Dream: The Crimson Flamingos and the Shah of Persia

Dream 20021016, 2 AM:

The dream starts out with the huge crimson flamingos. My first image of them is someone picking up one which has been injured in a large truck. They are about the size of ostriches; they look down on me as I look at them.

Then, they are in a fenced area where the garden is at the Kingwood house. I am frightened of them, because they look like they could inflict a vicious bite, but I finally get up the nerve to approach one of them, and he is sweet, rubbing his head against my hand like a kitten. Their faces are covered in very soft feathers. I enjoy them very much, and spend time talking with them and petting them. After a while, I need to examine their wings, and see if their injuries are healed enough to return them to the wild. I try to reach forward and lift the tip of one wing, but the bird dodges its head at my hand as if it’s going to bite me. I draw my hand back. Inspiration dawns, and I realize that what I need to do is show him what I’m trying to do; I stretch my hand upward and out in a wing-like shape, spreading my fingers. He follows suit, and I can see where the primary flight feathers are still not grown in. It looks almost like they have been pinioned, but I can see the tiny growth starting to come in. I tell him that soon they will be able to go back to the wild.

Then, without me noticing a transformation, the flamingo has somehow become a man. He is kind of rough-looking, and leans against the back of the fence. The chain-link fence there is on the back of the garden space too, where the wood fence now is. He explains to me that he doesn’t really want to go back to the wild; he says it’s a “tight world” out there, and they are happy here.

Then, with a huge rush of wings and noise, birds of all kinds begin to fill the back yard. They are coming from an area near the back door of the house, and settling in the trees. I see rosy-cheeked white cockatoos (these don’t exist, I think, but that’s what I see) and other kinds of birds of many colors; they all land in various trees and look around. From the same place where they were issuing forth, a man with a huge retinue of attendants starts walking. He’s wearing a brilliant sapphire blue robe with gold braid trim and a big head dress; I know that he is the Shah of Persia or some such title (I knew the title clearly in my dream, but lost the words on waking; Shah of Persia captures the essential meaning) and he is here paying a state visit. I see Dad bowing to him, and Mom. There is a little girl with him, dressed in Elizabethan costume in bright scarlet velvet and gold; I say something about her being the child Princess Elizabeth, and she nods as if to confirm it. She has curly hair and a very cute smile, and she’s smiling and happy seemingly the whole time. Mom is talking to someone in the Shah’s retinue about how to boil eggs. I feel a little disgusted at my parents for sucking up to this guy; he seems very self-important, and they are acting silly, bowing and scraping.

Then, without transition, I’m in a dark temple space. There are silk cloths on altar-shaped wooden benches and tables, and more pieces on the floors. The floor appears to be stone or concrete, and the walls and all the benches and tables are the same kind of rough-grained dark wood. It’s about the color of walnut or stained oak, but it’s got a rougher grain. It looks rough-hewn, as if it were split with an axe and squared, but not planed or sanded off. I am doing a dance through the temple that involves touching the silk fabrics at different places at different points in the dance; I move through the temple in a set pattern, moving from piece to piece of the silk. I feel like I’m practicing, like there will be an official ritual here in just a little while, and I have to get ready.

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