Electric Dreams

The Form and Motion of Dreaming Flight

  Linda Lane Magallón 

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Magallón, Linda Lane (2004 February). The Form and Motion of Dreaming Flight.
Electric Dreams 11(2).

Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
Polonius: By the mass, and 'tis a camel, indeed.
Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius: Is it backed like a weasel.
Hamlet: Or like a whale?
Polonius: Very like a whale.
(Hamlet III.2)

My dreaming self is like a kid with a coloring book. The pictures that she draws may have their outline in the waking world, but she "fills in" that mundane framework with detail and concept available from her world of dream. Only the shape of objects from the waking state and the bare structure of the physical event are retained. The rest is creative play. Hidden within that creativity is her commentary on my life. She has definite opinions, a quick, puny wit and the uncanny ability to select just the right visual metaphor to describe the what goes on underneath the surface of physical reality, like thought, emotion, sensation, intuition and instinct.

As a result, she and I live parallel lives, not copy-cat versions. And why not? Since my dreaming self has learned to go airborne and discovered that she really likes the sensation of gravity-free locomotion, she isn't bound by the laws of physical reality. Whereas I walk, she can fly.

One summer, I packed my family off to a Hawaiian vacation of sun and surf.

We arrived just after a tropical storm had whipped the ocean into a frothy mass of suspended particles. It took a week for the ocean to clear completely. During that time I took scuba diving lessons off the island of Maui. Just before leaving home, I'd had a dream. I didn't realize that it was precognitive until after my waking event occurred, because, of course, the dream wasn't a literal picture of my reality. But, in retrospect, the parallels are obvious to me.

A missile glides over seas heavy with waves, heading towards the light. A man is clinging to its side. I fly on the left, keeping pace. Lifting the man off the missile, I bring him back to shore. The missile turns and follows us. Gently, safely, I drop the man on the ground as the missile passes overhead. It comes around and continues to pursue me. Launching myself toward the ocean, I look for a clear place to explode the missile. But many large rocks lie either half submerged, or just below the surface of the now placid water. Realizing that the missile is gaining on me, I spot an open space just beyond a large island. I dive into the sea with the missile right behind me. I pierce the surface and plunge deep into the dark. The missile hits the water and detonates on impact, shooting spray high into the air. I explode like a fountain from the water and arch high into the air, circling back toward the cliffs that sheer into the sea. The cliffs change into an old fashioned white fireplace mantle. I can still see the ocean and rocky shoreline as they begin to dissolve into a homey living room scene. Missile And Mantle, 6/19/82

It surprised me how reactive people could be when faced with a shark, even though our scuba diving instructors were careful to point out that those of the "Jaws" variety usually stayed outside the boundaries of the coral ridge. It was the smaller, more benign sorts that frequented the Hawaiian reef.

So when a missile-shaped dogshark swam out of the milky mist, several student divers quickly rearranged themselves behind our two instructors. But since the instructors didn't panic, I thought, why should I? The shark nosed its way slowly around us, seeming to look for a tasty morsel. Since it wouldn't have cared where handout left off and hand began, we had brought nothing to share. I admired its colorful, undulating body and casual familiarity with the undersea world. The shark appeared mostly curious about its unusual visitors. When it determined we had nothing to interest it, it flowed slowly back into the murk.

The warm water off the Maui shore felt as safe a universe as the one in my dreams. Swimming in underwater passages translated into further dreams of soaring underneath arched and vaulted buildings. If I could breath with a face plate in waking life, in dreams I could breath under water and in the vacuum of outer space. Our air tanks provided buoyancy in the physical; in a dream I drifted into the air, then balanced myself atop a balloon.

Scuba diving is very close to the feeling of floating in dreams. When I dive in tropical waters, I'm peaceful, free and surrounded by the most beautiful blues imaginable. Likewise, when I dream that I float inside a house, its walls are usually blue in color. My body becomes precise and coordinated in its movements, very slow and relaxed.

Jasques Cousteau said that his flying dreams ceased the first time he put on scuba tanks and experienced weightlessness. He said he knew that's what he'd been dreaming about all along. I agree with this famous diver that diving is great. But it doesn't have to be a choice of one or the other. Scuba diving actually enriched my flying dreams. Before, I had flown stretched horizontally in the air, Superman style. Now I added levitation: floating, hovering, regulated descent, rising with the currents, stopping to view the scenery. The sensations would prove to be good practice for astral projection, although in a medium much more subtle than water.

Epel, Naomi. Writers Dreaming. (NY: Carol Southern Books, 1993.)

(Dream Flights)