In the dream I am walking between railroad tracks that curve into a distant horizon. I see only earth, sky, this hard metal road with rock-covered banks that fall away on either side into dark woods below.
I know this place. I walked these tracks with Daddy when I was five and we lived in Tallahassee. Daddy wanted me to feel the magical allure of trains, but also to know their danger. There were hobos in tent camps in the woods and I should stay away from them. I should stay away from the tracks too. Little girls could get crushed by the metal monsters that rode them.
Are there hobos in the woods now? Will a train come soon? Why am I here? Where am I going? Where’s Daddy? I don’t know. I only know I am alone and must keep walking.
From behind me a voice calls, “Jean!” I turn, and there is Tonto.
“Come,” he beckons. “Lone Ranger wants you.” I am thrilled. The Lone Ranger is my hero and he wants to see me! I push away a niggling shadow of apprehension and follow Tonto. The Lone Ranger stands in a clearing. Behind him his magnificent white horse, Silver, munches grass contentedly. Beyond them, the dark woods. I feel wonder, excitement, curiosity. Beneath these, that tiny knot of anxiety.
“Stand there.” The masked man points to a spot on the ground in front of the steep embankment. I obey and wait for the words that will reveal his regard for me, tell me why I’m here, confirm my mission.
The Lone Ranger pulls his gun out if its holster, aims at me, pulls the trigger, shoots. I feel the kick in my mid-section, clutch my body at the point of impact, wait for the blood and pain. Is this it? Will I die now?
I wake up screaming, “Nooooo!” between great heaving sobs, outraged by this inconceivable betrayal from a man I have admired second to no one but Daddy. Mama rushes up the stairs into my bedroom and holds me in her arms.
“Shhh, you’re okay. You’re okay. It was only a dream.”
Only a dream. That’s when I tell myself, stunned with incomprehension but fierce in my determination, “This is important. I am ten years old and I will never forget this dream!”
If you have read my book, The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth, you already know this story. In the book after that, Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine Through Jungian Dreamwork, I mentioned the Lone Ranger once again. Then, thinking I was done with him, I set him aside to address headier matters. I’ve been writing for years, hoping to round out these two books with a third that would complete them, but nothing quite gelled. Now I understand I still had unfinished business with the Lone Ranger, Tonto, and Silver.
The Lone Ranger gave me my mission: You want to know why you are here and where you are going? I will tell you. These tracks represent your spiritual journey. I have given you an experience that will shape it. Never forget the pain of being betrayed by the god of your childhood: a lone, remote, and mysterious masked man who doesn’t value your significance and holds the power of life and death over you. Remember this dream and become conscious of its fullest meaning. This is your life’s work. He was right.