Lucid Dreaming


Dreams are for some an amusing footnote to our nightly sleep cycle, but for others they are an intense experience worth studying. For most dreams are not caused by the the dreamer and they must live the experience without any control over the scenario or their relationship with the dream. But most people may be missing out on the most introspective and important part of their psychology life. Lucid dreaming is different: It is the awareness that one is dreaming while the dream is occurring, sometimes combined with the ability to control the dream. Lucid dreams are the virtual reality of all dreams, a landscape where the strange is real and the real is strange.

Lucid dreaming has been recognized since ancient times. There are different levels of lucidity, from a simple awareness of being in a dream to completely controlling the events and outcome of a dream. Some people have a lucid dream every now and then, and others have lucid dreams almost nightly.

In ancient times lucid dreams were valued because they could be used in magic, or as direct ways to reach the gods. Healing dreams incubated at the great dream temples were often lucid. In modern times lucid dreams are believed to be an advanced dreaming skill that people can learn for the purposes of creativity and healing.

Lucid dreams overlap with astral travel dreams and also psychic dreams. A lucid dream may feel like an out-of-body trip or may look into the future. People usually enjoy lucid dreaming because they experience a sense of great freedom and power.


The term “lucid dream” did not come into being until the turn of the twentieth century. The term was created by Frederik Willem van Eeden, a Dutch psychiatrist. Prior to that, lucid dreams were known by their unusual characteristics or were simply called dreams.

The earliest known written account of lucid dreaming in Western history is contained in a letter written in 415 by St. Augustine, a pagan who was converted to Christianity and became one of the most important fathers of the early Christian church. In the letter Augustine described the lucid dream of a physician, Gennadius, who lived in Carthage. Gennadius had two dreams in which a spirit guide in the guise of a young man took him to a beautiful city and lectured him about the truth of life after death.

Lucid dreams, as well as dreams in general, lost their importance in the development of Christianity. Instead, they found their place in occultism and alchemy. Lucid dreaming is important in Islamic mysticism and in the complex dream traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism. Tibetan Buddhism has a sophisticated dream yoga in which the yogi learns to have lucid dreams at will in order to understand the illusions of both waking and dreaming states.

When psychology and psychical research emerged in the late nineteenth century, dreams and lucid dreams became the subjects of study. The Marquis d’Hervey de Saint-Denys, a French professor of Chinese literature and language, documented more than two decades of experiments he conducted in learning how to control his dreams. Sigmund Freud acknowledged the existence of lucid dreams but had little to say about them. Carl G. Jung not only acknowledged lucid dreams, he had many of them himself. For Jung, dreams were an important tool for exploring the psyche.

The fields of parapsychology (the modern term for psychical research) and psychology brought renewed attention to all kinds of dreaming. Modern scientific interest in lucid dreams was stimulated in the late 1960s, especially by the publication of books such as Lucid Dreaming (1968) by Celia Green, an overview of the history of lucid dreams. For the most part the scientific establishment has been skeptical about lucid dreams, believing them to be either impossible or else part of occultism. Nonetheless, interest grew in scientific study and testing of lucid dreams.

The state of lucid dreaming was demonstrated in the laboratory in 1970s in independent studies conducted on both sides of the Atlantic. Lucid dreamers were able to give signals with special eye movements during REM stages of sleep, thus demonstrating that they were asleep and aware at the same time.

Lucid dream research is conducted internationally. Stephen LaBerge is one of the leading researchers in the field and is founder of The Lucidity Institute in Palo Alto, California. As a result of studies done by LaBerge and others in the 1970s, many scientists changed their minds about the possibility of lucid dreaming.

Researchers found that lucid dreamers repeatedly could communicate with the outside world by moving their eyes in certain ways while they were in lucid dream states. In all cases the dreamers were in REM stages of sleep when these signals were given. Thus, it was possible for scientists to chart the physiological changes associated with dreaming.

LaBerge’s subjects were measured to show correlations between actions in their lucid dreams and physiological changes in their bodies and in brain wave activity. Dreamers were given tasks to perform, which were then measured during their dreaming sleep. According to LaBerge, lucid dreaming thus opened the way for new approaches to mind–body relationships.

Lucid dream studies have demonstrated that some, but not all, individuals can learn how to cause themselves to dream lucidly or can increase their control over their lucid dreams. Research shows that women who meditate may be more likely to have lucid dreams than men who meditate and that people who are easily hypnotized are more likely to dream lucidly. People who have had near-death experiences (NDEs), which share many characteristics with lucid dreams, also have more lucid dreams than other people.

Slightly more than half of the adult population has at least one lucid dream during life, and about 21 percent have more than one lucid dream each month. LaBerge’s subjects report that with practice, they can increase the number of lucid dreams they experience on a regular basis. Those who experience lucid dreams believe that the skill of lucid dreaming can be applied to creativity, problem solving, relationships, health, and getting rid of nightmares.

There may be other, more mysterious sides to lucid dreams as well. Physicist Fred Alan Wolf has suggested that lucid dreams—and maybe dreams in general—are visits to parallel universes: small holograms within a larger cosmic hologram. Wolf calls the ability to lucid dream “parallel universe awareness.”

Some lucid dreams seem like mystical experiences, involving a sense of connection, or oneness with, the divine. These lucid dreams often feature spiritual figures such as angels, saints, guides, and divine beings. Some modern researchers believe these dreams are signs of the spiritual evolution of humanity. Perhaps their purpose is to gently introduce people to realms in other dimensions.


How does one know he or she is dreaming while experiencing a dream? The answers are not always obvious. Lucid dreamers experience certain conditions that clue them in to real-time dream awareness. Here are 10 of them.

1 Knowing a dream is progress. The dreamer realizes that he or she is in a dream while it is happening. The realization may come in a false awakening. The dreamer thinks he or she wakes up, while in fact he or she is still dreaming.

2 The ability to change the course of a dream. Lucidity enables dreamers to control their dreams in different ways. Sometimes dreamers can decide exactly what is going to happen, such as the actions of themselves and other characters in a dream. They can also rewrite people vary in their ability to have lucid dreams. Some people have lucid dreams almost every night, while others have them infrequently. Researchers have learned how to teach people to in-crease the number and frequency of their lucid dreams, usually by fol-lowing the trial-and-error mental experiments recorded by dreamers throughout history.

For about the past 50 years, people have also experimented with technological devices that supposedly provide that extra helping hand better than any visualization or thought process. Some of the devices for aiding lucid dreaming are:

Masks and goggles. These devices are designed to alert a sleep-ing person when he or she starts to dream, usually by detecting the fluttering of their eyelids during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. When those stages occur, the masks either flash soft lights or make sounds through tiny speakers. The cues are not supposed to wake the person completely, but alert them to a dreaming state. The idea is that the dreamer can deliberately gain lucidity or awareness in the dream.

Headphones. These pump in brain wave entrainment signals, such as pulses of sound that are designed to alter states of consciousness. The sounds help a dreamer stay in a prolonged state of borderland sleep. Through this method it is hoped that lucid dreams will be more likely to occur.

Hypnosis. Tape or CD recordings of hypnotic suggestions are played while falling asleep. The suggestions instruct the dreamer to become lucid while dreaming and to remember the dreams upon awakening.

Do dream tech devices work? Results are as varied as the natural abilities of dreamers. Some dreamers say their success rates dramatically increase, while others say the devices do not work well, or not at all, for them. Bottom line: An individual simply doesn’t know until he or she tries them. Not all lucid dreamers have total control. Sometimes it is possible to alter only a small part of a dream.

3 The ability to feel physical sensation. Touching objects in a lucid dream feels as real as it does in waking life.

4 Unusual abilities and actions. Lucid dreamers often feel weightless. They fly, float, and levitate.

5 A strange “atmosphere.” Lucid dreams have a different “feel” to them. For example, the atmosphere may feel heavy, like being underwater, or else have an electrical quality, like the supercharged air just before a thunderstorm.

6 Brilliant light. Lucid dreams may be flooded with intense white light, sometimes enough to make dreamers squint or shield their eyes.

7 Vivid colors. Colors in lucid dreams are exaggerated. They are exceptionally bright, sometimes fluorescent. Some lucid dreamers say the colors are “not of this world.”

8 Intense emotions. Like colors, emotions are exaggerated and heightened. Lucid dreamers report feelings of euphoria and excitement.

9 Mental sharpness. Lucid dreamers feel they have increased brain-power and are able to understand complex things and find solutions to problems.

10 Out-of-body sensations. Strange sounds in the ears, such as ringing, roaring, and buzzing, as well as electrical sensations in the body, are sometimes experienced at the start of lucid dreaming. People who have out-of-body experiences report the same sensations.

While these characteristics appear in many lucid dreams, they do not guarantee a lucid dream. All lucid dreamers must learn over time what signals a lucid dream to them.


Lucid dreamers experiment to find the best ways to encourage lucid dreaming. Many find that meditation before going to sleep is one of the best techniques. They quiet their minds and concentrate on an intention to have and remember a lucid dream: “I will have a lucid dream tonight and I will remember it when I wake up.” It is necessary to relax one’s body as much as possible and focus on calm breathing. Let go of thoughts about the day.
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Another technique is to decide on a symbol that will help awaken one to lucidity whenever it appears in a dream. For example, one might say, “Whenever I see a dove, then I know I am dreaming.” The symbol should be something that will stand out and be noticed.

Some people discover that sleeping in certain positions is helpful; these vary according to individuals. Sleeping on one’s back or on either side is more successful for most than sleeping on the stomach.

Some lucid dreamers experiment with techniques for WILDs, or Wake-Initiated Lucid Dreaming. Some prefer to sleep first, then wake up and focus on having a lucid dream through self-suggestion. Others have more success during the day at times when they feel like taking naps.


One of the most difficult aspects of lucid dreaming is staying in the dream. For many dreamers, as soon as they realize they are lucid, the dream ends. Researchers have learned a few methods of retaining lucidity that work for many people.

1 Focus on something solid. Focus on an object, the ground, or the body. Touch something solid. Hold your hands up in front of you.

2 Spin around. This is a favorite technique of LaBerge. As he or she spins, the dreamer should say, “The next object I encounter will be in the dream,” and then stop spinning.

3 Stay calm. It’s exciting to be in a lucid dream, but the heightened emotion may actually be a dream killer. One way to stay calm is to repeat, “This is a dream” or “I am dreaming.”


The first thing to do in a lucid dream is direct the action, which will be determined by the dream itself. It is fun to experiment by trying to levitate or fly. With practice, lucid dreamers attempt more complicated tasks. They may ask for a creative idea or a solution to a problem. They may visit specific places and people on earth or travel around in other dimensions. They may seek to be healed of fears, phobias, injuries, and illnesses.

Researchers and lucid dreamers agree that it is important to act responsibly and not do anything in the dream world that would not be proper in the waking world.

Lucid dreaming is one of the most exciting frontiers in dream re-search. By studying lucid dreams, people may learn more about the reasons for dreams and how dreams work.

Steve Hawk


The Creative Dreams

The dreaming mind has creative capacities beyond what the waking mind can fully come to terms with. Like full-blown hallucinations, in dreams a deep part of our own mechanics can put together places, people, and situations. And the dream-generator does this in real-time.


A Rare Account of Liberation from Prison

Many people believe that the subject of astral projection can be highly influenced by media and expectations, so when Jack London, the author of White Fang and the Call of the Wild is introduced to a man who discovers the ability to leave his body while in prison with no previous knowledge on the subject. We feel we are given a rare glimpse at a person whose raw experiences in the out of body states are an amazing validation of the experiences.

Jack London’s last published novel before his death tells the story of a prisoner in solitary confinement who escapes the pain of a straitjacket by astral travels. Despite some critics’ assertions that it’s his greatest book, The Star Rover has never been very popular. It was written in 1913-14, when London was probably the most famous writer in America. Yet when published in 1915, it sold fewer copies than any of his previous works and eventually went out of print. It was republished in England in 1967 under the title The Jacket, and appears to only recently have been reprinted in America.

From Prison Reform to Astral Travel

The two main themes are prison reform and astral travel through past lives. When London was 16 years old he was imprisoned for 30 days for vagrancy, “an experience he found so traumatic that he vowed that thenceforward instead of actually living the hobo life which had left him friendless and terrified behind bars, he would only write about it—and doing so get rich and famous.
A reader might think London himself had practiced, or at least was interested in, reincarnation and astral travel. However, it appears London’s mother, a spiritualist who conducted séances, may have been an initial inspiration. “London consciously seems to have felt that these practices were a sham,” wrote Stewart Gabel.
Fiedler relates that London never had an out-of-body experience himself, but learned about it from Ed Morrell, a convicted felon on whom the story is based. While in California’s San Quentin State Prison, Morrell was accused of having a secret stash of dynamite and spent five years in solitary confinement, much of in the jacket, due to the false accusation (the same story as in London’s novel). Morrell inadvertently learned etheric projection while in the jacket, and was able to walk around San Francisco and confirm his experiences were real. (One time he witnessed a shipwreck just off the coast that he later read about in the papers.) His journeys are recounted in his memoirs, The 25th Man – The Strange Story of Ed Morrell, the Hero of Jack London’s Star Rover. Eventually Morrell was released from prison and became an outspoken prison reformer. The words of London’s protagonist Darrell Standing could have been spoken by him:

Solitary confinement, they call it. Men who endure it, call it living death. But through these five years of death-in-life I managed to attain freedom such as few men have ever known. Closest-confined of prisoners, not only did I range the world, but I ranged time. They who immured me for petty years gave to me, all unwittingly, the largess of centuries.

A Quick Guide to Astral Travel

When Standing first starts to have out-of-body experiences (OBOEs), his method is to put his conscious mind to sleep and then let loose his subconscious mind. At first his subconscious was undisciplined and incoherent. Then Ed Morrell—whom London made a character in The Star Rover—teaches him a method that could be straight out of a book on self-hypnosis or astral projection.

In the novel, Morrell is a few cells away from Standing, also in solitary confinement. Unable to talk to each other due to the watchful eye of guards, he teaches Standing how to have a more intense OBO via their secret language of knuckle-rapping on the cell bars. Morrell tells him to will himself to die: Lying on your back, you start with a toe and use your will to make it die, and work your way up the body until your body is completely dead and only the consciousness remains:

The thing you must think and believe is that your body is one thing and your spirit is another thing. You are you, and your body is something else that don’t amount to shucks. Your body don’t count. You’re the boss. You don’t need any body. And thinking and believing all this you proceed to prove it by using your will. You make your body die.

Using this method Standing feels his mind enlarging and time and space expanding until he knows without opening his eyes that he’s no longer in his cell. His heart slows so much he can no longer count the space between its beats. His first experience is among the stars. He then journeys through numerous past lives, which he writes down later on Murderer’s Row. Time passes so quickly in the jacket, he’s no longer afraid of the warden’s constant threats to make him reveal his nonexistent stash of explosives: “Dynamite or curtains!”

The Star Rover Through Time

Many of Standing’s past life experiences are based on actual historical figures. He relives the life of Daniel Foss, who was shipwrecked on a barren island in 1809, lived off seal meat for five years, and later wrote A journal of the shipwreck and sufferings of Daniel Foss. In another life, Standing is a young boy involved in the Mountain Meadows massacre in Utah in 1857, when Mormon settlers conspired with members of the Paiute Indian tribe to slaughter a group of pioneers in covered wagons. Another past life is based on an account written by Hendrick Hamel, who was shipwrecked with other Dutchmen in Korea in the mid-seventeenth century. He was also a friend of Pilate in Rome who discusses divergent views of the afterlife with a devotee of Jesus. Standing eventually concludes Memory is only thing that remains after death—similar to the views of experienced astral traveler Aleister Crowley.

An Ode to the Eternal Feminine

A sense of peace and quiet joy comes at the end of the sometimes-depressing novel, when Standing realizes that in all of his lives, for all the times he fought, risked his life, and even died, it was for the love of woman. It has been for woman that man has tamed the horse, slew the mammoth, and harvested rice and wheat. Even in his heavens, “Valkyrie or houri, man has fain made place for her, for he could see no heaven without her.” Standing continues his praise of the eternal woman:

I conclude that the greatest thing in life, in all lives, to me and to all men, has been woman, is woman, and will be woman so long as the stars drift in the sky and the heavens flux eternal change. Greater than our toil and endeavour, the play of invention and fancy, battle and star-gazing and mystery—greatest of all has been woman.

The Star Rover should have a place on lists of top American novels and top occult novels. Some have said it’s like a collection of short stories delving into all of London’s interests, and each past life is quite fascinating for a general historical overview. Others have compared it to The Count of Monte Cristo. London’s last novel before his untimely death in 1916 at age 40, The Star Rover weaves together social reform, men’s rights, reincarnation, and historical drama, and will be a riveting read to anyone interested in astral travel or past life regression.

The Star Rover is highly recommended reading from the Astral Institute.


Dreamleaf is the most advanced lucid dreaming supplement on the planet. Recently featured on CBS’s daytime TV show The Doctors, Dream Leaf is specially formulated to do 4 things…

  • INDUCE LUCID DREAMING. Dream Leaf activates the neurotransmitters involved in conscious dreaming, helping you maintain a level of consciousness and control while dreaming so you can have incredibly vivid, memorable lucid dreams.
  • ENHANCE DREAM RECALL. Dream Leaf raises your Acetylcholine levels and enhances your ability to better remember your dreams.
  • PROMOTE BALANCED SLEEP. Dream Leaf helps you experience a healthy balance of deep sleep and REM sleep to ensure that you wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested.
  • CREATE LONGER DREAMS. Dream Leaf lengthens your natural REM sleep cycle, causing your dreams to be much longer and much more vivid.

The Product

Several weeks ago, I was asked to review a product to review called Dreamleaf, and although not normally interested in trying supplements to improve my dream states, I have on occasion being tempted to try some without any real success, so after reading into it more I decided to give it a go. I waited until the weekend to be sure of giving it the best possible trial. On the Friday night, I took my first test run. Having read through the instructions on the pack and I jumped right in.

The Dreamleaf Promise

Dreamleaf promised to activate the neurotransmitters involved in conscious dreaming, which would help me to have matchless lucid dreams.

  • Mugwort helps calm your nerves. This is a popular dream herb for many lucid dream enthusiasts because it also causes your dreams to be highly creative and much more vivid.
  • 5-HTP Boosts serotonin levels, causing what’s known as the “REM rebound effect.” This effect lengthens dreams during the 2nd half of the night, providing a much larger window for your lucid dreams to be experienced in.
  • Huperzine-A slows the breakdown of ACh, which helps you maintain access to your reality memories. Huperzine A helps you to have lucid dreams.
  • Alpha GPC promotes rational thinking during REM sleep and functions as an incredible catalyst for lucid dream induction.
  • Choline assists Huperzine-A in raising Acetylcholine levels. It is the single most effective supplement for dream recall. Since memory and lucid dreaming are interconnected, this ingredient works wonders while you sleep.

This is obviously a big claim and the results would depend on external factors such as diet, activity and lifestyle. But the science behind the product was sound and I was happy to give it a go.

The First Results

So I took the prescribed blue pill before going to sleep at which point I when through my normal pre-sleep lucid dreaming process, then set my alarm for 4 hours into sleep as recommanded to take the red pill. I slept well and found it hard to wake during the night, but luckily I had the red pill on my nightstand and quick took it before going back to sleep.

That’s when the magic happened, I felt like Alice falling through the rabbit hole as I slipped into unconsciousness; I quickly became lucidly aware that I was in a dream. It was as if the active self-aware part of my mind had not switched off as my body relaxed. I was actively in a dream while completely aware that I had just falling asleep. The sensation was intense and the dream had a hyper reality even more intense than waking life. It became on of the most immersive lucid dream experiences I’ve ever experienced. The sheer vividness of the dream and total lucidity blew my mind.

In giving this testimonial I must point out that I have been experimenting with Lucid Dreaming for many years and activity focus on dream recall. So I am not a novice and results would depend on the individual but I can say that the results were beyond what I personally expected from a food supplement.

We Recommend Dreamleaf

In my opinion, Dreamleaf out performs any other nutritional supplement on the market and to date I have never had anywhere near as positive results with another product. In saying that, I also believe that this product will not work without combining it with other Lucid Dreaming Training Methods. It is a very strong and very powerful complement to other lucid dreaming practices and it should be used with other techniques to guarantee success.

Warming: Due to the intensity of the Lucid Dreaming Experiences possible through the use of this product, I do not recommend it to anyone who does not have a full understanding of how to control lucid dreams.




U.S. Marshal Mike Donovan (Vincent Cassel) (referred to as Broken Nose by the native tribe; unlike the comic his nickname is not Blueberry) has dark memories of the death of his first love. He keeps peace between the Americans and the natives who had temporarily adopted and taken care of him. The evil actions of Blount, a “white sorcerer” lead him to confront the villain in the Sacred Mountains, and, through shamanic rituals involving a native entheogenic brew, conquer his fears and uncover a suppressed memory he would much rather deny.

When a French filmmaker decides to shoot a western, you can be certain that his take on the genre wont be traditional. Indeed, Blueberry has more to do with Ken Russells Altered States (1980) than with Howard Hawks Rio Bravo (1958). The film draws its inspiration from a popular graphic novel series published in France since 1965 under the supervision of legendary artist Jean Moebius Giraud.

Mike Blueberry (played by French star Vincent Cassel) is a lonesome, troubled marshal who confronts his arch-enemy (Michael Madsen) in a fight for the freedom of the Indian tribe in which he grew up. In order to find the answers hes seeking, Blueberry submits himself to a series of shamanistic rites that open him to a new level of consciousness and to painful, long forgotten memories that will ultimately decide his fate.

A Life-Changing Experience

Chabrier realized very quickly that he wouldnt be able to put Kounens visions on screen if he didnt try it himself. Thus, one day, he flew to Peru with Kounen and Cassel to meet a master shaman. The experience had a profound effect on me, although not to the extent of what it had done to Jan, admits Chabrier. However, after my first trance, I was convinced that there was no way this experience could be shown on film. To me, even if you filmed it in IMAX and projected it at Showscan speed (60 fps), it still would only represent 1/1000th of the real thing! I couldnt see how we could possibly do it.

Most people have misconceptions about what shamanism really is. They often associate it with spirituality, while a shamanistic trance is basically a deeply personal journey. Chabrier adds, Its difficult to explain shamanism in a few words, but Jan likes to say that, as NASA takes humans into space, shamans take you to your inner self, to your deepest levels of consciousness. When you live this experience, you never make the same journey twice and two people never make the same journey, which makes it very difficult to describe. Still, the incredible thing is that there are some visions that everybody experiences: spiders, snakes, fractal forms, perception of the immensely small and the immensely large These similarities allowed us to find a common language to describe and share what we had experienced.

Astral Institute: How did you first hear about Lucid Dreaming?

David: I spontaneously had my first lucid dream when I was sixteen years old, several days after a psychedelic experience with a purple microdot of LSD. I first read about the phenomenon of lucid dreaming a few months later in Carols Castaneda’s delightful book Journey to Ixlan, and I immediately knew what the author was referring to. Then, a few years later, I met Stanford researcher Stephen LaBerge through a mutual friend, and became familiar with his scientific research on lucid dreaming. Ever since then I’ve been practicing lucid dreaming techniques, and recording my lucid dreams, which has been going on now for over thirty-five years.

Astral Institute: Have you had a Lucid Dream, and if so, could you tell us about your first one?

David: I’ve had hundreds of lucid dreams, experiences with sleep paralysis, shamanic voyages, and out of body experiences over the years. My first experience with lucid dreaming wasn’t particularly memorable, as I woke up from it too quickly, and didn’t fully understand the possibilities. It wasn’t until I met Stephen LaBerge, and began practicing the techniques that he developed, that I began to have more interesting experiences and explore the extraordinary possibilities of fantasy fulfillment. As with many people, in my first lucid dreams I experimented a lot with flying through the air, and exploring erotic possibilities with idealized lovers. It wasn’t until later that I started to use it for psychological growth, performance enhancement, healing, psychic connection, spiritual development, and communication with Higher Intelligence.

Astral Institute: When did you decide to dedicate your time to working on consciousness?

David: I began as a teenager— soon after I began meditating, lucid dreaming, and experiencing with cannabis and psychedelics. It started out as an interest in developing bridges between science, the occult, and spirituality. I spent ten years studying and researching psychobiology— the interface between psychology and biology— at the University of Southern California and New York University. I was greatly influenced by the work of Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, John Lilly, and Terrence McKenna. With time, this passionate interest grew into a spiritual commitment to helping consciousness evolve to higher levels on this wayward planet.

Astral Institute: Can you define your work for us?

David: I’m largely a science writer, and independent scientific researcher, although I also think of myself as an evolutionary agent, here on this planet with a vital mission to help raise consciousness. I explore and write about cutting-edge science associated with the mind. My academic background is in neuroscience and I worked for several years with British biologist Rupert Sheldrake on several studies to do with psychic phenomena. I worked for five years as the senior editor for the MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) Bulletins, and my articles and interviews have appeared in a wide range of diverse publications. In addition to my books on lucid dreaming and psychedelic science, I’ve written over a dozen books about the evolution of consciousness, achieving optimal health, and two science fiction novels. I’m currently working on my fifth interview collection, with my wife, which will be with women visionary artists and published by Inner Traditions.

Astral Institute: What techniques do you consider to be the most practical in studying lucid dreaming?

David: I think that the best scientific methods for studying lucid dreams would be the EEG and fMRI scans that they do of people’s brains, while they’re lucid dreaming, and when the subjects can communicate to the waking world via voluntary eye movements from within the dream state. The best technique that I’m aware of for initiating lucid dreams is to get in the regular habit of asking one’s self that all important question: Am I dreaming right now? It’s essential that we take this question seriously each time we ask it, and perform a reality test to determine which reality we’re actually in— or else when we ask ourselves this question in a dream, we’ll just conclude that we’re awake and not dreaming! A good reality test is to look at some written words, memorize what they say, look away, and look back again at the words. In a dream, the words will almost always change. Another good reality test is to try breathing through your pinched nostrils; in a dream this can be easily done. Waking up a few hours before usual— and doing something to generally arouse your brain for a half hour or so, and then going back to sleep, also sometimes triggers more frequent lucid dreams. In my book I described dozens of different techniques that increase the probability of having a lucid dream.

Astral Institute: Do you have any advice for those interested in learning more?

David: Yes. Get a journal and start diligently writing down your dreams every time you wake up; the more attention that you pay to your dreams, the more likely you’ll remember them— and the more likely you’ll have a lucid dream. As I mentioned earlier, it’s helpful to get into the regular habit of taking reality tests every hour or so, to determine which reality that you’re presently in. Read as much as you can about lucid dreaming; order a copy of my book Dreaming Wide Awake tonight, and read from it every night before going to sleep. Talk to lots of people about lucid dreaming; mention it to everyone you speak with. The more that you think about lucid dreaming, the more that you engage in conversations about lucid dreaming, the more likely you are to have one. I wouldn’t be surprised if a good percentage of the people reading this interview achieve lucidity in a dream tonight. Wishing everyone sweet lucid dreams.


A detailed guide to mastering lucid dreaming for physical and emotional healing, enhanced creativity, and spiritual awakening
• Offers methods to improve lucid dreaming abilities and techniques for developing superpowers in the dream realm
• Explains how to enhance dreaming with supplements, herbs, and psychedelics
• Explores the ability of lucid dreamers to communicate with the waking realm and the potential for shared lucid dreaming and access to our unconscious minds

In a lucid dream, you “awaken” within your dream and realize you are dreaming. With this extraordinary sense of awakening comes a clear perception of the continuity of self between waking and sleeping and the ability to significantly influence what happens within the dream, giving you the opportunity to genuinely experience anything without physical or social consequences. In this way, lucid dreaming offers therapeutic opportunities for fantasy fulfillment, fear confrontation, and releasing the trauma of past experiences. With development and practice, lucid dreaming can provide a powerful path to greater awareness, heightened creativity, spiritual awakening, and communication with the vast interconnected web of cosmic consciousness.



David Jay Brown is the author of 15 books, including Dreaming Wide Awake: Lucid Dreaming, Shamanic Healing and Psychedelics, and The New Science of Psychedelics: At the Nexus of Culture, Consciousness, and Spirituality. He is also the coauthor of five bestselling volumes of interviews with leading-edge thinkers, Mavericks of the Mind, Voices from the Edge, Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse, Mavericks of Medicine, and Frontiers of Psychedelic Consciousness. Additionally, Brown is the author of two science fiction novels, Brainchild and Virus, and he is the coauthor of the health science book Detox with Oral Chelation. Brown holds a master’s degree in psychobiology from New York University, and was responsible for the California-based research in two of British biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s books on unexplained phenomena in science: Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home and The Sense of Being Stared At. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Wired, Discover, and Scientific American, and he was the Senior Editor of the special edition, themed MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) Bulletins from 2007 to 2012. In 2011, 2012, and 2013 Brown was voted “Best Writer” in the annual Good Times and Santa Cruz Weekly’s “Best of Santa Cruz” polls, and his news stories have been picked up by The Huffington Post and CBS News. To find out more about his work see:

Meditation practice improves mindfulness while awake, and while you sleep.

Comparison of dreams with waking consciousness has traditionally focused on claims that the dreaming mind maintains only a simple awareness of perception and emotion, but lacks the self-reflective awareness and metacognition, that is, awareness of one`s current state of consciousness, which is assumed in wake. Lucid dreams are distinct in that the dreamer does have insight into the present state of consciousness, and is able to maintain some awareness of the fact that they are dreaming, along with a varying degree of control over their thoughts, actions, and dream qualities. While this distinction is tied to the dream state, the truth is that even in waking we often wander around in a state of semi-consciousness, simply perceiving and experiencing emotions as they arise without affording much reflective awareness or attention to the present moment.

The practice of mindfulness is aimed at improving an individual’s capacity to maintain awareness of the present moment, with an open and non-judgemental mind, and to diminish automatic habits of mind-wandering and other auto-pilot behaviors. Evidence shows that increased mindfulness is associated with enhanced well-being and decreased negative rumination. Taken together, by improving attention to the present moment’s consciousness while cultivating an accepting attitude, mindfulness may similarly increase the likelihood and frequency of lucid dream experiences, a dream state characterized by both awareness and positivity.

Presence has been linked to improvements in a wide range of cognitive abilities, perhaps due to the role of cognitive control in maintaining focused attention and continuously monitoring the stream of consciousness. While mindfulness training does not explicitly aim to enhance awareness in the dreaming state, there are many traditions which have linked cultivating awareness in wake with lucid dreaming at night; lucid dreaming itself has even been considered an ideal state for meditative awareness (particularly in Tibetan and Toaist Dream Yoga traditions).

Further, while many meditation practices do not specifically define mindfulness, they often have similar aims of promoting awareness and acceptance. Thus, the authors investigated a potential influence of prior meditation practice, even those not explicitly defined as mindfulness practices, on lucid dream frequency.

Higher awareness cultivated during daytime is also reflects in higher awareness of one’s mental states while dreaming. Future research may seek to delineate which types of meditation practice are most directly influential on dreaming, and perhaps in the future, the possibilities of practicing meditation even from within the lucid dream state.

Source: Psychology Today


A Beginner’s Guide to Controlling Your Dreams

Who will ever forget the iconic scene in the Matrix when Neo, learning how to manipulate the Matrix, is told “There is no spoon”?

When it comes to lucid dreaming, beginners can’t wait to test that theory; to push the boundaries normally imposed on us in the waking world. It’s an exciting situation to be in. You can fly, time travel, switch bodies, teleport, visit other planets, taste with your eyes and see with your feet if you so desire. The possibilities are endless.

But you might find that your first lucid dreams are much harder to maintain than you’d originally expected. It’s all too easy to lose lucidity and therefore, control too. Not being able to keep control of your lucid dreams is nothing to feel embarrassed about. After all it is tricky, controlling a whole new world you are not yet accustomed to.

Fear not though, for there are simple factors you can work with to acquire, and keep, control of your lucid dreams.

Simple Steps to Keeping Control

1-      Knowledge is Power

The easiest way to stay in a lucid dream once you enter it, is to assert yourself. Many times, the dreamer will realize they are dreaming, and then just as easily forget. To avoid this, when it dawns on you that you are lucid  and now have control of your dreamscape, tell yourself that you are dreaming. You can be creative with this if you like, but a simple “I am dreaming” will do. This will remind you that you are in control. If you feel your dream slipping, repeat it to jolt the lucidity back to life.

2-      Keep Calm and Dream On

Lucid dreams are so exhilarating most people accidentally pull themselves out of their lucid dreams with nothing more than unadulterated joy. When you become lucid, stay calm. This is the simplest way to continue with your lucid dream. Of course it is easier said than done, because it takes some willpower to not jump for joy straight out of bed when you realise you are lucid. It’s okay to celebrate your achievements. Just try not to party too hard!

3-      Visualization and Imagination

A great way to maintain your lucidity is to empower yourself with a tool you will never be without: your imagination. The trick however, is not to simply imagine what you would like to do, but to visualise it too. Say, for example, you would like to eat a cheeseburger in your lucid dream. Many dreamers recommend turning around, visualizing that cheeseburger like it has never been imagined before, and then turning around again- to find a cheeseburger ready for you to eat. Visualization is used in many practices- from prayer to meditation- as a funnel for power. Think of it this way: instead of controlling a narrative that your subconscious has given you, you create your own. This will make it much easier to control your dreamscape.

4-      When All Else Fails, Dream of Help

This comes in handy when you are struggling to do or achieve something specific in your lucid dreams. For example, flying is the obvious choice for a first time lucid dreamer, but because you can’t fly in the waking world you might not know how to do so in the lucid world. But humans are very innovative creatures, who live by the phrase “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. If you want to fly, you don’t have to flap your arms, or pose like Superman. Dream up a jetpack, or change yourself into a bird. No one ever said you can’t. This applies to everything. Want to explore new worlds? Dream up a door that takes you to them. Care to time travel? Look behind you, there’s a time machine there. Whatever you need is yours for the taking. Remember- if you can dream it, you can do it.

5-      Have Faith

Of course, if you want to make the most of your lucid dreams, you probably don’t want to use jetpacks to fly or doors to teleport. You want to fly as you are. You can do that- if you believe you can. In the waking world, we like to say that faith can move mountains, but when the going gets tough and those mountains become increasingly massive, we lose touch with that. But remember, lucid dreams don’t take place in the waking world and therefore the laws that govern us don’t apply. This means, that when you are in a lucid dream, faith can literally move mountains. If you still struggle, try pumping yourself up. Tell yourself you can do it and  take the leap. You will be surprised at how little effort this requires.

6-      Study Time

Yes, no one wants to associate dreaming with school, but if you make yourself a student of your own lucid dreams, you will start seeing patterns in them, and therefore, will be able to acknowledge what is holding you back. The easiest way to do this is to keep a dream journal. If you record your lucid dreams right after waking up, leaving no stone unturned, you will be able to reflect on them. Perhaps you are dreaming too much at once, or are intimidated by your dreams when you realise them. Writing them down is a great way to make sense of them. If you can make sense of them, you can alter them.

7-      Practice Makes Perfect

Last, but certainly not least, is the good old saying that practice makes perfect. The more you dream lucid dreams, the better you will become at controlling them. If you are determined to fly in your lucid dreams, try and try again. You will achieve it eventually, and from then on, flying will come as easily as breathing.

One other method you can try, if controlling your dreams is tricky at first, is to not control them all. Observe them, and have fun in them. Become accustomed to the feeling of lucid dreaming. Here in the waking world, you can’t run before you can walk. There is no shame in taking it slow, instead of jumping right in. Patience is a virtue all lucid dreamers should have, and the sense of control, when you get it right, is well worth the wait.

There is surprisingly little information regarding how music affects our ability to lucid dream. Although it seems to be a basic question – music has been used for meditation, trance-induction and other mind state alternating practices for millennia – there is still no agreement as to whether music can induce lucid dreaming.

To answer this question, first we have to understand how auditory signals affect our dreams.

Early Experiments

Experiments concerning the use of external cues in order to induce lucidity have been held by various researches. Particularly, LaBarge in 1981 tried to apply auditory clues to a group of oneironauts in the beginning of each REM-phase. His experiment showed no significant change in lucid dreaming frequency or intensity.

Later, in 1983, Price and Cohen have been monitoring a dreamer for 28 nights, during which audio signals were applied during REM-phases. By the end of the period the frequency in lucid dreaming increased. However, the pattern was completely consistent with that obtained by LaBarge.

As the researchers point out, there may be several reasons to the number of lucid dreams. It is possible that the auditory signals induced the subject’s involvement with the environment and thus his awareness in dreaming. But it is also very likely that the subject’s increased motivation and additional lucidity inducing techniques influenced the result.

Anyway, the use of auditory signals requires careful monitoring and proper equipment to be applied in just the right moment, limiting the technique to laboratory use only.

The researchers, however, used specific auditory signals, such as phrases: “You are dreaming” or “Remember, this is a dream”. Which means, not only had the subjects to hear the message in their sleep, but also decipher it and react to it.

It is not that we are incapable of receiving auditory information from the “outer world” in our sleep. However, our dreaming mind usually incorporates sounds into the dream events as a mechanism preventing us from waking up just yet. The sound of alarm becomes a church bell or a voice of an alien. I remember once being woken up by my parrot, whose voice transformed in my dream into broad stripes of cello-tape being ripped off a wall with the characteristic screeching sound.

In other words, any sound and, of course, music, is likely to be incorporated into a dream, without making us aware of dreaming. Even if music from outer source enters our dreams, it can be easily dismissed as a creation of our own mind, thus making the use of music as an external auditory cues during the sleep unreliable, if not completely futile.

There is, however, another technique that lately becomes very popular.