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Demon-Summoning is Just a Misdemeanour

Dreamed 2017/7/26 by Jo

Portrait of dream-self in 'Demon-Summoning is Just a Misdemeanor' by Jo. Click to enlarge.

I was in a world with magic, and I was female, in my teens, blonde hair. Hanging out with a group of young people: a dark-haired woman, my boyfriend, and her boyfriend. We had all been friends for a long time. The other girlís boyfriend wanted to try to summon a demon to bind to his will. It was old magic, not allowed any more but maybe not quite illegal. Magical law was separate and the police didnít bother with it.

Despite that, I thought it was a stupid thing to do, and I was proved right when it got out of control. He was possessed for a while, it took all our effort to banish the thing out of him, but then it was free floating, it could infect him again. It took all our energy to control it. Sometimes it would affect a person. Sometimes it would appear in a physical shape. We kept on attacking and it kept on coming back until in the end, in desperation, I called for magical law enforcement.

Two wizards turned up--police officers for magical law. They were called the Adjects. I warned the summoner that he should run. But he waited with us, to control the demon, or perhaps to say goodbye. When I heard the police knock on the door, I yelled at him to run. He walked down the stairs with the others--too slowly for my liking. On a balcony on the second floor of the house, I told him "You should check the garden, see if anyone's coming along the back, and if not, escape that way."

He said "I donít like looking over an edge like that."

So I went forwards to check myself. I had a strong, impossible sense of vertigo. I couldnít stand and look. I had to crawl up to the edge and back. It was terrifying. When I had done, I knew the route was clear, but I could see the police growing impatient.

The boy still wouldnít leave us. We walked out the back way, expecting him to say his goodbyes and leave, but it was taking a torturously long time now, and I could see the police turning towards us. I was walking quickly, ahead of the group, trying to get to them in time. The boy was still there.

I shouted "Run!" at him. And that was a mistake. One Adject ran after him and caught him easily. The other turned to me and grabbed me. I had made it clear that I was an accessory--where before it had been only the summoner.

They took us to a cafe, to wait for backup and to talk to us about this. As I say, summoning the demon was no great crime if you were just a bystander. They wanted to tell us off, but I think they were equally concerned with our well-being. Only the actual summoner was in big trouble.

It occurred to me that given that, where would the summoner have run to? What would he have done? Lifelong homelessness on the run from the Adjects seemed a high price for a crime like this.

Still, it was too much for me. I collapsed on the floor away from the group, and had a panic attack. The two police officers talked to the others, left me to work it out. Until their colleague and perhaps superior arrived.

She sat down next to me and tried to calm me down. I donít remember if she asked the question or if it arose in my mind, but it was this: why did I care so much about the boy? He wasnít my boyfriend. In a real sense Iíd risked my own freedom, risked my boyfriend and best friendís freedom, trying to rescue him. Iíd made us all accomplices where before we could have claimed we were dealing with a problem. Was it worth it? Portrait of The Adjects, dream-cops in 'Demon-Summoning is Just a Misdemeanor' by Jo. Click to enlarge.


The Adjects are The Two Policemen. I've been dreaming about these characters for about ten years now, and this is their standard MO established from our first meeting: their job is to protect me from demons I've called up, and they see me as a liability and risk to their world--something that brings bad influences in.

The lady magical police officer: I realised her identity when I thought about the word Adject--it implies coming along with, supporting. About nine years ago I had a really strong lucid dream where I met my subconscious, and she was guarded by the Two Policemen. They accompany and protect her. I think the lady who comforted me was her.

Panic attack: I am currently signed off sick with depression, and Iíve been trying to prepare to go back. I think itís fair to assume this is about that. A month ago, it did feel like there was something scary and wrong in my head and all my resources were just fighting it. By now, those parts of me are under control. But Iím left feeling terrified of going back. Now I think of it, the thing that really scares me at the moment is the back to work meeting: being talked to in a safe space by people trying to help and not being able to cope with the conversation. I donít want to fall apart any more. Sketch of dream lover and friends in 'Demon-Summoning is Just a Misdemeanor' by Jo. Click to enlarge.

The boy I couldnít bear to see getting hurt: I am unsure what he represents. How can I stop harming him in my efforts to resolve the situation?

I wanted to share this dream because it felt important. Particularly, because it's about how the same dream characters can re-appear for years and years. Particularly at significant times. Somehow it feels respectful to do something more with this dream than put it in a journal somewhere.


Editor's Notes

I've been racking my brain for a month over this one. Jo poses a good question. What's that boy stand for? Why does Jo first call the cops, then try to make the boy flee them? Portrait of dream-self in 'Demon-Summoning is Just a Misdemeanor' by Jo. Click to enlarge.

The three recurring characters are known aspects of Jo (or guardian angels assigned to him, if your worldview swings more that way), so it's reasonable to guess that Jo's three teenage friends are also parts of him. Yes, many of you may have taken it for granted that all dream-characters are aspects of self, but I'm a shaman who's encountered lots of characters who just don't fit that model, so I'm more cautious; they might be other dreamers he's sharing his dream with, or natives of the world he found himself in, or spirits themselves. But here, I'll admit the Jungian approach--the four teens as aspects of self--does fit. A reckless part of him that endangers everyone and needs restraint. So yes, it'd be good to identify that...

But I can't. I can't see how anyone can. We know too little about this boy.

What to do, then? Let's look instead at Jo's own behavior. S/he correctly assessed the hazard, was proven right, tried to handle it with friends, but after repeated flare-ups proved they simply couldn't fix it alone, Jo called in the authorities, knowing it wasn't considered a crime as much as a safety issue. And the magic police confirm that by their behavior. Jo panics when they show up, yes, but all in all, Jo acted as a shaman or responsible lucid dreamer should--acted in everyone's interest. The pattern is praiseworthy. Further, only only Jo seems to think s/he has behaved shamefully. Jo tells us all four are in trouble now, but the magic police behave as if their focus is safety alone, with blame irrelevant--more like firefighters and rescue workers than cops. They're here because Jo called them in, in time to prevent serious harm. It's only Jo who thinks a last-minute panic attack outweighs that history of responsible action.

Some recurring phobias and depressions are indeed biochemical. But sometimes they're cognitive--consistent misjudgments of others and self. Over the years, Jo has contributed surreal, fascinating, epic dreams, yet at the end of many, Jo will sum up quite pessimistically, judging his own behavior harshly. I suspect that, while medicine may help reduce anxiety, fear, and guilt, Jo's attacks are largely not mood disorders but misjudgment--judging himself as if flawed equals unworthy. Untrue!

So here's my advice--for what it's worth:

  1. In the waking world: cognitive therapy, if available. Whatever the origin of this training to judge yourself only by your worst moments, it's unrealistic, unbalanced, unfair. "Depression" is a catchall, and I really think this is at least partly NOT a problem of mood but of thought--of framing. And it takes active retraining to give the positives fair weight too.
  2. In dreams: nightly, try to summon those three protective characters and ask their advice--even if you're ashamed to face them. They know your record, and based on their long-term behavior, I'm not convinced they think you're the fuck-up you think you are. They're proven guardians, so advising you is in their interest. And yours: they can function as therapists who have ten years of detailed case notes on you already--a huge head start on your average counselor!
--Chris Wayan

LISTS AND LINKS: other worlds - I'm Just Not Myself Today! - gender-bent & age-bent dreams - friends - magic - summoning - demons - oops! - crime - panic - hunt - guilt, grief & shame - cops - guards and guardians - recurrent dreams - personality integration - Jungian Shadows - therapy - more dreams by Jo

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