Many lucid dreamers use dream signs to recognize when they're dreaming and become spontaneously lucid. Dream signs provide handy cues to lucidity, sparking your rational brain to chip in with the realization: "Hang on - I must be dreaming!"
The more attention you pay to spotting dream signs, the more you'll notice them and the more lucid dreams you'll have, night after night. In this article we'll look at the four types of dream signs and how to familiarize yourself with them.
What exactly is a dream sign? Talking animals, deceased loved ones, time travel, and even oddly shaped door handles can all be types of dream signs. In short, they are ANY cue which suggests that your dream reality isn't real.
Dream signs can be very personal to you - and sometimes only you can spot them. For instance, a vivid dream about your house might reveal odd details out of place, such as a missing window. Other times, the dream sign would obvious to anyone, such as flying on a cow that jumps over the moon...
Dr Stephen LaBerge, author of Exploring The World of Lucid Dreaming, identified four categories of dream signs to help us log and look out for them:
If you keep a dream journal, you may already be aware of some recurring dream signs. This makes them much easier to detect. For instance:
Here are two simple waking exercises that will help you pick up on these valuable lucid dream triggers next time you're dreaming...
Every day, your goal is to recognize when things seem out of place and question their nature. Practice reality checking real events when you're watching the sci-fi channel, talking about something surreal, or day dreaming about the past.
Be on the lookout for oddities and question their existence. The dreaming mind can quickly confabulate answers too, but deeper reflection will show them to be unrealistic. Entrain a questioning mind set to get to the root of cause and effect.
In your dream journal, underline all dream signs and categorize them: IA (inner awareness), A (action), F (form), or C (context). Once you've recorded several dreams this way, identify the most common type of dream sign you're experiencing.
If your most common dream sign is form, study the way things look in waking life. A form-based dream sign can be as subtle as a different hair color, or as obvious as having seven fingers on one hand. Tune yourself in to these potential differences in waking life and you will find they become much more noticeable in dreams...
If we're completely honest, lucid dreaming isn't really known for being the most social of interests. In fact, often it's a lone pursuit - just you, your dream journal and the landscape of your mind. But this technique called PAL (or Partner Assisted Lucidity) breaks down that wall and turns lucid dream exploration into a social event.
Members of our lucid dream forum have been asking how to create dream characters in lucid dreams. The most common problem is having characters who look nothing like they should. Or they seem disinterested in your company. Or they fail to show up on command altogether. So, how to combat this? It's a matter of finding creative solutions that bypass logical expectations.
To lucid dream, I recommend being able to remember at least one vivid dream per night. That will boost your self awareness in dreams (making lucidity more likely) and also means you can actually remember your lucid dreams. Which is nice. Here are four detailed tips on how to remember your dreams more frequently. And if you don't think you dream at all - trust me, you almost certainly do. It takes an extraordinarily rare sleep disorder to deprive someone of dream sleep.
It is estimated that these wise and wily Indians have been using mugwort in their healing and ritual practices for 13,000 years, where it is known as the ‘dream sage’. They use the herb to promote good dreams, which they consider an essential aspect of normal human functioning! But that’s not all...
Silene Capensis has been used for millennia by the Xhosa shaman of the river valleys in the eastern cape of South Africa, where it is known as Undela Ziimhlophe or 'white paths'. It's fragrant white flowers open only at night, when they emit a fragrant and almost hypnotising aroma. Also known as African Dream Herb or Ubulawu, Silene Capensis induces spectacularly vivid dreams - yet has never entered the mainstream and remains a fringe taste within western culture.
Experts agree that everyone is capable of having lucid dreams. Dreaming itself is a normal function of the mind. We all dream every night, even if we don't remember. And we all achieve conscious awareness while awake every single day. So what does it mean to combine these states? Why, the amazing ability to have conscious - or lucid - dreams. Sounds simple, doesn't it? So why do I keep hearing from people who say they can't achieve their first lucid dream?