The story of the night I met the Devil and the ambiguous meaning of it all.
Ever dance with the devil in the pale moon light? I hope not. Though it’s the greatest quote from the original (but not the best joker) I’ve never fully understood what it meant. Is it good or bad: Look at it one way and it means to make a deal with the devil… bad stuff.
Look at it the another way and it could mean to defy him. Is it dance as in fighting words? Replay the quote it your head but this time picture John Wayne’s voice. If he had asked the devil to dance this discussion would be over; they would be fighting words…He’d probably even call him pilgrim.
I’m not sure which version is correct but when I was 18 I had a dream that profoundly changed my life: I danced with the devil in a pale bar room light. It was a dream that has stuck with me for years and the imagery of it has never faded. Here’s the dreamy tale:
I was in an upscale lounge with everyone I could possibly remember from my life. Things felt fine, not good or bad but everything was just there and steady. A man enters the bar and as soon as his shoe hits the floor everything stops. Everyone but myself and the man were frozen, no sound could be heard but his dress shoes hitting the floor as he confidently strolled toward me. He never introduced himself but I knew right away it was Satan.
He was tall, at least a foot taller than everyone else in the room, wearing a light brown fitted suit with polished dress shoes. His face had a thin beard and goatee that was immaculately trimmed. His hair was jet black and pulled back into a tight pony tail with not a single hair out of place. His eyes were hidden behind a pair of dark faded sunglasses which he never took off. He walked right up to me with a smirk on his face and his hands clasped in front of him. All he did was cock his head a little and stare at me, still smirking as if he was evaluating or sizing me up. I met his gaze and we had an entire conversation without ever saying a word.
He never showed any emotion other than the occasional disappearance and reemergence of his cocky smirk. To this day I have no idea what we discussed, and all I can remember is feeling calm. It was still deadly silent in the room as we continued our mute conversation until he finally broke from my eyes and glanced slightly over his shoulder toward the door and then back at me. As soon as we locked eyes the door exploded and a blurry flood of demons poured through the door. Instantly everyone in the room, all the noise, all the motion snapped back to life.
I never looked away from him but I could see the demons attacking everyone around me. Satan still smirking, did not move, but instead raised a single eyebrow. I have felt fear in dreams, in fact it happens often. In this one instant, when I am having a one on one with the prince of darkness, I felt nothing. No fear, no pity, no thought of those around me being attacked, just my calm fading away being replaced by anger. I focused my gaze on him and we continued our non verbal, intense conversation.
His expression began to change dramatically: first his smirk disappeared, then his gaze began to darken as his face turned violent. I could see myself and my expression begin to match his, getting darker and angrier. Everything in the room began to speed up around us – the light, the noise, the demons attacking everyone in my life.
I noticed the mortals fighting back as the battle in the room began to even out. My loved ones inflicting as much damage as they were taking. Everything sped up faster and faster as our gaze and intensity built up until all at once we broke away from each other. It was as if a mental rope we were both pulling suddenly snapped, and sent us stumbling a few feet back. He caught his footing and looked around the room, while I continued to stare him down. All fighting and noise had stopped again and everyone in the room seemed exhausted, included him. He dusted his jacket off and walked back up to me. He stared me in the eye for the last time, gave me a small nod, turned and walked away. As he left he flicked his hands out in both directions causing the demons to burst into a flames and instantly disappeared. The noise was still quiet and all I could hear was the sound of his dress shoes walking away.
So, I danced with the devil in the pale moon light, but my confusion still stands. Did he offer me something and I defied him? Going toe to toe only to resist his temptation. Did my loved ones find strength from my struggle and began to fight back as we collectively pushed out the devil and his demons. Classic good over evil, pretty clear cut. Is that what you saw?
Or did I surrender as the devil broke and manipulated me. Did he make me sit and watch everyone around me being attacked while I grew dark, mean and angry?
“The devil is lazy” someone familiar with this subject explained to me. “There’s enough evil in the world for him to feed on. He doesn’t need to worry about the defiant few. You defy him, he moves on to something easier.” Apparently the devil is like a frat boy in a bar trying to pick up girls. “His nod to you before he walked out was acknowledgement of your defiance. It’s like saying have it your way, I’m done”.
Most comforting explanation so far. Let’s just hope his nod, like frat boys, didn’t mean I’ll be back after you’ve had a few beers!
What are your thoughts?