(Male, 40′s) This nightmare was epic length, a whole story. It took place in the distant past, thousands of years ago. I was a trainee to be a shaman or something and this was my final trial. It was sunset and the whole landscape was a reddish-brown color, burnt sienna, I think they call it. We may have traveled all day to get there. There were a few trees, small scrub-like ones but mostly this rocky, dusty red soil. As I write this down, there’s a sense that this place felt like the pictures I’ve seen of Mars.
I had no idea how much farther we were traveling but we stopped and all of a sudden I looked down and there are these carefully carved stone steps, leading down to a large closed door. I take a few things from my pack, paints and a straw. I get a good look at the other members of the party. There are probably six of us and our skin is almost identically colored to the earth around us. Everyone is bald and has several geometrically patterned tattoos.
The task is that I’m supposed to descend these steps and go through the doors into a cave where I’ll be locked in all night. Somewhere inside – I’m just supposed to “know” where – I am to draw a picture of the spirit being that will watch over me all my life… or something. Initially, I was going to take some tinder to make a fire but the elders suggest that there is only a very little oxygen in the cave so I’d better not do that. And for some reason that makes sense to me, that I’m going to draw a picture of something while I’m sealed up in a cave where I might suffocate.
The next thing I’m doing is snaking my way through this twisty, rocky cave. I think the floor is sandy though so it’s not too unpleasant to walk through which is good because the walls seem pretty rough. I can feel things – images – scraped into the walls which I figure is where other initiates have depicted their spirit creatures. I keep going in a bit further until I no longer feel the scratches but before I get my gear out, I get the sense that there is someone else in the cave with me. Maybe it’s someTHING else. The cave is completely dark but there’s something between me and the cave entrance. I can’t see it but I know that it is entirely covered in hair, thick hair, fur like a bear or a water buffalo. I can hear it breathing but I can’t see it. That’s when I woke up.