In shamanic dreamwork, visions of ascent and endless climbs are often lessons in persistence, and the ascent is quite real--the struggle of the soul to climb out of its body (strict materialists can substitute "from personal concerns to community issues" if you like--that's true too), to roam free (as a shaman's spirit should) in the spirit realms, to return with news, advice, and miracle cures. Whatever you think of this tradition, there's no question that my own dreams of ascent have generally fit the shamanic pattern. Certainly the dreams of many city-dwellers (familiar with tall buildings) routinely use upper floors to mean things like higher concerns, mind, conscience, or spirituality--if simply because penthouse views are broader. I think the ancient shamans may have been literally right--when I dream a lot of such ascents, especially if I make it to new heights, an out-of-body or psychic dream may soon follow. Even if you're skeptical, watch for this pattern and see if it works. Can't hurt to go upstairs and have a look...
RELATED TOPICS: frustration dreams - I'm falling! - I'm flying! - doors between worlds - astral planes - dream towers - caves and the underworld - spirals and the DNA helix - addiction and twelve-step programs (scraping the bottom of the barrel, eh?) - See also the full INDEX OF SUBJECTS.
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|AMERICAN TANKA: by Wayan; dreamed 1989/7/26, painting-poem-story on 30" disk, 1995.
I dreamed I circumnavigated the entire Buddhist wheel of existence in a single night...
|ARE YOU READY?: by a Minnesota woman; before 1961, two predictive dreamlets, one useful
The elevator man in funereal black said in a sepuchral voice "Are you ready?" I decided I'd wait...
|ARISTOTLE'S WIVES: by Wayan, 1984/5/20, a dueling-philosopher dream.
Aristotle keeps marrying my friends and fucking them up. So I challenge Mr. Logic to a shamanic duel...
CAUTION: THE F-WORD. OOPS, TOO LATE! LESBIAN FISH, TOO.
|ASCENT: by Wayan; spring 1997; a comix-panorama summing up recurrent mountain-climbing dreams.
All that spring I dreamed of climbing, cold, fatigue, risk, and fear. But shamanic training involves toughening; ascent isn't always easy flight...
|BEAR READ DUNE: by Wayan; dreamed 1981/1/28, painted 10 years later.
There are many astral planes--this world's just the cellar. A cat, a bird, a bear and I guard the astral stair...
|BIRTH, INITIATION, INDIVIDUATION: by Anonymous #6; summer 2007?, a dream of ascent to a new level
I swim the flooded tunnels and pass the crocodiles to enter the house of mystics... but now what?
|BLACK SOLSTICE; 1978/12/23 by Wayan; a warning dream-poem
It had been a weirdly mild winter day, but in my dream black storms loomed as I tried to build shelter...
|CHEAPSHIP!: by Wayan; 1996/8/6, a nightmare on my own stinginess.
I'm a crewman on a ship that's falling apart, and I do mean that literally...
|CHESTERFIELD MOVER: by an Oregon woman, 1943, a "meaningless yet profound" predictive dream
I helped my aunt and uncle move upstairs from the downstairs flat they rented. It was absurd--they love the one-story house they own...
|CLIMB DOWN THE PINNACLES: by Jenny Badger Sultan, l995/12/24, a surreal dream and painting
Decision by decision, we made our way down immense rock crags. Below, I had to put out a deadly fire, a fire as solid as wood or stone, with a white staff. What am I really trying to calm?
|CLIMB FROM THE PIT: by Wayan, 1996/11/9, a dream parable.
I'm in the Mideast. No wonder it's a war zone--it's a vast pit BUILT for war! But a spiral stair leads slowly out, to...
|COFFINS: by Beryl and Wayan; 1983/11/5, dark parallel dreams
Ghoulish games backstage at a psychodrama theater. Eerily similar dreams the same night--and THEN they turn out to be predictive...
CAUTION: SLOW DEATH
|THE COMING DARK: by Jenny Badger Sultan, 2002/3/2; dream-paintings about one disaster averted, and another... not.
I climb down from a desert cliff before night strands me; but reckless adolescent games in town lead to a crash...
|COMING TO THE JUMPING OFF PLACE: by Jenny Badger Sultan, 92/5/1, painting of an escape dream
Trapped on an island, spied on and controlled, we decide to jump off a cliff and die; but as we jump, a spirit sneaks us off be reborn...
|COYOTE PAJAMAS: by Wayan; 1983/12/17, a Dantesque dream-epic.
I'm Coyote, keeping the Business Prophet from taking over Dante's Peak. But it turns too personal...
CAUTION: IDIOTIC VIOLENCE
|DEADWOOD, or, MAO'S ONEIROLOGIST: by Wayan; 1976/4/2, a career-advisory dream-poem
Trapped in the Cultural Revolution, I can't reach the Himalayas. So I fly around the base of the Stairway to Heaven...
|DESCENDING THE MOUNTAIN TOWER: by Jenny Badger Sultan, 2004/7/6, a dream of grounding
The boy and I walk a spiral trail down the mountain to the caves of tears...
|A DIFFICULT PATH: by Anna Kingsford; 1877/11/3, an advisory dream.
I lead my daughter up a thorny path, but she’s getting badly scratched. Shall I leave her in that fishing village? She wants to...
|THE DOOR THROUGH DEATH: by Wayan; 1981/10/25; a Greco-Egyptian nightmare poem
At death's door, my friend lets Cerberus devour her, so I can enter death's pyramid alive and expose the truth about the afterlife...
CAUTION: FATAL DOG ATTACK
|THE DOUBT: by Wayan; 2007/2/15, an undream trance-painting
Painting an abstract watercolor, I drifted into trance, and found myself climbing a thorny slope. Had I gone wrong?
|DREAMKU, MARCH 2007: by Roswila; various dates up to March 2007; 31 dream-poems--some longer forms than haiku
Dream poems laid out like a calendar. Themes? Horses, camels, abused girls, vampires--all want their freedom...
|ELF CIRCLE; 2011/3/19 by Wayan; a complex advisory dream.
After trespassing in a staff-only part of Faerie, I'm cast out. Only I'm cast like a seed, meant to grow a new elf circle...
|EXPLODING SWAN: by Aleksanteri Nevalainen; 2010/9; a surreal anxiety dream
In a world where ice contracts and sinks, birds freeze in winter and thaw in spring. But one swan knows better, and freezes differently...
|FAKE IT!: by Electra Johannes and Patagia; 2007/9/22 and 2007/9/23, linked dreams.
Patagia dreams she fakes a Hindu rite, provoking Electra to dream she fakes leadership in a band of refugees. Or are they faking?
|FERRYGOAT: by Wayan; 2009/8/15, a dream warning what I was becoming; Dreamverse #48
That levitating bear's not tightrope-walking--she rides a goat strung like soap-on-a-rope. A goat that's me! I'm eating...
|GRAVITREE: by Wayan; 2008/3/21, a character-evaluation dream.
Just singing about the antigravitree lightens me. I bound around town. But then I find a diseased antigravitree is holding me down. It's become a gravitree! Gotta clear out that deadwood, no matter how messy, if I want to fly...
|A HISA ON OLYMPUS: by Wayan; 2014/6/15, a dream on the need to slow down
I'm a hisa, a primitive alien who solves a high-tech crime for the humans. Then I hike home, step by step, down a great shield volcano. Because shuttles leave your soul behind...
|HYPNOGOGIC ASSAULT: by Dr Simon Forman; 1559-63, recurring hypnogogic images.
From age six on, Simon nightly climbs mountains and faces roaring floods in a sort of naptime bootcamp...
|JACOB'S LADDER: by Jacob, grandson of Abraham; c. 2050 BCE; a self-fulfilling prophetic dream.
Jacob dreams of angels climbing to heaven. He meets God, who promises the Holy Land to him and his descendants. Jacob uncritically accepts the gift...
|JAMES MERRILL REMEMBERED: by Rachel Hadas; around May 1995; two dream-poems
Soon after my friend and mentor James Merrill died, I had recurring, elusive dreams about him...
|LAURA: by Jenny Badger Sultan; 2009/10/24; a painting from the Box of Dreams
As we climb down the steep mountainside, clutching bushes to keep from falling, I ask Laura "Do you want another child?"
|LET GO THE SAFE: by Wayan; 2014/2/6; poem of a lucid flying dream
I'm pushing a safe off a roof in Berkeley so it won't be pushed off the roof (yep, you read that right) but it pulls me with it! Either die, or go lucid and fly...
|LITTLE NEMO'S BED: by Winsor McCay; c. 1906, a famous if probably fictional dream icon
Little Nemo's bed gets restless and takes him for a wild ride through town and up onto roofs...
|LONG ROAD TO HEAVEN: by Edwin Muir; 1920, an epic hypnogogic shamanic initiation
Creatures in the primal sea touch my third eye, dragons cry their eyes out, I fight the Sphinx, and arrive at last in...
|LOON LADDER: by Wayan; 1993/5/13. A dream of rising above.
I had this near-nightmare about climbing a DNA stair up to the sky, and stepping off...
CAUTION: NUDITY, INCEST ISSUES
|MAHAKALA, MOZART, AND THE CRIPPLED BIRD: by Wayan; 1985/4/17, a dream on facing one's shadow.
The Christian God vs Mahakala, Buddhist god of right anger! War in Middle Earth, as Pink Floyd sings...
|MANTA MOTHS: by Wayan; 1990/10/3, a transcendental nightmare tinged by a dream eight years earlier, 1982/1/22.
Our expedition into the mountains shrinks as Manta Moths pick us off... or do they? An old scroll spoke of fear leading to transformation...
|THE MOUSE BANNER: by Wayan; 1986/9/4, a dream fable.
I'm a mouse with a protest banner saying "FREEDOM!", having a slight argument with a cat...
|NINA'S RING: by Nina's clown, 1955/4/20, a lifesaving intuition
While rehearsing our circus act I mentally saw Nina's ladder breaking loose. Next day, a supporting ring snapped. Being forewarned, I pulled hard...
|ORPHEUS AND POOH: by Wayan; 1972/4/9, an early dream epic.
I meet my true love during a coup. We go through Hell together, like Orpheus and Eurydice--only we...
|OVER THE VOLCANO: by AE (George Russell); c.1900, an embarkation dream.
We're spirits over a volcanic fountain of energy. And some of us prepare to ride the current up to...
CAUTION: ASSUMES MYSTICAL LITERACY
|THE PEGASUS CHILD: by Wayan; 1982/4/4, a dream of family diversity and spiritual advice
Dad's human, Mom's an owl-lynx, the kid's a baby Pegasus... and I, W.C. Fields, fat cynical drunk, am the babysitter...
|PESSIMIST HELIX: by Wayan; 1996/6/9, a wise time-travel dream.
I work the info desk in a futuristic library. But one question leads me into a DNA-helix, a tornado of doubt...
|PIANOS IN THE SKY: by an Illinois woman; before 1948, a happy recurrent dream come true
My heart's desire was a new piano, as hopeless as owning a yacht. The dream: a huge space in the air, full of wonderful...
|PRAYER: by Marie-Claude Girondé, early 2009, a dream painting.
"Our resurrection is not entirely in the future; it's also in us, it begins, it's already begun..."
|MY RAPPEL-MAD SISTER: by Wayan; 1984/7/14-15, a dreamtale on being halfway.
My sister hoists us up to the Goddess's country too early, or too late: the ice is thawing, treacherous...
|ROCKY LOVE: by Wayan; 1984/1/18, a dream farce.
A friend's tragic accident confines him to disco roller skates for life! Worse yet, he's in a Rocky Relationship...
CAUTION: "ROCKY HORROR" REFS, SEX
|SKY-THAW; 2012/6/8 by Wayan; a comic, surreal, political dream-poem
While watching two rooftop actors (one a chicken) I noticed the icebergs in the sky were melting at last...
|SNAKE TREE: by Jenny Badger Sultan; 1989/10/31, dream painting reimagining Eden
A woman up a tree has white flaky stuff camouflaging her. It cracks and peels like snakeskin. What tree is this, exactly?
|THE STAIRWELL TEST: by Wayan; 1980/9/7, a pedophilic defenestration dream.
An underage girl comes on to me, and then asks me to... throw her down a stairwell?!
CAUTION: DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!
|STANLEY, or, GOOD DOG!: by Wayan; 1994/6/1, a dream on obedience.
My friend Stanley is a social icebreaker: thick-skinned, blundering, but useful. So why am I mad at him?
|STRUCK BY THOUGHT: by Wayan; 1983/9/12, a picture-poem experiment: one dream per stanza!
Five short dreams exploring the weight of culture on our animal selves...
|33 EGGS: by "Anonymous #12"; before 1963, a short, pointless, precise predictive dream
I dreamt a farmer gave me 33 eggs in a bucket, returning to hand me 3 more on the stair. I woke, told my family the silly dream...
|TITANIA: by Wayan; 1983/1/7 and subsequent nights; an epic dream of love
Clarence the sappy angel from IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, and Milton's Lucifer, noblest Devil of them all, land on Earth, offering treaties. Who to sign with? Clarence thinks we're perfect, and the Devil's a tinkerer, learning from failures. Failures like me, and my girlfriend Titania, the first android with a full range of feelings. Too bad one is the feeling she's fake...
|TOWER OF THE MARTIAN DEAD:by Wayan, 1983/7/7; a dream-poem of an exo-Valhalla
Climbing a mountain on Mars, I reach a hall where I'm transformed into a cryophilic being. Then I feast on methane soup with the heroic Martian dead...
|THE 1200-STEP PROGRAM: by Wayan; 1987/12/17, an illustrated dreamtale.
I'm climbing a tower, as my dad, Apollo, drunk, throws bottles at me from the top, breaking bones...
CAUTION: DENIAL ABOUT ALCOHOLISM
|THE TYRANT'S WIFE: by Wayan; 1980/6/9, a dreamtale.
In our plot to kill the Tyrant, we used his wife. Or... did she use us? She goes mad, but--she's HAPPY...
|WINDOW IN THE SKY: by Emily Joy; 2006/10/15, an epic, flying, disorienting, apocalyptic dream
When my friends and I learn to fly, all of Middle Earth turns against us! Fleeing from Saruman's army, I bonk my head, exposing the backstage truth about our world...
CAUTION: VIOLENCE, DOOM, PHYSICS! YODA IN THE TUB!
|ZILLIONAIRE'S TOWER: by Wayan; 2012/2/9, a financial climbing dream
My mild yuppie friend Lou climbs a bank tower to reach his rich mentor, and wins an internship. But as he swears his oath...
CAUTION: DISSES CUTTHROAT CAPITALISM
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