I dreamed I was in hell last night. I might as well have been in hell judging by the nightmarish quality of the dream—dreamed not in deep sleep but in the hypnagogic state—in which monsters were chasing me and tearing into, tearing apart, my flesh.

It seemed all the more real because it was partly lucid. If I didnt exactly tell myself I was in hell I knew these monsters were beings of hell. There was no fire and I had no real sense of place, only the fear and sensation of being physically torn apart. Shamanic dismemberment immediately comes to mind. (Now at least; it didnt then.) But I have experienced willing dismemberment in a shamanic journey and it had none of the hellish, nightmarish quality of last night’s dream.

Though it was partly lucid I was unable to escape these monsters and their ravages until I finally willed myself awake. Come to think, I believe as I was willing myself awake, or upon doing so I did tell myself this is what hell is like. Or rather, this is hell. But I also told myself it is all in my mind. Which didnt make the nightmarish quality of it any less potent. But it does put it into an intellectual perspective that redeems one’s sanity.

One other interesting thing about the nightmare, attesting further to my lucidity within it, is that either as I was coming out of it or right after I did, I expressed to the monsters an acceptance of who they were, that they were only being themselves, and thus I had no hatred or animosity toward them. When they dissolved I gave them no further thought.

Though when I was fully awake I searched my memory to discover what might have given rise to this nightmare. I remembered having visited a rather edgy, somewhat dark website that afternoon; it was the only thing I could imagine might have precipitated the nightmare. But I was far from convinced it had, especially since I liked the site and found it inspiring.

It almost bothered me more that I’d had this nightmare than the nightmare itself. Especially since I do not believe in hell. Or believe that hell is only in one’s mind, a figment of either diseased or self-righteous religious imagination (perhaps one and the same). At any rate, something strong and compelling and therefore worth taking note of had provoked it. But I have not been able to discern with any conviction what exactly it might have been.