Photo by Kerem Yucel

I was the audience for a show being put on by a theater group. They were staging a symbolic drama in which a totem represented each of the four directions. I recognized the symbolic forms they were using and could see the logic in their choice of images. There was an audience participation element, and as I was one of only two people in the audience, that part was my job. I was irritated by it and thought, I’d really prefer to be one of the performers, an equal in the performance.

Once that was decided, I was backstage in what appeared to be a locker room, helping to put away props. The head of the group was a man, a doctor, who was being played in my dream by a famous actor. There were some inside jokes about this, and this man, who was fond of puns, made a crack about having a “mystic nose,” which always leads him in the right direction.

My fellow audience member and I walked through a door and found ourselves in a hallway full of doors, each with a label that had the potential to be misleading. Each door led to a different time period, a different reality. But the label never matched what was actually on the other side. I recognized the potential for getting lost, as the labels were not trustworthy, and all doors looked the same. Then I realized there was a smaller label on each door, by the handle, that identified who was in charge of and somehow unwittingly creating the reality on the other side. The reality we’d been in was the doctor’s, according to the label. In my mind’s eye, I was able to see some scenes from his life playing out, which gave me some insight into a central conflict that had colored his world. Knowing this, I felt confident we would not be lost in this hallway.

I thought of the doctor and his “mystic nose,” that leads in the right direction. I thought of the secret about the labels marking the doors and the way different realities were created, and thought, perhaps this is what the “mystic knows.”