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Fishel and Frish and Firebird

Dreamed 2003/12/4 by Wayan

I'm in a cooperative house on a quiet corner in suburbia, south of San Francisco. All brown wood and big windows. A warm house. I like it here out of the fog belt. But I'm not sure I live here permanently--may be just subletting a couple months. The situation's confusing; people are slowly but steadily arriving, filling up the house. Well--not human people. They look human, but that's just cover. They're gods.

One of my housemates, a Chinese girl about twenty, an artist, recognizes one of them. Gwan Yin the Moon Lady? Or an American equivalent, anyway--a goddess of compassion. But passing for human like the rest. She arrived as part of a family, in a big old car. Definitely a goddess, though--when my housemate recognizes her her jaw drops in awe. She goes up to the visitor and suddenly looks only waist-high next to her! Yet the goddess looked normal-sized, standing alone. It's her relative spiritual size I'm seeing--and it's not like my housemate's a spiritual dwarf! A generous soul, in fact, though subdued now, awestruck. She starts to bow to Guan Yin, but keeps going--kowtows in ancient imperial style.

The goddess looks touched, and pulls her up, and hugs her warmly (same size, now!) saying "This is America! All created equal, right?"

Sepia sketch of Guan Yin holding the hands of a girl who kowtowed to her.
She doesn't want to be worshiped any more; she wants friends.

I recognize her dimly, too. We've met. She was...oh, the ingenue-goddess who played the Singing Firebird, in Firebird and Minotaur. Wow, that dream was years ago! This is some reunion! Girl playing Anubis, the canine Egyptian god.

Later, in the mild summer evening, I'm winding down my day, getting ready to sleep. A lot of excitement, with gods visiting and all. I'm tired. But I hear noises on the porch and go out to check. It's two young women, Fishel and Frish, supposed to be twin daughters of the family. But they're undercover goddesses too. Fascinating ones: when their cover slips, they have canine snouts and big brown whiteless eyes and mobile, pointed ears, and shaggy wolf-tails. I find them really cute and want to pet them. I tell myself "Goddesses aren't pets" but the urge lingers. So adorable!

I know I've met them too, repeatedly: I even lived with them once in Russia, in a dream called The Boris Badenov Solution; they were absent-minded mad scientists (but cute ones)... oh, and they were the Anubis Twins, too, in Firebird and Minotaur. I've always liked them, even though they're ancient goddesses of the hunt and I'm a vegetarian. So what? They never hunt me, and friends don't criticize friends' diets.

Overhearing them, I learn that they and the Firebird are somewhat specialized gods. People who came to America from choice, or whose ancestors did, can call on the Twins, while only people brought here as slaves, or who fled here as refugees, can call on Compassion. They're not supposed to work together, or even meet, for they aren't thought of as compatible. Humans are supposed to recognize only whichever one's the appropriate deity--the other(s) automatically get seen as merely human.

I find this weird. I readily recognize all of them, and LIKE all of them, and see them as perfectly compatible. But then maybe my heritage includes both kinds of ancestors. And their rules ignore a third group: people whose ancestors (or past lives?) have been here all along--Native Americans. Or maybe I just can see them all because I'm a shaman, not human.

I don't want to choose between them! Instead, I want to try introducing them to each other, see if they can make friends. It's time to change their old rule--it's too limited.

I leave the door open for them so they can get in, and go to bed. I'm tired, and there's time. Gods are still arriving in the night.

Might as well relax 'til all the players have arrived...

NOTES oval drawing of a canine-headed girl dancing before a stone column


I'm posting this dream as a sort of corrective. I built the World Dream Bank AS a corrective, of course, to balance the two trends of dreamwork I see dominating this decade at least:

  1. sleep-researchers' doubt that dreams mean much of anything at all, and
  2. Jungian and New Age over-emphasis on deep symbolism and mystical thinking--neglecting the daily, the literal, the obvious.
Well, it's time to correct the correction. Fishel and Frish and Firebird is a classic Jungian dream. It's just a scene of a much bigger epic, a slow epic of maturation, of progress round a spiral labyrinth where each turn takes seven years. It's not a self-contained story, it disappoints on that level. Yet it does have a message, not just for me but any serious dreamworker: patience! The dreaming mind DOES think in years, even decades... Spiral pattern, seeming near-random at first, but trilaterally symmetrical: a masked triskelion.

...sometimes! Not always--there, I disagree with Jung! Some dreams are sharp and immediate; and some are their own worlds; and some are concerned with others, not self at all. But some, like this, are just one step in a long developmental dance. And seeing the dance as a whole, and comparing one dream to others in previous turns of the great spiral can help (if you can spot the echoes! Not always easy...)

Yet such dreams are rare in the Dreambank. Not because I don't dream them! But I tried to choose vivid, satisfying, complete stories. Color, magic, sex, humor, bizarre images, yes, but I still wanted coherent stuff; not chapters in some immense murky saga. I had an agenda; I was out to show dreams are life, living experiences as real as any other; some of your best times. Not mere symbols, and certainly not universal symbols. How boring, if we all had the same inner life!

I wanted to correct a Jungian bad habit--archetype-hunting, treating all dream-thinking as alien to the conscious, mystical, impersonal. So I looked for focused, coherent dreams full of personality. And found them! But they ARE a biased sample--just 3-5% of my own dreams, plus (as I write this) a hundred or so dreams from others. I could have built an equally big site of purely Jungian dreams! It's been done, so I chose not to. Nor did I want a nice dull site full of average, incoherent dreams. It's been done too (see Bill Domhoff's at UC Santa Cruz. Random raw dream accounts from semiliterate people--rather like reading random blogs and saying "So this, then, is literature.") Girl in a bird-helmet singing the part of the Firebird onstage.

But Fishel and Frish and Firebird IS a Jungian dream. It's not a story, but one scene from an epic I don't know the end to--my life. And I included FFF to point out (especially to dreamers having a lot of FFF-y dreams) that they aren't necessarily fragments, broken, worthless. I need to correct the impression that I always dream coherently, in neat little stories. Or, for more cynical readers, the impression that I'm lying, writing fiction. Neither is true. I dream all sorts; I just presented what I guessed were the most interesting types.

But based on my email, that's given others a false impression of my dream PROCESS. My dream-journal has blank nights (usually but not always sleep-short); nights of incoherent dreamlets; great isolated images; coherent dreams I can't clearly recall; dreams with messages I don't understand, now or ever; or messages I do get, that I judged uninteresting to others; dreams like this, mere recurring themes in a Jungian lifelong symphony...

I just selected out all the catchy tunes and posted them, that's all. WDB is biased toward readability--forgivable in a website, I think. But dreams like FFF just aren't readable as stories, and yet have value. I want to acknowledge that--and help sensitize readers to the potential in undramatic dreams.

Sometimes the gods arrive quietly. Incognito.

See you in 2010, I guess... for our next installment.

LISTS AND LINKS: gods - compassion - hierarchy vs equality - twins - animal people - dog people - sexy creatures - shamanic dreams - outsiders - time - cryptomnesic dreams - calendric or anniversarial dreams - Jungian dreams - how incoherent a dream can get: Old Hat

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