Dream: Liturgy and priesthood

Last night’s dream:

I was on a spiritual retreat at some place which looked like a mansion; lots of big cushy rooms with expensive furniture. There were other guests on this retreat, perhaps 20 in all. I didn’t really get much of an impression of the other guests; incongruously for the surroundings, most of us were dressed very casually. I, for instance, was in my usual T-shirt and jeans. We engaged in only light discussion of our spiritual backgrounds/beliefs, mostly having just small talk, weather, sports, pop culture, etc.

A few of the guests however were dressed as clergy. There was a sense that they were all of one sect/school of belief; and while the general “look and feel” of their attire suggested Catholic or (more likely) Orthodox Christian, there was no overt naming of a deity or prophet, so they were sort of “generic”. They were implied to be the hosts/”facilitators” of the retreat, though at least initially they took no lead in the conversations, and merely conversed casually like the rest of us.

At some point each of the guests was given an object which served as a token/memento of the retreat, but it had some practical function as well. It looked like a pocket watch or large locket, golden, decorated with filigree. On the inside was an ikon of some sort (I will use the Greek spelling “ikon” to distinguish it from the modern computing sense of “icon”, for a reason which will be apparent in a moment). I didn’t get a good look at any other guest’s locket, nor can I clearly remember the ikon in mine, but I had the impression that tiny details of the device and the Being represented in each was specific to that guest.

The clergy also had these devices, though they were somewhat more impressive in appearance, and although the dream did not explicitly say this, one had the impression that they had them before their arrival.

Almost immediately after I obtained mine, one of the lower rank of the clergy, a priest or deacon I suppose, walked up to me and asked if I would accept his locket in exchange for mine. I protested, not out of any particular attachment to mine, but simply politely and modestly, because his was obviously more “special” than mine, but he insisted. I was not aware of this happening to any of the other guests, and while there were some general congratulations and “oohs and aahs” at the new locket, I perceived no resentment or envy from the other guests.

The devices had some interesting properties; I distinctly recall a short workshop on how to operate them correctly. They were capable of producing music, or perhaps of controlling the music system in the mansion; I clearly recall fiddling with my (“upgraded”) one and suddenly everyone could hear the main theme from Star Wars and there was much merriment. I don’t know what else they could do.

Finally (I wasn’t clear on whether this was all in one day or over several days) there was a ritual conducted in one room. It resembled Eucharist or Orthodox Divine Liturgy in that a priest at the front of the room had a plate of bread, which was sanctified, and then cut into pieces. It was cut in full view of our group, though, unlike in the Orthodox rite where the bread is cut without the People being present. Also, I don’t remember wine of any sort; and in addition to the pieces which were cut, there were some other pancake-shaped pieces left intact. (Only one pancake was left for sure, but I have the impression of others being there.)

Words were said by the priest who cut the bread, to consecrate it, but I remember none of them. I don’t recall any foreign/barbarous words, though; my impression is that all was done in English, for all to understand.

Now I should mention that before the Liturgy began, when all the guests were gathered, the guest on my right was one of the clergy, although he was attending the liturgy as an observer or member of the congregation, rather than as a full celebrant. And we chatted a bit before the ritual, and he then insisted on giving me his locket-ikon-device as had the other cleric before him. And his was even more impressive, because I addressed this man as “Metropolitan”; for those not in the know, a metropolitan bishop is the bishop presiding over a major city or province, so this is an Important Person.

Another amusing bit of this was that while he was there in a robe/alb trimmed with gold and in an appropriately clerical hat (not a Catholic miter; possibly a bishop’s biretta or an Orthodox bishop’s crown), I was standing there in a T-shirt and, I think at that point I was not merely in jeans, but in denim shorts and tennis shoes. But no one (least of all the metropolitan) seemed to care. It may be worth noting that the T-shirt I was wearing was my plain orange one, orange being the kabbalistic color of Mercury.

And the metropolitan gave me some words about the liturgy: whereas most guests would simply receive a small piece of the cut bread, like receiving the Body in Eucharist, he was going to perform an adoration of the intact “pancake” piece when he got to the altar, and invited me to do likewise.

When the liturgy reached the appropriate point, everyone queued up. All the guests held out their hand and received their piece of bread, which they ate and proceeded out of the room. But the metropolitan lifted the pancake off the altar and gazed at it for a moment, then brought it to his face and kissed it before putting it back on the altar.

I, after him, received and ate my piece of bread; then I looked at the pancake upon the altar for a long moment. Rather than picking it up, I bowed a respectful but not subservient bow to it, and then proceeded out. I noticed smiles of approval on the faces of the celebrating priest and others nearby.

The last thing before I woke, I received an electronic message from the metropolitan. I don’t recall if it was sent via text, or email, or even through the locket-devices; I just see the message occupying the whole of the “screen” on which the movie of the dream was being played. He informed me that clearly I was ready to advance, or learn, or be initiated; I don’t remember the exact words, but the essence was “Would you like to go on to the next level of the Mysteries?” And I replied that I very much would like to do so, and I woke up.