Members of our Academy 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.
With this philosophy, you can conjure dream characters from out of sight, from inanimate objects, and by morphing the appearance of existing folk.
With Waggoner's ideas in mind, we can think of dream figures as learning opportunities, who can add a whole new dimension to lucid dream exploration. Instead of routinely creating dream characters to have sex with them, it's also worth stepping back and allowing them to portray themselves as they want.
I still highly recommend interacting with dream figures - if not to dry hump them while they're not looking - then to ask them questions about what they represent, or what they think you should do about your current work / relationship / Facebook status.
So here are six tried-and-tested ways to summon specific dream characters (sorry, Robert, I agree with your point but the rest of the world is still Googling "dream characters"). This can also be useful if you're calling on a deceased person, so you can have a meaningful exchange with the "real them", as well as seeking answers from specific target individuals, like your university professor, or someone whose trusted opinion you seek.
Note: the purpose of seeking specific individuals for knowledge or reunion is not because you're actually talking to them in a dream, whether they are dead or alive in the real world. It simply creates the experience so realistically that your dreaming mind can bring this figure to life in the most authentic way possible.
First of all, become lucid in your dream. Did I mention that already?
Next, ensure that you increase your level of consciousness for best results. Do a tactile reality check, remind yourself out loud that you're dreaming, and making some visual observations about your environment.
Now you're ready to go.
This is a neat play on the expectation rule that doesn't require any visualization. Simply expect the dream character you want to see standing just around a corner, out of sight.
Do this for a few seconds. Say something like "Hey! Liz is just around the corner" and think about how you feel when you're about to meet that person. (Unless you're summoning Gerard Butler, and you get all too excited about the prospect, then you'll just wake yourself up. Tone it down, woman.)
When your expectation is fully ingrained, you'll actually sense their presence. It can even be a bit spooky, knowing they're loitering back there but you're unable to see them yet. Lucid dreams are spooky, at times.
Finally, you can call their name, wait for them to emerge, or go look around the corner for yourself.
To illustrate, I decided to use pictures of cats, so I wouldn't alienate any readers by demonstrating inappropriate dream characters. Also, I couldn't find enough pictures of Gerard Butler in the required poses.
I borrowed another technique from Robert Waggoner here, based on communicating with what he called the awareness behind the dream. Other people call this the dreamer of the dreamer.
If you've never encountered it before, you're in for a treat.
Talking to the awareness behind the dream just means saying or shouting questions or intentions out loud to the dreamscape. In real life, if I stood in the middle of Main Street and raised my head to the sky and yelled "MAKE ME ALL-POWERFUL!" I would no doubt be judged somewhat harshly by the natives.
In a lucid dream, though, it's all good. What's more, it actually comes true. The dream responds to your words, so suggestive is the nature of a lucid dream, that you'll have instant omnipotence.
Use this power for good, my friend. "Show me a dream guide" is a cool way to introduce a seemingly conscious dream character who's willing to work with you. "Show me myself in 20 years" is kinda creepy, while "show me my ultimate fantasy" is just downright confusing (Freud would be proud of what happens here).
Incidentally, "show me the cutest kitten ever created" is also a perfectly valid request.
Love me or I will kill you?
This is a fun twist on the first method, and arguably just as spooky.
Open a door and reach inside, expecting to grab the hand of your desired dream character and pull them out. Remember to have the solid expectation of who's actually waiting inside your closet.
The first time I tried this method, I freaked myself out by accidentally imagining a dozen weird hands trying to grab mine in the darkness. It went horror on me. Don't do that.
Your expectations rule, so reach in and grab Mary's hand without a second doubt.
This also works using mirrors, which in dreams act like portals to other points in space-time as you very well know. Reach in to the silver goo (it's pretty cool, no?) and expect to find the person you seek.
A kitten blatantly misusing a mirror portal
Remember the kid's cartoon Penny Crayon?
Of course you don't. They only made 13 episodes which were aired on the BBC in 1989. You can't get more niche than that when addressing an international audience.
Nevertheless, Penny was a bright and resourceful schoolgirl who loved drawing. She had magic crayons and pencils that could draw on any surface including brick walls, cave interiors and the inside of a whale's mouth.
So, naturally, from my earliest lucid dreams in 1997, I looked to Penny Crayon as a way to get stuff into my virtual environment.
Paint an image with your finger in the air of whoever you want to summon into your dream. Don't worry if it's crude or if the lines don't actually appear in the air (though often they do of their own accord). It's not the motion of your finger-brush but the image you create in your mind that will pop into life within seconds.
This is my favorite.
It relies on the awareness behind the dream to do some visual arty stuff. And I ask, why not?
Choose an object that's already present in your lucid dream environment, like a wall or a rock, or even another person, and sincerely will them to morph into your desired dream character.
If nothing happens you can urge the dream on by saying out loud "I want to see Victoria emerge from this rock!" Then wait.
I once stood in front of a very large tree at night and beckoned out a dream guide. I watched with glee while his features peeled out of the very bark in front of me, until he was standing there, completely real and human, transformed. It was awesome.
This is really not what I had in mind
Now, if you're really fussy about your dream character's appearance, and want him to look exactly like Gerard Butler and not Gary the local tramp, you'll need to do some touch-ups.
That's because dream characters are usually composites (see my article The Many Faces of Dream Characters). And unless you specifically arrange a pure version of Mr Butler, you're going to get a hybrid figure on whatever recent memories and thoughts are running through your mind.
I'm not just talking about appearances though. If you want to have an authentic conversation with Carl Sagan, you're going to want the purest version of him your imagination can conjure.
(It's just natural that our perceptions of dream characters begin with appearances. Any interactions, like their conversation and insights, come subsequently.)
So, let's Photoshop your character.
The easiest way? Allow the dream itself to do the work. Say out loud: "I'm going to look away... and when I look back, you'll be the closest representation of Carl Sagan my imagination can create".
When I turn around you will all look like eminent physicists with human bodies and I'm not even going to ask why Carl is naked again
Further ReadingLucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self by Robert Waggoner is the account of an experienced lucid dreamer who stumbles upon a new dimension of conscious awareness: the ability to interact consciously with the dream observer - the "inner self".
Waggoner discovered that in lucid dreams we have both a psychological tool and a platform to understand dreaming and the larger picture of our psyche. He proposes five stages of lucid dreaming and guides readers through them, offering advice for those who have never experienced the lucid dream state and suggestions for how experienced lucid dreamers can advance to new levels. This book offers vivid illustrations that will intrigue anyone interested in consciousness, identity, and the definition of reality. See reviews on Amazon.