December 15, 2012
I am a well known woman, not myself. I am part of a procession of women who all pause across from a large, church-like building. At the top of the steps is a prominent woman who is playing a key part in an important event. She is wearing a long gown with a wide golden skirt, and a form-fitting black bodice that shows off her well preserved figure as she addresses the assembled company. She is the highest ranking person there, but then she sees me, and immediately walks over to me. I notice that despite all her efforts, her figure is inevitably succumbing to gravity. She seems overjoyed to see me as hugs me, then grasps my upper arms. I smile up at her innocently, and she declares, “Just look at you! Your skin is clear as a river in Spring, showing hardly any trace of the passing year’s sediments!” I am pleased by her compliment, and I know that she speaks the truth, both of us know, Maria and the woman I am in the dream; we do have excellent, luminous skin, and a matching smile, and scarcely any visible wrinkles despite being half-a-century old. And, of course, this has to do with purity of heart. Then abruptly this woman appears to rise over me as she looks over in the direction of the church and yells dramatically so everyone can hear, “And, indeed, I am now witnessing your first sign!” I don’t remember what else she said, but I knew she was publicly announcing the first sign of my saintliness.
In the next scene of this vivid dream, I’m walking on church grounds deeper into the structure, along a spacious corridor with gilded stone walls. I am pondering the thought that people need to understand that all man-made institutions are imperfect, corrupt in some respects, but that the concept of God’s church, is pure and good. As I near the end of the corridor, I suddenly find myself holding an incredibly long necklace of dark, circular and semi-glossy beads that stretches for several yards in front of me, and there is a rat on the other end of this strange rosary-leash walking swiftly around the church onto public streets. I hurry after it, urgently gathering the rosary-leash in an effort to close the distance between us. I’m afraid the rat will bite people, I know it will, if I don’t keep it in check. I manage to shorten the leash enough to maintain a tight grip on it just before it reaches a little boy who steps up to greet me. The rat is full of dreadful energy, and all I can do is hurry along behind it as it pulls me along. It is a constant struggle to prevent it from biting people. Then I come to the end of a long line of people, two to three deep, all waiting to get into what I perceive as an opera house. I stop there as the rat weaves itself around me as I continue struggling to keep it in check. It occurs to me then that I do not fear it will bite me, as though I’m immune to its hostile energy.
At the same instant the lines of people, all shadowy silhouettes, begin moving into the building, and they vanish… I am inside now myself, but confused as to which direction to take in order to reach my assigned place. I wonder if I really want to sit in the dark during the whole long performance with a deadly rat in my lap? But it seems the creature has finally run out of energy because it lies down on a couch near the entrance. It is now dressed in a yellow coat and dark breaches. It tries to get up, but then collapses again. I’m relieved, but not happy, and as it lays there, not alive but not dead either, I turn to leave in the grip of a terrible sadness. I tell the rat that I am no stranger to loss and grief, inevitable side-effects of physical existence. Turning right, I descend some steps before it occurs to me that I don’t know if I have my ticket with me. I suspect that I don’t, but an elegantly uniformed young man I identify as a caretaker will hopefully recognize me, and let me into the formal feast about to commence. He is indeed very nice to me, but he instructs me to go in the opposite direction, toward the bowels of the theater, where the audience is already sitting expectantly in the dark, waiting. I suffer a feeling of confusion, not knowing where to go… Abruptly, I’m sitting at a table in a sunny room where a young woman in Medieval dress is spooning food into a bowl before me. She has dark hair and is smiling kindly at me, but I’m stunned by the sudden change of scene. I fear I might be losing my mind, and someone, a man, remarks this was inevitable. I get the sense that I’m extremely old, and that they want me to believe I’m suffering from some kind of dementia. But I don’t believe it, I know what is really happening—I am being slowly poisoned so it will appear as though I’m losing my mind. I want desperately to get away from these cynical, and falsely solicitous people.
When I woke up, I isolated the key elements in this dream and they fit with what I distinctly feel I was remembering—a lifetime as a nun during a time of plague. The work of tending the sick was long and hard, but I seemed to have no fear of catching the disease myself. I lived to see the end of the infestation, but I was was old and frail by then, and perhaps suffering from a form of dementia. The opera house filled with people sitting in the dark strikes me as symbolic of a “place” where souls wait to be born again. I wanted to die, but was forced to endure more time in my physical body, which was no longer strong enough to care for itself. But I was vain, and perhaps aspired to a sainthood I did not deserve, which is why, in the end, I didn’t have the keys to the Kingdom and was turned away toward the darkness of Purgatory and rebirth.