This is going to be a pretty long and very philosophic, psychologic, spiritalistic (and maybe revolutionary) post.
Let me start all this chronologically. A few days ago I started to read the german book “Schöpferisch Träumen – Der Klartraum als Lebenshilfe” by the psychologists and lucid dream researchers Paul Tholey and Kaleb Utecht. (I do not think that there is an english translation of it, but I am not sure 😦 anyway, you can read the german version online here.). Translated into English the title would mean “Creative Dreaming – The clear (lucid) dream as a possibility to help yourself with your life (literally: “as lifehelp”)”. I read this book, because the whole matter of lucid dreaming and of actively inducing and using them, reminds me very strongly of the pagan initiation ritual of travelling into the underworld to gain something for the real world, to improve yourself, to lose or weaken your bad characteristics and strengthen or gain good ones. This is exactly, what you can do with lucid dreams.
I will try to give a short description about the most important contents of the book. It is divided into eight chapters.
In the first chapter, the authors describe what exactly a dream is: It is your mind dealing with all sorts of conflicts that appeared while being awake. It is thus a communication between your counscious mind and your unconscious mind. This communication is however far from being direct. It is kind of translated (similar to myths, that also do not directly tell what they really mean). E. g. if you have a struggle with a certain person, who will not stop to controll and try to rule over you, you will probably dream of being imprisoned within a little room (that symbolises this person).
The second chapter explains the difference between a normal dream and a lucid dream. A lucid dream has all of these aspects:
1. You have the absolute knowledge that you are currently experiencing a dream.
2. You can directly influence the dream and you clearly know about this ability while dreaming. (e. g. fly or let things appear or go through walls or change the whole dream conditions like place and time, and you do not do this because the dream story randomly takes its course that way, but because you actively decide these changes and activities to happen.)
3. Your state of consciousness is not reduced. Everything feels like the real world.
4. Your senses function at least in the same way as in the “real world”, often even better. (i. e. clearer colours or sounds).
5. You can remember all things of your wake life, like you were awake.
6. You will remember the whole lucid dream when you are awake (and also in your next lucid dreams).
These are the basic aspects, there is however one alternative aspect, without which it will be a lucid dream anyway (if the six aspects above are fulfilled), but which will kind of complete the lucid dream and will enable you to use the full potential of them:
7. Already within the dream you realise the meaning of the dream through communicating with different elements of the dream and get thus to know what your subconscious mind tries to tell your conscious mind with the dream.
If we return to our dream with the prison symbolising the person who wants to controll you, this means that if you have established this 7th aspect of lucidity, you will not have to think about the dream and translate it to find out its meaning, but that the prison will within the dream turn to that person, whom you can ask about it and who will tell you the meaning, i. e. you will actively translate the dream while still dreaming and the dream will help you to do so (although it will also often try to hinder you from that, so that you have find a way to stop it from hindering you; you have to find and know the secrets/runes so to speak)
This second chapter also gives the information how you can induce, increase and improve lucid dreams. It is presented within 10 rules:
1. Ask your self several times a day if you are currently dreaming or not. This is the most important rule, because through this, you will cultivate a habit to do so, and will eventually also do so while dreaming.
2. While asking yourself this critical question, imagine intensively that you are dreaming.
3. Also check if you have lacks of memory within the last few minutes or hours in your life (which is very common in dreams).
4. Ask the critical question always in situations that are characteristical for your dreams. (If you often dream about riding your bike, do it always when you ride your bike etc.)
5. Do it also in situations that are characteristical for dreams in generel. (e. g. at sudden changes of situations)
6. If you often dream about impossible things (like flying), imagine those things while asking the critical question.
7. When going to sleep think about going to have a lucid dream this night.
8. Keep a dream diary and try to concern yourself intensively with your dreams, e. g. try to remember as many of them as possible.
9. (When you are awake) plan to perform a certain action in your dreams. (Either something simple like rising your arm, or something more complex like ask someone something)
10. Have patience and pratice regularly, do not set a deadline though. (And do not stop practicing after reaching your first lucid dream)
The next two chapters are basically descriptions about the fact that you can use lucid dreams to fight nightmares. If you become lucid within a nightmare the dream will most probably change and lose its threatening character. You will be able to ask your dream (and thus your own subconscious mind) about the meaning of the dream and you will thus be able to fight the source instead of the symptom.
The fifth chapter deals about an alternative way to reach a lucid dream. It is also possible to reach a lucid dream with not becoming lucid, but staying lucid, i. e. while you go to sleep you let your body fall asleep, but stay conscious in mind. This is indeed possible but really difficult. The way to reach this is similar to meditation. It is very usefull, because you will instantly have a lucid dream, but it is also really hard, especially for beginners.
The sixth chapter is about a philosophic and psychologic concept called critical realism. The main ideas are, that there is a certain area within the brain which deals with your consciousnes and that your mind can be deceived. There are thus two worlds, the phenominal world (how you perceive everything) and the transphenominal world (how everything really is).
The seventh chapter is basically only a collection of reports of lucid dreams to show the different possibilities to use them. There are three main aspects. You can either use them to recognise yourself or rather your unconscious mind, or you can use them, to do whatever you want and thus to experience extreme enjoyments, or you can use them to train both physical and cognitive activities. The latter is proven to really have a high effect of training that will have consequences for the real world.
The eightth and last chapter is about the question, if dream figures have an own conscious mind. (which explains the title of this post) This question first seems very stupid and ignorant. All in all these dream figures actually do not exist. They are within our own mind and imagination, within our dream. They have no physical body and only exist within us. But let us remember what a dream actually is. Appearently it is our subconscious mind trying to tell us (our conscious mind) something. The question arises, if it is possible for a person to have more than one minds/personalities/consciousnesses, who are independent from each other (although there would be only one main consciousness, the conscious mind, amongst several others, the subconscious mind). This would make it rationally possible for a dream figure to have an own consciousness/mind and to think and feel for himself, it would still be one of our consciousnesses, but it would be independend from our main consciousnes (not in existence, but in the ability to think, feel and act for itself).
The book gave several examples of tests that lucid dreamers made that suggest something like this:
The dreamers often asked dream figures who stood/sat opposite of them to write something onto a sheet of paper and they wrote it like they wood write it in reality (i. e. it was reversed from the angle of the dreamer and he could not read it untill he turned the paper 180°). It was normally written in a totally stranger handwriting, neither belonging to the dreamer nor the person, the dream figure was symbolising, (whom the dreamer normally knew).
There were however far more impressive examples:
The dreamers asked dream figures to tell them a word that they (the dreamers) did not know. On of them told the dreamer that his relationship with his girlfriend is “Orlog”, and he told him it means “charme”. He looked it up and it was Dutch and meant “war”. The dreamer has never heared of this word before. Another dreamer did the same and was (within his dream) told by the author of the book (who is a pretty popular psychologist in germany, especially under lucid dreamers) following sentence: “I am Nirod.” Nimrod is a character of the babylonian mythology often equalised with Gilgamesh, who is said to have travelled into the underworld and also to have had lucid dreams. Another dreamer, who was a student of psychology, discussed with his colleagues if the christian saint Paulus maybe had lucid dreams and then when he had a lucid dream he asked a dream figure, an old man, to tell him a word he did not know and he angrily said “Ikonium. Remember this word good!” The dreamer had again never heard about that word before. He looked it up and Ikonium was an anatolian city, where Paulus was stoned because of his doctrines.
This last chapter was what impressed me the most, because something similiar happend to me yesterday. (When I haven’t read that chapter yet.) I have now kept a dream diary for 3 days and yesterday I had two dreams (none of them lucid naturally, since I am not yet this far and still a beginner). The first one was about me living with my girlfriend within a medieval castle. Suddenly my girlfriend gives me a sheet of paper with two Latin sentences on it. I cannot remember them, but I know that the first one had the verb constellation of “sire sire sire” which my girlfriend translated with “to be allowed to believe/think to believe/think”. She translated the second sentence either with “You shall seek that” or with “You shall not seek that”, I cannot remember, which one it was. I wanted to know if “sire” really meant something like that and looked it up at an online dictionary for german-latin, but it did not find the word, so I thought it would be not important and stopped thinking about it. Now after I read this last chapter, it came again into my mind and I suddenly realised that maybe it is another language than Latin and looked it up on Wiktionary. The result was that it was english and indeed a verb. It means: “(transitive, of a male) to procreate; to father, beget, impregnate” and it indirectly comes from Latin (over French) (from Wiktionary). The meaning of this dream is crystal clear if you know my current situation, namely that I have relationship problems and that I was intensively thinking about what I should do if my relationship will fail. Should I try to find another wife and thus hurt the principle of loyalty until death or should I stay alone for the rest of my live and thus not pass my genes on? This was, what bothered me the last time a lot. Now think about the latin message given to me by my girlfriend: sire – to be allowed to/ to think/to believe – to procreate/to father. “You shall/shall not seek that!” Too bad, that I cannot remember which of the two possibilities it was.
There was a second dream at the same night (= yesterday). This was a horrible dream. I have such dreams from time to time. I was in my room and lay on my bed. Everything is dark. I lie in the same way as when I woke up. Everything feels and looks like reality. It was indeed not reality but a dream though because I know (now at least) that the bed stood different. The door was a little bit open and I was alone. I could not move (save my eyeballs, my lungs and my vocal chords), not in the dream and not in reality. Suddenly I feel as if I would not be alone anymore, although I could not see anyone ore anything. I start to get extreme panic and start to scream, there is only the panic in my head and I can do nothing other than scream (I cannot move my lips, jars or tongue, which makes the screams sound even sicker). I screamed within the dream and also in reality and woke up everyone of my family, my sister in the room next to my room and my parents one floor below us (it was half four in the morning). After that I did not go to sleep anymore and I was in a bad mood at least until midday. At the evening I wondered if I should lock the door of my room and suddenly I remembered that I also wonderd if I should do this the day before and that I eventually did not lock it. Then I remembered that one of the main elements of the nightmare was the half open door, before I felt someone/something near me and started to panic. I have no idea if this could really be the meaning of this dream, but it would be a very locigal explaination. Although it would be strange and sadistic from my subconscious mind to give me such a terrible dream only because of such a little disagreement like locking the door or not.
I really think that we should concern ourselves more with our dreams, because appearently they let us enter a part of ourself that we are not able to enter under normal circumstances. Our dreams are a very special realm. A realm that has fallen under oblivion. We should conquer this realm back! Because it is our personal underworld.
Hail Hel! Hail Valhöll! Hail our dream world!