Having left behind me all the divinatory techniques I have ever used (tarot, runes, stones, mirror, etc.), I am now reading reality mostly through the process of Dreaming. I am unsure how my way of doing it relates to traditional methods from various shamanistic traditions. In fact, I don’t care. Over the last months, I have polished my practice and feel comfortable enough to share a rough outline of the technique. So here goes…
(As with all the instructions I give, these are based on my experiences and might not work or be safe for everyone. Be sure to listen to your body/feelings/intuition above anything else and don’t do anything you fear or feel uncomfortable with. It’s up to you to keep yourself safe.)
The success of the Dreaming process depends solely on the ability to enter a sort of gnostic, single-minded concentration before falling asleep. This is rarely possible with the main, long sleep at night, when you are really tired after a day’s work. I personally practised during a separate, dedicated short nap time during the day (when possible) or just by going to sleep a bit earlier, when I was not yet completely exhausted.
Of course, being intimately familiar with the state of gnosis/meditation/trance was a necessary prerequisite. In order to succeed, I had to not only be able to enter the state, but also focus on it and maintain for an extended period of time. This state was to be a bubble, an area, within which a vessel to the dreaming was to be formed.
The second requirement was definitely the ability to visualize. I was personally unable to enter the Dreaming in my human form. I needed a vessel, something to get me through into Dreaming while allowing me to remain conscious. This was the tricky part, and visualization was crucial in letting me do it.
So, gnosis/trance and visualizations need to be developed to some extent before trying the technique of Dreaming.
So, what is the Dreaming state? By my understanding of it, it’s a state exactly like sleep, when the mind roams free through information, repeats itself, tests scenarios, etc. However, in the Dreaming process, we are able to see the information processed by the brain (and I mean all parts of it), maintaining a level of awareness, along with some capability to control the content of the processing.
In most cases, my awareness limited me to seeing the visual information processed by the brain. Only sometimes were they enhanced by sounds and smells. This, however, makes the experience similar to so called visions.
As with many a divination technique, Dreaming operates on symbols. These are, however, symbols customized for an individual brain, not dependant on knowledge of any system, esoteric or other. This means, that the Dreamer is the one and only person capable of understanding the messages. They can be analyzed using Jungian methods or just left alone and reabsorbed by the psyche, both ways contributing to a more intimate relationship with oneself and the world.
I would start with extra short relaxation to ease me to sleep followed by meditation/focus on the vessel. In my case, the vessel would be a wolf/man hybrid (I’d call it a werewolf, but this term does not seem to sufficiently represent the complexity of the image). I have, in my journeys, developed a rather intricate image of myself as this creature, with many a detail in terms of all senses. This part seems crucial to me. Having a very well designed, representative and complex image of oneself in a Dreamwalking form makes it easier to slip through to the other side of the veil. And that is exactly what I did - I slipped through.
I visualized myself in amazing landscapes, roaming free as the creature of my imagination. I paid close attention not to lose focus and also to use any chance to enhance my understanding of my Dreamform.
The Dreamform was not exactly me. Nor was it a simple vehicle. I could not compare it to a car or a bike. It would be more like a horse raised with me, one that I have cared for all my life. A dear friend, a relative, a beloved pet. Something in this area.
As I ran in the forests of my imagination, I would at some point realize, that my body has already fallen asleep.
Now comes the tricky part.
At this point, I’d relax my imagination and let the images slowly fade away, while maintaining enough concentration and self awareness to not fall asleep in the classic meaning of this term.
To the outside world, I’d be asleep, but I was by all means conscious. If I’d Dreamed with some background music on, I could even still hear it (luckily, I could not hear my snoring!).
The relaxed mind was now free to explore, with me sitting in the backseat and peeking out of the windows.
When I was done, I’d usually just relax completely and fall asleep. Sometimes, when using the shamanistic drumming in the background, I could hear the callback and would again assume the Dreamform (far easier from this side, it seemed) and allow myself to be carried back, waking up to the sound of the drum.
I am aware it might not be easy, but having the ability to concentrate on a single subject for an extended period of time is crucial in this process. It took me months to develop this skill and make it useful.The trick is to be SO CONCENTRATED, you don’t realize you have already fallen asleep. This way you are in control of whatever happens, and the Dreamworld is a vast and interesting place.
I have used this state to see the implications of my magical activities, notice barriers and difficulties and prevent them from interfering with my life. I also managed to communicate with spirits in this state, reaching for their assistance in situations, when I felt it was necessary.
I’m eager to hear from you - Have you ever had similar experiences? Did you come up with compatible or complimentary techniques? Do you have suggestions on how to improve it?