Some dreamscapes appear to be film sets, or stage sets. You step into the wings and the scene is changed, or gone completely. Some are pocket realities; go outside and there is no there there.
When I become lucid, I sometimes explore the borders of these landscapes. Once I was deep in adventure in a rainforest. When I became aware I was dreaming, I marched off in a certain direction – to find that I came to a line where the jungle, and its world, simply ended. When I traveled through the forest in other directions, I found the same thing. Beyond the jungle world, on every side, there was nothing but a white void. Its color and texture resembled the drawing paper on which I proceeded to sketch this geography.
Night after night, in a certain interval of terror and beauty in my life, I was carried away to a mountain convent that was a complete world, for training and initiation by an order of priestesses. How a mountain can be a planet, except in a painting by Magritte or a story by Saint-Exupéry, is a question no dreamer needs to ask. The shape of the world mountain, when I drew it, looked like a bobbing toy, the kind you could float in a bathtub. Around it was the vastness of space, not dark or drawing-paper white, but grainy and silvery like mother-of-pearl.
One night, I was deep in magical intrigues in a vast apartment in a huge old building in an old European city. With companions, I moved from room to room, accessed by wide, long halls that turned back upon themselves, counter-clockwise, like Greek keys. Sometimes a hall would end, without explanation, at a blank wall or sealed door.
On another night, in my dream body, I walked cobbled streets, under arches, in another Old World city, perhaps Prague. I again had the sense that I was being directed, unobtrusively, to turn in a counter-clockwise spiral. Before me walked a man who was looking at me from the back of his head. It was hard to tell whether the face on his back was a mask or a double. Behind me walked a second man with two faces. Their presence was deliciously creepy, but in no way sinister or threatening for me, inside or after the dream. Though the city was dark and silent in the dream, there was a feeling of carnival, of dress-up.
The hypnagogic zone, between sleep and awake, is a wonderful place to explore how our dream producers, scriptwriters and choreographers, construct the sets where dramas we see in the night unfold.
Drawing: "Theatre of Life" from Robert Moss journals