Monday, November 30, 2009

When John Dreams Wagner...

This is what I get for reading A.S. Byatt's entry from "How I Write: The Secret Lives of Authors," which included a cover of Norse Mythology....


My sense is that this dream image occurred several times, or that the actions repeated from different dream perspectives. Sometimes I watched a stage with a Wagnerian-style opera on it. Sometimes I was in the opera.

On a traditional precenium stage, figures stood on small platforms before a cobalt blue and purple scrim. The platforms were difficult to see, so the figures appeared to be floating in the air. The precenium was blue shadows. Wavy bars of of yellow light passed like flames over random figures; it never illuminated more than half a face or part of an arm, and never for longer than a few seconds. The setting was the formless, disconnected chaos before the cosmos. People, animals, and irregular planes floated in a disconnected tableau.

Odin stood on a platform hanging in the middle of the stage. In the versions of the opera I was participating in, I was Odin's apprentice / assistant / Fricative (not quite the title used in the dream, but it works in waking narrative). I might have been Baldr (I don't know why). Other times I was in the audience watching.

My job was to urge Odin on his work while messaging his back and stomach to raise his heat or "frenzy" (again, not the right word, but neither is berserkergang). Sometimes I think we were both clothed; sometimes I think (only) I might have been shirtless, the spotlight making stage glitter sparkle on my white shoulders. (Cue pensive oboe and flute duet like an aurora over the string section.) I remember Odin's solid abdominal, back and shoulder muscles. In any case, we were on stage performing an opera. Because I was raising Odin's frenzy, I was getting hot as well, and I cried out in some kind of prophetic, erotic trance (no, I don't remember what I said).

At last, Odin reached out and grasped a cosmic serpent writhing over our heads. The flitting yellow lights focused on him. The serpent straightened and turned into Odin's rune-covered spear. (Cue orchestral surge led by the horn section, probably with kettle drums.) Stage left, the shadowy figures coalesced together; their strangely shaped platforms spinning around a common center to come together as a circle. Yellow and green light illuminated what was the Earth (or Midgaurd), with various heros standing on a circular platform. Odin and I stood in the center, at the top of a tree (which I can only assume was the World Tree). Other areas of the stage came together as locations from the Norse cosmology.

And I woke up with the overture to Tannhauser in my head.

No, I'm not usually drawn to Norse Mysteries. Yes, I went to bed asking myself for dream guidance. No, this isn't the first time I've drempt an erotic encounter with a deity. Yes, Jesus is a better kisser.
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