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    1. No Snow for Sledding (WILD)

      by , 02-05-2017 at 06:00 PM
      Ritual: WTB around 2am. Drank a lot of wine last night, so woke up many times to rehydrate. Just before dawn I felt the slightly anxious insomnia that often helps me get lucid, so I decided to confirm my intention with a little piracetam. For years I've been trying to come up with a good dream mantra/affirmation but never found one that stuck. Since I got lucid in a recent dream from seing the word "awaken" I decided to start with that. I wanted it to be longer and have good rhythm, so I tried "Awaken into (seeing) dream," where the word in parenthesis could be varied with any other two-syllable verb with the emphasis on the first syllable: seeing, hearing, feeling, being, dreaming, etc. I liked the versatility and hoped the variations would help keep my mind active. It seems this mantra was actually successful because it was still going through my mind well after the dream had started, although, curiously, the words had changed (see below).

      WILD, "No Snow for Sledding": The transition was very smooth, and I think the mantra actually served as a good anchor this time. At one point I was inspired to see if I could move my dream limbs, and felt that familiar ambiguity about whether it was dream movement or real movement. I was 65% sure it was dream, so I kept at it until I gently 'flumpfed' in a loose heap right off the bottom of the bed, and then I knew for certain. This dream version of my bedroom was remarkably accurate to WL.

      I was crawling at first, and from that low perspective had a good view of my two cats. They looked a little different—shorter hair I think—but I could still tell them apart. Dream logic made me wonder if I could somehow better communicate with my anxious cat in a dream. I crawled over to her and put my hands on her head, reaching toward her with gentle thoughts and telling her that she didn't need to be so anxious. It didn't work: she bit my hand! After that she went into the hallway where I was surprised to see our older cat chase her, an inversion of their usual relationship. I moved toward them and noticed a third animal, a remarkably lifelike grey squirrel—even more vividly rendered than the two cats. [Source: I had recently remarked to my husband how odd it was that I had never seen any squirrels near our house here, but he said that he had. Then just two days ago I glimpsed a grey squirrel outside.]

      I thought I had better remove the squirrel from the house, so I picked it up by the scruff of the neck—it was so realistic I thought I had better handle it carefully lest I get bitten again. I peered down to it, wondering if it might have anything to say (this being a dream and all), but no, it just twitched its nose like a regular squirrel. So I opened the window on my side of the bed, the place where in WL I toss out the miscellaneous bugs that stray into the house, and tossed it out.

      Around this point I noticed that my mantra was still going through my head, though slightly changed from what it had been as I fell asleep. It had taken the form: "Awaken, dreamer, I am dream." It occurred to me that once I was already lucid, the word "awaken" was no longer useful, and in fact might be detrimental. I thought about how the meaning of the word depended on its context: from non-lucid sleep one can "awaken" into lucidity, but from a state of lucidity, to "awaken" is to wake up. With the precarious thought of waking I felt the dream begin to destabilized, and hastily altered the mantra to: "Dream on, dreamer, I am dream." I managed to restabilize, and with the natural musicality of dream found myself adding a bit of melody to the words.

      After this my thoughts turned to more practical ends. Wasn't there a task I wanted to do? Right, the sled ride. I thought over the details. I would need to sled down from the top of a snowy mountain and then through a crack in the earth into... who knows? Finding out would be the fun part. It was snowy outside, like it is in WL, so I thought that would make a good start. I just needed to go outside and find a sled and a mountain.

      I opened the window again to fly out, but now there was a pane of what felt like transparent plastic covering the opening. I was annoyed because even in WL this is one of the few windows in the house that has no screen, so there should not be anything barring my passing. I decided to shatter the barrier with my mind, concentrated, and... nothing happened. Disappointed that I could not resolve this more stylishly, I manually peeled aside the flexible plastic panel and slipped out onto the lower roof. (This part was not quite accurate to WL: although there is a sloping side of another roof to the left, there is no level area just below the window where one could stand.)

      I willed myself to fly, but nothing happened initially. I kept focusing until I began to float up and across the yard. There were a lot of random pavilions scattered below, and I reminded myself to be observant so I would remember the details later. I flew over to the roof of a small outbuilding—the environment no longer bore any resemblance to WL—where I found two sleds. One was child-sized, the other larger, and I noticed approvingly that they were the old fashioned kind on runners, much easier to control than round saucer sleds.

      I picked up the larger sled and looked it over. The details were wonderfully vivid: it had a painted metal superstructure consisting of thin round bars painted white, and flat wide bars painted green. These encircled a small rectangular seat of heavily aged and distressed wood. I noticed an odd detail in the very center of the sled, a transparent glass sphere about four inches in diameter, half full of water. I peered closer, wondering if it was some sort of gyroscope, and saw words printed on the sphere: "FAST WATER." I decided that this was a device for boosting speed, and that I would name my new sled "Fastwater." I felt very pleased with it.

      Sled in hand, next I needed a mountain. I resumed floating through the air and scanning for suitable topography. I soon found myself approaching a steep hillock, but since it was at most a couple dozen feet high, I didn't think it qualified as a "mountain." After that was a second, taller hillock, but I rejected that one too on the same grounds. Then in the distance I saw a much taller hill with a massive castle on top of it. I had the impression that it was a German castle called "Schwanzstein," though even in the dream I recalled the meaning of schwanz (which, in common with many Americans, I learned long ago from the Mel Brooks film Space Balls). That seemed like a peculiar yet somehow familiar name for a castle, and I wondered why it came to mind. [Source: German castles have come up in conversation twice in the last few days, both the one at Wernigerode and another whose name I couldn't remember. I just asked my husband and he reminded me it was "Neuschwanstein." So there you have it. Sorry Freudians, you can go back home now.]

      I figured that the type of hill on which one was likely to find a German castle could qualify as a small mountain, and decided that this would be a good spot to sled down from. I floated closer, noting a number of stiff and oddly sepia-hued guards standing around the courtyards, as though peopling an old postcard. I noticed a perfect straight chute for sledding that ran down from the top of the mountain, so that's where I landed. Everything was in place... except... there was no snow anymore. Could I just sled down anyway, I wondered? No, I distinctly recalled that the task specified a snowy mountain. I peered around, hoping I could at least spot a few patches of snow and call it even. But the grass was as brown as the guards—there was a hint of sepia about the whole place, like a movie scene shot through a filter—and no snow was visible anywhere.

      I sat down with my sled, willing it to snow. I concentrated my expectations, imagining how the first tiny flakes would move erratically through the air. Once again the distinction between imagination and experience—which seems so improbable in the dream state—was reconfirmed, because even though I could clearly see the type of snow I envisioned in my mind's eye, the dream air remained stubbornly free of flakes. This TOTM has a lot of moving parts, I thought. It's as hard as a TOTY! A moment later I woke up and was amused to recognize my error; in waking life I would not have misremembered the category of the task, since the TOTYs are linked by a common theme.

      Updated 02-05-2017 at 06:12 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the year
    2. Castle Infiltration (WILD)

      by , 04-24-2015 at 07:52 AM
      Ritual: WTB 12:45am, woke 6am and felt rested enough to do a solid WBTB and WILD attempt. Read LD books for an hour then returned to bed at 7am. I took bacopa, L-theanine, alpha-GPC, and even ventured to add a little galantamine to the mix, breaking open a Galantamind capsule and adding half the powder to my alpha-GPC solution. I lay on my back and counted, also deciding on my intended tasks: muto herbam and my lucid dare. For the hell of it I added in a short mantra on the off-counts: inspired by the DC's weird question last night ("Who is your mantra?") I was using the name of an intriguing DC from a prior dream. I started losing the count quickly and after picking it back up a few times, drifted off somewhere in the 30s. Eventually I woke back up, used the bathroom, and checked the time before lying down on my left side to sleep. It was 7:30am. Woke up at 8am with dream.

      WILD: I quickly started to feel promising bodily sensations, able to move in ways I was sure weren't "real." At one point I felt my husband's face very close to mine, thought I could feel his breath against my face, and was afraid this distraction was going to wake me. Feeling a bit rude, I pushed him away. After that he got up and I hoped he had understood my reasons—recognized that I was in the middle of a dream attempt—and wasn't annoyed. Of course in retrospect, I'm sure that none of this actually happened; not only does the geography of the bed make it physically unlikely, but my husband was still fast asleep on his side of the bed when I woke up to write this report.

      As soon as I felt I had full bodily control, I started trying to get out of bed. I threw caution to the winds because I've started to suspect that a lot of the barriers to transition are self-imposed. So I got out of bed as soon as I could manage it, and although I felt awkward at first, moving very herky-jerkily as I tried to walk out of the room—a bit like a marionette whose puppetmaster is still figuring out the right use of the strings—I soon got back into the feel of it.

      I walked into the kitchen, where my attention was caught by what looked like a big wad of gauze or lace, about 18 inches in diamter. In shape it resembled those scrunchies you use in the shower, but it was much larger and made of lacy white gauze with silver sparkles. The texture was wonderfully detailed, more distinct than anything else in my field of vision, so I decided to pick it up and use it for my first experiment. The simpler of the tasks I had planned was to practice a bit with transformation and with plants, so I held the gauze in my hands and commanded, "Muto herbam," envisioning the form of a long-stemmed red rose.

      The material was resistant at first, so I repeated the command a few times and intensified my will. Eventually it shrank compliantly into a red flower, but the blossom appeared to be that of a tulip, so I continued staring at it sternly until it manifested more layers of ruffled petals. I studied it to make sure it was a proper rose and not just an ambitious carnation, and when I was finally satisfied with its form, I lifted it to my nose to smell it. It actually did smell like a rose! This impressed me all the more because I so rarely have any olfactory impressions in my dreams. (Then again, I guess I don't spend much time sniffing things.)

      I wondered if I should leave the house to perform my next task. I'm still working on my lucid dare, which requires me to find an camp of elves in the forest and join them in making music. My initial impulse was to leave my house and look for the forest, but that hasn't worked well before, so this time I thought I would to try a different approach and transform the environment around me rather than bodily leaving it. I looked around the room for another plant suitable for my experiment and was pleased to discover a spindly sapling with lots of thin twigs tipped with narrow yellow flowers growing in a pot. I went over to it and commanded "Rego herbam," commanding it to grow into a tall tree. Nothing happened at first, but eyeing its numerous twigs I had another idea for how to use it.

      The sapling was slightly taller than I was, so I backed up against it and pulled its flexible branches around me to create the visual impression that I was surrounded by a thicket, once again commanding "Rego herbam." The trick worked! The twigs filling my field of vision became a real thicket in which I found myself hiding on a hillside, trying to remain unseen as I peered down at a large camp of about two dozen people occupying a cleared basin just below me. I hoped they were elves! But they didn't seem merry, and I didn't hear any music. They were dressed in muted earthtones and went about their business grimly.

      I can't remember if I actually observed the camp being raided, but by some means I understood that this was a camp of rebels whose people were being oppressed and frequently captured and sold into slavery by the inhabitants of a nearby castle. I was aware that had several been taken away recently, and decided that the best way to ingratiate myself with the camp would be to rescue them. So I transported myself into the castle dungeon and began to search for the captives.

      The first door I opened led to an empty room, though it definitely looked like a classic dungeon, with rough-hewn and filthy stone floor and walls. Returning to the corridor, I saw that there were lots of identical doors, and I didn't think I had time to try them all, so I let instinct guide me to another door across the hall. At first this seemed promising: there was very little light filtering in through the tiny windows high in the wall, and in the shadows I thought I saw four figures manacled to the walls around the room. As I walked in, planning to free them, I found that either my eyes had decieved me, or the dream had shifted: the manacles were there, but this room was just as empty as the last. It made me wonder if what I had seen were the ghosts of past prisoners.

      As I went to leave the room, I was startled to discover that the door was now half-blocked by a chest-high mound of stone rubble. I started to climb over but it was too steep, and afterward the blockade looked even higher, taller than I was. If I didn't act soon I would be completely walled in! So I mustered my concentration and simply pushed through the pile of rocks. The stone felt very resistant and I had to use all my strength, but finally burst through into the hallway. I was surprised how exhausted I felt after this feat. Given that it was a dream, it shouldn't be any harder to move "rocks" than anything else, but I felt completely spent. While I paused to regain my strength, I heard people approaching from around a corner to my left. There was no time to get away, so I simply held very still in the doorway and concentrated on being invisible to them.

      There were three people in all. One person passed by without giving any sign of seeing me. Two others followed, walking together, and to my consternation they stopped at the door, right in front of me. Although they didn't seem to see me, something appeared to have caught their attention (the dislodged rocks?) because one of them pulled out a handheld device and started waving it in my direction as though scanning something. I wondered what would happen if they tried to walk through the doorway. I still seemed to be invisible, but would they be able to pass right through my body? Or would they bump into me? I decided not to risk it, and I was also a little worried that the scanner might detect my presence, so I reached out and grabbed one of the people with each hand. I willed them both to fall unconscious, and they slumped to the ground. The one to the left was a woman dressed in "business casual," while the guy to the right appeared to be a uniformed security guard. I immediately knelt down and hastily stripped the latter of all the tech I could find on his body: earpiece, cellphone, and a few other little widgets that I didn't recognize. I thought I heard another person coming down the hall, so I transformed into a bird and flew out one of the small barred windows high up on the walls.

      The castle was on a gently sloping hillside, and I was now flying over a wide rural landscape. At the base of the hill was a wooded region, and far beyond that I could see the curve of the ocean shore. I figured I would still be able to find my way back to the camp, since I had just come from there, so I let memory or instinct guide me. Meanwhile I focused on making sure I was flying properly, since I haven't spent much time in bird form. I alternated between flapping my wings and holding them stiff and outstretched so that I could glide on the wind. I felt like a large bird of prey, and I was clutching the tech I had just stolen in my talons.

      I flew over the forest until I saw a clearing below that looked familiar. Descending felt very realistic, because I was circling just like a raptor would, wide at first and then in a narrowing spiral until I landed. To get the attention of the people in the camp, I decided that I should not be an ordinary brown eagle, but a white eagle. Apparently this drew a little too much attention, because on the way down I discovered that someone was shooting arrows at me. I decided I could use this to make my entrance particularly impressive, so at the very moment that I touched the ground I not only turned back into a woman, I also grabbed an arrow that was about to hit me right out of the air.

      Earlier I had not made sure whether or not the people in the camp actually were elves, and now that I look around at closer range, I see only round human ears. I approach a couple people who are talking authoritatively, like leaders of the group. One is a capable looking woman with short, dirty-blonde hair. I ask her if there are any elves in the camp, thinking to myself that if I do find some, I'll give them the tech I stole as a friendly gesture. No one can specifically point to any elves, so I ask, well, who was shooting at me? I figure that if there is an elf, it might well have been the one lobbing arrows. The woman points across the camp. Following her gesture, I notice a slight figure huddled on a bench, completely wrapped in a dark grey blanket.

      I walk over and lean down in front of the figure, trying to gently tug the blanket aside to reveal its face. It seems shy, hiding its face under the blanket like this, but I soon discover the reason. As I begin to reveal its features, they are the last thing I would have expected. The head is made of molded transparent plastic, with a suggestion of human features on the outside and circuitboards within. It is an android!

      The android has a high, almost childish voice, and evidently feels very bashful about its unusual appearance. It tries to prevent me from pulling back the blanket, protesting, "I look repulsive."

      I completely disagree, and tell it so: "No you don't. You look amazing." It reluctantly lets me tease aside the blanket to reveal its whole head.

      At this point a man walks up to us. He looks to be in his forties, balding, a bit stocky in build, and with rounded features, kind of resembling Rob Corddry. From his dress and demeanor, I immediately intuit that he is the creator of this android. I realize that he would be the ideal person to give the tech I stole from the castle guard.

      "I have something for you," I say without preamble, and fill his hands with the little pile of objects.

      He looks delighted. "This will be really useful."

      We start chatting a bit about the android, and I ask if he knows where to find any elves. He's not aware of any in the camp, but I overhear a snippet of conversation from people standing nearby that I think might be relevant to my question; one of them mentions a place called "Junkyard Bay" and I resolve to check it out.

      "What's your name?" I ask the inventor. I feel a bit silly always asking this of DCs, but I like to know.

      "Dira," he says. That's how I assumed it was spelled, but from the pronunciation it could just as easily be "Deera." He asks mine, and I tell him.

      Dira is looking at me like he finds me really familiar, but can't figure out where he knows me from. "We haven't spoken before this? No beer? No comfort?"

      I am perplexed by his laconic queries until I realize that he's asking if he might have met me in a bar or a brothel. I might have been offended at the implications if I weren't so fascinated by his distinctive manner of speaking, so unlike my own speech patterns. How could a DC, a projection of my own mind, demonstrate linguistic traits so utterly unlike my own, to the point where it took me a moment to make sense of what he was saying? It was one of those moments that make me wonder if my reductionist assumptions are correct, but I'm not ready to go down the path of madness without better evidence than this.

      I shake my head, since I'm pretty sure I've never met him in either dream or waking life. He asks my name another time, and I repeat it. I've been using my WL name, having forgotten my former resolution to use an alias with DCs.

      Dira starts explaining something about the locals: "What's particularly important for the native Ukaran communities is the..." there was more, but it was complicated, and I was still trying to figure out what was going on.

      "Ukaran?" I ask, to make sure I heard correctly.

      "Yes, the Ukaran and the Utankaran."

      I had the impression that he was implying that the Ukarans were the people in this camp, and I'd already seen the problems that they were facing—oppression and human trafficking on the part of the people in the castle. I wondered if the oppressors were the Utankarans. The similarity in their names suggested that they were closely related but (in the manner of such things) probably deeply opposed social groups.

      Updated 04-24-2015 at 08:50 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , memorable