Monday, January 26, 2009

Providence...POSSESSED! Part 2: You'll Bee Back

Our second exciting episode from the haunted city in The Biggest-Little-State-In-The-Union comes from Yvette, who dreamt:
I was in an open marketplace, kind of nondescript, but it looked like a marketplace from a movie about New York City. It was a bright, stark day and there was good fall sunlight throughout the open area. I was looking for these 2 Chilean women my sister had told me about. They could make you feel every "spirit" or other kind of subtle presence that follows you. I was standing with my back to this crowd of people in the market, and unknowingly stood between the women.

First, I felt like one of the women had touched my back, and I turned around to look at her but she wasn't looking at me—she didn't even seem to notice me. I turned around, and felt scratching on my back, first lightly then progressively stronger. The sensations increased, my body was jerking then repeatedly kicked in the air. I was screaming for help, and terrified. There was this electrical buzzing throughout my entire upper back, punctuated by a sensation of being kicked into the air by an invisible foot that hit me between my scapulae.

I woke because my boyfriend heard me grunting and it frightened him. There was a buzzing in my upper back . . .

Yvette, you may want to give your fellow Rhode Islander Jo Dery a call. She kicked ass in yesterday's dream and might be able to dispossess you of that haunted hornet's nest between your shoulder blades.

The physical effects experienced between your dreaming and wakeful states smack of polysensory hypnagogic experiences. There are long lists of interesting explanations for why these occur, both from the standpoint of Western clinical medicine and throughout international folklore. Since I am neither a doctor of neurology nor of witchery, I'll leave these hyperlinks open for you to navigate through the myriad of theories that they present. Reactions to this phenomena, known by so many gnarly names around the world, seems largely subject to cultural conditioning, which brings us back to the paraphrasal of Clive Barker's advice from yesterday's post: we can perceive alternate realities as being in conflict with the realities with which we are accustomed, or we can see all of these realities as a haunting and mysterious soup that may be worth exploring and tasting.

Shall we get out our sampling spoons?

You are passing through a place in your life where there are as many choices as there are stalls at an open-air bazaar, yet you have put almost all of the options behind you and are now at a point where you have chosen a specific goal. You have the support of your family (at least your sister—she can represent, right?) and your friends have your back, but what lies beyond this goal is something of a mystery. The knowledge that you seek can not be found in the trinkets and chachkas of daily diversions (the exception being this blog), but through serious mentorship that requires a great deal of trust on your part—not just in your teachers, but in yourself. You grow to feel the impact of your path's history and it's wisdom, first just a touch, then more penetrating, and eventually overwhelming you with your own fear. Is the fear in your dream a fear of not being ready to inherit this history? A fear that you have the will but not the wisdom? Or is your fear of (pardon the cliché) fear itself?

Yvette, my guess is that any anxiety that you might have is not great enough to make you grunt and twitch and jerk like a gremlin in the sunshine. At the risk of coming off as a new-agey dipshit (or did I already blow my cool on that one with this dream-blog thingy?) I'm going to play a wild card and say that you are affected by a lot of excess energy in your daily life. I'm not talking about big power plants or wind farms, I'm talking about life energy: prana, qi, mojo, The Force, whatever you want to call it. I'm gonna out myself here and say, "Yeah, I've felt it too," and so have millions of others, or else that list on Wikipedia wouldn't cover 29 different world cultures spanning thousands of years.

Which brings us back to that autoethnographical question: Do we fear it and try to overthrow it? Or observe it and swim in its sensations?

One thing you can try is to create an intentional buzz in your back while you're awake. You can do this by practiving a yoga prāņāyāma called bhramarī (sometimes spelled bhamari or bramari). According to B.K.S. Iyengar, "Bhamarī means a large black bee." It is also the name of the Hindu goddess of black bees (pictured at the top of this post). In practicing Bhramarī one inhales deeply and then hums like a bee on the exhale. The effect is a vibrating of the chest and back, the position of which can be adjusted by altering the tone of the buzz. The lower the pitch, the lower in your body the vibration. Raise the pitch to move the vibration up the torso. You can also place one hand on your sternum and the other on your back while practicing Bramarī to feel the exact point of vibration. In Iyengar's book Light On Yoga he writes, "The humming sound in Bhamarī Prāņāyāma is helpful in cases of insomnia." Neat, huh?

Outing myself again here: the instances I most frequently feel a buzzing in my own back—sometimes (if I'm lucky) accompanied by a jerking sensation that sends me flying about a foot into the air—is when I'm receiving acupuncture. The state that one is often in during an acupuncture treatment is somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, a.k.a. hypnagogia, the same phenomenon linked to possession by hags, devils, ghosts, witches and neurologists in some 29 different cultures. Why is this considered a curse in these contexts but a force for healing in another? I cannot provide you with the answer here, only a question. But if you discover any hints en route to your goal, do clue us in at 31 Dreamers.

2 comments:

Yvette said...

Thanks for the dream analysis/discussion/prescription. It was really thoughtful and I'm actually going to take those insights into my life in as many ways as are pertinent. Ironically, Ted Kaptchuk (teacher) was just talking to us about will and wisdom today.

Morgão Papelão said...

...Ironically?