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Dreamed 1993/7/10 by Chris Wayan

Chinese painting: couple make love, woman watches behind a screen. Click to enlarge.


I saw Sex and Zen today: it's a movie version of Li Yu's The Carnal Prayer Mat (1658!), a Chinese alchemical sex farce about a nebbish who wants to be a stud, and resorts to drastic experimentation to get the giant weenie of his dreams... Grotesque, hilarious, embarrassing. Intentionally. I think.


I wander the world on a quest. I drive, walk, bike... always on the same road--the Path of Time. A path infested with demons.

I enter a dark mine, chased by enemy forces. I think they're Chinese government soldiers. I'm here to contact the bandits and demons hiding in the caverns, and unite them into a rebel force against the government. I only entered the caves because the Road goes through the mountain--no other way. Neither cowardly nor brave, just following the path.

Inside, in the dark, I do feel fear. I have only a pocket flash, very dim. Something grabs my shoulder! Terror jolts me as I turn to find a demon taller than me, fangs bared. But not to bite--it's a smile, or the demon's best imitation. It's trying to be friendly! It says "You can escape your pursuers, who are entering the tunnel-mouth now, by turning off into this side gallery. Keep off the main road." I look back to see dark cut-out soldiers in the mouth of light. I'm in plain sight already if they have dark-adapted eyes, but I doubt they do, and they haven't shone a light on me yet. The Demon scares me... but less than a whole mob of known enemies! I decide to trust him, and follow him off to a parallel corridor on the left. Feels familiar, like a place in my parents' house gone dark and cold and stony. My childhood, fossilized.

I lose my demon. I passed through a door, then think better and return to lock it, for I sense the enemy close behind me now. The door has a lock like those in my parents' house: you turn the ridge on the button in the center of the doorknob to lock it. But is it locked now? Unlocked, I think. Turn the button with great care... and instantly a demon warrior bursts through the door and attacks me!

I half-wake to escape. Lucidly re-enter the dream and replay the scene, trying to protect myself better. Examine the door more closely this time. Was it locked, did I UNlock it for him? Or did he burst right through the flimsy door? Could I reinforce it? Run the scene again... and the demon instantly breaks in! And again...

No matter what I do, I can't stop him now. I thought I could just replay the dream like a film and he wouldn't learn a thing, but if I retain my memory of previous run-throughs, why can't he? Once he knows I'm behind the door ONCE, he'll break through to get me. I can't hide from him any more. We have to fight, no way around it. Man and demon find a woman sleeping in a cave. Dream sketch by Wayan; click to enlarge.

Later... I find my demon friend again, in the mountain's black heart. We sneak around a corner to find tents ahead. A campground? A tomb! In them lie the dead. One in each tent. I touch one canopy. They look crude, ugly, and utilitarian, but the material's strong, not a bit weakened by unknown years in the damp.

Peer inside. You know, this corpse looks pretty good! Oh... he's breathing. Not dead--these people are in deep trance! A cave of sleepers. How long, I wonder?

One tent's much better-made; my demon friend examines the seams and says surprised "As good as anything my own people make." A sign of social status, he explains, not just personal skill--the crude tents show humility, not primitive natures. "Look how powerful the preservation-magic is. These folk could make better tents if they wished. They're more than they seem."

He opens the flap on the rich tent, and looks in. "Um... you'd better see this."

Not plain. Not utilitarian. A girl is sleeping on rich silk pillows. She's short, muscular as a gymnast, and wearing a fiery red gown. Taped to the tent wall is a sheet of paper. I shine my dim light on it. It's a sort of instruction sheet--a torn-out magazine page describing her. Says she's emotional, a dancer and opera singer, who loves both carmine and Carmen. She's a princess--the Princess of Passion. The others are her retinue and guard.

And it names the day to wake her.


I have to wake up Passion.


LISTS AND LINKS: China - politics - guilt - Red Diaper Babies - chthonic (underworld) dreams - dream beings - demons - lucid dreams - royalty - love - a dream of archetypes who learn: Bike Knights - a dream of passion awake: Awakening Hurts - another nightmare the same night: Chronophobia!

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