Just enjoyed viewing Time Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Loved it. Not having seen or read any version of Alice for quite some time, it struck me the brilliance of the story in it’s portrayal of dream life. Carroll’s story is not just a fantasy, it is a serious treatise by one who is an experienced traveler in the dream state, and Burton stays true to this treasury.
I have always felt a close connection with this story of Wonderland, as I still possess the worn Alice in Wonderland storybook of my youth, the little flap containing the accompanying narrative vinyl long empty. Once as a child, while stranded in a snow storm, my father promised my sister and I money for every line of “The Jabberwocky” we memorized. I still know that entire, weird poem by heart. I teach card reading with playing cards for a living and continually have card people prancing around in my head, as if perpetually trapped at the Queen’s croquet tournament.
Lucid dreaming is a practice I have benefited greatly from, and the more lucid I become the more I notice is going on “down there” in Wonderland. So now, watching “Alice” as an adult, I am fascinated with the story as it relates to “reality” as layers of dream.
© Ana Cortez
Here are my annotations to the movie by Burton in this regard:
Alice falls down a hole into an entire world. This is the portal of our own mind we enter when we dream. It is a world inside of a world, an expansive unfolding allowing us to explore the subtle textures and nuances of one moment in time in dramatic 3-dimensional landscapes.
Along with this, time in the dream can be lifetimes while only a few moments on this “waking” level of our experience. Alice lives out a series of adventures all while the guests at her engagement party await patiently for fool hardy Alice to return from the bushes.
Alice has access to Oracular knowledge within the dream. It is referred to in the movie as a calendar, an “oracular,” and a “compendium,” wherein events are foretold along a time line depicted on a scroll with moving pictures. In dreams time as we know it is suspended, making it possible to access what is ordinarily thought of as future and past. Many “oracular” gifts and prophecies have been afforded me in dreams.
Alice recognizes at several points that she is dreaming, although there are moments when she gets lost in the dream and forgets. She declares at one point, “It’s my dream and I write the dream,” or something along those lines. By becoming aware that she is the dreamer, Alice claims her power and exercises it to change the course of events. She also comprehends that those who populate her dream are aspects of herself.
Next is one of my favorite parts of the movie. Alice remembers she has been in Wonderland before, but doesn’t remember it until she is deep in the dream. Her current dream of Wonderland picks up where it left off years earlier. My experiences from lucid dreaming confirm just this kind of worlds within worlds experience, whereupon finding myself in a particular dream, I bump up against the memory of having been there before. Not only of having been there, but that I have an entire memory bank of experiences collected there, including lessons I am in the middle of learning, but that become unconscious once I leave. I have glimpsed many of these worlds, all playing out parallel to each other inside of me, but I cannot describe a single one of them to you now.
Alice befriends and otherwise manages her dream enemies and they become power sources for her. As our own inner obstacles are personified in the dream state, we have the opportunity to play out and resolve conflicts. Sources of pain and misunderstanding transform in this subconscious world to give us super wisdom, power, and ability.
Finally, Alice’s accomplishments in Wonderland transform her views and ultimately her actions in life after she awakes.
She turns down the nerdy suitor, straightens out the family, and sails off on a new grand adventure.