... Things are getting strange... I wasn't doing much dreaming after the bout with my hairy-armed friend ["Yikes was that fun", issue 2]. He was bobbing in my dreams now and then, I still craved the physical sensation of his presence.
One day I realized I had a broken rib and I thought, "how strange", considering I couldn't remember falling. It got worse for a couple of days until the point I could barely bend down or walk. I had to take a pain pill to go to work. I went to a chiropractor and he couldn't find anything wrong with me. Then that night I feel asleep and found myself wrestling with "guess who". Then I realized (in the middle of excruciating pain) that the Magila Gorilla might have given me the broken rib without my recollection. Anyway, I told him I couldn't play any more, he was too rough. He came back a week later and I said no way, no play.
That was it for a couple of weeks until he came this time and it was just him from the shoulder up. He had a peaceful face and this warm green glow started to fill the room. It was so peaceful and felt so good that I opened my eyes and woke up. The dream was still there (was this dreaming-awake?). Then I really woke-up and that was it...
Source: Laytonville, CA
Editor: This reader went on to explain how his wife, worrying that he was going insane, toppled his recapitulation structure (with him in it), tore up his copy of NNL issue #3, and threatened to expose his activities to his friends. He wants advice.
I can see how your wife would be concerned if your bouts with the hairy armed gorilla happen while she's in bed with you. Especially since you're waking up with major injuries. But this kind of violence and threatening is not a good situation for either of you.
I sure hope you didn't recapitulate her already. One of the witches suggested putting a spouse off till last, to avoid trouble. I've seen a case of physical violence clearly triggered by recapitulating a spouse early on and wondered to myself at the time if that was what the witches were thinking about.
It is said that Carlos didn't want to have anything to do with The Art of Dreaming. The women talked him into publishing it. Since it was his first work that came close to an instruction manual, we're left to wonder if the instructional value of the book was the reason for his concern. It certainly wasn't because the book was unbelievable, all of his books suffer from that problem.
In issue #1, we expressed our concern about the results of the practice of Nagualism. The more I learn myself, the more I wonder why people do it. Experiences like yours are not uncommon. Dizziness, excruciating pain, fear of heart attack, fear of going insane, attacks of muteness, and conflict in relationships are all too normal. If I were married, and my spouse was not interested in the practices herself, or if I had children, I'd take a gentler approach to it all in order to avoid family problems. Seeing what Carlos said about Michael Harner, I'd probably switch to his approach for a while. He emphasizes healing and safety. It's true that his goal isn't the same, but he does claim to teach how to go directly into a dream from waking.
Many readers have expressed a feeling of community that they got from being a part of the newsletter. But don't let that lapse into a false sense of security. Just as you wouldn't be able to bail any of us out if we get into trouble, no one here is in the position to help any of the readers if they get into trouble. Be careful.
About a year ago was my last spontaneous lucid dream. Of course I looked at my hands first, did some movement experiments, and then went flying up through the ceiling to get outside. Next I landed in a field with some people milling about. A very bizarre looking individual walked on the scene and was making gestures at me. Pointing my right pinky I said, "I will see. Nothing happened... so I started repeating "I will see" and stuff to that effect. Instead of the person there was a luminous egg lying on its side. Fibers ran from a central spindle to the edge of the shell. The color was dull blue and all of the fibers seemed to be of identical length, despite the different diameters of the shell. I saw it for a few moments and then approached it. The egg scurried away, shrinking into the distance. I then tried seeing the other people and plants around. They just dissolved into blotches of color.
A few months later I decided that I needed to learn how to intend dreaming in order to do it on a weekly basis. That took about 3 days...
Source: Bowling Green, KY
Editor: This reader reported that his initial dreaming time was between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, but now he's learned to extend it. He also encounters what he interprets to be scouts quite frequently. Other readers who are trying to intend dreaming should be aware that most readers spend years (sometimes decades) trying to achieve a weekly rate. Three days is quite unusual.
More pinky pointing...
... I was standing in my elementary school playground when I realized I was dreaming. When I realized I was dreaming, I started to float straight up very quickly. This happens when I'm going to wake up. I looked down and saw an old couple sitting near a slide. I fixated on them and pulled myself back into the dream. It took a monumental effort to do that. Once I touched the ground everything was OK. I glanced at the couple and then decided to explore the dreamscape. I started off to the right when I saw a man floating in the air. I pointed at him with my right pinky finger but nothing happened. Disappointed, I walked toward my old kindergarten entrance. Kids were all over, but I didn't pay attention to them. As I came closer to the doors, I saw some odd pipes on the wall. They attracted my attention. In-between the pipes was a weird flexible wire. I examined it and was very impressed by the clarity and detail of it. I fixated on the wire for too long and lost the dream.
That dream is important because it is an example of the use of information that I shouldn't have. Namely, pointing with my pinky finger. I had no intention of doing it and actually forget about that part of The Art of Dreaming...
Source: Pontiac MI
Editor: This reader related a few other pinky pointing incidents. This obsession seems to be male oriented, and I have to confess to having pointed my own a few times. And I couldn't get it to work either.
Carlos discussed this in the interview in this issue. It's nearly impossible to be at the 3rd gate without being able to shut off your internal dialogue, which means you ought to be able to see on demand. Until then, we need to keep those pinkies in their holsters. Involuntary pinky pointing might be a sign of low volition.
This reader also mentioned having a slightly used Novadreamer for sale. That made three negative Novadreamer letters. After I saw that, I realized that the readership was trying to reward my own anti-Novadreamer obsession. I was even falling for it, getting a tiny rush of victory feeling with each negative submission. Thanks, but that's enough for now. To make amends, I located the following letter from someone who doesn't mind wearing strange contraptions:
Novadreamer and Women's clothing.
Useful techniques for learning to set-up dreaming are available through the Lucidity Institute, founded by Stephen LaBerge - you probably already are aware of it.
I dress as a woman and venture out - adopting a new persona - an excellent means of stalking oneself and very entertaining.
Short story to come.
Source: Bellingham, WA
Editor: Don Juan did call women's clothing a "door to heightened awareness" for some men.
The World closed in.
... When I was very young, 3 or 4 yrs. old, I can remember something that occurred quite frequently at night before I would fall asleep.
While lying in bed with my eyes closed, on the verge of sleep, I would see a milky translucent white blanket of light filling up my field of vision. As I recall, it gave me a sense of peace and safety. Then out of nowhere would come these lumps of blackness. They would collect and form like blobs of clay over the translucent white serenity. It was scary, because I could also feel those blobs of blackness taking up space. I would cry out and sometimes scream for my mother. For a long period (about a year) of time, or what seemed long, I was terrified to go to sleep at night. My mother would rock me to sleep in her arms or read to me till I dozed off. Eventually the light faded as I got older and all I saw on the backdrop of my eyes was blackness...
Source: R.D. Sheridan, OR
... When I finally found my hands in a dream, the buggers took off racing around & around my bed, me chasing them in pursuit. Same thing next night. It was exasperating.
While exploring lucid dreams, my senses became very acute for about 3 weeks. Once I bent down to check some black ice by touch. I was amazed how cold, smooth, & slick with wetness it was, so exactly like ice. And when I consciously placed my attention more keenly on those impossible sensations, that reality became intensely real. That incident unnerved me a little.
Once I awoke, floating in a vast gray void, without any landmarks, body, or ground. I realized I was dreaming and was overjoyed to be aware that I could do anything I chose. Suddenly I was thrown into an attacking car scene, grabbed a pole and smashed the windshield. I awoke pissed I lost out.
Once in meditation I tried projecting (strobing) my attention quickly around my energy-body space. Like another writer, I got a jolt of electrical current (never mind the "recapitulating").
Using an eye-sound device, I had an uncanny scene just before having a seizure. Gazing down slightly, I saw a soft wall with three tube entrances in it (left, center, right) of an organic like material (artery membrane perhaps?) When I moved my head back & forth, it did not move at all.
Source: Seattle, WA
... I was sitting on a public transit admiring a pretty girl sitting across from me. A strange but compelling man lurched into the scene and sat down beside her. I recall feeling that if he were to begin to harass the girl in any way, I'd have to step in and deal with him. I wasn't afraid. I rarely fear in dreams. But then he looked me straight in the eyes with an intensity I can remember vividly, and then lunged right at me, screaming in a voice that can only exist in dreaming, "GET OUT!"... Well, damned if he didn't just push me right out of my own dream. One moment this crazed freak was lunging at me, the next I was wide awake! ... I tried to jump back in and give chase, but as usual went obliviously off on some other bizarre tangent...
Source: Surrey, BC
Tap on the shoulder.
... In the middle of normal dreaming, something flew from behind me and rapped me on the left shoulder as it flew past. The whack had both a physical feel and an electric zap to it. As the entity moved into my area of vision, I saw it as a tumbling female in black tights who came to rest in front of me with one leg down and the other straight up... I woke up certain I had encountered the projection of an inorganic being...
Source: Source Withheld by request
A prophetic dream?
... The same night that I received all four issues and briefly scanned them, I had an incredible dream about reading the newsletters. They were very large and standing on end (sort of like gravestones) and I was walking around reading them. NOTE: I had not yet read your request to dream the newsletter, but must have picked up on the intent. I then noticed two light balls on top of my feet. I began to feel panic and tried to kick them off with no success. They clung to my feet and then started going up my legs. I let out a scream and woke up. It wasn't till morning, however, that I wondered if they were scouts...
Source: Olympia, WA
Editor: This reader also dreamed about a workshop where the witches performed a healing. And one is described in this issue.
The Black Dimension.
... After recapitulating my dream life, I realized that I have gone through the first four gates of dreaming, yet I never knew it. I have also been taken into another dimension, the Black Dimension, by Black Beings who came to me in the middle of the night whispering, "We are teaching you the mysteries of the Power of the Universe. Don't tell anyone." Well, I was so afraid that they were demons that I did tell a few people, one who tried to deposses/exorcise me. Now I realize that the only power I have in the spirit is the power I cultivate by letting go & recapitulating...
Source: Santa Fe, NM
When I read Merilyn's article a couple of months ago, I became filled with the apprehension that usually accompanies being re-introduced into the "real" world around me - the magic world. That night I had a dream ( I knew it was going to be a "good" one, I felt my dream attention come to the surface, somehow). I woke up in the dream, and started looking around at the people there. I remembered from The Art of Dreaming, how allies sometimes take on the appearance of a family member or in-animate object, and how "real" things in dreams generate energy when you gaze at them. As soon as I realized that thought, all the "people" in the dream disappeared. I started walking around - looking. After a while of gazing at my hands, and trees, and the street & such, I walked by a tree and noticed it had a head growing out of it. I knew that wasn't normal so I addressed the head. It started to flow, a greenish color, and it said something. I couldn't understand it, so I said, "what are you saying? Who are you?" I couldn't communicate with it. After a while I left as I felt my attention was fading. I started walking down the street again. It was wet with new rain and it looked like dawn approaching. At that time I remembered you (editor) writing about your attempt to go to sleep in your dream in the same position as your physical body - so I lay down on the street on my back (I always sleep on my back) and tried to go to sleep. I was amazed at how easy it was to enter into "another" dream state in my dream - it was instantaneous! As soon as I started falling asleep I felt something pushing my body up on the right side and on the left - almost as if it were trying to push me over (flip me over to face another direction??) Every time I started to sleep, it started to do that. Since it was a new sensation, I believe I was not that comfortable with it, so I got up in my dream. And I woke up in my bed. The sun was just coming up, and it had rained outside...
Source: Atl. Bch., FL
Editor: Carlos is a pretty nice guy sometimes. He puts these mini-challenges, such as the one about the twin positions, in his lectures to give everyone a feeling of inclusion. It's like you're suddenly a real apprentice or something. In this issue, we have a lecture where he encouraged participants to learn to shut off their internal dialogue enough to see, and next year he'd come back and "talk shop."
Can't tell if dreaming.
... let me recount one of my most puzzling experiences... The problem seems to be not that I have trouble in being aware in dreaming, but that my dreaming so often exactly matches my surroundings that I am aware and dreaming while convinced that I am awake. One experience that brought this to my attention very clearly was an incident that happened while in Romania recently. I was in bed awake or asleep, I cannot decide which. This was after having been very impressed by a troupe of acrobats at a circus that night. I believe that this particular act had loosened up my assemblage point, what they had done in the latter part of their act was nigh on impossible and there is nothing like witnessing a few impossible acts before bed to encourage dreaming...
Source: Surrey, UK
Editor: The rest of this story, like a lot of others, got crowded out by lecture notes. I've had this kind of dream too, and it's certainly not dreaming or dreaming. Maybe it's dreaming awake.
Editor: This is a follow up from last issue's reader who wrote about his first second gate dreaming success ("Zooming at the Second Gate").
My second and third attempts at second gate dreaming were a failure. The objects I selected to gaze at would not pull me. Neither did the dream change. After that, my dreaming volition steadily became weaker and the frequency dropped off to virtually nothing. Weeks went by without any dreaming. Instead, I dreamed of wanting to do dreaming, sometimes even looking for beds to lie on in my dreams. In waking, I redoubled my efforts to get dreaming. One night, I slept for 14 hours in a row. That turned the tide and I got my second success in second gate dreaming.
I was having an ordinary dream about walking in a market place in France. I was looking at some croissants and pastries in an open air market, and suddenly I realized I was dreaming. I was very excited, it had been a long time. I greedily looked at every object I could find on that French street, and I took in a heavy dose of looking at my hands between glances. I've learned to look soundly at my hands until I feel a tug. I think of it as "zooming to oneself".
After a minute or so, I noticed that the street was strangely absent of dream phantoms. I took that as a sign that I had a chance to succeed with second gate dreaming. I looked around for something distant to zoom over to. There were tall buildings all around me and I couldn't find anything suitable to select. Out of the corner of my eye I caught movement, and turned my head just in time to see some buildings move over to reveal the mountains of my childhood. I thought that was funny, my dream was helping me out, knowing my preference for large boulders.
I quickly found a suitable boulder on the mountain, about 3 miles away. The boulder was surrounded with bright green vegetation. This time, I had to gaze for less than 2 seconds. I was instantly pulled, at an incredible speed, straight towards the boulder. I was surprised to hear the same gear driven whizzing sound I had heard in my first attempt. I had just enough time while zooming to worry about landing face first on the boulder, but I automatically overshot it and landed further to the side on the mountain. As I passed it, I deliberately intensified my gaze on the boulder to see if that would make me land right on it, but it didn't have any effect.
Landing, I immediately gazed at my hands to consolidate myself. I felt a big difference, and the light in the dream became more sunny. I then engaged in looking at objects on that mountain, my real intent to wait a bit and try to zoom a second time.
My second zoom proceeded as successfully as the first. Halfway through the process I got the idea to drop my gaze and see if the zoom would finish itself anyway. But I was too greedy for success to give it a try. When I landed, I decided to immediately try for a third one.
I gazed at another object, but instead of zooming over to it, the dream started to end. I quickly switched my gaze to my hands, staring until I felt a tug. Instead of ending, the dream stabilized. I walked around and looked at objects until I felt fully consolidated. Then I selected a building back in the French town. I gazed, it pulled me, but this time, when I landed, I forget that I was dreaming. I zoomed right back into an ordinary dream. An argument with some dream phantoms on a muddy street engaged all of my attention.
This second success did not help my dreaming frequency. It remained low. My next dreaming session took place weeks later. In that session, I successfully dreamed five times that evening (or morning), but my attempts to zoom failed. I was able to dream so many times because of my old standby trick: I refused to wake up when I ran out of energy and would stubbornly stay motionless, pretending to be still asleep and inside the same dream.
On one of my attempts to zoom in that dreaming session, I got a clear sensation of a dream change as a result of my gaze. The object I was gazing at changed into something else, in a clean transition. It reminded me of that Star Trek episode in the old western town where Kirk and gang are forced to fight it out at the OK corral. In that episode, they are looking at a clock and one of them says, "we'll we're just not going to move from this spot!" But the clock changes into something outside and they find themselves at the OK corral. The transition was like that, a sudden change of context, with an object as the focal point. And yet, if asked, I couldn't say how the dream was different afterwards, only that the transition was clean. The object, a window on a building, changed into a box of soap.
My next dreaming session was a week later. I had gotten some disturbing news and it had put me into an odd mood. I was sleepy, despite having slept for 10 hours and only been up for 3. I ate some Camarones ala Diabla, but it didn't help my mood. I went home to lie down, with my eyes closed. Several hours later I noticed that I could see my feet. I thought that was a funny change from looking for my hands, so I started stomping along on what seemed to be a vague sidewalk. That got me into full dreaming. I now believe that stomping could be a humorous (but very effective) substitute for finding one's hands.
This session was notable because I got the answer to the question of what happens when you drop your gaze during zooming. My first attempt to zoom failed. I seemed to be wishy washy, and right in the middle of gazing I decided that I hadn't picked the right object. I switched my gaze to something else. The result was a dream change, instead of a zoom. But I was still in the same general area, so I picked another object: a patch of grass on a hillside, behind a wire fence. I couldn't see what was on that hill, but I liked the greenness of the grass.
I was pulled within about 6 seconds. I heard the same zooming sound, and this time I felt it was a friend. I remembered that I was wondering what happens when you drop your gaze. But I wasn't going to try it, I worried that I might end up in some realm I couldn't handle.
The distance to the object I had picked was only a mile, and the zoom seemed to be taking longer than usual. Several seconds had elapsed. I noticed that I couldn't see the object anymore. I sensed that I was looking down, instead of towards the object, but my eyes were suddenly stuck shut. I strained to lift my head or open my eyes. Both took a great effort, as if a wind had them pinned down. Even after looking up, I couldn't see the object. I realized that my question was going to be answered. I had a pang of fear as I wondered if I might zoom to the inorganic beings realm. The zoom veered to the right, compounding my fears. I landed, feet down, skidding on a smooth, slimy surface. I still couldn't get my eyes open when I landed. I forced them open. I was looking at my bedroom, but only with my right eye! The left one was till seeing the dream! I closed and reopened both eyes, and I was back in the dream. The slimy surface turned out to be the grass I had seen. I noticed that there had been a fence in the way of the grass and wondered if that explained the curve to the right in my zoom path. That dreaming session lasted a long time, but dream phantoms prevented more zooming.
One thing that has surprised me is that being at the second gate does not require daily dreaming. My dreaming frequency, now only once every two weeks, does not seem to interfere with picking up right back where I left off. I believe that my dreaming frequency went down because I moved on to the second gate too quickly. I was just beginning to get regular dreaming when I decided to move on, and probably should have waited a few months longer.
One positive result of second gate dreaming is easy to understand when you experience it, but hard to explain. There is something very real and concrete about zooming. Looking for one's hands, although difficult, feels like a nearly normal dream activity. Likewise, flying, walking through walls, controlling things in dreams with "magic" powers, all fall into the realm of a "normal" dream activity. They vary, don't always behave according to our expectations, and otherwise are something that feels like it's part of a dream. Zooming is different. It feels like something concrete, predictable, real. It feels like it's not dependent on one's own imagination, that it exists as surely as gravity and wind. The result is a strange sort of excitement or anticipation that makes one feel that one is exploring a real place, and not just messing around with one's subconscious. I recommend that anyone with doubts about Carlos or his works struggle very hard to reach the second gate. That will remove a lot of your doubts.