‘Dead But Dreaming.’
This is the state of the Great Old One known as Cthulhu, priest to the inhuman Outer Gods in the fiction of pulp horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. A chimeric entity, it is described as a thing that:
‘[Y]ielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature…. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque scaly body with rudimentary wings.’
It is a fusional creature, plastic and metamorphic, well summing up the phantasmal nature of dreams. This lack of fixedness is often held to be the acid test between dream and reality – the dreaming state is one which cannot be trusted, relied upon or seen as anything other than mental decompression or nocturnal entertainment.
But to many indigenous Australians, the very Dream is responsible for all that is – what is often misnamed as the Dreamtime, when the great spirits moved across the landscape and gave rise to its features. Properly however, it is the Dreaming; for the process is not limited to a particular time, but is rather continual. A better translation of the original term is The-All-At-Once – a state wherein the spirits and the Now are not separated.
Man exists within the Dreaming – indeed, many of the rites and practices are grouped under the notion of ‘Looking After Country’. These rites, far from being reactive, are affective – they maintain the world itself.
But what has this to do with us? I, Mr. Carfax, am no Aborigine; I dwell on a small island in the middle of the North Atlantic. I reluctantly use the internet to sometimes write analyses such as these. The world will not fall apart without me performing certain rites, will it?
Perhaps, perhaps not. But what concerns us is the nature of the Dreaming; for Lovecraft and the Aborigines knew an important fact – even the dead have dreams. For most, dreams occur in sleep, but for the sorcerer this is not true.
Any grasp of hypnosis will inform us that humans shift from one state of trance to another regularly – watching television, or driving, for example. This is important, for it indicates that your average individual has no realization that they are dreaming while awake.
Contrastingly, the sorcerer is more than aware of such things, understanding that if they be dreaming, then the dead be dreaming also. Thus, both living and dead are joined inextricably together by the active process. Time, such as is held by the ordinary world, hence ceases to be a demarcation or division.
Co-existence is the name of the game. In dreams the mythic is accepted, yet not in waking – the sorcerer recognises this as merely a defence mechanism: If dreams be where dragons lie, then such things cannot be upon waking!
In the experience of this member of the Old Firm, such distinctions may be easily demonstrated as foolish – experiment with sleep deprivation and you will soon discover that dreams will not be denied. They will come, whether you be awake or asleep; and though we do not advocate such extremity as anything other than experiment, it is nonetheless useful for the purposes of gaining ammunition against the limitations of humanity.
If therefore, the dreams are an integral part of existence, arising from the Dreaming itself, assuming forms which are pregnant with deep meaning, is it not wise to pay them attention? Is it not a tenet of sorcery that there is, by definition, no difference between sorcerer and the stuff of sorcery itself?
Thusly, one may argue that the sorcerer is born of the Dreaming -a living dream, as plastic and quixotic as that substance which men do not trust outside of their nocturnal escapades! He is, by definition, of that same quality which gives rise to the mythic, made of dragon-stuff, as it were.
So, this accepted, what now?
If such be the case, then one must acknowledge a simple fact; that the ever-changing nature of the Dreaming means there is no certainty, no bedrock. But by following the dreams back to the source, one finds the nameless thing which spawns so many forms in the mind as an attempt to grasp it.
That same namelessness is the sorcerer’s birthright.
Once this is discovered, the way becomes open; the dual principle of opposition becomes a trinity, though one more blasphemous than the Christian triad of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. A hypostasis occurs; the recognition of a potential essence outside of existence – a kind of gnostic agnosticism.
Liberated from the value judgement of dream vs. reality, the sorcerer may hence take advantage of the freedom therein – he may dream as he will, and the world will accept it as easily as his breathing.