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Fill your head with fantasies.
Is your imagination sufficiently nourished?
This morning, I woke up from a dream that I’m not sure how to classify; it was as much a dream as it was a nightmare. It went as follows.
I was a demon slayer, running about with a band of comrades. It was I who dealt the creature the final blow. As huge chunks of its body went flying, I heard a voice from within one part, telling me that killing the monster was in fact a grave mistake. Intrigued and horrified, I shrunk my body to fit inside a hole in the beast’s severed torso.
There, I came upon a control room of sorts, similar to what might be found inside a mecha suit. About a dozen or so people stood around a huge piece of cloth, with two swirling portals on either side. One was white and gold, while the other was black and red. Then, an elder spoke. She told me a story of a primordial evil force that was destined to always seek vengeance against the goddess who sealed it away. I asked the elder a bunch of questions about how these two forces continued to incarnate. I can’t recall the specifics, but after that little information session I suppose I decided to join them in their devotional prayers to the goddess force.
We sat around the cloth in a circle, chanting and praying to the goddess in what sounded to me like Sanskrit. Then, the elders rolled up the cloth and commanded us to dance. At first, I only watched as my new comrades leapt and stomped across the floor in their enraptured daze. I too joined in, with twirls of ecstasy that made time ooze slowly like the last bits of honey from the bottom of a jar.
Just then, two entangled bodies leapt in unison over me as I spun, landing behind me with a loud crack and an agonised yelp. Many of us rushed over to check on them. One of them had broken his arm. I did my best to set the arm, but I was advised to call a paramedic—something the wounded young man seemed opposed to.
Flustered, I ran off to the bathroom. When I returned, the room was full of cops. One in particular was antagonising towards the wounded young man, and eventually demanded that he come away with them. He was taken despite our protests. At one point, I stood up and walked over to the front of the room——which, for some strange reason, was a bar. There, on the patron’s side of the bar, stood the antagonistic cop. He very suddenly threw his club at me, injuring my leg. I crumpled to the ground. He claimed that I threw Coke in his face. Before I could defend myself or he could take any violent action, another officer entered the building.
He immediately questioned the antagonistic cop, who repeated his accusation. When this new officer asked the bartender, she defended me. Finally, the new cop asked me what was going on. When I shared that the officers present had taken my friend away to some other room, he seemed horrified, and ran to the back room to check on my friend. I followed after him, and we both found the young man smothered to death under a large pile of blankets.
When I awoke, I had two thoughts. The first thought would go on to become the title of this article; the second was that I should probably learn CPR.
The reason why I don’t mind nightmares so much is because their utter lack of narrative continuity makes them quite difficult to take seriously. I didn’t wake up scared, or even sad. Nothing about this dream felt real. The most harrowing of tales are often works of fiction that do an impeccable job of mimicking reality. The more psychedelic ones may very well speak to our deepest fears more accurately, but something about their strangeness brings me an odd sort of comfort. I can more easily compartmentalise that which is highly symbolic.
Do not think me completely unperturbed, however. You could say I had an insight. That feels a bit generous, although insights are often about things that, in hindsight, seem painfully obvious. This morning’s insight was no different:
The imagination is a living being.
This is just barely a metaphor. Before bed almost every night this week, I have been watching Inuyasha, a classic anime from my childhood, which featured a ragtag band of demon slayers who wander through feudal Japan in pursuit of their common power-mad enemy. I am nearly finished with my first playthrough of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the latest in a long series of games which feature a goddess of wisdom and her evil nemesis, whose rivalry is sustained in a cycle of reincarnation that knows no end. And I was profoundly disturbed by the news of the murder of Jordan Neely at the hands of an ex-marine on the subway a few weeks ago.
My imagination had greedily devoured everything salient in my waking life and regurgitated it as some sort of disjointed Franken-narrative, something it does quite often. Sometimes, it doesn’t even wait for me to fall asleep. The current fiction project I am working on emerged from the combination of boy’s love and shounen anime that I’d binge-watched during a period of severe illness, with the inspiration to draw the main characters kicking in smack dab in the middle of an episode of Hunter x Hunter.
Why this painfully obvious insight feels so profound is because I have unconsciously been bound by the insidious snare of the artist’s bane: believing that inspiration is some special thing that is bestowed upon you by some mysterious external force, as opposed to being something we can and do cultivate.
How silly we humans can be, believing that God is a man in the sky as opposed to a participatory unfolding of events. And how silly am I, continuously procrastinating my creative projects due to a perceived lack of control over inspiration!
It is mastery of the Awen, the muse, the spirit of “divine inspiration” that the poets of old trained so rigorously to achieve. Am I so special, so cursed, that I am incapable of a similar mastery? I have tasted this mastery before, and yet the artist’s bane persists. It really is comical.
Even I, the preachy one who reminds you from across a glowing screen that the truest magic of all lies hidden in plain sight amongst the rote actions of everyday life, must be reminded again and again. I observe my comical human folly with a similar intrigue as that which I observe the dreams that border on nightmares, and I wonder how many more times I will have this “insight” before it finally sticks. Perhaps it never will.
Though I jest, I am also serious. That which we feed our imaginations daily becomes the foundation for all our creative endeavours. The simplest walk around the block can merge with an early childhood memory to become the greatest horror story never told. A spectacular date can rendezvous with an unconscious fear of commitment and make amends through warring colours on a canvas. That coworker you can’t stand is an evil sorcerer waiting to be conjured once you complete your most recent rewatch of The Chronicles of Narnia.
Let not your dreams be explained away by the language of contemporary psychology. Let them be magical. Let them be messages. Let them be windows into a world beyond the one we can touch and see. Fill your head with fantasies.
Even if you don’t make art today, you will——so long as you tend to your imagination. Feed it often and feed it well. Your efforts will not go unrewarded.
Are you a fan of The Oscillator’s Stone?
Now’s your chance to get direct support from me in all your magical endeavours!
Here’s what you should know:
I have stared into the mad eyes of my own demons and I have taken their hands in mine.
I have said to them, “I am your master…”
…And they have obliged.
I know many people still struggle with this. I myself still have a ways to go. They don’t call it The Great Work for nothing; it’s a never-ending process.
And though I have been far from alone in this process…there were countless times where I felt alone, because the people supporting me *also* had no idea what to do.
Honestly, I’m grateful. I was able to discover so much by fucking around and finding out, by choosing the “wrong” teachers, and by making a tonne of embarrassing mistakes.
I have learned that there is just no getting around it—synchronicity is notoriously difficult to interpret.
Basically, if you’re tearing out your hair trying to decipher these strange happenings, you aren’t alone…
And I have exciting news for you!
Starting in a few weeks, rather than open up my tarot practise again, I feel called to do something slightly different.
I’m calling it The Mythopoetic Process Programme.
This process will give you interpretive agency and confidence in your ability to make meaning of acausal patterns, recurring themes, repeating numbers, weird dreams, strange voices that emerge during your walks in the woods…
You name it.
In other words, I’ll support you in discerning the meaning of emergent irrational phenomena in your life—so it doesn’t drive you crazy.
Think of me as the one who keeps you grounded while you explore the wild unknown——the one who calls you back from the edge when you aren’t ready to cross it, and who guides you toward it when you’re ready to leap beyond.
You can choose a one-off session or a bundle of multiple sessions. If you’re having trouble deciding which is best or you have more questions, don’t worry——the process always starts with a complimentary exploration call.
To learn more about the process, check out the post below.