Monday, 9 December 2013

Living Bodies

When we dream, we seem to leave our bodies and to enter another realm where it is possible to meet, i. e., to dream about, the dead. It was a logical deduction that each of us has or is a soul that leaves its body temporarily in sleep and permanently at death. This primitive world-view is assumed in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman and in the related comic book series: Swamp Thing; John Constantine: Hellblazer; Lucifer; The Dreaming etc.

In these works, reality is divided into:

a living, waking world of many universes and planes;
the Dreaming;
a multitude of hereafters whose contents are determined by the expectations of the dying, although this process is collective, not individual.

The universe generates anthropomorphic personifications of Death and Dream and of five different processes in the living, waking world:

Destiny determines the course of events;
Desire determines life-processes;
Despair, Delirium (that was Delight) and Destruction perhaps personify inevitable consequences of life-processes?

The Dreaming is inhabited by its Lord and his staff and is visited by the living. At least, their souls visit it while their bodies remain unconscious back home. Can a living body enter the realms of Death or Dream? It seems that it can. John Constantine ventures bodily into Hell more than once.

When Morpheus/Dream was absent from his realm for seventy years, four major Arcana left the Dreaming and traveled to Earth. The four included Brute and Glob, personifications of brute strength and base cunning, who want to establish an independent dreaming controlled by themselves. To this end, they:

find a young boy, Jed Walker;
mentally manipulate his foster parents to maltreat him so that he will frequently retreat into dreams;
isolate his mind from the true dreaming and reside within it.

When Jed dreams, he enters not the realm of Morpheus but a newly created "dream dome" where he meets Brute and Glob with their puppet "Sandman", Hector Hall, and Hector's pregnant wife, Lyta. Hector had died. Thus, Brute and Glob were able to divert his soul from any of the hereafters into Jed's mind. However, their first Sandman was still alive, as is Lyta, although for the time being her thoughts are slowed and her pregnancy is suspended. So where is Lyta's living body? It is not in the basement with Jed so it must be in the dream dome in his mind?

Similarly, when Morpheus converses with, and proposes to kill, Rose Walker in the Dreaming, Hal finds in Rose's room not her sleeping body but an empty bed. So Constantine goes physically to Hell, Lyta goes physically to the dream dome and Rose goes physically to the Dreaming? - although it is usually just souls that go to these places?

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