Have you ever found yourself in a particular place or situation, going about your business, and suddenly pulled yourself up short, coming to the conclusion that you have experienced that exact place or situation before – knowing as sure as you’re standing there that you never have been in that place or situation? I have found myself in such situations – more often than I care to admit – and, at the very least, I find them unsettling. An eerie feeling comes over me, and while I do my best to shake off such unwelcome sensations, I can’t help but consider George Lucas was on to something when he worked Force dreams into the Jedi’s abilities. Dreams – they’re pretty powerful stuff!
At a recent gathering with friends, when we meet to play the Wisconsin mainstay Sheepshead [one can’t live here without becoming familiar with the card game; I resisted for years, being a transplant from Chicago, but eventually I threw in the towel, and learned the game.], I found myself with an incredibly strong hand. Before play commenced, I asked my husband, a native Wisconsinite and much more knowledgeable about Sheepshead’s intricacies than I am, and someone who is well acquainted with my “maverick” style of play to give me a bit of advice how to put my trump-heavy hand to the best possible use [only five people play a round so there always is someone in our group sitting on the sidelines]. Tom and I headed down the dimly lit hallway of our friends’ home, I showed him my incredible hand, and I suddenly was overcome with the sensation that the two of us were in this exact spot inspecting this exact hand, and whispering about how I could blow the socks off my four opponents. I knew it as sure as I was standing there – and I was just as certain that I never had been in that spot, mulling over how best to play that particular hand – the best hand I’ve ever had 🙂 – with my husband … because I do not ask for assistance [since I don’t employ usual strategies during play, much to the annoyance of the other players].
I never have told that uncanny story to anyone, including Tom, because … well, there are some things that just are best kept to oneself. The cat is out of the bag now! [By the way – I won, big time. It really is a shame (sometimes) that we don’t play for money. 😉 ] This is just one simple example of many other similar situations I’ve experienced. I think it gives credence to those Force dreams the Jedi have. [I am not talking about Force visions the Jedi experience. Those are entirely different from Force dreams. During visions, they are awake; during dreams, they are asleep.]
Anakin certainly had his share of Force dreams – and many of them were so disturbing to him that they led him to commit some unspeakable acts. Remember the scene on the balcony in AOTC when Padmé finds the young Jedi deep in thought … contemplating the dreams he had been having that indicated his mother was suffering, in peril? The disturbances compelled the duo to depart the safety of Naboo, and head for arid Tatooine. There, on Anakin’s home world, Anakin learns his beloved mother had been abducted by the treacherous Tusken Raiders. He goes in search of her; yes, finds her shortly before she passes away, and then, fueled by his uncapped rage, cuts down every single individual in the sleepy village.
And then there are those dreams of his that center on Padmé. So disturbing – no, frightening – were they that he’d force himself awake, his body sweating and lungs heaving, to worry, now awake, about the fate he feared would befall his beloved wife. Driven by fear and the desire to save her, Anakin took that life-changing step to join the forces of evil … all for naught, of course – because, in the end it was he who was responsible for the death of the one person he vowed to protect.
As for Anakin’s son, Luke, we really can’t say for sure that he had Force dreams … although I like to think that Luke did – he just didn’t know what to call them. On Dagobah, in TESB, Luke is setting up camp, and he is overcome by a sense that he may have seen himself in the swampy surroundings. “… It’s like something out of a dream…” Luke muses aloud while trying to clean up R2D2 after the astromech’s “run-in” with the serpent in the murky waters of the humid planet. Out of a dream indeed. Perhaps Luke had a Force dream in which he saw himself in just such a location? Barely knowing anything about the Force by the time he crash lands on the planet to which he was directed by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke certainly wouldn’t know about Force dreams, let alone how to interpret them.
Dreams – and interpreting them – have fascinated me for a long, long time. As I mulled over the dreams Anakin, specifically, had, I couldn’t help wondering about the fact that his dreams – at least the ones we know about – centered on death. What could that mean? I decided to do some research. That meant heading to the library. 🙂 I spent an enjoyable duration of time sitting on the floor in the stacks in the 154+ section, paging through books that concentrated on dreams, why we dream, and, of course, how to best interpret those dreams. [There are quite a few philosophies on the subject. 😉 ] As I paged through many of the various tomes, I noticed it is commonly accepted that dreams pertaining to death – whether it be one’s own death or the death of someone close – oftentimes will mean the ending of one chapter of one’s life, a new one ensuing. In other words, the loss of life is a metaphor for [usually] a big change on the horizon. Was Anakin too literal in his thinking when it came to the Force dreams he had about both Shmi and Padmé? Not concerning Shmi, of course, but he may have been when he began having the Force dreams about Padmé’s possible death. In a way. First of all, Anakin misinterpreted Padmé’s distress in the Force dream. Her cries of pain were those of a woman in labor. Anakin jumped to the wrong conclusion. Perhaps with what some might surmise to be good reason – for he had endured disturbing Force dreams of his mother suffering, which ultimately led to her death, and Anakin probably thought the same fate would befall Padmé. Who did Anakin seek out for help interpreting these dreams but the wisest Jedi of them all – Yoda. Sadly, Anakin shared his own misinterpretation with Yoda, and Yoda, basically, misled Anakin. Unintentionally so, but mislead Anakin Yoda did. Maybe it would have helped if Yoda had told Anakin what he said to Luke before the Jedi-In-Training dashed off to save his friends: “Always in motion the future is…”
In a way, Padmé’s death truly was the closing of one chapter of Anakin’s life, and the beginning of a new one. Upon learning of her demise, the former Chosen One gave himself fully over to the Dark Side of the Force. There was no turning back. [Or so he thought.]
Dreams – Forceful or otherwise – they’re pretty powerful stuff! Recently, I had a dream in which I was an X-wing pilot soaring off on some grand adventure with Luke, Han and Wedge Antilles. Now, wouldn’t that be a great dream to come true! 🙂
Until next time,
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