* * * Discernment of Spirits

Dream of October 15, 2014—Santa Teresa of Avila Day

For a long time, my awareness has been in front of a virtual screen, which takes up most of my field of vision and feels like looking into the depths of the universe. I am interacting with a female voice, listening to her instructions, filling out a questionnaire, and otherwise responding to everything she tells me. The activity is intensely engrossing, so I’m shocked when I press a button and the site abruptly crashes, the screen going black.

The woman says calmly, “Oh-oh, be prepared… wait…” The darkness seems to be rebooting, and something forming in the black depths is gradually moving closer…

Like solidifying smoke, an entirely different site materializes, becoming three-dimensional around me. Suddenly, I’m aware of standing at the junction of two corridors. The one behind me is white and evenly lit, as is the one extending to my left. A few feet away on my right, there is the entrance to a dark space, with two low stone pedestals visible near the entrance. A man as white as marble is standing behind one of the pedestals. The instant he materializes, I think—This is not the site I was on. My original site appears to have been hacked, and replaced with this one.

The unclothed figure walks around the broken column and “speaks” to me with his animal head, a beast’s head with a long snout, and horns curving close to his skull where his ears should be. He telepathically informs me he is a teacher, come to give me further instructions on lucid dreaming. He seems to imply, to want me to believe, he is R. W. deliberately wearing this dream costume.

Part of me listens, wanting to believe him, but my deepest intuition regards him suspiciously. Something doesn’t feel right. Something is seriously off about this scene. He looks like a Greek statue come to life, complete with a small, marble-white phallus hanging limply between his legs. I seriously doubt a true teacher of any kind would expose himself to me like this. Then I wonder if I only imagined it as darkness wafts around the lower half of his body.

Also strangely disturbing is the way he is pacing back and forth, ostensibly like a lecturing professor, but I suddenly sense the truth—he can’t cross the threshold between his dark alcove, and the well lit space in which I’m standing. Which means… which means he can’t prevent me from walking away from him. This has to be a dream, and now that I’m lucid, I know for a fact I don’t trust this entity.

I walk quickly away from the beast-man down the hallway to my left. Through small windows in the doors I pass, I see what look like the offices of university professors. I resist the urge to simply fly through the nearest window, confident I can find the exit. I soon come to a door that leads into one of the largest offices, where I find another door that opens onto the outside world.

I emerge onto a sunny open expanse of bright green grass. Drifting over it contentedly, I sense the presence of a great tree attracting me, drawing me toward it. I don’t turn to face it, I simply surrender to a mysterious dream gravity pulling me gently back, and then lifting me up between thick brown branches overflowing with luminous green leaves. I know I won’t get snagged on anything, that I will simply keep floating through this great tree for which I feel a deepening affection. And it seems to return the sentiment, for as I come to a stop, I feel it supporting and embracing me from behind, like a living chair against which I relax as contentedly as a child in its parent’s lap.

I believe I wake up, and just lay there with my eyes closed, remembering my dream. Or perhaps I do wake up before slipping seamlessly back into the dream space, where I am also lying on a bed with my eyes closed. Either way, I’m aware of not being in my waking reality house when, along the corridor just outside the room, I hear a gentle commotion of footsteps as people enter, and head quickly to a room near the back. After an indeterminate amount of time, I hear children singing, and I seem to know they have arrived early to practice for the morning Mass. I lay listening to this marvelous children’s choir, to their crystal clear voices ringing with innocent, earnest joy as they proclaim:

"I just want to be with Christ! I just want to be with Christ!"

Half the children repeat this refrain, while the other half, in perfect harmony, sing words I can’t recall but their meaning is clear to me: Christ’s love is always with us, never abandons us, so naturally we want to be with Him!

I open my eyes to a sunlit room. On a white palette, parallel to the foot of mine, I see my sister lying on her back, but with her head raised slightly as she listens to the singing. I smile to myself, thinking—Of course, she’s a musician, so she can really appreciate this. Then I glance to my right as my deceased father sits up on his own palette. I smile at him happily, then spring to my feet and run up a flight of wooden steps to find my dream journal. I wake. ★ End of Dream

That morning I wrote in my Dream Journal: It can be said that the goat-headed entity from my first dream was shaped by my mind from daily residue, for example, the new tomb discovered in Greece I had seen photos of a few days before, and by my admiration for R. W.’s work. But a coin has two sides. This entity used pieces of my consciousness to clothe itself in such a way that it would feel familiar, non-threatening. In the dream, I did not think of him as the god Pan or the devil, I simply sensed he was not who he was pretending to be. He had a Greek statue’s ideally sculpted body, and the Greeks prided themselves on their reason—he was appealing to my rational faculties, urging me to ignore how I felt about him, but he could not completely mask his bestial nature.

It seems to me that in the dream space, Juliet’s question, “What’s in a name?” is answered: “Nothing.” Something is what it is, no matter what we name it when we wake up. Whether I choose to call it the devil, and others view it as a negative entity, or a psychological projection, etc. does not change the reality of what we encounter and experience.

Without actually thinking about it, I sensed this devil could not come any closer to me, even while it did its best to make me trust it, to make me listen to it. If I had, as the saying goes, fallen under its spell, I might have crossed the invisible threshold separating us. Less than a year ago, I probably would have done so in obedience to lucid logic—This is a dream, nothing can hurt me, so I should face this dream character, and determine what it wants, how it relates to me, and so on. But feeling the wrongness of the situation, and of this entity, I chose not to engage with it. I did not fear it, for it soon became clear it couldn’t move any closer to me. I did not run away from a challenge, I removed myself from a possible threat. In the waking world, no one walks in front of a truck to prove their courage, and in lucid dreams, I don’t think I should feel obliged to engage with “persons” I feel I don’t trust, especially ones who seem to be disguising themselves as someone else, and who apparently “hacked” into my dream space.

A psychiatrist might question the existence of intentional forces outside of our own brains, and suggest I am letting my thoughts and dreams be influenced by Christian doctrine, subconsciously manifesting an archetype to frighten myself, in the process both justifying and reinforcing the dogma I’m buying into, because in reality there is no such thing as the devil. This perspective essentially confines reality to our own limited minds.

For several years after I began lucid dreaming, I remained firmly divorced from Christian doctrine. The devil must have been well pleased then to let me go on as I was doing in my dreams, because I was still lost, and he was confident his hounds—earthly temptations and fears—would continue nipping at me, distracting me, and interfering with my soul’s desire to find its way home to Christ. But as Santa Teresa said about a soul who has experienced God’s love and loves Him with all her being in return, “The devil cannot harm me in the least.”

Excerpt from Lucid Dreams & the Holy Spirit

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