Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Watching the Universe Shed Its Skin

Way back in time, as a university student, I (like many others before me) discovered Joseph Campbell's writings. It was like a light had been turned on inside my mind - all my strange ideas about stories, world, life suddenly made sense. It was akin to falling madly, deeply, desperately, in love.

Then, like all loves, over time, a sense of scepticism set in. I questioned the theoretically Eurocentric paradigm that Campbell used despite his "universality." I began to question some of the links he made, and critiqued his use of non-western texts and the meanings he drew from them.

Despite this - and as I have learned about love too - I didn't walk away from Campbell. He still stays in the back of my mind, still worthy of respect and affection, still comforting and intriguing, despite all these years. And like all great relationships, Campbell also introduced me to a whole new world of his own, to other friends, teachers, minds, who have also become part of my life. Including of course Karl Jung (although like one's partner's best mate, we have a slightly testy relationship, me and Karl).

One thing I learned around the same time as I discovered Campbell was to keep a tab of my dreams. Not for great psycho-analytical purposes but because I realised quickly that super ideas, images, sentences ripped around my mind while I slept. I didn't want to lose them on waking up and so began keeping a notebook with all my most lucid dreams. While I have used these images in novels and stories before, most of these don't merit being anywhere else other than my much scribbled upon notebook.

However, today, I want to make an exception. The past year has been a bit of a roller-coaster. And its just gotten weirder in the past few weeks. Perhaps this is why I have been thinking back so often to a dream I had two weeks ago:

In my dream, I was in a big house. Like all dream-houses, it seemed to be composed of bits and pieces of all different houses I have lived in and loved: the garden was from Doon, the large living room from our house in Windhoek, the pool from the holiday villa in Barcelona. It was full of light, and music, and laughter.

And in this house were gathered my siblings and many of my closest friends. We were all excited and preparing to go watch a show or a rock concert...something really spectacular and huge. We were cracking open wine bottles, calling on mobile phones, ordering taxis, running around madly getting dressed and made up.

I do not believe I have been this excited about any concert or show I have seen in reality. And that includes Madonna and the Rolling Stones!

Yet nowhere in my dream was it clear exactly what we were preparing to go watch. For an interminable time, the excitement built. There was laughter and jokes and hugs. All the usual preliminaries of a big day.

And then someone (was it me?) who was on a mobile to someone finally explained what we were going to go see: "Yes, we're leaving now. We have the tickets. We are going to go SEE THE UNIVERSE SHED ITS SKIN!"

Thats when I woke up! Baffled, awed, amused. If any psycho-analysts have any ideas about how to interpret this one, please do.

From my perspective, its the biggest neon sign message I have ever had from the universe. And that is pretty damn cool!!