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    1. At Least I Found Snow... (WILD)

      by , 03-10-2017 at 11:47 PM
      As I was falling asleep last night, at one point I became aware that I was just below the waking threshold and was able to take some control over the hypnagogic imagery. I wanted to try a TOTY and decided to attempt sledding again. I figured my problem last time was that I had gotten fixated on looking for a mountain to sled down... wouldn't it be more sensible to establish that I was on the mountain to start with? Then all I would have to do is go downhill. And find snow, of course.

      I successfully turned the hypnagogic imagery into a scene of sliding down a mountain slope. Initially it felt more like imagining than dreaming, in part because I was not yet fully embodied in the scene, only seeing it in my mind's eye. But already it was manifesting some of the ornery characteristics of dream and resisting my attempts to imagine snow, so I was sliding over bare earth. I let the scene play along and pretty soon I started to feel physical sensations: the bumps along the ground (I thought wistfully how snow would smooth out the ride!) and the surprisingly realistic smack of low hanging leaves against my face as I passed under trees. I was on a round metal saucer sled, barely big enough to seat me, but by concentrating I could prevent it from spinning out of control (unlike the similar sled I have in WL!)

      Before long it started to feel like a real dream with physical embodiment, but I was still lucid enough that I was not concerned when my sled went over a steep embankment and into freefall: I just applied some mental "brakes" and came down gently, landing in the yard of someone's farm. The farmer was there, so I realized this would be a perfect opportunity to coax some snow into existence.

      "Can you believe the weather we're having?" I asked the farmer. "Such thick snow! Hey, where is the snow the deepest?" I tried to make my tone convincing, despite the fact that there was still no snow in sight. Apparently this worked, because the farmer pointed into the distance, and when I sledded off in that direction, soon I was surrounded by snow everywhere!

      I was back in the mountain forest, but there was a slight problem. I looked around and saw no way down but steep rocky cliffs, rather than slopes that looked suitable for sledding. I figured I should just pick a cliff and sled off it anyway, since freefalling posed no real danger. But at that moment, for no good reason, I felt a subtle pang of anxiety about completing the task, and this woke me up.

      Dreams are a wonderful laboratory for discovering all the ways that our own minds can get in the way of our intentions!

      Updated 01-13-2019 at 07:44 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the year
    2. Dark Spirit (NLD fragment)

      by , 04-03-2015 at 07:05 PM
      Recall: 1/10. WTB 4am, woke 10am. All night on waking I had the impression of complex dreams but could not recall even the broad outlines. At one point there was a fragment of Japanese in my head: play between the words "iro iro" (which I think means "various") and "iru" (infinitive of "to be"). After final sleep had the vague impression of seeing places on a map, and was sure that I had dreamed something urban and apocalyptic... but I cannot seem to find the thread.

      10:45am. Took a shower, still trying to remember. At first I thought the hot water was a distraction, but after a few minutes something flashed into mind and I murmured: "I was in the woods."

      I was in the woods. There was at least one other person, and we were digging for something. And then another entity approached us. I have the impression that he usually drove a horse and carriage, but at the time of our encounter he was on foot. I recognized him as something terrifying and supernatural. He had a name, the everyday kind some boogeymen develop in folklore, consisting of an adjective and a common first name. The adjective might have been "dark"; I don't remember the name. I have the impression he had a stunted body, a normal-sized male torso on short and shriveled legs.

      When I saw this creature on the forest path, I recognized the terror and danger he represented, and then the strangest thing happened: on a whim, I ran up and hugged him! And as this was happening, I was thinking wryly to myself, "If I were lucid, would I dare to do this? I don't think so!" Somehow I managed to have this thought without being lucid in the slightest—I guess you could say it was dream awareness without memory or agency. However, there might have been a touch of dream memory, even if WL memory was absent: my comment was in reference to an incident that occurred several years when I was lucid, and my intended task was to approach a fae spirit, but the one I glimpsed in the distance was so creepy that all she did was glance in my direction and I started running away as fast as I could!

      Updated 04-03-2015 at 07:08 PM by 34973

      Categories
      non-lucid , dream fragment
    3. Accessing Memory (EILD)

      by , 02-13-2015 at 08:59 PM
      Ritual: WTB 3am, woke several times before and after dawn but didn't WBTB, woke around 9:30am and put vibrating alarm on wrist, set for 24 minutes. Woke up too soon, before it went off, reset it. Next cycle effective.

      EILD: I feel the pulse of the alarm on my left wrist, waking me, but remember to lay very still and see if I can maintain dream state. I experimentally move my hands and arms and from the sinuous and unimpeded sense of motion I'm convinced this is working, that I'm moving the dream body and not the physical one. I know I have to be careful not to overdo it and actually engage real motor functions, so I spend some time almost "dancing" in place with my arms, writhing them bonelessly like a snake dance, until I have enough sense of engagement with the dream body that I risk rolling out of bed. I can't walk yet: I can barely crawl over the rug. I know I need to engage the environment, so I stare at the carpet, noticing the texture of the pile. I'm pleased when I spot a piece of random detritus under my dresser, because something unexpected means the dreamstate is gaining momentum. To gain traction I focus on physical sensations, running my hands over the carpet and even bending lower to rub my cheek against it. Even though I've done this many times before I'm still impressed with the vividness of the sensation, it feels so scratchy and real.

      When I feel sufficiently engaged with my dream body, I manage to stand upright and walk. I easily recall my plan to work on memory—carefully though! I don't want to actually wake myself up. Trying to remember where I went to sleep seems unnecessary, as I still haven't left the bedroom. What about the date? I'm pretty sure it's February... I don't want to think harder to get the precise date lest that efffort wake me. (It's worth nothing that I usually have to think just as hard to remember the calendar date in WL. Usually I just look at my phone because it's easier.)

      I start walking through the hall toward the kitchen. What other memory should I try to access? I know, what have I been reading lately? I'm pretty sure I came up with the correct general impression, but even as I write this, details of my waking life knowledge of this topic are corrupting and crowding out the dream recollections to the point where it is hard to be sure how specific my answer was. At any rate, in the dream I felt satisfied with my level of memory access and moved on.

      As I entered the kitchen I noticed something peculiar: even though I was in a very accurate mental model of my house and had a strong access to waking recollection, and had even managed to access WL memory without disrupting the dream state, it had not in the least improved it either. I had a good sense of tactility (I find that the easiest sense to maintain), but as so often in early WILDs (which this effectively was though induced by EILD technique), my vision was still extremely poor. The haziness was mitigated by the fact that I was in a dream version of my house, as I almost am at the start of dreams of this type, so I "knew" what was around me and that knowledge could help make up for the lack of visual clarity. Perhaps that is partly why my mind instinctively frames such dreams in this way, in addition to the straightforward logical continuity of entering the dream from a mental model of the same place I went to sleep. It moreover suggests that from the start of WILDs I always instinctively remember where my WL body is sleeping, even if I am not paying deliberate attention to the fact.

      I wondered if concentrating would clean up my vision but there was no improvement— it's too bad I didn't think of Fryingman's awesome technique, which I only read about last night, of "taking off the blurry glasses." I figured I should try to clean it up in the usual way, interacting with the dreamstate until it naturally clarified and brightened. Meanwhile, I thought about the other tasks I had been planning. Most important was the elusive forest. After many tries fruitlessly trying to reach it on foot, I decided that I need to stop chasing it, since I seem to be encountering a mental block, and instead will it to manifest around me. I also remembered another task that I've been wanting to try for ages but never managed to think of when dreaming (so maybe this memory trick is working after all?) My idea was to see if I could "play" my WoW character, a Forsaken, and explore the Undercity. I murmur her name aloud, but decide to save that for another time—right now my main goal is to work on the forest.

      I stand squarely in my kitchen and start to visualize myself surrounded by trees. There is a tall houseplant to my right with feathery foliage: it must be the little potted tree I used for Christmas, a Norfolk pine. I reach out and grasp its soft needles with my right hand, thinking this will help focus my thoughts on the forest I am attempting to conjure. Intriguingly, I fail to notice the spatial discrepancy: although the real tree is only a few feet from where I dreamed it, in WL it is now outside on the patio rather than inside the house.

      Unfortunately, this is as close as I get to manifesting anything like a forest before my husband comes into the room. I figure he'll just ignore me because I am dreaming—and oddly I make the assumption, as I seem so often to do in the dreamstate, that I am encountering the real-life version of him even though I know I am dreaming. Maybe it is this tendency that makes some people interpret dreams so closely modeled on RL spaces as "OBEs". But I am thrown into confusion when my husband looks right at me and starts talking. What does it mean? How can he possibly see me? Could I have been wrong in my conviction that so-called "OBEs" are a naive misinterpretation of certain kinds of LDs; might I really be "projecting" an image of myself into the waking world? This still doesn't seem plausible, but the only alternative I can think of is that I am actually awake. (Note the dream logic: despite the generally high level of memory access and mental function in this dream, I completely fail to consider the most likely— and as it turns out correct—alternative, that the encounter with my husband is nothing more than a projection of my dreaming imagination.)

      So am I awake or dreaming? I'm not sure anymore. It feels like a dream, and I'm still not seeing my environment very clearly, but maybe I'm still groggy and bleary from having just gotten up. How could I be confused about this, though? Although there are plenty of times that I'm fully convinced I'm awake and turn out to have been dreaming, not once have I ever been fully convinced I was dreaming and turned to be awake. It doesn't occur to me to try any of the typical RCs, but I focus my attention inward, on my sense of bodily awareness, to try to figure this out. I've often noticed that my dream body is characterized by a peculiar kind of inward vibration radiating from the area of my solar plexus—this impression used to be very strong and distinct, especially when flying, but it has become much less noticeable as I've grown more experienced. I think I can sense it now but it is very faint.

      My husband is still talking, and although I am too perplexed to follow what he is saying, he seems to be complaining about some bad habit of mine. "...twenty-one times a day," he concludes. Apparently that's how often I do the thing that has been annoying him. Does it have something to do with my dream practice?

      The encounter has now totally disrupted my concentration on the forest task, so I turn around and approach the patio door, thinking I'll just go outside. The weather looks lovely, cloudy and wet. "Hey, it's raining," I comment aloud, and anticipate how nice it will be to feel the cool water on my skin. I start to take off my sweater so I'll have something dry to put on when I come back in (it doesn't occur to me how odd it is that I'm wearing a sweater if I supposedly just got out of bed) and pull open the door.

      "Don't, we have to leave," warns my husband. I recall (correctly) that he wanted us to go out on an errand today, but even if I am somehow actually awake, it must still be mid-morning. I assumed we were going in the afternoon, why would he want to leave so early? With these thoughts the dream is finally disrupted and I wake up.

      Note: On the way to my laptop to write things down, I remember the silent alarm still on my wrist and look at the time. It reads 20:42, and it was set for intervals of 24 minutes, which means the whole dream played out in just under three and a half minutes. Of course, then it took an hour and a half to fully record, which is maybe why it's a good thing I don't LD every night, lol.

      Updated 02-13-2015 at 09:10 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid
    4. Storm and Song (DEILD)

      by , 02-11-2015 at 03:16 AM
      Ritual: wtb 1am, woke 5:45am, wbtb about an hour, take supplements (piracetam, bacopa, choline, alpha-gpc, l-theanine), lay on back, doze off, turn to side, woke 8am to record dream.

      DEILD: I half-wake from an unremarkable NLD and realize I can DEILD. As I transition I can distinctly hear a woman's voice speaking, though she wasn't saying anything memorable. After a while I hear a new voice a man responding, and figure this is a good sign, suggesting that the hynagogic state is deepening toward dream. As soon as I feel like I am fully transitioned, I get out of bed. I remember the task I had intended: the storm TOTM. I go outside, intending to summon it, but the dream does not yet feel stabilized and my surroundings become vague. I retransition and realize that there's no reason I should feel constrained by concepts like "inside" and "outside," and decide to summon the storm from right in my bedroom. I look up at the ceiling and it becomes transparent, so that I can see the sky overhead. It is half-lit, with faint stars and gauzy clouds: I will the clouds to thicken and darken.

      After another spell of vagueness, maybe a retransition, I go back outside to see if there is evidence of a storm yet. It is working! There is a patch of very heavy dark clouds overhead. It it not yet a full-blown storm so I work on it a little more. I raise my hands and shout, "Wind!" I am modeling this on the scene from the film Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) where he conjures the clouds so it will get dark faster. I decide to add a little more panache: "WIND AND FIRE!" I yell, still gesticulating at the sky. The clouds are roiling and I do see patches of fire, so when it is sufficiently apocalyptic, I fly directly up into the cloudbank.

      The effect is disappointing: I have no real sensory impressions apart from sight, and the visibility is very poor. It is hard to distinguish the greyness inside the clouds from the greyness of unformed dream, except that I notice that the fire has coalesced into vaguely anthropomorphic forms that resemble elementals or demons. Although they are distant and none moves to threaten me, I feel vaguely anxious and start singing to reassure myself. The dream destabilizes and I retransition.

      I go outside again, and find myself on a slightly elevated walkway; just below is a middle-aged white guy who seems to be gardening. He looks up at me and says with an air of disappointment: "You can do better than this." I feel as though he is chastising me for summoning the storm, and feel a pang of guilt, although there is no rational basis for this. After entering a building, I look down and notice that I am carrying a phone. It is not a contemporary model but resembles those old Nokias with the small monochrome screens that can render text but not graphics. Distinctly legible on the screen is the word: "SmarKu," a mix of lower-case and capital letters as though it were abbreviated from something. The word intrigues me, so I ask:

      "SmarKu, what are you?"

      "A phone," it answers simply.

      Well, duh. I try rephrasing my question, "I mean, what do you represent?"

      "..."

      Since the phone seems confused or reluctant to answer, I finally resort to a term I dislike, speaking forcefully for emphasis: "What do you symbolize?"

      "A pimp and a whore," retorts the phone with an edge of sarcasm.

      I can't help but laugh at the inexplicable rudeness of the reply. What is this, a dream version of Tourette's syndrome?

      I retransition and go back outside, running across two gentlemen having a heated discussion. I find their conversation boring and don't make any particular effort to remember it, but this reminds me of the thread (I think it was last month's TOTM) where we were discussing the fact that it feels different to "think" something in a dream versus saying it "aloud," even though it is hard to conceptualize the difference. To test this principle, I comment inwardly on how dull their conversation is, and pay attention to how this manifests. I do not "hear" the words with my dream ears, nor do I seem to "speak" them in my dream voice, so it feels no different from thinking something in waking life. I walk over to them and think it directly in their presence, to see if they will respond: "How dully, sir!" (In retrospect it seems like an odd turn of phrase, but it felt natural at the time.) They do not react to me, so it still feels like a private thought. I decide to try a little experiment: I silently will one of the DCs to say these words aloud for me. Without a moment's hesitation, he pipes up to his companion: "How dully, sir!"

      This was so successful that I'm encouraged to try again with the second guy. Mischievously, I select the same words that the SmarKu used earlier. Sure enough, the guy says out of nowhere, "A pimp and a whore." At this point I go right up to him and ask, "What do you mean by that?" I expect him to be confused or uncertain about why he said it, but instead he starts explaining himself. This is really unexpected: he is taking responsibility for the phrase as though saying it were his own idea! All I could think was... so DCs rely on dream logic? I... guess that makes sense.

      There is a destabilization, and before my eyes I watch the environment fluctuate from brilliant light and clarity to hazy vagueness. I suspect this is due to my own lack of mental focus, slipping too close to wakefulness again, and I tell myself that I don't have to wake up if I don't want to. Back in my bedroom, I maintain dreamstate through a rough patch by singing again and focusing on sensual impressions. As I sing, it feels like my voice is joined by invisible others, singing with me in harmony. This reminds me of my lucid dare—from last year—which I've never quite completed to my satisfaction.

      I go back outside, willing it to be stable. I frame my arms around empty air as though around an unseen person and dance, hoping the invisible owner of one of the voices will manifest. No such luck. I notice a DC standing nearby, a middle-aged black man, and ask him, "Have you seen an elf around here?"

      "Yes," he replies. Okay, I realize I might have willed him to say that using my new trick, but if it conditions my expectations into manifesting the damn elf, it will have been worth it.

      "Who?" I inquire further, a specific name in mind.

      "Thranduil," he says promptly, just as I anticipated.

      "Where is he?" I don't have an answer to this one, so I'm hoping he'll say something helpful.

      He points behind me. "Right over there."

      I turn and look, hoping my expectations are primed enough that he will be visible. Afraid not. As I squint into the distance, the man explains helpfully, "You can just barely see him, in the edge of the forest."

      I still don't see him but I'll take his word for it. The man goes on, "If you hurry, you might be able to catch him. The best way is to go left up those stairs."

      I follow his instructions, wondering I should summon a horse to cover the ground faster, but I don't want to add unnecessary complexity and figure that on horseback is not the best way to climb stairs anyway. The stairs are very rustic and appealing, constructed of irregularly cut slabs of old grey stone, with small plants growing out of the cracks, and a low stone wall on either side. They turn to the right and continue to ascend. I'm climbing as fast as I can and observe that either the steps are getting smaller or I'm getting bigger, because now I'm covering at least a dozen with each stride, but I'm still only halfway to the forest's edge when I wake up and sense that the dream state is unrecoverable.

      Updated 02-11-2015 at 07:10 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the month
    5. Indecisive Witch, Invisible Song (EILD-FFA-WILD)

      by , 10-07-2014 at 08:33 PM
      Ritual: Second try with the vibrating timer, successful but strange experience. This time it seemed to work not so much from going off (in fact I doubt it ever did), but because my anticipation of the trigger kept my mind alert during the process of falling asleep—to the point where I thought I was still awake long after I had evidently slipped into dream.

      It's becoming apparent that anticipation can serve the same function as motivation. Actually my motivation was relatively low, for the same reason as last time: it is the busiest part of my work week and I realized that I wasn't sure I wanted to have to spend a long time writing up my dream report if successful. I went to bed a little after 12:30am, and woke up naturally around 5:40. (I checked the clock but can't recall the precise time, I think it was somewhere between 5:37 and 5:43.) I decided it was too late to do full WBTB and recognized my lack of motivation, so I just shoved the MotivAider in my pillow and went back to bed with no further technique, letting things take their own course.

      Although normally I would fall back asleep in seconds or minutes at most after such a brief WBTB, I noticed that now I was oddly wakeful... it seemed like just waiting for the device to go off, even though it was set so that it wouldn't trigger initially until 45 minutes had passed, was keeping me awake. After a few minutes trying to get comfortable I grabbed the sleep mask from my bedside table because I knew the sun would come up soon. I then spent a very long time trying to get back to sleep... or so I thought. In retrospect it is apparent that for much of this period I was experiencing that obscure counterpart of a false awakening, a "false falling asleep" (FFA).


      FFA: I think I must have actually fallen asleep very quickly, since a lot of the things I experienced while I thought I was trying to fall asleep turn out to be have been things I dreamed. For instance, at one point I was convinced that I was lying in bed with my body rotated in the opposite direction, my head facing the foot of the bed, but then I fixed this without really moving my limbs... a maneuver that would have been impossible to do physically.

      Eventually I decided that I ought to have a back-up EILD method so I tried to program my sleeping mask. I reached up and pried apart the velcro near the top to flick the "on" switch, remembering to hold it down four seconds to enter "nap mode." I couldn't tell if I saw the indicator lights or not... I thought I did, but the impression was vague. Did I have the brightness set too low? Oh well, I don't remember how to change it. I'll just turn it off and turn it back on again to be sure. Hmm, same thing, the lights are vague... I'm not sure if I'm really seeing them or just imagining it. And then I realize... hang on... I'm not even wearing the Remee, this is just an ordinary cloth sleep mask! So I tried to correct the situation by putting my Remee on under the regular mask... and I really thought I had done this until, while writing this report, I began to have doubts and went to check. Sure enough, the Remee hasn't been touched all night! At least I can verify that I was wearing the ordinary mask, since that one has been moved and is now lying on my bedstand where I must have left it after waking up.

      At another point in the FFA I even felt the MotivAider finally go off. The vibrations felt lengthened and distorted again. I ignored them since I thought I was still awake, and hoped I would be asleep by the time it went off next. In retrospect I realize I must have dreamed even this, because the MotivAider could not have gone off until 45 minutes had passed (even on random mode it initially counts down the full maximum set interval), and I got up to start writing this report at 6:14am, less than 45 minutes after going back to bed around 5:40... so it is very unlikely that it actually went off in that whole period!

      I was getting annoyed with how long it was taking (or so I thought) to fall asleep, and eventually in my impatience I decided to just start "practicing" WILD separations in my imagination. I tried to envision an almost physical pull on my dream body that would tug it up from the lying position into a standing one, and after each repetition of this I imagined myself landing with both feet on the bed with the flourish of a gymnast who has just finished an acrobatic move. It felt at first like I was only visualizing this rather than experiencing it: as though I were just going through the motions, practicing for when I got closer to falling asleep... but before long the sense of immersion set in, and I realized that I was already in a light WILD state. I was surprised that I had been able to move so easily from full wakefulness to full REM, still unaware that I had evidently already been dreaming for quite some time already!

      WILD: Since I was under the impression that I had only just transitioned into a dream state, my initial goal was just to improve immersion and stabilization, so without trying to do any tasks at first I simply wandered through the house. I soon half-woke and had to separate again. I used the same visualization as before "pulling myself up" from lying down to standing up, but it went more smoothly and easily this time. Once again I landed like a gymnast, but this time rather than landing on the bed I vaulted right out of it and onto the bedroom floor.

      By this time I felt immersed enough to start working on tasks. One of the TOTMs is to dress in a costume, and I had decided in advance that I wanted to dress like a witch, so I went to the "costume closet" where I keep my clothes that are too dressy or impractical for everyday use. At first I was surprised to see (so I thought) nothing but the clothes that are there in waking life. I must have been a bit confused, because although in WL the closet contains plenty of gothy-looking wraps and dresses entirely suitable for a witch costume, the only thing I thought to grab at the time was a small halter top of some colorful iridescent material. I didn't put it on yet, since my priority was to find a mask.

      The closet actually contains a box of masks on the upper shelf, but in the dream I "remembered" that I had a brown paper bag of them on the floor, so I went through it until I found a witch mask... or was it? Looking at it again, I thought it actually looked more like a Darth Vader mask that someone had clumsily tried to convert into a witch face with dabs of green paint. But then I "remembered" using it as a witch mask before, so I figured it would be adequate.

      Next I needed the pointy hat. I must have one around here somewhere... I dug through the closet, but couldn't find one of the right shape. Nevermind, I can make one! I pulled out a fedora made of black leather, and started trying to pull the top to make it longer and more pointy. At first the material was resistant but I put some focus into the act and soon was able to mold the hat into a proper Halloween-style witch hat, and put it on my head. The fact that it was made of black leather made me feel extra stylish. I paused at the door of the room and wondered if I needed to change my clothes as well, but when I looked down I saw that I was wearing a long black dress that already looked witchy enough, so I never had to put on that stupid halter top!

      After walking back out to the kitchen, I remembered to check my reflection in the mirror (in a spot where there is no mirror in WL). It wasn't bad! I looked like that classic witch from the Wizard of Oz: green face, hooked nose, tall hat. The mask was looking much less Vader-like now, and at this point I noticed that there was even an inscription on it (entirely legible in the mirror rather than inverted by the reflection) that gave the title "Witch," and was signed either "Robert" or "Richard." I assumed the name must be that of the local artist who made the mask, and was reassured by the title that it had been intended as a witch mask after all.

      When people were contributing suggestions for the October TOTMs, I had really liked the one about flying on a broomstick to a witches' gathering, so this was something I had planned to do once I got in costume. But now I wasn't sure. Maybe it would be fun to work on my lucid dare instead, and go startle some elves with my witch costume! I felt indecisive. And in either case I'll have to leave the house, so which door should I use? I've let myself get into the bad habit of being paranoid that leaving the house might destabilize the dream, so I wondered if leaving by a door I don't often use would help bypass this impression. I know that this worry is a wholly self-imposed obstacle—and moreover that it is not supported by the evidence—yet I also know that even letting myself worry about destabilization can have a destabilizing effect!

      While I'm standing there trying to make up my mind, I notice that the scenery outside the kitchen door has already begun to change. Replacing the back patio is now a beautiful summer forest, with green leaves, mossy trunks and a clear limpid pool of water on the ground, like a natural spring. The water is only a few inches deep and appears completely transparent and pure. The scene is so lovely that I immediately let go of my pointless worries and go outside to enjoy it, kneeling in the water and running my hands through it, lifting it in my palms and letting it splash back into the pool. I find myself wondering if these surroundings will transform my costume from that of an ugly old green witch into a young beautiful forest witch. And what do we mean by "witch," anyway? I start pondering the question: aren't those two archetypes (ugly old witch and young beautiful witch) from the same tradition? Don't they both imply a woman with an unusually strong connection to the natural world?

      I still haven't decided if I want to look for a witch gathering or an elven gathering in this forest, as I think both could conceivably be taking place here. Would the elves resent my presence if I'm still a Halloween-style witch? But if this pool has transformed me into a beautiful forest witch, maybe I would blend right in. (I regret now that it never occurred to me to check my reflection again in the pool! Though I still had the impression that I was wearing the same black dress.)

      Once again the dream distracted me from my thoughts, this time by the sound of a voice singing. It was an attractive male voice, a low tenor, drifting from somewhere up above. The pool where I knelt was at the foot of a rocky ledge, at least ten feet high, and it seemed like the main part of the forest was up there. I flew up (I can't recall if I used a broomstick or just levitated as usual) to see if I could locate the singer. I followed the voice and soon found myself in a green mossy glade. I could not see anyone but I could hear the voice distinctly, so I took note of the words:

      On the new sensation lying within,
      One can ride a stream of water, straight and thin.


      There was another half line of verse after this but on waking it faded before I could record it. I think it had something to do with the feeling or awareness produced by the "new sensation" mentioned in the first line. I woke up before I could listen to any more of the song or continue to look for the singer.

      Note: It was still very early after I finished writing all my notes, so I went back to bed. I had some NLDs and at one point as I was starting to wake up from one I found myself thinking about the song again. At this time I got the impression that the missing line might have been: And so a new feeling is won. Of course there's no way to confirm if that's what it was originally, but it's the best I've got to go on!
    6. Trails of Breadcrumbs (brief WILD + 2 DILDS)

      by , 09-02-2014 at 12:37 AM
      After several promising WILD attempts failed for no good reason over the last couple weeks, I was afraid I was headed into another dry spell. Then last night, when I wasn't planning to lucid dream at all—having only seven hours to sleep before getting up early for a busy day—I had spontaneous lucids all night during the few short periods I managed to sleep at all, and had to sacrifice even more sleep writing up my notes promptly (as a matter of principle). I should have known better to drink that big mug of coffee before bed on a night when I was likely to be prone to anxiety anyway, but now I can report that caffeine + anxiety make a great lucid trigger!

      I went to bed at 12:30am. Knew I needed to wake at 7:30 and intended to go to bed earlier, but I never find it easy to go to bed before midnight unless I'm sick or already exhausted. Woke at 2:30am and realized that the coffee was a mistake: I was now wide awake. To counter the insomnia I started doing counting and deep breathing, basically just like my WILD practice but without the intention to LD. I counted to fifty, one number for each full breath cycle, then left off counting and did the breathing only. I'm not sure how much I actually slept—it felt like I spent a long time in a transitional state—but it was 3:45am when I woke up fully again, this time after slipping spontaneously into the very briefest of WILDs.


      Brief WILD: The transition was really interesting, because there must have been a point when I was already asleep, but I still thought I was awake. I know I was confused about this because I was under the impression that while lying in bed I was selecting and leafing through fantasy-game themed magazines from a low shelf that was just to my right, apparently in the bed with me. Of course in waking life there is no such shelf set up in my bed nor any magazines of this kind within arm's reach, distinct evidence that I had dreamed the whole thing. But as I was flipping through through the magazines, I was also well aware that I was in the process of trying to fall asleep, and I even noticed a curious phenomenon: when I closed my eyes, I could still make out blurry forms and colored shapes corresponding to the content printed on the pages I was reading. This made me think that reading through closed eyelids might be a great technique for encouraging REM onset, because it was stimulating pictures to form in my mind. A great technique indeed if you can do it while you're already dreaming! But I didn't realize that at the time.

      Eventually I felt the onset of that bodily dislocation that suggested I was close to a WILD transition, and encouraged it. Sometimes I levitate, sometimes I rock or rotate, but this time sinking felt more natural, so I let the sinking sensation grow while thinking, "Down, down," until I felt that the transition was complete. Then I easily "got up" out of bed. However, I still didn't have much control of the dream body, so I discovered that I couldn't stand or walk yet. Instead I collapsed face down on the floor and had to crawl. This didn't alarm me, because I often lack full motor coordination right after the transition. The environment was recognizable as my bedroom but still very murky. My mind felt incredibly active and clear, by contrast—probably because I was barely asleep.

      I remember thinking distinctly, "Oh good, I haven't lost it"—meaning the ability to WILD, given that my last few attempts have gone nowhere. I crawled toward the bedroom door and remembered my task, "Fairy tales." Then I paused, realizing that I would need to improve my integration before trying to leave the room, as my WILDs tend to destabilize if I try to rush things. I thought, "Time for some clean-up"—but alas, there was no time, as I woke promptly at this.

      Such a disruption was not unusual, as my early WILDs are normally strung together by multiple DEILD chains (for some reason this seems to be almost the only time I can successfully and instinctively DEILD, so I've never even counted those DEILDS as distinct dreams; instead they end up seeming more like segments of the same chained WILD). Unfortunately, I could tell at once that this time I had woken up too fully to DEILD, and even though I held very still and sought a way back into the dream, I could feel that I had surfaced past the point of re-entry, so I got up to write this. A bit disappointing, but not overly so as I have to get up insanely early tomorrow for a full day of activity, so no time to write more without cutting into sleep.

      5:50am: up and writing again after two more DILDs. Both times I thought at first that I was awake in the house, but instinctively realized that I was dreaming.

      DILD#1: As soon as I realized I was dreaming, I remembered my task, still determined to carry out my "Hansel and Gretel" experiment. I was already deep enough in dream to feel well-coordinated, so after getting lucid I went immediately to the kitchen and grabbed some bread from the counter. It was the end of a baguette. Last time I tried this the dream destabilized shortly after I left the house and started dropping crumbs, so this time I decided to begin more cautiously by starting the trail of bread crumbs while I was still inside the house. I walked from the kitchen to the living room, tearing off pieces of bread and dropping them on the floor. Meanwhile I was thinking to myself with amusement, "Oh man, I'd better really be dreaming. If we wake up tomorrow and it turns out I've left bread all over the floor, my husband is going to say this lucid dreaming thing has to stop!"

      But I was sure I was dreaming, despite the stability and lifelikeness of the environment, so I asked myself how I could tell. I thought it would be a good moment to test the differences in self-perception between dream and the waking state. No sooner did I turn my attention to my body than I felt it—yes—that subtle tingling in the limbs that I have always associated with dream. The sensation used to be extremely prominent, especially earlier in life when lucid dreams occurred only rarely and spontaneously, but now I hardly ever notice it unless I pay deliberate attention. Unfortunately, this re-orientation of focus on my physical senses meant that I began to notice something I was hearing as well: the sound of my husband's breathing in the bed next to me. This reminded me of my body asleep in the bed, which promptly woke me up.

      Upon waking, I could still hear the breathing just as I had in the dream, but with one peculiar difference: in the dream, the sound was distinctly coming from my right, but when I woke up I remembered, of course, he is sleeping to my left. Perhaps the discrepancy can be explained if I was sleeping on my left side with my left ear against the pillow so only my right ear could hear clearly? I forgot to take note of my position when I awoke.

      DILD#2: After going back to sleep, once again I was doing stuff around the house under the impression that I was awake when I noticed once again: am I dreaming? Yep, pretty sure I am. Okay, well, back to work then. I remembered that I had taken the bread from the counter in the last dream, briefly worried that I might not find any more, but casually "expected" to find another loaf and sure enough it was there. I started dropping crumbs while I was still inside the house again, then went out the door to the back patio. I was still anxious about destabilization (I have tried this task several times before and haven't gotten very far, and tonight's previous episodes demonstrated that waking up abruptly was indeed a hazard) I so thought, okay, I'll just walk around the pool in circles and continue dropping crumbs until the dream shows some receptivity.

      So I began circling the pool counterclockwise, dropping crumbs as I walked. When I reached the area just behind the pool I noticed the place where I had encountered "Boneface" in a previous dream and wondered if anyone would be waiting there, but no DCs were visible. However, the dream was starting to respond: already I was no longer circling the pool but on a path, walking through an environment that no longer resembled any place I know in waking life. The path led me through a dense suburban neighborhood, but I saw trees in the distance and figured a forest must be out there somewhere. I needed to reach the forest to proceed with the "Hansel and Gretel" plot.

      I continued dropping breadcrumbs as I walked along the path, but then I remembered—hang on, if I'm doing "Hansel and Gretel," then obviously I can be Gretel, but I'll need a Hansel! I tried to summon him, calling out "Hans! Hans!" and "Little brother!" The dream responded promptly but unexpectedly: a little dog showed up, with long wavy fur in brown and white patches, and started trotting along with me. It looked just like a toy spaniel, but smaller, about the size of a chihuahua. I shrugged and figured, "Okay, good enough." Maybe he would turn into a boy later on, or if not, whatever. (I've always been able to summon animals easily, but have less success with human DCs, so the results weren't that surprising.)

      To get more into the spirit of things, as we continued to walk along the path I started singing a song about our journey—how we had left our parents' house because there wasn't enough food, and hoped to find some in the forest. (I just realized a discrepancy in the story: if food is so scarce that they have to leave home lest the family starve, why are they wasting bread by dropping it on the ground? Or is that why mom wants to kick them out, the flagrant bread wasters!)

      The dream felt very stable but I knew I couldn't be in very deep because I was having trouble with the song: rhymes weren't coming easily, like they do in deeper dream, and my melody was very simple (The Hobbit was on TV last night, and my song ended up with a similar tune and rhythm to the "goblin town" song from the movie, though naturally with very different words). When I got to the end of a line and couldn't find a rhyme, or even a suitable word, I just sort of hummed over the blank spot and kept going. Improvise! So I sang a number of stanzas in this haphazard way, dropping the bread in smaller and smaller crumbs since I was getting near the end of the loaf, while little Hans the dog trotted beside me on his tiny legs.

      Finally we made it to the edge of town, and there it was ahead of us! The forest! Would we go in and find a gingerbread house, a threatening witch? I was looking forward to what we might discover. But I felt sorry for Hans and wondered if he might prefer to be carried. I picked him up and put him on my right shoulder (he was so small). No sooner had I perched him there then at once I clearly and distinctly heard a voice saying my name in my right ear—it was my RL name, and it woke me up. This happened immediately after I put the dog on my shoulder so I had the impression that he had been the one speaking, but the voice was clearly a woman's and, as far as I could make out, it sounded like my own voice.

      Anyway, that woke me up past DEILD recovery so I got up and wrote again. It's now after 6am. Nothing like a short night before a busy day in which I have absolutely no time to spare for dreaming to really bring on the LDs, eh?

      Updated 09-02-2014 at 12:56 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the year