the Christmas battle, in detail, most especially the emotional detail, first of
the incredible joy of the folk customs, the sense of sacred celebration, the
tremendous soul-relief of it, and the dancing around Lufti. Then the weird thought hit me that his ghost
will always dance there, the thought first pleasing me and then disturbing
me—where did that come from? And then the happy dream turns into a nightmare as
the attack falls upon us, the fear and anger and the overwhelming sense of
betrayal and grief, of having something so precious snatched away from me! And Kiril gets hurt and I turn into a fury, a
killing machine, and the rest becomes a blur, a very gory blur. The sort of dream where you wake up wondering
if you’d have any friends left if they ever knew that side of you?
So of course I felt compelled to write it
up. I don’t get a nice, tidy,
respectable life. So I make the best of
fate; if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it up proper. I’ll get everything right, find the right
words, get the pace down just as it needs to go, till it conveys what I felt in
the dream, as accurately as I know how.
And then I realized that events in Toulin
must inevitably happen simultaneously to this!
That I’d have to braid that in, and fling all my careful pacing out the
window. I spent months going back and
setting everything up for this, and then another month rewriting the same few
pages to try and make it work.
Because the Toulin stuff also comes
from dreams. I will go into that in more
detail after the next chapter. (The bit about the headmaster drumming on a
burnt old beam came from a shorter, different dream from the main one continued
in the next chapter. A new, more hopeful
beat from this “different drummer” from the scavengings of a shattered past?)
I realized Zanne’s mission wove in, too, that in fact the thing wrong in
Vanikke came directly from the goings-on in Toulin. So that had to go into the mix, bringing the
stew dangerously close to the lip of the cauldron, so to speak.
And then I started to think that Lisa
would have to have been artificially blocked to not get pulled in as well, what
with her being a telepath who has bedded two of the three guys involved and
psychically linked with the third.
(Naturally, when Lisa didn’t get the Toulin mission, she would have gone
on some other.) But of course she’d
break free of any such blocks at this point when the psychic energy reached
maximum. Which means a whole ‘nother
mission which I either have not dreamed or it’s buried in dream-reports not yet
computerized, leaving me to piece it together from logic alone. She would be blocked, a prisoner. It would take extreme conditions to succeed
with someone as powerful as her—damper-nets only worked on Fireheart before the
mindchange. Ohhhh no!
Getting back to the Christmas Battle
dream. I have recently learned that war
nightmares in those who have not served in armed forces often have to do with
the battle within of someone very angry about past wrongs yet unable to allow
hirself to consciously admit to such anger.
So it gets internalized and blasts against the person hirself, causing
depression and self-loathing, not least because of the buried secret of being
angry at people one should not feel anger towards.
Like most children, I loved
Christmas! My brother and I would
eagerly wait the moment when Grandma would bring down the Christmas
decorations, stored in boxes up in the crawl-space between roof and ceiling,
and invite us to decorate the tree and the house with her. I just loved doing that!
Then one year, when we had
entered our teens, yet still eagerly awaited the invitation, she brought down
the box, thumped it on the table, and instead of inviting us to decorate the
tree, cursed us out for being lazy and leaving all of the Christmas work to
her. The message was clear: we had
officially grown too old to be allowed to enjoy Christmas anymore. There would be no pleasure allowed in
decorating tree or home; we must henceforth look at it as a chore demanded by
custom. Presents would henceforth come
wrapped in guilt. Songs of comfort and joy
would be listened to in grim hypocrisy.
Every Christmas thereafter Grandma would stump around the house
complaining over and over the blasphemous words, “I hate making Christmas!” I used to yearn to smuggle a little tree into
my room and decorate it with joy in secret, but I feared discovery.
(Not that any of this is a big deal
compared to those who have seen real abuse.
But it’s symbolic, the poisoning of joy and faith and the satisfaction
of effort for a happy cause.)
My first Christmases away from home
were spoiled by anxiously running around trying to do everything
“correctly”. Gradually I remembered that
Christmas was supposed to be a celebration of a sacred birth, not a chore. The trappings had been permanently damaged
for me, and didn’t mean much to my Pagan husband, so I finally let go of
them. After that my Christmas
observations became almost solely religious in nature, and I find that very
satisfying. We didn’t do church on
Christmas in my childhood, and so nobody could ruin it for me.
Then, this year, my husband, God bless
him, brought out of storage a big blue tub of all our old Christmas decorations,
and invited me to “play” with them. And
the joy rushed back! I am in the process,
at this writing, of decorating the house, however pleases me. Christmas doesn’t belong to my old family. I don’t have to do it by their rules.
In the dream, I can now see that Lufti
acts out my desire to actively, intuitively, practice Christmas with joy,
holding onto the innocent delight of childhood, and Kiril suffering a wound
while trying to protect him is what happened to me emotionally. But the violence is mine. It is my own anger that desecrates Christmas
for me. If I can outgrow that anger I can
enjoy the traditional trappings of the holiday again.