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Duty, Responsibility, Sacrifice

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Many people reject the very notion that dream-selves can be responsible, any more than drunks can--it's an altered state, and that's that.

When I started serious dreamwork, I was helplessly stuck in the roles my dreams presented me, in dramas not of my choosing, and my actions sometimes appalled me when I woke. But gradually I learned to think of myself as a shaman, with the responsibility to behave decently--and it carried over into dreams. I can and do generally manage to retain both a clarity and a morality comparable to a lucid dreamer, even in non-lucid dreams--I simply won't get too sleazy because it's not me.

I'm not recommending this for everyone, all the time--sometimes your dreams need to cut you loose from your waking values, waking logic, waking self, when that self's become confining, or when it was never you, but your parents or church or village or school telling you who you were.

But one of the silliest assumptions of Western psychology is that all figures in all dreams are just hallucinations in the dreamer's brain. We don't know that for sure. When you harm or help a dream figure, that may or may not have real consequences for a real being somewhere. Behaving responsibly may only reinforce your own self-respect (already a good reason to try it, yes?) but dealing honorably with dream creatures may mean far more. To them, you may be the dream-creature. Angel or nightmare--it's up to you.

RELATED TOPICS: shamanism and communal health - political dreams - social and sociological dreams - morality and ethics - courage - guardians - lucid dreaming - See also the full INDEX OF SUBJECTS.

What this site is - Add your dreams! - How to read blurbs - Ratings - Copyright - Downloading - The World Dream Bank has 3300+ dreams plus 1000 more pages on dreamwork, shamanism, surrealism, fantasy, worldbuilding, creativity and genius. Site © Chris Wayan 2001-2013.

ADOPT A SON TO WIN A MATE: by Wayan; 2010/11/24; a dream of priorities
I'm a big cat lonely in this human city. Wish I had a mate!
But as soon as I take responsibility for an orphaned boy, in walks an older girl...
ALP VARK: by Wayan; 1983/11/24-25, an epic comic psychic dream.
I'm kissed by the Holy Aardvark, but my bond with my dad is strained by ESP he can't accept...
THE AMBASSADOR PRO TEM OF DREAMS: by Wayan; 1993/3/1, a dream about dreams.
The real Ambassador of Dreams was moonlighting, so I had to step in
and explain dreams to the waking world...
AND THEN I WOKE UP: by Wayan; 1980/11/4, an illustrated dreamtale.
A dream of mushrooms, flying, canyons, giant Rocs out of Sindbad--and a moral challenge.
THE ANT REPRESENTATIVE: by Wayan; 1996/3/18, a romantic dream of bugs.
I fall in love with a diplomat from a hive mind. Am I luring her into dangerous individuality?
ANTLIA: by Wayan; 1997/6/29, a dreamtale.
I meet a judge from the newly discovered galaxy Antlia, and learn distance can lend objectivity...
A BEAM OF FLIGHT: by Wayan; 1992/4/19, a dream of love and shellshock.
I'm a dance teacher, I'm King Kong, I'm a shell-shocked elf, I'm a wild bird flying...
BEAR READ DUNE: by Wayan; dreamed 1981/1/28, painted 10 years later.
There are many astral planes--this world's just the cellar.
A cat and a bird in love, a literate bear and I guard the astral stair...
BLESS MY PHOBIA: by Wayan; dreamed 1992/8/15; story + silk painting.
I was Eve's guardian angel the second time round, and I blew it again. But this time, it came out right....
BROKEN GLASS by Nancy Price; 1948, a dream of working to death.
Helping out talking animals until I'm exhausted, I suffer a fatal accident. What am I being warned of?
BUT SUCH DIFFERENT FRAUDS!: by Wayan; 1996/11/4, a moral dream.
A woman who posed as a Starfleet officer discovers other frauds on board. She blows the whistle on them...
THE CIRCUS HUMANS' DESERTION: by Wayan; 1988/2/19; a holy dream.
I join a circus, but soon all the best carnies sail off to the Blessed Isles. The circus animals pitch in
and carry on--clumsy and lonely. Then a divine herald arrives from the Isles: Donald Duck! He says...
CLOTHO AND THE POOL OF DREAMS: by Jenny Badger Sultan;
a 2015 painting weaving seven dreams (2014/5/4, 6/9, 7/1 & 9/4; 2015/5/23, 6/26 & 8/25)
A portrait of Clotho, the Greek Fate who spins our life-threads, by a pool woven of my dreams from this time...
COCO CHANEL'S PUSSY: by Wayan; 2010/4/26; a film-pun-sex dream
Coco Chanel's fashion workers want me to screw Coco's cat, so she'll stop screwing them financially...
COLLAPSE THEM IN THE ZONE: by Wayan; 1995/4/7, a dream of ghosts and physics.
I explore a zone lost in Shroedinger probabilities, and meet time-ghosts who want to collapse into reality...
A COLONY IN THE HOLLOW HILLS: by Wayan; 1997/8/14, a dream of responsibility.
Hong Kong's not devolving to China, but to Faerie. As governor, I have to defend human rights, so...
COMYN RESTRAINT: by Wayan; 1983/3/25, a dream on abandon.
I'm from a race of self-policing psychics, starting to wonder if we've created our own Inquisition...
COYOTE PAJAMAS: by Wayan; 1983/12/17, a Dantesque dream-epic.
I'm Coyote, keeping the Business Prophet from taking over Dante's Peak. But it turns too personal...
COYOTE'S VAULT: by Wayan; 1994/5/4, a shamanic dream of the future.
One of the Time Vaults has opened. That means a historical crisis is at hand. Guess who gets to go in...
CURSING ISABELLA: by Wayan; 1992/8/19, a thoughtful dream of sorcery.
How I cursed Isabella the sofa sorceress, cursed her with a blueberry. And why that stinks...
THE DARII: by Wayan; 1994/8/15, a psychic dream of another life .
I'm trying to prevent a race war, but can I kill someone I admire? And if so, can I live with it?
DOCTOR WHO AND DEATH: by Wayan; 1984/6/30, a hopeful dream of betrayal.
Dr Who, that BBC perennial, allies with Death. An alarming turn-around! What's he up to?
DOG BITES CAT: by Wayan; 2015/2/17; a grating dream-poem
I get bullied into dogwalking. A biter--leaves a cat bloody. You'd think a talking dog'd listen. But Cheney...
THE DOOR THROUGH DEATH: by Wayan; 1981/10/25; a Greco-Egyptian nightmare poem
At death's door, my friend lets Cerberus devour her, so I can enter
Death's pyramid alive and expose the truth about the afterlife...
ELBERETH PAUSES: by Wayan; 1989/6/26, a dream on postwar ethics.
After the Lord of the Rings falls, Elbereth herself is sent to heal the land. But she has a troubling neighbor...
AN ELECTORAL DRAGON: by Wayan; 1998/10/21, a virtual-reality-campaign-ad dream
In a world of bad haircuts, I meet a dragon running for office. But is this real, or a dream? Both/neither! It's...
FETAL PAUSE: by Wayan; 2008/8/31, a nightmare-poem, Dreamverse #17
As I write a sad sex dream, a madman curls up fetally in the road outside my window. I'm slow to call 9-1-1, and...
FLEEING KAMPUCHEA: by Laura Lawrence; early 1990s?; recurring nightmares of a future client's life
My Cambodian village was burned, my family murdered. At 12,
I was the oldest survivor; I led a band of kids to the border...
GOLD EATER: by Wayan; 560K, 9-page comic of a 1993/1/15 dream.
I'm an orphan shapeshifter enslaved by a gold-eating monster. But I meet a cat-girl with a hammer...
GOSPEL GIRL: by Wayan; 1986/11/17, a stubborn dream.
I'm a girl in a desert who God tells to preach a new gospel. But the locals, unlike ancient Rome, have guns...
HALF SHAMAN, HALF STATESMAN: by Wayan; 1986/4/21, a parallel-world dream: Chapter 6 of UNICORN TAG
I get a scholarship to Shaman U. Some of my classmates are Terran, but I still don't fit in, because...
ISHI AND SNOID: by Wayan; 1993/8/4, a dream of stretching.
I'm a California Indian wandering through time, keeping the secret of time-travel from the reckless...
JIM'S POWDER: by Helen; pre-1961, a telepathic warning dream
I dreamt I was begging Jim not to kill himself, but when I woke, I couldn't bring myself to call. I hardly knew him...
JOIN THE WOLVES LATER!: by Wayan; 1980/9/4, a dream of false but useful fear.
Shepherding a group of cityfolks through an alien wilderness, I need a werewolf's help. So why do I lie?
LEARNING SCALES: by Wayan; 1985/6/26, an epic dream of Chinese dragons.
I find myself in astral China. The Empress is banished, the Jester rules. Wisdom is lost.
We need an Imperial Dragon...
MELTDOWN BABY: by Wayan; 1996/10/13, a guilty nightmare.
In a Mormon future, my baby climbs a tree and spontaneously disintegrates! I try repotting, but...
MELTDOWN VALLEY: by Wayan; 1993/2/13, a dream of scrupulous balance.
A park in San Francisco has melted into a bizarre mutation-zone. Its guardian is a lonely elf-woman...
MOM THE MURDERER: by Wayan; 1996/3/7, a possible psychic dream.
My mom confesses to a killing, says tearfully she had to do it--but her reasons make no sense. When I wake..
THE MUSTACHE PRAYER: by Wayan; 1983/9/11, a dream on wishes' limits.
I help a mutant boy find others like him, and learn why some prayers are ungrantable...
NANCY AND KIT: by Wayan; 1994/1/3, a dream about mislabeling.
In a psychodrama scene, I try to stop a furious guy from hitting an exhibitionist girl. But I'm bleeding...
ON THE SEASHORE: by Gabrielle Bell; between 1998-2002; a lucid dream-comic
I'm on a beach in Mexico with a baby--my only souvenir of an affair I can't recall.
I'm a mom? My whole life will change! Wait. Is this real, or...
THE OTTER'S MOM: by Wayan, 1996/5/29; a dream-comic of the future.
A doomed, orphaned ottercub meets the last Tasmanian Wolf, who makes a hard choice I couldn't. Or... did I?
OUR GOVERNOR: by Wayan; 1990/3/28, an anti-death-penalty dream.
I force the governor's chief aide to tour the new prisons for us artists, fags, and niggers.
He's appalled--but how many more noses must I rub in the governor's racism?
PETER PAN SYNDROME: by Wayan; 1995/1/10, a dream on those books...
I meet Peter Pan grown up: a stark, fey prince in exile. Why do only I see him, and the Lost Children? Oh.
PINBALL SHOWDOWN: by Wayan; 1995/3/18, a flirty game-playing dream.
I suspect the pinball champion of Jupiter is cheating. I try to scare her psychic confederate out of hiding...
POTLATCH SMOKE: by Wayan; 1988/5/10, a shamanic dream-inside-dream 4 levels deep!
Refugees flood the spirit worlds! War looms. Wolf, Silky, Dr Who, even the Bug-Goddess of Love are alarmed.
I'm just a blonde ditz, but I help inspect realities till we trace the source: a Tlingit potlatch! Why?
PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD: by Wayan; 2009/10/19, a dream poem w/sketch and map; Dreamverse #61
I get stuck with a one-year mandatory gig as President of the World just as Saudi Arabia collapses, and fools rush in...
THE PROBLEM OF PAIN: by Wayan; 1984/5/15, a devious dream.
We sail to the Isle of the Blest, but God exiles me to Fargo, North Dakota. But God's up to something subtle...
RING OF WHITE WATER: by Wayan; 1983/1/30, an epic astral dream.
I'm a raft guide on a circular river that may just be reincarnation. A girl in my
tour group jumps ship: she dreads the white water of rocky relationships ahead...
ROBINSON JEFFERS AS A SHAMAN: by Wayan; 1996/7/28, a little shamanic shoptalk
Jeffers, that harsh, visionary, ecological poet, seems drunk on Darwinism, blind to how kindness matters...
ROSE AND THE THORN: by Wayan; 1986/7/1, a dream on those too meek to ask.
We're swallowed by Swamp Sofas and enslaved to The Man Who Prays on Us. Time to grow some thorns!
THE SEA WOLF'S BRAIN: by Wayan; 1999/11/21, a psychic dream.
For years the Sea-Wolf enslaved me. He said I had to fight him and win to be free. I'm ready at last...
SELL THE GODS, AND RAISE HELL!: by Wayan; 1994/1/26, a dream riddle.
Reactionaries smash a paper. To rebuild, the editor must sell
the sacred tiki carvings! But gods don't LIKE being sold...
THE SHAMAN INSPECTOR: by Wayan; 1996/7/31, a dream on core values.
My work as a federal shaman inspector involves judging a rainbow of traditions by a few basic principles:
SHARK SENSE: by Wayan; 1988/12/9, a diagnostic dreamtale.
I'm a circus tiger, then a performing shark. One day, I block my human partner's high dive... Why?
SHASTA OCCUPATION: by Wayan; 1996/11/1, a dream of telepathic spill-over.
I'm teaching in a wizard's college near Mt Shasta when one astral world decides to occupy another...
SHEVEK'S TIME-SLIP: by Wayan; 1996/10/14, a chronohomeostatic dream.
Shevek invents time-travel and discreetly alters the past. But the future alters
Shevek's present, to undo his changes! Who's sabotaging him? Or... WHAT?
SILKY'S REVOLUTION: by Wayan; 1995/9/4, a historical dream.
I'm in an alternate-history American Revolution with Silky the
talking black mare. We sail for Europe as diplomats...
MY SISTER'S GRAVITY WELL: by Wayan; 1995/4/25, a dreamtale.
We play with worlds for balls, and gravity wells for goals. How do the worlds see it? Well... I find out.
SKEPTIC AND DRAGONFLY: by Wayan; 1988/1/28 and 2/8, twin flying dreams.
Big Blonde and her officemates don't believe in flight; but the dragonfly-girl I meet hatched in mid-air...
SNOW STALLION: by Wayan; 1994/6/4, a tangled political/spiritual dream.
I'm a peace terrorist trapped in Squaw Valley, herded like a mare by a huge stallion made of snow...
And then the dream shifts. I blurt out the truth behind our idiotic waking world! And wake believing it...
SOCK PUPPETS OF THE GODS: by Dee and Wayan; 100K, 1994/4/14. Parallel shamanic dreams!.
I dream I'm suicidal; but I'm saved when I'm shown the flow of human development--the same pattern,
from souls to civilizations! Eddies and knots recur, but the challenges slowly get more spiritual.
NEXT DAY: I learn what my shaman-friend Dee just dreamed. And now I'm unsure whose dream this is...
SORB TRUCE: by Wayan; 2008/9/1, a dream-poem, Dreamverse #20
In a desert crawling with aliens who can absorb your mind, I propose a truce, and gain...
STRUCK BY THOUGHT: by Wayan; dreamed 1956-7, 71/11/26, 78/12/28, 82/10/5, & 83/9/12
A picture-poem experiment: one dream per stanza!
Five short dreams exploring the weight of culture on our animal selves...
TEN TRIALS: by Wayan; 101K, 1976/10/2, a dream of love distracted.
While living with violent Kay, I dream I meet a cute, gentle moth-girl.
But we must undergo ten trials. Mustn't we? Mustn't we?
TIME-BUBBLE: by Wayan; 2008/9/1, a dream-poem, Dreamverse #19
In a city crawling across a marshy world, I find a detonating bomb frozen in a time-ball.
Why not detonate it somewhere harmless, why carry this around?
TIAMAT'S REBELLION: by Wayan; 1988/1/1, a dream about neoteny.
That day: I read of a young healer in rural Indonesia harassed by the local mullah.
That night: I dream she leads a revolution on a starship against her elders...
TITANIA: by Wayan; 1981/12/7, 83/1/7 & 2/13 and 84/10/2, a dream-epic in installments
Clarence the sappy angel from It's A Wonderful Life and Milton's Lucifer land on Earth, offering treaties.
Who to sign with? Clarence thinks we're fine as is, but the Devil's a tinkerer, learning from failures. Failures
like me and my girlfriend Titania, the first android with a full palette of feelings. Like the feeling she's fake...
TRUE LOVE = CHOICE! by Ms. Mira; Jan. 2008, a dream-lesson on compassion and free will.
I'm on an alien world inside the minds of two women and a child struggling with moral choices in a civil war...
AN UNDERCOVER TROLL: by Wayan; 1994/7/6, a dream of personal growth taken too far...
Disguised as a literary troll, I spy on the Neo-Nazis, but my disguise
can't last much longer: I ate a magical herb, and I'm growing...
THE UNWILLING GUIDE: by E.M. Martin; 1914/12/29, a nightmare of occupied England
In a wood full of snipers, Martin has a hard moral choice: lead, leave or turn in a group of strangers who may be spies...

UNICORN TAG: by Wayan; 1986, a linked series of illustrated dreams.
Animal teachers, mostly equine, drag me (as I scream NO!) beyond plain dreamwork into shamanism...
Chapter 1: The Deer Party: by Wayan; 150K, 6 illus.
Chapter 2: Ariane's Honeymoon: by Wayan; 8K
Chapter 3: The Everest Marathon: by Wayan; 1 illus.
Chapter 4: Who'll Be My Love?: by Wayan; 100K, 4 illus.
Chapter 5: Dreamrider: by Wayan; 7K, a nondream interlude
Chapter 6: Half Shaman, Half Statesman: by Wayan; 170K, 4 illus.
Chapter 7: Eight To A Horn: by Wayan; 2 illus.
Chapter 8: Black Magic: by Wayan, 7 illus.
Chapter 9: Misfits On Mars: by Wayan; 300K, 7 illus.
VERTICAL PLANES: by Wayan; 1990/3/7, an astral pirate dream.
We're air pirates running a music shop, till our biplanes are hijacked by cat angels! Furious, we set out...
WE MARCHED THROUGH THE CITY OF SAINT FRANCIS: by Wayan; 1982/5/1?, a dream-tinged poem.
After a peace march in San Francisco, I saw us as deer, and Americans as dogs. Yet WE frighten THEM...
WELLS'S QUEST: by Wayan; 1992/7/14, a benevolent dream.
I'm on a world inhabited by hobbits when H.G. Wells shows up, looking for a Ring of Power...
'WE'RE ALL HUMAN': by Wayan; 1987/3/13, a dream trial.
For flirting in the astral cafeteria, we all get sentenced to group therapy--
till I catch the lie in my life. What lie? Read the title...
WHEN THE SPIRIT MOVES YOU: by Wayan; 1996/5/1, an alternate-world dream.
An empire of creatures asexual most of the year has affected its human neighbors--or bred a new type.
THE WHITE DEER, RE-ENACTED: by Wayan; 2009/3/2, a parabolic dreampoem.
I'm living in an England rendered in chalk. We wander the woods with butterfly nets,
ritually hunting the White Deer--if that's what they really are...
WHITE-KNUCKLE FAIRNESS: by Wayan; 1999/3/23, a dream of not being me.
I'm a conscientious saurian who feels obliged to duel with a hot-tempered friend.
Preparing, wanting to fight fair, I don't just file my spurs blunt, I...
WOLVES EVOLVE: by Wayan, 1983/11/11, a Darwinian dream.
After seeing 'Rear Window', Grace Kelly and I are wolf children in a pack that's quickly evolving into...
A WORLD DIES WELL: by Wayan; 1981/12/6, a dream of reconciliation.
A world-mind I never really liked dies generously, helping others; so I make my peace with it...
A WORLD TOO WEIRD FOR WORDS: by Wayan, 2011/1/21, a utopian dream--or is it?
I'm in a college class studying a bizarre alternate Earth where
anarchist co-ops never evolved and (of all things) money rules all...

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