The Rawi and the Evil Queen
In the dream from which I returned at 3:30 a.m., I am in the body and situation of a scholarly prince in a Muslim country. I am working on a new version of a text and tear up several drafts before I have the following:
The rawi came to the sultan with a composition he had forged. His recitation was false but once heard it became true.
In my dream, I do not get further because I have to deal with a plot being hatched by the evil queen, who wants to hold me captive. I need to reclaim a key from her. She has really scary war paint. The whorls of color around her dark eyes in her whitened face give the impression that you could fall into a black hole. I feel no fear in her presence. My dark-skinned, black-bearded cousins are on my side in this palace intrigue.
I come back from my dream excursion excited and intrigued. Good story, this one! No analysis required or appropriate. As is my habit, I write and email my full report to myself on my phone before getting out of bed.
Then I look for the meaning of rawi. I discover that in Arabic a rawi is a "reciter"or "announcer'. The rawis preserved great pre-Islamic literature through oral transmission. They might have the ear of sultans or of large audiences. They were often accused of fabrication.
A Note on Practice: The Stories from Second Sleep
Much of my best night dreaming. as in this example, is done in or around a second phase of sleep, which used to be called simply, "second sleep". When I lie down at night, I am usually ready to have some industrial sleep for a couple of hours, with or without significant recall. Then, after waking and maybe reading for a couple of hours, I am ready for the adventures to begin.
My discipline is to record as much as possible when I return to where I parked my body, whether that is at 3:30 a.m. or 5:00 a.m., or whenever. I may linger in the dream locale for quite a while in the fertile hypnopompic state. I want a fresh story to write in my essential book, my journal. I agree with the ancient dreamer, Aelius Aristides, when he says in his Sacred Tales, “Each of our days, as well as our nights, has a story.”
Illustrations for Firdausi's Shahnama (Book of Kings) by Muhammad Zaman (top) and Mu'in Muhsavvir (bottom). What is going on around the eyes of the div (demon) in Muhsavvir's picture from the story of Rustam somewhat resembles the getup of the evil queen in my dream.