Whilst peaceably seated admiring the beauty spread so bountifully about me I was suddenly struck by a vision, an overpowering visualization of suddenly being surrounded by and encoated with a seeming inexhaustible deluge of ash falling from the heavens. So intense was the realism of this apparition that mine eyes craftily created a mirage to my imaginings of myriad particles unabatedly descending, my nostrils embracing the noxious essence of such a powdery doom.
I shook my head, the image dispersed, yet secretively remained flattened hard beneath my regained reason, haunting, threatening, promising, fatally predicating the falling detritus marking the end of times ordained to materialize, unavoidably conjured, destined to come to pass.
Was a time I set aside such premonitions, preferring the cold hard face of scientific fact or published edict to the vagaries of psychic perturbation, perhaps assuming that all things sensory must be real and by diametric opposition all intuitional illusionary. Age and experience are a cure for most assumptions, peeling back the layers of camouflage inclined to enclose any certitude like the outer skin of an onion, initially appearing inviolable, and predictable, but once unwrapped proving malleable, full of possibilities.
Hypnagogia defines the condition of being half awake and half dreaming, a state commonly or occasionally experienced by all. Sometimes sub divided into hypnapompia, referring restrictively to being half awake, and hypnagogia, restrictively referring to being half asleep, the onset invariably produces threshold consciousness, with innumerous medical, physiological, and psychological symptoms and effects. Naturally occurring transitions betwixt sleep and wakefulness or vice versa are generally fleeting but can be extended by sleep disturbance or deliberate induction. The use of meditation, trance, hallucinogenic medicants or sleep deprivation are often used to artificially apply such states in the hopes of enhancing mental acuity, although whether artificial induction can ever truly reproduce the effects of natural dual state experience is open to debate.
The undesigned, causal melding of sleep and consciousness produces sufficient alteration in perspective and cognition to equally alarm and sooth the psyche. Wondrously floating enraptured above the crib, not yet somnastic, but blissfully safe, enclosed in almost womb like condition, or the slow evolving awareness of light, movement, sound, smell, so often preceding stirring and full mental acuteness. Such intermediary conditions can be embraced, dispatched, elongated, or ceased quite succinctly, depending on multiple variables, physical urgency, temporal constraint, emotional situance. We all on occasion are inclined to roll over when we should rise or physically combat an overwhelming imperative to sleep, but few drive such intermediary conditions to produce, welcome or indulge visions, the netherworld, the dimensions of illusion, the possible, the prophetic.
Day dreaming, musing, Walter Mitty-ism, streams of consciousness detached from surrounding physical reality are the bricks and mortar of neurosis, fantasy, and religious fervor alike, experienced by the multitudes, cultivated by the many, understood, elucidated by but few, the prophet, the seer.