Few things are better than a good night’s sleep, especially when one learns something in the process.
All of my life, I’ve had an interesting relationship with sleep. As a small child, I had night terrors, and as far back as I can remember I’ve also had nightmare disorder. When I awaken, I can remember the dreams I’ve had the night before in vivid detail…although it tends to fade about halfway through the day unless I make an effort to remember it or write it down. In addition, many of my dreams are lucid – on average, I have three-to-four lucid dreams per week. They just happen – in the middle of a dream, I’ll realize I am dreaming and be able to manipulate it in some fashion. I find this most fortunate in the middle of a terrifying nightmare. I remember one repetitive nightmare from my teens about being chased by a giant leech. I had it night after night, always in the same sequence…until I turned around and shouted, “That’s not in the script!” The next thing I knew, the leech unzipped and two actors stepped out, asking which cue was missed.
(From 2003 through 2006, I worked on clinical trials in sleep medicine. It gave me a new appreciation not only for my own nighttime adventures, but those suffered by others. If I can plug mainstream medicine for a moment, I highly recommend that anyone having issues with parasomnias find a sleep specialist. A good physician who is board-certified in sleep medicine will understand what you’re going through unlike anyone else.)
So, along with the fun I’ve previously mentioned I’ve had occasion to interact with the Divine during sleep. My own gods sometimes choose to relay things through my dreams, or within that space between waking and sleeping. But, the story I want to tell here is about an interaction with gods whom I didn’t really know until I met them in dream.
I walked down a corridor and into a room that held a pool of water. In the center of the pool, on a plinth, was a sphere that shimmered – it changed color from gold to silver and back again and glowed from within. I walked into the pool toward the plinth and, as I did so water began to stream down the walls. The pool got deeper, and it became harder to walk but, when I stopped, I was urged forward by a voice that told me I had to take the sphere and that it was meant for me.
When I finally reached the plinth, the water was chest high and continuing to pour into the pool around me. I reached up, grasped the sphere, and hugged it to my chest. It hummed, and the voice I heard before told me not to drop it. I began wading back through the water toward drier ground and then, in an instant, was standing in front of an open doorway into the darkness. I clutched the sphere and hesitated on the door sill…and that’s when I awoke.
I had the dream for several nights in succession. Always, upon reaching the doorway, I hesitated to go through and then awoke. It got to the point where I was beginning to dread trying to sleep in fear of the dream…and then I took hold of myself. I decided that, when and if I had the dream again, I would step across the threshold.
That night, I dreamed again of the pool, and the plinth, and the water. I came again to the doorway into darkness and, this time, took a step forward across the sill. In that instant, I found myself on a lighted stair that went downward and, beside me, stood Ganesha. He guided me down the stairs, past wolf-headed statues, talking all the while about journeys and choices and having the strength to move forward. We came to a room at the bottom of the stairs, with a second plinth and I placed the sphere upon it. A light filled the space and as I drifted away I heard a voice say, “Now you are ready. Go forth.”
When I woke the next morning, I knew I was forever changed.