Around the first week of January of this year I had a pair of dreams, one night apart, that have tugged at me ever since. I finally found the personal journal entries where I wrote about them, and found that they are as relevant now as they were then. I want to share them with you because they’re so beautiful, and because there are things I need to talk about that relate to them both, and I think I’m ready to do that now.
The second dream is here.
I lived in an underground wizard’s tower. Like a deep, deep stone-lined shaft with lovely arched entryways leading into a warren of corridors and rooms. It was huge. There was a waterfall down one side, and a meditation garden at the bottom full of mossy rocks big as bulls, and a lily pool, and small statues hiding in the roots of the twisted trees that grew there. Though the sun never reached more than halfway down the central shaft, it was never dark. Lights hung among the branches or glowed near paths and benches. It was immensely peaceful and quite lovely.
I lived there with my master, a powerful wizard who had raised me from childhood to be his companion. (The deeply creepy overtones that carries when you say it out loud were not there in the dream.) I loved him utterly. He provided for my every need and want, and so I never left the tower. I could have, if I wanted to, but I was happy. I was not a creature of great appetites. I was not spoiled, any more than it is spoiling anyone to meet their needs. My need was to be kept safe and comfortable.
I helped my master with his correspondence and his studies. He taught me how to do amazing and wonderful things with magic. I could make books sing their words aloud, or make cats waltz with rabbits. I knew the secret names that would make every stone in the garden glow a different color and sound a different note. I could turn into a cat, a wolf, a fox, a crow, a marten.
None of what I did was what you would call useful, certainly none of it was destructive, but I had no concept of that, really. I had no idea that magic or life should be for something. Just that it was, and was to be enjoyed. It was total innocence. I was a beautiful being capable of beautiful things, and I believed that completely.
My master didn’t live like that. He went out into the world and did things. Fought battles, even, though whether he saved cities or razed them I did not know and didn’t care. He was kind to me. He went out into the world and worked his will upon it, because that was what pleased him, and so I never questioned it.
One day, he didn’t come back.
I didn’t know how to provide for myself. Without him, where would I get food, or companionship, or any of the other things that I needed that he provided me? So I left the tower and went into the upper world, hoping to look up some of the friends he corresponded with, knowing they would help me.
I came up outside a town that was very much like small town Oklahoma or Arkansas or Kansas. Not a backwards, hostile hickville, but a town full of average folks with the kindness you find among the best kind of rural people. I stole some clothes from a store so I wasn’t naked, even though I didn’t understand why these people covered themselves. It seemed silly, but they wouldn’t talk to me otherwise, just stare.
I asked around about my master, but nobody knew what I was talking about. A magician? A tower underground? That’s crazy talk. I asked if they could help me find his friends, and they sent me to a telephone. I didn’t even know what it was. I’d never learned to contact his friends on my own. I always had him to do it for me.
And the worst of it was that these people kept asking me things.
What’s your name?
Well, I don’t have one. I know who I am, and he knows who I am, and isn’t that all that matters?
Are you a boy or a girl?
What is the difference between them? I can see the difference between types of bodies, yes, I am not ignorant of that, but why do you draw lines between them, and why are people expected to – forced to! – identify themselves based on their body parts? That is boundlessly cruel, and obviously sick and destructive.
What do you do?
I read books and sometimes I climb trees and rocks, and I sleep on soft sheets and pillows with someone who really, really loves me, and takes care of me always, and now he’s gone, and I’m alone, and I’m so scared.
No, no, I mean, what’s your job?
And that one I didn’t understand at all, I didn’t even know what that meant. Once it was explained, I felt awful about it. All these people with identities totally at odds with what they were forced to do every day, all these people working at things that meant nothing to them. I didn’t even understand money. I didn’t understand why the things that people need were not provided to them by people who love them, and I did not see why people did not care for one another and love one another.
It was a nice place and full of the nicest people, and I didn’t understand them at all. They couldn’t help me. They kept demanding that I identify myself in ways that made no sense. And they insisted that magic did not exist! The only time they became uncomfortable or standoffish was when I tried to prove it did.
I could see that were passionate about things and laughed often and were sometimes kind to one another, and I also saw that they could be lonely and afraid, so I did not think they were so very different from me at all, but apparently they felt otherwise, and they wanted me to be more like them in ways that they considered important before they would help me. And they did not believe me when I said I was in danger.
I became aware as I went running from pillar to post that someone WAS hunting me, but I couldn’t catch them at it, and couldn’t get away from them, either. I was pretty sure they were coming to take me, too, because my master had always told me that I was precious and important, and also that I was delicate, and that others would be jealous and want to hurt or steal me if I ever left. (And he was right, as creepy as it sounds. He wasn’t just saying that to keep me in a cage. It was true.)
I was scared, and I knew if I changed my shape into an animal, the people would try to hurt me or catch me, so I stole a bike and tried to ride for the bookstore, where I thought I might find help of some kind – places for books are safe places.
I woke up before I could get there.
That is the first dream.
It was a sad dream. I very much liked the person I was in it, and I hope that I was able to find my master and get back to the peaceful garden at the bottom of the tower.
Do you want to go to the second dream? Click here.