Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Mountain Lion! I hear a growling and look up to see a mountain lion crouched on a slanted beam above me. I am alone in the room. The growling escalates. I know if I run, the mountain lion will attack. Keeping the beam between me and the mountain lion, I back toward the bed and clutching a pencil in my teeth to keep it at bay, I cover myself with a quilt. The lion leaps down from the beam and onto me. I grab it by the jaw and several teeth go through my hand. I can feel the long sharp claws in my skin. I want to scream for help, but Sara and Erin are in the house, and if I call them in, they would be in danger. Not knowing what else to do, I holler help, but hardly any sound comes out. I yell help over and over, but I know no one can hear me. Finally, I muster all my energy and yell help at the top of my lungs. I wake myself up, yelling out loud in real life. My heart is beating like mad. I am terrified. I listen to see if I've wakened Graham, but hear nothing. But I can't get my breath and my heart is beating and I am genuinely afraid. It's before 6 AM, but I never go back to sleep. Hours later, I still feel breathless and afraid. At one point, I finally start slipping back to sleep. I have a hypnogogic or early dream that everything is collapsing in different directions and immediately wake back up, upset and frightened. I try again to sleep but cannot.
A nightmare is defined as a disturbing, frightening dream that is so upsetting as to wake you from sleep. This was clearly a nightmare., although woke myself, I did it screaming for help. Because I still feel breathless and tight-chested, I am guessing I may have had an apnea event (severe? by my continuing tightness of chest and sense of fear?), although the dream was not about smothering or drowning. It is interesting that I grabbed the mountain lion by the jaw. This is the same thing I did in an earlier dream (last week) about the dire wolf. It doesn't seem to smart to grab a predator with a mount full of sharp teeth by the jaw with a hand over the teeth (unless wearing very strong gloves! perhaps over the top of the snout or under the lower jaw? I worry that being attacked twice in about a week by a large, deadly predator may not be Shamanism but a warning of some danger. :-( Health issues? Impending danger of some kind? Risk on motorcycle or dangerous driving? Heart attack, stroke, apnea death? The fact that I have a sense of tension in my chest is bothersome and scary. Is it just fear from the dream or is something wrong? Is it a warning I should do some of that doctoring I've been postponing (gyn, mammogram? etc). If it is another spirit guide, is it my old mountain lion upset with me because I'm ignoring it? Could that be the same with the dire wolf? Rather than two new spirit guides, could the old ones be trying to get my attention? Or could it be both of these things? Both danger and Shamanism? I am convinced that dreams can and often are multilayered and multi-messaged.
Could this dream really happen? Yes, it could, but it seems pretty unlikely. We were at some sort of camp with large, loglike beams. Sara and Erin were there too. There was nothing in the dream that couldn't happen, although in real life, it seems unlikely that I would clutch a pencil in my teeth to keep a mountain lion at bay. There are three questions one is supposed to ask of every dream, but I can't think what they are. One is, could this dream really happen, in case it's a prophetic dream. To prepare yourself to watch for it and make ready. I can't remember the other two. I want to go look for my books and notes on dreaming, but I don't know where anything is.
OK, mountain lion, who are you? Are you a daymare, a threat in real life, or a spirit guide? Or both? Please answer.

I am strength and power. I am threat. I can consume you. It will not be fun.

But you weren't, you didn't. I called for help many times, and you could have killed me duringt hat time, and you did not.

I am/was playing with you. Cat and mouse. I want/ed to you suffer.

Really? Who is saying this? You or me? If you really do want me to suffer, what is it that I am being punished for? Why do you want me to suffer?

Well, I could name a lot of reasons. Look at you, just look. I could do that if that's what you want to hear. Want me to name all the reasons why you ought to suffer?

I want to understand. I want to know why you came to me. Are you related to the dire wolf? Are you warning me? Are you my spirit guide Mt. Lion? Are you a prophecy? Are you prophetic about a real mountain lion or death in some other form? Or what? All of the above? Some of the above? None of the above? Are you related to the tension in my chest? Or are you really hear to punish me for some wrong I did or some character flaw? Or what? That's a lot of possibilities. You're not being very helpful. And you don't like it one bit! Nope, I don't. I'm getting annoyed with you for not answering me better. This could be a matetr of life and death. You're gonna die. Yup, I know that, but I'm NOT in a rush, to say the least. Are you killing me soon? IS there something I need to do or change now? Lots of things. Yes, I know this, but are YOU trying to tell ME something SPECIFIC?
Do I have a daymare that is anywhere near as terrifying as this? Not one I can think of. I'm worried about unsafe driving and scary driving, about sleep apnea (and dying from it--that's pretty scary!) I'm worried about death and suffering sometimes, but most of my other worries and concerns aren't TERRIFYING to me.
from Dr. Dream:

So What do I do with My Nightmare?

    First, get to the root of the issue in the Dream workshop

    In the day world:

  • Identify the Day-mare that is the trigger for the nightmare
  • Invent alternatives that might help resolve the day-mare.
  • What can you change in the day world that will resolve the day-mare?
  • Confront the daymare and change something

    In the dream world:

  • Invent alternative ways to engage the nightmare.
  • Call for friends to come and help you.
  • Confront the nightmare.
  • Take a different tack. Do it differently.

Being chased by a monster is a classic nightmare. It is universal. Every country and culture reports the nightmare of "being chased by a monster." It is probably linked to a very primitive survival tactic. Makes good sense. The idea in dream work is to switch ground on the nightmare.

  • Ask the monster if it likes ice cream or it is frightened of you.
  • Ask if it has a mask on.
  • Is or is standing in for something else.
  • Ask the monster if it has bunions. I've pulled a lot of thorns out of Lion's paws...

    The idea is to try the nightmare a different way. The idea is to open a new relationship where you don't do the old thing anymore.

So Lion, are you male or female, do you have a name? Are you a Lioness with cubs, like my earlier Lion?

You don't remember my name, do you?

Nope. Sorry! :-( WAHN! I'm feeling stupid. Do you like ice cream?

No, I like pronghorn antelopes, deer, and people.

do you have a thorn in your foot? No.

Are you standing in for someone else? Are you wearing a mask?

Sometimes. And you know who. I am you, I am God. I am a spirit messenger, and a messenger from your unconscious mind.

What good are you if you won't tell me why you came?

You need to pay attention. You always forget.

I do forget. I have ADHD, I am distractable.

You use that as an excuse.

It's true, I am infinitely distractable. And I don't always know what's important.

I'm important.

I don't know who or what you are or why you came or WHY or HOW you're important, and I don't seem to be getting anywhere. And I have other things to do.

Then why are you still here?

Because you frightened me and I am worried. If you are really trying to tell me something, I want to know what it is. But I guess I am giving up for now. I don't even see how I could write a poem about you. If you want me to write a poem about me, I need something to go with. I can't write Tyger Tyger burning bright. You're not a Tiger and someone else already said that, though, that seems like a suitable kind of thing, a sort of celebration of fear. And I can't write rage rage rage against the coming of the night, cause someone already said that, too, and that seems like something appropriate, too--fear of death. I thought you were going to KILL ME, and do it painfully and horribly, on top of that. Fear, and death and attack. Attack? Heart attack? I am being attacked? How am I being attacked? How do I attack myself? I notice that you are inside the "house" or building, and not out in the forest or cliffs, though in that mini journey we took together (that I did not write down), you took me to a cliff. High up. I had a good view of mountains, and rolling hills, kind of purple. And we were cleaved. Are you wearing my face or BB's or both? Or neither? The face of death itself? I'm confused. I also notice that you were growling, but half hidden on the back of the beam, I could hardly see you. What is it in my life that is threatening me that I can barely see? Some warning I am ignorning? (chest tension, heart attack?) What? What am I to do? Speak to me.

A warning growl alerts me. Mountain Lion, hidden on an overhanging beam.
The throaty growl intensifies. If I run, she will leap. Keeping the beam between us,
I back away, pencil clutched in my teeth to hold it at bay. I slide under a quilt for cover.
Puny protection when she jumps down and long claws gash my flesh through the fabric.
I am afraid to call for help. If my daughters come, the lion might hurt them.
I grab her jaw. Teeth pierce my hand, like nails. In spite of the pain, I hold on.
And cry out. I try to scream, say help. Help. Help! Still worrying about the girls.
I try to scream, but my voice whispers. Weak, nearly inaudible. No sounds of rescue,
only silence. I try again, and again fail. I suck in air, gather my strength, shout,
HELP aloud and loud, and wake myself in another bed in another room in another world.
My heart crashes, and panting, I listen. Have I wakened my son yelling? No sound.
Catching my breath, flexing my injured hand, I lie still while dream fragments
fall away around me. But another shell of tenacious dream encloses me.
I push out again, and yet again, but am surrounded. In here with me,
a lion still sits on my chest sheathing and unsheathing its claws.

Mary Stebbins Taitt 080409

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Lost Rose, Found Star

We peel the plastic lid from the cold, forgotten coffee can.
It was delivered earlier from Ann, my aunt, in the heat
of a summer afternoon.  Inside, we find ice-cube thank yous,
mostly melted shards floating in a sea of lemonade.  I pull
out the largest to study it:  a disk-shape.  A pink rose
dribbles between a dripping green Thank and an oozing green you
Flavors, tasted from the tip of a finger, lemon, lime and strawberry,
run, mingle and melt into each other.  Although she sent one
for each of us, three rapidly shrinking disks and slivers
are all that remain.  If we'd only opened them sooner;
if it could only be undone.  But it cannot.  Inside the frame
of the disk melting between my fingers:  crystals of ice,
joined at the center, a many-pointed star.  Shining.  Blazing
radiates all of the sun's light and maybe more.  My Aunt's love! 
Such surprising brilliance!  Such luminance and beauty! 
I want to capture and keep it in a picture, but is melts,
crumbles and is gone before I can get my camera.  I'm sad
until I realize we have her love.  She may have melted
between our fingers and disappeared, but her love is with us. 
And that star?  Snared in my memory, and still intact.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
for Ann Ciaranello

Star Crystal Thank You and Missing BB

Melting Star Crystal Thank You The Thank you from Aunty Ann to "the Kids and us" arrives in a large coffee can but is left unopened a while--when we open it, we discover that the thank yous are painted on disk shaped ice cubes a little smaller in diameter and thicker than a hockey puck. The paint is running but we can still read the thank you (in green) and maybe with pink flowers. They may have been edible. Only three are left unmelted and they are mostly melted, there were obviously more, the can was full of them). I feel guilty for not opening them sooner. But the part that thrills me the most is that as the ice cubes melted, they formed a gorgeous delicate star inside. This awakens me (internally, inside the dream, not lucidly, but excites and thrills me and fills me with wonder and joy. But then I want to photograph it, obstacles arise and I am unable to. This upsets me.

When I wake up, I wonder if I could paint it, and realize, 1)I don't have the skill, probably, and 2)photographs are a better way to record something really unusual, because (at least in the old days) they are less likely to be faked. A poem might work if one could earn the epiphany, but it's sort of a surprise, a gift. Although the dreamer may not have earned it (I may not have), the poet still must, at least in the preparation. They cannot be photographed but shine inside the heart.
At the party without BB I am at a party without BB who is busy somewhere else. I am feeling lonely and missing him badly. I miss his company, his companionship, his wit and his touch. The party is busy, lots of people and stuff going on. But I feel out of place without him. Then some guys start hitting on me. I am very sad and upset struggling with this, and I miss BB sexually and for his protectiveness, as well.

I spent the last two evenings away from Keith and felt it at the poetry reading and at the DIA, where he often (usually?) accompanies me.
I had a lot of dreams last night, but the rest seem to have slipped away and each of these two dreams have more parts.