Dreamed 1979/3/18 by Wayan
For Vic, Nancy, Lucinda, Ed, Cynthia, Val, Edith, Karen, Lorraine, Mark, Peggy, Carol, Michael, Judy, Jennie, David and Rich
In the late 70s for a couple of years I was homeless and battered by a woman I'll call Kay. I finally broke away in mid-1978. I'd stayed so long out of guilt, and knew I needed to change so no one else could capture me. I did dreamwork, alone. It was all I had; too sick to work yet, I was broke.
Then I found Prometheus Center in Palo Alto, where Vic Lovell was directing a rowdy, hippie version of Psychodrama mixed with Encounter plus dashes of Gestalt and improv. One by one, audience members stepped into the center-stage spotlight to worked on an issue; actors dove in, playing parts and fleshing out primal dramas. Everyone participated: in fight scenes, even the audience held up pillows in a ring to protect combatants. For several years was a regular at the big, raucous Inner Theater and a smaller, more introspective leaderless group. I acted some, but mostly I just watched and learned. It taught me half of what I know about people.
You know where the other half came from: you're about to read one. Well, three: Nucleus is a trio of dreamlets about my new community. I recorded EIGHT dreams that night; these were just the, well, nucleus. The raw dream-entries totaled 1,070 words, my lifetime record to that point. Whatever it meant, the dream was major.
1: Vic's Demons
Friends and I explore a mountain-island-jungle-gym-city, like a mix of Disneyland's Matterhorn and Tom Sawyer's Island. The surface is cloth; in spots you can slip beneath and hide. But mind the swampy patches! It's like a mansion abandoned and overgrown--like that jungly LA mansion in The Mafu Cage (bad movie).
The city's linked somehow to Vic Lovell, director of the Inner Theater. Did he build this whole city as a lesson for us?
Vic lets loose some demons that do mischief. For each of us there's a demon twin. Each demon's a bright, solid color; mine is red. We must chase them down. Very hard, as they're FAST!!! But we succeed.
Then we must catch several at once--the only way is to ally with my captured twin. We must capture two or three more wild demons. Must bring them all in at once, too, to claim we've won. But we do it!
But now that I stand holding 'em, I feel the game is futile. They'll run off as soon as I let go, which I do. Can catch 'em... but not keep 'em.
2: Lucinda's Mesons
To open Psychodrama, Vic does a warmup: "Close your eyes and picture the Hindu concept of Maya, the world as illusion..." But it works a bit too well! I open my eyes to find our meditation has sent us all to a strange space: a big rounded chamber, not quite spherical--a dodecahedron, with twelve pentagonal faces. The corners are rounded though, as if blurred by uncertainty or smoothed by time. The gravity here is very low--or time is slower. Each person or clique in the Psychodrama community is a smaller ball or polyhedron floating round the cavern, glowing in sourceless light. We're like bubbles in a lava lamp.
Edith the painter and her sprawling family form a loose, everchanging polyhedron marked 5 or 6.
Lucinda is a solitary Eightball, fuzzy as her hair, orange-cream, in the exact center of the room.
A faceless purple particle rolls by. No name, no number. But on its side is the Chinese character "wo", meaning I or me. I think "Really I should scrawl that character on every particle, since they're my view of people, not the people themselves."
Totally me? I'm at least partly responsible for the classification and representation system of color and number. I can even fiddle with it. Within each 'hedronal nucleus are subatomic particles. One has this person's name on it; others are color-coded, one to match each person/polyhedron in the room. People's views of their friends? Rather than bearing names or numbers, each of these colored particles has scrawled on its side the TOTAL number of particles in the room. The community as a whole matters more than I realized?
In this atomic room, we nucleons DANCE. I'm nervous and wild-clumsy at first. I decide I better let the gravity decide the pace, and slow down--dance in fishy slow motion--flowing somersaults, tai ji moves. Much better! Now I feel right.
Nancy Treiber likes my slow dance and is impressed--comments to Vic "I didn't think he was like that"--I think she expected only wired-and-jangly out of me. Since Nancy's a dancer, her opinion means a lot to me.
Lucinda Fuzzball anchors the center still; we all dance around her warm blur. What is it about that fuzz?
3: A Million Years Later
The ancient city from the first dream, revisited. But now it's one million years old! The fountains and statues have all rusted. Even the stainless steel with the Million-Year Guarantee is 3/4 gone.
We are only spirits now.
Alone, a melancholy ghost, I climb the old main tower. A dry fountain at the top. I sit in the basin, which still swivels like it used to; it's like the view-chair atop the starship Dark Star.
A tourist group climbs the steps, admires the view. At first I assume I'm invisible--a ghost after all--but then they look at me in surprise. Can SEE me. I'm alive!
Or one mighty solid ghost.
Notes in the Morning
This dream, in hindsight, was a turning point; during the years I was battered, my dreams were survival warnings. Here they shifted gears--using senses honed by a struggle for survival to assess my new community's people, tensions, and power centers. From then on, my dreams took a long view, trying to heal me, build up skills and strengths, teach me about people, about myself, teach me subtlety (not my strong point!)--shifting gears from crisis and survival to deep growth.
Jung (and not just Jung) writes as if dreams always work for longterm individuation and soul-growth. Yeah, sure, often--if the dreamer is safe. But if you're cold, hungry, bruised, or fearing that midnight knock on the door from the cops, dreams have other functions.
It's not binary--survival or personal growth. A third face of dreaming is creative play. Nucleus combines physics, psychology and puns to show me how it feels to be a proton--or a friend.
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