Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Nightmare Alley

John Henry Fuseli: The Nightmare
I've been having strange nightmares the last couple of nights. I've no idea why: if it's something I've eaten, I've no idea what it could be. I've not been particularly worried about anything, either. On both nights I woke up in a state of fascinated terror. It's not very often that I remember a dream and these are so strange and dreadful I couldn't resist writing them down and sharing them. Well, I say dreadful, but in dreams sometimes things seem to happen to the dreamer with an emotional intensity not usually associated with the events he or she is dreaming about. They certainly had a Gothic feel to them.

This is the dream I dreamt the night before last:

I was walking across a field towards a low, modern building. I was worried: worried that if I went in I might meet the Cardinal. When I arrived at the building, I opened the door and went in. The Cardinal was indeed there. I wanted to make my way across the room to the door in the opposite wall, only the Cardinal, in the nicest possible way, was blocking my way. He was a tall, thin man: seven feet tall, they said. I was surprised to see that his cape was not red but a creamy white. My eyes could not help but be drawn to its sickening colour, which filled me with dread. In the nicest possible way, I moved to one side, to walk past him. He moved in front of me again. I knew what he wanted. Under his cape he wore a many-facetted precious stone, on a chain. He wanted to draw back his cape and show me the stone. I knew that if I looked upon it I would fall under his spell. It had happened before and I was determined that it should not happen again. I made for the door. Again, he blocked my way...

And last night:

I was living in a city. It was a dark, winter evening. I set out to visit a friend who lived not far away. The friend was a publican. He lived and worked in a large, drab, brick-built public house. When I arrived, he greeted me and showed me upstairs to his private room. A little later I left to go home. I had not gone far when I was set upon by an Alsatian dog. It attempted to bite me: I felt its teeth on my hand. There was a man with the dog, standing a short distance off. I couldn't see him clearly. I turned and ran back to the pub, pursued by the dog and and its owner. When I entered the bar my friend, seeing what a state I was in, immediately stood back and let me through. As I ran up the stairs I could hear a commotion below: the dog was barking and the man was remonstrating with the publican.

Oh well, I wonder what's in store tonight? If there's a third exciting episode to this surreal soap I'll blog it.


Elisabeth said...

Hi Dominic. Great dreams. Have you heard of the Annandale dream gazette. They'd fit in well there. I post many of my dreams there. See: http://www.annandaledreamgazetteonline.blogspot.com/

I always think of the various aspects and characters in dreams as reflecting back something about me.

If this were my dream I'd be wondering about the tall thin cardinal in me.

It's an interesting word cardinal, religious for sure, but also isn't it to do with being on top, first etc?

If it were my dream I'd play around with the ideas and images. Dreams are our friends even if they appear as nightmares. They help us to make sense of our states of mind and primarily they are not what they seem. They are symbolic.

Thanks, Dominic and good luck with tonight. I look forward to the third dream in the trilogy if you can bear to remember it.

John Hayes said...

They both read a bit like Kafka tales. I often have problems remembering the narrative details of dreams, tho sometimes a certain "feeling" lingers; I find those "dream hangover" states to be the best time for writing poetry.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I think you are in need of a holiday!

Dominic Rivron said...

Elisabeth: Thanks for that. Perhaps there is a tall thin Cardinal in my trying to get out... :) I did want to be a priest once, a long time ago. (A great deal has happened since then). I only remember dreams rarely, but I'm trying not to get too analytical about it. However, I'm just writing up episode 3, and a theme of "interrupted journeys" seems to be emerging. How can I put it? Our beliefs, violence and bureaucracy (so far: the latter in Episode 3) prevent us "breaking through to the other side".

JH: A good time for writing poetry: yes, I'm sure you're right. And as for Kafka - spot on. They have all had that feel about them (so it's hardly surprising the prose reflects it). Kind of Kafka meet HP Lovecraft meets Dr Who.

WG: I am.

Niamh B said...

cool - great that you wrote em down, no harm to capture them for future use!

Kat Mortensen said...

Have you been watching previews of the upcoming series, "The Borgias" with Jeremy Irons? It sounds very like it.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Dominic, have you read Jung on dreams and Archetypes? If not,you must!

I'm sure you would be greatly interested in what he has to say and no doubt would find useful intepretations of these fascinating dreams and figures like 'the Cardinal' etc.