SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1979
I wake up with my head aching and my heart pounding. I’m in Dreamland at Sarah and Rebecca’s house. Remnants of a scary dream evaporate under the heat of the rising sense of consciousness. Hmm. I’m starting to have a string of nightmares. Why? Something tells me I don’t want to think about that now. Hmm. So far, I just haven’t found any time to go to the Temple of the Queen of the Night and meet Miriam. Or to go back and find the stairway back up (?), down (?) to talk with the, so-called, guardian of the gateway to this place. Sarah and Rebecca’s plans keep me way too busy with errands and training. Through their efforts, I hope to soon become a Dreamer and not merely someone who dreams.
Sarah has gotten me out even before the sun had finished rising in Dreamland’s sky. She sits in front of me on her home’s back porch managing to convey the impression that she’s sitting down to tea, even though her legs are crossed in the traditional lotus yoga position under her long khaki skirt. I’m trying to be comfortable sitting with my legs crossed.
If I wasn’t so uncomfortable, I would be quite satisfied.
I managed today to do some Dreaming of my own. I got the color of my Dream suit to change from that drab mousy gray to a deeper storm cloud gray. Sarah explained my triumph as merely an outgrowth of my ego, or as I would re-phrase it, a strong sense of self. She said not to let one quick and very minor success go to my head.
“Lamont! Meditating is not wool gathering.”
“Oh. I didn’t realize that was what I was doing.”
“Meditation is the art of unfocused concentration. Not focused un-concentration. Now try again. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm and do so to my count. Focus on my counting, till it fills all of your conscious thought.”
“But first, I have a question for you.”
“Well, what is it?”
“You mentioned a few days ago, something about the riddle of apprenticeship, so what’s the riddle?”
“Finding out the riddle is part of the problem in solving it.” Sarah taunts.
“Oh. Any clues?”
“No,” she says, with obvious satisfaction.
“But, once I do figure out the riddle and solve it, then I’m officially no longer an apprentice?”
“Correct. At that time, you can present yourself to the mayor of this the city and to her court. There you will demonstrate whatever skills or talents you have practiced which display your Dreaming abilities. Then you will be awarded a gem stone so you can become a full citizen of Dreamland.”
“Where do the gem stones come from?”
“I’m not sure. I believe they are provided, at a price, by the so-called Men of Samarkand. Now can we return to your meditation lesson?”
I do better with the visualization exercises than with the meditation. Rebecca tells me that her lessons will be more fun.
“To become a creative Dreamer,” Rebecca instructs,” you’re going to have to follow the example set by the White Queen and practice ‘to believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast,’ the more contradictory, the better.”
“What do you mean?”
“Actually belief is at the very heart of the matter.”
“You’re dancing around me with verbiage. What are you trying to explain?”
“The key to this world of Dreams. Though knowing the key won’t do you much good. It never has. There’s still the problem with the lock and the needed strength, or courage, to turning the key.”
“You’re doing it again. The key is what?”
“The key to power in Dreamland is this; you’re limited only by what you believe. As Rabbi Hillel would say, all the rest is commentary.
Hmm. That’s it? That’s true in the Waking World, in a different way and to a different extent.”
“Ahh, but such a difference it makes. Enough with metaphors let’s go for concrete analogies, have you ever tried juggling?”
“You should, or rather, you will now.”
As she speaks, three orange colored balls appear in her hands. She juggles them as she continues.
“You see, an excellent metaphor for thinking about how to Dream in Dreamland is juggling. Like juggling, here you must learn to do many things all at once and to do most of them unconsciously. Many people say they can’t do two things at once. Yet, we actually do that and more. For example, we can walk, breathe, and without out any difficulty, even talk, all at the same time. Different levels of the mind are concentrating on the different activities. Here we take this multiplicity of mental levels of activity one step further and Dream many Dreams at the same time, on many levels of the mind.”
“You mean like, I’m listening to you on one level, I’m watching those three balls your flipping around on another, I’m talking to you and planning what I’m going to say as I say those words, and on still another level, I’m visualizing myself wearing this dark gray outfit?”
“That’s it exactly."
“Hmm? Did you realize that juggling is also good in getting the two sides of the brain activated, because you have to coordinate and use both your right and your left hand, and in my case, my right brain, which controls my left hand, is under used, since I, like most people, don’t expect the left hand to do much. Although, I can type and so....”
“Enough with brain babble, now, look alive!”
She tosses me first one ball, which I barely manage to catch in one hand, and then tosses the second ball. I drop the first ball to try and to catch the second. It bounces out of my hand. I look at her sheepishly and shrug my shoulders. I start to bend over to pick up the fallen balls.
“Don’t bother.” She snaps her fingers and the balls disappear. “Now, let’s try that again.”
She slowly tosses me a new ball that she conjures up and has me toss it back. We do this a few times before she adds a second ball. She keeps this up, forcing me to join in her juggling act as she continues to talk.
“Now, while paying enough attention to the balls, I’m going to give you some general rules of how Dreaming and Dreamland operate. One: You have to suspend your judgment of disbelief and to expect the unexpected. Two: You need to train your mind to regain its child-like flexibility. To return to the time of playing ‘let’s pretend’. Three: It’s
easier to imagine one object in a new form than to conjure up a new object out of nothing. Four: It’s easier to conjure up very personal common items than exotic and extraordinary items. Five...”
“I just thought of something.”
“In the real world, I...” Before I can finish my thought, my coordination goes out to lunch. I fail to catch the balls she tosses at me. My mouth hangs open as I watch them bounce off me.
“You have just suffered from the results of having committed the sin of Dreamland. In this case, the consequences were minor, a few balls bouncing off you. If you were to make that error again, it could be at some more critical juncture and then you would have invited disaster.”
“What are you talking about? What did I do?”
“You were in the act of referring to the Waking World as the “Real World,” implying that Dreamland is not real. Once you fully believe that, your unconscious may follow through with that belief and consequentially you will no longer be in control of your Dream environment. All that you have conjured up will start to unravel. Your very Dream existence could be threatened. Always refer to Dreamland in terms that confirm your belief in its complete reality.”
“I got it, boss.”
She laughs. She conjures up new balls and we start again.
“Now, what were you going to say, and this time be careful to rethink and rephrase that thought.”
“Ah... usually, I’m not very coordinated at all. Yet I seem to be getting the hang of this juggling, how come?”
“Well, here it’s not so much the physical coordination, but the mental coordination and agility that counts. But, as for how good a juggler you are, try this.”
Now she has two balls, one in each hand, while I hold the third. She tosses me the first and then rapidly tosses the second. I toss mine back and try to catch her first one, which I barley manage to do, as the second bounces off my chest.
“What were you saying about how good a juggler you are?”
“Ah,” I contritely reply, “What I really meant to say, it’s amazing what a good teacher can do in compensating for someone’s lack of skill.”
“This teacher thinks you need a lot of practice.”
 Lewis Carroll, a.k.a. Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Through the Looking Glass: and What Alice Found There, pg. 177, Oxford University Press, World's Classic Paperback Series, 1865, 1982.
“Have you ever tried juggling?”
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 1979
I wake up, again. Except now, I know by the sound of music that my clock radio has gone off and I’m back in my bedroom. Once again, I leave behind the vestiges of Dreamland by removing my pajamas and clothe myself in the attire of the Waking World.
Thank God. Time moves in its normal pace, slowly. I’m aware of its passing clearly. During lunch hour, I check out the local paper at the school library looking for any mention of the odd happenings on Strawberry Hill and Jon going missing. I didn’t expect there to be anything, so I wasn’t disappointed when I came up empty. It would have been significant if there were some mention of the strange storm that night. Oh well, no external collaboration is to be found.
Hmm. There’s that sense of déjà vu again. Have I done all that before? I can’t seem to keep things on the straight and normally narrow path lately. I wonder why? After school, I go to The Gifts of the Goddess.
“Nu, Lamont, how goes your dreams?”
“I found it, Miriam. I found the stairs and I went to the city of Atlantis.”
“Ahh. This is good,” She says.
“Is it real?”
“Ha! First, you try to define for me what this thing you call reality is?”
“Ahh. Okay, never mind. How did you know about the stairs?”
“I’ve been down them. I first walked the ancient cobble stoned streets of Atlantis when I was young, like yourself.”
“And now? Do you still go to this Dreamland?”
“Yes. I’m a priestess at the temple of the Queen of the Night. My duties include acting as the librarian of the temple archives.”
“Cool! That means I could see you in my Dreams!”
“Yes. So, tell me of your Dreams.”
I do so, sort of. I tell her I’m still no further along in finding a way to help Lana. I decide not to tell her about Tezcat. How she’s been getting me to do the trance thing, which is supposedly how Tezcat plans on showing me how I can help Lana. It’s getting late again and I need to go home. As I leave, I foolishly bump into an incoming customer. I’m about to apologize when I notice the smell of cinnamon.
“Hey Kid, you should watch where you are going.”
It’s Basha! “I... I’m....”
“What are you doing here anyway? I did not think you would be into Goddesses.”
“I came here...” I try to answer coherently despite being overwhelmed by her sudden appearance, “I mean I come here...because of my dreams.”
“Looking for books on dreaming, right?”
“Sort of. Why are you here, Basha?” (Good grief, that was audacious of me.)
“I live here,” Basha says, “that is, most of the time. Some weekends I am off to Berkeley to be with my dad. He works with the Chabad house on the Berkeley campus. He is runs a Yeshiva to train future rabbis. I owe the joys of shuttle diplomacy to divorce and joint custody.”
“Huh?” I articulate.
“Which do you not understand?” Basha asks. ”the divorce or the living arrangements?”
“The living arrangements. You live here?” I ask.
“Above the store is our house,” Basha answers.
“Our?” I ask.
“Kid,” Basha sighs. “Do you have a hearing problem or are you usually this slow?”
“Lamont, Basha is my daughter,” Miriam laughs at my confusion and fills me in, “I didn’t know you knew my daughter.”
“I didn’t know I did either,” I confess.
“Mom, remember I told you about the bookworm who has the locker next to mine. Well, this is the bookworm.”
“Hmm,” I muse, “We all must be members of the same karass.”
“Car-ass?” Miriam asks, “I don’t know from Car-asses. Explain Lamont.”
“Mom, Lamont is referring to a made up term from the novel, Cat’s Cradle, by Vonnegut.”
“Vonnegut?” Miriam mutters, “with such a name is he perhaps Jewish?”
“I do not know Mom.”
“With a name like that,” Miriam replies, “he must be Jewish. Are you sure he’s not Jewish?”
“If you say so,” Basha continues, “anyway, karass is a word from this made up religion. In this religion believes that humanity is organized into teams, teams that fulfill some sort of divine plan without ever discovering what they are doing. This team is called a karass. We created games and the divine created Its game which is the karass.”
“According to the Books of Bokonon,” I interject. “If you keep running into a person, it is not mere coincidence. Your lives are tangled up with one another for some larger destiny.”
“Lamont, you believe such ideas?” Miriam asks. “You perhaps consider yourself Bokononish?”
“Hmm. Now that’s an interesting question. A quick answer would be no, but after longer consideration of the question, who knows, perhaps I would.”
“I think, Lamont,” Miriam continues. “That perhaps not only is my daughter a member of your karass but so is Lana.”
“You might be right.” I respond. “Who knows? The Shadow knows, but he ain’t telling.”
“Resorting to old radio programs. The radio programs were fun, but I liked the books better,” Basha comments. “On that note, perhaps we should just give this a rest. Good night Lamont.”
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 1979
What’s going on? Bloody Hell! I lost it again. What time is it? It’s as if I’m sharing my body with someone else who takes it over without my knowledge or consent. Tezcat? It must be. I’m in my pajamas, in that
Shaman ritual position and I hear the beating of rattles. All I hear is the rattling. Everything else fades away.
Journey into our darkness.
My room melts away. I am dancing in the jungle at the base of the obsidian mountain that is Tezcat’s temple. Hundreds, if not thousands, dance and sing. Spattered with our own blood from our obsidian daggers are we. All sense of meaningless singularity has dropped away. We give our voices, as we want to give our blood and lives to her! With our combined breath, we chant: “In her house at Tenochtitlan, dead Tezcatlipoca lies dreaming! That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange eons, even death will die!”
 The Books of Bokonon is the sacred text of a religion which was unknown outside of the Caribbean Island Republic of San Lorenzo until Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. in his 1963 novel Cat’s Cradle (Dell Publishing Co. Inc.). “I do not intend that this book be a tract on behalf of Bokononism. I should like to offer a Bokononist warning about it, however. The first sentence in The Books of Bokonon is this: ‘All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies.’(pg. 14, Cat’s Cradle)
“So, until you teach me how, I’m stuck working for you in this generic Dream suit?”
“Correct.” Sarah responds.
“If these are the rules,” I say, “then when in Rome.”
“As Mr. Twain once wrote,” Rebecca recites, “‘Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.’”
“Hey,” I exclaim, “something else just hit me.”
“What now?” Sarah says in her mock-annoyed tone.
“Didn’t that old guardian priest in the cave...”
“Are you referring,” Sarah indignantly asks, “to Kaman-Thah and Nasht?”
“Who?” I ask.
“Those are the names of the two priests who judge all who enter Dreamland.”
Hmm. I saw that old Aztec lady, Mictlan. My journey into Dreamland has been shaped by Tezcat. “Anyway, I was given the impression that they weed out any creeps who try to get into Dreamland. So, how come I got run through by a refugee from juvenile hall? Why should those creeps be here at all?” How long has Lord Mictlan been asleep at the switch?
“If you mean,” Sarah intones, “when did we first notice the appearance of such riffraff in Dreamland? We were told that it started around ten years ago.”
Rebecca adds, “And now those disruptive elements have joined together into gangs.”
“Does anyone have an explanation?” I ask.
“No,” Sarah flatly states.
Hmmm. “Has anyone gone and asked the guardian at the gate of Dreams what’s going on?” I ask again.
“Not that I know of. How about you Sarah?”
“No one that I’ve spoken to has bothered.”
“Hmmm.” Things I would like to do, One, have tea with the Queen of the Night. Two, have a bite with that old guardian lady. Maybe while we dine, they will open up and I can get some questions answered.
“Right now,” Sarah breaks into my chain of thought, “let’s get you out of here, and situated in the living room, I want my bed back.”
“Do you feel up to standing on your own?” Rebecca asks. “And, by the way, what name do you go by while you’re here?”
Then, before I can answer Rebecca, Sarah hastily interrupts. “That spoils everything! I was hoping we could call him: ‘Hey you’, or maybe something that would appeal to his male ego like, Rex.”
“No, I think the name my mother gave me will do just fine. The name’s Lamont. And, yes, I think I can stand now.”
I still feel a little weak, but I believe I can manage to get to the couch, which, I hope, is only a short few feet away in the next room. With their help, I get settled on the couch. I spend the remainder of the day reading and finishing my period of recuperation.
Hmm, I just got myself signed up with two lesbians, that might have been a bit hasty, Lamont. I put up a good front, trying to act all accepting of others life style choice but, is this really okay? Since when did being different been a problem, Lamont? Hey, I’m not exactly normal. In a way, it is actually good that they’re not interested in me, now that they're my bosses and all. The whole sex thing, hetero or homo, is not something I’ve had any experience with anyway. Hmm? If you think about, Lamont, if I was a girl would I really want some guy to be sticking their thing in me?
The idea is kind of gross.
I could probably handle hugs and kisses better than that, so being a lesbian might not be such a weird choice. So, the fact that they want to kiss another girl rather than some guy is really no big deal to me. I’d definitely rather kiss a certain locker neighbor girl than any guy I know! So what’s the big deal, when you really think about it? I guess there isn’t any. They like girls better than boys, well, so do I.
Now that I’ve gotten that problem out of the way, let’s check out more important stuff, like books. Sarah and Rebecca have a fantastic and extensive collection of manuscripts and scrolls, on the subject of Wiccan tradition, the Goddess, and the Kabbalah. Cool.
I was left alone, happily examining her collection, when there appeared a faint silvery light in the center of one of the bookcases.
I was so startled by its sudden appearance, I actually let go of my book. The hairs on the back of my neck and my arms were tingling as I watched in intense fascination. What started as a small globular area, about a foot in diameter, slowly expanded into a translucent mass about five feet in length, which hovered above the wooden floor. It began to take on greater clarity and, to my amazement; it formed into a transparent silvery image of a woman clad in a nightshirt. The woman was staring off in my direction but I had the impression that she didn’t see me at all. Rather, she was examining the paintings on the wall behind me.
“Rebecca! Sarah! There’s a ghost in your living room!”
The ghost continues to explore the room, oblivious to me. A few minutes pass and then Sarah and Rebecca emerge from their bedroom, looking very disheveled and hastily attired, clutching closed bathrobes.
“So? What’s this nonsense about ghosts?” Sarah asks. “Lamont, this better not be some sort of stupid joke, because if it is...”
Sarah never did get to fully elucidate upon the dire consequences of playing a joke on her; she was stopped short by the sight of the ghost.
“Oh, is that what the fuss is about? Foolish male, that’s no ghost.”
The way Sarah says “foolish male” it’s as if the two words were inter-changeable.
“If it’s not a ghost then what is it?” I ask.
“It’s only a sleeper.” Sarah imparts, “Don’t worry, she won’t harm you. If your attention span were a little shorter, like the rest of your sex, you probably would not have even noticed her. Now good night.”
As Sarah turned back to the bedroom, the ghostly sleeper walked through one of the room’s walls, as if on cue.
“Rebecca,” I plead, “could you please explain it all to me, in a little more detail, what that was?”
“As she said, that was a sleeper, someone who has entered Dreamland, without being aware of it, from their normal Waking World dreams.”
“Oh. How come the sleeper didn’t see me?”
“Sleepers are here but are on a different frequency, so they exist in an immaterial form and can usually only see physical objects. Our Dream Bodies are more like an energy pattern than a physical body. We hold our shape and form because we think ourselves into that pattern. The physical, non-sentient things, chairs, pictures, buildings, animals, plants, etc., are all more stable atomic forms. These material objects can be perceived more readily by sleepers. At least that’s how it seems to work.”
“These sleepers are sort of on a different plane of existence than our Dream bodies. While the physical world exists on both our plane and this other plane.”
“That’s another way of describing it.”
“Hmm, meaning, perhaps, the Sleepers are on what has been called the astral plane?”
“I guess so.”
“If you have no more questions, I’d like to retire. I have better things to attend to right now than your further education,” Rebecca says in a tone that implies a demand rather than a question.
She leaves. Hmm. So, some people, through astral projection, enter Dreamland when they dream. This could explain why in some of my dreams I had the impression of being in a physically real place. A place I kept coming back to in many of my dreams. It was a real location, but not one in the Waking World. It was one that existed somewhere in Dreamland.
My head jolts. It’s late. Very late. It’s well into the night. I dozed off while reading the authors handwritten draft of When God Was a Woman. I still wake up not in my bedroom but in this Dream place. Hmmm?
Perhaps this is proof that this is not simply a dream. Perhaps it’s a Big Dream within a little dream. It appears to be so. Huh? What’s that sound? That’s what woke me, that most disturbing noise. Hmm. It’s the distant and muffled voice of some guy crying out for help.
I get up and go to the open window to locate the source of the cry. Most people have deserted the darkened streets. I see only cats, which tread the starlit pavements, and scorpions, which guard the shops. I do not see, but hear, one other evidence of life, the sound of fluttering leather wings belonging to bats. The night air again carries the sound of the faint, deadened crying of an anguished man.
I decide to go out into the street to investigate. The night air feels neither comfortable nor cool. It’s oddly neutral in temperature. As if, it’s hesitating as to which way to go, or perhaps not bothering to decide at all.
I follow the sound to its source, which takes me about a block away to a small three-story inn. From an open window of a darkened room, on the upper floor, I again hear the muted sounds of suffering.
I stand under this window and can hear the plaintive sounds of a man crying out in his sleep. He’s trapped in the cold claws of a nightmare.
This unknown man’s suffering disturbs me and causes me to shudder. I’ve a feeling that I’m overlooking something, that there is something out of place here. On the other hand, what is in place here in Dreamland? What can I do for him? His cries drew me out here. I stand for a few minutes and nothing comes to mind, reluctantly, I return to the shelter of Sarah and Rebecca’s home.
 From Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894, chapter one: Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar.
Now,” asks Rebecca, “I imagine you’ve had a great deal of experience, being someone who has spent years between two covers amongst the sheets. I would just like to know, were those covers hard or soft?”
“Both.” I respond, “though more often soft than hard. I generally can only afford paperbacks.” I smile knowingly at Rebecca, “Leaving that subject for now, you mentioned something about pupils, what do you teach?”
“Rebecca and I,” Sarah proclaims, “have trained many young women in the necessary Dream skills.”
“Sarah,” Rebecca asks, “I just had a thought.”
“What might that be, Rebecca?”
“Even after he recovers from his wounds, it’s obvious that he’s still in need of assistance.”
“This is true,” Sarah says, “but that’s no concern of ours.”
What are they talking about?
Sarah vehemently continues, “Haven’t we already helped him? What do you call all those bandages? I even gave up my bed for him. What more need we do?”
I notice that every time Sarah refers to me, and my maleness, it’s as if she’s dislodging something offensive that was caught between her teeth. “I know, and we all appreciate what you did.” Rebecca continues, “but, if we don’t do something for him, when he leaves us, his obvious helpless and well-intentioned nature will result in his getting into more trouble causing him even more harm to himself.”
“What you say is correct,” Sarah responds, “only a fool would try and to take on one of those arrogant and vulgar juveniles. Yet, I repeat, why should this be a concern of ours?”
“Excuse me.” I interject. “Since I believe this concerns me, could one of you please be so kind as to fill me in? What help do I need?”
“What help?” Sarah asks, as if appealing to an audience. “It would be obvious to anyone of discernment and learning in these matters. You cannot even dress yourself. You need to be taught everything. You probably don’t even know how to breathe.” Sarah says haughtily.
“As far as I can tell,” I respond in my own defense. “I’ve seemed to master the art of breathing a long time ago,” “Oh Goddess, why me?” Sarah sighs. “You probably don’t know how to breathe with the proper kind of attention, and your breath is probably shallow.”
“Oh.” I exclaim, not knowing what else to say.
“What Sarah is getting at,” Rebecca slips in, “is that all newcomers to Dreamland need to be taught how to master the skills necessary to tap into their power of Dreams. You need such a mentor.”
“Oh yeah, I knew that,” I say, “Since that is what you do, would you two teach me this Dream stuff?”
“We could, but we teach only women.” Sarah responds.
“But that’s discrimination,” I assert.
“We are not prejudiced,” Sarah explains, “We believe it is only a matter of being discriminating in selecting the caliber of one’s pupils. I have always found that males lack the intelligence, patience, and open mindedness needed to be trained. Thus it’s a wasted effort on our part.”
“Ahh, but I’m not just any male, I’m different.”
“Oh really?” Sarah retorts, “I have yet to see any significant difference.”
“Hey! I hope you didn’t sneak a peek while I was indisposed?” I feign panic.
“Not at all, young man.” Sarah replies indignantly. “Nothing you have would be of the slightest interest to me.”
Bingo! I was right. They’re definitely lesbians.
“Which gets back to the point I was making,” Rebecca picks up, “it was his combination of good nature and folly that made him endanger himself on your behalf, Sarah. That should count for something.”
“Well, I am reluctant to admit it,” Sarah says, “but perhaps you’re correct Rebecca.”
“What Rebecca says proves my point,” I interrupt, “if I was a typical male, would I have acted as I did?”
“Aha!” Sarah exclaims with glee, “probably, yes. Males often let their sense of machismo lead then into foolish acts of supposed heroism.” Sarah appears quite pleased with herself for getting out of that one.
“Machismo?” I laugh, “Now, that’s funny. No one has ever accused me of being macho.”
“If it wasn’t your testosterone,” Sarah continues on with her lecture, “that spurred you into action, and then what was it?”
“Ahhh,” I reply. “I honestly don’t know. I saw something wrong and it upset me. I guess I acted on impulse.”
“Maybe,” Rebecca inserts herself back into the discussion, “it wasn’t his ego that was responsible at all. Maybe his rash act of kindness was due to a force outside of himself.”
“Yeah.” I quickly take up Rebecca’s theme, “some force, which, for the record, nearly got me killed in my effort to aid you, a perfect stranger.”
“This,” Rebecca continues, “brought him into our care.”
“Rebecca,” Sarah asks, “are you suggesting that the Goddess had something to do with this?”
“Why not?” Rebecca replies. “What else could account for someone running off into such danger?”
She seems to be overlooking the obvious, that it was probably just a matter of my own general brashness and stupidity.
“Presumably, the Goddess,” Rebecca winds up, “caused him to act and thus brought us together.”
This strikes a chord in Sarah. Thought silences her for a few seconds.
“Your friend Rebecca’s right.” I again pick up Rebecca’s theme and drive home the argument, “it must be the Goddess’s wish that I become your student.”
“Looking back on the whole situation,” Sarah muses, “it does seem to be out of the ordinary. What happened or seem to have happened is just not done. Maybe, just maybe, it was a sign from the Goddess. Even if I agreed to overlook your...maleness, how do you propose that you pay us for our expensive teaching services?”
“Hmmm.” She got you there, Lamont, “that’s a tough one, seeing how I lack the resources to even buy clothes.”
“He,” Rebecca interjects, “can pay us like all the rest of our
Sarah glares daggers at Rebecca. She definitely didn’t want me to find this out.
“Yeah,” I chime in, “I’ll pay you back like all your previous pupils.”
“All our prior apprentices,” Sarah proclaims, “agreed to run errands and perform other chores for us in exchange for what we will teach. This reciprocating is the essence of our economy.”
I consider this for a moment. “Hmm. You’ll teach me and I in turn will work for you. This seems fair. Okay, I agree.”
“You may have settled it in your mind,” Sarah says, “but that doesn’t make it settled.”
“Maybe we’ll start a trend,” Rebecca encourages, “maybe ‘everyone’ will have to have their own male servant?”
“As our menial servant, “Sarah mutters, as if she testing the word’s flavor, and find she likes it.
“Apprentice,” I correct.
“Apprentice and servant,” Sarah picks back up, “you must be willing to completely, and without question, obey all our commands. This is the tradition, and law of all of Dreamland.”
“When will this apprenticeship end?” I ask.
“When you have mastered certain skills,” Sarah explains, “the first of which is to clothe yourself. The traditions of Dreamland also require you to solve the ‘riddle of apprenticeship’ before your apprenticeship can end.”
“As your apprentice,” I ask, “do I get some kind of uniform,
something other than this super nylon leotard? I feel like I’m dressed for the ballet.”
“No.” Sarah displays obvious delight in my discomfort.
“An apprentice has to earn the right to choose the clothes she wears.” Sarah states.
“Oh great!” I take a few seconds to mutter over her demands, “Hmm? Do apprentices get to pick the color of their leotards? This drab gray color is just not me.”
Sarah smiles at my come back, and replies, “I think that mousy color sort of suits you. Besides, you don’t seem to understand. Until you acquire the Dream skills to make whatever clothes appear or to transform and decorate your Dream suit-which is the proper name for what you referred to as a ballet outfit-you will have to walk around in that apprenticeship mousy gray color. That’s how all newcomers to Dreamland are attired.”
“What’s the big deal about having to create your own clothes?” I ask. “Why is it that ever since I stepped through that mirror and entered Dreamland my clothes have disappeared?”
Sarah glares at me as if I was asking if the Pope was pro-life or pro-choice.
“There’s some magic spell,” Sarah explains, “which was cast when Dreamland was first created that caused all who enter here to lose their ordinary attire. It’s believed that the lack of distinctive and familiar clothing is a primary motivator in developing one’s needed Dream skills. If you can’t even imagine yourself with clothes on, you definitely won’t be able to conjure up anything else. To clothe oneself is to define oneself.”
“You mean like clothes make the man?” I ask.
“Better, the woman. Exactly.” Sarah pronounces the word exactly
as if she had a claim of ownership on it.
“In a world of appearances,” Rebecca says, “masks, some true, some false, these outward manifestations, become important. How others perceive you affects how they relate to you.”
“Clothes,” Sarah takes up her interrupted lecture, “are part of your identity here in Dreamland. Creating and knowing who you are should be as automatic a task as having your heartbeat and your lungs take in air. Both are being done because, on all levels of your mind/body, you know that you are alive and what it means to be alive. A Dreamer is someone who Dreams, in the same unconscious way the heart beats.”
“Sort of,” I say, “I think, therefore I Dream.”
“Or,” Rebecca puts in, “to be is to Dream.”
“But,” I ask. “Who came up with this system? Your explanation sounds too good. Sort of, like an example of our wonderful ability to rationalize, to create reason out of our own need for things to make sense. Who established all of this and created this bland super nylon uniform to appear so Dreamers would be inspired to learn how to Dream?”
“We don’t know?” Rebecca answers.
“That’s how it has always been,” Sarah states simply.
“Those aren’t very good answers. Someone must know, or has known? Are these traditions written down anywhere? Are there libraries or archives somewhere?”
“Maybe,” Sarah speculates, “the Queen of the Night Knows. She’s the Goddess’s physical incarnation in this Dreamland.”
“So, until you teach me how, I’m stuck working for you in this generic Dream suit?”
“Correct.” Sarah responds.
“DO APPRENTICES GET TO PICK THE COLOR OF THEIR LEOTARDS?”
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1979
Then white light flashes. I’m spinning and I fall. I should have hit the ground, but I don’t. They are all still chanting, all around me. I’m in the center of it all. I don’t feel right. My arms feel like they’re being pulled out of their sockets. I look up and see that I’m being suspended from some chains around my wrists. Oil and my own sweat coat my bare skin. How did I get here? Arrgh! Slashing pain across my chest. Arrgh! I’m being whipped. What did I do wrong? Who’s doing this to me? I hear laughter. Cruel, sadistic laughter. I can’t speak. I can’t cry out for help. Where did the worshipers go? I’m all alone. I feel so weak. Drained of will and strength. I can’t see the one who is doing this to me, yet I think I know him. I don’t understand how this is possible. A thick sweet smell, incense of some kind rides the air. I can feel a hand, it’s a man’s, touching tenderly my wounds and caressing my bare skin. My unknown assailant is playing with me. I try to scream out for help, but I can’t. I’m trapped and helpless. Hearing the loud whisper of the whip, anticipating the fiery pain it will inflict. The pain of the whip cutting into my body is awful but so is that moment of knowing that the pain will come. Help! Someone, please help me! Suddenly it stops.
I feel like trying to get up out of sand that has been piled around me up to my armpits. My eyelids feel like they are made of lead and I’ve not yet the strength to lift them.
Something’s different. No smell of incense. I’m alone.
Thank God. Where am I?
I’m so confused.
Where am I? Hmm? Why do I think I should be feeling cobblestones?
What is going on? Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.
I feel something soft and smooth. I’m in a bed, but it’s bigger than my own. Opening my eyes, I see that I’m covered by pink silk sheets. Definitely not my bedroom.
The whipping, it was a damn nightmare. Thank God, it was only a dream. Or was it? It seemed so real. Much too real. That dream left me with a really odd feeling. Don’t want to think about it anymore, it gives me the creeps. Focus on something else.
Wait, wasn’t there more to the dream, beside the torture? I recall an impossibly weird city. There was chanting of some kind. I was the focus of some spell. What does it all mean? The images are slipping like sand through my fingers. I can’t stop the memory from fading. It’s gone.
Great, another mystery. Hmm. Might as well focus on something I can solve. Like, where am I? I’m in someone’s bedroom. The $64 question is whose? The bed appears to be queen sized and has a red canopy. The wallpaper, the carpets, and the drapes continue the red and pink color scheme. On the dresser, amongst a hairbrush and perfume spray bottle, is a small one-foot high statue of a naked woman with a bow and arrow. The pose and the style remind me of the Roman Goddess of the hunt, Diana.
My brain is trying to get across a significant fact that I’m overlooking. The message finally gets through. I’m alive. I remember now, when last I was in Dreamland, I had been stabbed by a parasol/sword. I look at my chest and see the bandages. Hey! I’m bare skinned from the waist up. I thought my leotard was one solid piece, how did it become a top and a bottom? Hmmm? Presumably whoever did the first aid is the owner of this bedroom. My guess is that person is probably female.
The last thing I recall hearing was a woman’s voice. She sounded like she was pretending to be annoyed. Perhaps this is her bedroom.
I should go and thank her. I try to raise myself up, but my body reacting to a wave of wooziness, convinces me to remain horizontal for a while longer. I’ll try my vocal cords.
“Excuse me,” my voice sounds weak and out of practice. “Ah, excuse me, is anyone home?”
My last sentence sounds sort of up to the volume of a normal conversation. I’m about to try again, when in walks a six foot tall, stocky built woman, with short brown hair. She’s wearing a white cotton shirt belted at the waist with a silk scarf over dark blue knee length breeches, and leather sandals. Hmm. From her physique, I believe she was the model for Diana.
“The knight errant awakes. How do you feel?” She asks.
“I believe the technical term for my condition is woozy.” I reply. She smiles back.
“Considering what we pulled out of you,” She remarks, “woozy is pretty damn lucky, actually it’s miraculous. We don’t understand what happened. It makes no sense. Any other Dreamers would have died a Dream death.”
“Yes,” she explains. “And once a Dreamer dies in this realm, she can never return here again.”
“But, I did. I died and came back. Actually, this is possibly the second time this happened. I seem to be making a habit out of dying.”
“All of this isn’t right. You shouldn’t be doing any of this dying and returning. It’s just not done. It can’t be done. It makes no sense.”
“I’ll try to keep that in mind the next time someone attempts to kill
me,” I politely say, “I’ll dutifully inform them of the error of they’re ways. Did I remember to say, thanks?”
“No. But you never got a chance to,” she replies.
“Well then, thanks.”
“A seemingly trivial question, but one whose answer will enlighten me, what happen to my leotard?”
“Meaning what? You’re still wearing it,” she answers.
“Yes, I’m wearing the bottom half, but what happen to the top half?” I ask.
“We took it off you to bandage up your wound,” she explains, “after that it dissolved.”
“Dissolved? It dissolved all by itself? Can this happen at any time?” Images of suddenly being naked in a crowded room, due to unexpectedly dissolving clothing, come quickly to mind.
“I’m sorry,” she says, “I forget that you’re new here. The Dream suit that you are wearing exists because you give it existence. Close your eyes and touch your leg with one hand and your shoulder with the other.”
I do so, I feel a very slight tingling, and then I no longer feel skin. I open my eyes to see that I’m again covered in gray.
“Okay,” she continues her instructions, “now reach around your waist and go to take off the top half of your Dream suit, as if you would a shirt. Don’t think about it just do it. It might help to close your eyes.”
I reach down and do as she says. Hey, it separates!
“Now put the shirt back on,” she instructs.
I do so and it’s again seamless, “Wow!”
“The Dream suit can be molded, cut, shaped, colored endlessly; all it takes is a desire to do so.”
As I lie there, dumbfounded by this revelation, from the other room I hear a familiar second woman’s voice. The voice has the unmistakable tone of playful annoyance.
“Rebecca, is he awake?” The ‘annoyed’ woman asks.
“Yes Sarah,” the woman I’ve been talking to replies.
“Good. Now we can get him out of my bed,” Sarah says to Rebecca as she enters her bedroom.
Sarah is a short slender woman, with long fine brown hair. She is attired in an ankle length burgundy dress with a cinched waist. There is a hint of lace at the sleeves and neck. A pink ribbon secures a cameo brooch tied around her throat. In every way, she is the image of a very proper Victorian woman.
“I hope he appreciates what we have done for him,” Sarah addresses this comment to Rebecca.
“He does,” Rebecca replies for me.
I get the definite impression that my male charm is not having any effect on Sarah and Rebecca. I think they’re more than just friends. Hmm. At the time, Sarah seemed to be in some sort of distress. I wonder if trying to retrieve a parasol would be considered a rescue? Will any of this help me to earn my knight errant merit badge?
“Well Rebecca, since he is clearly not dead, as we feared, what are we going to do with him? Where should we put him?” Sarah asks.
“How about the couch?” Rebecca answers.
I think it’s about time I enter the conversation. “Ah, excuse me.
Ladies, might I venture to say a few words, or is this a private conversation?”
Sarah doesn’t seem to appreciate my humor. “Well, what do you want to say?” Sarah looks in my direction for the first time.
Prudence dictates my next remark. “I would like to thank you both for coming to my aid and ministering to my wounds. As soon as I’m able, I would like to repay your kindness in some manner.”
“I see that your mother taught you manners,” Sarah sarcastically says.
“Yes Ma’am,” I answer, “which leads me to my next question. In your opinion, how long before I can be up and about?”
“I am not really sure,” Sarah imparts, “I have to get over the fact that you’re awake, still here at all, not Dream dead, and you’re recovering, faster than I would have anticipated, and somehow managing to able to ask unending questions. This all isn’t normal. So, I don’t know.”
“Do you have any idea why that is?” I ask.
“In Dreamland,” Rebecca relates, “one’s physical condition is a product of the underlying health and strength of one’s mind, one’s self identity.”
“You mean,” I ask, “the bigger the ego, the stronger the Dream powers?”
“Just like a male,” Sarah says with mock anger, “to reduce a sophisticated psychological phenomenon down to a single simplistic factor: size. Dream abilities can’t be considered a mere matter of size.”
“Of course,” I try to keep a straight face as I create a double entendre, “the secret is knowing how to use what you've got, and not how big it is.”
“That is exactly what I say to my pupils,” Sarah responds, “I always tell them that what one lacks in one area can be compensated for, by many things, even something as simple as sustained effort.”
Rebecca is trying not to laugh as she realizes that Sarah, though continuing on my theme, has done so unintentionally, and has not picked up on the double meaning of the words.
 A line from the movie The Wizard of Oz, 1939, spoken by Judy Garland. Screenplay was written by Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Wolfe and Noel Langley. Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations gives credit for the phrase to Noel Langley. The screenplay was based on the writings of Lyman Frank Baum’s Oz books, written in 1900.
THE PATH YOU SHALL TAKE
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1979
I wake up with difficulty, like trying to get up out of sand that has been piled around me up to my armpits. My body aches and there is a sharp pain in my chest each time I move even the slightest bit. I open my eyes and see the white, blank, and bare walls of my bedroom.
Wow. That was some dream, Lamont. Was it? Was it just a dream? It didn’t feel like any dream I’ve ever had before. It felt even more than just completely lucid. People talked in the dream as if they were in some city within walking distance of their home. They acted with a simple ordinariness and acceptance of the place. They knew it was real. Tezcat sure seemed real! I spoke with a God. Wow. Jaynes would say Tezcat was all in my bicameral head. Was it only that? Only a dream? It seems so real. Then again, what is real? The question is kind of relative. Dreams are real, when you’re dreaming. All sensory data looks alike. But there’s a difference between being awake and dreaming isn’t there? Hmm? For the sake of further analysis, I should demarcate things and assign some terms. Small letter d for ordinary dreams and dreaming, which as a subset is lucid dreams, capital D for Dreams and Dreaming I’ll use when referring to what Tezcat called Dreamland. What’s left over, the time when I’m awake, is the World of Waking.
I hear the sound of my radio. It brings me back to the fact that I have to get ready to go to school. Even the extraordinary must flee in the face of the ordinary reality of the Waking World and its mundane responsibilities. I do everything on autopilot, shower, and dress, eat breakfast, get my bike, and ride to school. All the while, I can feel my mind buzzing, silently processing through last night’s events.
Trust us. Listen to us. We will show you the way.
Damn, I’m hearing voices again. But, remember Jaynes, Lamont, it’s just you doing the talking to yourself. Okay, I’ll humor myself; I’ll talk with my bicameral hallucination. Okay voice; show me what? What way are you talking about?
The way to the gateway between the worlds.
I keep hearing about this gateway between the worlds. Okay, you got my attention, where is this gate?
Hey! Where did you go? What? I’m already at school and I don’t recall getting here. I’m really going over the edge now. Don’t panic. I’ve done this before. I’ve been so wrapped up in what I was thinking that I just walked or rode somewhere without really knowing that I did. That’s not a sign of lost sanity. Or, if it is, I had lost it long ago.
Now I’m really preoccupied. First this Dreamland thing, and then I keep hearing a voice from Beyond; from somewhere off in the caverns of my overcrowded little mind. But, hey, Lamont! Hello! That wasn’t just any auditory hallucinative voice. That was Her voice! Tezcat! Is that possible? Is her voice a figment of my imaginings or it she really a unique individual? Is there any way to tell the difference? Not that I can think of now. Tezcat said she’d help with Lana and Jon, didn’t she, Lamont? She must be fulfilling her promise and trying to teach me what I need to know or do. But, it all could be only me talking to me. Tezcat and all the rest could be a very elaborate dream. But, what if she ain’t? Maybe all my reading has caused brain damage and I’m just finally gone really wacko.
“Are you okay? Hello? Is anybody home?”
Who’s that? She doesn’t sound like Her? Am I starting to hear from more than one deity? Wait, wake up, and smell the cinnamon, Lamont.
“Earth to Kid. Earth to Kid, come in Kid.”
That voice is real. I think it is, though the other voice seemed not to come from any source within me. Why can’t she (small s) be some-thing?
I’m just making it up? Lamont, just look around you, if you see her then you’re not hallucinating. Not necessarily, I could be having a visual hallucination with an auditory hallucination... Oh, shut up! Look, I’m at my locker, and so is she.
“Ah. Hi, Basha.”
“Welcome back Kid. So? Has my charms so overwhelmed you that besides rendering you speechless you have lost your hearing as well?”
“Ah. What do you mean?”
“You walked up to your locker and just stood there. Doing nothing. Except standing and possibly breathing. Something was definitely not right with you. I walked up and you did not even hear me. You usually get this cute glazed look on your face when you see me. Did you sleep okay last night or what?”
“I’m okay Basha. (Yeah, how can I tell her about going to a magical realm in my sleep? She’ll really think I’m a kid then.) I was up late last night ...ahh...reading.”
“Really? So, what was so exciting that you could not put it down?” Basha asks.
What was I supposed to be reading? I’m too ashamed to tell her that I’m not allowed to bring books into the house. She’ll want to know why, and I can’t tell her about my parents. I stall for time and open my locker. I grab the book I got from The Symposium the other day.
“Here, this is what I was reading.”
She takes the book and scrutinizes me oddly. “Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind,” Basha reads the title aloud. “It sounds like a real page-turner, Kid. Though how you read it while it was in your locker and you were home in bed is a neat trick. A very neat trick. Could be useful though when it comes to studying for tests. You will have to teach it to me. Listen, you do not have to tell me your problems, Kid. That is okay. But be careful. Try not to walk into any walls. Now, we have got to get to class.”
I watch her pivot gracefully and glide elegantly down the hall. I stand transfixed. Even the way she speaks has elegance about it. She never uses contractions; it’s as if she is somehow above the tongue of commoner’s like me. And, what could be a more stunning example of perfection then her hourglass figure, how the seams in her tight denim jeans accentuate the hills and the valley of the wondrous landscape that modestly is calling her behind.
Corazon have you forgotten us?
Huh? That voice! It’s not my voice, it sounds like Tezcat. Could it really be...? No, go away. I can’t listen to her! I’ll space out and not get to class. I can’t stand here in the empty hall. I’ve to get to my class! Concentrate Lamont; focus on what we have to do, find your homeroom. Damn, I’m such a space cadet! I run down the hall, feeling like a fool. Don’t listen to any more voices, Lamont, whether they are yours or anyone else’s.
Major use of autopilot now. I sit in class, but my awareness is split between this world and the other one I’ve found. In one of my classes, the teacher starts to fade away and in her place, I see, forming out of gray smoke, the lush abundance of Tezcat. Bloody Hell. I’m losing it. Focus on the teacher. Which one? Where am I? I’m in a classroom, dummy. Her body flows like that of a serpent. Lamont, don’t look. Her skin glistens like that of a serpent. Lamont, classroom. The teacher is lecturing. Come on Lamont pay....
I stare at her lush, sexy figure, hypnotized by the sensation of lust that stiffens my whole body. She’s doing that on purpose. Don’t fixate on her. Hey! She’s gone! Tezcat is gone. My teacher is back.
Oh my God. I’ve been staring in her direction while I was lusting after Tezcat! My teacher definitely noticed me ogling her! At least she thought that’s what I was doing. Good grief. For how long have I been transfixed? The sound of the bell breaks the awkwardness. I quickly slink out of the class, avoiding eye contact with my teacher. At lunchtime,
Tezcat’s naked form slithers along my fingers as I try to eat. I can’t hear the sounds of my classmates in the lunchroom, only her seductive voice.
Hear us. Seek us. Follow us.
I’m so glad when the final bell rings, ending this school day. What an embarrassment. I hasten to my locker and run out of the building.
Oh great. Please go away. I manage to focus and get home and set my bag down, I watch myself ignore my Mom and go out get back on my bike and start to ride. I find myself in front of the book store, The Gifts of the Goddess, wandering through the aisles looking for something. Oh great, I’m still losing it.
Keep silent concerning us. Stealth is needed. Always listen and obey us.
I see my hands pull down books, my eyes scan the pages, books are returned to the shelf.
This is the one we seek. Now it is as if you were in front of the fire. As if you were standing before the step. Within those pages is learning gathered from before. It contains something of the smoke and of the mist.
The phrase conveys meaning and yet I can’t gather up a sense of comprehension. They’re not my thoughts. I notice the title of the book I’m reading. Where The Spirits Ride The Wind: Trance Journeys and Other Ecstatic Experiences. Why this book? I’m clutching at it. Reading it. Devouring its words, feasting on its meaning. My heart flutters with anticipation.
This tome can show you a path that had once been taken.
The clicking of the clock beats off the flick of the pages. Miriam informs me that I have to go. I’m late for supper.
I close the book. Hey! Bloody Hell! I lost it again! This isn’t Goodman’s book! I’m not at the bookstore. This book is one of my textbooks. I’m sitting at my desk in my bedroom. Well, at least I managed to accomplish something while I was gone. There’s my homework assignment. They’re done. The clock tells me it’s ten. But, damn it, I have no memory of the passage of time! Lamont, this ain’t good. This is way beyond space cadet.
This is blackout time! You’re losing...
It is the path you must take. The black and the red of the ancients you shall learn to walk. With the valour of eagles and the ferocity of jaguars, you will come to have.
What path? Tezcat what’s happening to me?
You must learn these ancient ways. You must lie down in the way of the shamans, like that which was shown in the text that you examined.
I’m going over the edge. I... I... can’t help myself. How will this help me find Jon?
When the stars are right. In the new year to come.
I would think the longer we wait the harder it would be to find him in Dreamland.
When the stars are back in the time that it was.
Okay. I hear and I will obey. No. Don’t. Lamont, come back. Patience is supposed to be a virtue, and I guess if “Father Knew Best,” a Goddess should know better.
Silence. Lie yourself down. Learn.
I’m in my pajamas and lying on the bed. Hey. What’s going on here? Who’s running this show? Lamont, we have to focus. Okay Tezcat, now what? The book was filled with many positions that lead to trance states. Which one do I choose? Lamont, don’t do this. I’m afraid.
‘In scanning the archeological record…’
Another woman’s voice? Who? Is it Ms. Goodman, the author of that book I was reading....’I found that there was a parallel series...one a man, the other a woman, found hidden in a cave. Traces of it occur in Sub-Saharan Africa and Polynesia, and early representations were found in prehistoric central Europe and eastern Anatolia, Turkey.’
Hmm. This is interesting.
‘This posture experienced an intense local flowering on the Cyclades, a group of islands north of Crete…every grave, it seems, of that particular period, whether of a man or a woman, contains a characteristic figurine exhibiting this posture. What is involved…is the representation of a psychopomp and a power object. Psychopomps are shamans who have the office of accompanying the soul of the person who just died on its way to the Beyond.’
In the room, I see all around me the figurines she was talking about. Am I supposed to lie down in that position? To match the way all those figures look? I guess so. I lie with my legs together, placing my arms across my stomach, my left arm lying flat and atop my right. I close my eyes and now I hear rattling. The sound rhythmic tone draws me in... Lamont, wait, don’t....
I’m assaulted by the stench of seaweed rotting in a starlit night sky. My skin is slimy, as if someone has poured some awful sludge over me. I’m tired. I’ve been crawling a great distance. My legs and arms are stiff and my knees are sore. I attempt to get up and survey the scene. There’s this heavy steamy fog everywhere. The horizon line undulates. I’m losing my equilibrium. This place exists in rebellion against the normal laws of geometry. What my eyes see, and what my body’s sense of spatial references takes in, contradicts one another. I decide to return to my crawling position. At least, in this way, I can tell what’s up and what’s down, although I shudder with repulsion at the slick cold surface. A creepy feeling ripples through my body. The stuff that I’m crawling on feels like the outer skin of some gigantic unearthly insect. I try to look around again. The haze clears and the landscape before me comes into focus, sort of. It’s awesome and discordant.
It’s a terrible towering city of jade and obsidian. A horrible necropolis is what it feels like. A necropolis of anomalous antediluvian architectural shapes. What I see at the center of this chaotic labyrinthine city is not at all surprising. It is an all too familiar monstrously sized, glistening black Ziggurat. I can hear barely human voices croaking and screaming
I listen to this sound that emanates from all around me. By their mindless repetition, I eventually discern some resemblance to coherent speech. I realize that this is some ritualistic chant. To my horror, the repetition spawns meaning in me. I can understand the sickly speech. The meaning slithers into clarity. It’s a dreadful chant. Unholy déjà vu! I’ve heard this sometime before! They are trying to make the chant a reality. It’s a magic spell.
“That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.”
 From Where the Spirits Ride the Wind; Trance Journeys and Other Ecstatic Experiences, pages 155 - 159.
 H. P. Lovecraft, ‘Call of Cthulhu’, Weird Tales, 1928, Chapter II, The Tale of Inspector Legrasse.
“All will be made clear in its time.”
“Then I will begin my search for him, how hard could that be?”
“Difficult it will be.”
“He could be anywhere in this realm.”
“Oh. How big is this place?”
“We are in the central city. Across the Cerenian Sea lie the lands of northern and ancient Leng, and beyond that in the high misty mountains lies hidden Kaddath of the cold waste where it has been said gods choose to dance. Far off to the east beyond the middle ocean can be found the City of Id on the shores of deep lake of Sarnath where doom crept up and came upon its inhabitants or it will. There is the pillared city of Irem lost amongst the burning sands of time deep in the Eastern desert, to the south is the lush jungle of Parg, the wicked sea port of Dylath-Leen, and the deadly lands of Zura and Zar; to the west the cities of Meroe, Khem, Oonai; and at the edge of this whole realm lies the basalt pillars. They are tempting and dangerous to seek or transgress. Vast is this realm. You could spend several lifetimes exploring its wide expanse. As we said, this land is vast.”
“Can you give me a little hint? Drop some bread crumps for me to follow?”
“When the time is right, you will be able to pick up his trail. The time for searching is not now. Now is the time for you to bring your mind to focus on our will. We will make those two who prompted you to come, fade from your memory. You need only concern yourself with us and our needs. That task will fade from your memory till we deem it right for you to take up the search. For now, simply forget. You will now leave our presence Lamont, and know that you have been blessed by us and are thus always welcome here at our home.”
I want to know more, want to ask more questions, I know I should be asking more questions…but…about what? Something has happened…I’m not sure what. I feel odd and confused. Something is not right, but the tone in Tezcat’s voice says clearly, ‘don’t mess with me.’ I don’t think this is the time, or the place, to confront her. I’d just better go with the program. Even though I don’t have much more information than what I came in with. I bow to Tezcat and kiss her outstretched hand. She curls back up on her couch, closes her eyes and I hear a faint purr of pleasure as she drifts off into some astral plane.
“OH GREAT. THE FOOLISH MALE GOT HIMSELF INTO A REAL MESS.”
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1979
Upon leaving her throne room, I’m met by a jaguar, which escorts me to a small chamber that has a statue of Tezcat against the back wall. Its set upon a bare altar covered with thick accumulation of dust and spider webs. No one has been here in years, hundreds of them. I clean up the altar, light some incense and give one of those all-purpose-thanks-offerings to Tezcat. I leave the temple and return to my explorations of this amazing city.
The busy streets are filled with people who are dressed for other times and other places, as if they were all plucked from out of time and space and brought whimsically together. Here, it’s a never-ending carnival or costume party. Where did they all come from? Could any of them be my neighbors? My parents? No. Not my parents. Somehow, I feel that could not be. Their fervent minds filled with the sharp white of True Faith and True Darkness would not be able to wander freely in their own dream space to ever find the gateway to this place. If this is a place and not just my own imaginings. How can I really tell?
A sound catches my ears. I attach a picture to the sound as I spot a messy longhaired youth in black boots, frayed jeans, and a garish Alice Cooper tee shirt running away from a Victorian-dressed women who appears as if she’s out for a Sunday stroll. The woman says something about her parasol. As the punk runs past me, I see in his hand a white parasol with pink trim. All around me agitation ripples through the people in the street, offended by what’s transpiring. Yet, no one’s doing anything.
A Quixotic sense of justice and fairness begins to overcome everything else. I turn and run after the punk. I pursue him through the twisting streets, following in his wake as he pushes his way through the milling shoppers.
“Hey! Come back with that parasol!” I shout.
As if that is going to get results. Oddly it does. He turns. Stops. And glares at me with amused contempt, as he waits for me to catch up to him.
“Who the hell do you think you are motherfucker? A no-clothes cop?”
The rashness of my actions catches up with me, as does my breath from the chase. I can’t think of much else to say in response, so I blurt out, “Why don’t you give me back the parasol and let’s forget the whole thing?”
Unfortunately, as I have a chance to really check him out, he doesn’t look like the forgetting type.
“What the fuck is a par-ass-ol?”
“It’s what you have in your hand.” I reply like a teacher talking to a five-year-old.
“Oh. You mean this stupid um-brell-ah.”
He holds it up and begins to shake its point at me. “Listen motherfucker, nobody messes with us.”
“Us? You appear to be alone.”
“Jee-sus, you are one butt ass dumb newcomer aren’t you?”
“Newcomer yes. I resent the rest.”
“Ree-sent? I’ll show you ree-sent!”
With that, he gazes at the parasol in a malevolent grin and it begins to glow. The top half of it reforms itself into a rapier blade. I continue to watch with fascination as he very deliberately and skillfully shoves the blade into my chest.
“Hope you like your fucking pair-ass-hole!”
I guess he walked off. I wasn’t really paying attention. I was too busy watching my blood run down the glistening metal surface of the sword and soak into the white fabric of the parasol. Red becomes my world again. Through this red haze, I see a medium sized black cat with white paws bound toward me. I feel her small sandpapery tongue licking my face. I hear someone say, “I found him.” I hear more people coming up around me. Their voices are above me which I guess means I must be lying flat on my back. As the world swirls like water going down a drain, I hear a women’s voice.
Her voice has the pretense of annoyance. “Oh great. The foolish male got himself into a real mess.”
 Most of these locations have been recounted in The Dream-Quest of the Unknown Kaddath a record of the explorations of Randolph Carter was published by Howard Philip Lovecraft in 1927.
Finally, torches fitted in holders along the walls light the way to the temple’s central chamber. The familiar strong sweet honey and vanilla perfume drifts in the air. It evokes a sense of mystery and seduction. Hmm? The scent of those orchids is masking, hiding another scent, a very ancient scent. It is the scent of blood and excrement. Yuck. But, it’s hard to really concentrate on the non-visual right now. The sight before me overwhelms all else. Behind a large altar is a raised platform. On that dais lies a woman. She must be the head honcho here. On an ebony couch with legs carved in the shape of cat’s paws, this Goddess reclines. My guide departs. Curled up against the back of her throne-like couch; the Goddess’s green eyes intently fix upon me.
Her face captures my eye. It’s the color of a polished mirror. I check the rest of her out. Wow. What I see sings a song that bypasses my brain and awakens a part of my anatomy that is way more primal and it’s very happy to be seeing her. Her neck and shoulders are reflective night black, her right arm and the right side of her upper torso are stark white, while her left arm and the left side of her upper torso is sunset red. From her hips down her skin is the color of ocean blue. What I thought were wispy clothes is nothing of the sort. She wears no clothes at all! Gray smoke coils around her body offering a modicum of covering. The swirling smoke doesn’t quite conceal her bountiful double-D charms and curvaceous form. All she needs is a staple through her navel and she’d be the ultimate Playboy centerfold.
She glistens with reflected torchlight. Her hair is the color of primordial midnight. It pours all the way down her back to the base of her spine. Her lips are scarlet red and around her neck is a turquoise and silver necklace of small skulls. Around her left arm is a living silver serpent with turquoise colored eyes. Lastly, I notice her long, carefully manicured fingernails and toenails, which are also painted blood red.
“Come closer Lamont,” she purrs.
From the moment I gazed upon her, I’ve had a sense of déjà vu. That feeling becomes even stronger with the sound of her voice. That
voice makes the simplest words sound like rapturous poetry. I was right. That voice is the one from my dreams. That explains the déjà vu. I approach as I was asked. The closer I get the better she looks. Wow! I can’t help myself, I’m just starring and ogling her, focusing all my attention on her, looking deep into her eyes, deeper and deeper into her gold green eyes, her eyes are like the sun streaming through deep woods...
Huh. What just happened? I lost it for a second. At least I hope it was only a second. Have I’ve been standing here like some silly kid with my jaw hanging out and just staring at her? Though, she isn’t looking at me like I’ve been doing anything stupid. If I didn’t know better, I think she is pleased to see me.
“We are called Tezcatlipoca,” she recites. Once we were worshipped by many peoples in what you know as Mexico and Central America. Our worshipped ceased when a rabble of people, came to our land for mere plunder. You, my dearest Corazon, are a descendant of those Spaniards who came with that Cortez in the year 1521, according to the reckoning of years by your God. They butchered our beautiful people, the Aztecs. In the ancient tongue of the Aztec’s our name means Smoking Mirror.”
I bow before her. “My name is Lamont Corazon, and if what you say is true, then in the name of my ancestor, I apologize for their brutally. It is wrong for one people to slaughter another. I have come to ask Tez-cat-lee-poca. Hmmm... That’s a mouthful. How about I’ll call you Tezcat, for the sake of simplicity. Tezcat, would you really aid a young woman who has lost her true love?”
“Why did you come to us seeking aid? Why did you not go to the temples of the Sun King or the Moon Queen?”
Hmm? She seems disingenuous asking this question. “To tell you the truth, I don’t know. I was drawn here and so here I stand.”
“That is as it should be. Lamont Corazon. You followed the callings of your heart. Your heart heard the silent song that we sung. Yes, we have chosen you well. This Jon and Lana have served us well. No longer do you need to be concerned with them. Their purpose to us is at an end.”
“Chosen? Served you? That’s what you keep telling me. How about filling me in. What does this all mean?”
“You will serve us.”
“How? Why? Whom are you talking about? Who will serve you? Me or Jon and Lana?”
“All have served us. All will serve us when the stars are right. All will be made clear when the time for clarity has arrived. You need not concern yourself with such things now.”
“Fine. Be, mysterious. Hmm. So that’s what’s been going on. The singing that I heard was yours. Hmm? I’ve also heard some rather scary laughter in my dreams. Do you know who, or what, was making that sound?”
Tezcatlipoca laughs, “That was us.”
“Did you mean to frighten me off?”
“No. Only to test you. To make sure you were up to the challenges that lie ahead. Do you not think there have not been others before you? You were not the first we have so tested, Lamont Corazon, but you are the last. You have shown bravery for one so young. You chose bravely of your own free will to venture into Dreamland and come to us. This is as it should be. Consent is the foundation of all things of consequence.”
“I thank you, your Highness. I am deeply honored by your attention and efforts on my behalf.”
“In Dreamland much is controlled by us. We are the voice of the divine will known as Ometeol. That which is not controlled by us is made through the efforts of mortal minds. Mortal minds who have dreamed collectively and individually, they have all shaped this realm. Sadly, as visions fade or die, as beliefs are no longer adhered to, what was, slowly evaporates like mist before the heat of the dawning new day and lie in death dreaming. One day soon, we will again be acknowledged. We will again be worshipped as is our right.”
“I appreciate the civics lesson, but I’m not getting all this, what does it all have to do with me? Why have you called to me? What needs were you referring to, that I may fill?”
“You may ask, but this is not the time of clarity. When that time comes round, we may choose to so inform you. What we will tell you, is what we have been telling you all along. You are the chosen one. Your great destiny is through us. Your first test was to seek to help the young female, Lana Ramona and her young male, Jon Dale, to desire to find him and to venture to dreamland. This you have done. Your next test was to follow these whispers in your heart, which led you to us. This you have also done. As I said, those two young mortals need not concern you any further. Know this for a certainty; you are the chosen, the one who is the opener of the way. Let this be an anchor to you in times of doubt. Let this be a lodestone to guide you upon the paths before you. The only way you can help them is to open up the gate between the worlds. You must believe that what we are telling you this day is the absolute truth. By accepting, and accomplishing this challenge your true destiny will be revealed.”
Again, somebody who only gives teasing morsels of information. “Okay, I’ll take up the challenge, but could I get a little hint as to Jon’s whereabouts? “
“It is through our will that this Jon crossed through from the Waking World into the Dreamland. There are many points of intersection of the two realms, and he stumbled through the one located in the place you call the Golden Gate Park in your city of San Francisco.”
“Do you mean that at these intersections one could physically cross over from Waking World to this Dreamland?”
“Yes, but only at auspicious times, or under auspicious circumstances. The gate that opened and that Jon passed through will open again in accordance with its making in a hundred of your years hence.”
“A hundred years. That’s way too long to wait! How can I find a means to open the gate sooner? Is this possible?”
“The answer is yes, it is possible. That is why you were chosen. The secret of the opening will come to you in visions that we will bestow upon you.”
“Why did you do this? Why did you make Jon go through the Gate? What purpose did Lana and Jon’s anguish serve?”
“You are here. A great purpose you are serving and will serve. That is all you need to understand. Later when the time is at hand, we will speak to you then concerning such matters. As for now, you need not concern yourself further with this matter. Know only this, you must find a way to open the gate, that is imperative,” Tezcatlipoca pontificates.
“For this task I was chosen, yeah, I’m getting the message loud and clear. If I get this gate to open, then Jon will be able to get back to Lana, is that it?”
“All will be made clear in its time.”
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1979
The main center of the city is architecturally dominated by peaked roofs of two story buildings that lean inwards. The walls of the buildings are of wood, brick, and stone, all of which have been painted in autumn colors. The roofs are all shades of gold. Most of the lower level buildings in this area of the city are storefronts, which at first seems both odd and normal. Normal, because under ordinary circumstances you would expect to see shops in a city. Odd, because in a world full of Dreamers, who can supposedly Dream anything they want into existence, why would they go to a store to buy anything?
The people are costumed in dazzling array of attire. Many wear the same kind of leotard that I have on; only theirs are decorated. Some are just brightly colored, others are animal prints, and some are like paintings of landscapes, oceans, forests, jungles, mountains, and stars. They’re sort of like full body tattoos. I see a blazing white unicorn adorning one man’s body, on another, a gray wolf. There goes a raven, there’s a lion, and there’s a comet. It’s a fantastic display of color and images. Others are attired in costumes from a variety of times and places.
I walk amongst the merchants and their customers to try to figure things out. It becomes apparent that it’s not only newcomers, and presumably inexperienced Dreamers, who examine the wares to purchase goods. I can tell by the elaborate outfits that some of the men and women deck themselves out in, that they must be experienced Dreamers. The medium of exchange they all use is not dollars or coins, but rather everyone has a pouch with a precious or semiprecious gem or a crystal. Where do you get the stuff and what is worth what? Even more important, where can I get an instruction manual for this place?
As I ponder this rhetorical question, I wander deeper into the city making my way towards its heart. At the central plaza of the city of Atlantis, I’m told by a helpful passerby, reside the temples of the Gods and Goddesses of Dreamland. Within the absolute dead center of everything, lies a foreboding obsidian ziggurat. It seems like everyone goes out of his, or her, way to avoid it, even to avoid making eye contact with it. There’s something curiously familiar about that place. Hey! The building resembles exactly the one in my jungle dream! Hmm? Should I really be so surprised? I guess this is where I’m supposed to go to find some answers.
I ask another passer-by and I am reluctantly told that the obsidian temple belongs to the most ancient of all the Gods ever worshipped in Dreamland. They are known as ‘the Outer Gods’. Although the origin of the name is shrouded in mystery. Worshipping of these Gods ceased generations long ago. No one even knows the name of the Gods who were once worshipped there. The God’s names have been more ignored than lost. I was told that each High Priest was to pass on the temple’s secrets and that the last high priest was found atop the temple’s stairs in front of the main entrance. An obsidian dagger was found in his hand. His chest was cut open and his heart was missing. Abandoned though it is, something resides within the temple’s walls. Strange lights are seen and odd noises are occasionally heard, though no one dares venture to find out who, or what, is causing all of this.
Those Gods have been consigned by this brash and arrogant generation to irrelevance. It figures. Today for this majority their moral compass is avarice and their Gods are possessions and pleasures. They dream the vision crafted by advertising agency committees and teleprompter recited by their spokesman, their man who would be King Ronald Wilson Reagan. We are most definitely living in the Age of the Masses as described by Jose Ortega Y’Gasset.
Across from the temple of the Outer Gods, facing the setting and the midnight sun is the temple of the Queen of the Night, the Mistress of the Moon. On the opposite side, facing the rising and the zenith sun is the temple of the Sun King, Defender of the Light. Though a heavy feeling of foreboding lingers like sludge in my thoughts, I walk across the central courtyard toward the abandoned obsidian temple of the Outer Gods.
I want to know why it resembles my dream temple of the jungle.
Could it all be that my dream only foreshadowed my finding this temple, and that is all? There’s still that funny feeling that I’m meant to go in there. That feeling tells me that She is waiting for me. Well, for whatever reason, be it my overblown imagination, my destiny, or just a bad case of indigestion, I’m going to go in to seek the answer to Jon’s disappearance.
At the foot of the stairs leading up to the temple’s entrance, lounge pairs of leopards and jaguars. To speak with the Gods of this temple I’m going to have to get past these feline guards. I take a deep breath and try to pretend that they are just like any other cat I’ve met in Atlantis.
“Hello nice Kitties, you have a visitor.”
At the sound of my voice, they all lift their heads to scrutinize me, except oddly, the closest one. I think it’s a male leopard. He’s a little surprised when he finally lifts up his head and glances at me, after being nudged by his female mate. I wonder if the male leopard’s hearing is impaired. He rises up, arches, stretches, and walks toward me. He smells my hand and checks me out. I smile and hopefully appear friendly.
“What brings you to the Sacred Mountain?” The leopard asks as he puts his face up to mine and sniffs me. I try to remain calm and not to be offended by the smell of his carnivore cat breath.
“Ahh...” I could say that the place reminds me of my jungle dreams. But before I can think another thought, words begin to bubble out of my mouth. “...a lost lover.”
“This is not the home of some lonely hearts advisor. Be gone,” the leopard snarls.
Why did I say that? “But you don’t understand.”
“Then you had better clarify yourself, and quickly.”
I’ve the feeling that when a Leopard tells you quickly, he means quickly. I take a deep breath to calm myself and take in the faint scent of those orchids! Again? Should I be surprised? On further thought, no. A feeling of disassociation comes over me as I blurt out a string of words in a single breath.
“What I meant was that a young lady had lost her love, he physically vanished under very strange circumstances, possibly as the result of some sort of evil magic; I offered to help her find him and I was hoping that the Gods that dwell here could aid me and this young women.” Hmmm? I nervously wait. Well, that is as good a reason for being here as any reason I could have come up with, if I had consciously thought about it.
“That is a sad tale, and who is the teller of this tale?”
“Oh, you want to know my name?”
“You are asking for an audience with She who dwells within, should we not know who it is that favors such a request?”
“Ahh…of course. My name’s Lamont.”
“Are you perhaps The Lamont Corazon?”
“I don’t know about the The part, but that’s my name.”
“We have been awaiting your arrival. Come, follow me,” the leopard commands.
There’s not only someone home, but somebody has been expecting me. The place is, only now (?), or always has been (?), not deserted. She who dwells within presumably is the one who has been calling to me from out of my dreams. Hmmm? I notice that carved on each side of the temple’s entrance are now very familiar symmetrical patterns of skulls, reptilian faces, and pictographs. Again, as I ponder their origin, the patterns and images are not from any ancient Mediterranean or Middle Eastern culture that I’ve ever seen.
The leopard guides me into the pitch-dark depths of the temple. I hesitantly trod through a thick carpet of dust. There is no light of any kind. Why bother, no visitors. Does save on the utility bills. I’m taken somewhere into the deep recesses of the temple, presumably to where the Goddess dwells.