Between astrological movements and our stomach contents, the worldly accounting for dreams takes in a wide posture of figures. There is a second reckoning that assigns them a value divine, demonic, or purgatorial. Let these prices all be levelled, like the rope, case, and plaque on an exhibit. For they are a warning and a protective measure, for the veritable nature of dreaming. That is nature in the sense of the undisturbed, for whatever the sequence of odd events, dreams are encapsulated by the fixed mood of the dreamer. A self that lasts the course of the dream and in collision with the waking self, like the dew before the morning sun, effects an air of transformation.

Last night, I had a dream in the religious mood. I am not frequently to have these. In the last of this type, I recall sweeping over an angelic titan; it was a dream of silvery limbs. I have never felt any urge to share this or describe the accompanying sensations, nor the words of the voice that sounded it out. Tonight’s dream is a different case entirely. It is by degrees mundane. It is wrapt in daily life, in reading life, and finally in pure vision. It can be approached in that sequence, it can be described after the fact. The mood of this dream can be captured on waking, I think now as I write this; indeed, I thought it must when I decided to write this. And this impulse comes from nowhere and is not in the dream itself; it might be an evil thing.

I am sitting in the public library. A small desk and low plastic chairs, you might remember from elementary school, pushed close against the shelves of unreadable reference material. This is a corner where one goes for quiet, not for reading, but across from me is an old woman reaching into a paper bag with a rustle. It seems not to come from the bag but her dry hand. This old person is picking out chestnuts and toasting them with a blowtorch. But instead of toasting the chestnut, her hand is exposed to the flame: it browns, twists, and shrivels, like the time lapse of an autumn leaf.

Nietzsche rounds the corner of the bookcase and puts his foot on the third chair that will not fit under the small desk. He looks like he does on Wikipedia: a Prussian cowboy in a baggy brown suit that hides his slim figure. The comically large moustache. Leaning forward across his raised leg, he comforts the women: “Don’t worry about getting to the service, because the true Orthodox Church has returned.”  I see a book he has written in the hand that is not slung over his knee; it is called Philology of the Christian Church. The burning hand had no smell. I cannot smell the oil in Nietzsche’s too large moustache. There is no sulfur in the air. I’ve read that the visits of demons into our dreams are marked by such propers of the flesh. Perhaps this book was tasked to him in some part of the afterlife. It was believed that souls in Hell sometimes visited dreamers to tell of torments, often ironically related to certain sins. Those in purgatory also came to beg prayers or give warnings. He continues by quoting from it, “there were in fact two Reformations in the Middle Ages.”

“The most important thing is the Holy Spirit.” At this next aside, there is a vision of a cylinder of rock, jagged and encrusted with mountainous forms proportioned to the shape by its much greater size. Around its middle moves a ring of cloud that shifts with the will that mists bred of hills seem to show, but never so freely that the resemblance to a planetary ring is lost. The suggestion then is that this cloud of the rock, this moving spirit bred up by the monolith is the true Church? Or is that rock Peter, that one ascending pillar of the one true Catholic Church, and those vapours vain illusions bred up by the climate of the vast form? I hesitate to find it out in further description, because each word that seeks to translate the memory of a vision kills a part of it and I find it beginning to disintegrate, what it did not lose in hours of waking thought it has lost in minutes of writing. The time for this grows exceedingly short.

The material exposition of this dream would be a sore. I did have on sleeping a wound on my big toe, which had been growing for several days, acquiring different oozing humours and a pulsing life of its own. I seemed to feel a shooting pain from it connect to my heart, an infection and light fever in the blood, a fire vine. All this without waking and before the dream proper. If the dream passed in that fever or after it, I cannot say. Apart from the half-remembered repetitions of the Lord’s Prayer, I can say did follow it.  The toe seems to be getting better today.

There could yet be some infernal machinery at work. An accounting of planetary signs, an opening and closing of demonic toll booths that moved this message from my general waking life to this true dream. From this dream to your waking life. In the cosmic balance, it could simply be to distract you in mundane reading from something important. To some reader, it may contain a dangerous message, a seed of meaning that will grow up serpent-headed flowers. Yet the message would seem to remain: “the most important thing is the Holy Spirit.” The most important form of the Church is the Holy Spirit.