Through the Eyes of a Five-Year-Old

I just had the most amazing conversation with my five-year-old son. Among other things, we talked about some of the dreams he’d been having. Most surprising to me, and not a little pleasing, was one dream where he was floating through his room, bouncing off the ceiling; I’d had the exact same dream when I was his age. In fact, much of my dream-work later in life derived from this early experience. Just as surprising to me was his declaration that he’d also dreamed that ‘goblins had been attacking him.’ I recalled my own dream of trolls and goblins coming in through my windows when I was ten or eleven and living in an ancient house in Virginia. We spoke about his dream further and the following account came out.

He dreamed that he was dressed in armour, but the metal was actually a part of his body. Goblins were attacking him but they were (in his words) ‘transformers.’ Now, I take this to mean that they were shape-shifters, and his weapons had no effect on them. Then, what was worse, his mother appeared demanding his three-year-old sister in order to eat her. The goblins, being ‘good but freaked out’, then attacked her, so to escape them she began running to various houses along our street. The first two were locked (shades of Echtra Nera in my mind), but the third was open. She entered only to find (not Gideon’s Bible) but Santa Clause, the Baby Jesus, and a Christmas Tree, all of which were roasting marshmallows: yes, even the tree. The Baby Jesus (this is a terminology adopted from his cousins and grandparents) then took out a mask of invisibility, put it on, and promptly disappeared. That was when he woke up.

There are so many things that are interesting about this that I have a hard time really knowing where to start. The goblins, for example, were not some >ahem< childhood hobgoblin, but genuinely autonomous agents enacting a performance of moralizing hostility. They were the truest mask of the *ghosti that I’ve ever encountered, but the mask of invisibility has a power and elusive mystery that I cannot even begin to pierce. I would love to see the Christmas trinity as an embodiment of Indo-European tripartition, with the fecund and otherworldly tree of plenty standing opposite to the the sagacious and benevolent offerer of bounty (as the result of ethical judgment), but I am not sure what to do about the whole Baby Jesus persona. It seems mightily facile and I am uncomfortable to see it as the Christian trinity: the tree being representative of the holy spirit, Jesus being the son, and Santa the father, and what does the mask mean anyway?

One thing that I am certain of now is that when we as parents undertake a spiritual goal, as with my current developing use of dream-work, our family is naturally involved as well and especially our children. I am reminded of Levi-Strauss’ admonition that shamans must live alone because the spiritual backlash of working with elemental forces can cause illness in loved-ones. The reality of this will certainly inform my decisions as to how I wish to follow and make my spiritual path.

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