Intro to Dreamwalking

I had one person ask me about dreamwalking, and I’m sure there are others who are interested, so I’ll share what I do.

First off, dreamwalking occurs after mastering lucid dreaming, and I’ve heard lots of people come up with lots of different methods over the years with little to no success. I go with what I was taught because it’s never failed to work, but it’s not an easy process. There’s no immediate “Wow, I had a lucid dream I controlled!” Nothing in life is that simple. It takes time, it takes effort, and it will be exhausting.

Just like any muscle built up through exercise, dreamwalking builds up mental muscle. And like exercise, you don’t start with the finished product. A lot of people think psychic skills / mental abilities should come to them easily – sorry, life isn’t that kind. Sure, there are people with a higher potential skill level than others, just as there are people with higher natural athleticism than others. But if that athleticism isn’t trained into something, it never becomes more than potential.

That being said, lucid dreaming must be mastered before dreamwalking occurs. And to master lucid dreaming, you first have to become aware that you *are* dreaming. If you never manage to wake up in a dream and think, “Oh, this is a dream,” you will never learn to control it, and thus never learn to dreamwalk.

The first step then, is to master the awareness of the dream, and the trick that I used when I first learned the skill is a very simple one. The only thing required is a place to lay down. This is a trick my mother taught me when I was very young, and I have taught others this same trick one-on-one. To my knowledge, it works for everyone.

First, pick a number higher than five but less than ten. Then, before you get ready to sleep, tap the back of your head that many times on your pillow and tell yourself, out loud, that you will know you are dreaming when you begin to dream. The vocal affirmation is necessary only until you get used to waking up in a dream.

When I first taught this trick, I was unaware of the level of exhaustion it would cause. The first person I taught told me that he slept nearly ten hours after he did this trick, and he woke up feeling like he hadn’t slept at all. This is normal, so if you don’t want to sleep more than an hour or two when you start, I suggest setting an alarm.

This trick only allows you to realize that you are dreaming. Control, the pinnacle of lucid dreaming, comes later. First, you must master the ability to handle your dreams as they come to you, no matter how disturbing or bizarre they may be. When you get to the stage that lucid dreaming is possible, you learn how to wake yourself up out of the disturbing dreams. That’s the first step to controlling the dreamscape itself, but it’s a lesson you must learn on your own.

If and when you start using this trick, begin keeping a dream journal. The best way to do this is to keep the journal by your resting place with a pen beside it, as the dream realm and physical realm are connected by the thinnest of margins. If you place your feet on the floor before you have written down the dreams you’ve had, you will forget most, if not all, of the dream. We naturally ground ourselves when the soles of our feet contact the ground, so if you intend to remember everything, write it down before grounding yourself.

Also, as one final note, remember that we have multiple dreams when we sleep. I have gotten to the point that I have five to six dreams that I remember each night, but it didn’t start off that way. If I am remembering correctly, when I began dreaming purposefully, it took me awhile to realize that the “dream” I woke up in was actually a chain of dreams running together. It’s that realization, along with the ability to wake myself up, that allowed me to learn how to control my dreams and begin to dreamwalk.

So to recap the steps to dreamwalking

1) Master the awareness of dreaming (using the trick mentioned)

2) Learn to wake yourself up out of bad dreams

3) Learn to distinguish between dreams and identify the chain of dreams

4) Lucid dreaming allows dreamwalking

Remember, dreamwalking isn’t an easy thing to do – it takes time, it takes effort, and it takes dedication. If you truly intend to learn to dreamwalk, it’s not something that can be done in the space of a week or two. Nothing worth doing in life is that simple.

My Thoughts on UPGs

UPG stands for Unverifiable Personal Gnosis, and it is essentially a personal interaction with any deity that doesn’t have any basis in the lore. I am going to say right now that I adore UPG because it is how I interact with the Gods. And I have no problem with others who have UPGs because I believe everyone’s path is different, so ridiculing someone else’s beliefs is a little counterproductive.

While I think that UPG can enrich a person’s spiritual practice, I don’t think that UPGs should be used as the foundation of a communal faith. When a faith is shared, then there needs to be shared practices and traditions that are embraced in communal settings because the sharing of those practices is what allows a faith to flourish. In this particular aspect of life, I agree with traditional reconstructionists. Public blots and sumbels should be done in a way that is as close as possible to the way they were originally done. In this one area, I embrace reconstruction.

In almost every other area, I shed it. In my personal practices, I feel no need to stick to the traditional format of the blot because I believe in cultivating personal relationships with the Gods and Goddesses I follow. How I choose to cultivate those relationships is difficult to relate except to say that it is largely done through UPG. And most of that UPG is done through dreams.

I dream a lot. I don’t remember every dream I have, but I have about half a dozen dreams every night that I can remember in glimpses. I also dreamwalk – I hesitate to call it a shamanic practice due to the difficulties talking about shamanism in general can invoke. I’ve read many sites and books that claim shamans no longer exist, that there are just people who try to emulate shamanic practices from other cultures, and that claiming to be a shaman doesn’t make you one. Which isn’t surprising, considering no one seems to agree on what a shaman is supposed to actually be, other than some kind of medicinal herbal healer who walks in the spirit world.

The truth is, though, that what I’ve been doing my entire life echoes everything I’ve ever read in books and websites about shamanism, and I trance as easily as I breathe. I was trained as an empath by my mother, and the more research I do, the more similarities exist between empaths and shamans, so I am okay with either term though I tend to use empath since it is more widely understood and accepted.

So when I say I dreamwalk, I mean I walk through the worlds when I sleep. I don’t necessarily do it by intention – I can fall asleep and “wake up” somewhere else. I know there are people who would love to have the gifts I do, but the gifts do come with a price. I struggle to fall asleep – I have insomnia – and I do not wake feeling rested when I dreamwalk because I am fully conscious while sleeping.

But is through my dreamwalking that I experience UPGs. It was UPG that pulled me into the world of the Nordic Gods to begin with. In that particular dream, I was a man, drowning in an ocean, trying to make sure my children were safe, and the boats above my head were Viking longboats that somehow perfectly formed a triangle. In interpreting that dream (which I do myself because dream interpretations are 100% specific to an individual), I found myself drawn to Odin and heathenry.

I don’t often share the UPGs I’ve had because they are usually incredibly personal, but some of them are random glimpses of the Gods. I had one dream where I was walking up a snow-covered bank watching Odin climb up the hill in front of me. Even though he never turned around, I knew he was aware I was there, and it was a rather somber moment.

Those UPGs don’t mean anything to anyone besides myself, and I would never try to use a UPG in order to convince someone that the way I see certain Gods is the only way to see them. In any case, if anyone has a UPG they are comfortable with sharing, I’d love to hear it. I’m also willing to entertain questions about the dreamwalking, as I have been teaching a couple people how to do it.