The Aisling

Dream-like in Denver

I’ve always been a very vivid dreamer. I can look back and remember dreams – and nightmares – for years and years, back to when I was a young child. Probably more nightmares than dreams. I’ve even had reoccuring dreams that came to me every night for months.

Lately, though, my dreams have been so “real,” I’ve been reacting physically!  The other night we watched the Coen Brothers’ new version of “True Grit,” which was terrific, but I ended up dreaming that there were big black snakes slithering everywhere! I sat straight up in bed and flipped out. Yuck! I was so upset in my half-woken state that I was determined I’d be letting you all know in my next blog that “they” lied and that Ireland is actually FULL of snakes, ol’ St. Paddy did NOT drive them out! Ha ha. 🙂

But I’ve also had a couple dreams lately that someone was lying next to me in the bed, between Frank and me, and she wouldn’t let me cry for help. Somehow this shadowy figure stole my voice, held me immobile, and even dug her fingernails into my hand to keep me from waking. Luckily, Frank was there to hear my stifled whimper, and woke me.  So strange… what does it mean? Is it stress, or is there a deeper meaning? Or was it “just a bad dream?”

Frank thinks it could be Sleep Paralysis, which often includes visions of an “old hag” or demon sitting on your chest, as in the famous Fuseli painting, “The Nightmare.” I checked it out online and the folklore from all over the world is really interesting, and shares many similarities.  I also found out there’s an upcoming Swedish movie on the subject, creepily titled “Marianne”!!!!!!!

It got me thinking about aislings, or vision poems from the old Irish tradition. Aisling means “dream” or “vision” in Irish, and is also the Irish version of the name Ashley. According to the Wikipedia definition, “in an aisling, Ireland appears to the poet in a vision in the form of a woman, sometimes young and beautiful, sometimes old and haggard. This female figure is generally referred to in the poems as a Spéirbhean (sky-woman; pronounced ‘spare van’). She laments the current state of the Irish people and predicts an imminent revival of their fortunes…”

Now, that’s not so bad… a revival of our fortunes would be quite welcome right now!

Obviously, I’m not much of a poet, or a dream interpreter. I’m not really disturbed too much by these strange visions of late, but I thought I’d just share, what the heck, maybe you’ve experienced something similar?

What do you dream about?

Snow Flower


Wandering graveyards, wandering malls

Searching for faces, scratching the walls

Empty chair rocking in the back of a crypt
Baby brother lost in the water, adrift

 Snakes coil, dishes in oil,
Old crushes and memories spoil

Wilson shouts, my daughter pouts,
Mom wins the jackpot and true love sprouts

Look at the cliff, run at her call,  
“Don’t let go! I’m going to fall!”

Final exams, did far from my best,
Who is this Dark One crushing my chest? 

Sunny Indiana, or is it Montana,
Turn a corner, I’m back in Drogheda

Winding passages, no end in sight
I sleep through the day, I fight the night

 – MK

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2 thoughts on “The Aisling

  1. I love hearing about people’s dreams; it consoles me that, yes, most people do dream very strangely, about very disturbing things. My dreams usually deal with being chased, having to hide, etc. There are usually bits of blood and gore as well. I am so looking forward to being married and living with my fiance so that someone can hear me and wake me up.

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