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Newt Wedding

Dreamed spring 1995 (at age six) by Emily Joy

One day, Barney the Dinosaur knocks on the door of my hut. He has his cousin with him, a shy, slender, purple newt-like creature.

Drawing drawing of a large purple newt standing upright in a jungle with pink vines.
Barney's cousin is getting married soon, but the fiancée lives on the other side of the great jungle and a mountain range. Barney wants me to get his cousin safely to the fiancée's village; I may be just a child, but I'm the only one in our village who knows the way through the jungle.

I agree to help, and the purple newt and I set out the next morning.

The jungle is dark and ferny, with vivid pink vines hanging everywhere. They grow so thick in places we have to push our way through them; they feel like hairy tentacles against my skin.

Our journey lasts many sunless days and moonless nights. Sometimes we wade across shallow, sluggish rivers; sometimes we walk for miles knee-deep in ferns. Other times, we can barely squeeze between the trees.

Drawing of a small child pushing aside pink vines to guide a large purple newt through a jungle

Sometimes, at night, we get scared--there are rumored to be carnivorous apes living deep in this jungle, though I've never seen one.

Once we find stone ruins I'd never seen before--huge half-buried heads with reptilian faces. Barney's cousin, who never says a word, sheds a few tears there. I guess I'll never know why.

At last, the trees thin out and we see the sun. Before us is a mighty mountain range--the biggest in the world. It is made of... mattresses. Hundreds of thousands of mattresses, all styles and colors, piled high into the sky.

So that doesn't sound mighty to you, huh? Have you ever tried hiking on mattresses? It's a nightmare. At least rock gives a person something solid to stand on; mattresses give you nothing. We bounce, slip, backslide, and wobble all the way to the top. It takes us days. At least we have plenty of good places to sleep at night.

When we reach the top, the whole world seems to suddenly open out below us; we can see everything!

Drawing of a small child triumphant atop a pile of mattresses rising out of rainforest.
There is the fiancée's village, just beyond a little patch of jungle at the foot of the mountain. Excitedly, we race each other down the mountain, bounding like astronauts on the moon. This part is fun, so fast and effortless it feels like flying.

We run through the little jungle on the other side, and burst right into the middle of the wedding preparations. Lost in a noisy, happy crowd of villagers of all different species, I see Barney's cousin take a skinny greenish lizard-person by the hand. They embrace... Flowers thrown by friends cascade around them like jeweled butterflies.

They marry that day. All I remember of the ceremony is flowers, food, songs, howls, chirps, a little furry orange toddler whose mom had to retrieve him when he wandered out in front of the altar, and the sight of the two lizards tenderly draping blue scarves around each others' necks, as the audience cheers. Drawing of a huge jungle leaves half-hiding a yellow and blue bird

Afterward, a huge party. Among much winking and whispering, the newlyweds depart to do whatever it is adults do right after they get married. It's time for me to leave too; I have a long return trip ahead of me.

Preparing to climb the mattress mountain, I pause on a foothill and look out over the valley. I'm thinking about the newlyweds, about something that makes me feel happy and strangely sad at the same time. I saw something at that wedding, something when they touched; it was different from anything I've ever known. There must be a word for them. It takes me a while to find it. This is a word I've never used before.

Soulmates.

And…

"I want one too," I whisper to the wind.

An acute longing wells up within me, so much it feels like drowning. I wake up crying...

A NOTE MANY YEARS LATER

This is one of only four dreams I remember from my childhood. I was six when I had it. (Hence, Barney the Dinosaur. I idolized him.) At the time, all of my notions of romantic love came from Disney movies; I used to pair up my stuffed animals, creating happy endings like I'd seen on the screen. But I had no idea what really happened to people, what made them want to kiss (which I thought was gross) or do any of the other mysterious things I knew must be happening to someone, somewhere.

This dream didn't really change that. I still thought kissing was gross, still didn't find out about sex for another five years. What did change was this: when I woke up, I felt as though a piece of my soul was missing. I'd felt it before, but couldn't understand it; now I did.

I was six years old, and I was pining for my soulmate.

It was shattering. One of the defining moments of my childhood.

EDITOR'S NOTES Drawing of a small child pushing aside pink vines to guide a large purple newt through a jungle

It'd be Jungian enough to dream of a big purple newt-anima guiding you through the jungle... But here, Emily herself functions as the newt's anima, as if it's the newt's dream, and Emily's some Exotic Mammalian Guide leading our slippery-skinned dreamer to a Hieros Gamos, a spiritual wedding. I can just see that newt's dream-journal entry: "A tiny mammal-cub guided me past the Ancestral Ruins to Love. What a surreal choice for an anima! What's THAT symbolize?"

Emily added, in her email to me, "One question has been bugging me for years--how did the two lizards meet, fall in love, and get engaged while they had a jungle and some big old mountains between them? Plot hole, or weird shamanic soul-traveling dinosaur magic?" True--no MySpace back in '95... and no sign newts have phones. Talking drums? They used to call it the jungle telegraph... Ugh. Imagine love-letters your whole village can hear!

Is the dream predictive or prescriptive, hinting how Emily can find her soulmate? Consider the stages of the quest: Drawing of a small child triumphant atop a pile of mattresses rising out of rainforest.

One thing's clear. The assertive side of Emily has to lead the quest. Not her shy newtral side. ("Punish not the messenger for his newts." Sorry, I mean news. That is... dream-puns are there... like it or newt.)

--Chris Wayan



LISTS AND LINKS: animal people - reptiles - dinos - amphibians - shyness - kids - compassion and helping others - dream guides and animas - quests - epic dreams - forests - ruins and archeology - mountains - love - weird dream weddings - joy - loneliness - soulmates - prayers and wishes - more Emily Joy dreams - juvenilia - assertiveness - dream puns - pencil dream-art

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