December 19, 2011

Flying dreams - Jünger's and mine

December is for dreaming and my own clear favourites are flying dreams. Here then, from Das Abenteuerliche Herz, Zweite Fassung, is my translation of "Flugträume", followed by an exposition of my own flying dreams and perhaps comments from readers with theirs!

"Flying dreams are like memories of the possession of a special spiritual power. In truth, they are more dreams of floating, throughout which a sense of gravity always remains. We glide forth into the twilight, close over the ground, and if we touch it the dream breaks off. We float down the stairs and out of the house and occasionally raise ourselves over low obstacles like fences and hedges. At these points, we push ourselves up with an exertion that we feel in our bent elbows and balled fists. The body is semi-prone, as though we were lying comfortably in an armchair, and we float with legs forward. These dreams are pleasurable; but there are other horrible ones in which the dreamer flies over the ground in a rigid posture, bent forward with his face down. He raises himself stiffly from the start, in a sort of catalepsy, by tracing a circle over his toes with his body. He glides in this manner over nightly streets and squares, once in while popping up like a fish before lonely passersby and staring into their terrified faces.

How effortless by contrast seems the lofty flight that we see on early floating pictures. Pompey is a site for such finds as well. A wonderful, uplifting vortex bears up the figures here, though it barely seems to ruffle their hair or robes."

Years ago, an unorthodox biology professor of mine made an informal survey of the various flying dreams we students had - soaring, floating, prone, upright, etc. At the time I had nothing to contribute, but at some later point, I began "learning to fly" in my dreams. Regarding the possibility of learning in dreams, Jünger himself talks of waking up after certain dreams with the impression that he had been "practicing with exotic new weapons". In my case, once initiated upon this new course of study, it developed over the years to the point that I could now outclass Superman and perhaps even soar with an angel!

December 4, 2011

The Tree - an unofficial translation for the Munich exhibition

For any non-Germans visiting the Munich photographic exhibition "Über Bäume und Gestein. Albert Renger-Patzsche und Ernst Jünger", here is an unofficial translation I found of "Der Baum".

"Every language contains a wealth of words that constitute its being. Poetry lives by them. As if a bell had been rung, they awaken an aura of echoes in us. “Tree” is one of these words.
Albert Renger-Patzsch, Astwerk einer Solitärfichte, ca. 1960, Albert Renger-Patzsch Archiv | Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde, Pinakothek der Moderne © Ann und Jürgen Wilde, Zülpich / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

The Tree is one of life’s great symbols, perhaps its greatest. And thus it has been admired, honored and also worshipped through the ages by men and by peoples. Its height and breadth, its many centuries of age, and its majestic, protective stature seemed worthy of veneration.