I dreamed I was in a nude cabaret with a married couple I didn't know. They wanted to tell me about a new book they'd written, but it was hard to communicate because the music was loud and we were distracted by the naked lady who was rubbing her crotch against a pole just to our left.
Except it wasn't a dream. Nicole and Michael Sebastian thought it would be amusing to meet for drinks at the Dream Palace, a scary Scottsdale bar featuring an all-nude-girl revue. We met there because the Sebastians are professional dream interpreters who've authored Trust Yourself: Master Your Dreams, Master Your Destiny, and this bar had the word "dream" in its name. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
The Sebastians call themselves the Dream Dudes, although Nicole looks less like a dude than an off-hours Playboy bunny. While nude women gyrated nearby, the Sebastians and I talked, sometimes in circles, about waking and dreaming and the true meaning of Fay Wray.
New Times: What are dreams, really?
Michael Sebastian: They're a memory of our travels in the other dimension. The reason we don't remember them very well when we awaken is because we've gone to places we aren't very familiar with.
Nicole Sebastian: Yes. When we go to sleep, we shut this reality down and hook up to an inner consciousness.
NT: No kidding.
Michael: In our book, we go into quantum physics, and use it to explain how everything in the world is part of a large matrix, where A equals B equals C. I'm hooked up to you, we're both hooked up to Nicole, and we're all hooked up to the distant neutron star in Alpha Centauri II. It's all one. So if I tell you I know exactly what you are thinking right now, it's not so unusual, since we're all connected.
NT: So each of us is connected to some greater intelligence, which is communicating with us while we're asleep? Wouldn't it be better to communicate with us while we're awake?
Nicole: No! When you're asleep you don't have mental things to block the message. When you go to sleep, there's just pure information coming in -- we call it a dream. So in the morning you write down the dream, you decipher its message, and you have the answer.
NT: What if there's no question?
Nicole: That's fabulous! Let me tell you about waking dreams. They're messages from the universe. I came home one day and the clothes rod in my closet had broken. Do you know what that means?
NT: You own too many sweaters?
Nicole: No! It was the universe telling me I have too many hang-ups! Get it? Hang-ups!
Michael: It's like if you're driving and you spill hot coffee, it means you're about to get burnt by someone in your life. Or if you're driving too fast and a cop pulls you over, it means your life is moving too fast in a direction it shouldn't. That's waking dreams.
Nicole: Yes! You get a flat tire, it means your life is out of balance. Your car battery goes dead, it means you're out of energy. Everything means something! It's all parts of a puzzle, and that really makes life cool. I've been sober for 10 years, and what allows me to stay sober is that life is a really entertaining puzzle. I'm constantly working on my own personal puzzle, so I never need to watch TV!
NT: Here's my theory: Dreams are built on things you thought about or saw not long before you went to sleep. Period. Nothing mystical.
Michael: Well, that's true. But there are also important messages in your dreams. Like when we were trying to decide whether to move here from Austin last year. We started seeing synchronicities: I'd see Phoenix license plates; I'd turn on the radio and there'd be a story about the weather in Phoenix; I'd see symbols of phoenix birds everywhere I went.
NT: Speaking of birds, what does it mean when I dream I can fly?
Michael: You're out of your body. Flying dreams are when our energy is traveling to another place. You're in an altered state.
NT: What about the one where I'm back in school, but I'm only wearing Jockey briefs?
Michael: Everyone has that one. It's about feeling vulnerable, and the being in school part means you have some more life lessons to learn. Some issues you didn't face.
Nicole: Sweetie here met me in a dream five years before we actually met.
NT: Did you recognize her when you met her awake?
Nicole: A year later I became a personal trainer. Isn't that incredible?
Michael: Dreams are like déjà vus. Have you ever had a déjà vu, like, "Oh, I've been in this place before"?
NT: Well, not in this place, I assure you. So, what's a nightmare?
Nicole: It's a strong message that's telling you that you need to pay attention. They usually start out as recurring dreams, and then if you don't pay attention they come back as nightmares. Someone turns up the volume on the dream, and it scares you and then you pay attention to it.
NT: My sister keeps talking about "visitation dreams," where dead people from your life come visit you after they die.
Michael: We call that "connecting," and in our seminars we teach how to do it.
Nicole: Yes, and you don't even need that Crossing Over dude, what's his name? All you need is you! It's so beautiful! When you dream, you have the ability to leave your body, just like you do when you die. So your energy form goes where the energy forms of the deceased people already are.
NT: So I think I'm sleeping, but I'm actually hanging out with corpses.
Michael: You're on a journey. You can visit anyone. I often visit my dog, who's dead, and my father, who died not that long ago.
NT: I keep dreaming that my teeth are falling out.
Nicole: Oh! Oh! That's so common! It means there's a situation in your life that you don't understand yet. The teeth falling out means you haven't digested it completely.
NT: Hey, what about wet dreams?
Michael: Nicole asked me that once, when she was in my sociology class.
Nicole: They were the first words I ever spoke to him.
NT: I know a woman who keeps a notepad by her bed. First thing every morning, she writes down her dreams. What's her deal?
Michael: It's a good idea. If you can write them down without moving, that's even better. Because you're in an altered state of consciousness, and if you don't move around a lot, you can really hold the dream until you get it down on paper. Everybody dreams four to six times per night.
Nicole: Unless you're into cocaine psychosis or something, okay?
Michael: Drugs'll mess with your dreams. When I first met Nicole, I was walking her to her car and I looked at her license plate, and it was KRW 975. KRW was the initials of my ex-wife, and I knew it was a message about Nicole: Either this was going to turn into something significant and good, or I was gonna get slammed!
Nicole: Tell me that's not beautiful! Oh, my! I mean!
NT: Here's one: Last night I dreamed that Carol Burnett called me on the phone to ask if she could borrow a photograph of Fay Wray. It turned out that Carol lived in Sunnyslope.
Nicole: That's the dream? What does Sunnyslope mean to you?
NT: Well, a lot of ugly houses.
Nicole: You can score a lot of meth there, too. So, okay. We've got Carol Burnett, and we've got Fay Wray.
Michael: She was in King Kong. So, what did you think about the dream when you woke up?
NT: I thought maybe I shouldn't eat cheese doodles so close to bedtime.
Michael: Well, Carol Burnett called you in the dream. That could be a good thing.
Nicole: Yes, but there's unpleasantness in the dream: Sunnyslope. It's almost like good and bad at the same time: Fay Wray, Sunnyslope.
Michael: Only you know what the dream really means.
NT: Me? You're the Dream Dudes. Okay. Here's another one from last week: I dreamed that Mark Turvin was throwing salsa at me.
NT: He's this guy who wants to be a theater critic, except all his friends are actors, so he can't review plays. We've been having this ongoing discussion about ethics for the past several years.
Nicole: Well, throwing hot sauce is an unethical thing to do.
Michael: Salsa means hot comments.
Nicole: Oh, that's good! Yes!
NT: There aren't many subtle metaphors in dreams, are there?
Nicole: Wait. I want to go back to Carol Burnett. You've got to deliver a picture to someplace unpleasant. But it's Fay Wray! And that's all good, you see? I think it means something. The dream is telling you that something cool is about to happen, even though it might seem kind of unpleasant.
NT: Got it. Okay, how about this one: I dreamed that I went to a KISS concert. The opening act was Dolly Parton. When KISS and Dolly dueted on "Detroit Rock City," I left. In the arena parking lot, an old woman sold me a smoothie and then put a curse on me when I didn't tip her. What does it all mean?
Nicole: Ego stuff! You weren't interested in the concert, you left; you bought a smoothie, and then you didn't even tip the old lady. What's wrong with you? Only you know.
Michael: Things in the dream could have gone smoothly . . .
Michael: Right, the dream would have gone smoothly if you had tipped the old lady, but you didn't, so you ended up with a curse on you.
Nicole: Hey, but listen, you don't really have a curse on you. It's just a symbol.
NT: That's a relief. Okay, now you tell me your dreams and I'll interpret them.
Nicole: Good! I'll go first: We moved to Phoenix, and we needed car insurance. So I dreamed I met with a really young insurance agent and he was rude to me.
NT: It means if you don't let go of your fear of encyclopedia salesmen, someone will run over you with their SUV.
Michael: The other night, I dreamt about bees buzzing around me.
NT: That means you should eat some honey real quick or you'll die.
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Michael: No. It means I should get busy on projects I've been putting off. I need to get busy as a bee.
Nicole: Here's one: I dreamed that a friend of mine went on a date with John Travolta, and he was acting like a lunatic. He kicked down her door, he yelled at her, he pulled down her skirt.
NT: This means you will meet a journalist who will take you to a titty bar and ask you a lot of rude questions. And then he will leave suddenly, and a woman with no blouse on will bring you a clean ashtray and try to sell you a lap dance.