Thursday, December 31, 1987

Baja, Mulegé, Cabo San Lucas, watercolors

QUARTZ—dream journal sequence

QUARTZ journal entry

The night terrors all began with the Zebra Killer. The bad dreams, the waking up screaming, the terror of being persued and strangled. My grandmother said I screamed loud enough to wake the dead. More like the living. When my brother was woken by my screams, he said he'd wait to hear if there was an intruder before he'd get out of bed. Either way, he'd hide under the covers.

I thought I was losing my marbles. My mother is schizophrenic and though they keep telling me it isn't hereditary, some part of me can never let go of the idea. Needless to say, I analyze things to the point of death.

My mother is also a clarivoyant. Second Sight runs in the family. Bad enough to be crazy but clarivoyant too? When she predicts or finds something, I want to make a rational case for it. Nothing to do with the supernatural or intuition.

I became a non-believer of the supernatural during the wee hours while trying to sneak into the house—the door hinge cracked like someone knocking—I inadvertantly became one of my grandmother's famous ghosts—the ones who knock at the door when death approaches.

Within the week, someone in the family did die, I don't remember who. Her brother Bill? So there I was, both non-believer and a witness. I toyed with the idea that my real events might be linked up with events yet to happen and perhaps we provide the link that makes it seem like precognition.

How else to explain the time my high school girlfriends and I were joyriding down Mt. Tam and suddenly, there were a weird dreamlike image of black tires spinning in front of me—distracting me to the point that I said, I don't want to alarm you guys but I keep seeing spinning tires. They all laughed, called me names and seconds later, the brakes gave out. The owner of the antique red Mercedes in front of us was not happy to be our brake shoe at the T stop. But it kept us from going through the fence and the house below.

Many dreams that I described in detail to my friends would come true. Sometimes I'd misinterpret what I saw, What distinguished them from regular dreams was that they were lucid--no fantastic dream imagery. Normal boring everyday events. Looking back, I blame the dreams on the enormous amounts of grass we used to smoke—it was the late 60's and we were in the middle of it all. But that 's another story.

My hooded dream-murderer demon evolved into other images. I grew bold, or rather, weary of it, so I tried asking it what it wanted with me. I even asked it to unveil itself. Once it changed sex and it became my aunt Jane with whom I was having trouble with, and later, it became me. Fear: my own worst enemy.

Through the years the dream image plagued me but I've never written down when these dreams happened. Location doesn't seem to matter—I've had them while in Europe and in Mexico. Imagine what a bloodcurdling scream in the middle of the night will do to the morale of the hotel clientele. Guests lined the hall, some dressed only in sheets looking like real ghosts with white faces! Pardon, I said. Was my face red.

My boyfriends learned not to grab me when the night terrors happened. Besides learning how to scream, I learned to fight in my sleep too. There's a section of the brain Ithat paralyses nearly everyone who has nightmares so the won't physically respond and hurt themselves or sleeping partner. But I have thin boundaries. I can fight with the best of street brawlers in my sleep.

Those cliff falling dreams when one wakes up stiff, in a cold sweat and can't move, is an example of this sleep paralysis-- only I, a small statistic, learned how to move like a ninja warrior.

I even went to my doctor and therapist who both said I was sane as can be expected and that it was a result of stress and illness. It seems to happen in cycles. Each time it happened, I thought I should check into the local mental institution— was there something that horribly wrong with me to give me this night terror?

When some friends died, two patterns emerged. One type had symbolic dreams in which the clues of two friend's tragic deaths were hidden. I found out about the deaths after the fact.

My mother banged at my door early one morning. I was in the grips of a dream so horrible and dark I refused to wake u or even remember it but I remember that my cousin RIcky was in it. I remember how the red lights cut through darkness, the sound of metal and cars. He had died in a motorcycle accident on 4th Street in Santa Rosa earler in the morning. I was there. I witnessed it. I saw him slumped over the parked car. Red everywhere.

Not all the dream experiences were terrifying. One night, after a wedding with too much champagne, I imagined dwarves marching through my kitchen statcking up crockery and fixing the sink all night long. I expected to see a lot of dishes in the morning along with a hangover. My landlady said that was Emilio Celli, her father-in-law. He loved to fix the plumbing. I saw him again at the bathroom sink. It was leaking.

When a friend's mother, Betty Land Wall drowned in Noyo River, I dreamed I talked with her underwater—I remember the salt stung my eyes. With a knife, I cut a baby from my belly. Then Micaela called to say Betty was gone. Washed out to sea.

Another time, Boschka Layton, ill with cancer, died of a heart attack at nine AM, right when I dreamed I rode a black horse through warm dark tunnels, His hooves thundered louder and louder and louder until we reached the opening but it was almost too small for us to squeeze through. We were reborn into bright light in a green garden, the horse was now a colt. I suppose I was younger because I had no sense of age. Rebirth.

It became harder for me to explain it all away as coincidence. The second pattern, which is more consistant is not a dream state. There are no images attached to it. Only a green light that stays with me even after I open my eyes and turn on the light.

The first few times it happened, I screamed, assuming it was the dream monster again but I couldn't remember seeing it. Eventually I noticed the green light seemed to be associated with people who had recently died.

One green being was creepy Larry, a previous tenant who died in a parking lot of a hemmoraged lung. His green presence seemed to prefer my cabin was the first obvious connection (he lived there, after all), but he was such a malevolant presence, I screamed him away. I told him to go away—he had the wrong cabin.

After Boschka died, a green light came again and but it was not so frightening. It was a childhood neighbor, Borg Haugen, who died soon after Boschka but I didn't find out about it until months later when a check for $2000 and a copy of her will was mailed to me.

That was the first time I put my hand into the greenness instead of screaming it away and I Igot a sensation of peacefulness and an image of an older woman with grey hair. Thinking it was Boschka (who I knew was dead) I felt comforted until the letter came. The dead paying their last respects.

In San Cristobal de las Casas, at least three green appparitions came visiting several times, the night of the Harmonic Convergence. The first time, I screamed. The second time, i was irate and wanted it to go away but it was insistant and appeared again, this time coming right at me until I was up, awake, and literally running around the bed screaming.

I showed John Oliver Simon how one of the beings came to the foot of his bed —how it stood there and how it moved. I told him it was an older woman, she was dressed in a jeans skirt and Birkenstocks. We spent the rest of the night on the roof back-to-back, with arms locked—facing east and west. No use sleeping that night! The next afternoon, John received a strange message that his friend had died. And I had mimicked Kaela's stance so perfectly, John had recognized it the night before.

When we got home from South America a month later, I found that Dave Evans had also died. The insistent way they all came at me was unnerving--I didn't know I was pregnant at the time—it was as if they were all lined up fighting to be reincarnated right then and there. Thin boundaries.

We were never sure about the third presence—it felt both local and old, with much power, both good and evil. I was having trouble convincing myself or John I was making this up in my sleep. But there was a spate of murders in Chiapas that summer.

Then there was Ron, the gay, celibate, alcoholic artist—another neighbor in Cabin 6 who died right on the heels of my grandmother's death. When the light kept coming night after night, I found myself in the middle of the room trying to push back the green light. At first, I was scared, but after a few nights of ghostly visitation, when it appeared, I groaned, oh, no, not again. Frustrated, and needing a good night's sleep, I left my cabin to visit my boyfriend, John for the weekend.

It was beginning to be a bit comic—only I didn't always know who was doing the haunting. I didn't think it was my grandmother with whom I seemed to be visiting in dreams each night. Each night, she'd appear and I'd say I thought you were dead and she'd say no, they made a mistake-- I was so delighted.

Upon returning from Berkeley, I saw Ron's parents' car in front and I assumed they were visiting for the holidays. I commented to myself, oh, no! Ron's dead and went into my house. But, there was no reason to assume that. Minutes later, a neighbor came over to say Ron died. The landlady went into his cabin, found him dead on the bed. At once, I realized the light that had been bothering me was Ron trying to tell me he was dead.

All those apparitions were no longer just in the realm of my mind and with that acceptance, came the release from fear. I was getting so desperate, I was willing to try a de-haunting—and I didn't even believe in the paranormal. My friends, Susan Kennedy and Pamela Raphael were convinced my visions were real long before I did and urged me to make a creation wheel. They gave me quartz crystals to line all my windows. They gave me sage and and eagle feathers. Soon every window was an impromptu altar. I created ritual because none was in my life and I was desperate for a good night's sleep.

Being the sceptic with a crazy mother, I'm not easily convinced or seduced. Driving down Occidental road, by the Laguna, my favorite place, I saw the north peak odf Mt. St. Helena shrouded in smoke. Seeking a ceremony, I listened for instructions: I was to climb the mountain and take a piece of pottery with me from Monte Alban to the north peak. There, I was to start at Ithe north, facing Geyser Peak and make a creation wheel ceremony. North, west, east, and south. I dreamed I was to bring back five rocks from the peak of Mt. St. Helena and conduct similar ceremonies on other Bay Area peaks. The entire Bay Area became my medicine wheel.

There was also something I was supposed to find while up at the summit. But no more instructions followed. After my hike to the North Peak of St. Helena (I'd never been up the mountain before), I found the place in my dreams where I had received my "instructions" was the site of a very old Miwok graveyard.

Weeks later, I did climb up to the top of Mt. St. Helena —I wasn't sure if my knee was ready for such a strenuous trip. From the start of the hike, I kept talking about a quartz crystal the size of my thumb I'd lost as a child. John assured me several times over that I wouldn't find any crystal on the extrusive volcanic mountain.

Weeks earlier, I was talking to Judy Sohegian about my experiences and she said to place rare earth and crystals by my bed. At the top of the mountain, the peak was just like in my vision and we performed a ceremony. I circled the bluff and found a huge quartz crystal. It was probably left there by someone on the Harmonic Convergence, now a gift for me.

Without getting into laborious detail in order to proove moot points, this entire sequence was confusing. I had to find my way, and only after each part of the event occurred, did I find written information "documenting" what I'd already done/learned. The cryststal was a receiver crystal. I had unwittingly made the creation wheel and started in the north—the receiver of power. Made a z shape, not a wheel and my first gift, according to cherokee mythology, the center of the wheel is a quartz crystal.

Christmas Day, I hiked to the dolmen on our hill with Lee and made a ceremony. The bluejay who mimicked my imitation of a hawk calling landed in the bay tree and called three times. My second gift of power. I began the process of deep grieving finally, after weeks of not going in deeper. I left some of my hair as part of the offering.

At the house, I took my grandmother's hair, some gloves and a coat she'd made when she was younger than I am now. The coat and gloves a glove, and the hair was the exact same color as mine. I realized how much alike we really are/were. The process of healing had begin.

The hooded demon of night terrors still comes from time to time. But it's rarer and rarer. It's as if the ghosts of my past were finally laid to rest.

Dec. 1987 (With minute sentence structure revisions on Jjuly 14, 2014. It was loaded with ascii bits. The journal entry ended abruptly—I really didn't know where I was going with the piece, and I sure didn't know how to end it. So I added the final paragraph for closure's sake). I've no idea what to make of it all—even to this day. I'm treating it like memoir dream prose. No other thing to do. But all this stuff''s real. I didn't make it up. All duly recorded in my writer journals FWFW.