• Lucid Dreaming - Dream Views




    View RSS Feed

    Verre

    1. Muppets Sing of Amos and Andy (DILD)

      by , 08-23-2015 at 07:07 AM
      Ritual: I went to bed around midnight, but the knowledge that I had to wake up earlier than usual this morning, at 7am, created a subtle anxiety that woke me up at 4:30am and made it hard to sleep afterwards. The natural insomnia created good conditions for lucidity, and I woke up at 6:30am after this dream.

      DILD: Since I was lying in bed mostly awake for a couple hours, I had already gotten up several times to use the bathroom. This seemed like another one of those times, but an odd detail caught my eye. There was a steel mesh frame surrounding the toilet paper roll and someone had left a lot of used cotton balls in it. They were stained on one side with a color like Betadine. I assumed my husband must have left them there, and wondered what he had been using them for.

      On some level I suspected that there was something wrong with this scenario and decided to RC. I braced one hand on the bathroom counter and the other on the towel rack, and tried to lift myself. My body lifted effortlessly off the ground with no real muscular exertion, which made me suspect I must be dreaming. (The fact that the bathroom did not correspond to its WL layout was something I failed to notice, as usual.) I checked again, with the same results, and then to be sure, I tried the same stunt without using my arms at all—that is, levitating. Upon levitating successfully, I was confident that this was the dream state.

      It's so gratifying to get unintentional LDs! But one isn't always prepared with a task. I felt an impulse to go outside, so I went back out to the bedroom and quickly exited through the screen door. Immediately I noticed a destabilization of my vision. Experience reminded me not to fret, just relax and let images suggest themselves, the problem should straighten itself out. Sure enough, a moment later I started to notice colors, then the colors organized themselves into geometry, and before long they had resolved into a new scene: I was looking at a large stack of different colored shipping containers.

      I realized that the deck I was standing on overlooked a great harbor. There was water on all sides, and my house was apparently on some tall island in the middle. I was surprised by the number of ships that I could see moving to and fro. They came in all sizes, everything from large cargo ships to little tugboats, all looking very industrious. There were so many ships that I wondered if the place I was in lacked air transport entirely: I didn't see any planes flying at first, but a moment later, perhaps summoned by my thoughts, a helicopter veered very close overhead.

      I decided that I should do something useful as long as I was in the dream state, and tried to remember this month's tasks. Eating a moon rock leaped to mind. Okay, how should I do that? I didn't feel like shifting scenes just yet, actually traveling to outer space. I thought, well, maybe a rocket could land nearby and an astronaut could get out and present me with the moon rock. It sounded like a good strategy but I was not strongly motivated to try it, so I tabled the idea.

      As I was contemplating the possibilities, I heard music from nearby, and noticed a miniature stage on one edge of the deck. This reminded me of one of the other TOTMs, attending a concert. Well, here are some creatures playing music in public, that might count. I call them "creatures" because the music was being played by what looked like muppets, only a foot or two in height. The initial music sounded like a piano, and a female muppet was playing it, but her fingers were moving over a clear plastic stand, with no visible keys. I thought she resembled what I can only describe as the "hippie girl muppet," but googling that now, it seems to be a good search term and reveals that the name of the muppet in question (in WL, anyway) was "Janice."

      After her piano solo ended, a male muppet to her right began playing guitar. This muppet resembled Fozzie Bear, and and was singing as he played. I listened closely to the lyrics and did my best to remember them. As usual in deep dream, I was impressed how easily the rhymes came—though of course on waking, it was hard to remember the lyrics clearly.

      The first rhyme involved the phrase "...how we live," which later rhymed with "...give." There was another stanza that I couldn't remember at all by the time I was writing my report. I have a slightly clearer memory of the third stanza, apart from the absent first line:

      ...
      ...and I'll let you do the rest,
      Because you know Amos and Andy
      And can put them to the test."


      After that, the muppet went into a refrain of:

      Can you help me?
      Stranger, can you help me?


      The lines may sound plaintive in plain text, but they were a little more jazzy the way they were sung. I was listening to the song and smiling down fondly at the muppet. I felt that "Amos and Andy" was a phrase I had heard before... was it related to cookies? Or an old TV show? I was certainly willing to offer help, if it was needed, but a moment later I woke up.

      Note: Googling now, I see that "Amos and Andy" was originally a radio show in the 1920s, later moved to television, and lasted until the 1950s. I have no idea why my subconcious dredged this up! I must have thought of cookies because of the similarity to the brand name "Famous Amos."
    2. Catbird Fish (DILD)

      by , 08-11-2015 at 08:39 PM
      Ritual: It's been over a month since I've done any deliberate dream practice, due to a combination of low motivation and being really busy in WL, so this morning I woke up early to feed the cats and decided to turn it into a WBTB. To reinforce my intention, I took a very small amount (2mg) of galantamine, backed up with alpha-gpc and l-theanine. I lay on my back and tried to concentrate on my intention to get lucid, but my focus was almost completely lacking, and eventually I dozed off only to be startled awake by my own snoring. I turned on my side and fell asleep without any further efforts.

      I am in a store that specializes in custom-made, artisanal candy and chocolates. There is a table covered with samples, and I am surprised to see one set labeled with the names of my dad and a cousin, apparently commissioned by them for some event. It consists of three types of chocolate meant to be dipped into three different flavored creams. I want to try all three, but there is only one sample of each flavor and I am competing for them with other customers, so I miss out on one or two.

      My disappointment is eased when the lady proprietor brings out more samples, but these turn out to be biscuits and candy, rather than the chocolates on the first table. Still, they are very appealing in all their colors and textures, and I am standing over the table unapologetically sampling one thing after another when I feel a strange tremor in the floor. The motion becomes more intense, and the other customers start to panic because they think it is an earthquake, but I recognize that it is a different kind of motion. It doesn't feel like the ground is shaking under the building, but rather like the building itself is sliding over the ground, which is of course impossible, unless...

      "Don't worry, everybody!" I say authoritatively. "This is a dream." I open the front door to see if I was right about the movement, and sure enough, the whole building is sliding sideways through a forest at great speed. While I wait for our journey to end, I continue munching confections: I was particularly enjoying one fennel-flavored cookie shaped like twining leaves and tinted delicately green. Recalling that I was planning to resume my diet tomorrow in waking life, I figured I should take advantage of this opportunity to stuff my face with calorie-free dream food!

      The building eventually came to a halt, and I went outside to explore the new environment. I recall it was now an urban area, but some of the transitional details are vague. Somehow I met up with my husband and another guy, no one I recognized, and we drove through the city in a really nice convertible sportscar (modeled on the picture of the BMW i8 he showed me last night in WL). I think we were going to see a movie but maybe it wasn't showing (I don't remember watching one) so we went back out to get the car. It was parked some distance away, so to retrieve it faster, I concentrated on making it drive itself back to us, and to speed things up even more, I had it fly through the air.

      "Thank you, robot valet," I said, as the car gently landed in front of us at the curb. My husband got in the driver's seat, and I got into the back again, but when the DC squeezed into some weird sidecar niche, I climbed over to take the passenger seat. For some reason the car had a British layout, so the driver sat on the right with the passenger seat to the left.

      Since I had demonstrated that the car could fly, we took off directly into the air to avoid street traffic. However, our flight path didn't feel stable: we were getting buffeted in strange ways. I pointed out that while this car was incredibly aerodynamic on the ground, it was not designed for flying: a sturdy little pod would be better for this purpose. We dropped back down to the pavement and now the car performed beautifully, hugging the ground with impressive traction even though the streets were wet, and roaring forward at incredible speed.

      "Where are we going?" I asked. Even though I wasn't in the driver's seat, as the dreamer I felt like I was actually the one steering. My husband said he wanted to pick up some things from the Hall of Records, and helped me locate the building. Inside, it turned out he was retrieving some parcels that had been mailed to him. He mentioned that one package was three days late, because the sender had needed to mail out a movie script first. "Why didn't he just bring them both to the post office at the same time?" I asked, to which there was no satisfactory answer. The parcels contained research materials, and now that my husband had them in hand, he wanted to do some work. "Okay, you work," I said. "I need to go do something."

      I had remained partly lucid the whole time, but I had been enjoying the dream enough to let the narrative play out. Now that things were wrapping up, I remembered that I had planned to catch a fish for the TOTMs. I went around behind the building and conveniently found a stream flowing by. The water was shallow and crystal clear, so I peered in to see if I could spot any fish. What I actually saw swimming underwater were... kittens!

      "Actually this will make things easier," I reflected. Now I wouldn't need to bother with a fishing rod, hook, and bait. Kittens were much easier to catch! I dangled a length of ribbon over the water until a kitten surfaced and started batting at it, then lured it closer to me until I could scoop it right up in my arms. I concluded that the creature I had caught was a "catbird fish" (I'm not sure why it wasn't just a "catfish," but this was the term that seemed right at the time) and knew I should examine it closely so that I could write a clear description in my report.

      Once I was holding the animal, it was no longer the size of a tiny kitten but had swelled into a plump armful. It was no longer quite cat-shaped, either: now looked more like a stuffed animal with the bodily proportions of a totoro: big rounded torso and very short arms and legs. Although my "catbird fish" didn't physically resemble a fish, I sensed that there was something fishlike about its bones, even if I couldn't see them.

      I studied the head first, which was still cartoonishly cat-like overall, but with significant differences. The mouth was very unusual: more narrow and vertical than that of a real cat, almost beaklike the way it protruded, but with large exposed teeth. There were two large incisors on the top and bottom, but both sets of incisors were adjacent to one another in the center, more like those of a rat than a cat, but wider and flatter.

      After studying the mouth closely, I looked back up and saw that the round, wideset eyes were now completely white. I recalled noticing normal pupils before and wondered if they were rolled back in the head. Just when I was thinking that the creature was starting to look a bit scary, with its weird mouth and whitened eyes, suddenly it spoke up in a very friendly voice: "Hello!" I responded in kind, smiled at it, and continued my examination.

      It had the fur of a cat, brown tabby stripes with patches of white here and there: a white triangle on the throat and chest, a little white on the belly, and white gloves. I checked and determined that all four paws were white. After looking over the creature thoroughly, I returned the "catbird fish" to the stream.

      The environment had shifted around me: the stream was no longer outside, but occupied a room in a building that had put together exhibits pertaining to different countries. I wondered which country had supplied my "catbird fish," and looked around until I saw the words "This is Canada," inscribed under the surface of the stream. I wondered what other countries were being exhibited—somehow I knew there were supposed to be five of them—and if I could find any rooms with bodies of water suitable for fishing. It would be cool to catch dream fish from several different countries!

      I wandered around the building looking for the other exhibits, but to my disappointment, all the others were closed. I went to the front desk to ask about this, and became even more incensed when I noticed a sign informing me that the price of admission was $898.99. I complained angrily to the desk clerk: how could they justify charging so much when only one of the five exhibits was even open?! He simply pointed me to a second sign, which listed a complicated set of refunds that reduced the price of admission to only $1.25.

      "Oh, alright then." I figured $1.25 was a reasonable fee for the one exhibit I had seen, and was willing to pay. I had a bunch of change in my left hand, and started trying to count out five quarters into my right palm. The first few attempts inexplicably failed due to the shifting numbers and appearances of the coins. "This is really hard to do in a dream," I commented, and wondered if it would be easier if, instead of trying to shift the correct number of coins from left hand to right, I put them directly down on the desk as I counted.

      I started making a little pile of quarters, but had only counted out two before coins that had initially resembled quarters turned out to be square when I set them down, and I had to start a separate pile for them. The third round, quarter-sized coin that I managed to produce had a square hole in the center like those old Chinese coins, and the fourth one had three triangular holes, but by this point I realized that this would never get done if I was too much of a perfectionist. All I needed was one more vaguely quarter-shaped coin to complete my stack of five, but suddenly all the ones still in my hand appeared to be the wrong shape and size. I picked something arbitrarily to finish the stack. I was well aware of the irony of going to so much effort to pay for something in a dream, but since it was so unexpectedly challenging, I felt that it would be a good exercise to try to see it through!

      Updated 08-11-2015 at 10:00 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the month
    3. Blue Rangit and Alaskan Battlecod (NLD)

      by , 08-10-2015 at 05:18 PM
      Last night I dreamed of fish in all shapes and sizes. I found some old aquariums that I had been neglecting: there were just a few inches of water in the bottom, and I worried that the fish might be close to suffocating. Worse still, on a shelf next to another aquarium I found two koi, one orange and one silver, that had completely dried out. I recalled making the discovery that they were happy living outside the tank for a few hours every day, but then one day I forgot to put them back in. That must have been months ago. Now the fish were completely hard and dry and basically mummified, and I realized guiltily that they were probably past reviving.

      I also had two very large fish, so big that if I kept them in my own tank, they would fill it completely and not have any room to swim. I decided to take them to the public aquarium, which had a room-sized tank that would give them plenty of space. They were each so big—around four or five feet long—that I needed a friend to help carry them, and we would have to make two separate trips. One of the fish was called a "Blue Rangit," with beautiful azure scales and long elegant reddish fins. The second was a plainer, silvery-tan fish called an "Alaskan Battlecod."

      As my friend and I carried the Blue Rangit through the city streets, a man on a motorcycle drove by and tried to grab it from us. He didn't succeed in getting it away from us, but a moment later, my friend noticed him talking to a female police officer. The cop then came over and accused us of stealing the fish from the man! Apparently that's the story he told her, and for some reason she was completely convinced by it.

      I tried to explain the situation, pointing out that the guy probably doesn't even know anything about the fish. Does he even know it is called a Blue Rangit? Well maybe he does, and that's why he's trying to steal it—they're quite rare—but does he even know what it's used for? I told her to go back and question him about it, and she would probably find him ignorant about the true nature of the fish. To make sure that the officer was well-informed when she did the questioning, so that she wouldn't fall for more of that man's lies, I explained that the Blue Rangit was used for lucid dreaming, and my other fish, the Alaskan Battlecod, was used for lucid dreaming and fish battles.

      I went on to tell the officer how I didn't have enough space for these fish in my aquarium at home, so I was taking them to the public aquarium. At this point she started telling me that I wasn't allowed to do that, and I woke up.

      Note: I don't have any fish in WL, but I suspect that I dreamed about them because this month's fish TOTM is the one I've been planning to work on first. It's cool how the dream was almost encouraging me to get lucid by connecting the fish with the idea of lucidity, but somehow I failed to completely pick up on this even as the words were coming out of my mouth!
      Categories
      non-lucid
    4. Notes on dream awareness

      by , 07-30-2015 at 05:58 PM
      Now that my extensive travels (Paris, Rome, Montreal, Montana) of this month have ended, and I'm back home and gradually returning to my normal sleep patterns, I find that dream awareness is stirring again, though so far it falls short of full lucidity. I had no trace of it while on my journeys, and I didn't even have any dreams I judged worth writing down. This was not overly disappointing because I was not actively engaged in any kind of dream practice and too busy to spend an hour updating my dream journal every day, so it felt okay to take a break.

      A couple days ago I had a dream that was atmospheric but not very interesting plotwise, so I didn't write it down at the time. However, one detail is notable: there was a giant white USB cord on the ground, at least twenty feet long, and arbitrarily I found myself wondering if I could bring it to life. I focused my attention on it and sure enough, it raised its "head" (the USB plug) and began to slither and writhe like a snake. This gave me an eerie sensation, because I found myself thinking, "This better not be happening in real life!" I decided I'd better check to see if I was dreaming. I levitated and was relieved to conclude that yes, indeed I was. However, true lucidity did not emerge because even though I now knew that I was dreaming, I did not stop and think what I could do with the dream state but unreflectively continued to go along with the dream events, which largely involved trying to take a good photograph of a distant landscape. It was a classic case of awareness without agency.

      Last night's dreaming included one of my classic dream signs, a public restroom of questionable functionality. Although I did not recognize the dream sign, I did find myself wondering if the facilities would be clean enough to use. Then I remembered, "I can keep them clean and functional by maintaining the right mental attitude." Though I fell short of actual dream awareness, I still recognized the causal link between my will and the surrounding environment.

      I find it interesting that, though I have still not done any sort of LD practice since early in the month when I left on my travels, simply returning home and restoring my ordinary sleep schedule has been enough to reawaken the potential for dream awareness that felt very distant while I was on the road.
    5. Plump Calico Cat (DILD)

      by , 07-04-2015 at 02:28 AM
      I was looking under the bed for my two cats, and they were there, but to my surprise I found a third! It was an enormous calico, at least twice the size of any other cat I'd ever seen, and unbelievably fat. Startled by this strange discovery, I pointed it out to my husband. He gave me a suspicious look and said, "That's Crowl," as if explaining the obvious.

      "He must have at least fifteen percent of the Internet!" I exclaimed, thinking that there's no way such an unusual cat could avoid becoming an Internet sensation. My husband nodded in confirmation.

      "Where did he come from?" I inquired. It seemed like a reasonable question, since I had never seen this cat before but my husband appeared to be familiar with him.

      Again my husband looked at me in wary confusion, as if he couldn't understand why he had to keep telling me things I should know perfectly well. "We got him from Donna Slope."

      "Who's Donna Slope?" The tension was growing with every question I asked. My husband was now staring at me as if he feared that I had finally lost my mind. I gathered that this was the name of someone we knew quite well, for for the life of me I could not remember a single detail about her.

      I noticed that the sliding door to the patio was open, and one of our own cats and Crowl had gone outside. I expressed alarm: ours is an elderly indoor cat, and definitely not allowed outside without close supervision. My husband seemed strangely unconcerned: "It's okay, he'll follow Crowl." I was not reassured. "We'll have to talk about this later," I said, indicating the events of the entire morning, and went out after the cats.

      The two were already walking along the side of the house toward the street. To my alarm I saw that the front gate was open, and they went right through it. For some reason after I caught up with them I picked up Crowl first. As I walked back along the side of the house I noticed an assortment of little pumpkins or round gourds next to the path. One green one was rattling violently as if something were trying to get out. This piqued my curiosity, but I could not investigate with my arms full of cat, so I resolved to take a closer look after both cats were secured back indoors. I unceremoniously dumped Crowl back inside the bedroom, making sure to close the screen door behind him, and then went back for the other cat.

      I was worried at having left my cat unattended, but reminded myself that he moved very slowly in his old age and he could not have gone far. As long as he hadn't blundered out into the street, he should be okay. I soon spotted him next to the sidewalk chewing on grass... but something was amiss. There were now two cats of his appearance. I studied them closely until I thought I was sure which one was him, and carried him back inside. After he was safely secured in the house, I went back to investigate those pumpkins.

      The pumpkins ranged in color from green to orange, and seams indicated that the tops could be lifted like those of jack-o-lanterns. What did I expect to find inside? What if it was a coiled up snake, and it bit me? I brushed aside the fear impatiently: the only reason to be afraid of a snake is if you think it might have deadly poison, but that is quite rare. Most snakebites are harmless. Still, why did I want to look inside the pumpkins? I needed a good reason. "Curiosity," I concluded. "Curiosity is the desire to know more." That seemed like a good enough reason in itself.

      The first few pumpkins were hollowed out as I anticipated, but they contained only vague shapes, like something was still buried in the pumpkin flesh. I peered closely at one and I thought it looked lizard-shaped. "Maybe they aren't ready to hatch yet," I concluded. I reached the green one that had been shaking violently. Surely this one was ready! I stopped and tried to imagine what I would most like to find inside, and decided on one of those little troll dolls. Wouldn't be cool to find one that had come to life? I lifted the top and... it was just another lizard. This was vaguely disappointing after I had gotten my hopes up for something more exotic.

      After going back in the house I started thinking hard. I realized something very strange was going on today, and I needed to figure out what it was. My husband was acting very uncharacteristically, and I was apparently unfamiliar with major details of my own life. What could it be? Was it related to time travel? My current situation felt very similar to the life I knew, but not identical... could I have somehow "jumped the tracks" to a different timeline, a different possible present?

      Later I was shelving some books in the kitchen when another possibility came to mind: I could be dreaming. At first this felt very unlikely, but I knew that apperances could be deceiving, and I would need to test thoroughly. I began by looking at a book on the shelf and trying to withdraw it through will alone. Nothing happened, but I thought it might just need a headstart, so I pulled it out about an inch with my fingers, then tried to finish using only mental strength. This time it worked! I let the book hover in the air above my palm to confirm that I was controlling it with my thoughts.

      Alright, so I'm definitely dreaming. Shit. That means I have to remember everything so I can write it down when I wake up. I started going over details from the morning, listing them aloud to better fix them in memory. "Crowl... Donna Slope... lizards in pumpkins..." I'm sure several other things happened that morning that I'm now forgetting, but I lost lucidity and had another long NLD before waking up, so some of the details have faded.
    6. 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.
    7. Notes on dream memory

      by , 06-16-2015 at 09:20 PM
      I just woke from a night that was thick, rich, dense with dreaming, but the recall was scattered and sparse, which makes me ponder the nature of dream memory. After this last waking, I lay there for some minutes without being able to remember a single thing, not one detail, yet I knew for certain that I had been dreaming. This is a peculiar state of mind, the ultimate experience of ambiguity. I lay back down on the bed sideways across the covers so that I would not accidentally fall asleep again, and then let my mind drift, looking for the particulars. At first it seemed hopeless, like groping through mud, until through some mysterious process a tiny detail took shape...

      ...near my new house, a stream full of fish, all sizes and varieties...

      That detail links to more images and events, and then there all are, as vivid as life, all those memories that had seemed to be lost, and might have never been recovered had I not taken the time to seek them...

      ...I look forward to fishing, catching my own dinner... is the water clean enough? I need a fishing pole, I can buy one right now on Amazon, I'm sure they sell them, it will be here in two days... or is this the sort of thing I should buy in person? find a sporting goods store, feel the weight and balance in my hands first, try out the cast...

      ...and finally I'll have somewhere to shoot my bow! so nice to have space again.... but my bow and target are still in my old house, I won't have them until we complete the move... guess I'll have to be patient...

      ...a bit concerned about the neighbors, though, that father yelling at his children, hitting them with tires, and so openly, right in the yard! should I call and report? but surely someone has tried before, and nothing has changed. I walk back that way and he's still at it, now they're all carrying tires, all four or five children, and he's still hitting them, yelling "we don't put wood in the house!" what does that mean? all houses have wood in them, it's a basic building material... I should inquire with the other neighbors, something has to be done... at least my house is across the stream, away from here, secluded in the woods...


      And this reminds me of yet another dream...

      ...the two boys were living in such a house, alone in an open field, only woods on all sides. the old man must have been living off the grid, so no one knew when he died, and they quietly took over the house... his guests become his heirs... what did they do with the body, bury it in the yard? and then the seclusion let them build their operations, what was it, computers? what were they trying to accomplish... still can't remember...

      And another...

      ...but before that we were looking for someone, an uncle?...can't just "lose" someone these days, not unless they don't want to be found... it takes a lot of care not to show up on the internet, to avoid social media entirely. the only clue we had was a partial bag of english muffins, not sure what that can prove, but then I wonder if the city where it was purchased is printed on the bottom... sure enough it is... but it is the name of my own city! is he here, or is this not even the right bag?

      And so on... from no memories at all, to more than are worth writing down.

      What would have happened to those memories if I hadn't taken the trouble to consciously retrieve them? What happens to all the memories of the dreams we don't remember, or have forgotten? Is there a kind of deep storage? I think there must be, because from time to time they come swimming up in flashes, like fish catching the light near the surface...

      ....a gleam of light against the wall of the building across from us, like a tile of glass catching the sun... Arya isn't paying attention, I catch her eye and direct her toward it with my own... she looks the wrong way and I have to pantomime the gaze even more cartoonishly before she sees it... we are under observation and can't speak aloud... but at last she sees the gleam and we go over to find out what it is... I think it is magic itself, these signals... this isn't the first... but is it directed by a person or inherent in the world, plot, fate? we climb the stairs inside the building and open the door at the very top... with satisfaction I perceive it is a magical goods store, and actually tell the lady proprietor what brought us there... perhaps she or something she sells here can assist us in our predicament...

      That was yet another from last night, where my own turn of phrase, "catching the light," caught the memory. But often I'll be sitting around doing things in waking life and apparently random glimpses will surface of dreams I know I had years ago, probably ones I never even wrote down, yet in some obscure way they still shadow me. Where and what are memories when we're not remembering them? Dream memory feels like it is stored separately from waking life memory, which would make sense if we need to distinguish the two to maintain sanity. But maybe that sense of separateness only comes because dream memories do not fit into the established contexts of ordinary life... at least for me, where dreams and waking life have so few qualities in common.

      There are people who hardly remember their dreams at all... are those dream memories buried inside them as if in some secret vault? Could some odd balance of brain chemicals unlock it, bring them all flooding back, the dreams of a lifetime?
    8. Dream Battle / Rainbow Tasting / What's Up My Sleeve? (DILD)

      by , 06-14-2015 at 08:18 PM
      A woman and I are running from a pursuer, another woman. "Faster, faster!" the first woman urges me. "Don't look back, it will slow you down." I don't see why I have to run away, but fine, I'll play along... I do look back, however, and I'm surprised how close the pursuer is. This motivates me to try to put some distance between me and her, so I run harder... and yet I can't seem to make much gain on her. I'm perplexed: I know I should be able to do this, I'm dreaming, it's not like I have to rely on my physical stamina. I wonder if the answer is in running with more short strides rather than trying to cover more distance with each step, much as one is advised to run in WL, so I try out variations. I'm making progress, but concentrating so hard on my running form is becoming tedious. "Imagining running is almost as hard as the real thing!" I comment to the woman fleeing with me. Getting bored with this situation I decide to put an end to it, and succeed in sprinting ahead to the point where I can turn a corner and leave the pursuer's field of vision, at which point I figure I've made a fair escape.

      However, it turns out that my pursuer had an accomplice: I now find myself in a struggle with a huge brawny man with a shaggy brown beard. I perceive him as a Viking, and I'm aware that his name is Torvald. He is connected somehow with the woman who was chasing me earlier, and is likewise an antagonist. Our struggle manifests partially as a kind of combat, but it feels as much like a battle of dream control as a physical battle.

      I easily resist Torvald's initial attempts to subdue me, but his immense confidence makes me wonder if I should doubt my own. I go on the offensive and try to put him out of action more permanently, trying various tactics to destroy his body. For instance, at one point I imagine his body being crushed by a great weight from above, and although this has him stretched out supine on the ground for as long as I'm actively thinking it, he is soon back on his feet. I try crushing his heart and throat from inside his body, but he is only briefly inconvenienced.

      I wonder if fire would do the trick, and visualize Torvald's body burning to ash. Though I've said nothing aloud, he appears to understand my intentions, and rather than actively resisting like he did with my other attacks, he simply denies the efficacy of this approach. "Fire won't work," he tells me flatly. I refuse to acknowledge this and continue contentrating on the image of fire consuming him. "Fire won't work," Torvald tells me again. I'm thinking: how could this be? It's my dream, isn't it? Fire should work if I say it should work. So I redouble my focus on the fire. With patient indifference, Torvald insists: "Fire won't work." I find this disconcerting, because apparently my confidence is unable to overcome his. Aren't I the dreamer? But there is no time for philosophical questions; we are still in combat. I switch tactics: if he is resistant to fire, how about ice? I start to try to freeze him—even if it doesn't destroy him it might at least slow him down temporarily—but Torvald has found the opening he needed and pins me to the ground.

      Torvald's inexplicable ability to ignore my attempts to burn him makes me wonder if I should worry that he could actually harm me. But I have a superpower too: as the dreamer, I am invulnerable... aren't I? I decide to play it safe, and secretly project my "real" identity to the roof of a nearby building. It is a large square brick structure about 8–10 stories high, and I crouch behind the low brick railing that surrounds the flat roof, tempted to peek out at the combat occurring down below but not wanting to let Torvald see me and discover the trick. So I transfer my perceptions back to my body on the ground, which I now regard as a mere DC, and thus disposable. If my attacker succeeds in destroying this body, it won't matter: I've secured my identity elsewhere. Torvald actually glances up toward the roof when I think this, and I quickly realize that I need to guard my thoughts as well.

      "Do you have someone watching me?" Torvald asks. I am relieved, because although he suspects that there is an observer on the roof, he hasn't seen through my whole trick—he doesn't seem to recognize that the person up there is actually me. I project a new thought toward him, gleefully: I recall how undercover police have been tracking him, and that I've been using our encounter to distract and delay him until they were in position. Maybe none of this was true earlier, but it doesn't matter: this is a dream battle, so it is true now! When Torvald looks back down at me, I grin mockingly and deliberately call him by the wrong name, "Harald," just to annoy him further. The game is up, and my undercover officers move in and force Torvald to release me. I'm not sure what happens to him after that... pleased with having solved the dilemma, I simply walk away.

      What's next? The last incident was not one that I had intended, but now I'm free to work on tasks. I enter a wide clearing and wonder if I should try the Dragon Age task again. I've always liked the idea of aligning dream space with fictional environments from books, films, or games, but I'm still trying to figure out how to do it. I suppose the first step would be to remember a concrete environment from the game and try to insert aspects of it here. I played DA:I just last night, so I should be able to access those memories... but as I seek them out I feel a tremor of dream instability, and decide not to push it. If there's a risk of waking, I should put that task off until later. For now, there are still a few TOTMs I haven't tried this month, and I decide to work on those.

      "Taste a rainbow." That one is easy to remember. I imagine a rainbow in the sky, and produce something very faint and not at all rainbow-colored. The colors are largely ochres and earthtones, and not even in proper lines but arranged in a more tesselated pattern over the arch. I'm not being a perfectionist at this point, so I accept this as a "rainbow" and shrink it into a stick of candy in my hand. The colors have changed in the process, and for some reason the candy stick is white with swirls of red and blue. Still not rainbow-colored! But I take a bite. The texture is interesting, lots of little pieces that crunch between my teeth, but the flavor is a real disappointment: vague, muted, and blandly sweet. Apart from "sweet," no other descriptors really present themselves. This won't do. A rainbow should taste more unusual than this! I decide to start over.

      This time I put more work into the rainbow itself. I first visualize it, then focus on the faint transparent arch until it becomes more clearly visible, but this also has the consequence of making it more material. Now it appears like a physical object, a two-dimensional vertical banner in an arch about ten feet high and twenty feet long, right in front of me. I work on correcting the pattern so that it has rainbow colors in properly aligned stripes... I see some improvement, although it is a C+ effort at best. It looks better than my last attempt, anyway, so I approach the "rainbow" and try to take a bite directly out of it. The experience is like... chewing on a shower curtain. It really feels like I've put a sheet of plastic in my mouth, although the material is soft enough to crush between my teeth. Again the texture is more prominent than the taste. I put all my attention on the flavor, trying to detect anything describable, and think maybe I get some underlying fruity notes, but again it remains vague and uninteresting. Taste and smell are the least developed of my dream senses... I wonder if I could improve them if I worked at it?

      I feel like I have adequately completed the task, anyway, and wonder what to try next. In all my efforts with the rainbows I had hardly paused to note all the people sitting at various tables around this clearing, like picnickers, but observing them now, I figure it might be fun to try the magic show. What would a stage magician do? I guess the most basic tricks involve having something up one's hat or one's sleeve? I notice that I am completely naked, which has long since ceased to embarrass me in dreams, but gives me a mischievous idea.

      "What's up my sleeve?" I start circling among the various tables, challenging the audience members to come up with a response. One of the first responses is: "Following a guy from Eton to [...]?" (I forgot the second place name.) This answer reminds me of the earlier scene, and how I resolved the conflict with Torvald. This DC must have been one of my officers! "Are you an undercover cop?" I ask him in reply. He grudgingly nods. "Not anymore!" I'm joking about how he has just blown his cover, but it also feels like an appropriate analogy to my own lack of sleeves... I'm not "undercover" either.

      I continue asking, "What's up my sleeve?" and collect various other responses from the audience, all of which were non-sequiturs... but I reasoned that the illogic of the question itself (since there was no sleeve) invited such creative responses. After hearing from seven different people, I realized that I might have trouble remembering all this when I woke up, so I stopped and went over their answers again, one by one, to help fix them in memory. Already I had trouble recalling two of the answers, but one of the DCs helpfully reminded me, additionally pointing out that the answers varied between the metaphorical (things that never could go up a sleeve) and the literal ("Three shekels" was one of these answers, I think). Meanwhile I was getting ready for the grand finale to my show, when I would reveal my own answer to the question. I had been planning on the groaningly obvious "Nothing!" and was ready for the big reveal when I noticed that something had changed... now I was wearing clothes, including a short-sleeved shirt. I realized that if I was going to go for the groaningly obvious at this point, I would have to answer "My arm!"

      I felt myself start waking up, and I already had a lot to remember and report so I didn't resist the process. I woke up slowly enough that I was able to concentrate on those seven answers from the DCs and hold them in mind, with what felt like excellent clarity and accuracy. And then something happened... as I crossed the threshold, despite all my care and preparation, the memories abruptly tattered, the details dissolving. The only one of the seven answers I could still remember, and that incompletely, was the first—and that I suspect only because it was anchored by its reference to the earlier scene.

      Updated 06-14-2015 at 10:11 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , memorable , task of the month
    9. 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.
    10. Late to the Battle (NLD)

      by , 06-04-2015 at 10:19 PM
      I was lying on the floor in a foyer outside a kind of auditorium space, updating my dream notebook. Inside the auditorium I could hear the sounds of an epic battle taking place between a group of human defenders and a massive demon overlord and his infernal minions. The demon overlord kept shouting ominous things in his deep booming voice, which was a mildly annoying distraction as I tried to write.

      Finally I finished my entry and decided to go inside and intervene. I wondered if I should have helped the people earlier in their fight, but told myself that if I solved all their problems for them, they would never learn how to do things for themselves. That made me think of Aslan, from the Narnia series, who was always a bit of a dick that way: let the kids attempt to do something, wait until they inevitably failed, and then swoop in as a deus ex machina to save the day. Today I was going to be that dick.

      I went into the auditorium and conjured a metal sphere in the air above my hand, then sent it toward the huge demon. It began circling his body, and as it did so, metal parts began extending from the sphere. Soon it had transformed into a metal suit that completely encased the demon. The headpiece had a transparent pane, so we could see the spray of red when the suit dissolved the demon's body. The suit then retracted into a floating metallic sphere again, leaving nothing but a red mist in the air where the demon had been. The sphere now targeted the smaller demonic underlings, killing them with high-speed impact. Then it found its way up past the ceiling of the auditorium, which was another transparent pane, and overhead we could see the sphere shooting in all directions, crashing into the flying vehicles that belonged to the demon city that towered overhead. Our victory would be thorough.

      I started chatting with some people around me, expressing condolences for their comrades who had fallen in the battle earlier. "Where were you?" someone asked, and without thinking I admitted, "In the next room." Then I worried that they might be upset that I had taken so long before coming to help, when they realized I had been right there and could have come at any time. I didn't think it would improve matters if I tried explaining that I had delayed my arrival in order to update my dream journal.
    11. Make-up Artist (NLD)

      by , 05-31-2015 at 09:52 PM
      I've been an extremely lazy dreamer lately so there hasn't been much to write about, but this dream occurred the other night after creating my character for Dragon Age: Inquisition. The appearance editor was so detailed that I ended up spending almost three hours designing my character's face! So the "make-up artist" theme of this dream was obviously day residue, but toward the end it became a little stranger.

      I was a make-up artist, and a client came to me to have her rouge re-applied. She had attempted to do it herself but it hadn't been going well. She had chosen a very dark wine-red, and I started by trying to apply symmetrical circles of it on her cheekbones, that I planned to blend in later. I, too, was having trouble placing them symmetrically, and had to keep daubing on new circles.

      The young woman looked very different from when last I'd seen her. Normally she came to me once a week; how long had it been since we'd seen each other? I remembered that our schedules had been at variance for a couple weeks, and last week she had planned to come but I'd had to cancel, so we must have missed three appointments altogether. That meant I hadn't seen her in a month, and apparently during that time she had transformed her whole appearance.

      I had noticed some red scaly patches on her skin and diplomatically refrained commenting on them. I was glad of my tact when I realized they were a tattoo! Two lines ran from the back of her neck over the rim of her skull on both sides and down her face in a V-shape, down her forehead, skirting her eyes, and then down her cheeks to meet at a point on her chin. "How did they do the texture?" I asked, genuinely impressed, as I ran my fingers gently over the tattooed skin, impressed how life-like the crocodile-skin pattern was, how red and shiny and raised in individually structured squares. I thought I remembered reading something about this technique, about how the ridges of raised skin had to be individually sewn into shape until they set.

      I was dissatisfied with the outcome of my attempts to apply the blush and moistened a cloth to wipe it all off and start over. I realized that the color was wrong. I explained that the wine-red she had chosen was a good color for one in the peak of health, but she was under a lot of fatigue and needed to choose something more subtle for best effect. I had a sort of mauve that was way too bland and washed out, but decided finally on a softly muted orange-gold shade. Meanwhile I was only now noticing the full extent of the girl's new body modifications, and started asking about them.

      She explained that she had been trying out a new job in Portland, Oregon. That didn't surprise me at all, given her new look. Her reasons for going didn't sound like the best, though. She explained that a guy had started working at her company, and she had found him despicable, but then she thought she might try out being despicable too, so she was working a stint at his company, which was in Portland. I wasn't sure how long she thought this was going to last, but held my tongue and hoped for the best. But why would she get face tattoos for a job that probably wouldn't even last? It might not matter to her current employer, but it could make it hard to get hired somewhere else later. Attitudes about tattoos are becoming a lot more relaxed, but large face tattoos are still regarded as somewhat extreme. I noticed that in addition to the large lines of red scaly skin, there were two other smaller tattoos on her face in different colors that I hadn't noticed at first.

      "I can tell you've been to Portland," I commented obliquely, after she had finished her story.

      "How?"

      "It's the only place I've seen head piercings on a regular basis." I was deliberately choosing my words to describe an example of some extreme body-mod that she was not currently exhibiting, which was difficult because the longer I looked at her, the more modifications I saw. And even my attempt to be tactful by avoiding comment on her specific modifications backfired: at my words she promptly demonstrated that she had a head piercing as well, a thick chain threaded through two round holes in the crown of her skull. Hanging decoratively from the chain was an eight-ball. Had she been trepanned earlier, I wondered? If so then they only would have had to add a single extra hole to create the piercing. The rig looked very heavy, though. I remembered that pool balls were always a lot heavier than they looked. And why an eight-ball? Was she aware that it was a gang symbol in some places?

      Updated 06-04-2015 at 10:09 PM by 34973

      Categories
      non-lucid
    12. Drones + Smallpox + Bed Monsters (NLD + FA-DILD + DILD)

      by , 05-09-2015 at 09:55 PM
      Ritual: It was a great night for dreaming, probably because I went to bed so much earlier than usual, though I've also been especially attentive to my RCs for the last couple days. I went to bed a little before midnight, and I'm also currently on the East Coast, so the clock was three hours ahead of my usual time zone. My sleep was punctuated with the usual half-dozen wakings, though I didn't do any specific night practices other than try to pay attention to the transitions between sleeping and waking, and in this I was not persistant or prompt enough to pull off a WILD or a DEILD. But by around 6am I woke up from the first DILD, spent until 7:30am writing it down, then went back to bed and lucked into a second one.

      NLD, "Drones": I'm standing by a floor-to-ceiling, wall-length window in a big hotel suite, looking out over the curve of a bay. From the height we must be somewhere between the 20th and 30th floor, and to the right I can see another tall building, or perhaps an extension of the same hotel, following the curve of the beach. Ahead and to the left is the flat horizon of the sea. It would be a pleasant view if it weren't for all the drones hovering in our field of vision, each one carrying a sign with a single word on it, white block letters on a black background. The words seem to be completely random.

      "It's like some dystopian future," I comment to Peter Dinklage, who is standing to my left. I muse about what it would be like if the drones were weaponized, and turned on us like machines tend to do in science fiction. Though a chilling thought, they are awkwardly constructed without any armoring, and look like they would be easy to shoot down.

      Then I notice that although they are not armed with guns, each drone is fitted with a camera, which is just as bad in some ways. Are they conducting mass surveillance on us? The cameras are all pointed directly at us. As I watch, a see a few drones of a different type fly in very close. They are not carrying signs, and they are disk-shaped, topped with a transparent dome through which we can see tiny people inside operating them. The pilots can't be human: even though I am standing next to a dwarf, they are much smaller than him, the size of babies, but with adult features and pointed ears. One of them waves at us, and Peter Dinklage says something like, "This is really disturbing."

      FA-DILD, "Smallpox": Shortly after this I have the sense of waking up, though it is not a typical FA; I do not find myself in bed. I feel like I am standing in the same spot, in the same room, only awake now. Everyone else who was in the room a moment ago is gone, and there is no longer any impression of a view. The light has changed, becoming greyer and dimmer: it felt like late afternoon a moment ago, now it feels like early morning.

      At once I notice that something is wrong with my body: a dense network of small patchy blisters is completely covering my skin. I look at myself in third person, as though in a mirror, and see them everywhere: covering my face, my chest, my arms, every patch of visible skin is mottled with these raised lesions. I know exactly what they are, too, I've seen them before in historical pictures: these are smallpox pustules, apparently in an early stage, since they are slightly lighter than my natural skin color and haven't scabbed or opened yet.

      Immediately my rational mind rejects the scenario: didn't I get vaccinated for this? I realize I don't specifically remember getting a smallpox vaccine, but... isn't that because smallpox is extinct? I can't recall the details but I'm sure I remembered hearing that. Surely it's not making a comeback, like measles, because of all these anti-vaccers? But that can't be right—if smallpox were coming back then vaccinations for it would have become available, and I'd have been first in line.

      This can't be happening. I try to will away the pustules but nothing changes. I remain unconvinced. This can't be happening, it must be a dream. If I can levitate, I will know it is a dream: I put my mind to it and though I do not levitate properly, I can feel that gravity is definitely different from waking life. So it is a dream! Okay, that's what I thought. Thank goodness I don't really have smallpox. Now I just need to fix my appearance.

      I go into the bathroom and look in the mirror, trying to will my skin smooth again. The pustules are stubbornly persistant, but a lock of hair turns white and I decide to transform the rest of it for fun. It instantly turns stark white, but the texture remains smooth and silky. This gives me the idea to turn my skin jet black, like that of a drow elf. I concentrate and most of it transforms, but there are still pale patches on my forehead and upper cheeks, and when I look down at my legs, they are a streaky grey that is fading out toward the ankles, more like body paint than skin pigment.

      On the bright side, changing the color of my skin finally got rid of the pustules, leaving it smooth again. Now I just want to even out the color, but the pale patches resist my initial attempts to darken them through will alone. I try to use my hands, as though spreading pigment over the resistant areas, and this helps a bit, but it is not an easy fix. As I peer closer into the mirror during this process, I notice that my eyes are solid black. I can't remember if this was the correct color for drow eyes, but I really like the effect. By the time I complete the skin transformation, my hair has faded from snow white to a yellower bone white, and this looks better and more natural with the jet black eyes and skin.

      During this process my hair has been going through stylistic variations, always long and straight, but hanging down in different ways, and smeared with substances like blood or oil. I figure this makes sense for drow fashion, since living underground they probably don't bathe all that often, making hair treatments like oil very practical, whereas the bloody streaks look impressively gruesome. Although my skin won't stay pure black, it doesn't fully revert to its natural shade either, but retains traces of color, like streaky orange-browns on a muted blue base, while the hair stays yellowish-white.

      WBTB: I woke up and spent over an hour writing the report of the last dream, but afterwards it was still early enough to go back to bed. Although I was not sleepy, it was a pleasantly lazy morning, and I enjoyed drifting in hypnagogic imagery. There was a period of ambiguity where it became increasingly difficulty to tell if I was having waking or dreaming experiences, and then I slipped again into full dream.


      DILD, "Bed Monsters": I was wandering through the large house belonging to my in-laws where I am currently staying, and I had lost count of the number of bedrooms... there had to be more than twenty. Just how big was this place? At that moment I realized, no, of course it is not so big in waking life, it is because I am dreaming that the size has been exaggerated. Dreaming, eh? Wasn't there something I had meant to do, if I found myself dreaming in a bedroom? Suddenly I recalled this month's TOTM, to make friends with the monster under your bed. Oh! I should get back to the room where I'd been sleeping! I dashed back so quickly I was afraid I would destabilize the dream, but luckily it stayed intact.

      I peered under the bed but it was a pleasant open space. It looked like there were a few banal things stored under there, but nothing looked sinister or monstrous. I felt around for something to work with, and my hand closed around a small plush object, which I withdrew and examined closely. It was a small brown teddy bear, only five inches long, with a plump, pear-shaped body and tiny beady eyes. There was a lighter brown oval around the bit of stiching that served as a nose. I was impressed with the detail with which I could perceive it, but had no idea how was I supposed to "make friends" with it. It seemed totally inert, a harmless stuffed animal. I set it on the thick folds of the comforter piled on the bed. "Dance!" I commanded. It just sat there. "Dance!" I tried a few more times, but it remained inaminate.

      I walked around to the other side of the bed, setting down the teddy bear on a dresser. I turned away for a moment, and when I looked again it had changed: now it was a sort of bell-shaped plastic structure hanging from the ceiling by a string. I couldn't tell what its purpose was, but it still appeared to be an inert object.

      It occurred to me that I had been walking around and standing right next to the bed completely heedless of the space underneath. If there really were monsters under there, I'd have to watch out for my ankles! I wondered if this was the problem, that I didn't really have any lingering childhood fear of monsters under the bed. Perhaps I should try again with more intent.

      I bent down and looked under the bed from this side, trying to keep the idea of monsters in mind. I still didn't see much under there: it was a light and airy space, just like in waking life, completely different from the overstuffed space under my bed at home. But I did see a scrap of cloth within arm's reach, so pulled it out. It turned out to be a little crocheted cat, only about three inches long, white with some orange spots. I guessed it must have been made by a total amateur. The body seemed floppy like it was unstuffed, and as I turned it over in my hands, I discovered that it was actually crocheted in a single flat piece with the four little legs sticking out horizontally, so only when it was folded in half along the back did it look plausibly like a cat. The head was the only piece that appeared to have been crocheted with any semblance of three-dimensionality. As I studied it closely, I saw tiny points of bright green contrasting with the dominant the white and orange: there was a little green tuft on the trip of the tail, and projecting from the head was a narrow appendange like the antenna of a cartoon alien, also topped with a green point.

      However, this object also showed no sign of motion or life, so it would be hard to say I was "making friends" with it. But then my eye caught a glimpse of orange fur near my feet: my cat had appeared! I wasn't surprised that she had turned up: when thinking about the task in waking life, I had reasoned that she really was the monster under my bed. Though I adopted her when she was about five months old (the best guess of the shelter) she had been living in a feral state before that, and even after five years of comfortable indoor living she still has the edgy instincts of a street cat: she hisses at the slightest provocation, and holes up under the bed for hours whenever a stranger is in the house.

      I knelt down to ruffle her long, soft fur, which felt totally life-like, but I noticed the color was off. In the dream she was calico, with big orange patches, but I remembered that she was a tabby in waking life. I wondered if she could qualify as my dream bed monster—though right now she was acting very pleasant and relaxed, and I figured it probably wouldn't count because I had already made friends with her in WL.

      Yet again I peeked under the bed, and this time at last I found the perfect candidate for my experiment. I felt that it was connected somehow with the tame cat at my feet, as though all her feral qualities had separated into a different animal. This one had a tortoise-shell coat, all the same colors as a calico but in smaller, more mingled patches. Although the fur resembled that of a cat, the body suggested another animal entirely, with a narrower head and tapering snout. I was pretty sure it was a fox. Best of all, it was already hissing and snarling at me! This was the monster I had been looking for!

      Now all I had to do was make friends with it. I began calling to it in the cooing, overly affectionate voice I might use with my cat. "Come here... lovely sweetie... lovely sweetie. I have treats for you my love... treats for you my love." The animal reacted as any feral creature would, holding its ground and continuing to hiss and snarl. I could see the tension locked into its body, poised for fight or flight. I reasoned that since it was a dream monster, the best approach would be to hug it, but that wasn't obviously wasn't going to be possible while it was still under the bed. I needed to draw it out first.

      I reached under the bed and the animal snapped at the air and threatened to bite me. I considered drawing my hand back for a different approach but decided to let it go ahead and bite, inspired by that wonderful scene in Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind where Nausicaa tames the fox-squirrel by remaining calm and patient when it bites her finger. Plus, since it was a dream I didn't have to worry about physical harm. So I kept reaching toward the animal until it bit down on the middle of my left index finger. The pain was surprisingly clear and sharp, but easily manageable. I kept thinking of that scene from Nausicaa and projecting similar expectations on this situation. I felt the animal relax enough to take a few steps closer to me, but it had not yet emerged from under the bed when the dream abruptly faded. Intriguingly, even after I had fully transitioned to wakefulness, I could still feel a distinct itch in the second joint of my left index finger where the animal had bitten me.

      uncontrollable things in lucid state-nausicaalarge1.jpg

      Updated 05-10-2015 at 04:09 AM by 34973

      Categories
      false awakening , memorable , lucid , non-lucid , task of the month
      Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails uncontrollable things in lucid state-tetonausicaa01.jpg  
    13. Wind Propulsion (DILD)

      by , 05-07-2015 at 07:02 AM
      Ritual: WTB 12am, WBTB 4–5:30am (working), woke 6:15am with dream.

      I dreamed I was working in a museum and I had assembled a collection of objects to show people. I had left a bunch of things lying outdoors on a forest path and wanted to bring them in, so I grabbed an armful of tall leather boots (there were least six pairs in different styles) and walked back to the museum. By the time I reached my destination I was only carrying one pair, and thought I must have dropped the others along the way. I wasn't sure where to store the boots I had brought back, but I looked around and decided to lock them up in a tall armoire of Japanese design. I opened up the doors and there was another set of doors behind the first, and another set behind that, three in all before I reached the interior.

      I decided to take my car to go back and get the rest of the stuff since I had left a lot of things lying on the path and I wasn't doing a good job of bringing them back by hand. I have a third-person impression of watching my car wind its way through a narrow gorge: at times I was afraid the rocks were too close together for the car to fit, but I found it easy to lift the car off the ground and twist it as needed to avoid the rocky outcroppings. After getting safely through the narrow rocks I felt very pleased with my success, and decided that I should spend more time driving like this, using the wind as propulsion. This jogged my memory: wind! Wasn't that one of this month's TOTMs? At that moment I became lucid and decided to attempt the task.

      I raised my arms and called out in a loud voice, "Wind!" I remembered that the task required not using any active power to fly, but letting the wind pick me up and carry me wherever it might be going. So after summoning the wind, I waited passively but invited it to lift my body in the air. The air picked me right up like I was as weightless as a feather, and I relaxed into it. It was wonderfully pleasant and enjoyable to be buoyed up in this way. Curiously I looked around me, wondering where we might be going. I have the impression of thick flocks of birds darkening in the air in what seemed like abstract geometric patterns.

      I recalled that the bonus task also involved mastering the elements, and wondered if I could use this same wind to knock things down on the land below without getting buffeted too much while I was floating in it. I peered down at the trees, which appeared to be somewhere between 50 to 100 feet below me (I'm terrible at estimating vertical distances). They were in full green leaf and showed no sign of being blown about excessively by the wind at its current strength. I thought it would be a shame to knock down such beautiful trees, and before I could convince myself otherwise, I felt the air around me destabilizing and woke up.
    14. Green Towers in Cloud Valley (NLD)

      by , 04-30-2015 at 07:18 PM
      Earlier: I heard about a plan for a new kind of TOTM on DV. Someone had come up with a single extremely complex and elaborate task that was broken down into about a dozen different steps, and the number of steps one was able to complete determined whether one got credit for Basic, Basic + Advanced, or Basic + Advanced + Bonus tasks. Someone who managed to complete the entire series would get credit as though it were a TOTY.

      Later: I was at some kind of large event like a conference, and passed by a counter with a placard advertising a program or game called "BRAinixity." A list identified the first three letters as standing for the following descriptors:
      Big
      Regular
      Alteration

      I gathered that "BRAinixity" was a kind of lucid dreaming program, and that these three terms described the magnitude of effects that practitioners might have on their dreams, depending on their level of accomplishment. I inwardly scoffed a bit at the idea that it somehow took a higher degree of effort or mastery to accomplish a "big" effect on a dream object as opposed to a minor "alternation," since I had time and again observed the lack of any such meaningful distinctions in the dream state, but I was nevertheless interested in seeing what the program was all about, so I decided to sign up.

      A woman with short light brown hair was currently signing up for the BRAinixity program, and I was standing next to her waiting my turn. Since we were going to be on the same team, we exchanged introductions. She had a strong accent that made me think she was from Germany, and said her name was "Lalla." She explained that it had originally been longer, but that she had shortened it when invaders had attacked the valley where she lived. I understood her implications: under the circumstances, a long name would have added brief but unnecessary delays to social interactions. "Yeah," I joked drily, "You don't want to be standing there waiting for someone to finish pronouncing your name when you should be running away."

      She finished signing up and the woman behind the counter began to take my information. I saw that I was on the "Cloud Valley" team—all the teams were organized by fictional valleys of various names, each of which accommodated about eight team members, judging from the number of lines on the registration card. Each team member was assigned to "Towers" of a particular color. Only the top line on my team's card was still blank, and since I was the last person signing up, I didn't have any choice as to what color my towers would be. I looked closer to see what color towers I'd be getting and saw "Green" next to my name, which pleased me, since green was what I would have chosen anyway.

      "Green towers in Cloud Valley," I said aloud, liking how poetic it sounded.
      Categories
      non-lucid
    15. Experiment with Kava Kava (notes) / Creating a Cat (DILD)

      by , 04-26-2015 at 11:02 PM
      Ritual: Last night I experimented for the first time with kava kava root (Piper methysticum). I had read many anecdotal reports that it instigated vivid dreams and perhaps even lucidity, so I thought it was worth trying out. I ordered some dried powdered root from an online herb and spice supplier that I trust. I don't have any doubts about the freshness and quality, as the package confirms that it was packed earlier this month and sourced from Vanuatu. I had read many reports of people complaining about the taste, describing it as "muddy," so I was surprised when I opened the package and encountered the most extraordinary and delightful fragrance. The plant is related to pepper, so it made sense that the scent would be peppery, but there was also something delicately floral about it and even a hint of wintergreen.

      I had abstained from alcohol all day, since the two should not be consumed together, and my plan was to drink the kava before bed. I had a late dinner, ending at 11pm, so my plan was to give myself two hours to digest, then start drinking the kava at 1am and go to bed a few hours afterward (unless it made me too sleepy before that, which seemed like a distinct possibility). I don't like cold drinks late at night, but I read that you could warm kava gently without destroying its properties, so I adapted a recipe for "Mexican Hot Cocokavachocolate," blending two tablespoons of powdered kava kava (half what the recipe calls for, as I didn't want to overdo it my first time), two tablespoons of cocoa powder, agave syrup, a spoonful of cinnamon, and a generous pinch of cayenne with about two cups of almond milk (I skipped the vanilla extract suggested by the recipe because I didn't want to use even a tiny amount of alcohol). I blended this until it was frothy and then separated it into two mugs, putting one in the fridge—I planned to start with a minimal dose, and work up from there if it felt warranted. The other mug I heated briefly in the microwave, just enough to warm it, and then topped it with a dusting of grated Himalayan salt and freshly made whipped cream.

      Okay, I'll admit I have a slightly weird palate (for instance, I *love* the taste of wormwood), but this was one of the most delicious dessert drinks I have ever tried in my life! It was so much better than regular hot chocolate; the spices and kava gave it exceptional depth of flavor and an unusual aftertaste. I didn't even need to strain it: I don't know if my powder was ground unusually finely or if the almond milk held it in suspension better than plain water, but it only added body, not grit, to the concoction.

      I'm glad that I had done enough research to anticipate the curiously numbing, analgesic sensation that spread from my mouth all the down my esophagus, because that's the kind of thing that would really worry you if you didn't know it was supposed to happen! I sipped the kava very slowly over the next hour or so, to make sure my stomach didn't have any problems with this new experience. Everything was fine, and the onset of bodily relaxation came quickly, though my mind remained clear. After the first mug I felt like it would be fine to drink the second one I had reserved, so I slowly consumed that too. Despite the heavy feeling in my body, it never did make me drowsy, so I played SWTOR until 3:30am and then read DV and some LD books to prep for bed, retiring at 4:30am. I should note that I never felt any trace of euphoria, either, an effect that some had noted. That didn't bother me, though: my only interest was in enhancing my dreams.

      Unfortunately, in that respect, the kava kava was a total bust. It was no different from any ordinary night of crappy dreaming: I was vaguely aware of dreaming most of the night, but my recall was terrible and what details I could specify were mostly mundane day residue. There was no sense of complex overarching plots, just lots of little random scenarios. Lots of people have written that kava helped them sleep more deeply and wake refreshed, but I didn't experience that either: I woke three times in the first several hours of sleep, which is typical, except that I felt much groggier than usual during those brief wakeful periods. At 9:00am I woke up and felt so unpleasantly lethargic, mentally as well as phsyically, and the dreaming had been so disappointing, that I decided to try to clear my head with an ample dose of piracetam. That stuff is amazing: to preserve its efficacy I save it for special occasions, but it always works really well to clear up any "brain fog."

      Within fifteen minutes I was feeling complete mental clarity, so I decided to turn it into a proper WBTB. I added some L-theanine, alpha-GPC and bacopa and returned to bed using WILD technique. My focus was still subpar and I couldn't count effectively, so I initially fell into non-lucid sleep, but gradually became more aware of the dream as it progressed. There was no "aha" moment of lucidity, but I was definitely lucid by the end.

      In conclusion, the kava kava didn't seem to improve my dreaming in the slightest, but at least it didn't suppress it either. If anything helped me get lucid, I believe it was the piracetam and other supplements I took at WBTB, because those I've had success with many times before. My recall was poor for most of the night, and even after waking up from the LD only the last scene was initially clear; recollection of the earlier incidents revived only after I started tracing back the course of events.


      DILD, "Creating a Cat": I was hanging out with a friend, JM, and her young son. [DR: yesterday I had seen a picture of this kid that she had posted on Facebook.] The little boy was telling us a story about a butterfly who took care of him in the place he used to be. It sounded like he was talking about before he was born, and this reminded me of a book I had learned about last night, about a project to compile and investigate accounts of young children who claim to have memories of past lives. [DR: Jim B. Tucker, Return to Life, 2015.] After I mentioned the book to my friend, she told me about the time she took her son to an island off the coast of Wales (the named started with a 'T', something like "Tirnagal" or "Tiriagal") and he had started talking about how he used to live there. As she describes this, suddenly we both turn and stare as we hear the boy start speaking another language with the somber intonations of an adult. I have no idea what Welsh sounds like, but what the boy is saying definitely has the structures of a formal language—it is not just childish babble. The experience is so uncanny that I feel the hairs on my arms rise. Before I leave, I say to my friend, "The only thing I regret about not having a kid is the way it can sometimes provide unexpected insights into the human experience." [DR: This comment might also have been inspired by something I was reading last night, on p.163 of The Ego Tunnel, by Thomas Metzinger (2009), where he describes a toddler who falls and looks to his mother for social cues about how to emotionally react.]

      I leave my friend's apartment and go outside. Now I'm on a beach. This is one of my most distinctive and common dream signs, despite the fact that I have little interest in beaches in WL and rarely visit them. I think it is related to the tide, a phenomenon that has always unsettled me. Despite the frequency and distinctiveness of this dream sign, for some reason it is one that I always have trouble recognizing as such. On this occasion I already have some degree of dream-awareness, but I lack awareness of that awareness, the metacognition that is characteristic of true lucidity.

      As I'm walking along the beach, the sand looks soft and warm and comfortable, and I can't resist the temptation to lie down in it. Initially I am lying on my stomach, but then I roll onto my back, and feel as cozy as a kid making snow angels. I pause to reflect, why do you never hear of kids making sand angels? My comfort is soon disturbed by rippling in the sand... I notice that the whole beach is now billowing and subsiding, the dunes rolling like great waves. "Is it supposed to do that?" I vaguely wonder, and then a particularly large dune threatens to bury me, forcing me back on my feet to keep my balance. Though not quite lucid at this point, I have instinctive awareness of my mastery and control in this environment: I find it easy to "surf" these sand waves as they roll by underfoot. But they are getting even bigger, and I have the impression that the water is now rising rapidly as well, so I decide to find higher ground.

      At the edge of the beach I find a stairwell leading up into a building. Getting into it takes some creative climbing, as there are various panels of transparent plexiglass serving as barriers, but I manage to circumvent them and get inside. The stairs emerge into the center of a dim, semi-industrial space, with narrow walkways on all four sides surrounding the wide pit formed by the stairwell in the middle of the room. No sooner have I gotten my bearings than a round hatch covering the end of a large pipe poking through the wall opens, and a humanoid creature crawls out. It is gollum-like, with huge bulging eyes. I don't want to be spotted, so I hold still and focus on being invisible. I feel a moment of relief as the creature initially descends the stairs, but it comes back promptly joined by a second person, a male human. As they approach the spot where I'm standing, I retreat into a corner to avoid them: even if they can't see me, they might blunder into me by accident if I'm not careful. On the bright side, having to strategize in this tense situation is improving my lucid awareness.

      I reflect that my "invisibility" is just a mind trick: I am willing the DCs not to see me, and from their lack of reaction I assume it is working, but I can still see my own body plainly. This bothers me—at this point I'm a fairly experienced dreamer, so shouldn't I be able to dispense with a body? I've had no dearth of NLDs where I'm just a disembodied perspective, so surely I should be able to accomplish the same thing in my LDs. I decide to try to eliminate my dream body.

      My body does obediently disappear from my field of vision, but the trouble is I still *feel* like I'm in a human body, with two legs, two arms, and two eyes located frontally in my head. If I have really transcended the body, I should no longer feel like I am mapped onto a human being. I conclude that I should begin subverting the pattern, and my first attempt is to try to shift my visual apparatus to floor level. This seems like it should be a fairly easy, basic task, but I find that I have trouble with it, maybe because I get caught up in questions like, well, if I'm not seeing out of physical eyes, then shouldn't my vision be even more radically different—unconstrained by frontality, for instance?

      Meanwhile the man and gollum-like creature disappear into a side door, still apparently oblivious to my presence. I retrace my steps to the top of the stairs and examine the hatch that the latter had crawled out of. I consider going in there to explore, but decide that from the look of the creature and the size of the hatch, it will probably just be a cramped and uncomfortable network of tunnels. Instead I decide to follow the two through the side door.

      I find myself in a large, open exhibition space with various vendors and booths. I pause for a moment to wonder why spaces like this are so common in my dreams. I don't know if this was a product of false memory or else better access to dream memory than I have in waking life, because at the time I was under the impression that I encountered such rooms on a regular basis; now that I'm awake I don't feel like they're especially common. At first I was just wandering around with no specific purpose, when it occurred to me that I shouldn't waste this opportunity to work on some tasks. There are a ton of things on my docket, but nothing especially pressing, so I thought over a few possibilities and decided to work on my Ars Magica forms and techniques—the other day I printed out the whole list of combinations and decided I should make it a long-term goal to try out all of them eventually.

      I recalled that "creo animál" was the first one on my list that I had not tried, so I started intoning, "Creo animál!" I lengthened the syllables in a resonant voice, putting emphasis on the first syllable of "creo" and the last syllable of "animál." I repeated the invocation a few times in this manner, staring at an empty patch of floor. I didn't have a clear idea in mind of what kind of animal I wanted to create, but I thought I could leave that open for the dream to surprise me. However, nothing was happening. I thought perhaps I needed some raw materials, so I telekinetically lifted a nearby booth (hoping this wouldn't be too much inconvenience to the vendor) and pulled it into the space where I was working, then focused on compacting its form and shape into something suitable to my purpose. It folded itself up obediently until it was much smaller. However, I felt like I needed to impose a pattern on it since the dream wasn't responding with anything, so I arbitrarily chose the form of a cat. People started gathering around to watch the show as the booth finished its transformation, and now there was a short-haired black and white cat sitting stiffly on the floor. [In retrospect, the technique was closer to "muto" than "creo," since I adapted existing material rather than conjuring it from thin air.]

      The newly-created cat was not moving, and did not seem capable of movement; it was like an empty shell of a cat, a living doll. This made sense, since I had created the body but not endowed it with sentience: I concluded that this would require a separate effect. Luckily this concurred with another task I needed to work on. "Creo mentem," I said, directing my words at the cat, and this time the effect resolved quickly: now the cat seemed to be capable of moving and perceiving its environment.

      I wondered if "mentem" alone was sufficient: wouldn't that create something with the bland mental workings of a robot? Wouldn't I need to add "imáginem" to endow it with emotions and imagination, the "spark of life"? I wasn't sure, but I thought I'd better throw that in for good measure, so I intoned "Creo imáginem," focusing on giving the creature the capacity for emotions and inner life. Immediately I had doubts about whether this was wise. I don't know if my doubts were caused by the cat's behavior or if the cat's behavior was conditioned by my doubts, but whichever it was, the creature did not look pleased. It was lashing its tail in the way cats do when they're annoyed, and its face was contorted into a savage snarl. I wondered if throwing in "imáginem" had been overkill—emotions are not always pleasant, after all, and a creature so unexpectedly brought into existence might well be feeling upset and disoriented. Plus, I didn't even know if "imáginem," was necessary for a complete being; perhaps sentience was sufficiently specified by "mentem." [Consulting the Ars Magica rulebook now, I see that I misremembered the scope of of the Form: "imáginem" deals with sensations and illusions, not emotions and imagination. Though actually that makes the whole Form seem superfluous to the dreamstate, where there is no obvious difference between creating a thing and creating an illusion of that thing.]

      I knelt down to have a closer look at my creation, and felt even more disturbed. There was something awful and abject about its face, a wound or rot-like distortion of its jaw that left the teeth clearly visible through its cheek. [DR: I realize this might also be day residue, because recently I was reading articles about the so-called "zombie cat" which came with graphic pictures of a similarly disfigured animal.] I decided that I should try to understand what this cat was experiencing, so I said, "Intéllego animál." I felt impressions of fear and rage coming from the poor creature, and guiltily realized that I must have screwed up somehow. It made it even worse that it was a cat, a kind of animal for which I feel a great love and sympathy.

      Pot - Worse than cigerates?-zombiecat.jpg

      With a sweeping gesture I willed all the effects I had invoked to disperse, effectively uncreating the cat. I didn't have a clear visual sense of the result (did the body simply disappear or did the vendor's booth revert to its former shape? I'm not sure), but at least I felt that the spell had ended. I looked up at the spectators who had been watching the whole event and sheepishly apologized: "It didn't want to be a cat. I'm sorry. It just didn't work out."

      One woman spoke up in reply. Her words were uttered very calmly and slowly, emphasizing each of the adjectives, and I felt like she was subtly criticizing my actions: "People want to be fair, and dominating, and controlling, and diverting."

      Updated 04-26-2015 at 11:20 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , side notes
    Page 3 of 9 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 ... LastLast