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    Fortune Cookies and Patronus Charm (WILD + FA)

    by , 09-16-2014 at 09:51 PM (370 Views)
    Ritual: WTB 1am, woke 4:20am, got up and read, drank spice lassi (yogurt, water, turmeric, cumin, salt), did 12 minutes seated meditation incorporation SSILD technique before returning to bed at 5:50am. Before going to bed I affirmed several times, "I vow to lucid dream," reflecting on how a vow is much more serious than an intention, a little nervous that I might inadvertantly break my vow, but reminding myself that I didn't dare, failing to go through on an intention is one thing, but you're never supposed to break your vows. I wanted to avoid supplements for the most part as that hasn't helped much lately, but I did use a few drops of Calea Zacatechichi tincture, because although I can't say for sure if it actually works, I thought the distinctive taste might contribute a useful placebo effect. I lay on my back in bed and did a series of tension-relaxation exercises, then cycled in random order through several affirmations ("I am aware / I do / I dream"). Drifted off, woke up a little, realized it was getting too bright out and my mind felt sufficiently wakeful that this might be an obstacle to sleep, so I put on my sleep mask (a device of last resort as I don't like wearing it), turned on my left side, and continued the affirmations until I fell asleep. I got a lot of distinct hypnagogic imagery and sounds every time I started to drift off, but I did not feel the physical signs of transition.

    WILD, Part 1: I woke up again, thinking I might have transitioned successfully, and got out of bed. I could still distinctly feel myself wearing the sleep mask so I wondered if I was really dreaming, but realized that since it wasn't obstructing my vision, then I must be. I was tempted to rip off the mask but decided to just ignore it, and soon the sensations disappeared for the duration of the dream. Now that I was sure I was dreaming, I wanted to get started right away on my tasks. I reached behind me for my wand, a gesture familiar from a few years ago when I had been playing a lot with Harry Potter style magic. I got used the idea that my wand was sheathed just behind my right hip, so I could just reach back there at any time to draw it. However, this time I came up empty-handed. I realized that this was probably because, having just gotten out of bed, I wasn't wearing any clothes. Nevermind, I can work on that task later. By this time I'm in the kitchen, so it should be an easy matter to procure some fortune cookies!

    I walk toward the kitchen counter, expecting to find a bag of fortune cookies ready to hand. Sure enough, there is a clear plastic bag right where I expect, but as I reach for it I see that it contains... what are those, pierogies? I laugh because they look almost like fortune cookies and are anything but, and it is just like dream to bait and switch this way. I pick up the bag and reach into it anyway, focusing my expectations around pulling out a proper fortune cookie, and by the time my hand closes around something, I can tell that it is falling into line: it has the dry smooth surface, distinctive shape and ridges of a fortune cookie. I pull it out and break it in half to get the fortune. I remember that I'm supposed to eat the cookie too, so I start nibbling at it while extracting the fortune, which was wedged inside the cookie in a crumpled up wad. As I smooth it, I see that the little strip of paper is covered with what looks like dabs of herb butter mixed with little shreds of nori seaweed, a kind of east-west fusion of ingredients. I'm disappointed to see that there is no writing on the paper at all, just the seasonings.

    No problem, the bag contains several cookies. I'll just get another. I try again, and fortunately the next cookie contains a larger slip of paper, one that comes out properly this time and contains actual text—quite a lot of text actually, four or five lines of it. I start to read it, murmuring aloud to help fix it in memory. It starts something like: "And earth her allies rift..." It goes on from there, not making much sense, and worse, by the time I get to the second line the first one is already changing, now "her allies" looks like it has been replaced by something in German, "die Beile."

    (Weird, according to my German dictionary app "die Beile" means "axes, hatchets." I've studied a bit of German, which is why I have the app, but I'm not aware that I've ever learned that word and didn't even know if it was a real one until I looked it up.)

    I continue reading the fortune, and by the time I get to the end the first line has changed again even more, and I'm pretty sure so has everything else. I realize this is somewhat hopeless, the fortune was so long that it would have been hard enough to remember even if it were static, much less track all the changes, so I just determine to remember the part that I read initially, since I think I can keep at least this much in working memory: "And earth her allies rift."

    By this point the fortune has transformed into a large plastic wrapper like the sort that might have wrapped a whole box of cookies, and as I continue to look at it, I'm surprised by how much additional text is written on the side in small print: mundane details like the address of the manufacturer, etc. I see a date, "1945," and note that the place of manufacture is San Francisco, which makes sense (wasn't the fortune cookie invented there?) but by now the date has already changed to "1929."

    FA: Around this time I wake up and grab the notebook I keep next to the bed to start writing things down. Something's wrong, though: even though I normally open it to a blank page before sleeping, it is now open to a page wholly printed with graphics resembling some type of manga. I don't remember the notebook having graphics! I flip through to find a blank page quickly while my memories are fresh, but all the white pages are already filled with previous notes, and they are interspersed with the manga pages, like a cross between a notebook and a graphic novel. I find a space of blank color on one of the manga images, just enough room to scribble, "and earth her allies rift," but then I feel guilty about spoiling the drawing. I don't even remember what the story is, but if I write all over it I might end up regretting it.

    While I'm still trying to figure out where to put down the rest of my notes, my husband comes into the room carrying two boxes wrapped in paper, like presents. Apparently this is some new game that has just arrived that he wants to play together, a console game. I remember him telling me about it earlier: the plot has something to do with cartoonish kids and their gorilla allies. It seems that the game can only be played in two-person mode, so he has come in to try to wake me up. I'm still lying in bed, so he sets the two boxes down right on top of me and starts to rip off the paper wrapping. The boxes are cubes measuring about a foot on each side, and at first I wonder why they are so large, but as he tears off the paper I can see from the box art that they contain individual devices like Playstation controllers.

    Although I do want to play the game at some point, I'm annoyed at this disruption because I was in the middle of a lucid dream attempt! After jotting down my notes I had been planning to try to re-enter the dream state. However, I already vaguely suspect that this might not be a real awakening because everything seems so exaggerated, from the problems with my notebook to my husband's rude attempt to wake me. He may not share my hobby, but he's aware of it, and would be unlikely to disturb me while I'm still sleeping, much less set boxes on me! This remains only a suspicion, and I don't become fully aware of the fact that I'm still dreaming. Rather, I conclude only that I'm still on the verge of it, since I can still feel the heaviness and tingling in my limbs that lets me know that I can probably re-enter the dreamstate once this distraction has diminished. So I quietly grumble at my husband until he leaves, careful to keep calm and not lose my temper since that could wake me up too much and make it impossible to to return to the dream. After he goes out of the room, I get myself settled in the bed again and prepare to re-transition. This is amusing in retrospect because evidently I was fully dreaming the whole time—I had the impression that I was DEILDing back into the dream, but obviously if this had been a real awakening DEILD would have been impossible after such a chaotic interlude! When I felt confident I was dreaming again, I got back out of bed.

    WILD, Part 2: Having done fortune cookies, I thought I should put all my focus now into completing the Patronus TOTM. Once more I reach for my wand and once again come up empty-handed. No matter, I've used a chopstick as a wand before with great success, and I keep a jar of those right on the kitchen counter, so I walk up to it and pluck a nice sturdy one. Although the jar is mostly full of delicately-pointed Japanese chopsticks, I choose a sturdier one of the Chinese type, cut half-square and half-round. It looks just like one of my real chopsticks, from a simple and practical set I acquired many years ago in Nonthaburi because I didn't know I was supposed to give them back to the door-to-door noodle vendor, and it feels comfortable and familiar in my hand.

    I figure that it would be most appropriate to summon a Patronus if there were a real threat, but I don't want to over-complicate things by going to look for one. I reason that since my husband was annoying me just now with the boxes and almost woke me up, this could serve as a sufficient stand-in. So I find him in the living room, point the wand toward him and say firmly, "Expecto Patronum!" I hear an audible "pop" like something bursting but see no change in the visual field. I try again and nothing happens at all. I strengthen my resolve, try a third time, and... what is that?... I look closer... it's... moths! The air between us where I was aiming the wand is now occupied with a cloud of small shimmering moths!

    I'm delighted with these results because they were so unexpected. I figured my Patronus would turn out to be something predictable like a type of animal I like, maybe a cat or an owl or a raven or even a horse, but moths had never crossed my mind! However, I had intentionally left the form of the Patronus unspecified, because I was hoping the dream would collaborate with me creatively and come up with something interesting and unanticipated, and in this respect it fulfilled its role splendidly.

    Moths! I would never have consciously arrived at this solution, but now it makes perfect sense: I am very much a night person, after all, and these are definitely night moths. I watch them for a few moments, entranced by the glitter and sparkle of their silver bodies in flight. They are relatively small, with wingspans of roughly three-quarters of an inch, but there is a whole cloud of them, many dozens filling an area several feet on either side. Although we are indoors, they appear to be illuminated by moonlight. It is incredibly beautiful. And they've fulfilled the function of a Patronus, it seems, in that they have averted the "threat" (such as it was) and completely defused the tension in the room. My husband is watching them too, and appears just as enchanted with them as I am.

    After admiring the moths for a while, I notice a rabbit on the living room floor. It is wonderfully well-articulated, closely resembling Dürer's famous drawing of a hare. (Probably WLR because I briefly saw that drawing yesterday.) Since I'm still holding the wand, I figure I might as well try out another HP spell. I recall that there's one that ends with "leviosa," and although I can't remember the first word, I figure it is unimportant because clearly "leviosa" is the operative term. So I point the wand at the hare and say, "Leviosa!" Sure enough, it rises right off the ground into the air. I set it back down and pet it fondly.

    I now feel satisfied that I have accomplished both the tasks I had intended, and I know I should wake up now and write promptly before I forget any details. But the dream is going so well, so clear and stable and responsive... it would be a shame to leave it so soon... I give in to the temptation to take a quick look outside, just for a minute, before coming back in to wake up and begin my report.

    Walking back through the kitchen, I open the screen door to the back patio. Sometimes my WILDs become more unstable after I leave the house, probably in large part because I've developed the expectation that this can happen, but in this case I plan to wake up soon anyway, so I walk outside without hesitation.

    It only takes a step or two before the environment no longer resembles my backyard. I encounter a group of four DCs, a mix of men and women who appear to be in their twenties. They begin to approach or accost me in a vaguely threatening manner. I try the Patronus charm again, but it is not as effective this time: the cloud of moths is much smaller and the DCs appear unimpressed. I'm not sure if I actually see them holding wands, or only rationalize that they might be, but I figure this would be the perfect opportunity to try another HP spell. "Expelliamus!" I shout, aiming at the guy on the far left. Sure enough, his wand jumps right out of his hand toward me, and I catch it neatly. You'd think this would give the others enough warning to prepare their defenses, and indeed they seem to be scrambling to try, but I promptly disarm them all using the same technique.

    I walk on a little further, and encounter a few more DCs sitting on a low brick wall and chatting. The initial four have followed me, and I get the impression that the new ones are their friends. I wonder if they are going to retaliate at me for having taken all their wands, so try the Patronus charm yet again: "Expecto Patronum!" This time only a scattering of moths appear, a half dozen or less. I feel a bit embarrassed at this poor showing. "It must be out," I muse, wondering if the wand can only conjure a limited number of moths in a given interval.

    Nevermind, I've got more tricks in my arsenal, and I want to intimidate these DCs so they'll back off. I wonder if I can levitate the whole group of people? "Leviosa!" I command, trying to make them all rise in the air at once. It doesn't work, and I speculate that maybe this is like game mechanics, where it is easier to perform such effects on simple creatures like animals, but harder on a more intelligent creature like a person, since they get a free roll to resist. I think it over and decide, well, maybe so, but... I have all the wands! Their combined power should be enough to counter any resistance. Is it possible to use more than one wand simultaneously to cast a spell? Only one way to find out!

    Standing in the center of the DCs, who form a ring around me, I levitate myself initially—partly to cement the idea of levitation more firmly in mind, and partly because some of them look like they might want to make a grab at me at any minute. Hovering in the air just above them, I arrange all the wands together in my right hand so that I am gripping them evenly, and try again: "Leviosa!" This time I am pleased to see the whole circle of people around me—about six or seven now I think, the initial group plus their friends—rise simultaneously several feet into the air until they are almost even with my own level. They all look discomfited and alarmed by this change of circumstances, so to reassure them that I mean no real harm I let them sink gently back down to the ground and come down as well myself, satisfied with the results of my experiment.

    I decide to stop fooling around now and go back into the house to write my report. It seems dream logic has made me forget that I can just wake up whenever I want to, I don't actually have to go back bodily into the house and manually start writing. But as I turn to go, one of the girls who has returned to her seat on the brick wall yells something hostile and sarcastic after me. I figure she's upset over my levitation stunt, so I decide to use friendliness to try to transform her attitude. I walk right up to her and, maybe taking "friendliness" a little too far, kiss her on the lips. Although she just looks startled and confused now, I smile warmly and say with genuine affection, "See you later!"

    Returning to what I think must be the spot where I came out of the building, I go back inside. Just in case the DCs are still feeling miffed and try to follow me in, I lock and bolt the heavy door behind me. This is no longer the sliding screen door to my kitchen, but a large and solidly made wooden door with numerous locking mechanisms. I'm not sure if I came in the right door at all, because when I turn around I see that I'm in what looks like a nineteenth-century boiler room: it is full of heavy, old-fashioned machinery. Nevermind, I'm sure I can find the entrance to my kitchen just a little further on, so I'll go through and look for it.

    As I pass by some of the machines, I marvel at their intricacy and the clarity with which I can perceive how they are constructed. I pass one machine that has a cylindrical body like an old stove. Although it is made out of solid black cast iron, there is a primitive electric cord incongruously coming out of it, so I figure it must be from a period of technological transition in the late nineteenth century. The electricity is driving some kind of rotating grinder that is hidden in the upper part of the cast iron body under a round upper plate, and with a flash of insight I think I know what this is: it must be a mill of some kind! But what is it grinding? I look at it a little longer and see a lower basin, also cast iron, positioned below the cylindrical body to catch drippings of some kind: the drippings resemble hot slag, semi-melted metal. Whatever this thing is milling, it is definitely not flour!

    I continue to make my way through the room, dodging complex pieces of shaped metal and machinery that crowd around closely on all sides, but when I get to the far wall I'm disconcerted to find that there's no door. How am I going to get back into my house? Although there seems to be no exit in the walls other than the door I came in, the ceiling is so far overhead as to be out of sight, and I observe that this is less a room than a vertical shaft filled with industrial machinery all the way up, so I begin to levitate and rise through the lattice of metal bars. When I get about three storeys up I see in the wall what looks like the worn wooden cover of a hatch, arched on the top and with a flat base. There is no handle and it looks like it would be too small to crawl through comfortably, but I figure I can make a portal in the wall here to pass through.

    Aiming my wand at the wall, I intend for a portal to form in the location of the hatch. Although nothing appears that I would recognize as a portal, the wall changes, the area in front of me becoming transparent, and just a few feet beyond I see a vertical transparent sheet of glass, apparently the wall of a neighboring building, a modern glass-walled high-rise. Directly across from me through the glass, I see what looks like the interior of a cafe, the sort of place the people who work in this building might stop for coffee or a snack on their lunch hour. It is dark inside and empty of customers, as it is nighttime, but I notice with mild alarm that several cops are running through the cafe and aiming guns at me! They seem very deliberate, as though this was a sting operation directed at stopping me. If they shoot, they'll surely break the glass and then I'll be exposed.

    I consider making the first move and breaking the glass myself to engage them, but I don't feel like getting into combat. I point my wand toward the cops with the intention of creating some kind of protective barrier between us, but I don't see any change and can't tell if this is successful. I decide to just get out of here. Making another portal directly in front of me seems like a bad idea, because the cops might shoot at any moment, so I get a bit creative and make the portal directly under my feet—all this time I have been hovering in the air, after all—and then I take what feels like a leap of faith and simply let myself fall directly into it. Would any pursuers be able to follow? As I fall, I decide that probably the best course at this point is to let the portal lead me to waking, and so I transition from feeling as though I'm falling through a round tunnel of undefined space to waking up in my bed and scrambling to start taking notes before the memories fade.

    It's interesting how clear and stable my dream memory remains—even of such a complex series of episodes—for as long as I am still dreaming, and it is only on waking that the whole fabric begins to thin and fray unless it is captured immediately. Fortunately there were no problems with my notebook this time so I jotted down the key details quickly by hand and then spent the next hour and a half typing up my full draft of the report while the memories were still fresh in mind. I don't mind devoting the time (and sacrificing the sleep) for it when the dreaming is so good!

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