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    1. Julbock (WILD)

      by , 12-21-2016 at 07:01 AM
      Ritual: I often wake up briefly during the night, but at one point last night I noticed that my husband was awake too, so we ended up having a conversation, probably around 3 or 4am. After that it was hard to get back to sleep, and I tossed and turned for a while. Eventually I realized that I was tossing and turning with the distinctive sensations that suggested I might already be asleep. I played with it a bit, rolling until I was sure that I was not moving in a physical way, and when I felt certain that I was in the dream state, I "got up."

      WILD, "Julbock": I realized that it was my first WILD since moving to my new house, but as is typical, I failed to recognize the ways that the dream environment was different from WL. In fact, it bore very little resemblance to the place I currently live.

      I remembered my intention to work on the last two TOTYs I haven't completed, but after my difficulties making rainbows the other day, the idea felt stressful. Maybe I could just relax and explore the dream world? But I knew that abandoning my intentions was a recipe for losing lucidity fast. I decided on a sort of compromise: I would work on the Basilisk—why do I keep thinking of it as Basilisk? This is a mistake I keep making in waking life, not in dream—I would work on the Chimera task, but rather than go through the motions and try to force things to happen, I would let my subconscious take care of it.

      I was actually surprised how well this worked. Normally, if I needed a goat (as the task specifies) I would deliberately try to summon one, but this time I just held the idea casually in the back of my mind as I walked through the my darkened apartment. Moments later, what should catch my eye, but a stuffed toy goat! It actually resembled an object that I possess in waking life, a little Beanie Baby goat that I have for many years brought out around Christmas time and designated the "Julbock." I have not yet brought it out this year, but it crossed my mind to do so a few times recently.

      Is this a psi-ball?-julbock.jpg

      "Would a stuffed goat work?" I wondered as I picked up the small toy. I tried to remember the wording of the task. Surely it just specified "goat," not "live goat" or "real goat," as if those terms could even be meaningful in dream, so I figured that this goat would be adequate for my purposes, and carried it with me.

      Since the task required the chimera to act violently against DCs, I didn't want to create it in my own apartment, what with the dream version of my husband asleep in the other room, so I left and went out into the hall. (It is worth specifying at this point that I don't live in an apartment, and have not for many years, nor have I ever lived in any apartment that resembled the one in this dream, which is what I mean when I say that this dream environment was very different from WL.)

      Across the hallway was an open door leading into another bedroom, apparently empty. Should I summon the chimera there? But I didn't know whose bedroom it was, so I decided to keep moving. To my right was a solid wall, the end of the hallway, so I turned left and walked down the corridor. The hallway was narrow to start with, and the walking space was further restricted by the many chests of drawers that were pushed up against the wall on the left hand side.

      I sidled along with barely room enough to pass through the corridor for about twenty feet, until I emerged into a slightly wider but still relatively cramped lobby area. To my left, a chest-high counter bordered a desk and work area where two women were seated, clearly employees of this apartment complex. Attached to the wall behind them was a row of large gingerbread men, a festive decoration for the holiday season—but also just what I had been looking for. I was impressed how well my subconscious was pulling through for me. You see, in my earlier WL attempts to plan how how I might complete the chimera task without harming any human-like DCs, the inspiration occurred to me: have it fight gingerbread men! I wouldn't feel the least bit bad about crushing some animated DC cookies, since I happily bite the heads off gingerbread men in WL. And now, even without any elaborate summoning rituals or focused intent, my subconscious had handily provided me with everything I needed to complete the task: I had my goat, and I had some gingerbread men that could serve as victims. All I needed now was to transform the goat into a proper chimera and cause some cookie mayhem.

      "Could I borrow those gingerbread men?" I asked the women politely.

      "Sure," one of them replied nonchalantly.

      "Okay," I said, preparing myself for the complicated part. "I'm going to try to keep this under control. Hopefully no one will get hurt."

      Though I intended my words as a subtle warning, it was apparently so vague that the women took no notice whatsoever. One of them asked the other, "Could you get me a Coke?"

      "Sure," the other replied.

      "Half," added the woman who had made the request. This puzzled me. I had assumed that the request was for a can of Coke from a vending machine. How would one bring back half? But I didn't put too much thought into it, because I was preparing to transform the stuffed goat into a chimera... everthing was in place...

      ...And I woke up, once again, just before I could get to the heart of the task. When I was at my best, early this year before my long recent dry spell, I could often keep from fully waking and DEILD-chain my lucids in order to finish complex tasks like this, but now I seem to be out of practice.

      Updated 12-21-2016 at 07:13 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the year
    2. Butterfly Transformations

      by , 07-22-2014 at 09:30 PM
      Ritual: wtb 3:15am, last wbtb 9:15am, woke 10:38am, SSILD: WILD

      Last sleep, last chance. It was already 9:15am, but since I'd gone to bed so late, and all my previous attempts that night had been without real motivation and had resulted in falling asleep before completing a single cycle, figured I could try once more. SSILD: tempted to mix it with other techniques, but if I was going test this properly, ought to do it straight up. My timing was messy and uneven, but remembered that was okay. Did maybe three cycles on my back, uneven length, afraid of waking myself up too much, given that it was already mid-morning, so turned on my side and prepared to let myself sleep. A few times I ran through the cycles very lightly and quickly, just to get back in touch with my senses. At some point in this process the cat jumped on the bed. I was getting closer to sleep but figured I could work with this if he settled down and didn't just start yelling. Fortunately he decided to sleep on me, and I was able to work that sensation into my rotation. I wasn't cycling regularly, just randomly once in a while when I felt I might be losing touch.

      I must have been already dreaming without knowing it, because I thought I was only thinking, and it never occurred to me that the presence of sustained visuals suggested otherwise. I was replying to posts on some online forum made my a friend—nothing to do with DV, no one even connected with dreaming, just an old friend I haven't talked to in a while (AS). He was posting something about falling asleep a certain way and used an acronym like "TILD," and I wanted to reply snarkily with something like, "Does TILD stand for 'talking to yourself in bed'?" At the time, I was convinced this phrase perfectly fit the acronym, so I was apparently already touched by dream logic. So I was trying to type out my reply, and I simply could not type "TILD" properly. I tried over and over, and my fingers kept slipping and hitting everything else on the keyboard. Technical difficulties like this are one of my dream signs, but since I was convinced I was still awake, it didn't occur to me to RC. On the contrary, I thought I was having this trouble typing because I was getting too sleepy! This was precisely the opposite of a false awakening: instead of losing dream awareness by believing I had woken up, on the contrary, I failed to realize I was dreaming because I thought I hadn't fallen asleep yet! (If there's no acronym for this yet, I propose FFA for "false falling asleep," as it pairs well with the more familiar term FA.)

      Around then the music started. I could hear a Pixies song. At the time I was sure that it was a song I knew, and it was playing perfectly down to the last note, even though I hadn't heard it in years. (I can't remember now what song it was, if it was indeed a real one.) I knew the music wasn't coming from outside me, and figured it must just be hypnagogic activity. The whole time until now I had been aware of lying in my bed, which was part of the reason I thought that I hadn't quite fallen asleep yet. After the Pixies song played in its entirety and then concluded, a new song started. This one intrigued me even more, because I was sure it was a song I had never heard before. It was lively enough to make a good follow-up to the Pixies, but the singer had an accent that sounded African. It reminded me of the song "Rise" by Seun Kuti, one that I downloaded free from Amazon and put on my running mix—but I'm not familiar with his other work. This song, like one before it, was crystal clear... like so often before I regretted that I am not more musical in waking life, because I felt sure if I were musically literate I could wake up and recreate it. But I didn't feel like rousing myself and trying to hum the melody into my iPhone when I hadn't even gotten to sleep yet.

      WILD: At some point around here the transition finalized, and I realized, hang on, I think I am asleep now! I'm in my dream body! I could probably just 'get up' without disrupting anything... so I got out of bed, and even though everything felt extremely lifelike, there was a lightness to my body that I was sure meant I was dreaming. I was impressed how bright and clear everything was, and how mobile I felt, unlike a lot of WILDs where it's dark at first and I'm crawling over the carpet trying to get traction. But perhaps integration wasn't perfect yet, because hardly had I gotten out of bed when I was disturbed by a loud rhythmic noise that threatened to disrupt the dream state and wake me. At first I thought it must be the mailman knocking on the door, because I'm expecting a package. But as it continued without abating, I realized it must actually be construction on the house up the hill. How foolish it was, I chided myself, to do my dream practice so late in the morning! The world wakes up and starts making loud noises; at least during the night it is quieter. (RL: It turns out there's nothing at the door and no construction going on outside, so despite these very reasonable hypotheses about bleedthrough stimuli, the sound appears to have been largely or entirely internal.)

      The sound was extremely disruptive and I felt alarmingly close to being woken by it. But I had just gotten into a perfectly good dream and had no wish to lose it so soon (like that time recently when I was woken from an otherwise fantastic WILD by my own snoring—come to think of it, this is another possible culprit for the sound!) How can I deal with this and remain in the dream? The answer occurred instinctively: dance! So I started dancing to the noise. It was a bit like dancing to the sound of hammers, and my dance was correspondingly jerky and spasmodic, but it did the trick! After a while I felt that the dreamstate was no longer threatened, so I paused and looked at myself in the bedroom mirror. Once again, as in the last SSILD, I was impressed how much like my waking self I looked: the hair was different, shorter, but the same face, same eyes. I smiled at myself and could see the smile in the reflection. Interestingly, even though it was a full-length mirror, I have no conception of what I might have been wearing. I wasn't curious about it at the time I was looking, so I have no impression of it now. If I had to guess, I would suppose it was a loose white summer dress of the sort I've been wearing around the house lately (I don't wear these to bed though).

      Even though I had come to terms with the noise, it was still loud and annoying, so I decided to leave the bedroom and move deeper into the house, hopefully away from it. It might have diminished slightly by the time I got to the kitchen, but only a little, so I keep walking through to the living room. I notice my fluffiest down comforter is heaped up on the couch for some reason. I pull it off, and as the folds of cloth open I see the dark silhouette of a butterfly within them. I am momentarily confused: is butterfly a dream figment, or is it real? That is, just as I thought the sound might have a source in waking life, it didn't seem improbable at that moment that a butterfly might have accidentally made it into the house. Dream logic prevented me from realizing that, even were that so, how would I realize it when I was asleep in my bed? The butterfly flutters up and flies into the kitchen, so I follow it. Around this time I am too distracted to notice the noise anymore, being completely engrossed in the butterfly. When I enter the kitchen, I notice that in place of the little black one I followed, about the size of an ordinary monarch, there are now two very large butterflies, their wingspans about 16 to 18 inches across. One is slightly larger than the other, a very pale greenish yellow. The other one has the same base color, but its wings have black borders.

      I am reminded of the task I had been intending to work on next, "creo animál." However, it seems that the dream has jumped the gun and already created the animal for me, so I roll with it and decide to experiment with "rego animál" instead—apparently forgetting I've already done this one numerous times. I know I should try "intellego animál," as I've never tried anything with that technique, but I'm not sure how to go about it, so I decide to put it off until later. I hold out my hand and command "Rego animál," focusing on the larger, lighter-colored butterfly and intending for it to land on my hand. The butterflies flit around and ignore me. I try again. Doesn't work. What's the problem? They are "animals," aren't they? I mean, in the broad sense of the term, I'm pretty sure insects count. Do I need the "auram" sphere for this, as they are creatures of the air? But I've worked with wind before—I've found it quite straightforward to conjure all the elements directly—yet somehow this is harder. I'm forgetting all the times I have commanded animals very easily in other dreams, and am probably just making it harder for myself by all the Ars Magica rigamarole, but truth be told I like rigamarole... it's more stylish and satisfying than just making things happen in a perfunctory way. I conclude that the main problem is that I'm just not putting enough focus into my intent, and so the third time I sing the command. For some reason, I always get the best results in dreams when I sing to shape them, and sure enough, now the butterfly comes over and lands on my proffered hand.

      What next? I walk the few steps back into the living room, and command the butterfly to fly up again and go land on the small table by the window on the other side of the couch. Again, it takes me a couple tries, but the butterfly finally obeys. As it lands there, it turns into a young light-haired woman. I am distracted from this transformation by a young blonde man who is now at my side. He is not the second butterfly, the one with black-bordered wings: around this time she transforms into a dark-haired woman who is standing near the closet. With all this transformation going on, I am inspired to try "Muto animál," so I direct this command to the young man, intending for him to turn into a butterfly. He stands there looking a bit obstinate or confused, so I sing the command in what I intend to be a very persuasive manner, and he finally complies—sort of. He lies down on his right side in a fetal position. He is not lying on the floor, but on some platform a few feet high that doesn't exist in RL (there would just be a wall there). He produces a bundle of red yarn that he stretches along the length of his spine. I watch, waiting for the transformation, but nothing happens. I command him again, and he respond that he is doing his best, but that it will take a very long time—maybe up to a year!—because the timing isn't right.

      It's possible that the guy is just dicking me around, but he seems sincere, and he does offer that he could transform more easily into a goat. (OMG! I hadn't even realized until I wrote this that my first SSILD also involved a goat... odd coincidence, as I don't remember dreaming of goats under any other circumstances.) I say that this would be fine, so he gets back up, discards the red yarn, and transforms at once into a brown goat of ordinary size. He warns me that when he is a goat, he speaks in a strange high voice—which seems contradictory at first, because he has already turned into a goat and is still speaking in the same voice as before. However, after delivering the warning, his voice does change. From his description of a "high voice," I was expecting him to start speaking in falsetto, but instead he sounds more cartoonish, like his voice has been sped up. With his new voice he introduces himself to me, telling me his name is "Hemm." I find myself wondering how this is spelled. I imagine it with two 'mm's, but having only heard it spoken, I can't be sure. Should I ask? Well it can't hurt, and might help me remember the name better. "Is that spelled H-E-M or H-E-M-M?" I inquire. He replies that there's no way to know: he was just a blacksmith's son and never saw it written down.

      I realize that I should get the names of everyone in the room, because then I'll be able to write a more detailed report when I wake up. So I turn and ask the girl sitting on the small table, formerly the pale butterfly. She tells me her name is "Anna." She is now holding a painting, a vertical rectangle about 24x36 inches, and turns it around to show me the back. "And his name was 'Jakachibe', he was a Japanese thief." I gather that the guy she mentions is represented on the front of the painting, but I barely had time to glimpse the image before she turned it around, and now she is just showing me the back of the canvas, where something like 'Jakachibe' is written in large sloppy pencil letters on a wooden crossbar. I say "something like" because the transliteration of the name is even worse than what I've rendered here—there was another 'h' in it somewhere, maybe even a 'q', something more like "Jaqhachibe," but I can't remember precisely—and I have to bite my tongue to refrain from telling her that "Jaqhachibe" doesn't sound like a proper Japanese name and even if it were, it certainly wouldn't be spelled that way in English. I just smile and nod, then turn to the dark-haired woman who has continued to stand by quietly. She tells me her name is "Caroline." After I hear each name, I am repeating it aloud, to better impress it on my memory.

      After talking to each of the women in turn, I notice that the young man who had transformed into a goat has returned to his former human appearance. He is of average height, with wavy blonde hair, short but not too short, a bit tousled, and he has a pleasant, open face. He volunteers that his name—in this form—is "Viryec." Or at least, he says something that sounds like that phonetically, but is probably spelled very differently—"Virjece" occurs to me as the most likely possibility—so I start inquiring more about it. He tells me that his name means something like "sincere effort." This rings a bell—both in sound and meaning, it reminds me a lot of the Pali word viriya, which has been on my mind lately, so I ask him if that term has any relationship to his name. Although he and his name both strike me as coming from northern European stock, perhaps there is some ancient Indo-European etymological relationship with the Pali... but before he can reply, I wake up. I don't know why my dreams so often seem to end just before what promises to be some interesting revelation, but here we are again. Still, I'm not that disappointed because I have so much to write down!

      Updated 08-02-2014 at 10:49 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , memorable
    3. The Mysterious Goat

      by , 07-17-2014 at 06:09 PM
      Yesterday I came across the SSILD thread on the induction forum, and decided to try it out. Success!

      Ritual: Slept about three hours, woke up with awareness of having dreamed though no recall of specifics, but figured since I had been in REM I might as well give the SSILD technique a try. Doing the sense-cycling delayed sleep onset more than I expected, even more than with my usual WILD technique of incremental counting, even though I kept reminding myself that I wasn't attempting to WILD. Interestingly, when I was starting to get closer to sleep I was experiencing much more vivid flashes of hypnogogic imagery than usual, which I attribute to having primed my attentiveness to it with the technique.

      On the verge of falling asleep finally, when I sense that I'm in an empty room with plain white walls, and that it's substantial enough to enter as a dream space. "I can work with that," I say to myself, and close the door. The handle has a pleasing feeling of solidity and the door closes with lifelike sensations, so I know this is actually working.


      WILD: What to do now? Well, I need traction, so I decide to just use my body a bit until I feel more substantial. Last night my husband showed me a video of a guy doing amazing acrobatic tricks on a pole, and that must have subconsciously inspired me, because without really thinking about it I start emulating him. It's fun because I could never do anything like this in RL (who could? It's real gravity defying stuff) and even in a dream it takes a bit of concentration, so it is a useful way to integrate myself better into this space. As I do it I remember to occasionally rub my hands in front of my face for more traction, and for some reason it occurs to me that it would be a good idea to feel my head, which I've never tried before, but the lifelike sensation of the shape of my head and texture of my hair is very helpful, they make this dream body I'm in feel more like "me." The vividness and clarity at this point is quite high, and I'm wondering what I look like. I see a mirror on the wall (the walls were featureless initially so the mirror seems to have manifested in response to my intention, though not before my eyes... it was just there once I decided to look for it) so all I have to do is position myself properly in order to see my reflection. I'm pleased with how much like me it actually looks, although my hair is different: loose, shoulder-length and with a layered, almost spiky cut. But the face looks just like mine, especially the eyes. It was remarkably like looking into a real mirror, which is not my usual experience of reflections in LDs.

      Given how lifelike my body feels and my reflection looks, I decide to play with it a bit. A couple times in my LDs I've experimented with trying to create an extra set of arms, like you see on some representations of Hindu deities, and I want to try that again. I'm now standing on a sort of balance beam, looking at a second mirror that has manifested on the next wall (a little more conveniently positioned than the first) and I start waving my arms and trying to create a second pair. With a little concentration I have a partial success: I think I can see and feel a second pair, but they are moving in tandem with the first. To be more successful, they would have to move independently, all four arms moving simultaneously in separate directions. I try to get the second set to move independently from the first, but I can't figure out how to do it! I realize that I simply have no mental imprint of what this would be like. Perhaps with a little more creativity or effort I could get this going, but I sense that at this moment the strain might be close to disrupting the dream, so I give up the attempt, amused by how tricky this is, and re-stabilize.

      What next? I remember my current task: "Creo vim." (I've been working through spell combinations from Ars Magica.) I anticipated this would be a fun one because I had no idea how it would manifest, and deliberately tried to avoid anticipating anything in particular, hoping the dream would surprise me. So I hold out my left hand and concentrate on the spell. Nothing happens at first. How should I do this? I wonder if I should be using my right hand (my dominant hand in waking life), but figure that since I instinctively started with my left, I should stick with it. "Creo vim," I murmur, since I've found that saying the name of the spell aloud can be an effective focus. A tiny bubble manifests in the air above my open palm. It looks like a soap bubble, and as I have this thought, it bursts like one. But I'm emboldened by the fact that something is happening, so I keep concentrating, and another bubble appears. It grows larger and slowly sinks until it is a half sphere sitting on my palm. From there it keeps growing, getting larger and lumpier and turning grey in color, but still completely weightless and seemingly inflated with air. When this mass is about a foot and a half in diameter, it lifts from my hand and sinks gently to the floor, and transforms into a small white goat.

      The surroundings have changed around me while I was focused on the spell. I am no longer standing on a balance beam in a white room, now I am outdoors at night, standing on the ground, looking at this goat that has inexplicably appeared. My husband is lying next to me, asleep. Standing in front of me is a horse harnessed to a cart. I ponder the goat, wondering what it might signify. On the one hand, it is an extremely cute little goat, with long white fur and two straight horns that are only a few inches long. On the other hand, it subtly disturbs me for some reason I can't identify. I remembered a trial take of a commercial that I saw many years ago. The commercial was intended to advertise a financial services company, and was showing clips purporting to be the customers. The most memorable one was a dignified elderly gentleman who for some reason was accompanied by an equally dignified white goat. It was so random and surreal, elegantly and subtly satanic, that the image always stuck with me—though I learned later that the scene was cut from the final version out of concerns that people might be disturbed or distracted by the goat. So what to make of this little goat in front of me now? The goat itself was just standing quietly and not revealing anything, until before my eyes it abruptly transformed into a few pieces of ripe and runny brie cheese on a plain white plate. This was even more mystifying.

      I wanted to ask someone's opinion about the goat and its transformation, but I looked around and couldn't see anyone else in this landscape. There was just me and my husband, but he was fast asleep and I didn't want to disturb him. Finally it occurred to me to ask the horse, as the only other creature around. I figured the question of the goat's moral status could be answered by how the horse responded to the cheese, so I picked up a piece from the plate and offered it to the horse to sniff. "What do you think?" I asked. The horse readily accepted the cheese and ate it with apparent relish. This seemed to speak well for the goat! "Want more?" I asked, offering the horse a second piece, which it consumed as eagerly as the first. I decided to try a bit myself, and found the taste and texture very much as I would have expected from a runny brie.

      There was a cemetary nearby, surrounded by a low wall. I could see the tops of gravestones over the upper edge of the wall, and I instinctively knew that one of them was connected with the goat, so I should investigate it to find out more. The entrance to the cemetary was just across the lane on which the horse and cart were standing, so I walked around them and went inside. From my original glimpse across the wall I had made a mental note that the relevant gravestone was the fourth one in, so I counted the stones I passed until I reached the fourth. It was an old style of slab carved from reddish stone, only about two inches in width, about three feet tall, and with a simple curved top, unadorned except for the text that was carved on it. I knelt down and looked at the inscription. I was pleased to discover that I could read it easily, and one phrase that immediately caught my attention was "Ghast of Vail Light." I took this to be the title of the mysterious goat. It sounded a bit spooky after all, but I loved this phrase! I immediately determined to remember it. "Ghast of Vail Light," I repeated to myself several times, and even said aloud to myself, "Remember that." I wanted to get it just right. Was it spelled "Vail" and not "Vale"? I looked again at the inscription. The letters were remarkably stable, and the spelling was distinct: "Vail."

      I hadn't done any tactile stabilization in a while, so I decided to run my hands over the face of the gravestone. It had the cool touch of real stone, smooth overall but a bit gritty in texture, like sandstone, and I could feel the indentations where the letters were carved in. I was still muttering to myself "Ghast of Vail Light." I didn't know how much longer the dream would go on, and wanted to make sure I wouldn't forget. But I concentrated so hard on the idea of remembering this phrase when I woke up, that it woke me up! I wasn't disappointed, though, because I had plenty to write about already.

      Updated 08-02-2014 at 10:50 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , memorable