Editor's note: There is an interesting common thread to all 3 dreaming short stories this issue; the overlap of dreaming into waking. The interesting part is how messy it is.
Three times since the beginning of this year, I've come across strange presences in dreams, a fat lizard-like animal that started to glow fluorescent after it caught my attention, a woman with one nostril (in the same dream). In another dream I was walking by some cliffs by the coast when I saw a cave. I entered. A rock inside the cave caught my attention. It was about the size of a football. After inspecting it for a while from several angles, it started to move (crawl). I touched it with my left index finger for a while. It felt the normal temperature that a rock should be, but when I pulled back my finger there was a small round burn mark on my finger. The dream then faded.
Source: Altadena, CA
Editor: But was it dreaming? It takes on a completely different meaning if it was. If you have lots of experience with dreaming, then it reminds me of the story of the walking stick Carlos found.
Damiana Dream Society.
... Our group meets once a month. While we are interested in Castaneda's group, we also explore other directions. Some of us had problems understanding The Art of Dreaming & had to go back & re-read his earlier books to refresh. We've read most of the co-workers' books.
Personally, I have found recapitulation can be done without the use of boxes, closets, etc. Just the act seems to suffice. I found it a powerful experience... Our group is 1/2 men/women.
Source: St. Paul, MN
Editor: You can put more about your group in the Junkyard section if you like, I can even reproduce your fine logo. I wasn't clear if this was a discussion group or if you were attempting to help each other with dreaming. If it was a dreaming group, the last group I heard about like this ended with disillusionment. They didn't have the energy for what they were trying to do, they hadn't done much recapitulating, and only a few people were serious. The rest were just there to visit with friends. I believe it could work, but would require a fierce effort from all. Keep us abreast of what happens.
... In dreaming I experienced a room where a "person" I did not know was appearing and disappearing although I had no desire to go with them as Carlos did. It did provoke the question of how does the process occur. Shortly thereafter I started receiving new words in my dreams from people "I knew" and others I didn't. My time perceptual base is off, but I have received 4 words over the course of 6 months to 2 years.
The first dream I was in a little shop that was open in a mall type setting but the counter, which had flowers and postcards on it, was perpendicular to the main wall that had candy and magazines in horizontal rows stacked vertically. I did not look down the corridor to my left nor did I look directly behind me although I was aware of a large glass window that would be common at airports. I went over and started to pick up a hershies chocolate bar with almonds and a person I vaguely know came up and said, "you don't want that". I responded automatically "why not?" "It has phoresis in it." Quizzically I responded "What's that?" "Vitamin E", he responded...
Source: Mesa, AZ
Editor: This reader was puzzled by 4 words which were Phoresis, Arsophobia, Strombolitis, and Shimmy. He wanted reader input on Strombolitis.
Again, was this dreaming? A common story is that people approach Carlos and describe very detailed and weird dreams, but Carlos always tells them to do dreaming first and then worry about their dreams. This story is a very good example of why readers should state this fact up front. If these were ordinary dreams, they're just distractions. It's hard enough to develop the intent to dream without having to worry about other stuff. That doesn't mean we aren't interested in this input. In fact, this reader sent another letter indicating that his approach to dreaming centers around senses I haven't even thought of using. We'll have to print it next time. But as a general rule, we'd like to know up front that something was true dreaming just to discourage ordinary dream accounts.
Along the line of this reader's interest, I just noticed yesterday that at the end of The Art of Dreaming, it says that all of the old sorcerers fell prey to the inorganic beings and became intermediaries between that world and ours. With that many intermediaries running around, shouldn't we run into a few from time to time?
This reader is a martial arts expert and is also interested in other techniques, so maybe this is something from another teaching. I'd like to encourage this reader to report what he can remember from a lecture he attended, maybe with the twist of his opinion on the stances used in the sorcery passes.Mud on the gate.
... Ever since I first tried to do dreaming at the second gate, my dreaming has become very different. It started when I succeeded in being pulled by a distant object. I was literally sucked over to it by the pull caused by staring at the object. After that my dreaming became muddled, a confusing mix of the three ways Carlos had described second gate dreaming. The trouble is that the 3 methods, although exactly as Carlos has described, are not what I interpreted him to mean. For instance, if you stare at an object it can either suck you over to it, or cause the dream to change. But what happens to me is that the dream only changes partially, or I'm not aware of the change and think that something is interfering with my gaze on an object.
For example, while staring at an object, trying to be pulled over to it, I suddenly found myself staring at something else. At first I thought that my concentration or my volition was off, so I continued to stare at the new object. I was feeling a definite pull, but before I could be sucked over I again found myself looking at something else. This time I thought I had simply shifted my gaze a few feet over to another object. I started again, but I heard voices and noises in the distance. I immediately knew an entire world's worth of information about the voices. I knew they were coming, they were women being chased by thieves, they were riding bicycles, and they needed my help. I got pulled into that dream, but I still had enough volition to look at my hands and only partially participate in the dream. It wasn't until I woke up that I realized that the dream had in fact changed as a result of gazing at the object, but the transition wasn't the clean, clear thing I had expected. It was a muddy mess.
Besides looking at objects and being pulled by them, I also constantly dream of waking up into another dream. It happens exactly as the words used by Carlos describe, but not as I expected. What happens to me is this; I'm having an ordinary dream and suddenly in the middle of the dream I remember that I want to do dreaming. But my judgment is off and instead of starting by looking for my hands, I sit down where I am and try to go to sleep with the intention of going into dreaming. I close my eyes and concentrate and eventually I do succeed. With my dream eyes closed, I see another dream and I walk around in it doing ordinary first gate dreaming, until I run out of energy and wake up back into the first dream. Then instead of realizing I was dreaming all along, I try to do it again. Usually it's incorporated into the details of the original dream and I have to deal with dream phantoms between attempts to go to "sleep" and dream. It's really confusing, the part that bothers me is that I don't realize the absurdity of it. I actually get frustrated when I wake up from the second dream back into the first. This is an even bigger mess than the gazing technique.
In Carlos' books everything is so clear and the transitions so neat. This makes me wonder if I'm actually at the second gate, or just going through some type of egomaniacal delusion.
More TM people.
I am a psychotherapist who has practiced TM 7 years. I've read all of Castaneda's books and long for a mentor. I would enjoy corresponding about dreaming - want to flow with the Tao and fly. In transcendental meditation I've experienced myself attempting to dissolve in the wind, expand, glow followed by multiple synchronistic events. I need to experience more.
Source: Oklahoma City, OK
I am interested in receiving the newsletter. As for myself, in the mid-70's I read what was available and into the 80's but with little success on my own practices. I dropped it and went into 9-5 for 15 years until near extinction stopped. Now working in Vedic Astrology, and Yogic practices with breath, mantra & meditation, to heal the last 15 years of abuse, and a life.
I still have a strong area in dreaming, but could not access it properly due to internal stress which has much reduced. So now that more information is available and possibly seminars, I want to take another look...
Source: Seattle, WA
Editor: We get a lot of TM practitioners. I think it's because their Sidhi program attracts Carlos' followers. Now I don't know for sure if the second reader was one of those, but he sure sounded like it.
Taisha has recommended meditation as a way to learn to shut off the internal dialogue, so all you have to do now is recapitulate. Transcending shifting the assemblage point, but you'll have to keep the practices separated because effort is bad in TM, but good in sorcery. Taisha has also stated, in Dimensions Magazine, that too much oriental meditation fixes the form and should be avoided. In TM, this form fixing might be called "bliss", or even "unbounded awareness".
Since we are on the topic of meditation, a few readers report very good success getting into dreaming by sleeping all night, meditating in the morning for about 20 minutes, and going back to sleep. Very good success means from 1 to 5 times per week. We also had a reader who had done dreaming together with a TM person through this method.
But one reader reported that the quality of dreaming gained as a result of sleep after meditation was somehow different. The mood of the dreaming he got that way was tainted, and he felt that his volition was of a lower grade, if that makes any sense. Myself, I'll take any dreaming I can get, low grade or otherwise! Another interesting thing is that although this reader could get into dreaming easily through this method, it didn't increase his ability to get dreaming at night by his own will power. I believe that has something to do with intent, but I don't know exactly what.
... Three weeks ago I found my hands in dreaming (1st time), which in any case meant while dreaming ordinary/bizarre dreams, I realized that I was dreaming and that now would be a good opportunity to "find my hands". Suddenly I was looking at them both. They looked more delicate than in the consensual daily world. And because I must have expected that I too, as Carlos did, would see them as grotesque-looking or deformed in some way, I was perplexed that they looked relatively normal and thus became stuck in looking at my hands in search of deformity, instead of moving my gaze towards other elements of the dream..
Source: Santa Fe, NM
Editor: People have different ways of doing dreaming. It's interesting that in The Art of Dreaming, don Juan accuses Carlos of wasting time at the first gate by becoming obsessed with looking exclusively for his hands. It sounds like you fell victim to the same thing.
There is more to this letter than meets the eye. Our expectations may be tainted by the accounts from which we're learning. For instance, in The Art of Dreaming Carlos has some experiences that are so drastic that they surprise and worry don Juan. It's easy for us to forget this and expect the same kind of happenings.
Here's another example. In the "Zooming at the Second Gate" story, the reader had one good success in his first attempt, but he expected a lot more. That was probably because of Carlos' description of how he zoomed from item to item in the mountains on his first attempt. And look at the coincidences in the two accounts. Carlos zoomed through a window on his first attempt, and ended by zooming around in the mountains. This reader did the same. The only difference is that this reader didn't seem to be able to find any farm equipment lying around.
Pardon me if I'm starting to talk like an "expert". I just thought that was interesting.
Not-doing and dreaming.
...I'm sure there is a magical side to not-doing, but I find its effects to work in a perfectly understandable and "ordinary" way. It aids me in my dreaming. What happens is that the not-doing is something unusual and triggers dreams about doing the same thing. I've noticed this effect all my life; doing something that you are not used to results in dreams about the activity. The more you do it, the more likely it will crop up in your dreams. The difference is that not-doings are unusual and feel strange when you do them. The same feeling crops up when the not-doing makes it into a dream. In other words, the same feeling that I get when I'm doing it awake, that this is a weird thing to be doing, is produced in the dream. This often gives me a moment of bewilderment in my dream and I get a chance to realize I'm dreaming and need to do dreaming. New physical exercise does the same thing, and Taisha has suggested it is a way to "wake up" the energy body. Maybe a lot of this stuff begins to seem ordinary as we understand the mechanics of it. I recommend that people try not-doing as a way to gain lucidity in dreams. I bet you'll find out the same thing I did...
Dream storage mapping.
... I knew if I was to succeed in the dreaming exercises I would have to stop doing drugs and drinking. When I did, my dreams really took off... Within a year I found my hands, it took me about two days to remember that it was my dream body because I was ten feet away lying in bed... I have also been releasing dreams by pressing on different spots on the lower part of my body with great and sometimes bizarre results...
Source: Eagle, Idaho
What one reader is up to.
... For the energy required to operate in the dream state I found that Don Juan is correct and sexual energy is indeed needed to set up dreaming... Also, I ordered a NovaDreamer and its related books and manuals from the Lucidity Institute. This ingenious device alerts one when one is in the dream state. So far I have been able to recall up to eight dreams within a night and every single night I can remember my dreams. On several occasions I have been able to gain enough lucidity in my dreams to find my hands, glance at several dream objects, change dreams and even fly around...
In one dream I was in my dream body which I made sit cross-legged on the floor. I then had another dream through this dream body. The vision I had through this dream body was infinitely clearer than ordinary reality. As I gradually awoke I became aware of both my reclining physical body, my sitting dreaming body and the vision my dreaming body was having. I also realized that the energy coming to power these dreams was coming from my lower abdomen... In another dream I recognized that there was an inorganic being behind the dream image of my wife. This inorganic was attempting to steal energy from me (it seems they do this either by fright or dream sex). In the ensuing struggle which I assume I lost, I was able to have awareness of my sleeping physical body, my struggling dream body, and a strange trip to a place where it was completely black with tiny white lights in symmetrical patterns...
Source: Monroe, NY
Editor: This reader also practices meditation and shamanic techniques, including the use of shamanic drumming. He is going to take a workshop with Michael Harner.LOVING THE PHANTOMS
When Carlos' group talks about other worlds, they sometimes emphasize how our love can extend to these other realms, if we truly know how to love. A recent dream episode I had drove this point in quite soundly for me. In one case, I took it a bit too literally. In the other, I wasn't following the advice.
I was having an ordinary dream, but like all of my ordinary dreams lately, I knew I was dreaming. I just didn't remember to practice dreaming. In that sense, I guess it was a lucid dream.I dreamt I was lying on a couch and I saw a weird looking child on the other end of the room. As soon as I saw it I asked, "who are you?" It replied "I'm your little boy!" In the real world, I don't have one.
He waddled over to the couch I was lying on. Incidentally, I was dreaming that I was trying to fall asleep and go into dreaming. The little boy climbed up on the couch with me and gave me a big hug. He was lying on his side next to me, and I was holding him in my arms, hugging him.
The little boy made a very disturbing remark. He said, "We're kind of going at it, aren't we?" I didn't like the sound of that at all. I decided to put an end to it by dreaming up an older girl on the table next to us. I succeeded, and I pulled her onto the couch with me. She hugged me, and the little boy had to move over to my other side.
The girl said, "I don't like him on the couch, he's trying to crush me." I was getting into the hugging at that point and I rudely pulled the little boy off the couch. I knew I was dreaming, so I didn't have any reason to feel badly about using the phantoms for my own sordid purposes. The girl mentioned that she knew something more fun to do. There didn't seem to be any consequences, so I did.
The dream started to fade at that point, and the little boy rushed up angrily. He indicated that he was going to make things unpleasant. I grabbed his arm and said, "Oh yea, watch me make you go away!" He tried to run, as if that would keep him from disappearing when my dream ended, but I held him tightly. I looked him in the face and in a mean voice said, "Bye!"I awoke.
I hadn't had any real sex in years, or any dream sex for that matter, so when I woke up I thought it was all quite fun. I reached behind the bed for my glasses, but I knocked them back and a bunch of stuff fell to the floor. The sound scared me because instead of being the 10 or so items it should have been, it sounded like a few hundred small objects had fallen under the bed. The variety of sounds was quite outlandish.
Then the bed began to push up. There was definitely something under the bed. The items had awakened it, and it was mad. I fancied it to be the little boy, or whatever he was. Images of allies sneaking into the real world raced through my mind. I realized that I must still be asleep, or at least halfway so, but I was truly terrified. It sure didn't feel like I was asleep!
The bed rose so high that I began to roll off and onto the floor. I felt the rage of the jilted little boy. Not knowing what else to do, I just relaxed and decided to enjoy it. It had definitely lapsed into the realm of dreaming, and I hadn't done any that night. As soon as I resigned myself to what was happening, I awoke again, this time in the same spot on the bed. I was surprised to find I hadn't tumbled to the floor afterall.
Everything felt quite normal then, and I was feeling a bit guilty for my treatment of the little boy. I decided that from now on, it would be best to be kind to every phantom, regardless of whether it possessed awareness or not. I tried to move, to get up, but found myself paralyzed. Panic rushed back in. Waking up two times was enough, I didn't want to have to wake up a third time! Something in the room began to stir. I knew that if I didn't move now, I would have to go through the little boy's rage again. I struggled very hard, against excruciating pain, and rolled off the bed. I stood up, and it was over.
I was awakened late in the morning by the sound of a child's voice playing outside. I began to think my usual thoughts on the subject; "Darn that kid's mother! How rude to let him play so loudly outside other people's apartments!" I was frustrated that my first attempt to get back to dreaming, after two full years of recapitulation, had failed so far. I'd struggled very hard all night. I decided that I'd sleep all day if that's what it took.
The child's voice kept reverberating outside my apartment. I wondered how the child's mother expected anyone to sleep with that racket! "Hello there," I heard a passing woman say. "Hi" replied the little boy. "I went to San Francisco last weekend", he casually remarked, the way four year olds can do. "I'd like to go there", the woman said. "It was windy, I did everything,", replied the boy. "Now you don't have to go because I already did."
Time passed, and I was still trying to get to sleep. I heard the boy say, "Did you have a baby by that man?" "Yes I did dear," replied the woman. The boy went into an elaborate analysis of her relationship with the man and how it affected the behavior of the child. "Isn't that child ever going to stop talking?", I thought to myself.
I just couldn't get back to sleep! I got up to go to the bathroom. On the way back I peered at my digital clock. Despite the large display, I squinted my nearsighted eyes to see the huge glowing red digits. It was 10 O'clock. I speculated that I still had time. As I lay in bed, trying to go back to sleep, I saw the second hand on the clock. It was going too fast. The minute hand was following it, as if they were stuck together. It occurred to me that if I could get back to sleep and slow the minute hand down to its proper speed, my dreaming would begin. In dreaming, clocks ran in time, I remembered. I worried that I couldn't fall asleep that fast. Finally, I succeeded in getting the second hand to slow down, but the minute hand was still following it, at the same speed. Something was wrong with the numbers on the face of the clock. I decided there were too many, and the crisscross pattern covering them was somehow not right.
I began to fret. I'd been so sure I could get into dreaming, I knew my energy level had increased. Why wasn't anything happening? I'd struggled so hard, all night. The clock's hands moved in the reverse direction. Frustrated, I changed my position in bed, hoping to get to sleep that way. A bit of scenery materialized under the clock face; a table. I strained to slow the minute hand. A piece of wall appeared. It wasn't dreaming, I figured, but maybe I could find dreaming in there. I ran my hand down the wall. The table finished itself and I saw the ground under it. I stooped down and put my hand firmly on the ground. From that perspective, the table was small enough to grab. I remembered Florinda's advice and put my arms around the table. The scenery was solid. At last I was dreaming!
Editor: This reader was worried that his strange story wouldn't be understood by other readers. He provided an elaborate explanation, but I just hate it when someone explains a joke after telling it. I'd rather miss the punch line.
UNINVITED GUEST,PART 2
After I realized that the telephone ring was part of the same phenomenon as the door knock, the phone stopped ringing. Weeks went by with no interruption to my dreaming.
My sleeping habits were so irregular that it became difficult for me to remember when I had been sleeping, and when I had been awake. I had no idea how many hours per day I slept, it might have been as few as 5 or as many as 12. My habit was to sleep for a couple of hours, wake up to do some work and eat, and then sleep again at my next opportunity. Combined with the recapitulating I was doing, the days became a blur and I had no idea when one day ended and the other began.
One day I awoke at 5 in the evening. It was still light outside, but the blind was up on my window and it was dark in the room. I got up to turn on the light over the bed. As soon as the light turned on, I remembered something odd. The light had burned out and I had never changed the bulb. But when had that happened? I remembered that I had already been up that day. I figured that must have been when the light burned out. I strained to remember exactly what had happened and then it came to me.
It was about 11 o'clock in the morning and I awoke. I didn't want to get up, I was still tired. But I felt some agitation in my stomach, and I finally decided to turn on the light and just sit up on the bed. I tried the light, but the switch just clicked. Since it was a three way bulb, I turned the switch again and again. No luck I thought, the bulb was burned out. I remembered that I had purchased bulbs at the store and still had extras in the cupboard over the stove. I got up to go to the kitchen and get a spare bulb.
As I passed the living room, I caught sight of a leg on the floor. Startled, I turned around and found a woman sitting on the floor in my living room. I was extremely frightened by the discovery, but because it was a woman I didn't feel in any particular danger. "Who are you! How did you get in here?!", I asked. The woman was looking down and I couldn't see her face. She didn't answer. I began to think about the possibilities and I decided that she must be someone I know, and had snuck into my house because she was in trouble. Her hair looked familiar. I put my hands on her shoulders and shook her to get her to look up. "Who are you!" I shouted. She looked up at me and I thought I recognized her. She had the features of two women I know. I strained to figure out which she was. Something else was beginning to scare me and I became dizzy. Her face became blurry and then finally it cleared up and I recognized her.
"I'm Tammy!", she said. "I live here now!" A wave of something thick, which resembled fright, knocked me back a little. A horrible confusion clouded my head and I struggled to think. "No you're not!", I screamed. "I'm confused, what's going on here..." I fell backwards.
My memory ends there, but I have vague memories of a dream I had in which I picked the same woman up and carried her. But my memory of the woman in the living room does not feel like a dream. I searched the apartment, but I didn't really expect to find anyone.
Source: Corona, CA