Two nights ago I had a spiritually fraught dream– right on the heels of finding a snake in my driveway. Coincidence?
I dreamed I was in a mansion with endless rooms, but the dwelling had long been abandoned. There was hardly any furniture, most rooms lacked electricity, everything was dirty and dusty. There were people in the mansion but they didn’t live there. They seemed to just be hanging around. They looked sad, poor, worn out, standing or seated in groups. The many mansion bedrooms were empty. I wandered through the bedrooms and to my surprise found a woman in one of them. She looked at me sadly as I asked questions. I understood, as I spoke to her, that she was deceased and I was on “the other side.” She was evasive and wouldn’t answer specifics as to what this place was or why the bedrooms were empty, despite there being people in the house.
I kept wandering and found a group of sickly people in what looked like a hospital room (this room was one of the few rooms with electricity). I pleaded for them to move into the bedrooms, since it would be more comfortable. I asked for a show of hands of how many wanted a private bedroom, and a few raised their hands. I assured them I’d go through the mansion counting bedrooms, to see exactly how many would fit.
After counting bedrooms I was on the grounds and discovered smaller buildings filled with dilapidated antiques. A muslim family was squatting in one of these buildings. By this point I had a “guide,” a quiet, sad young woman but she too was evasive when I pressed for details. Finally she announced in a direct manner, “There’s no mass here.” (referring to Catholic mass) And she repeated it. “You know there’s no mass here?”
By this point in the dream it dawned on me concretely I was experiencing something foreboding and supernatural. I began to wonder if this was a vision of hell. As I spoke to my “guide” we neared a large crowd approaching a gate.
“What do you mean there’s no mass here? What about other religions?”
She looked nervous as though not knowing what to say.
I became frightened and began to pray the first prayer that came to mind– the first lines of the Amidah. When I uttered these words the entire crowd turned to stare, their faces contorting in a demonic way (like Jacob’s Ladder, but not quite as creepy), and I was propelled back by an invisible force. I was so frightened that I willed myself to wake up.
So what was all that about?? Did I indeed have a vision of hell? Note to self: if my soul is going to the effort of journeying to the netherworld, I would love to see my paternal grandmother whom I dearly miss after 18 years of worldly absence. But she was nowhere to be found in this dream. Of course, she probably made it to heaven, not hell. She was a beautiful and saintly human being.
I decided to consult the household spiritual guru, my 2nd grader who was recently saved.
“You saw… saw… saw hell,” she informed me with great authority in her voice. “But something doesn’t… doesn’t make sense? Hell has pits… pits… of fire. You didn’t see fire.”
Good point. There were no pits of fire in the mansion, nor on the grounds. Perhaps the pyres devouring sinful souls were on the other side of the gates.
After reflecting on the dream I began to wonder if I was approaching it erroneously from a christian angle. How, for instance, would a hindu view the dream? Perhaps those gates would not be gates to hell, but gates to reincarnation. And why were the muslims squatting outside the mansion? None of it made sense.
Didn’t The X-Files descibe dreams as answers to questions we haven’t yet asked? I guess this dream could fall into that category. And of course, I’m skeptic enough to just label it as a dream, misfirings of a tired brain.