The crossroad is one of those irrepressible symbols—dig deep enough in any mythology and you'll find one. It's the recurring symbol of the duality matrix, that either/or switch that informs every morality tale. Do you go to the east and the rising run, or the west and the darkness that flies before the light? Do you walk with the wind on your face, or with it pushing you? Do you crawl down to the sea and the salty comfort of your mother's womb, or do you scale up into the rocky suffocation of your father's embrace?
My mother, when I was very young, used my father as an example of why learning to make choices was important. "Your father never made a choice in his life," she would tell me, "not when one could be chosen for him." The unspoken conclusion of that thought—where such indecision got him—was always evident in the lines of her face and the sad weariness in her arms when she hugged me at night. And, when I was sixteen, she let heroin make
her final choice for her.
Yes, I know. Child of a broken home, destroyed by alcohol and drugs. Is it any wonder I became a narcissistic drug addict who confuses pharmacological psychosis with mythological meta-reality?
Fortunately, I'm not the only one. It is more difficult to be judged insane when there's more than one of you sharing the same psychosis. Not impossible, just more complicated.
Every one of us have had a crossroad experience. Somewhere, we all came to that divergence of paths. On the one hand: the route of the psychonaut and the addict, the lonely road of the psychedelic alchemist; on the other: the twisted path of the oneironaut, the difficult and torturously perilous road of the psychic surgeon.
We made our choices, for whatever reasons that we've burned into our brains after the fact as justification, and some of us have regretted our choices and others have been healed by them. In many ways, every breath is yet another choice: either an affirmation of your previous decisions or a self-destructive recrimination of your own deep-seated failure to live up to your own standards.
Crossroads. Again and again. Over and over. How long do we punish ourselves for those failures? For those moments when we took the left-hand path when we should have taken the right? How long do we keep looking over our shoulder, trying to see the path we didn't take?
My regret with Nora isn't that I brought her into the Oneiroi. My regret is that I wasn't able to give her enough reasons to come back out. That is what haunts me: that I failed to show her that the world of dream wasn't a good substitute.