Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Nightmare: An American Horror Story

The Rev. Dr. Leah Schade
February 28, 2016

Last night I had one of those vivid nightmares that begins like you’re watching a movie, but then you realize you’re in the story, living the horrible dream.  It was about a monster, a small creature that had been dug up from the ground.  It seemed almost cute in its ugliness at first.  

It was small but hungry.  It started eating anything it could find. It was put in a cage.  It ate and ate and ate, grew and grew and grew.  It started with just plants at first, but then animals – small ones, then larger ones.  It was ravenous, insatiable in its appetite. 

Eventually it was realized that it had to be put back in the ground.  It had to stay buried.  As long as it was buried, it would not hurt anything or anyone.  But dug up, it would continue to grow and consume.  It had no personality, no morals.  Its desire was only to eat and grow.  And it would eventually eat its own cage, get out, and consume the whole earth. 

So a whole troop of people took the caged monster – now huge in size – back to the place from which the unsuspecting person had dug it up.  It was a swamp-like place, dark and creepy.  We started to dig a hole big enough to bury the creature.  But as we dug, we made a horrifying discovery - a whole nest of sleeping, shrunken monsters in the ground.  It was a shrieking-violin moment, a sickening twist in the story.  But we dumped the creature into the ground and quickly covered him up.  He and the other creatures had no power against the soil once we started to bury them again.

We knew someone had to stand guard at this place from then on and protect against any other unsuspecting person digging up one of the creatures.  So from then on, the guardians patrolled the grounds, telling the story to all who came along wanting to dig. 

Reflection:  As I was writing this nightmare in my dream journal (I keep one by my bed), I realized the message immediately.  The monster is fossil fuels.  

They are ugly, but were cute at first.  We thought they could be caged, kept under control, used for our purposes.  But in the end, the thing we thought we were consuming is, in fact, consuming us.  It has a voracious appetite.  No personality, no morals.  It only wants to eat and grow.  The fossil fuel industry has gotten bigger and bigger and has become this horrible nightmare.  

It’s an American Horror Story that has spread around the globe.  It’s eating its own cage and consuming the whole earth. 

After years of keeping a dream journal and paying attention to the messages from my subconscious, I have learned to discern the messages.  Sometimes they are multivalent (having more than one meaning).  But the immediate message from this nightmare came through loud and clear:

The only way to deal with the monster is to keep it in the ground. 

It has to stay safely buried in the soil and guarded so that no unsuspecting person might come along and accidentally dig it up.  It will take vigilance.  But the monster of fossil fuels – coal, oil, methane gas – must stay in the ground.

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