Category Archives: methods

Not a volunteer in dreamsĀ 

Previously I discussed how Jung thought (probably based on evidence at the time) that dreams were a Involentry state. I can’t find any evidence to say he changed from this view. It’s somewhat ironic that a lot of lucid dreaming texts use Jung as a basis for the archetypal interaction with dream characters. Lucid dreaming being, in of itself, purely voluntary. 

Modern Psychology tends to say that Jung was rather flawed in his views. Considering my reading of his texts I can see why. No one is above criticism, though it should if at all possible be objective. 

The creation of the archetype is however somewhat more. One can see such a concept being applied in the way people interact with myth, story and many of the way humans use their ability to  make sense and classify things. 

A “sense” of a area is assertianed, a set of attributes is listed and in short order a list of these things as they appear to be is made. This could be called a list of archetypes in this case. This leads to the idea that a archetypes might be a way to interact and understand the phenomenon of characters or concepts within dreams. 

This isn’t wrong. Let me say that clearly. It’s just not the whole picture of how a dream or a dream character could be interpreted. Like a novel character or like a tv show character. It’s a way of working out perhaps how you might continue to interact within a lucid dream or who you might tell your dreams to.

The point is, though their are many other factors to dream interpretation and that the Jungian method is unfortunately not entirely fool proof (though I am not aware of one that is). 

If you do use it, use it at your own risk and in the knowledge that dreams are not always Involentry. 

You aren’t here

The concept of dream mapping is not a new one but the ability to create dream map that then make itself in a electronic system is. There are a lot of projects out their that do this, some more ethically sound than others. Many have dream statistics that look at key words and phrases that can then be mapped to the dreams within the system. Basic metadata stuff really. It’s not really what I mean by mapping. I mean creating a actual cartographic image of your dream content.

Each dream doesn’t create a data point in such a map. So it’s not pure meta searching like others, it’s focused on locations described, characters involved and emotions felt.

Creating such a dictionary is a hell of a lot of work, but a computer so programmed could make one fairly easily (if your keen to do this let me know). Once you input your dream data into the program it could search for locations, characters and emotions based on the search terms you give it and assumptions made from the data. The map would then have little islands of data from the characters that interacted and the locations and feelings involved.

It would be really cool to see this automagically done on a computer system, and the resulting map.
It’s a little project I am putting out their for someone so inclined to produce.

Making your own dreams

There are a lot of people who want to make a dream. Some want to re-dream they have had before. Some want to dream about a particular thing. Some want to not dream about a particular thing. They all have one thing in common. Lucid dreaming.

Write it down
The main stay of dream control before anything else is writing your dreams down. This is essential. The more recall you have the more you will be able to see what LeBarge and other lucid dreaming advocates call dream signs. This is basically about recognizing what your doing right now is dreaming. You will know as you spot a dream sign or you will do a reality cgeck out of habit. Reality checks are things you do when your dreaming. There are heaps of apps out their for mobile users (no I am not endorsing one or the other). For fans of pen and paper you can use that too. I put my dreams into my journal I use for day to day entries, but I will also voice record them to write later as I have limited time on weekdays (like most of us). I find the best time to do a reality check is every time I look at a clock or every time I look at my phone. Making it habitual is not an issue for this method. There are others, but most fall back on reality checks as a first line of defense for lucid dreaming. The only exceptions are Ophiels little system, the “light body” method (which is also in his book but it’s in pretty much every book I have read on the subject of lucid dreaming/astral projection). Ophiels symbol method is just a very specific reality check method. LeBarge is a much more modern and down to earth writer and his methods are both easier and don’t patronize you. I recommend his texts as being a better source for beginners.

Sleep
Ok this sounds stupid but it’s not. The number of times someone has told me they don’t get recall or can’t get started and I have worked out that they are not sleeping properly is pretty huge. The best thing for making your own dreams is making sure you have a good sleeping pattern. It’s possible that this is really hard or impossible for you. Maybe for medical reasons, maybe for work reasons. Either of these can mean using a method like LeBarge’s Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) method is better for your circumstances. Seeing a Sleep Doctor may also be a good idea.

Write down your day
This I find is pretty essential to recall. When I am slack about journaling, I slack in dreamland recall. So writing down your day is important to get better recall for me. You may find it’s not the case for you though. I think it’s a pretty good habit to get into as a lot of what you dream ends up coming from your day. You will also find writing your fantasies and desires really useful as well. The dreams you have that relate to those will increase with the amount you write about them.

Visulistions
The next step is making what you want to dream about possible. You want to make it as real as you can. As you learn your dreams you will learn what your dreams think is possible. It may be highly based on reality or highly based on fantastic worlds. Don’t feel disappointed if your one who dreams the first. This does not mean your not creative and you can’t make your dreams yours.

You need to write about the thing you want in the dream. In your dream journal. This is important as your mind will associate it with dreaming. It needs to be as well described as possible. Draw it. Paint it. Make a model of it of you can. Imagine what it smells like if it has a smell. Imagine what it tastes like if it has a taste. As much as possible you need to see it clearly in your mind. When you do a reality check imagine it in your next dream. When you go to bed imagine it next to your near your sleeping place. Eventually it will be there in your dream. It will have as much reality as you can give it.

I know quite a few people who imagined lucidity potions. They did things like drawing the flask is was in, then they imagined it’s taste and look and so on. Some even made a drink like it and drank it before bed (if you do this don’t make it contain a stimulant or other drug). They soon had this drink in their dreams and as soon as they drank it, they were lucid. Others imagined warrior figures who helped them fight their nightmares away. Some imagines dream rooms, painted a door in their bedroom and pretended to open it every night until they dreamed it and could go into their dreamworld through it. Still others took a clue from literature and went into their wardrobe every night, even sleeping their sometimes till they had a dreamlike space beyond.

Dream work holidays

Can you take a dreamwork holiday?

Well yes. You can both have a holiday where you do a lot of dreamwork and take a holiday from dreamwork. Both are quite useful. Especially for certain periods in life, such as moving house, having a newborn, new stresses, changes to routine, going on holiday clearly is one as well.

I find taking a holiday and working on dreamwork during it is quite helpful. Be aware however that dreams on holiday will be influenced by it. I.e. A trip to the beach will trigger beach dreams. Sleep is also different on holiday. We have less work and less stress and therefore more likelihood of positive dreams and more likelihood of oversleep and thus may remember more dreams as we are in REM for longer.

I do a few things to help recall on both a dreaming holiday and when I take a break from doing dreamwork. Firstly I change my current recall routine, and I change my reality check. I also start new pages in my journals and create a new chapter if need be.

Herbs for dreaming

Here is a short list of herbs that assist with the art and practice of dreaming, dream work and lucid dreaming. Some notes and cautions are given. Please note I am not a herbalist so I DO NOT know all the possible side effects and issues herbs may give some people. Also many herbs contain both active ingredients as well as poisons, sometimes they are one and the same, they will interact with other medication you are on and this can cause some pretty bad results. Taking to much will almost certainly cause issues, possibly serious harm or death.

Pregnant women: see a GP before taking any herbs they have not already got approval for.

Be careful to research your herbs well before use.

INGESTED

Calea:

An African herb that is still used as a lucid dreaming assistance herb. About 5grms is needed to actually have an effect, but its pretty bitter and can cause morning nausea in my experience. The herb is best ingested just before sleep with a heap of honey or sugar to get rid of the taste (its appalling!).

Damina

This is a per-viagra impotency cure that has a nice side effect of lucid erotic dreams. Smoking is effective, but so is making it into a long stew tea or soaking 25grm it in about 500 mls vodka for a few days. Its taste isn’t great. It will increase fertility in both genders and takes the blame for more than one “not as planned as they could have been” child.

Mugwort

Mugwort is an effective lucid dreaming tool. A few leaves under the pillow can help dreaming in ways I never thought possible. Its also effective as a tea and as a foot balm (odd but true). However it relaxes the uterus and will cause early labor in expectant mothers! This herb used to be used for abortions before safer methods were discovered.

Mugwort is given huge raves by many writers who FAIL to warn of its dark side, do not fail to mention or check for expectant mothers when using or even planting Mugwort.

Nutmeg or Mace

Both powerful hallucinogenics, both poisonous in pretty small doses. About as useful to lucid dreamers as a lead brick. Doesn’t give a “good” high, its pretty shit and you can’t stop it once you take it. Many end up in hospital on or after Nutmeg hallucinations after harming themselves. Avoid use in dreaming, stick to use in cooking in tiny 1/4-1/2 teaspoon amounts.

Valerium Root

A muscle relaxant that helps ease people into sleep. Often taken in a tablet these days advertised a “VALERIUM 500 MG” or similar. Its does not assist with dreaming, but instead is only really useful for insomnia and a mild muscle relaxant. However, for some people it has the opposite of the intended effect! Small children should not take it. It is also mildly addictive and can cause depression with long term use.

Passionflower

Another relaxant, can give a “dreamless” sleep for some, its taken in a tea. Its very effective for many, exceptionally useless for others. Its the most “hit” and “miss” herb I know, some people find it makes them more restless and agitated. Pregnant women also cannot take it.

Wormwood

Banned. Its pretty easy to get hold of though. It will cause pretty lucid hallucinations and is toxic in relatively moderate doses. Its toxic for infants and pregnant and breast feeding women cannot take it. I will not give advice on how to take it since it is banned and illegal to do so (its assisting in drug use).

NOT INGESTED

Sandlewood Oil

I have found a little sandalwood oil in a oil burner before bed promotes OBE’s, but make sure your burner is out before you sleep! Its quite expensive.

Lavender Oil

Lavender is safe in a bed pillow and the oil in a oil burner, its pretty good to help some forms of insomnia and assist with those who have dream fears.

Jasmine Oil

Jasmine is nice in a oil burner and smells wonderful, add to the fact it helps somewhat with lucid dreams, its even better.

Wattle flower oil

Unfortunately I have not much source material on this and cannot say if it is good, safe or helps.

References:

Thorpe, Ray. (2003). Happy high herbs, Possibility.com

Stuckey, Maggie. (1994). The complete herb book, Berkley, New York

Hopman, Ellen Evert. (1995). A Druid’s herbal, Destiny Books, Vermont

Overcoming the bad guys with lucidity

Much has actually been written on this topic already. Stephen LeBarge (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_LaBerge) being the most notable, his MILD method being one that is commonly used. Although the most common, some will find the MILD method difficult. The rewards for overcoming fears are however stark. A MILD practitioner can insert a fear to be overcome in the mnemonic used to induce the lucid dream.

I will lucid dream, I will face my fear of spiders, I will lucid dream, I am going to overcome my fear, I will lucid dream

Might be a very simple mnemonic that a person who fears spiders might use to encounter the fear within the “safe” dreamscape. This isn’t the only thing one might do, in fact overcoming a fear might not be as simple as this. Some may need many encounters with the dream fear, some may need to seek other psychological help. It’s entirely possible to become more fearful of a specific fear based on a dream encounter.

Raising the success
Regardless of lucidity method, success of overcoming fears in dreams may require several differing extra things.

1. Practice as a lucid dreamer.
First lucid dream I had, I was awake again in 5 seconds flat. It takes time to get used to the sensation. It takes effort to work out how to do thing. Especially awesome things like fly, get arms added to your dream persona, cast “spells” in dreams (the special effects limited only by your dreaming imagination).

2. Dream time ritual
We’re not noting the big old casting a circle, calling the gods of dreaming and so on. Ritual means to do things in a way that activates the mind (kinda) and a common method of going to bed with the intention to lucid dream, doing the same mnemonic every time, doing the same getting ready for bed, water, pen, slide in from the left, etc. This is a ritual that your mind takes a note of, both consciencely and unconsciously. It will help you lucid dream longer.

3. Read lucid dreaming books, and articles. (Mine are here:https://dreamsandbass.wordpress.com/tag/lucidity/ and https://dreamsandbass.wordpress.com/tag/lucid-dreams/ and https://dreamsandbass.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/the-who-why-what-were-and-how-of-lucid-dreaming/ )

4. Write in a personal journal. A personal journal helps you recap your day, write about how the fear effects your daily routine (if it does).

5. Write about the fear, what tools you could use to overcome it in the real world, and the dreamland.

Tricksters

Our fears can often manifest in the Jungian Shadow and be characterized in a form of malicious Trickster (see the article I wrote on these here:https://dreamsandbass.wordpress.com/tag/tricksters/ )
A trickster as a fear can be a bit harder to overcome. Many fears are based on a memory or event, taking this memory and re-dreaming it (evoking the memory then entering a dream state) then using the dream tools you have to try and combat or resolve the fear, is one method that some teach. The issue with this method is the ability to abuse it. A memory evoking, can if not done well cause continuing flashbacks. Thus this is a tool only those advanced in the art or psychologists should use.

The better method to use would be to purposely MILD into a dream with the trickster in question (give them a name) and combat or resolve them this way. Again, a psychologist might be a good consult for this method. Dream characters can fight back, making sure your in a position of power and safety in such a situation is paramount to making this a success.

Were are monsters? In dreams.

I have already mentioned how holistic dream interpretation takes our physchology, neurology and memories as discrete spheres or universes of information from which are dreaming content is built. How we can use it, I still need to explain.

Lets take a nightmare, as an example. One of mine, since that as I also mentioned before:

you are always the best person to interpret your own dreams

I will use the one I had last night, since it is fresh.

I am sleeping on the couch as a sound wakes me up. In the corridor that enters the lounge room the light is on. It’s yellow glow is comforting. Then a noise, like the screeching of tires made of nails on a chalkboard. I see the light disappear and I am confronted with a grey and intense fear. I scream for help but it comes out as a pathetic mew. I do what is best and force myself to wake.

Now we take each of our universes and connect the dots, as it where.

I would first look at the fear and comfort as both being psychologically linked to the dream. Both threads are connected to my memories of feeling both of theses emotions. I have experienced them before so I know how they feel. Neurology comes in form of connecting each of these to a given situation that’s then fed back to a memory. We can also connect each character. Yellow light is delight, comfort. Absence of light, and grey are fear. The couch is a place of neutrality, a object that has no connection other than one to the feeling of sleep and dreaming itself. The lounge room is a setting for which my memory has pulled as where I actually fell asleep at least at one point and the tactile feeling of doing so is drawn into the dream itself. Finally the self is the character experiencing these things. The body is the object that feels fm fear and joy, has those feelings attached with each other.

As you can see we can go quite deep into this. We can get more content from each dream, actually look at each character in a objective and subjective way. Both are good, and together we can find answers to one of our big mysteries in dreams like why do I have nightmares that focus my fear on certain events.
It’s clear I don’t like the color grey. I quite like the color yellow. I have memories and experiences that have been attached to both deep within my psychology and even neurology. It’s a legitimate fear for me, and I seem to want to escape from it.

But how would I escape from such a fear?
Only deep psychologists might know. I am only a armature. Dreamwork can help us escape, but it is only one tool. A tool that’s effective, but can be easily corrupted by our own mind. This is a topic for further exploration in the coming weeks.