I dreamt of Caesar again last night. In Dante's Limbo, we were on the borders of Hell. I guess I had not heard that the Pope had already closed the Gates of Limbo. Or did he?
Well, in my dream, I was an angel descended from Paradise (a thousand years imagining paradise). No doubt, this must have greatly surprised my Caesar since he has come to believe that I spend my evenings flying round Japan on my broomstick... but guess what? I do that too.
It was my wings that gave away my angelic state. Sheer like the thinest, most finest silk in the world, they were shimmering rainbow wings (fairylike and reminsicent of Yang Guifei's famed dress of feathers):
Her most beautiful dress, a gown "shimmering like sunlight" was made of rare feathers brought as tribute to the Emperor. It was a fairylike robe which she wore to perform the famous Rainbow Dance (still preserved in modern Japan) before the Emperor. A dress of feathers was the dream of every woman of the Tang Court.
Touching down in Great Limbo, I found him there. Dressed like Dante all in white, he introduced himself to me as Caesar. And, thereby recognizing him in his ghostly person, I stepped forward and told him: On the edge of Hell, Limbo is the place where shades are punished by having many great desires but no hope.
Virgil was there, of course, as was Plato and Socrates. There was Euclid and Ptolemy; Hippocrates and Galen were there as well. Seneca and Zeno; Averroes and Avicenna. If truth be told, indeed, the company was so good in Limbo that-- at first-- one could hardly feel sorry for those who found themselves there.
And, none were sinners per se. But they lacked faith. And for no other evil then this, they find themselves forever Lost with no hope; living in longing.
Then in my dream I stepped very close to him and pulled out a scroll of an illustration a friend had once shown me from an old Bible. A tree of death (or the tree of sin). I there pointed to the very worst sin-- that of faithlessness (despair or apostasy).
And that was it.
The mood of the dream was very comforting-- everything was lit up in warm sunlight and my wings were pure shimmering splendor. Unfortunately, aftre waking from the dream I became increasingly downcast as I realized that the dream was not about caesar at all.
To have desire but no hope, being reminded of this state of limbo on the edge of hell, I thought of Dosteovsky's concept from Brothers K about hell being nothing more than the inability to love. And when you really think about it, what is truly necessary for love but hope and faith?
This is Dante writing to the Fedeli d'Amore:
To every heart which the sweet pain doth move,
And unto which these words may now be brought
For true interpretation and kind thought,
Be greeting in our Lord's name, which is Love.
Of those long hours wherein the stars, above,
Wake and keep watch, the third was almost nought,
When Love was shown me with such terrors fraught
As may not carelessly be spoken of.
He seemed like one who is full of joy and had
My heart within his hand, and on his arm
My lady, with a mantle round her, slept;
Whom (having wakened her) anon he made
To eat that heart; she ate, as fearing harm.
Then he went out; and as he went, he wept. (tr. D. G. Rossetti)
Adonis and I arrived safe and sound in the western part of his empire last night. Blasting music and dancing in pure joy, his grandma said: "Not many kids can move their hips like that, you really should sign him up for a hip-hop class"... and looking at him shaking his booty, I remembered the way the kids danced in Africa. Just like my baby.
I had fallen in love with someone else and so had broken off my engagement with his father... but going to visit him down there-- he was like a different person. In Africa. He danced in pure joy too. Sometimes people would come up to him in the streets and shops in Mafeteng and want to dance-- right there.. And-right there-- he would dance. I thought, it is a diferent universe here. Once we were driving way into the mountains of the Kingdom in the clouds and these two little girls were dancing by the side of the road smiling and smiling as they danced in the wind. There was no music. My baby dances like that. Sometimes when I think about South Africa, I think it must be how it feels like in Heaven-- a place where people can change.
--Out of Africa (in LA)
Just noticed Namit's post at 3Quarks on Islamic Mysticism: the Mystic Tide. Recommended.