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    1. Angry Fairy and Turnip Fairy (DILD)

      by , 04-26-2016 at 07:52 PM
      Ritual: WTB 1am, woke 8:30am after spontaneous DILD.

      In the course of an NLD, I was changing clothes in my bedroom when I spontaneously realized I was dreaming. I decided I shouldn't waste any more time fussing with clothes and instead get to work on the next task I had prioritized: the Fairy Circle TOTY. Glancing at myself in the mirror, still partially undressed, I headed outside.

      I wondered if the dream would let me pass through the sliding door to the patio without obstruction, but instead I found myself exerting what almost felt like a realistic level of force to open it. Once outside, I didn't want to get bogged down looking for a fairy circle, so I primed my expectations. The fairy circle, it was right over here... I've seen it before. I headed right and found a nice patch of soil like a garden plot. Just as I had "expected," I saw tiny plants like seedlings growing in a distinct circular ring about five feet in diameter. At first I didn't see any mushrooms, so I reminded myself: And there were mushrooms. Looking closer, I now observed a few small mushrooms interspersed among the plants. I also saw a few smooth, bulbous growths that reminded me of the "stone plants" that had fascinated me when I was a kid. I had forgotten those even existed!

      Now that the circle was adequately established, I needed to summon fairies. I knelt down and focused on the center of the ring, where the soil was bare. I noticed faint movement in a spot slightly off-center, and then the loose earth began to fall inward, as though a hole were forming beneath it. I continued to concentrate on the summoning, and then an odd formation slowly rose out of the earth until it stood about two feet high. It resembled a candelabra with at least two tiers of arms in all four directions, except instead of candles, it held small figures that I presumed were the fairies. I reached out and grabbed the one from the very top of the arrangement. It was about eight inches tall and stiff like a statuette.

      I looked closely at the small figure in my hand. She was dark-skinned with shoulder-length black hair, wearing a crimson dress with a dark green cape on her back. Her hat was the same crimson as her dress, but in form it resembled a Santa hat, with a white fuzzy brim and a white pompom at the end of the conical tip that draped behind her. Attached to the toes of her green shoes were round bells, both silver and green. I thought the overall impression was really cheesy, not at all how I would have preferred to imagine a fairy! There was one more incongruous detail: her face was contorted with an expression of unmistakable anger.

      I was tempted to ask her name, but remembered how pointless and distracting this line of questioning can become, so I should get straight to my real question: "What is your secret?"

      Her response was both unexpected and chilling: "It is evil." She sounded as furious as she looked.

      "What is?" I asked, utterly perplexed.

      I can't recall her initial response, but it did not resolve my confusion. I decided to be more specific: "When you said, 'It is evil,' what did you mean by 'it'?"

      She said a few more things that I don't recall, and then a line that struck me clearly: "The evil of a controlled substance is the substance."

      This was even more confusing. I hardly ever use controlled substances, at least not illegal ones, so I didn't understand how this could be relevant. Moreover, I disagreed with her stated position: in my view, the main evil of a controlled substance is the social strictures that punish people for possessing or using it.

      "Why did you bury amphetamines?" the fairy pressed.

      What happened next was the clearest case of false memory that I've experienced to date. With what felt like a flash of insight, I suddenly realized the probable reason she was so angry. I "remembered" something about my fairy circle—something that I'm pretty sure had not come up in the dream until the point at which I now "remembered" it, but now seemed to explain everything. I recalled that at one point I had buried a bunch of drugs inside the fairy circle, mostly amphetamines, as part of my preparations for the ritual to lure or summon the fairies. It now occurred to me that this might have caused problems within fairy society, and I felt a twinge of guilt.

      I didn't think I would get any more useful information from this fairy, so I put her aside and grabbed another, this time from the side of the candelabra-like arrangement.

      This fairy didn't look human at all. It looked like... a turnip? Was that the right vegetable? The white round bulb with a blush of purplish-red at the top? Yes, a turnip. I was reminded of a photograph of a white radish by Edward Weston (1886–1958) that I had seen the day before in WL. This was clearly a turnip, not a radish, but it gave me a similarly vulgar impression. If this was a fairy, it was clearly not from the upper echelon of fairy society. Or could its abject appearance be the result of too many amphetamines?

      Well, here goes.

      "I have a question." I said, wondering if the turnip-fairy could understand me. "The question I've come to ask is: What is your secret?"

      I was still rotating the turnip in my hands as I spoke to it, uncertain which side was the appropriate one to address. How do you talk to something with no face?

      I heard a male voice, faint, with the accents of a yokel, like Cletus on The Simpsons. It responded to the question in my mind, not the one I had voiced: "There is a side that says: 'Look at me'."

      I realized the turnip must be trying to help me orient it properly, so I turned it until I found a round black label with white block lettering that, sure enough, said "LOOK AT ME." It was hard to make out—I missed it at first—because the label was embedded in a scene featuring the stylized profile of a man in a black cloak.

      "It would be a lot easier to see if there was some white space around it," I commented about the label.

      The turnip-fairy took my suggestion and the surrounding scene promptly faded, leaving the round black label with its white letters clearly discernible. I reminded the turnip that I had come to ask its secret.

      I don't recall its initial answer, but I do remember my skepticism. Whatever he had said had sounded as unconvincing as the response I had gotten from the first fairy, and I assumed that he, too, might be pursuring an agenda that involved concealing the truth.

      "I don't think that's your secret." I said doubtfully. "Tell me your real secret."

      The tone of his response implied that I was wilfully ignoring the obvious: "Oh come on, we can't tell you that."

      Even before his sentence had concluded, I was ejected from the scene and found myself standing in my bathroom. I felt like I had woken up, but wasn't sure. I briefly considered going back outside and attempting to continue the scenario, but realized I should promptly write down what had already happened. I grabbed my notepad from the bedside table, and after a bit of trouble with the pen—which I recognized as another dream sign—I started writing down what had happened. Although I realized I was probably not yet awake, I figured that even while still dreaming it could be useful to write down some initial recollections while they were fresh, and it might help me remember them better when I did wake up.

      However, I hadn't gotten more than a few sentences into it when dream-writing began to feel tedious, and I was afraid I would get distracted, fall into an NLD, and lose the memories entirely, so I forced myself awake. But as soon as I grabbed my actual notepad to begin writing in WL, I realized my mistake: merely transitioning to wakefulness had dulled the memories of the dream that had been so crystal clear just before I had woken up. I wrote down everything I could still recall, but unfortunately some details of the conversations were lost.

      Updated 04-29-2016 at 07:05 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the year
    2. Three Houses (DILD)

      by , 06-22-2015 at 11:02 PM
      Ritual: Slept from about 1:45 to 6:15am, woke to record a vivid NLD, decided to turn it into a WBTB and try to get lucid. I wanted to use some light supplements but nothing powerful, only alpha-gpc and bacopa... but after wondering why one of the bacopa capsules I'd just swallowed was white, I realized, oh shit, when traveling recently I had put some galantamine in the same bottle! I had no interest in taking galantamine this morning but now it seemed there was nothing to be done. Then I had an idea: since piracetam counters the more unpleasant effects of galantamine, and since it now frequently acts for me as a lucid trigger on its own, what might happen if I took the two at the same time? It had never occurred to me to try this before.

      Writing this up after the experiment, I feel like an alchemist who has just stumbled across the philosopher's stone. Wow. After going back to bed 7am I did some prep before falling asleep and then found myself dreaming lucidly for over an hour, waking at 8:30am, probably my longest stint to date. Then I wrote up everything I could remember, lay back in bed to remember and write down some more, went back to sleep, and found myself in another semilucid that presented itself as building on events from the previous dream (though I'm not convinced it actually was). At 10:30am I woke again, feeling thoroughly surfeited and satisfied with so much dreaming.


      DILD, "Three Houses": The dream lasted so long that there was even a point midway through it where I thought to myself, "With everything I've already experienced, how am I ever going to remember all this? There's just no way, especially if I keep going. Should I just wake up?" But the answer came readily, "No way! I want to keep experiencing it, even if I can't remember everything later." There were a number of shifts and transitions that might normally have destabilized the dream and woken me, but I felt confident in my ability to navigate them safely.

      Although I don't clearly remember the beginning of the dream, I'm sure it was a DILD because I recall having one of those thought sequences like, "Hey... I think I might be drea—yes, of course I'm dreaming. Duh. I knew that." Experiences like these confirm for me that lucidity goes beyond mere dream awareness (which in itself can be non-lucid, as I've experienced many times) to encompass that awareness of dream awareness, a kind of meta-awareness, that enables agency. Once I had agency, it was on to my tasks. I had two main tasks planned, working on the "intellego" technique from Ars Magica and trying this month's bonus TOTM. I prioritized the latter because it is time sensitive.

      Random house: Although I was upstairs in a house when I got lucid, I decided that to do the task properly I should start with a fresh one. I went out to the balcony, which looked out over some tall pines bordering the backyard, and easily levitated into the air. I was floating over a residential neighborhood with numerous houses to choose from, so I tried to let instinct guide me. Although the outside of the house I picked didn't inspire any sense of connection—it was an ordinary two-story suburban home in blue-grey clapboard—I figured I should look inside.

      My first distinct impression was how heavy the front door was, one of those old ones made of solid wood. I had to manually lock it behind me and the bolt was hard to turn, though even at the time this struck me as mere DR, since the sensation of forcing the bolt was identical to what I have to do currently with my patio gate in WL. After entering, I found myself in a short plain white hallway, and started wandering through and trying various doors.

      Although my intention had been to find house that represented me, and I even muttered something to this effect aloud a few times as I wandered through this one, I still didn't feel any connection with this place. All the rooms on the ground floor were vacant and a bit dirty, as though someone had moved out in a hurry. I wondered if I was seeing an empty house because I've never actually owned a house of my own in WL, having always rented, so I never had experienced a house that truly did represent me. I opened one door and it led into an enclosed porch or sunroom, also empty. I went back inside and found an interior room with no windows. I thought that if I did live here, this would be a great place to build bookshelves, something I've always wanted to do if I had a house of my own. This house, however, didn't look like a place would ever really want to live, much less a place could represent me in any meaningful way.

      I was annoyed with how empty and uninteresting the ground floor was, so as I went upstairs I reinforced my intention for the house to represent me. At the top of the stairs were two rooms, and these were cluttered with scattered boxes of junk. Might this represent a cluttered state of mind? I looked around at the seemingly random stuff, but once again I felt no connection with it. There were big boxes crammed with vinyl record albums... but I've never owned any vinyl, having grown up in the era of cassettes and then CDs. There was a smaller box containing smaller records, and I tried to remember what that format was called. "Eight-tracks" was what I came up with—clearly I didn't have full access to WL memory, because I'm well aware that eight tracks are those big chunky early cassettes, and only after waking did I remember that the miniature records are properly called "singles." I've never owned any of those either. When I saw that another box on the floor contained an open bag of what appeared to be maxipads, I started to get annoyed. This is just random junk! Sure, I'm a woman, I occasionally use maxipads, but I really don't think they have any special meaning for me... apparently the dream is not cooperating with my intention. That part, at least, is nothing new. My dreamstate has never been entirely cooperative.

      I went back downstairs and out through a garage. It was mostly empty, but there was a chest of drawers there, where I began to try out my second task. "Intellego," I said, touching the wood (I wasn't sure if the Form should be "Corpus," so I left it blank.) All I could read from the chest of drawers was a vague impression of the craftsman's hands, and a feeling that it might have been made in India. That made sense, I figured... how much information could I expect out of furniture, anyway?

      I went outside and looked up into the sky. It was full of fluffy, almost cartoonish clouds. "Intellego auram!" I shouted. I got no response, even when I repeated the command several times and focused specifically on the wind. Well, what did I expect to learn from the sky? The current strength and pattern of wind currents? What possible meaning could that have for me? I suppose it was a failure of imagination, but "intellego auram" produced no impressions at all.

      Aspirational house: I wasn't happy with my first house attempt, but figured I should try again. I tried to find a house that looked more like something I would actually want to live in. Stone walls, of course, something old and solid and dignified. I "located" such a house but it felt a bit fake, like I was forcing the issue, maybe even creating an overlay of what I wanted to see over what was actually there. I tried to remind myself this is dream, nothing is "actually" there, and went through the front door.

      This front door was also pleasingly solid and heavy, and it latched shut on its own, a big improvement over the last one. I found myself in a little coatroom or antechamber, and from there passed through another door into a spacious kitchen. As I walked in I was still determined for this to be the house I was hoping for, so at first I felt like my impressions were driven more by imagination than dream. But after a moment dream took over, and my vague wishes solidified into a magnificent kitchen. It was long and narrow, and over to my right I had the impression of a stove range where a woman was cooking. To my left was the food storage area, consisting of a large refrigerator, floor-to-ceiling stainless steel doors that turned out to be the cupboards for dry goods, and the glass doors of a built-in freezer that also occupied a whole section of the wall. Although I had created the basic structures through my own deliberate imagining, as I now opened the doors and peeked at the contents, I was satisfied that dream had followed through and spontaneously filled in the details. When I opened the door of the refrigerator, there was even a beautifully frosted white cake, and although I thought I heard the woman across the room warning me not to touch it, I couldn't resist lifting up a corner of the plastic cover and using my finger to swipe a bit of the frosting. The vivid taste made me glad of my mischief... just like real buttercream!

      I don't remember the other rooms of this house as clearly as the kitchen, though in contrast the last house it was furnished and even peopled. Upstairs I ran into a guy with a beard and mustache and decided to work on my ongoing attempt to summon game characters. I wondered if it would work better if I started with a character I had less interest in, so that I'd be less concerned about "getting it right." Last night in DA:I I had some conversation scenes with Blackwall in which I basically friendzoned him, so I tried to transform this DC into him by visualizing the scene I remembered. The voice was easier than the face; it wasn't a complete success but not a complete failure either. Unexpectedly I ended up kissing the DC (which was not in the original scene), and it was at this point that he seemed most like the game character, though I didn't take our interactions any further.

      In further exploring the upstairs of this house, I opened a closet door and found myself in—I'm not sure what to call it, maybe "the labyrinth," a kind of claustrophobic dream space that perpetually replicates itself. In the past I've experienced it when I've portaled and accidentally found myself trapped in a seemingly endless series of tiny doorless rooms. This time it wasn't even rooms, just a texture like pebbly pastel-colored styrofoam that was pressing in on all sides. Wherever I pushed through in any direction, I found myself in another identical space. I even "airlifted," a technique of rising vertically that usually extricates me from unpleasant or threatening situations, but was still stuck in the labyrinth. In the past, the only way I've gotten out was to wake up, but this time I was determined to keep cool and persevere. Sure enough, eventually the sense of claustrophobia receded and I found myself in a new scene. Maybe the labyrinth is no more than a virtual rendering of unconstructed dream space.

      I was now outdoors on a street far too narrow for cars, and cobbled. It was pleasingly archaic, and I wondered if I could work on the DA:I theme some more. The only distraction was the brightly colored balloons that were attached everywhere for some reason... a festival? At the end of the street I climbed a steep staircase to the second floor of an unpainted wooden building, and on an inspiration, I thought, "When I turn the corner, I want to see my dream lover." (I've been thinking it over in WL, and decided that I might prefer this over a mere "guide." But my DCs have been so inconsistent that to date I've identified neither.)

      I turned the corner and... sitting in a rocking chair was a drab, ugly old woman. (I already mentioned how perverse my subconscious can be.) I didn't want to be rude, so I approached her with questions. At my wondering why she appeared in this form, she answered, "We take different appearances." I had the feeling that the "we" included both of us. Although I was not attracted to her in this form, I thought there was something familiar in her eyes, so I kissed her anyway. Around this time another DA:I character, Sera, came climbing up a rope onto the balcony of the room, and I thought perhaps the dream was suggesting that we take a stand for lesbian love. I was up for this, so I yelled at the young man pursuing Sera up the rope that he had better climb down as quickly as he could, if he hoped to stand a chance of surviving when I cut it. I pulled out my knife and let the taut rope brush against the sharp blade, severing some of the strands to show my threat was serious. The man started climbing down again, but the rope was not as durable as I thought, and my knife hadn't cut through more than a third of its width before the rest of it broke and unraveled, dropping him to the street. I peered down anxiously but was relieved to see him stand up again, apparently unharmed. "Sorry!" I shouted, and genuinely meant it.

      Things only got weirder from here, and at the point where the jockey told me, "They should tape our warm hands to the wheel," and I was going over this line trying to make sure I would remember it, I started to wonder if I should wake myself up. Hell no, I decided. So there were more things I don't remember clearly, and I'm not sure how I found myself in my old house.

      Old house: I was in the house where I lived from the age of ten until I left for college. This was so far into the dream that I can't be sure if it was another attempt at the TOTM that brought me here, but once I found myself in the house, it definitely felt relevant to the task... of all the places I've lived in my life, this was the one I felt the most connection to, and it lives very intact in my memory. I floated through it like a disembodied spirit, mostly impressed by the accuracy of what I saw. But there was something drab and empty about it, too, perhaps because I was aware that everything I was saw no longer existed: the house was sold shortly after I finished college, so although it still stands, it is no longer the home I remember.

      I started in my bedroom, floated through the upstairs playroom I shared with my brother, drifted down the stairs, and then made a circuit through the dining room, into the parlor, through the closet that connected the parlor to my parents' bedroom, and through the adjoining bathroom. Everything looked ordinary and intact until this point, when I saw the first oddity: a white enamel woodburning stove, a kitchen model, was in the bathtub for some reason. I continued floating into the kitchen, where we did have such a woodstove—original to the house—though the real one was black cast iron and much too large to fit in any tub. I concluded my tour in the living room, having made a complete circuit of everything but my brother's room, the pantry, and the workroom.

      There was something festive about the decoration of the living room, perhaps because of the many wonderful Christmases we had enjoyed there, and another oddity: a giant pair of elk horns, which when I looked closer appeared to be attached to an actual elk, although it was standing as still as a statue. I assumed the elk horns were DR, since I had recently been impressed by pictures of the giant Irish elk, an extinct species (neither specifically Irish nor actually an elk, to be pedantic) that sported massive antlers. It reminded me of the elk that Thranduil rode, and my earlier successes inspired me to attempt another thematic summoning. I clambered on the back of the giant elk and rode it outside (conveniently ignoring the fact that there is no way its antlers would have fit through the the ordinary-sized door that led outside from the living room.)

      for americans-giant-irish-elk.jpg

      Outside it was winter, everything covered in snow, and I found myself in a hilly landscape with no connection to my old yard. I focused on finding Thranduil and saw him up ahead on his own elk, actively battling a pack of large winter wolves. He was alone and I feared that if I did not intervene I would lose the chance to talk to him, so I charged ahead using fire magic to clear the pack. When the battle was done and we stood alone again, surrounded by the fallen wolves, he gave me an imperious look and said coldly, "No Lothian tickets will be given to see me." Although I wasn't sure what he meant by "Lothian" (or why I feel like it should be capitalized), I had the impression that he was telling me that he was not someone to be summoned at whim by a mere dreamer. So I changed tactics, presenting myself as his sister. According to the lore I don't even think he has a sister, but it worked.

      "So, our father in the middle of a storm brought anzu fruits for our hunters," I informed him, pointing to a cache of green and orange spheres buried under a patch of ice. Thranduil accepted my new identity and greeted me with a prim brotherly kiss, to which I responded with somewhat more than sisterly affection, though I tried not to go full Lannister on him. It was here that I awoke at last, delighted to have finally made some progress in the character summonings that, to date, I have found the most difficult type of tasks.
    3. Reflections / Zznvogayi (WILD + FA)

      by , 06-08-2015 at 08:24 PM
      Ritual: I haven't let myself get bothered by my dry spell of the last few weeks, since it was easily attributable to lack of motivation and practice. My work life has been much more relaxed, so I think dreaming has been less psychologically necessary. I'm starting to observe a consistent pattern where I get lucid more frequently and intensely at times when I am under the most stress in waking life. I always think I'll have more time to work on dreaming when that stress disappears, but usually I find my motivation disappears along with it. I think this is because when I have more free time, I indulge in other kinds of experiences that satisfy my mind in a way similar to dreaming: films, books, and especially computer games.

      Recently I started getting irritated with the bad dream recall and lack of lucidity, and decided to put more work into it. I did a few WILD attempts where my inability to count much higher than ten revealed my lack of mental focus and clarity, and they went nowhere. Today I found myself wide awake after sleeping four hours, a perfect WBTB, so I decided to try again. I didn't want to take any active supplements (alpha-gpc, galantamine, or piracetam), but I also didn't want to miss out on the placebo effect and reifying of intentions that might be gained from swallowing something, so I took a few tablets of bacopa and one of NAC. For good measure I also strapped on my MotivAider, set to 45 minutes, then lay down to do some counting. My focus was still crap.

      I was not fully asleep yet when I felt the first pulse of the MotivAider, however it roused me enough that I noticed I was seeing some really amazing hypnagogic patterns. This is the first time I've experienced such distinctly geometric and symmetrical patterns in the hypnagogic state. I got up to use the bathroom and was amazed at the way the patterns persisted every time I closed my eyes, moving and transforming. I was tempted to wake up more fully to sketch them, but realized I could make better use of this state, so I preserved it and kept watching the imagery as I lay back down in bed.

      I decided to skip the counting this time and work directly on tactile sensations. I concentrated on trying to move the dream body without activating my real one, and there was that inevitable ambiguity at first, but then I reached up to touch my face and I was pretty sure it was my dream arm that did it. I felt around my mouth with my tongue and was sure of it: the taste in my mouth felt too flat, too muted, to even be the normal background mouth-taste that we typically overlook. When I was confident that I had integrated into the dream body, I got up into my bedroom.


      WILD, "Reflections / Zznvogayi": It is my first time getting lucid this month, so I decide to try a TOTM. The mirror task is convenient, since there are large mirrored sliding closet doors only steps away from my bed. I walk over and stand in front of one. At first I think the reflection bears a close resemblance to me, only with fuller cheeks and smaller eyes. But rapidly these features grow more exaggerated until they no longer look like me at all: the face is horribly bloated and the eyes have all but vanished beneath the puffy surrounding tissue. I recognize this as DR: I've been reading Gyo, a horror manga by Junji Ito, and it's full of faces like this. I force myself to keep watching as the image becomes more and more hideous, as though it is deliberately trying to unnerve me, but I remain calm and at last it vanishes.

      It seems like the show is over, but the TOTM instructions were to keep looking as long as you can, so I continue watching the mirror. For a while it shows no reflection at all, just an empty dark space. Then a new reflection appears. This woman is beautiful, elegantly dressed in an archaic ballgown. I note that the bottom of her dress expands into almost a full half-sphere, and recall that this style was characteristic of the 1850s. I look up toward her face, but even though the expansive bottom of her dress is brightly illuminated, her entire upper body is in deep shadow and I can make out nothing but the silhouette of an appealingly slender torso. I keep staring until finally a tinge of light illuminates the lower curve of a shapely breast. I never do see the rest of her. As I continue watching, she is replaced by a male figure. I have the impression of a hairy man in rough clothing or primitive furs, but already the dream is deconstructing itself around me and when it stabilizes I am in another place entirely.

      I find myself at the top of stairs leading down through water and rockery, landscaping that reminds me of a Chinese garden, though the buildings on all sides look contemporary. I wander down the stairs wondering what to do next. In late May I finally started playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, and was delighted to discover that one of the core characters is a lucid dreamer. This gives me the idea to try to summon him. Summoning people, historical or fictional (I rarely attempt it with WL people because I feel like it would be rude to deal with their doppelgangers), has always been my weakest area of dream control, but I'm determined to make it work. At first I hope to recognize the character among random DCs passing by, but don't see any likely candidates. Then I notice that at the bottom of the stairs is a large cafe, with a number of tables clustered in a semi-interior space with no front wall. This gives me an idea.

      The cafe is organized enough to have a hostess desk, so I approach the two women working there and tell them, "There's someone waiting for me." When they ask his name, I say "Solas." One of the women acknowledges that he is here, and tells me to follow her. Oh my, is my trick actually working? I worry that I might get too excited over the prospect of success and destabilize the dream, and of course even that thought comes dangerously close to doing so, but I quell it and force myself to keep going along with the events I've set in motion, despite my impatience. So I follow the hostess, who leads me among the small circular tables toward one where a man is sitting by himself. I squint at him, trying to figure out if he really looks like Solas. Not so much: his face is thin enough but the features aren't right, and his skin has an odd greenish cast. I do my best to will his appearance into a better fit with my expectations, but this doesn't work. Oh well, appearances aren't everything. Maybe at least he'll identify as the character?

      I sit down at the table and say, "Are you Solas?" He confirms that he is not. I don't remember our conversation clearly, but I recall being impressed with this DC's confidence and sense of his own identity. He seemed to find my questions foolish or nonsensical whenever I attempted to steer him toward my own ideas of how the scene should play out. For instance, when I asked something like "Are you from Thedas?" he replied emphatically, "I am from here." Still trying to keep up with the DA:I theme, I asked, "Is this the Fade?" I seem to recall he had an interesting answer to that, but I've unfortunately forgotten it.

      At some point either I ask for his name or he volunteers it... and it is both odd and unfamiliar. I repeat what I think I've heard: "Vinyogi?" He shakes his head and says it again. This time I can make out that there are four syllables, with the emphasis on the second. "Zunvogayi?" I have to try several times before he's happy with my pronunciation, but it sounded something like that. I ask how to spell it, thinking this will help me remember it better, and he explains that the first syllable is spelled 'Zzn', but clarifies that the second 'z' functions as a 'u'. He gets up to leave and I follow, badgering him about how to spell the rest of it. He asks why I want to know, which I realize is a reasonable suspicion. I try to come up with an explanation that will sound bland and plausible without mentioning that I'm dreaming this, so I say something lame along the lines of, "I like to keep records of my activities."

      Outside the cafe we head left down a path and then turn to the right, where some DCs are gathered looking at a long thin object resembling a small oar that is attached to a wall with a number on the paddle end. From their conversation I gather that it is a house number, and possibly they are trying to figure out if they should proceed with some kind of heist. Zznvogayi pulls out some cards and lays down four of them as though doing a divination. There are words and pictures on the cards, but they don't make sense to me. From what I can tell, the cards suggest that "if you have guts you get ice cream." I tentatively interpret that to mean that bravery will yield rewards... a favorable oracle? The DCs discuss the matter among themselves. Meanwhile I'm still pestering Zznvogayi to tell me how to spell the rest of his name, which he finally does. Of course it was just as complicated as the first syllable, and all I remember now is him explaining: "The 'v' and the 'd' are the same." "That makes sense," I reply, thinking how easily the two letters could merge based on linguistic similarity, and the fact that in some languages, like Sanskrit, they commonly occur in the compound phoneme 'dv'.

      I want to make another attempt at summoning Solas, but this environment is too modern and urban to be suitable, so I decide to find somewhere better. Since there are a lot of DCs around I offer to make a show of it, announcing, "I'm going to make a portal!" Sure enough, this gets their attention and a small audience gathers behind me. I realize that with so many people watching I ought to give them a good visual spectacle. I begin by establishing, a few feet above the ground, a smudge of light colored deep cobalt blue. Then I wave my hand in a circle to rotate the light, spinning it into a flat vertical disk. I recall the beautiful hypnagogic patterns I was watching earlier as I fell asleep, and decorate the disk similarly. When I feel that the portal is well-established, I step through, trying to fix my thoughts on an environment appropriate to DA:I. However, at the spur of the moment I have trouble remembering any setting in particular, and for a while I find myself floating in unconstructed dream space. I focus on staying in the dream and finally a new environment forms around me. Across well-groomed lawns are large buildings whose style is unmistakably contemporary. There are no windows on the side wall of the building that I'm facing, just a four-digit number to identify it. This place looks like an expensive corporate campus: very far from what I was hoping for!

      FA: It was probably the disappointment that woke me, but I had so much to write that I immediately went into "preserve and recall" mode, grabbing the notebook next to my bed and jotting down as many notes as I could before the memories faded, starting with the name 'Zznvogayi'. At one point I noticed that the pen wasn't making any marks on the paper, and remembered that earlier I had covered part of that page with an oval of wax. I tried to remember why and thought it must have had something to do with portals. I flipped over to a new page and continued taking notes, until I woke up more fully and realized that I was not actually writing, it had been an FA, and I would need to pick up my notebook for real and do it properly.
    4. 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