a dream from the mid-1970s

The Young Messenger

The earliest image in the dream is that of a house, the front door opened slightly as a hand is extended to give me an envelope. It is my understanding that the envelope contains an important message and that I am to deliver this message.

The setting is Washington Valley where I grew up in the foothills of the Watchung Mountains in New Jersey. I am on a bicycle. The envelope and its contents is to be carried to Pluckemin. There is a sense of responsibility attached to bringing this letter to Pluckemin and I understand that I am not to be diverted from my task.

The road is approximately three miles to where I am going. The valley sweeps up on the right side of the road into trees, but at one point there is a clearing, a wide expanse of meadow, and a farmhouse.

Beside the farmhouse there was a large bonfire with as many as two or three dozen people surrounding it. I wanted to go over and see what was happening, but continued on my way.

While returning from delivering the envelope I did indeed stop, ditched the bike and walked up to the bonfire. As I drew near I could see that most of the people around the fire were young like myself or a little older.

While standing near the flames I became aware of a presence at my side. It was a slender girl with pale skin, long dark hair. She slipped her arm into mine and I had the sensation of becoming warmer, though I was already warmed by the pulsating heat of the fire.

It was dusk and her eyes glistened, reflecting the light. There was a suggestiveness in the way she leaned against me. It seemed that she was inviting me to join her away from the fire.

We walked toward the open garage door of the farmhouse and entered the darkness.

Suddenly, in the instant we disappeared from view of the others, the girl was transformed from a sensuous seductress into a blood-thirsty, fire snorting bull, possessed by savage madness, intent on one purpose: to gore, trample and destroy me. The massive razor-horned beast shifted its weight, flashes of demonic violence quivering through every muscle as it prepared to charge.

My legs buckled in terror as I backed into a tablelike workbench. As the bull came lunging forward I had managed somehow to clambered up onto the workbench. By some quirk, in my frantic effort to defend myself, I grasped hold of the bull's horn and, pivoting, used the momentum of the charge to hurl the bull in an arching vault through the air. (ednote: in real life I had taken a judo class in college.) The bull crashed with a heavy thud onto the concrete floor.

For a brief moment I felt exultant at the ease with which I had eluded to monster's rush. But to my horror the enraged bull scrambled to its feet, more frenzied and furious than ever and I found myself overwhelmed by a sense of doom.

In the same instant I caught sight of a large wooden beam in the back of the garage up which I might be able to climb high enough to avoid being gored. You konw how it is in dreams where you're running and it seems like forever. It was like that. I made it to the beam and with all my strength leaped up, working my arms and legs, climbing in spasmodic bursts, shimmying upward until my strength was spent. I hung there trembling, exhausted, agitated and relieved, looking down at the bull's futililty. Remarkably, the massaive raging thrusts of the bull could not reach the position I had gained.

When I turned my head to hold more tightly to the beam, I saw before my eyes the bleeding, nail-pierced feet of the Christ. I had been saved by the cross!

I awake.

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