DREAM TRIPPING: USING DREAMS TO EXPERIMENT WITH CONSCIOUSNESS
Humans have an inherent drive to play with consciousness. Yet we frequently ignore the potential of the original altered state: the dream. In this talk, a brief review of sleep stages will explain various types of dreams. Over the course of a night, we move through five phases of sleep, four of which are dream-rich. A range of factors determines what form of dreamwork best suits a person at any given time. These factors include circadian rhythm—which audience members will be taught to determine—sleep and waking habits, and personal goals. Three methods of working with dreams will be addressed: liminal dreaming, lucid dreaming, and oneirogen work. Easy-to-learn exercises will be taught to allow participants to explore these forms of dreamwork to experiment with mind.
Liminal dreams are made up of hypnagogia and hypnompompia, those floaty and sometimes uncanny trance states we pass through as we fall into sleep at night and climb towards waking in the morning. Liminal dreams happen in the edge realm between conscious and unconscious. Easily cultivated, the ability to dream in these crepuscular spaces leads to some of the most unusual mind states we can experience. This form of dreamwork also has many practical applications. Artists and thinkers harness hypnagogia for creativity and problem solving. When you hear of revelations or inventions brought on in a dream, it often refers to hypnogogic dreams. Other liminal dream uses include dream incubation, a practice that goes back to the Asclepia of ancient Greece; the clarification of metacognition, awareness and understanding of your own mental processes; exploration of sleep paralysis; and the practice of Yoga Nidra.
Lucid dreams, unlike liminal dreams, occur during REM, the dream-rich state that mostly occurs during the second half of a full sleep cycle. In a lucid dream, the dreamer’s conscious mind remains active, providing access to an extraordinarily vivid, full body, virtual reality experience in which you move through a realm manifested by your own creative imagination. Traditional Tibetan Buddhist lucid dream practices and modern methods alike provoke meditations on the nature of reality. Practical applications of lucid dreaming include working with nightmares; facilitating encounters that aren’t possible in waking life, or undertaking activities that have therapeutic benefit.
The word “oneirogen” originates in the Greek “oneiros”, to dream, and “gen”, to create. Both modern and traditional cultures hack dreams using herbs, roots, scents, practices, and sound to seek guidance from ancestors, to practice oneiromancy—divination through dreams—to seek healing, wisdom, and visionary experience, and to cultivate the extraordinary through dreams. The Oneironauticum, founded by Jennifer in 2008, is a worldwide slumber party in which people around the globe all experiment with the same oneirogen on a given night. Through years of informal research, we have catalogued the effects of specific oneirogens. The talk will include discussions of oneirogens that describe both traditional usage as well as results of Oneironauticum experiments. Some oneirogens will be made available.
JENNIFER DUMPERT is a San Francisco-based writer and lecturer, and the founder of the Oneironauticum, an international organization that explores the phenomenological experience of dreams as a means of experimenting with mind. She also teaches the practice of Liminal Dreaming—surfing the edges of consciousness using hypnagogic and hypnopompic dream states. Jennifer has lectured and led workshops at festivals, conferences, and venues such as Summit at Sea, Lightning in a Bottle, Symbiosis, the Women’s Visionary Congress, Breaking Convention, Esalen Institute, Ojai Institute, Psymposia, and Priceless. She wrote “Meeting in Dream Worlds: Oneironauticum”, a chapter in Exploring the Edge Realms of Consciousness Liminal Zones, Psychic Science, and the Hidden Dimensions of the Mind, published by Evolver Editions. “Dream Tripping”, an article about using dreams like psychedelics, appeared in the summer, 2016 issue of Erowid Extracts. In March/April of 2016, Jennifer led a six week class through Evolver called “Expand your Mind: How to Work with Liminal Dream States”. She contributes to the online journal Van Winkle’s, and has published in Dreamflesh, Dream Time, and Reality Sandwich. She is involved in the Consciousness Hacking movement and has presented at CH SF, CH NYC, and the Transformational Technology conference. Jennifer serves as secretary on the board of directors for Erowid Center. She posts a daily dream to Twitter as @OneiroFer.