AN INTERVIEW WITH MARIA ISABEL PITA
BY ROBERT WAGGONER
Author of historic fiction like Truth is the Soul of the Sun – A Biographical Novel of Hatshepsut-Maatkare, Maria Isabel Pita, also lucid dreams. In this DreamSpeak interview, the LDE takes a look at the sensual and metaphysical side of lucid dreaming.
From your blog, I see that you were born in Havana, Cuba, but left before you were one year old. Can you tell us a bit about that?
My family left Cuba in 1961 before Castro sealed the borders. My father was involved in the resistance against the totalitarian regime being imposed on Cubans and had to take refuge in the Brazilian Embassy. He would stand at the wrought iron fence looking out while my mother walked by holding me in her arms so he could see us. When I was four months old, she and I flew to Spain and for about four months we lived in Madrid in a school, Our Lady of Victories, run by nuns belonging to the same denomination as the convent school my mother attended most of her life, Our Lady of Lourdes. While we were there, the two young nuns who helped care for me—one of whom rocked me to sleep every night—drowned in a boating accident. The story haunted me as a child; I felt bound to them in some mysterious way. Dressed in long skirts and veils, they were helpless in the water. I was determined to somehow make up for their tragic and senseless death by never being so helpless myself. It’s interesting, since the ocean is such an archetypal symbol for the unconscious. At the time, people were being very helpful toward Cuban refugees and the captain of a ship bound for the U.S. gave my mother a free cabin we had all to ourselves. I arrived in Miami at the age of 8 months, but my father was soon offered a job with U.S.A.I.D. so we moved to Fairfax, Virginia, where I lived until I was seventeen.
What prompted your interest in dreams and dreaming?
When I was 11 years old, my mother had a dream in which she saw a dear friend of hers, a brilliant male surgeon, lying in a pool of blood. A bicycle had fallen from the sky and crushed his skull. At the end of this dream, on a large, luminous white page, she saw a long poem written in English. It appeared before her so clearly, she was able to write it down when she woke. The poem made reference to a tragic event that knowledge, time and love would transform into something beautiful. Less than two years later—even though she had never shown the slightest inclination toward becoming a writer—she published her first book of poems in Spanish. My mother, Juana Rosa Pita, is now considered one of Cuba’s most important poets in exile, has been translated into English and Italian, and students do their dissertation on her book, Penelope’s Journeys, in which Penelope’s dreams constitute the real journey vs. Ulyses’ waking adventures. (The little we learn about Penelope in The Odyssey makes it clear she had a vivid dream life.) Then, 15 years later, my mother was going through some boxes after a move and came across the poem in English which started it all, and that night she dreamed with her surgeon friend. She dreamed she was standing at the railing of a ship and he was leaning on the same railing facing her, suspended above the ocean. Smiling ruefully, he told her he would no longer be able to be her friend, that she would have to be his friend now, and with that said, he plunged into the water and was lost. That morning my mother received a call informing her that as her friend was leaving work the previous night, he was attacked by two assailants who hit him on the head thirteen times with metal bars. Miraculously, he survived. He was a very wealthy man who was about to initiate a dream project of his—a large hospital ship that would cruise up and down the Nile in his home country of Egypt providing free medical care to the poor. The police, suspecting someone had tried to have him killed, brought in a psychic to sit by his unconscious body in the hospital (he was in a coma for 20 days) but all she picked up from him was the name Juana Rosa. As it happens, my mother was the only one in the room with him when he finally opened his eyes. Seeing her, he grasped her hand, kissed it and said, “Thank you.” The first thing she had done upon arriving at the hospital was pour water from Lourdes, given to her by another friend, over his forehead. The case was never solved, but I for one had learned that dreams are a powerfully important part of life, that they can transform you in dramatic and seemingly magical ways. I learned that in dreams time and space is somehow transcended because the future can be glimpsed and it’s possible to communicate telepathically with other people. I learned that it’s not a waste of time, that it’s actually very important, to pay attention to our dreams and believe in them.
Thinking back, when do you first recall becoming lucidly aware in the dream state? Can you remember any of your first lucid dreams (please describe some and the approximate age at which they happened)?
I was 22 years old and living on the rebellious edge in Chicago. I dreamed I was walking through a parking lot and stopped to buy ice cream from a vendor. There was nothing and no one else around, which was odd. I gave him some money and he handed me my change. “This is too much,” I protested but he said, “Keep it.” It dawned on me then that I was probably dreaming, because in real life no one gives you money, so I shrugged and slipped the $5 bill into the right pocket of my black jacket. I woke up and less than 20 minutes later, just after sunrise, I was leaning against the wall of some fast food restaurant, waiting for a friend to pick me up while staring despondently across a mostly empty parking lot. A kind looking black man paused beside me, asked me if I was hungry and offered to buy me some breakfast. He handed me his card; he was a social worker. I smiled and told him I was fine and he said, “Well, if you won’t join me for breakfast, buy yourself something to eat” and he slipped a bill into the right pocket of my jacket, the same jacket I had been wearing in the dream. When I pulled it out, I saw it was a $5 bill. I’ll never forget that morning. I truly felt I was given a clear message—dreams can and do come true, believe it. That dream was a lifeline which helped pull me out of a major depression, a lifeline that never broke because it was woven of awe and hope.
Was there anything about those first lucid dreams that you found interesting, exciting or perplexing? (pick your own adjective!) How did you manage to become lucid?
Invariably, all the lucid dreams I had before I read your book I called Flying Dreams because that’s the first thing I did when I became lucid, and the ability to fly was very often what triggered my lucidity. These dreams were intensely erotic even though all I did was fly. I would soar as high as I could, and then deliberately go into free fall. The exquisite intensity of the sexual arousal I experienced as I waited to make violent contact with the ground, with a building, with anything, is impossible to convey with words, and this from a woman who has written quite a few erotic romances! Upon becoming lucid, I experienced a rush of joy so intense I simply had to express it by taking off. I never felt perplexed, but during these early lucid dreams I barely scratched the surface of lucidity—I didn’t realize I could do anything besides feel fantastic and invulnerable. These dreams were also akin to sightseeing tours, because I would fly over whole towns and cities and landscapes and see them in such vivid detail it made me want to cry when I woke up that I couldn’t remember everything more clearly.
In some of your lucid dreams, you seem to have a strong kinesthetic feeling sense. You mention being touched in the lucid dream, and in some instances, feeling your body in the physical bed ( a possible sign that you may be getting close to waking up! ). What do you think about the sensation of touch in a lucid dream? Does it have an added dimension, since it occurs lucidly?
When you touch something, you know it’s real, not merely your imagination. Touch also seems to serve the purpose of “anchoring” me in the dream. I’ve heard the physical body described as a denser (slowed down) version of our subtle / astral / energy body (I think it’s detrimental to get bogged down by terminology.) When I sense my physical body lying in bed dreaming, I’m not at all surprised or worried about the fact that who I really am has the power to overflow physical boundaries. And both forms of my Self, both states of my Being, are mysteriously part of, and subordinate to, my awareness of them—to consciousness itself. Robert Lanza states in his book, Biocentrism: “No dead universe ever existed outside of Mind. ‘Nothingness’ is a meaningless concept… The universe is simply the complete spatio-temporal logic of the self.” I heartily agree, and nowhere does this feel more true than in a lucid dream, where you’re inside yourself and yet also have the potential to be outside everywhere and anywhere you can think of or desire. I wrote in a poem: “We are all creators / in the Dreaming / not mere inmates / of a concrete prison.” When I become lucid in a dream, it feels like being set free of the cells of my physical body, pun intended. It seems to me the “landscape” of the dream is Consciousness itself, which we share with everyone and everything, and that’s why time and space don’t really seem to exist and why we can interact with other beings, whether they’re currently associated with physical bodies or not. The Mind’s the limit!
Many lucid dreamers have noticed that the freedom of lucid dreaming allows for some highly sensual encounters. Have you noticed this in your own lucid dreaming? (provide PG rated examples if you wish)
Yes, indeed I have, and I believe it helped open a door in my psyche to dreams of other lifetimes where a traumatic event of a sexual nature occurred that was coloring certain emotional / thought-patterns in my current personality. These dreams were extremely vivid, but it wasn’t until I woke up that I became lucid in the sense that I recognized they weren’t dreams but Far Memories (a term coined by Joan Grant, one of my favorite writers) buried deep in my DNA. They helped me understand certain of my sexual preferences and turn-offs much better. The visceral experience of each dream mysteriously unraveled a complex knot in my psyche that was at once psychological and energetic. When I was 5 years old, my mother took me to a library where I wandered off by myself. I pulled a book off a shelf at random but it was so heavy I dropped it and it fell open at my feet to a black-and-white photograph of an ancient Egyptian goddess or queen. I ran to find my mother, pulled her back by the hand to the book lying open on the floor, and pointing down at the photo said emphatically, “Home!” A while later, I upset my grandmother terribly when, during a party at my home, I appeared in the living room holding a cardboard and crayon reconstruction of what I proudly announced to everyone was my tomb. It always seemed ridiculous to me to believe we were limited to one brief span on earth. Since I was very young, I knew my spirit was enjoying acting out passionate dramas by way of the fascinatingly varied characters of my soul, which had starred in many plays already and would star in countless more.
Of course, in lucid dreams there are no physical self esteem issues to contend with—my dream body always feels beautiful, it’s not a mental thing—and the sense of touch, sensation itself and the excitement it generates is so intensified, it often wakes me up, which would be more frustrating if it wasn’t for the fact that very often the pleasure my dream body experiences flows seamlessly into my physical body, which smolders like a wick after a flame is blown out.
Do you think these sensual encounters are naturally more likely in lucid dreams – they just come with the (Freudian) territory? Or does lucid dreaming’s relative freedom provide a safer or possibly more empowering environment for expression?
Freud and all other psychological schools are completely irrelevant when I’m lucid in a dream; that stuff just falls away like the stages of an old Apollo rocket. My heightened sensuality and sense of absolute well-being are indistinguishable from each other. In a lucid dream I seem to reside in my energy or soul body, which naturally translates into sexual arousal, is merely a dim echo, I suspect, of what it will feel like when, at the moment of death, we slip out of our fleshly garment and are, so to speak, completely naked again.
In this issue of the LDE, you relate an interesting story about a pair of lucid dreams that helped you overcome your fear of death. How does lucid dreaming assist with that? And what did the symbolism by the seashore mean for you?
The night before my grandmother passed away, I dreamed we were standing together in a beautiful garden and that the jeweled lizard pin she was wearing over her heart (she actually collected them) suddenly turned into a butterfly and flew away. When I woke up, I called my mother and told her Abuela was going to die soon. Then, three days after her death, I dreamed I was sitting in a waiting room of sorts, reminiscent of an airport, and my grandmother was seated across from me. She said, in Spanish, “So I’m dead, aren’t I?” “Yes,” I told her, so happy to be seeing her again even if it was only in a dream. I also understood without thinking about it that I was there to help her. I got up, and when she leaned on my arm (as though she was still in her sick old body) I told her she didn’t have to do that, that she could walk straight and tall again. I remember looking down at our clasped hands and distinctly knowing that what was happening between us was real. I told myself I would remember looking at our hands in the dream and know it hadn’t been in a dream. In the end, a tall and attractive androgynous individual dressed in a white uniform walked into the building, golden hair curling around his/her smile. The messenger said loudly and cheerfully it was here to pick up the package. When I woke up I knew the “package” was my grandmother’s soul.
After my father’s funeral, I went to bed in the hotel room absolutely determined to dream with him, to become lucid in a dream and see him again. I found myself standing in a small town of sorts staring at the entrance to a theater, and at once I became lucid. I stared at that theater door, through which people were streaming out onto the street, thrilled by the possibility that my father might be one of them. I kept searching for his face in the crowd, and there he was! I ran over to him and we hugged but he looked a little groggy and confused. He said in the tone of voice he had always used when he was worried about me, “You have to be careful here, Maria” and even as I looked up at his face I saw it had changed, that I was hugging a man with a similar build and complexion to my father but it wasn’t him anymore. Then all of a sudden he dropped dead at my feet as though shot through the heart. My father had been fond of detective novels and I thought, Oh please, this is too much! as my transcendent lucid dream suddenly seemed to be turning into a cheap thriller. But then I saw another man, a blond man in a dark suit, standing near the body and staring at me. I realized he was the one who had “shot” the imposter pretending to be my father, and he was smiling at me in a way that truly chilled me. I knew then I had to get away from there and I quickly flew up into the sky. I turned what was becoming a nightmare into one of the most intensely sexual lucid dreams I’ve ever had, where I hung upside down in midair and brought myself to a climax I enjoyed in real life as I woke up.
I’ve dreamed with my father several times since then, and he even seems to have pointed the way to lucid dreaming for me as a spiritual path:
I’m with my father somewhere and he looks the way he did before he died. Suddenly, I see him standing outside a door, then he vanishes. Following him outside, I gaze across a narrow street and distinctly see a brick wall with an opening in it the size of a door, an opening I recognize as the entrance to a conscious dream. I cross the street and come very close to stepping through it but something holds me back. I don’t trust what I’ll encounter if I follow the path I can’t see from the threshold. I’m afraid the road will prove unpleasant or a dead end. Such dreams have shown me that death is a part of life, not the end of it. The way I see it, sleep is so vital to our health because our souls are like whales or dolphins rising into the open, lighter space of dreams, and taking a deep breath of the energy which keeps our physical vessel charged and running properly before diving back into the womb of corporeal existence.
The symbolism by the seashore—white candles partially submerged in the ocean burning bright orange flames—expresses the ultimate paradox, how we are all one being/spirit and yet also unique individuals/souls.
In a previous lucid dream in LDE 59, you recount a lucid dream of seeking out a NYC friend you call ‘S’. In the lucid dream, there seems to be considerable symbolism of death (e.g., setting sun, deserted colorless building, etc.) and you later learn that S passes away soon after. But before you hear that news, you have a semi-lucid dream that mirrors the circumstance of her passing. What did you make of that? How did this help you deal with your friend’s passing?
I was reading my dream journal—trying to feel it was worthwhile to spend so much time and energy writing down all my dreams, lucid or not—when I came upon the dream you refer to which, at the time, made no sense to me at all. I was floored. I saw it clearly then for what it truly seemed to be—an astral message from my friend. So, yes, it’s definitely worth the effort to remember and to record your dreams, lucid or not. I feel so much better now, as though I was somehow actually with my friend when she “saw the light.” Her consciousness seemed to be hovering over her body, as in all NDE’s, and she wasn’t frightened; she was letting go of this life and it was okay. Perhaps she sent me that dream, or I telepathically “saw” what happened, but the fact is when I think about her death now I don’t just see the gruesome image of a body found by the police in a bath tub, instead I’m there with her and I feel okay, even good. Something has changed, and it’s all because of a dream. I feel so strongly that dreams and lucid dreaming are a vital part of human evolution. Science has to embrace mysticism so we can finally crawl out of the rock and the hard place of religious and scientific dogma, both of which are guilty of blind faith—it has to be like this and can’t be like that.
If you don’t dream something, either awake or asleep, it won’t happen. Magic is science we don’t understand yet. My faith doesn’t depend on it, but I would love to achieve a clearer communication with the Other Side, which is actually inside us.
What other metaphysical or spiritual areas have you explored in your lucid dreaming? Or perhaps, what other lucid dreams have intrigued, delighted or perplexed you?
Most of them, really. It’s difficult to choose, but here’s one I think you’ll find interesting:
October 18, 2010—What an Intense Night!
I’m in a dress shop. On the left, there’s a small section of Gothic-style clothes, sexy black and leather outfits for women. I’m drawn to a starry black dress, the only one displayed on a headless dummy. A sales girl leads me into a fitting room and, abruptly, I’m looking down on myself where I’m lying on a bed staring at a television channel surfing. There’s a man in the room who says something to the effect of, “No matter what you do to try and distract yourself, God always steps in and gives you a sign / slap.” (In the dream these two separate words seems to mean the same thing.) I know he’s my guardian angel, that I’m dreaming, and I feel joy to be in his presence, but also a touch of chagrin it was necessary to receive this “briefing” because I’d gotten “stuck” in my progress. His eyes are so blue, his hair a dark blonde, and the whole time he talks we’re smiling at each other, both of us so happy I’m really seeing him. Then he walks out the door and stands waiting to one side for an elevator. I keep my eyes on him, both of us still smiling. But when he steps into the elevator instead of disappearing he walks back into the room. “Are you surprised?” he asks. He keeps talking to me and as he does so his appearance alters slightly—the same man in different stages of life, now older and less attractive but it’s still him, his eyes and his smile, and I almost like him better in his comfortable older persona.
Now I’m sitting in a car at night outside a building (where the above took place) and the sales girl from earlier in the dream appears and walks up to my open window. She’s very pretty and she knows that I know I’m having a conscious dream. I don’t remember what we talk about but as she walks away she says, “You’ll see, Robert is the answer to what you need.” I call loudly after her, clearly hearing my voice in the intense silence, “Did you say Robert?” but she keeps walking away without replying. I remain in the car staring up at the sky, enjoying the vision of a vast movie screen playing different colorful films in organic curved oval stages. I’m relishing being there and seeing everything so clearly in this conscious dream I’m having.
Preparing for this interview, scrolling through my electronic dream journal, I came upon the above dream, which I’d forgotten all about it. It seems obvious to me now that the dream characters were referring to you, Robert, and the spiritual path of lucid dreaming I would fully and wholeheartedly embark upon after reading your book, approximately three months later.
The following dream frightened and challenged me more than any other lucid dream I’ve had to date. From it I learned not to assume anything, that fear is as detrimental in dreams as it is in waking life, and that there appear to be mischievous characters out there who, like more benevolent guides, mysteriously assist us. This dream taught me that the voice of my Inner Self is the only one I can trust, the only one that can interpret what happens to me and whatever anyone says to me, in this world or in any other:
June 20, 2011:
I walk into a building and follow a dark current that assumes the form of an automated black ramp of sorts I make myself comfortable on. I’m fully conscious of the fact that I’m walking into sleep and into a dream, which will be a lucid dream because I intend it to be. As the black surface flows forward, the walls open up so I can see the wooden beams inside them, and a familiar blue color prompts me to declare, This is the inside of my dining room table! I’m now the size of a speck, of an atom, but that’s all right because I can be any size in a dream as I travel effortlessly between the “lattice” work. I arrive somewhere; I can see an outside now. I deliberately step off the “conveyor” and walk instead of fly (I don’t want to miss anything I might be avoiding by immediately taking off.) There’s an open space before me I immediately recognize as an airport. The planes are small, not jumbo jets, and I think they’re white with red trim. There’s a woman standing at the edge of the area where the planes sit behind a fence. She’s wearing an official uniform, rather like a security guard’s, dull blue with long sleeves and her blonde hair curls around her face. I stop directly in front of her and, looking straight at her face, raise my hands before me in prayer position and say, “Namaste.” Then I pause and deliberately ask, “Who are you?” She replies, “You know what I am.” I’m thinking she must be an angel helping souls cross over (hence the airport), an angel who helps transport people to the Other Side. Then she adds, “And you will soon be one of us.” I don’t like the sound of that. “Does that mean I’m going to die?” I query, and almost regret being lucid, since the dream appears to have become a harbinger of my impending death, which distresses me even though there’s nothing frightening about being there. She doesn’t reply, she doesn’t seem inclined to say more, but I insist, urgently asking, “How soon?” As I insist on more information, she backs away from me, actually cowering, and I say challengingly, “If you were a real angel you wouldn’t be frightened of me!” It crosses my mind she must be a dream character, not an actual angel. She mumbles something about it being two weeks or two months from now but then amends her estimate to Thanksgiving. Polite but persistent, I demand to know if she’s sure she has the right name. “My name is very similar to my father’s,” I tell her, and as she walks over to check the “book” I say, “I’m Maria Pita, not Mario Pita” emphasizing that there’s a mere one letter difference in our names, so she might very well have made a mistake. Consulting the “register” she shakes her head, a somewhat rueful smile on her lips, and mutters, “I didn’t know that.” I’m relieved since she seems to be admitting that she did indeed make a mistake; that she didn’t look carefully enough and it was Papi she referred to. (For some reason in the dream it makes sense he will die around Thanksgiving even though in reality he’s already dead). The woman is standing in a booth jammed with old VHS boxes and other stuff. I say, “Oh please don’t tell me bureaucracy on the Other Side is just as messy and inefficient? What a scary thought!” I begin walking away, looking back over my shoulder. Our eyes meet and now she’s a black woman who’s smiling at me in an oddly secretive way, as though I passed some kind of test.
You mention that when writing books, you occasionally get into the ‘zone’ or a place of inspiration. What is that like? And does it remind you of lucid dreaming?
One night I dreamed a beautiful man stepped out of the darkness, his black, elegant clothes cut from the night itself. Smiling, he walked up to me, kissed me on the lips and said, “For a story.” Approximately three weeks later, I woke up one morning, reached for the pad and pen I always keep by my bed quickly began writing the first few pages of a new novel I had not planned to write (Eternal Blood a paranormal romance.)
In my dreams, a kiss seems to be a way of transmitting information and energy, as if they’re one and the same thing.
When I was deep in my fictional biography of Hatshepsut, I dreamed with a beautiful woman with a golden complexion who was wearing a long and light-colored sheathe dress such as an ancient Egyptian noblewoman might have worn. I was walking through a lovely town located high up in the clouds and it felt so nice there it alerted me to being conscious in a dream. As this woman approached me, I felt I knew her. She walked right up to me, her face level with mine, and pressed her mouth against mine for a long, wonderful moment. She told me I was doing very well but that I that I could do even better. She handed me a necklace, on which hung an irregularly shaped piece of silver in the center of which shone an amethyst (my birth stone) shaped like an eye. Her companion then took my hand and led me into a building on my left, at which point I began waking up.
As for the ‘zone’ I get into when I’m writing, it is very much like a lucid dream. When I sit down to write, a mysterious shift occurs in my consciousness and words flow out of me that are often as much a surprise to me as the images and events I encounter in dreams. I don’t work from an outline. I begin with the seed of an idea, which is composed primarily of feelings, and let it germinate inside me until I feel it’s time for it to begin branching out into sentences. The deeper into a book I get, the more the main characters assert themselves and say things I never actually thought of myself (at least not consciously) and soon I’m mainly following them around describing the action and how they feel about it. Things happen I don’t expect or foresee, surprising and exciting me, just as in lucid dreams. That’s what makes writing so entertaining and fulfilling, because it’s also, when it truly comes from the heart, a mysteriously profound learning process.
Have any of your books included lucid dreaming as part of the plot? What happens?
In my paranormal erotic romance, Dreams of Anubis, the heart of the plot is the dreams the main character has that take place in ancient Egypt. In my novel of Hatshepsut, dreams mark important moments in her life. But what’s truly interesting is that while I was writing the book, I myself had a lucid dream in which the symbolism was completely ancient Egyptian. In the book, Hatshepsut’s father had died recently, just as mine had in reality. I copied and pasted the dream from my journal into the novel without changing anything except the point of view, and substituting “house” for “palace”:
She was wandering through a palace filled with so much light the colorful paintings and furnishings were only luminous shadows, unless she concentrated on them and attempted to discern the objects they defined. Then she experienced a sensation like warm water rushing up through her head and realized she was dreaming. A surge of joy made her conscious of her closed eyelids where she lay asleep in bed and passionately she thought, No, I must not wake up! I will not wake up! She knew she was in the Palace of the Other World near her father’s tomb and the weight of sadness threatened to pull her back into her body. Determined not to give into the pressure, she walked to a window, open to a profusion of colors, and abruptly her father was beside her. She saw him clearly for an instant before he embraced her and became only a beloved darkness she could distinctly feel against her. He said, “Everything you do is so beautiful!” She laughed as he held onto her so tightly she began falling backwards. She ended up lying on the floor feeling only his arms around her as the High Priest of Amun’s voice said directly in her head, “Love is the light in the Fields of Re” and suddenly she found herself standing alone outside the palace in a night blacker than any she had ever known. There was no moon and she could see no stars beyond the palace’s silhouette looming to her right. She knew she had to walk around it but she feared encountering something. When she suddenly saw her cat, and its magically reflective eyes, waiting for her, it was easier to force herself to be brave and not to try and wake up. With a cat following just behind her, she began walking. Her courage received a further boost when a white dog-like creature emerged from the night on her left and trotted along beside her. Recognizing the animal of Seth, she rested her left hand gratefully on its head. Continuing along the invisible path, she summoned a small gray jackal to run ahead and open the way for her. She sensed herself approaching the open space beyond the palace where she would be able to fully claim her powers if she dared to face encountering all her fears there. Then suddenly the veil of her eyelids lifted and she woke to the safely confining light of the solar disc.
At present I’m incubating a story about an Egyptologist who begins having lucid dreams that are apparently related to her current area of research. Should such a form of investigation yield theories which are later verified, well then, it all becomes even more fascinating and exciting. I’m also playing with the idea of another collection of stories set all through history in which a lucid dreamer is the thread tying them all together, somehow.
Do you feel that lucid dreaming may have been a feature of Egyptian spiritual practices? When I gazed at some of the ancient hieroglyphs in the temples at Dendera and Edfu, I saw instances of apparently sleeping men who appeared to be lucidly projecting. Do you ever run across this in your studies of Egyptology?
Definitely. The Temple of Hathor in Dendera (the ancient Egyptians referred to it as The Castle of the Menit and The House of Incarnation) was renowned for its dream hospital where the cause of a patient’s physical illness or emotional malaise was diagnosed and treated by way of healing dreams. The Menit symbolized the female sexual organ. Hathor was the cosmic mother and wet-nurse, the House of Horus—the falcon-head god who symbolized the human soul. Mirrors were sacred to Hathor because she was the mirror of material substance an eternal Divine essence uses to experience (see) Itself. The Menit was the medium by which the creative sensuality of the Goddess was transmitted; Hathor is often shown offering the Menit to pharaoh or his queen. The ancient Egyptians apparently understood that a spiritual healing energy could be channeled into the physical body most effectively through the magical opening found in dreams. While submerged in the dark depths of sleep, alive with colorful dreams like schools of fish (which often prove equally elusive when you try and catch them with your conscious mind upon waking) becoming lucid and addressing a specific task was rather like constructing canals to direct the life-giving River where it was most needed. To the ancient Egyptians, the Nile embodied the Divine life-force that regularly resurrected the dry “dead” earth.
Are there experiments that you would like to conduct in lucid dreams? Or something that you would want to achieve? Tell us about that.
Oh yes, of course! As a historical novelist, the possibility of traveling into the past and actually viscerally experiencing places like ancient Egypt is so exciting it’s almost frightening. Once, after I became lucid in a dream, I asked to go to the pyramids in the time of Menkaure the Divine but I ended up in a fog of pure potential—it’s esoteric name being The Dragon’s Breath and the name given to it by quantum physics being The Zero Point Field. I blame myself; I’m pretty sure it was doubting I could actually do it that made the realization of my request impossible. But just last week there was something I very much wanted to achieve. My husband was diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis—his right foot and the lower part of his leg was swelling up, perhaps as the result of a blood clot. He was scheduled for an emergency ultrasound in the morning. Treatment would have entailed spending several days in the hospital and then taking blood thinners for three months. That night when we went to bed, his leg was worse, growing more painful. Before falling asleep, I prayed to the Lords I’ve always felt watching over me. I asked them, with all my heart, to help me in my desire to have a lucid dream in which I could attempt to heal my husband’s leg. There wasn’t even a speck of doubt in my heart such a healing could be done (whether or not I myself was yet spiritually capable of it) and I fervently wanted the opportunity to try.
In a dream, my husband, Stinger, and I are in a grocery store shopping, but we walk out of the building without any bags or packages. I feel happy because we’re together and because everything is good—I’m mentally clear, I know everything will be all right even though we have to drive straight to the doctor’s office in the morning. It’s night and the parking lot is mostly deserted. I feel so good I do a little skip and a jump and notice that gravity is very forgiving; I feel wonderfully light in the Indian dress Stinger bought me in Brazil I love more than any other dress I’ve ever owned. I think, If this was a dream, I could fly. I do a little run in a pretend dream take off and actually keep going, rising a little higher off the ground, not moving very fast but definitely defying gravity. I’m aware of a group of people exiting the store watching me and wonder what they must think about this flying lady. Pretty cool, huh? I look down at my husband, who has kept walking across the parking lot, and say calmly but urgently, “Take my hand! Take my hand! If you don’t catch me, I’m just going to keep going.” He reaches up and pulls me down. I land facing him and, looking directly into his eyes, I ask, “Is this a dream? Are we dreaming?” His expression is more skeptical than confused as he replies, “No, we’re not.” I’m inclined to believe him because even now I’m absolutely sure myself that all of this is really happening, that we’re out in the waking world shopping and that I’m not lying in bed dreaming. But once the question is asked, I somehow know I am, in fact, dreaming. Now I point out to him, “But if this isn’t a dream, why did you keep walking? The jeep is back there.”
As we gravitate toward the eastern edge of the parking lot, I remember my intent and command, “Show me your leg.” He raises his jean and I kneel before his right leg. Where the pocket of swelling was in reality there is a largish flap of skin raised to reveal an opening through which I can see into his leg. There’s a distinct welling up of blood in there. It’s like looking into a subterranean cave where the water (blood) is getting ready to rise up over the edge. The blood is a very dark red at the center and around the edges it’s nearly black, and shining in that blackness are stars. I can’t describe the awesome beauty of this blood welling straight out of a fathomless darkness shining with stars. I will never forget the sight. The clot (for that’s what it must be) is definitely there and I’m raising my right hand (and perhaps also my left hand) in front of it intending a blue healing energy toward it. I don’t see any blue, but what I do begin to see is a reflection of my mouth taking some of the blood into it, tipping it between my lips as I massage the clot, the bulk of it, with my mouth, somehow dissolving it in this manner. I know this somehow. After what seems a short time I sit back and tell him, “I could see in there.” Crossing my legs, I assume a yoga prayer position directly in front of him. Raising my hands, I instruct him not to touch me as I separate my hands into Reiki position in order to enable healing energy to flow down between my palms into his leg. I sit there performing Reiki on his leg, and in the dream I’m there all night. In the end, however, we’ve been transported from the dark public parking lot to an intimate sunlit courtyard. The stone wall to the right of the door leading into the villa is hung with a beautiful tapestry-like painting I seem to recall depicts a golden-haired woman wearing an old-fashioned (Medieval?) dress and standing in a colorful garden.
I woke up suddenly and, after a moment, thought: I had a lucid dream in which I healed Stinger’s leg! I hope I never forget the awe and happiness I experienced when I realized this. I said softly to him as he moved slightly in the bed next to me, “I just had a lucid dream in which I healed your leg!” He replied something to the effect of, “That’s nice” and went back to sleep as I lay there remembering the dream, committing every detail to memory. I got up a short while later and looked at his leg where it was propped up on a pillow. In the dim morning light, when I pushed the blankets away to compare them, it looked exactly the same as his other leg. I could scarcely believe my eyes. I stroked the skin of both his lower legs, gazed at his both his ankles and feet, and whispered, “Stinger, look at your leg!” He lifted his head off the pillow and, after a moment, asked, “Did you do that?” I replied, “Yes!” with an elation I cannot describe. The improvement was 95% and by the time we got to the doctor’s office, there was no sign anything had ever been wrong with his leg at all. Whether or not it was merely a coincidence, there’s no telling, but my husband, who is a scientist, admitted it was, all things considered, perfectly reasonable to conclude that I had, indeed, healed his leg in a lucid dream.
Do the seasons effect your dreaming, or effect your lucid dreaming? Do you see any pattern to lucid dreaming and the seasons?
I’ve noticed that I tend to have a lucid dream around the new moon and the full moon, and the dream I submitted for this issue occurred on Palm Sunday, in the Spring, which really makes me look forward to Christmas! And most memorably so far, exactly two months after my beloved dog, Merlin, passed away, on the full moon some time after midnight on Halloween (November 1st the Day of All Dead) I had this lucid dream:
I dreamed I woke up in bed, upon which the light of the full moon was shining. Then I saw Merlin. He was standing beside the bed looking up, the way he had in the last year of his life when he wanted to come up but felt he couldn’t manage the jump and was waiting for my help. I tried to ignore him because obviously he couldn’t really be there, but he was. He had been a mix of white and tan, with an adorable black mask around his eyes when he was a puppy, but now he was mostly a pure white. Yet he was clearly there, my little boy, so so I reached down and lifted him onto the bed with me, watching in awe as he walked over to his usual spot. I knew my beloved pet couldn’t possibly stay for long and a part of me was afraid to touch him, but of course I couldn’t resist. When I reached for him he rolled onto his back and I rubbed his belly just as I always had. I could truly feel him, the unmistakable shape and sensation of him. “You’re such a good boy!” I cooed as I stroked him. “And you always will be!” Part of me feared this visit in a space between waking and sleeping—for that’s where I knew I was—might only be an illusion sent by a demon that would bite me any second now if I kept petting it, but the rest of me felt otherwise; my heart knew better. I was so happy Merlin had come to see me! I continued caressing him, filled with wonder at how long he was staying. I dared to touch his head and to look straight into his eyes as I told him again and again what I had told him just before I left him in that terrible room at the vet—“I love you! I love you! I love you!” I was so close to him I could hear his breaths and they sounded like a dark, soft echo, “Love you… love you…” Content, I lay back against the pillows and woke gently. The room looked just as it had a moment ago, with moonlight shining full on my bed, the only difference being that Merlin was no longer there. From that day forward, I knew in my heart that he was all right and though I still missed him terribly, I was no longer so intensely sad.
Any final comments?
The other day I was absently doing the dishes and intently recalling some of the things different “guides” have said to me in lucid dreams—characters I distinctly sensed were not merely thought forms—when I was suddenly struck by the mind-blowing realization it constitutes an ongoing message:
“Keep moving forward.”
“Don’t care too much for definitions, it’s the personal experience that matters.”
“For you all is God and riches. Don’t confuse the gifts with the givers. What flows down from your Ka, receive.”
“You’re very bright.”
“Do you remember?” he asks. I reply, “Yes.” He nods and says, “Noted.”
He asks, “Do you want this to be hell or heaven?” I answer, “Heaven!” He says, “Me too… Why did you leave me for so long?”
“Miracles can happen.”
Lucid dreams are a truly effective means to, metaphorically speaking, cleanse the soul’s lens in a way that the intellect, and all our good intentions, cannot do as effectively, or as quickly, in waking life. When I experience and confront issues in lucid dreams, a vital change occurs on all levels of my being that might otherwise take years, or an entire lifetime, perhaps even longer. “Normal” dreams can help, of course, but based on my personal experience, it’s my theory lucid dreams have the power to give you a “charge” that helps effectively “burn” away negative habits, emotions and thought patterns. Lucid Dreaming is a uniquely individual spiritual path, yet it’s also bringing me under the stimulating wing of a growing community, a movement really—a drive to expand the borders of consciousness and, ideally (inevitably) transform any and all limiting sociocultural perceptions and structures.
Thanks for being so gracious and telling us about your lucid dreaming life.