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    Thread: A Practical Introduction to Dream Cartography

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      Overseer of oneirons Phantasos's Avatar
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      Post A Practical Introduction to Dream Cartography

      What is Dream Cartography

      Dream Cartography is a modification of Dream Journaling. The idea behind DJ is to keep journal of dreams and try to write down dreams as detailed as possible. The problem is that this proccess usually emphasize plot of the dream: often you can found DJ with amazing details about who talk with, what dreamer and DCs did while dreaming and so on. It indeed trains recall but the plot is not one thing that deserves dreamer's attention.

      Another one - dream world itself and its geography, so Dream Cartography is a technique which suggest to emphasize dreamer's surroundings and a place where dream takes place over dream's plot.

      Basic features

      • Exploring your own dream world is fun and interesting.
      • It may appeal to people who enjoy exploring and researching.
      • Comparing to the number of possible plots, the number of places is much limited (in non-lucid dreams), so it is possible for frequent ones to serve as dream signs.
      • The goal to explore dream world gradually becomes incentive of your's dream counterpart, and you may start to see dreams about places where you have never been (or just do not remember) or have not been for a while (often in adulthood we tend to visit some places more rare than when we were children).
      • Dream Cartography do not exclude Dream Journaling, it may be a supplement to this.
      • Dream Cartography allows to use more effective your non-lucid dreams which usually are majority. More, for creating first draft of your map you can start with already recorded dreams. If you already have long DJ with a lot of entries - that's great. You can process them right away and draw a draft of the map based on this dreams.
      • Useful side-effect of this practice is that one start to remember other dreams which took place in the same place.


      Advanced features

      • Interesting feature of dream maps is that some elements are rather common among dreamers.
      • Dream maps can be shared and discussed: it is one of the best features!
      • Dream Journaling significantly improves dream recall: some of the DJs features very detailed descriptions of events happened during a dream. Dream cartography also has significant influence over dreaming. It deserves own articles on this topic, so I will only outline it briefly here.

        A lot of dreamers perceive dreams as a set of non-connected or loosely connected dream scenes which changes oftenly. At the other side, some may notice scenes which are reoccuring from time to time, and even more - they may often get from one place to another using the same route. Example: when I was younger I often had dreams which took place in small town which I used to visit in real life. In dreams I usually went there by train. When I processed my old DJ for creating list of places, I realized that this route was quite stable, and more - after train station in this town there a couple of others which I also visited several times.

        So the more we see dreams the more patterns we find, the more dream scenes become connected and "ordered". It become to make sense. This process is somewhat natural: if one have a good recall then in his, say, fifties (s)he will know a lot of places in her/his dreams and how they are connected to each other. Dream cartography allows to force this process of dream space ordering and (as ultimate goal) give dreamer a complete map within reasonable period of time.
      • Many people (both "skeptics" and "mystics") agree that dreams are key to one's inner self. Dream cartography gives dreamer a sane, simple and fun method to explore it. Even if you do not know what aspect of your personality is represented by this cute castle on the hills, you at least know how to get there!


      Which dreams are most useful

      One of the good points of dream cartography is that the main source are non-lucid dreams, though some will be better than others. The best ones are those which took place not only inside but also outside because these dreams allow to judge about where different elements of the dream world are situated relatively to each other.

      At first it will be hard to notice such connection because often in dreams we move from one dream scene to another by sudden change of it. During practice of dream cartography brain figures out (or creates - hard to say really) these connections.

      How to start

      As with DJ there are no universal way how to create and update a dream map, so I will provide general guidelines and share my own experience.

      First you should to process dreams you already have and create list of the places which you will put onto map later. Alternatively you can start over and put them right away if you want - it may be different for everyone. Personally, I am lazy and first write dreams into DJ and once in a while update my map.

      DJ entries can be slightly modificated for dream cartography's purposes. You should add to each a title and/or description of place where dream took place and transits (if any). Transits are objects which led to sudden change of dream scene. For example, you touched a statue in dream and was teleported - this is a transit. Or you went through mirror and found yourself somewhere else - this is also transit.

      If you have have drawing skills, you may also draw this place.

      Personally I keep DJ as Excel file with five columns: date, title, brief description of the plot, places and transits (the last is usually empty). My dream map is vector image - I use open-source editor Inkscape.

      General layout

      Dream map usually built around one's home (i.e. it's dream counterpart) because this is the place which one usually dreams very often about. Around Home usually there is an area which called Home City. It includes school, college, work and other typical places which we often visit in dreams. Also there are may some other towns (usually smaller than Home city).

      Borders of dream world are represented by impassable obstacles like ocean and mountains. Often before such obstacle there is a river.

      Another important note is that dream world is actually multilayered. We make map for a "main" layer but there are few others. One of them - subway which a lot of people see in dreams. It also may be explored if one desires. Even "below" (we need to remember is that it is not actually below, it is how we interpret some aspects of our mind) are situated layers which shamans call "Lower worlds". One rarely visits this "worlds" until he is mystic of some sort, drug addict, heavily sick or just advanced dream cartographer who is interested in what else his inner self have.

      Probaly there are should be layer perceived as being "above" main layer but as with "lower" ones they should not interest us for now.

      Last important topic which should be noted is that for historical and traditional reasons north and south are switched on the dream maps. Of course, you are not bound to do this .

      How detailed map should be

      It is the same as for question "How detailed dream journal should be" there is no common answer. Personally I make one global map and later I intend to make separate maps for a Home city (with streets), a couple of small towns which are represented with small icons on general map, and subway.

      Epilogue

      I hope this small tutorial was interesting and will help you to build your own dream map if you decide to give it a try.

    2. #2
      Ehh..Well..Uhm...HUGS!
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      I certainly will give it a try
      It's a cool way to explore your dreams, very original

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      Thanks Phantasos, but I had a question. There is this one place in my dreams ( school to be exact ) where I have walked out the front, and there have been two completely different things. Maybe I should put one in front of the school and one out to the side entrances?

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      I have the same concern as oniman. Rarely are the surroundings the same for me in any of my dream locations. Also, I have dreams where I'm in a place that I know is supposed to be my apartment, but it isn't at all, or I'll be in a building that is a combination of my apartment and my parents' house.

      This is a cool idea though and I might try to map out the things that seem to stay fairly constant.

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      Never mind, I think I have answered my own question. I have seen a track ( as in a running track ) in both the front and back of my school. I think I will put it in the back of my school in the dream map. I am hoping it will force my brain to think that way. That's also where the graph is at my real school. I think I will do my maps on graph paper.

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      John, try doing what I am going to do. Map the surroundings as the place that makes the most sense. Then maybe go over the map before you go to sleep to remind yourself of where the proper surroundings should be?

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      As other have said, we don't always get from a place to another place the same way... Is it that if we do a map, our brain will make connection? cool. And thinking about it, I remember using the same or similar way to go from school to home (because I always miss the damn bus in my dreams so I'm obliged to walk back home)! lol!
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      Overseer of oneirons Phantasos's Avatar
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      oniman7
      Well, it is hard to advise anything. Your solution is pretty fine, lately you may have other dreams about this place and decide what is more "right". After all, it is our conscious effort which stabilize dream world and helps to connect places to each other.

      Personally, my Home city currently is very chaotic - I have no clue about how different places are situated relatively to each other except street where my home is located and subway entrance (it is roughly the same as IRL but I am sure this is not the case for other places), so as you could see in my pre-draft (which I posted in another topic) I just roughly placed all important city locations into Home city area.

      Funny but I better know a small town to which I can get by train. Maybe because it is much smaller - a couple of areas (few street each) connected by trolleybus route.

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      Ehh..Well..Uhm...HUGS!
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      My places seem to be connected in one way or another. I travelled a great distance last night. By bicycle. Whatever

      My home city is quite structured, I must say, it looks a lot like my usual home town, with a few exceptions, and also the school is a bit strange

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      Cool stuff! But making a map of all of my dreams will take an eternity!
      Current projects:
      -Acquire the Aurora
      -Test galatamine, huperzine and choline
      -Find smartwatch app for RC reminders at certain intervals
      -Ressurect my dream log here, and become more active

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      Huh.. interesting, I never gave the dream setting that much attention before. I wonder if it would help improve dream recall in a kind of 3-dimentional way. Definitely worth a try. I'll read through it again when I have more time.

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      Hey Ophelia, did you get my PM about maybe making this a sub-topic under Additional Resources? P.S. Phantasos, I PM'ed ninja9578, OpheliaBlue, Man of Steel, and Asher about making Dream Cartography a sub-topic under Additional Resources.
      Last edited by oniman7; 01-02-2009 at 09:15 PM.

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      Just thought everybody might like to see an example of a dream map. It is poorly drawn, but it should give you an example of what one looks like. Well, here it is.
      Sorry, I could only get it in a thumbnail. As you will see, I use the most frequented area ( the school ) as the center. Due to unkown correlations in location, I will do certain areas instead of a global one. For example, this map is of my school area.
      Attached Images

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      Overseer of oneirons Phantasos's Avatar
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      Looks nice. Probably I should also make "minimaps" of areas around important locations. I will post my general map when I finish current version.

      But what is this green area?

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      Awesome!

      Actually, I've been drawing maps of my most vivid dreams before, but I've noticed that my dreams almost never happen around where I live. Sometimes it does, but mostly not.


      I think I'll do that before I go to bed, then while I'm at it, i'm gonna look for some dreamsigns aswell

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      Quote Originally Posted by Phantasos View Post
      Looks nice. Probably I should also make "minimaps" of areas around important locations. I will post my general map when I finish current version.

      But what is this green area?
      The green area is just grass on the inside of the track.

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      If anybody would like to participate in an experiment, go here: http://www.dreamviews.com/community/...659#post985659 and refer to my posts. PM me if you would like to participate.

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      Cool. Very detailed opening post. Nice.

      I've always wanted to map my dreams, but I've only had a few areas that were stable enough to even think of mapping. I did draw charts for a couple of places that were both stable and recurring, and that was cool.

      So yeah, great idea, great job on writing it out!
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      Overseer of oneirons Phantasos's Avatar
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      I've added an entry into my DJ with general map of my dream world and descriptions of some points of interest. It is a subject to change of course because there are much more to add and location of most of elements is mostly guesswork for now. Also submaps for Home city, small towns and subway should be done.

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      yeah I got your PM

      have to wait and see if this generates enough interest to necessitate adding a sub topic

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      Thanks Ophelia.

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      Hm I think this is very interesting.
      Where did you get this idea from? Is it yours or did you read it somewhere?

      Ok first, are you going to explain the 'lower level' soon? It sounds interesting. Why do drug users, mystics, sick people find these? Is it a more deep level or something?
      Second, I would suggest, since you are using vector, (and I would recommend it for everyone else) just use one map, not multiple. With vector you can zoom in (theoretically) infinitely. Therefore you would start off with a general map; probably of your home town, then the places you visit around there. Then once you get more dreams after starting this endeavour you can just go in and add extra areas within here that you've found. Then you could have separate bits on the same picture like on a game map if you find a place which isn't connected to your home town yet. Eventually you might connect it up, but maybe not.

      Does that sound better than putting a new map on every DJ post? Just have one at the top which you add to.

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      Member ChaybaChayba's Avatar
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      This is a brilliant idea, this way, you have an overview over all your dreams in once! This guy who posted a thread here once had a similar idea, he used a mindportal, the map all the dreams on.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ocyp5OTsz8E. But I think this Dreamcartography idea might even be better.
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      LD's this year: ~7 tommo's Avatar
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      I don't get that mind portal at all.

      I'm going to use some google map images for my dream map. For places that I know IRL at least. That way I don't have to draw it all. Places like my house and school.

      Alright here's mine. If only there was some way for other people to zoom in as well, without much effort on my part. Maybe it's for the best that they can't lol
      I put little boxes with text saying what I did there in my dream world. Barely even started though. Too late. I might put a date on those too, but yeah, another day lol.
      http://www.dreamviews.com/community/...383#post373383
      Last edited by tommo; 01-16-2009 at 03:43 PM.

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      I apologize if my following thoughts appear to ramble on or don't really add to the thread. I am mildly drunk and I tend to ramble on in this state. I originally wrote this in a response to Oniman in a PM with regard to his experiment, but it grew into something I felt like posting here.




      I started a map, but there are just too many places I've been and too many of them are just on their own out there in dreamland and don't yet appear to be linked to anything. So, I took Phantasos' suggestion and just wrote up a excel spreadsheet of all the places I've been and their connections. Even that is getting to be a chore though. I have about 500 locations listed (many sub-locations of major locations though) and I'm only about two-thirds through my dream journal.

      I feel dream cartography appeals to my nature for things to be structured and because of that I feel compelled to continue it.

      I am confident that I will finish my spreadsheet soon. However, I am quite concerned that once I have mapped out my dream world in the logical sense in the spreadsheet, I will never have enough drive to actually map it out visually (especially since there seem to be so many disjointed locations currently). I am far from an artist in any sense of the word and I fear I will just get discouraged in my attempt to do my dream map justice to my dream world. Any help or suggestions in this area would be appreciated.

      I looked up dream cartography on Google and from what I've read it can take years to find connections between various locations in your dreams.

      I plan on continuing though. I've already found interesting connections between the dreams I've recorded in my journal and it has also caused me to remember some past dreams that I've forgotten due to location similarities.

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