faerie. But are they invasion-scouts, or just going home?
CAUTION: GUNFIGHT, MIND CONTROL
HOP: by Emily Joy, Maddie, and Kathe, 2004/3/31; three linked dreams of a single character
Three friends in one bed dream three dreams in one night about a talking rabbit with a persistent request...
I DREAM OF... ME: by Linda Medley; 1990-91, a dream-comic, the seed of Castle Waiting
I wake in a hobbit-hole. My love looks worried. What's wrong with me? A badger
takes me to see wizard Sean Connery, who gives me feathers to eat, and I become...
ISLAND LOVERS: by Sunshine; 2015/9/14, a horror-film dream gone soft?
They sneak off from a party to have a thresome, but monsters try to harvest their organs! Inept monsters...
CAUTION: SEX (OFFSTAGE)
KARMA AND HER SISTERS: by Emily Joy; 2006/12/27, a happy sexy flying dream that turned tragic.
One boring lonely day, I meet a cute teenage bunny who wants to play with me! But half an hour laterÖ
CAUTION: LANGUAGE, INTERSPECIES FLIRTING, AND LOSS
MAHAKALA, MOZART, AND THE CRIPPLED BIRD: by Wayan; 1985/4/17, a dream on facing shadows
The Christian God vs Mahakala, Buddhist god of right anger! War in Middle Earth, as Pink Floyd sings...
MOOSE: by Wayan; 1984/3/12, a dream on the blessings of curses.
How the Supreme Court gave my brother antlers, and where his soul went: where I'll go, now that I know...
MY LIPS ARE SEALED: by Wayan, 1989/6/3, a moody, psychic, epic, two-part dream.
I'm a Romantic poet who defeats the curse of the fountain, to marry; but when our daughter's grown,
a new curse strikes me mute, paralyzed. And I mistake this for old age!
Then, in real life, my dad wakes up from a nap paralyzed...
NO ďI": by Wayan; 2003/10/22, a dream of identity loss.
Iím in San Francisco trying to throw Sauronís Ring into the Cracks of San Andreas.
But a sexy sorcerer steals my sense of I! How can you act without a self?
NO VACATIONS?: by Wayan; 1999/8/14, a spiritual nightmare.
Before I was born, I set up this life to learn loneliness, boredom and fear. Good move, soul! No vacations?
NORASINGH: by Wayan; 1987/1/15, a Tantric Frankenstein dream.
I fall in love with my sculpture of a mythical Southeast Asian creature. Then a mad yogi breaks in...
CAUTION: SEX, TANTRA, AND GENERAL WEIRDNESS
THE OLD WITCH: by Wayan; 1991/8/1, a dreamtale on abandon.
A Hollywood sex goddess confronts the Ingenue who's supplanting her. Just how far will she go?
CAUTION: EXHIBITIONISM
THE ONI PLAGUE: by Wayan; 2018/2/2, a dream implying our leaders are sociopathic
Humans and elves like me can get along, but not oni (Japanese demons)--they'll hurt anyone for gain...
CAUTION: POLITICAL BITTERNESS
ORIOLE GIRL: by Wayan; 1992/1/23, psychic dream told as illustrated poem.
While conducting a census of fairies in Golden Gate Park, I fall in love
with an abused oriole-girl, and we try to heal one another...
CAUTION: AWKWARD SEX
PHARAOH HOOKS: by Wayan; 1989/7/31, a deadpan joke of a dream.
My sister and her friend the snake-woman tell me the facts of life: the golden hooks, the piglets...
CAUTION: UNRELIABLE GYNECOLOGY
PIXY CONCUSSION: by Wayan; 2006/3/25, a diagnostic sex-dream comic, 9 p. (or illus. text)
Janet's obsessed with a creepy guy till her pixy friend Kay decides to "knock some sense into her cunt"--literally...
CAUTION: LANGUAGE, NASTY LOVE SPELL, PIXIE NUDITY
POKER WITH A DEMON: by Wayan; 1980/8/15; a comic predictive financial dream.
I'm authorized to play high-stakes poker with a scary-looking but rather nice demon...
PSYCHIC CAT: by Scott Bartell, art by Jesse Reklaw; pre-2000; a comic dreamlet
Our neighbors keep dropping by with gifts and favors for our cat.
Why? He'd gained magical powers by amassing 10,000 dead mice...
SCALDED: by Wayan; 1993/7/3, a near-nightmare.
The feud between our magical families is getting ugly. Hawk-Head's dad throws boiling water on me, so I...
CAUTION: VIOLENCE
THE SELL-FISH WITCHES: by Wayan; 1983/6/29, a dreamtale.
My sister and I are runaways, developing psychic powers. A cult of fish-selling witches wants to use us...
CAUTION: SIBLING INCEST, SPELL ABUSE
SELL THE GODS, AND RAISE HELL!: by Wayan; 1994/1/26, a dream riddle.
Reactionaries smash a paper. To rebuild, the editor must sell
the sacred tiki carvings! But gods don't LIKE being sold...
CAUTION: MORAL QUANDARY
SHEVEK'S TIME-SLIP: by Wayan; 1996/10/14, a chronohomeostatic dream.
Shevek invents time-travel and discreetly alters the past. But the future alters
Shevek's present, to undo his changes! Who's sabotaging him? Or... WHAT?
SHOWERED WITH WISHES: by Zooop; 2007/3/12, a dream that enough is enough
I took my cellphone into the shower. I couldnít find the shampoo, and idly typed SHAMPOO in, and...
CAUTION: NOW YOU KNOW WHO STOLE YOUR ODD SOCKS
SLEEPING BEAUTY: by Wayan, 1999/8/22, a warning dream on quitting too soon.
A girl lies dreaming in the street; no one can wake her. At last I yell
"Face it, she's dead!" But is she? I never try a fairytale kiss...
SPILL SPELL: by Wayan; 1995/9/30, a mini-dream.
I'm a Lapp boy in northern Finland, studying shamanism. So why do I pour coffee down a driveway?
STOP ME!: by Wayan; 1994/2/22, a nested nightmare.
I kill with an angry wish! I hide the bodies, but secretly pray someone'll catch me before I snipe again...
CAUTION: VIOLENCE, GUILT
SUMMONING SHADOW: by Jo Equinity; 2006. Three meditative paintings apparently cause a miracle.
I had to sell my horse Shadow, but I missed him so much I painted him. As I finished, a strange impulse led me...
SWAN: by Wayan; 1995/4/8, a transformation dream; 3-page dreamcomic (or as ill. text)
I wake amnesic in a cabin in Alaska, in a dress printed with self-putdowns.
I track down the wizard who cursed me. He turns me into a swan! Worse?
No! His first curse was on a human being, and now I'm a bird. My mind is free!...
TARDIS GAZEBO: by Wayan; a 3-page digital dream-comic, 1993/2/17
Solve a pictographic riddle and you can fly, shapeshift, work magic!
But someone doesn't want us solving dream-riddles...
THAR SHE BLOWS!: by Madeline; 2008/3/27, a pirate mermaid shipwreck sex dream.
On the run I meet a lycan, a pirate, and a mermaid. She causes a flood, and something floats by I just have to grab...
CAUTION: IMPLIED SEX
TO HELL: by Katie Hofgard; 2003/4/19?, a nightmare of loyalty
I loyally served a demon who punished me until at last he sent me to hell. And STILL I didn't rebel...
CAUTION: BLOODY ABUSE
12 SWALLOWS, 700 DAUGHTERS: by Wayan; 1972/10/14, a dream poem on compassion; Dreamverse #5
Alchemy demands I kill ten swallows. I refuse! Instead, twelve birds and I fuse and fly over a magic wood...
UNDER THE HEIRESS'S SPELL: by Wayan; 1997/7/30, a wish-fulfilment fable.
A glamorous heiress casts a spell that spills over, so I can have anyone I see! But who DO I see?...
THE UNICORN MASK OF IGNORABILITY: by Wayan; 2009/10/13, a predictive dream; Dreamverse #59
My family home's invaded by ancient Egyptian architects. So
I put on my unicorn mask and eavesdrop on their plans...
VOTERS GONE CRAZY: by Thomas Madden, c. 2009/2/5; a political nightmare
It's election time in Europe, but voters have gone crazy. Nazis invade England. In my library, Sarah Palin rots...
CAUTION: POLITICS GONE WACKY
THE WHITE DEER, RE-ENACTED: by Wayan; 2009/3/2, a parabolic dreampoem.
I'm living in an England rendered in chalk. We wander the woods with butterfly nets,
ritually hunting the White Deer--if that's what they really are...
WILD MAGIC: by Wayan, 2018/1/8, a dream on finding a place
A teacher drafts me into her magic class to shake up her sheltered wizard-wannabes.
My magic's wild, ignoring spells and rules. I don't think I realized how wild...
CAUTION: NUDITY
THE WIZARD'S HORSE: by Wayan; 2018/9/3, a magical dream about... toxic waste?
I'm a wizard's horse, trying to warn him about a toxic spell on a roadside corpse...
Wake into a second dream, but try to return to being a dream-mare and warn my rider...
And then wake to realize my Nightmare was warning about a home-renovation project!
YOGA SAINT: by Wayan; 2010/12/4, an incubated, disturbing diagnostic dream
I dream I meet my headaches! An ascetic yogi who punishes jokers, flirts and cynics for worldliness...


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