During the month of February in the year of our era 2021, I participated in hyperlink.academy's first round of the Learning Adventure Club. It was so brilliant to be a part of a digital-native school for independent thinkers and imaginative explorers.

My project was focused on the topic of lucid dreaming and dream journaling. Below is my work!

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February 1st

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Tonight I'm going to try a dream-countdown method recommended by Marc Van de Keere in his Lucid Dreamer's Manual. For those unfamiliar, a lucid dream is a dream in which you "wake up" and become aware you are dreaming while remaining inside the dream. This allows you to have full freedom of choice and imagination while also fully experiencing the sensations of the dreamworld. Want to fly to Mars? Want to step into a mirror? Want to talk to Socrates? All is possible in a lucid dream.

Anyways, the countdown method is pretty simple. As you fall asleep, repeat the words "One, I'm dreaming... two, I'm dreaming... three, I'm dreaming... four, I'm dreaming..." and on and on til you hopefully send yourself to dreamland with a strongly implanted awareness of your own dreamstate.

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I am indigenous, somewhere. I have created a new language and I have scattered packaged food around the area in case we have to escape. Three of us do need to escape now, so we drive up the steep ridge on top of which I have left bags of trail mix and bags of dried beans and rice. The drive is nerve-wracking, the car is nearly vertical, and everyone in the car is getting scared and frustrated. We make it. I throw some trail mix to a fox who is limping through the area. She looks scrawny, and like she wants something better to eat than peanuts and M&Ms.

A cardinal also stops by. He is actually a person inside a cardinal suit, like a really well-made mascot, and I am reminded that all animals start acting like human people hiding in elaborate costumes if you look at them long enough. I have a small felted cardinal in my pocket, so I pull it out and let him poke at it for a while. Eventually he is so mesmerized by the little toy that he takes his cardinal head off, and I can see he is a pale and blonde young man. His red cardinal suit has turned a bright turquoise, and I know that I am now seeing his colors the way he, a bird, would see them. As I wake up, the turquoise and the red blend into a buzzing superposition of colors.

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In reading about aboriginal and ancient ideas around the dreaming experience, I am struck by the importance of dreams that nearly all pre-alphabetic cultures share. In Black Elk Speaks, a biography of the Oglala Lakota medicine man, he talks about how dreams are gifts. Ideas trying to be born. Dances yet to be danced. Black Elk warns us, however, that dreams which are not acted out turn sour and toxic to the body and mind. Other cultures, from what I've read, widely agree with this idea. Australian aboriginals are said to sing their dreams to the world and each other every morning. The people of the Malaysian Senoi make a habit of picking apart everyone's dreams over breakfast, and spending the rest of the day acting on what they've learned in the dreamspace.

Enacting one's dreams in the waking world is, apparently, globally agreed upon in the indigenous world as a key to staying healthy and to serving one's community. During this month of dream practice, I will work to wog my dreams every day. Today, as my act of dream-instantiation, I stole a small plastic turquoise bead from work and took it into the woods. I dropped the bead into the snow at exactly the spot where a cardinal many years ago swooshed so close to my face it nearly left a feather up my nose. Leaving this bead here makes it a wizzlywog. This act brings the dream energy (wizzle) into the material world (wog). The bead is shaped like the letter G with a little loop at the top. I wonder what will happen to it out there.

I made up these terms, wizzle and wog, because I need a vocabulary for what I'm doing, but nobody I've met has had the foresight to initiate me into a lineage of dreamers. So I had to come up with the magic words myself.

February 2nd

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First of all, I would like to congratulate myself on not publishing here every single dream I was able to record in my irl dream journal last night. You're welcome. I am well aware that some dreams can be awfully boring to talk about ("it was like my job, but it was sort of like my old house, but my grandma was there, but she looked younger, like my uncle, and my uncle was there...") However, this project is all about the power of good dreaming, and we're going to squeeze every little bit of nocturnal technique, academic correspondence, and lucid synchronicity we can out of these experiences. I will be mindful to use this space only for dreams that I think communicate or demonstrate something important about what I'm learning and what I'm practicing.

On the topic of the dream-countdown method: it's hard! You think you're a modern guy with a sharp and up-to-date brain, but try and count to one hundred while falling asleep and you'll realize how hopelessly distractable a mind can be. Even though I didn't make it very far before dropping off, I did appreciate the practice of repeating the intention "I am dreaming, I am dreaming."

Marc Van de Keere recommends meditation during the day to clear out the stressful and day-to-day junk that dreams so often include. I think if I make some time during the day to sit and empty the neural sewage tank, my dreaming may be sharper.

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I am with a highschool friend, using a drill bit to carve out chunks of a pink trapezoidal eraser. We are sitting in a group with other highschool friends. We are all a few years older and looking our best. It's nice. One friend is sporting a new moustache. We are on the beach, and I am soaking up the sun. Someone asks me what I'm doing, and I say, "I'm synthesizing... glucose." A photosynthesis joke. One of my friends explains to me that their ex-girlfriend is now working for the CIA. My friend is a nonbinary anarchist eco-punk and they predict a climactic post-break-up confrontation on the oil fields someday.

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To wog last night's dream about highschool friends, I took a drill bit and an eraser and really went crazy. I left the rubber curly-cues and a handful of seeds outside my apartment building. I've been making friends with the local crows and I thought they might appreciate the wiggly eraser bits.

February 3rd

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You'll notice I've been writing my dreams in the present tense. This is a practice recommended by Marc Van de Keere (can you tell I'm reading his book?) in order to facilitate better recall while recording the dream, and also to better put you back in the dream when reading your journal at a different time. I find it also helps me to write sentences like "I am feeling..." or "I am noticing..." which I don't always include in my usual journalistic style of dream reporting.

I've also been working on my reality checks, an important beginner technique recommended across the board. The basic idea is to get in the habit of checking whether or not you are dreaming. There are all kinds of reality tests you can perform. Checking a light switch (they often don't work in dreams), looking at your hands (most of the time they look a little weird when dreaming), trying to fly, pushing through a solid object, manipulating the scenery around you, or even simply asking "am I dreaming right now?" The logic here is that you're getting in the habit of checking your wakefulness or dreamfulness, and habits have a habit of trickling into your dreaming mind.

I've made a sigil that reminds me to perform a reality check, and I've started doodling it all around - on my arm, in my notebooks, on a scrap of paper in my bathroom. Whenever I see it I look at my hands and ask myself if I'm dreaming. Some people, I've read, will set an hourly alarm or make some other kind of regular routine for reality checks. I wonder if making the habit more timely and scheduled allows the habit to become ingrained quicker. Maybe I should add reality checks to a daily routine that I follow more strictly than catching a glance of a scrap of paper? What's the fastest way to implant something into one's unconscious mind? It's like I'm trying to telegram a deaf person, but the person is me and the telegram just says "WAKE UP!"

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The radical preacher takes a private plane to all 50 states on a journey of zealotous orthodoxy. His image is strong and leaderly on the television; his chin is set, his hair is tousled gently by the wind, he looks hopeful as he faces the sunrise. The government is looking for him. He is a dangerous man.

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After work today, I had some red and blue sheets of construction paper, partially covered in light scribbles. I ripped these into even squares about the size of a matchbook. Thinking about the preacher from last night's dream, I wrote a propaganda-pamphlet-feeling "TODAY IS THE DAY" on each piece of paper and scattered them into the wind. It felt like something he would do, a sort of misguided zealot's call to action.

February 4th

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I'm re-reading my favorite sections of Neil Gaiman's dreamtime epic, the Sandman series. As Morpheus (aka Dream, aka the Prince of Stories) is returning to his kingdom, he comes across the Gates of Ivory and the Gates of Horn.


False dreams, and true dreams. This idea comes from the Odyssey and the ancient Greeks. Through the Gates of Ivory come false, irrelevant, superficial dreams. Through the Gates of Horn, however, come prophetic dreams of resounding truth. This is, apparently, a pun: the Greek word for "ivory" sounds like "deception", and the word for "horn" sounds like "fulfillment". There's less than a handful of examples in the ancient literature, but English writers like T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster, and H.P. Lovecraft picked up the imagery and ran with it.

I wonder what gates hold the passage of lucid dreams. Are they true, because the dreamer is awake, or illusory, because the dreamer is warping the world?


A small victory! I didn't sleep until late last night, so I took a midmorning nap today. I didn't descend fully into sleep, but rather hovered in hypnagogic awareness. Hypnagogy is the state of falling asleep, that lovely loosening of the restrictions of sense and consciousness. Hypnapompy is the sister state, the sunrise of the mind, the surfacing of awareness into the waking world.

This morning nap was a wonderfully lucid hypnagogic adventure. Van de Keere was right: the hypnagogic and hypnapompic states seem to be a brilliant sandbox for exploring lucidity. I kept falling into dream-states without much active awareness, but something kept popping me into lucidity. "Ope! This is a dream," I would think, and though I was not fully asleep, the dream was immersive and real-feeling.

I found myself wanting to taste odd things. I ate a bullet (metallic, refreshing, a bit abrasive) and the melted plastic of a kid's school desk (chewy, smoky, filling, not unpleasant). I noticed that the more time I spent lucid, changing things around, the closer I would move towards fully waking up. The only way I could sink deeper into sleep and the dream-state was to relinquish control, forget my lucidity, and hope to wake up in the next dream. You know that part in Inception about not changing too much of the dream? I could feel the truth there. I am curious to learn more techniques for maintaining lucidity and maintaining the dream-state.

🌙

I am watching a Jewish horror movie at a movie theater. The parents in the movie are conservative, orthodox. Their two adult children are liberal and far from the old beliefs. The adult daughter is having a one-night-stand with a man who, it is implied, is actually an incubus from Jewish demonology. I am piecing together the implications from the reactions of the audience - none of the imagery is familiar to me but the film is obviously referencing symbolism from Jewish mythology. The children are not believing their parents' stories about demons. The parents are desperately trying to convince their children of the danger before it is too late. It is the climax of the movie and the man - the demon - is fatally injured as he runs towards the house. The family, now all true believers and scared sh*tless, run into their home and slam shut the front door. As we watch in growing horror, a ball of smoke and shadow erupts into the middle of the room. It gurgles and bubbles. It is implied that this is the demon's true form, and the audience screams.

💛


I don't really have a script ready. But I do eagerly await a response.

February 5th

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I'm a big fan of Carlos Castaneda and his writings on dreaming and sorcery. He writes that falling asleep is synonymous with a phenomenon he calls "the spirit dropping out of the body". He says that this happens because the spirit is sick of being in the body, tired of suffering all the mundane trials of waking life. I find this interesting because there are many accounts in history of "enlightened" people not ever needing to sleep. These two concepts merge smoothly. If enlightenment is indeed the act of unifying with spirit, then the spirit wouldn't need to drop out of the body. Enlightened people seem to act in accordance to the needs of both body and spirit simultaneously, and so neither of their aspects need rest or escape.

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Using dream dust to encourage lucid dreams.

February 6th

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Instead of starting a beginner off with a lucid dreaming assignment, I would encourage them to wog their dreams. That means, make real the essence of a dream, throw it into the world, and see what comes back. Write down your dream, drop it in a river, and come back the next day to see what you find in that same spot. Draw your dream, send it to an art gallery, and read their rejection letter with a careful eye for hidden meaning. Construct an object you found in your dream, and use it in your everyday life. These are all examples of wogging your wizzle.

In Castaneda's writings on dreaming, he mentions that wearing a tight hat or hood or cowl will improve the vividity of dreams. He also sets up a fantastic exercise: when you find a hat in a dream, and claim it as your own, you should right away get to work making that exact hat. If you wear it to sleep, you will have dreams of power. I did this very thing about two years ago now - I've been interested in dreaming for a long time - and I wear it to bed just about every night.


Some might be spooked that I'd share such a weirdly personal, mystical, and honestly freaky sort of practice. As if any of us have the time to be squeamish about sorcery. Get weird, do magic, post pictures.

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I am Japanese and I am trying to get through the airport. I show my passport. It is misspelled, mostly in Japanese, and has odd stamps and writings all over the paper.

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I took some index cards and wrote out some titles and terms in Japanese: Lucid Dreamer, Father of Composting Worms, Pirate King. A dip in some dark tea gave it that well-worn look.



I ended up leaving it on a worn pirate chest in a pipe-tobacco shop in St. Paul. Where will it go?

February 7th

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A title screen flashes: Press RT to Remember. I'm starting an Xbox game. I press start, and the game begins.

My sister asks for my help carrying a treasure through the baddies and out to the other end of the map. She's being chased by velociraptors - I take the bundle and jump into the rafters of a building. We are leaping across wooden supports, me and the raptors. I throw my slöjd knife, but it misses and buries itself in the wood.

I make it to the end, and I press RT to remember. The buildings fade away and I am on the same hillside, now empty and soft with sunlight. We visited here as children. My sister is here. We are both children again.

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I'm traveling for the next few days and I'm not sure how much I'll be able to wog. Maybe this is me being lazy, or maybe I just don't know how to bring these dreams to fruition. I would love to make a small game based on Press RT to Remember, but surely by the time I finish, many new days and new dreams will be on the waitlist! Is it important to wog every night of dreams? Is it enough to just tell someone about my dream, or should I really do what I can to make it as real as possible? Is it my responsibility to carry the dream through to full materialization, or is my work only to start the process?

Or, maybe I'm just misunderstanding indigenous philosophies - a tradition among white academics such as myself - and chasing my own metaphysical tail. Maybe the only dreams worth manifesting come through the Gates of Horn, and all my small dreams are simple Ivory fantasies.

February 8th

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There are a few lucid dream techniques categorized by Dr. Stephen LaBerge that I'd like to explore. Three major technique categories are DILDs and WILDs: Dreaming-Induced-Lucid-Dreams and Waking-Induced-Lucid-Dreams.

My reality checks are part of DILD work, trying to wake up from within a dream. Anything to remind the dreamer, hey, you're dreaming! That's the spirit of a DILD. I've heard it called "adding consciousness to dreaming", which is a brilliant way of putting it. Most folks find DILDs to be the most common source of lucid dreams, as opposed to the more psychonaut-ish WILD technique.

WILDs are wacko. Described as "adding dreaming to consciousness", performing a WILD takes a lot of focus and awareness. Like the name says, a WILD is all about drifting right from wakefulness into a fully lucid dream. No sleep in between. I really like that this technique has been scientifically verified, because the experience sounds just about exactly the same as the really freaky deep meditations that yogis and other mystics are always on about. I haven't had success with WILDs, though I do try and hold on to awareness for as long as possible every night as I drift off to sleep.

Once, on a camping trip, I remember staying completely awake as my body fell asleep. My breathing became so slow I could hardly feel it, even though my body-awareness felt sharper than ever. My heartbeat also faded into a near-silent rhythm. My thoughts were calm and much clearer than in waking life. It's little moments like that which get me so excited about the possibilities on the edge of consciousness. Once you have a lucid dream, or a sleeping wakefulness, or a transcendent meditative moment, you'll never go back! You've seen the other side and it's so, so cool out there.

🌙

My friend is telling me about the story of Niels Bohr, the astronaut who nearly died. On launch, he fell out of the rocket and was dangling on the lip of the ship. His partner, the captain, was ready to abort the mission - but Niels told him no.

The captain was in distress, but Niels - dangling by one gloved hand - smiles and says, "the captain always goes up with the ship, right?" and he lets go.

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Funny how dreams can be such a blender of memory. I had to look up Niels Bohr to figure out how I even knew that name. Spoilers: not an astronaut.

Often I experience dreams that feel like a re-hashing of the stress of my day. Those sorts of dreams make me inclined to agree with the most boring scientific theory of dreams as a live-broadcast of the day's events being sorted into the file cabinets of the mind. However, dreams like this astronaut fable get me thinking that someone is just trying to tell me a really good story.

February 9th

Another good night of hynpagogic slipperiness! As I fell asleep I would let my thoughts run wild, than pop into lucid awareness and play around for a while. Like my last experience with hypnagogic lucidity, every time I achieved awareness in the dream, I also experienced a big bump upwards towards wakefulness. Tricky to hang onto both dream-awareness and conscious-awareness together!

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I've read that spinning around can help you maintain dream-awareness if you are starting to wake up. Even in daydreaming I can tell that twirling around does make the imagery stronger. There's something about your mind booting up more landscape details that takes a lot of imagination processing power away from waking awareness.

February 10th

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In Jamie Alexander's Lucid Dreaming, he writes about the various visualization exercises that can be helpful in improving your DILDing abilities. Relax, immerse yourself, and start to imagine. Alexander says to put yourself in a specific location, like maybe Disneyland, maybe the neighbor's house, maybe the Himalayas. Use all your senses to place yourself there. What's the smell? What can you feel? Who else is here?

This game builds visualization skills, which help keep the dreamstate strong when lucidity occurs. As I read more and dream more, I'm realizing that the revelation of lucidity comes with a built-in response of "oh, this is fake, none of this is real, I'm asleep, better wake up." This is bad and wrong. I blame Descartes and his goons for this unfortunate result of mind-body dualism. Instead, to cultivate lucid dreams, I think it's necessary to cultivate awareness above judgement.

In other words, in working towards lucid dreaming, I'm actually working towards being more aware of my self and my environment, whether I'm dreaming or not. So, this game Alexander writes about, it builds the good habit of being always fully aware.

Try it.

🌙

A waiter? I think I'm a waiter somwhere.

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Okay, joke's on me for writing about visualization and awareness and then having some nonsense about a waiter be the only thing I write down all night. Ha.

Reading some more of Alexander's book, he mentions that singing at the top of your lungs (in the dream) is a great way to maintain lucidity. I'm gonna try this next time, as I've heard this is also an excellent way to calm yourself down when a psychedelic experience starts to get overwhelming.

February 11th

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More than one source has recommended titling the dreams in your dream journal. I like that. It's supposed to make them easier to call up in your memory and index for the long-term. I'll start today.

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Knit to E4

I'm knitting with enormous needles, so each space between stitches is nearly as big as my fist. I weave a small square in each of these holes with a darning needle to make a floppy chessboard.

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I definitely have to try this chessboard thing. I will sometimes spend most of a day fantasizing about future craft projects, and often those days are followed by some ingenious craft-dreams. I guess I gotta find some huge knitting needles...

February 12th

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Turns out all kinds of cool freakos have been doing kooky stuff in dreams since forever. Richard Feynman used to "watch what happened" as he fell asleep, and got to some very excellent insights about the whole sleep process.

Really interesting to me was how Feynman described the process of waking up as "fearful". He talks about the sleep-paralysis-ish feeling of being tied down, weighed down, stuck, like you won't ever be able to move again. I used to experience this all the time as a kid and it will still occasionally strike.

In looking at historical examples of wizzlywogs, I found this great article from a radio program out of the University of Houston which is so beautifully Web 1.0 I could almost hear the dial-up buzz and chirp.

Some great stories in here. "Einstein said his entire career was an extended meditation on a dream he had as a teenager." Ha! Funny that a demigod of scientific materialism was just wogging his wizzle the whole time. Then there's the great story of Elias Howe being poked at by "natives in the jungle" who had holes in the tips of their spears: the exact shape he needed to invent for the needle of his sewing machine!

Dr. Watson of Watson & Crick fame said that his insights into the structure of the DNA crystal came from a dream about two snakes intertwining into an ascending helix. Not just anyone is gifted a psychopomp's caduceus, you know? That's a really tasty wizzle.

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Dogboy

I'm babysitting. Mom demands that I hook the kid up to a long leash, just like a yippy little dog. We take a walk on the beach.

February 13th

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I'm taking a graduate course on research methods right now, and our big project is to design a behavioral study from beginning to end. Of course, I chose lucid dreaming as my topic. I've always found that double-dipping is the best strategy when it comes to projects both personal and professional. Two for the price of one, why not?

My hypothesis: The practice of lucid dream induction will improve the long-term memory of students. It seems to me that most lucid dream practices are all about awareness and memory. So, even if you try everything and never trigger a real lucid dream, I gotta believe all these visualizations, meditations, and exercises are good for something!

February 14th

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Learned about Dr. John C. Lilly today. This amazing freako genius was a confirmed psychonaut, lucid dreamer, and dolphin telepath. Yes, dolphin telepath.


I learned about him over a morning coffee on Summit Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota, probably only blocks away from the house in which he grew, and looking out my window at the enormous First National Bank building: the company his father started. Odd, especially since so much of his work was about the details of synchronicity. Funny how that happens.

Anyways, he wrote some very cool things about lucid dreaming which he called "meta-programming the bio-computer." I go absolutely bonkers for terminology like that. I really like John C. Lilly. This guy, a wildly successful lucid dreamer, discovered/founded the Earth Coincedence Control Office, a subgalactic organization in charge of synchronicity on our planet. Synchronicity, to me, is often a sign of a well-functioning wizzlywog, an object that is operating in the two simultaneous realities of wizzle (the dreamstate) and wog (the waking world).

To summarize: this guy, Lilly, avid lucid dreamer and metaprogrammer of the biocomputer, he detailed this extracosmic organization he said was named ECCO. Also his whole career was about trying to communicate telepathically and/or psychedelically with dolphins. ECCO. Dolphins.


Bet you didn't think a blog on lucid dreaming would go so deep into SEGA Genesis conspiracies, did you?

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Whiskey Solo

An old man - it's totally Morgan Freeman - is teaching me how to fight the undead. We meet at a ratty old bar every week and he always gets the same thing. Whiskey Solo Red Room from the fridge, and a steak. It is a secret job, what we do. Me, the old man, and the kid who's got some weirdo powers. We communicate with each other by throwing paper airplanes, like samurai kites.

February 15th

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The Curse of Memory

Late morning nap.

I'm in a fantasy world, my daggers are out and I'm battling a sorceress. I go in for a slice but she's quicker - I'm hit. My vision warps and glitches. Green and blue slimy patches appear all over the landscape. Everything is slippery and I can't feel my body.

She's sent me back into a memory, before swords and sorcery came into our world. I'm in an apartment, with my girlfriend, but I'm watching like a ghost. I see the past version of myself come into the room. I'm watching us break up. We're fighting. It's awful to see this all played through again. I know I can't change anything. I'm just standing here, an invisible witness to my own past. I can still see my inventory slots from the fantasy world.

I'm standing here with potions and +1 daggers watching my love leave forever.

📒

Starting the lucid dream study recommended by another adventure clubber tonight! I've downloaded the android app by the cognitive neuroscience lab and I'll fire it up this evening before bed. It will first guide me in a hypnosis sort of activity that trains the brain to "wake up" to a certain sound. Then, after 6 hours of sleep, it will play the sound every few minutes. Hopefully, if the hypnosis/meditation stuck deep enough, I will be able to hear it in my dream and become lucid. 7 days straight, with a survey every morning.

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Capping it Off

Had a dream I wanted to write down, but I was too lazy. So in my next dream I was indeed writing it down, with sharpie marker, on a yellow bottle cap.

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A handful of dreams last night, with no successful lucidity. The lucidity trigger sound just woke me up like a normal alarm. During the pre-sleep hypnosis/meditation, I was asked to "become aware" and "notice all my senses". Not a bad instruction for any time of day or night.

💛

Like I wrote about on the 7th, I've been thinking a lot about how to wog my dreams in a timely manner. Like my dream on the 11th - I would love to knit and weave a huge chessboard but I know it would take me more than a day, and by that point, I'd have even more dreams to manifest!

Considering that I want to iterate my wogs faster, I'm going to start adding my lucidity symbol to the quickest sort of wizzlywog I can cobble together. If I find them in my dreams again, perhaps I will see the symbol, or remember their wogged nature, and know that I am back in the dreamstate.

February 16th

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Getting ready for round two of this lucid dreaming study. I'm going to bed early and hungry - two things I've noticed help facilitate good and dreamful sleep. I tend to sleep hard and deep, so going to bed before I get dead-tired really helps to keep me from completely crashing. Also, going to bed with an empty stomach seems to keep my awareness sharp. My parents used to warn me that eating pizza before bed brings nightmares. At the very least, I've learned, it makes for very uncomfortable sleep.

The One With the Rollercoaster Over Hong Kong

Only slept for about two hours but had a great series of hypnapompic lucid half-dreams! I wasn't sleeping deep enough to have a fully sensual, embodied experience, but I found and lost lucidity several times while waking up today.

Many scenes from Snow Crash, one of my favorite books that I'm now rereading, appeared in my dreaming. One memorable scene was on a rollercoaster high over Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong, being chased by drones, swordfighting my way across the coaster cars. I found lucidity and jumped around like only a dream-ninja can jump, battling robots and having a great sci-fi time.

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As I fall back asleep now, I find myself trying to "regain control". It feels forced. I'm reminding myself of a hall monitor or older sibling trying to yell over the chaos and instill order. Demanding to play, pretending to be in charge. This does not feel like the way. I'm going to read more about dream yoga and alternative dreaming perspectives tomorrow, so I can work my way out of this rigid scientific mindset on dream-awareness.

Also, just in general, the exercise of dream awareness is such an odd catch-22. In a way it feels like any other test - do the readings, do the practices, sit down for the exam. Except, in this final exam, you gotta pass before you even wake up. What! How does one communicate with oneself over the vast sleep-chasm of total amnesia and seemingly absolute unconsciousness? And yet, it can be done. Awesome. Vast. Exciting. Very weird.

📒

Slept right through my lucid trigger and woke up with sleep paralysis. It's been a long time for me since I last woke up scared and frozen. I had to un-panic myself before I could move. The nonlinearity of this dream journey is stunningly odd.

February 17th

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Reading B. Alan Wallace's short paper Lucid Dreaming and Meditation. It's only about three pages long but includes a great variety of insight into the dreamstate. This is exactly what I needed to read right now:

Modern lucid dream researchers draw a sharp distinction between the waking state and the dream state, and recognizing this distinction plays an important role in their techniques for inducing lucid dreaming. But in some ways, waking consciousness and dreaming are more similar than we might expect. As Stephen LaBerge remarks, “dreaming can be viewed as the special case of perception without the constraints of external sensory input. Conversely, perception can be viewed as the special case of dreaming constrained by sensory input.”

Brilliant! I've been getting the feeling that lucid dream "triggers" are a strange way to go about a practice that is centrally defined by maintaining constant awareness while awake and asleep.

Okay, now, check this out. In a lucid dream, anything is possible. Everything is right there, only a thought away. So what would you do, if you could do anything? The answer, of course, is to do nothing:

A further step in the practice of dream yoga is to allow the dream to fade away, but without losing the clarity of one’s awareness. In a dream, all one’s physical senses are already shut down, so when the dream imagery disappears, it vanishes into the empty, luminous space of awareness itself. This is a unique opportunity for exploring the “clear light of sleep,” in which one experiences consciousness without the overlay of sensory images and conceptual constructs.

🌙

Delete My History When I Die

Only fragments from tonight's dreaming. I'm living in a decrepit, gray-wooded apartment with friends. They're having a party but I am trying to find a room alone to watch grown-up videos on my computer. New people keep streaming in to the apartment and new doors and windows appear everywhere I look.

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Of course my most spiritually transcendental reading would be followed by a dream of total adolescent anxiety about my browser history being discovered. The dream-elves are always playing tricks like that on me.

February 18th

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I work with elementary age kids, and today four (four!) separate kids told me, unprompted, that they have been suffering from nightmares lately. They seemed pretty fearless but confused, and uncomfortable with the idea of going back to sleep tonight. I shared what I knew about feeling your way through a fearful dream: don't wake up, try and laugh, fight your way out!

Inspired by their fearful recountings, I decided to open up H.P. Lovecraft before bed tonight. Ages ago I was on a real Lovecraft kick, and I was reading his stories along with Alan Moore's radiantly spooky Providence series. One night during all this, I woke up from a nightmare that was so Lovecraftian in nature that my recounting of it took up seven pages in my journal and was written in dead-perfect Lovecraft prose. Verbose and ponderous but immensely fearful.



Many of my past experiences with lucidity have been from nightmares. There's something about being absolutely terrified that bumps awareness up a few levels, and if I manage to stay in the dream, I nearly always level-up. Once I dreamt a witch broke into my house and blasted me with some dream-force, and all of a sudden I was flying, battling, and totally aware. So, tonight, I'm going to try for a TILD: Terror-Induced Lucid Dream.

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The Pale Hart

Some friends and I have started a school in Costa Rica. We are all academics at the top of our respective fields and we are teaching students all kinds of new, interesting things.

A pale deer has found its way into a classroom. It looks CGI-rendered, its texture is flat but its form is shifting. Skinny and tall, the deer has two human-like arms extending across its back. The creature is striped like a tiger but its shifting colors are like those of a lion. It is a sacred creature like a unicorn or white stag and we all know that we cannot touch it. The other teachers and I try to herd it back outside, where we know it will disappear and haunt us no more.

Just before it reaches the door, the deer jumps towards a different classroom and into the body of a young girl. Dazed, possessed, she reaches into her backpack and pulls out a flare gun. She's pointing it at her temple. I taunt her, desperately, hoping she'll follow me. She points the gun towards my position and I run. She's chasing me out the door.

The moment she steps outside, the deer leaves her body and disentigrates into the wind.

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So Close, and Yet, So Far

I'm dreaming about reading a book on lucid dreaming. I'm trying out all the reality check techniques in the book: pulling a jump-rope through my feet, testing the texture of my hands. They are all indicating that I am dreaming but I am so sure that I am already awake I don't achieve lucidity at all.

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Absolutely bonkers that I would be so close to realizing lucidity and fail so completely. Like I wrote on the 17th: the dream-elves are always playing tricks on me like that.

I think I'm not impressed with the "reality check" model of lucid dreaming. It seems to me you can only dream as well as you live. In other words, it's been a long time since I had a good meditation practice, which means most of my day is spent not being mindful of my actions or thoughts. Is it any wonder, then, that I would dream about going through the motions of lucid dreaming without actually attaining that unique and transcendental state of awareness?

February 19th

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I've been looking at different sources of dream information outside the materialist-rationalist scientific perspective. My ridiculous anti-lucid experience on the 18th has got me convinced that journal articles are not effective enough mind-worms to help me change my awareness. However, I almost always dream about the books I'm reading. Maybe I'm just especially a bookworm and therefore susceptible to narrative influences, but I'm inclined to say that all human people respond to Stories a lot deeper than Peer-Reviewed Journal Submissions.

So, I looked up novels on dreaming. Obviously I was roasted by this list, because these are all the books I've loved since forever. Where the Wild Things Are, The Teachings of Don Juan, Ursula K. Le Guin, H.P. Lovecraft, Alice in Wonderland, Carl Jung, Neil Gaiman, and my first favorite story, Shakespeare's Misdummer Night's Dream. I used to watch the VHS cartoon of that story on repeat for whole weekends at a time.

I'm going to find some novels on dreaming that I haven't read before and really go in. Trying to nam-shub myself, inject myself with a cosmology of dreamspace.

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Be Fee, Stay Cool

I am pawing through a huge pile of sewn, crocheted, knitted, and leather bags I've made. Some I've made in waking life and some are only from the dream. I pull one out and look at it closely.

It is a small bell-shaped bag made of black, white, and yellow felt. There are felt letters sewn onto one side. The top line of letters says "BE FEE", and the second line says "STAY COOL". My MTG cards fit perfectly. I wake up.

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Pleased to note that my dream-work today consists of sewing and listening to Terence McKenna speeches on multidimensional dreaming and the psychedelic universe, which is mostly what I do in my free time anyway.

February 20th

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Listened to a wonderful speech on dream yoga today.

"25 to 30 years of our life we spend asleep... most of us go to sleep and don't think about it as something important, something good for the spirit. In the Tibetan tradition, there is a whole other understanding of sleep. A spiritual journey, a possibility to understand oneself, one's conditions, one's potentialities."

Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche also lays out some techniques for initiating lucid dreams. The first, of course, is to perceive everything as if you are dreaming. This is similar to Grant Morrison's technique for instigating magical consciousness: imagine everything is meaningful and speaking directly to you. Place yourself in a world that is full of meaning in which you are totally free.

Then, he spoke to the absolute geek in me. He talks about "saving files" in daily life, and how experiences are often stored as "urgent" or "to-do" or "very important". Instead (and remember this guy is a total Tibetan monk) he says to "save your files as dream files".

Another technique: as you fall asleep, walk through your whole day. In a contemplative state, find the pieces of your day that are asking for further reflection, moments that have not been resolved. Watch them and meditate on them in order to clear yourself out for sleep. Or, as he says, "delete the file".

Rinpoche also mentions that a successful lucid dream inspires a second. I've definitely found this to be true. Pulling up the memory - the dream file - of a lucid dream allows me to become hyperaware of my environment. Whether awake or hypnagogic or hypnapompic, I can find that awareness again by simply remembering my lucid experiences. As he says: "Awareness during the daytime helps awareness in the nighttime."

Check out the guided meditation at the end of his talk.

February 21st

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Gave a short talk to the rest of my adventure club today about my project, how far I've come, and three lessons I've taken from my adventure so far.

The first lesson is You Are What You Eat.

I keep worms in my apartment, as compost-eaters, and they inspire me to become a better dreamer. They move one bite at a time, leaving one bite's worth of poo behind, on and on. Dreams work the same. Whatever I experience in a day comes out in my dreams. A restless and greasy diet makes for restless and greasy dreams. Playing horror video games all day? You bet your bottom that I'll be dreaming in 3D-rendered terror. Anything I'm working to digest might come out in my dreaming. It becomes very important to consider diet, both literal and experiential, when dreaming. See my dream on February 18th for the result of reading too much academic writing on lucidity.

The second lesson is Awareness Awake is Awareness Asleep.

This wording is taken from the lovely speech I wrote about yesterday, but the truth is expressed often in the lucid dreaming literature. Cultivating awareness in the waking world absolutely cultivates awareness in the dream world. For example, lucidity can often be triggered by tracing your steps backwards through the day. In a dream, you'll likely remember falling asleep, and so realize you're in the dream. But cultivating a habit while asleep only comes from cultivating that habit while awake. How often do you think about your day? How often are you aware of what's been passing by your car window, or the conversation you had two hours ago? Not often, I'll bet, if you're like me. Cultivating that sort of lucidity while Awake will cultivate lucidity in the dream.

The third lesson is Good Dreaming is Community Service.

As I've written about before, there is wide consensus in oral cultures around the importance of wogging one's dreams. I get the sense that dreams are seeds or eggs, wanting to be born into the world and grow in the soil of linear time.



Whatever the explanation, there are good things to be grown from manifested dreams. Try it!

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I took some blue lotus and honey tincture before bed tonight, a gift from a friend. She told me that the flower was used by Egyptians as an aid to meditation and awareness. It worked! The blue lotus extract made my hypnagogic imagination sharp and radically three-dimensional. I feel like I just upgraded GPUs. I've been hearing a lot about mugwort, valerian root, and St. John's wort as dreaming allies too, though I haven't experimented with any of these at length.

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Donut Archaeology

I'm participating in an archaeological expedition with some friends. We are stumbling around old rocks, and I am picking up little beads and stuffing them in my bag. We come across the fabled Mask of Pottery, and a very distinct cane-woven donut shape. It is small but expertly made and seemingly hollow - what is inside?

February 22nd

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Been reading lots of Lovecraft before bed. I'm starting to get a handle on his horror as an anaphylactic reaction to non-rationalist realities. Many of his stories end with a punchline that is actually not so horrific if not for the buildup of insanity and mind-clawing terror. Many of his stories end with "and then he realized the earth was extremely old!" or "and it turned out this family had evolved from apes!!" or "and in the end, his dreams were real!!!". Hardly news to us open-minded oneironauts, yes?

Lovecraft's experiences of deep time and the dream dimension are not unique. I would propose, however, that his experiences of overwhelmingly cosmic terror are a result of his frankly mystical experiences colliding with his absolutely rigid material rationalism. Loveraft's writings evoke the feeling of a man going insane, alone, with absolutely no language to describe what he is seeing.

From H.P. Lovecraft's The Dreams in the Witch House:

In the deeper dreams everything was likewise more distinct, and Gilman felt that the twilight abysses around him were those of the fourth dimension. Those organic entities whose motions seemed least fragrantly irrelevant and unmotivated were probably projections of life-forms from our own planet, including human beings. What the others were in their own dimensional sphere or spheres he dared not try to think. Two of the less irrelevantly moving things - a rather large congeries of iridescent, prolately spheroidal bubbles and a very much smaller polyhedron of unknown colours and rapidly shifting surface angles - seemed to take notice of him and follow him about or float ahead as he changed position among the titan prisms, labyrinths, cube-an-lpane clusters, and quasi-buildings; and all the while the vague shrieking and roaring waxed louder and louder, as if approaching some mosntrous climax of utterly enendurable intensity.

Now, please, compare and contrast this with the following passage.

From Carlos Castaneda's The Art of Dreaming:

... with its touch the scout had made an energetic connection with me. I knew what it wanted me to do the instant it seemed to tug me or shove me.

The first thing it did was to push me through a huge cavern or opening into the physical mass I had been facing. Once I was inside that mass, I realized that the interior was as homogeneously porous as the outside but much softer looking, as if the roughness had been sanded down. What I was facing was a structure that looked something like the enlarged picture of a beehive. There were countless geometric-shaped tunnels going in every direction. Some went up or down, or to my left or my right; they were at angles with one another, or going up or down on steep or mild inclines.

The light was very dim, yet everything was perfectly visible. The tunnels seemed to be alive and conscious; they sizzled. I stared at them, and the realization that I was seeing hit me. Those were tunnels of energy. At the instant of this realization, the voice of the dreaming emissary roared inside my ears, so loudly I could not understand what it said. "Lower it down," I yelled with unusual impatience and became aware that if I spoke I blocked my view of the tunnels and entered into a vacuum where all I could do was hear. The emissary modulated its voice and said, "You are inside an inorganic being. Choose a tunnel and you can even live in it." The voice stopped for an instant, then added, "That is, if you want to do it."


These two men - separated by most of a century and most of a country - are having very similar dreams. Lovecraft, lonely and hyper-scientific, suffering from nightmares beyond comprehension, is experiencing nocturnal insanity. Castaneda, apprenticed to a lineage of ancient Mexico and being guided towards integrating mysticism into his life, is experiencing communion with inorganic forms of living power.



Sounds like some pretty straightforward fractal biology to me.

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Ready Metaverse 1

Lots of dreams about plane rides tonight. I am using the tablet device on the plane, and I goggle into the virtual reality multiplayer game that everyone else is using. I can choose a character - there is a big emphasis on choosing branded characters like corporate mascots and movie stars. Ronald McDonald is an option, as are all the Game of Thrones characters and some cartoons I don't recognize. I can also choose to be what the game calls a "flock", like a battalion of Roman soldiers or a bunch of giraffes. I choose a character and the game spawns me behind another player. I am told I am now this player's "antifa", and I spend the rest of the game shooting down any players who attack my new friend.

February 23rd

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I notice that valerian root makes the waves of sleep heavier and deeper as I fall into hypnagogy. I am pulled under quicker, and stay down longer. Not so much what an already-deep sleeper like me needs, but good data nonetheless.

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Zoo Out Of Space

I am a zookeeper of Lovecraftian horrors. I am taking care of creatures like Wilbur Whately, hybrids and monstrosities, filling every cage for a mile. I start to see the changes in myself too. I'm becoming a which-what-who.






February 24th

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I was hearing about memory palaces today. The idea is to create a physical space inside your imagination to store memories. It was apparently a common rhetorical tool in the classical world, and allowed orators to go on for hours and hours about detailed and complex topics without any kind of index card shuffling or, god forbid, ancient PowerPoint. I wonder if this would be a valuable dreaming practice to cultivate. Surely an imaginary palace, castle, cave, or warehouse of memories and imaginings would start to pop up in the dreamspace? I can recall many different places and spaces I have visited in dreams. In fact, the setting is often the strongest part of the dream for me.

I am reminded of a story I heard ages ago - a true story, but one that I haven't been able to google effectively - about an Inuit craftsman living in Alaska. He talked about how he would sometimes forget how to make a certain stitch, carve a certain pattern, or some other detail of his ancient skill. In dreams, his ancestors would come to him and show him how to get the stitch or carving or skill just right.

Materialist rationalists - such as our friend Lovecraft - would have a very easy time saying that our craftsman had "buried the knowledge in his subconscious" or some other thoroughly uninspired token dismissal. Us oneironauts, though, we know the unbounded gifts of the dreamspace, don't we?

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The Nile Mile

I am shown a glyph carved into sandstone. It is a rectangle and describes the relationship between the imperial mile and the "Nile Mile" used in ancient Egypt. The Nile mile is shorter but comparing the ratio of the two is profoundly illuminating when understood.

I don't think I really understood it.

February 25th

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Three different conversations about dreaming with colleagues, unprompted, today. One about a group of kids moving to Chicago. The other colleague said she woke herself up yelling at a kid in a dream! The other colleague was asked by her roommates about a person she kept talking to in her sleep - yep, it was a kid she was always having trouble with at school.

I've been a sleeptalker all my life. When I was a camp counselor, my kids would tell me over breakfast all the things I had said. One morning they told me I said, "I would rather die than wear my grandma's clothes!"

When I'm aware of my sleeptalking, it seems to breach some kind of barrier between the sleeping and waking worlds. Often I can feel my irl body and the dream body at the same time. Most often when I'm sleeptalking or even sleepmoving, it's because a nightmare has shot me up into wakefulness before my sleep-paralysis can be undone. I haven't yet been successful with my Terror-Induced-Lucid-Dream (TILD) strategy, but in the past, I have experienced very sharp lucidity during the climactic fright of a nightmare. At that point, unfortunately, all I want to do is get out of the dream.

Maybe, if I can learn to control that moment of fear, I could livestream my scream from the dream.

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Wobblerocket

I'm flying a rocket in a strange fashion over a suburb. The nose is pointed upwards but the wings are flattish, like a plane or the outstretched balancing hands of a surfer. The rocket wobbles across the neighborhood, not gaining or losing altitude, moving closer to the edge of a cliff. There seems to be hardly any gravity, and so I float out over the cliff edge and stare down into a deep, deep river valley.

February 26th

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Apparently the data from my participation in the lucid dream study didn't send - oops. So I tried again tonight and, again, it woke me up like an alarm. I wonder if a different sound, such as a low and rising hum, would better get into my subconscious. I don't know about you, dearest reader, but I am hyper-aware of alarm sounds. Sometimes, hours before sunrise, I'll have dreams that I overslept my alarm and wake up in a frantic sweat.

Something I remember reading in lucid dreaming guides is that recording your own lucid trigger can help some people step into dreaming awareness. Simply add 6 hours of silence to the beginning of the track and play it before falling asleep. I may try this, as I like the idea of lucidity trigger-sounds, but the bleepy alarm was just too clockish for me.

In any case, the data all sent this time, and so science is now eight datum stronger.

Banjo Tune of Glory

Afternoon nap, my favorite genre of sleep. As I wake up, my hypnapompic awareness is alight with music. I am playing around in the phase space of a banjo tune about a river. The song feels like a texture, a pattern, a physical textile of music. I can poke and push and hear the sounds that come out, always in key, always rhyming, always fast and smooth notes from the banjo. It's beautiful. I wake slowly, playing with the song as I float into wakefulness.

Lots of lyrics about riding the Minnesota river to the promised land, and dancing all night in the confluence waters.

Safety Blanket of Doom

I'm walking around my room, it's dark. There's something in the corner. Quick as a flash, the something-in-the-corner yanks a blanket off my bed and into the shadows. I'm scared, really scared, and as I start to yowl in fear I wake up - but in the moment of fear I am lucid!

Dang. Again, so close, but I didn't have the presence of mind to hold onto the lucidity.

February 27th

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Floated through some excellent videos today. The best, of course, was from our old friend Dr. McKenna. You know that feeling of finding out that someone else is having the same thoughts as you, but they are infinitely better at expressing those shared thoughts? I feel that feeling all the time listening to Terence McKenna. When he talks about dreaming, I feel both a huge relief that I am not alone in my wonderings, and also the sting of getting to an epistemological goal in second place. Take this: "This stuff is ruled by equations of dynamics and chaos... the global destiny of the species is unfolding with the logic of a dream." Finally, someone said it!

McKenna also mentions that the most significant aspect of sleep is the interface between waking and snoozing. He quotes an alchemical text, which he translates from the Latin: "When Falling Asleep, Watch."

Also, I enjoyed the various videos in this article by Ultraculture on geniuses who have been influenced by dreams. Spoilers: it's pretty much all of them. on the 12th I wrote about how Einstein, Watson, and Elias Howe all described their greatest contributions to the world as a process of unpacking a significant dream. Now add to that list Descartes, Niels Bohr, Mendeleev, and more. Funny to find out the mystic encounters behind such seemingly-scientific machinations.

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Nights of our Lives

Immensely long dreams tonight. I remember so little except the feeling of endlessly monotonous drama, dialogue, and more drama. I wouldn't be surprised if I had dreamed the entire night through, just listening to hokey soap opera baloney.

February 28th

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The last day of this experiment! I haven't really experienced full lucidity, but I feel inspired to continue working towards wakeful sleepiness and dreamy wakefulness. I have pulled these thoughts on dreaming into other projects - such as a research project on educational leadership - and I don't expect to drop the thread any time soon.

Thank you for sharing in my adventures. I hope you, too, carry some dream-seeds forward into whatever worlds you may find yourself exploring.

Chat me up anytime and let's play a round of Two Truths and A Dream.

Liber Wizzlywog

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Hey, there's an epilogue! This here is the Liber Wizzlywog, a community space to share the text story of a dream (the wizzle) and an image of how you manifested some aspect of that dream (the wog).

My skills at PHP are weak, so until I clunk together some kind of upload capability, please email me at jake@fee.cool with your wizzlywog. I would love to share your dreaming here.

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untitled motorcycle adventure

I was riding my motorcycle through the grocery store doing my shopping, because this is a totally normal thing to do. I rode up to the checkout, and I was worried that I would lose my balance and tip over my motorcycle as I fished my wallet out of my pocket and embarrass myself, but I didn't.