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    The Birth and Rebirth of a Phoenix (DILD)

    by , 02-16-2016 at 07:43 PM (381 Views)
    Ritual: Yesterday was full of work and stress, conditions that I have previously correlated to vivid dreaming. I worked until going to bed at 2am. Woke at 5am to feed the cat, then again at 6am after a dream that culminated in an experience of intense frustration, vivid enough that I spent around 45 minutes writing it down—an unintended but useful WBTB. Since today will also be very busy I did not do any other lucid practices, however, I had primed myself a little by reading the list of TOTYs last night. Apart from those conditions, the following dream was spontaneous, and I woke from it at around 8:45am.

    DILD: I am at my mother's house, but it is unlike any WL house. I am in a long room with high ceilings, very spacious and sparsely furnished, with no modern accoutrements. Maybe it is the medieval look of the interior that reminds me of the TOTYs, and I become lucid. Which would be a good one to do? Fairy would be easier to do outdoors. I could turn into a dragon but then I'd have to destroy everything and I don't want to wreck my mother's house. Phoenix? That would be a good one. I try to remember the details. I can't just summon it directly, I have to burn something, right? I look around the room for something suitable.

    On the far end of the room is a table under a shuttered window. The table is covered with a white cloth, and spread across it is an assortment of jewels and precious stones. These look ideal. I select a faceted gem and place it in my left palm. It is small, only about six millimeters across, transparent with cobalt blue striations, like a combination of diamond and sapphire. It is faceted into what I think of as a classic gem shape. [According to online sources, this is simply called a "round" cut.] I walk slowly across the room back toward the couch where my mom is sitting, concentrating on the stone and willing it to catch fire. The stone feels inert in my hand, and I feel that I have chosen the wrong one. From the coloring, this stone is clearly attuned with ice, not fire. I should go back and pick a different one.

    I return to the table and find a small stone of matte earthy red color. This is more a mineral than a gem, and it is shaped like a narrow lozenge, almost a centimeter long, pointed at the ends, and only a few millimeters wide in the middle. I begin to will it into flame, but immediately have second thoughts. The stone is so skinny and small, it would probably make a scrawny phoenix. I go back to the table to look for a better one.

    I decide to find a gem that could pass for a phoenix egg, examine the options more carefully, and finally come across a good-sized stone around three centimeters across. It is also matte and reddish, but a generous oval in shape, and the top is composed of randomly assorted rounded protrusions, like bubbles. The bottom has been leveled off and already set into a metal frame. I decide that this one is ideal, put it in my left palm, and begin to invoke fire in earnest. Around this time my mom tries to talk to me about doing some household chore but I hush her: "Not now, I'm busy."

    The stone resists at first, but I do not let myself doubt my ability to do this. I've summoned fire in my palm before. This time I'm just transmuting it from a substrate. I will a flame to emerge from the stone and soon it does—but I notice that in the process, the stone has transformed into a candle. The candle is larger than the stone, filling my hand. It is a 6cm tall cylinder and is conveniently fitted in a round container. Between the candle and the sides of the container is what looks like a filling of crumpled dry grass.

    The flame is burning on the wick in the ordinary way, and I will it to expand and consume the whole candle, turning it into the phoenix I am trying to create. For a moment it burns quietly, but then the whole object transforms again. Briefly I seem to be holding a bundle of smoldering dried grass, around a foot in diameter, until the whole thing explodes and violently flies apart, patches landing in various places around the room. Failure? I'd better check the remains.

    I wander around to a couple of the smoking remnants, but see nothing notable. I remember that I need to keep my expectations high, so as I walk toward a third, larger patch, I anticipate finding a baby phoenix. Sure enough, when I prod at the charred dried grass, underneath I discover a tiny, long-necked, bird-like creature! The phoenix has hatched! But it is it skinny and completely limp. What can I do to help? As a creature of fire, I reason, it must need heat. It is probably freezing to death.

    I gently pick up the baby bird, which drapes across my hands with no sign of life, and take it to the fireplace. Luckily there is already a good fire burning. There is a kind of metal chain screen separating the fire from a metal grate on the hearth. Sprawled on the grate, soaking up the heat, is a long iguana-like lizard that I had previously noticed on the table when I was selecting jewels. I figure it must be a salamander, with the same need for warmth as my new phoenix. Should I place the phoenix in the fire directly, or on the grate? Since my hypothesis about the wisdom of putting the phoenix in the fire is as yet untested, I decide to lay it on the grate in case I need to remove it quickly.

    The experiment goes well. As soon as I lay the baby phoenix next to the fire, its body begins to perk up and fill out. It grows until it resembles a toucan in shape and size, though red in color and with a sleeker bill. Success! But was there more to the task? I can't remember if we were also supposed to fight something, and figure I'd better do that as well as long as I can maintain dreamstate. "Let's go fight something!" I say to the newborn phoenix, and it hops up on my shoulder.

    I head past the table with the jewels and open the window in the end wall. The window is a square aperture about three feet on a side, fastened with a single wooden shutter. The shutter is hinged on one side, flush with the wall when closed, and opens inward to the left. This truly resembles a medieval house in that there is no glass in the window, so it is easy to climb up and out. I pause on the sill and bid the phoenix to fly on ahead. Meanwhile, I hang up the long metal hook that I used to open the shutter so that I can grab it when I come in later, then use another device that resembles a hook attached to a wire loop to suspend myself from the sill and ease the drop to the ground, which is far enough below that it requires some precaution. I have the feeling that I have done this many times before.

    Once on the ground, I look around for someone or something to fight. I am on a grassy lawn that extends between a number of different buildings. The buildings themselves don't leave a distinct architectural impression—I wish I had taken a closer look. Instead I was scanning the ground between them, but all I see are ordinary people walking about, none of whom seem like suitable opponents. I don't want to be an unprovoked aggressor.

    The dream begins to fade. I worry that the abrupt transition to a different space might have unbalanced it, and I immediately take steps to stabilize, falling on my knees and examining the details of the grass while running my hands over it for texture. For a moment the grass turns grey and although I see all the usual plants among it, like clover, everything looks unusually small. But then a voice hails me from above and the dreamstate resumes its integrity: "Do you want to fight?" I promptly agree.

    I am facing a man who is accompanied by a creature resembling a muscular, short-haired white dog. The man has a sword, and immediately begins to strike at me. Although I am unarmed, I find that I am able to parry his blows with my hands without too much discomfort. I suspect that I could turn the fight to my advantage if I want, but the whole point of this exercise was to fight in tandem with the phoenix. Where is that bird? "Phoenix? Phoenix!" I call anxiously.

    The blade keeps falling, and I keep catching it and pushing it aside, but luckily the dog is hanging back for now. Suddenly to my relief the phoenix swoops in, aiming a stream of fire at the dog. More gouts of flame follow, consuming the man and dog, but they do not go down easily. I watch the phoenix, who has now taken human form, take a blade right through his stomach, angling up toward his chest. It is an unmistakably lethal blow, and I run over to him as he falls. I feel guilty for having put him in this predicament—but recall that for a phoenix, there should be a way to fix this.

    Looking around frantically, I am pleased to discover a fireplace in my immediate vicinity. Nevermind the unlikelihood of finding a fireplace outdoors; it is just what I need so I don't question it. I drag the phoenix, currently in the form of a slim Asian boy, over to the hearth and dump him directly onto the flames. I expect the fire to heal him; instead he begins screaming as his skin burns and chars. It is horrifying, but I hold him down as he struggles—he was dying already, this is the only thing that might help. Maybe this is how it is supposed to work. A phoenix has to die to be reborn, right? The human body blackens and burns away. Sure enough, in its place I find a little baby bird, looking much like it did initially but yellow instead of red this time. I wonder if its pale color means it needs to eat. The bird pecks at some morsel of food near the fire and I try to tempt it with something better. "Here, eat a hot one." I pluck an olive-sized piece from a row of snacks baking in the fireplace (I don't feel the heat, just as I didn't feel pain from the sword earlier) and offer it directly. The little bird compliantly swallows the morsel, growing in size and turning red again.

    I feel that I have completed the task to satisfaction, so even before I wake up I begin reviewing the details, making sure I commit them to memory. There is a moment when I am back in the same house as the beginning of the dream and ask someone to remind me the name of the guy I fought. "Ziggy Starduster and the Hoarfrost," comes the reply. I note that they definitely said "Starduster," not "Stardust." Since I only hear rather than see the names, I briefly wonder if the dog's name is spelled "Whorefrost" or "Hoarfrost," but decide that the latter is more appropriate on a number of levels.

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    Updated 03-29-2016 at 07:47 AM by 34973

    Categories
    lucid , memorable , task of the year

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