Heaven. Valhalla. Olympus. Elysian Fields. As many names throughout history for the great unknown as there have been cultures to conceive them; concepts born from hazy recollection, drifting like smoke in the subconscious, names meant to banish the darkness.
In the Ethereal--a boundless dimension beyond our own where these names are born, and rituals are brought to life from twisted imaginings--there are realms that indeed resemble mankind's vision of Hell. Escape is rare in these malevolent territories, and though redemption is still possible, not many of the truly damned are interested.
But there is also light across the great vastness. Seven planes rise like islands in the jewel-colored mists, softly merging into the one above as darkness is left behind. Each tier leads ever higher, ever brighter, toward the glowing beacon of the sixth plane--the Library of Souls--where the journey of every life is written.
And weaving in a kaleidoscopic display of colors beyond description, a vast array of shimmering, gossamer threads undulate between the levels, each strand tethering soul to earthly body as the conscious mind relaxes its grip, freeing the spirit within.
Arcadia. Shangri-La. Nirvana. Tir na nÒg. Beyond the Veil. As many names throughout history for the great unknown as there have been cultures to conceive them. Throughout time, from all corners of the globe, across all customs and folkways, regardless of faith, dogma or creed, there has been awareness.
Why do we share these fanciful imaginings of other realms? How can such diverse philosophies have common ground in such a nebulous concept?
Because we dream.
Whenever we sleep, as part of our psychic makeup, we dream. And in the dreaming, we travel, loosening the mental bonds, soaring in the familiar, limitless cosmos of our true home, though when we awaken, memory begins to blur, our minds regain control, assuring us that it was...just a dream.
Some, however, can travel at will in lucid dreaming or deep meditation, remembering their experiences, while others--exceptional ones--have the innate ability to enter the Ethereal with just the desire to do so. Asleep or awake, fully conscious and with deliberate choice, this unique minority can see the multitude of colorful threads that twine through time and space, connecting the dreamer to their reality on earth. These extraordinary few can traverse all the accessible astral levels, stay in shadow or become corporeal, speak to others or remain in silent observation.
But there is one who can do much more, one who can follow threads to people and places in real time, can discern variations in the rainbow-hued colors of each life thread, distinguish light from dark, innocence from evil. With the slightest caress of the thin, vibrating thread this traveler can sense, in acute detail, the innermost thoughts of the dreamer.
His name is Daniel Valentine.