It is quite often hard for me to believe it has been more than a quarter century since my "second life" began on June 7, 1994. Much of the time it feels like a handful of years ago. At other times, the early years of my "rebirth" feels like another lifetime. A year ago, I was asked via reQuest to write a summary of the basic concepts of my mythology. This provides a summary of the concepts of what I call the primary dreams and primary dream elements, which appeared repeatedly over extended periods of time. This does not include one-time dreams that are connected to the mythology. Hopefully, gathering this all in one writeup will help consolidate almost twenty years of exploration of these dreams on this site.
What essentially began with my suicide on June 6, 1994 truly began with a series of dreams that began that night and have continued in one form or another since then. To understand my story, you would really need to understand the nature of these dreams, their invasiveness and their intensity. At the time of my death, I had no real belief system. I considered my an agnostic and a rationalist, and when I chose to end my life I had no expectation of anything but an end to my suffering. Instead, I had a strange experience that felt like I was transported to another world, which I've come to believe is the landscape of my unconscious. It was there that I now believe the core of my being communicated to me messages intended to convince me to reverse course and return to this life. What I'd written in my suicide note, my reasonings, would come to be proven false.
The dreams outlined a mission. The directions were vague, but over time a picture emerged.
The Death Dream
The night of my suicide, after I lost consciousness after consuming an overload of pills and liquor, I found myself standing on a really shitty little raft that was bobbing along on a slow moving jungle river. Both shores were dense with jungle. This, I now believe, represented the status of my life at the time of my suicide. I was isolated and alone, barely staying afloat, and the raft represented my vehicle in this life, eseentially my physical existence here. I couldn't see past the shore and felt lost.
The perspective often changes in the dreams. In what I call the death dream, I was suddenly able to see over the tree tops as screams and cries rose up from the jungle. People were coming towards the river, desperately trying to escape some great danger, and there was nothing I could do to help. My raft barely kept afloat under my weight. Then I saw the wall of blue flame moving through the jungle towards the river from both sides.
This represents my feelings of helplessness when it came to other people. I usually felt like there was nothing I could do or say when someone I knew was struggling or had dealt with traumatic events. I was shy and reserved, wanting to do something but always aftaid I'd end up making it worse by getting involved.
The blue flame comes into play in other dreams. I believe it is what "clears the board," which is an expression used in some of the dreams that followed. If you think of this life as a kind of role playing game, a novel you are writing as you live it, then clearing the board is basically ending this game and starting a new one. The board is cleared by the blue flame and then a new board is set up. The unconscious realm is entirely metaphorical, so the appearance of the blue flame in the death dream represented my death coming in response to my suicidal efforts.
This is when a dragon appears overhead and dives towards me. I think I am about to be burned or something like that, but the dragon blows wind into the raft's very crappy sails and sends it speeding down the river towards a great light.
The dragon represents the great protector within, the last resort when faced with dire threats to one's existence. It is the beast that rises in us that produces that sudden burst of adrenaline, anger, rage, and does everything it can to protect your existence and the existence of those you love. It is the fight in the fight or flight response. It will do anything to ensure survival, including things you would otherwise believe yourself incapable of. The dragon sent me away from the jungle river before I could see the people engulfed by the blue flame and sent me through the wall.
The unconscious realm is you, it is where you exist in time and space, a metaphorical reflection of your life seen without the filters we wear to avoid seeing the totality of suffering that exists all around us. It sees through the filters into who we are and what course we need to follow in order to restore or build the realm into a place worth being in. The blue flame clears the board, setting up a new board on which a brand new realm can be constructed. The light is the end of conscious being and a return to the unconscious as the primary instead of the secondary, whereas in life our conscious being is primary and the unconscious is secondary. Death shuts off the conscious being, therefore leaving only the unconscious, the backup generator and core engine, as the default primary until another realm is brought into being and a new consciousness can begin. This is the core of my belief system, and it is entirely metaphorical.
My body feels like it is being pulled apart painlessly as I pass through the light. I then find myself standing in a wasteland that stretches off endlessly in all directions. I just begin walking. The ground feels very real. It all feels creepily weird. As I look back, I think creepy is the best way to describe walking around in my unconscious. Everything felt real but off somehow. As I walked, I noticed a speck in the distance that seemed out of place. Looking at the speck caused me to appear in front of it in a snap. In the unconscious realm, there is no need for dead spots in the narrative. Walking all the way to the speck would not be necessary in a world that follows a narrative defined by metaphor.
The speck is a man sitting on a metal folding chair. He is emotionless and still, just looking at me. He has long hair, a goatee, and is wearing this strange shirt with laces at the collar that looks like something a pirate would wear. Something about him is very familiar. As our eyes meet, he says, "Do you want to go on?" In response, I turn around and start walking back the way I came. The light surrounds me and I see what looks like a complex map or blueprint and then everything goes black.
Months later, after I let my hair grow simply because I didn't feel like bothering with a haircut, and then stopped shaving for a few days, I looked in the mirror and realized the man with the folding chair was an older version of me. His hair was long and gray and with the facial hair he looked very unlike I did at the time of my suicide. I believe he represented my future self, and that looking into his eyes told me there were good things in my future here in the waking world I would miss out on if I chose to end this life. I turned around because something I saw, something very non-specific, in his eyes made me want to return to this life.
Once it went to black, I heard the words, "Go where there is no snow. You will know her when you see her. You will have no doubt and the sky will turn to gold. Give everything you can to everyone you know. You already know what to do."
Those were my instructions, as it were, and after I heard them echoing in my head, I woke up in my bed completely paralyzed. Those instructions are repeated many, many times over the next three years, sometimes with different lines added. "This will be the hardest thing you ever do" and "Give everything you can to everyone you know" are frequently added in the recurring form of the dream.
The first of the intense and invasive dreams came after I regained consciousness on the morning of June 7, 1994, found myself unable to move and then went to sleep for a while. It was then that this dream began.
It opens with an image of a rustic cabin surrounded by woods. Snow is falling and there is a great deal of it on the ground. Some of the drifts are extremely imposing. There is no apparent way in or out. Then I find myself inside the cabin, looking at a blonde woman. She has a deer in the headlights look on her face when I appear. It is as if she saw me just appear in the room completely unexpectedly. Like the death experience, this feels very real and concrete. After a moment she says, "Find me and I will give you the answer."
The first appearance of the dream included an ending where there is a loud banging on the door to the cabin. I turn and open the door. The woman attempts, in very feeble fashion, to stop me, but I open it anyway. There is a large man wearing a big coat and heavy winter gear. I cannot see his face as it is surrounded by a furry hood pulled up over his head. He is pointing a shotgun right at my face as the door opens. He fires. I wake up.
This would become the dream that haunted me most frequently. At first I figured it was the result of all the pills and liquor I'd ingested making my brain do freaky things. When the dream continued nightly, and other dreams came with it, with such fevered intensity that they woke me up in a cold sweat and kept me from falling back asleep, I decided to seek out psychological counseling. From there I would go on to meet a series of characters who all tried to convince me in different ways that the dreams were telling me something important and that I needed to follow them. Two years later I become convinced that I need to move to a new city and start my life fresh, and since I always hated winter it made sense to "go where there is no snow."
In March of 1997, the sister of my roommate's girlfriend comes to town for a visit. She lives in Orlando, Florida and she's blonde. After a weird and frozen weekend, I end up telling her my story in order to try to convince her I'm not the womanizing creep her sister makes me out to be. There is a very strong attraction and powerful chemistry between us. We make a real connection and two weeks later I go to visit her in Orlando. This is where I come to believe the dreams make perfect sense. I am moving somewhere new, to start over without all the baggage of the past, in a climate more amenable to me, with a fantastic woman with whom I have great chemistry and we can both see a potential future together.
It was all coming together until my first night in Orlando when we went out for drinks and the waitress was the woman from the dreams. Incidentally, the biggest mind fuck of my life.
The Card Dealer
The second most prominent of the dreams from 1994-1997. In this dream, a withered old man sits across a card table from me in a very empty room. He deals a series of three cards with a variation on the dream in which there are four cards. He deals them one at a time, face down, and as he places each one down he instructs me to pick it up and turn it over. The first is the Queen of Diamonds. After I turn it over, I cannot pick it up. The card stays just out of my reach, maddeningly close but still out of reach. The dealer picks it up and puts it back in the deck. The second card is the Queen of Clubs. That card bursts into flames when I pick it up and it burns my hand. The third card is the Queen of Hearts, which heals my wound when I pick it up but then the card disappears. It doesn't vanish in a snap, I just seem to lose track of it. In the variation, a fourth card is placed face down and I am told not to turn it over or pick it up. This is the fourth queen, the Dark Queen, and when she appears "the journey will be at an end. She will tell you she is the Dark Queen the first time you meet her."
In my journals, there were times when I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what this dream was trying to tell me. It was showing me the pattern that I was trapping myself in, time after time, and that was what had caused my perception of myself as constantly failing. I tended to feel that the things I truly wanted or aspired to would be too difficult to achieve or that I would not be good enough. This would lead me to settle for a second option, an easier option, but then I'd become restless and dissatisfied because I knew I'd settled for second best. That would lead me to either disparage the second option or treat it with only casual interest. When I settled for a college I knew I'd get accepted to instead of applying to colleges I really wanted to attend, because there was a strong possibility of rejection, I ended up transferring schools after a year in large part due to my dissatisfaction in having settled. The resulting lack of commitment would lead to a lack of interest and I'd begin looking in new directions. At that point, second option would fall apart, mostly from neglect and abuse, and I'd be left out in the cold. It would be a double-edged sword because this would lead me to think, "I'm not even good enough to succeed with second best."
At that point I'd be in a defeatist, self-loathing state of mind, and when I reached that point I would miss out on a third option that offered me all that I really wanted, but at that point I usually either wasn't paying attention or had become so self-sabotaging that I closed out all other options other than lamentings my recent setbacks. This pattern followed me with college, jobs, relationships, and even when I bought a car. I'd always end up getting the "sensible choice" rather than a car I felt enthusiastic about because either it was too expensive, didn't get as good gas mileage as another choice, and so forth. The pattern permeated my existence and being trapped in it lead to my suicide.
The most visible appearances of the pattern involved my relationships with women. The key one prior to my suicide is what I believe guided the character of these dreams. It had to do with a secret I kept from my first fiancee throughout our 3-1/2 year relationship. This secret was a extreme version of the Three Queens pattern.
In January of 1986, I was on my third college (which, in holding true to the pattern, I just kind of stopped going to classes during my second semester), and had moved in with my father following my parents' divorce. He had an apartment with a balcony that overlooked the parking lot. I liked to sit out there after spring began and I would people watch. Three women caught my eye on a regular basis as I watched people coming and going. The first was a blonde woman who looked very professional, was always well dressed, and drove a sports car. She was like those characters who were always so prominent in 80s style coming of age movies, the unreachable golden goddess kind of thing. As a twenty-year-old guy living with his dad and attending his third college in three years, I became convinced she'd never give me the time of day. A second woman seemed more approachable. She dressed very casually, often in just a t-shirt and sweats, had dark hair, and drove a beat-up old car that was an older model of the same car I drove. A third woman also interested me, but I pushed her aside in my mind when I decided my best shot to make a romantic connection was the second woman.
The first woman would turn out to be her roommate and they'd remain roommates for three years. This was something I just tried to push aside as irrelevant, especially after meeting the roommate made me double-down on my original evaluation that she would have rejected me. She definitely would have rejected me. She was a true 80s style lover of money and status, but over the three years I knew her, she changed and became more human and more real, and I never stopped desiring her. The reason I could never truly commit myself to my first fiancee was because the presence of her roommate always reminded me that I'd "settled," even if I had ended up with the better option. If they hadn't been roommates, I'd have forgotten the blonde woman in the parking lot two weeks into the relationship.
The madness of the Dark Queen variation is that in November of 2016, as I was struggling to determine if I could keep working or if I'd have to quit because of my illness, I met a nurse who had just started. She introduced herself by saying, "You don't want to know me. I'm a dark queen."
My journey would end up producing multiple appearances of the pattern of the three queens. It was a pattern begging for resolution because until I resolved it, I would keep doing it over and over with the same results or results equally as disappointing.
The Red Riders
I like to explain them by saying they are absolutely terrifying. My understanding of what they represent has evolved over the years from where I saw them as a representative of the opposition, the threat, or some form of evil. They are not evil. They represent absolute order, which is an authoritatianism that ends in wiping out everything and starting over fresh. They are kind of the nuclear option. When they appear in dreams it means the realm of my unconscious, and in turn my state of being, is being threatened by chaos and they have arrived to counter it.
My unconcious realm is guided by a balancing between order and chaos. Going too far in either directions threatens the realm.
There are two forms of the red riders. Both forms look mainly the same, except that what I call the scouts communicate and have human type movements. The red rider army is something different, but the army is created by the scouts. Scouts tend to travel in pairs, on horseback. They are probably ten feet tall, relatively speaking, and they are made out of stone. They look like gigantic marble statues, and they self-replicate when building an army. They also have the appearance of seraphim, with three sets of wings, and they wear red armor. One rider splits into two, those two split into four, and so forth until they are everywhere. They have weapons, a sword, a lance, and a shield, but these are decorative. They don't use them. They don't need to. A red rider army just keeps reproducing until they occupy every space on the board. They cannot be destroyed, killed, or wounded. Anyone who gets too close turns to dust, except for the Named Ones.
The Named Ones
These are figures in the dream realm that I can directly connect with people in the waking world. They represent someone I know or have met, and the red riders move aside for them and they will not get within a certain distance. Queens, the Sisterhood, and the Jacks are all Named Ones.
In the realm, Queens have undergone a long evolution in understanding. It begins with a recurring mesage in the dreams that tells me "The Jack serves the Queen, the Queen serves the realm is the old faith. The Jack serves the Queens, the Queens serve the realm is the new faith." This was a big key to understanding where I was in the 1990s, and at the time it was something I mostly ignored because I never quite picked up on Queen vs. Queens until years later.
Before my suicide, I had become obsessed with the idea that everything in my life would be fine and wonderful if I could get back to where I was when "things were perfect" with my first fiancee (as such, filtering the memory to focus only on the "good parts" and to blame myself for the relationship's collapse). That involved finding a new girlfriend, getting engaged, and this time fully committing. That was "The Jack serves the Queen," the search for a mate, so to speak.
My break with reason during my depression led to this fantatical thinking, that somehow all of the problems I had going on in my life would be magically solved by falling in love and living happily ever after. The cabin dream, essentially, was "Here is your ultimate dream girl, go and find her," but it wasn't going to end in romance and happily ever after. It was going to lead to something else. After I met the dream girl in real life, I'd decide the way to break the pattern was to not give up on the primary option. There could be no distractions, no settling for "something else" or giving up. This would produce tunnel vision and a kind of fundamentalist dogma found its way into my approach. As a result, I would trample some people because everything else was secondary. And, as such, I mostly fucked it all up.
The result is a reinterpreation of what a Queen is in my personal mythology. She does not represent my soul mate or ultimate love or anything like that, although she frequently represents aspects of that. Queens have a profound impact on the course of my life's narrative. They alter my course, help me find my way when I'm lost in the weeds, and sometimes they come to my rescue. This was made obvious in 1997, when I was being too obtuse to see it, when I'd meet three different women who I'd come to love in different ways. There was Christine, who led me to Orlando. She was the perfect practical girlfriend and partner for me and lived somewhere that suited my needs. There was Tina, the enigmatic dream girl. And then there was Victoria, the embodiment of my ideal match. Three years after my suicide, at which point I was convinced I would never know love, this was where I was and as the situation evolved, it became clear I would not "end up" with any of them. I would, in one way or another, lose all three, but each was a part of the puzzle. Together they were the first Named Queens of Rancho Nuevo, the realm of my unconscious, as each would play a very meaningful role in the most pivotal year of my life.
The appearance of the pattern in this way convinced me that the elements of the card dealer dream had played out. Now the focus was on Tina the dream girl and why I was directed to find her, but this was a form of literalism. I was expecting to see this card thing play out and at the end of 1997 I believed it had. This was why I missed the next appearance of the pattern, which also began with Tina and led to Christina and Tammy, collectively known as the Queens of Mythology. The pattern would repeat itself until 2016, when I met a series of three young women at my place of employment. This time there was no physical attraction, no sexual tension. They were more like daughters and two of the three are gay. This appearance of the pattern spelled it out for me because the lens of sexual attraction and romance was removed and I saw what I was doing with the pattern. I was making the second and third "queens" feel a certain way because my attention was elsewhere. I was deciding that someone deserved my attention and concern based on how much they interested me rather than because they needed my help or friendship.
The key to breaking the pattern was to recognize each of the queens as equally important, or as another dream once told me, "Each is a unique entity with their own identity, not one above or below another."
The Sisterhood of the Golden Sky
Prominent in many dreams, the Sisterhood replaced the Priesthood after my death, which is connected to the change to "The Jack serves the Queens." The Priesthood was rather strict in their interpretation of things, and of the need to find "The Queen," essentially The One. The Sisterhood represents the "new faith" where the "Jack serves the Queens." Over time I've seen many of their faces, and they are the faces of the women I've come to know and develop meaningful friendships with over the years, some of which were fairly short term. As the first Sister, Chris, told me in 1994, "We enter each other's stories for a while and we leave when our part ends."
Their appearance in dreams also follows my post-suicide shift to having almost all female friends, whereas prior to my suicide I had almost all male friends. The shift in my influences because of this play a big part in defining the journey. At the time of my suicide I complained that I would never understand women. What did I do after my suicide? I would date fifty women in fifty weeks, not to sleep with them, but to get to know them. Some would become Sisters. There is a practical reasoning to this, even as I did it unconsciously at the time. If you want to understand a certain group of people, spend time with them and get to know them, don't try to define them from a distance.
Chris was named the first Sister because she sought me out in the weeks after my suicide because she saw the conflict within me. It was a conflict she was familiar with herself, and after she got me comfortable with her, she would get me to open up about my suicide and the dreams. She would have the ankh that I have since worn regularly around my neck made as "a reminder of who you are." The most important element of our connection came when she revealed herself to also be someone who came back from suicide. She'd help me discover faith in myself and the idea that maybe these dreams were trying to tell me something important.
Over the years, the ranks of the Sisterhood have grown. While the Queens alter my path, lead me to new paths, or help me find it when I've lost my way, the Sisterhood keeps me on the path like shepherds of the faith, which is why I believe they appear as nuns. It is also probably connected to the fact that once someone is named a Sister, our relationship becomes defined as strictly platonic.
The Jacks of Rancho Nuevo
Essentially, in the unconscious realm I am known as "The Jack of Rancho Nuevo." There are other Jacks, but almost all of them is some version of me. Blackjack, who runs the Blackjack Saloon, is my shadow self, a collection of my worst impulses, especially the ones that involve inaction or apathy. He's almost always neutral in his stances on everything when I encounter him, except on one issue. He resents me for rejecting him through my suicide, insinuating that my suicide was a way to condemn him to being banished to an existence within a depraved saloon that he runs but has no control over. In one dream he refers to me as his shadow.
The man with the folding chair who appeared in my death dream is a Jack. I call him the Terminal Jack, as I believe he represented me at my "scheduled death" as opposed to my suicide death in 1994. He represents potential and maybe he knows shit about my future.
The Void Jack appears during The Excommunication War. I believe him to be the embodiment of total chaos. He is a gigantic version of myself with no face, dressed like Death and carrying a scythe that pretty much turns everything in his path to dust. The realm is his realm and "fuck you all." If the red rider army and the blue flame represents the nuclear option, Void Jack is total armageddon. He dusts an entire red rider army with one wave of his scythe and extinguishes the wall of blue flame with a flip of his arm. What the Void Jack really represents is my deepest, darkest side. It is me riding the dragon and burning everything and everyone. He is, essentially, a representation of the realm being my unconscious, my realm, over which I can exert godlike power over any time I want. To embrace that side of you is intoxicating and extremely dark. That element of one's being provides the kind of power that creates cult leaders and serial killers. Power corrupts.
Part of the urgency in the dreams came from a regular reminder that told me nothing more than "You have five years." This would connect me with Christina later on, as she also dreamed of an expiration date. I wouldn't die five years after my suicide, but on the five year anniversary of that night my entire life would begin to fall completely apart. Since then, my life goes through a major change every five years and most of them are traumatic.
What I realized later on was that this pattern began before my suicide. The two greatest perceived failures of my life were the way things ended with my fiancee in 1989 and the way my effort to stand on my own and go to college across the country in Arizona with no support system in 1984. That would end in humiliation and reduced me begging my parents to let me come home. The direcction to "go where there is no snow" also likely relates to this. It was an opportunity to "avenge" one of my life's great humiliations. It was a chance move to another city start a new life, proving to myself that I could do it. I believe things stay with us and haunt us until we find resolution.
Give everything you can to everyone you know
The writeup there pretty much covers it.
The Golden City
The line in the death dream, "And the sky will turn to gold" was weirdly realized when I found out the Chili's where I met Tina had an address on Golden Sky Lane and not the main road going past that I thought it was on.
In the dreams, prior to coming to Orlando and after, there is a city of gold. It is the central nerve system of Rancho Nuevo and for it to be properly defended, it must have Named Ones present. It has been under siege by the red riders in dreams, relating to the 1999 collapse, and it serves something as a beacon of hope in dark times. It is basically Camelot, the shining city on a hill, and connects with all those mythological representations. At first, as I was being literal, I thought of it as being Chili's, but it is more of a representation of what was and had the potential of coming to be during The Golden Era, which I consider to be March 1997-June 1999.
It is also where all the Queens and Sisters stood as the last line of defense against the Void Jack when his rage became such that he just destroyed everything in the realm. Why did I need an army of Queens and a massive Sisterhood? To defend me against myself. Every other threat to my being paled in comparison to going head-to-head with my true darkness.