Let's say you want to dream with a friend. You agree to meet in-dream, and then look for evidence of success. What sort of evidence will you be seeking? Do you think that people will appear in dreams just as they do in waking life? Well, they might, but I wouldn't count on it.
Have you ever had a dream in which you weren't quite yourself? When your hair was another color? When you were older or younger than your current age? When you were the opposite sex, a member of a different ethnic group, an inhabitant of another century? Maybe you were a different species altogether: a bird, an alien, a pixie. Or something animated, like a cartoon character. Perhaps you had no form at all, or were just a point of light. All this is possible in the dream state. And, if it's possible for you to have an alternate image, doesn't it stand to reason that it is possible for your dream companions to undergo such magical transformations, too?
In some cases, the dream psyche is giving you an outfit to wear to the costume ball. It's as though the psyche sees something in material word, like a crawling insect, and says, "Wow, I wonder what it would be like to be a cockroach?" And that night, it tries on the cockroach persona and image for size. This sort of costume is a rental, to play-pretend, and not an actual affirmation of you.
In other cases, the dream is allowing you to picture an aspect of yourself that truly is you, but another side of you. Suppose I ask the question, "If you were an animal, what animal would you be?" and you answer, "A buffalo." You feel a kinship with the beast, perhaps because of its mannerisms, perhaps because of what it represents to you, or perhaps because you like to think of yourself as a "buff dude." Whatever the reason, you associate yourself with the image of a buffalo. And when your partner tries to dream with you, and has a dream about a buffalo, he may actually be perceiving you. Not the "you" that looks like that buff dude in the bathroom mirror, but the "you" that thinks of yourself as a buffalo.
The truth is that the dreaming self is quite capable of "X-ray" vision and can see beneath the surface of our outer personas, if it so chooses. It can see below the outer facade to all those secret selves that live within us. That's why, when we try to identify the people in our dreams, we really have to put on our detective hats and probe deeply for clues to the people we know in the waking state. Because they just may be appearing in disguise.
It's no easy task for your partner to discover that his dream buffalo points to you, even if he's lucid. Identification while dreaming is a tricky business. It's to the waking state we must return for solid confirmation. There are basically 2 ways to verify that your partner has picked up some information about you.
The first is to get your feedback. For this, you need to be able to recognize and tell him if he's perceived the "inner you." Of course, this requires that you have a good working knowledge of all the layers of yourself, and not everybody does. Nor can we, if we are growing, developing individuals. All life long, we still discover and uncover new aspects of ourselves.
The second option is for your partner to compare his dream with your dream or waking life (including life of your imagination). The likelihood that he will have a dream that exactly matches yours is very small. The chance that he will dream a carbon copy of either your physical or imaginal environment is also very low. But there are portions of his dream that can serve as clues to unlock the mystery of how psychic perception works. I call them "Consistent Clues." They are the skeletons, the "bare bones" of dream structure. While they are not guaranteed to appear in every interactive dream, they appear often enough to make us stand up and take notice.
My advice is to begin familiarizing yourself with the Consistent Clues, in order to get a sense of dream coding and decoding in general. Even if your symbols differ, it'll be easier to crack the case, to solve the mystery, after you get a general feel for how coding works. Consistent Clues aren't limited to dream character identification. They work for all sorts of dreams. If you use them to compare your dreams and your waking life, they just might work for the dream you had last night.
My examples come from one of my mutual dreaming projects, called Nexus. Here's some Consistent Clues to look for as you read along.
COLOR, LIGHTING, FORM, TEXTURE, PERSPECTIVE, MOTION
Some dreamers have a tendency to see each other with different colored hair when they dream together. This may be just a reflection of their self-image. It's not uncommon for folks whose hair has turned grey to still picture themselves with the black, blonde or brown hair of their youth.
When the goal was to "dream for Kyla," one of her Nexus team members reported this dream: "I see a woman with long, bushy, curly red hair. I tell her she'd look better with it cut. No comment from her. She collects all kinds of sacred objects. There are about 20 saber toothed tiger heads mounted on the walls and crystals and rocks hanging on cord hung from the ceiling."
Kyla responded, "I see myself with red hair sometimes in dreams, and a friend once saw me shift to this aspect in wake-time. I recently dreamed of entering an old wild road populated by tigers, among other beasts. In my dream, I retreated from the tiger, but you saw the deeper part of me who knows no fear." The tiger heads were props attached to the wall; they were the artifacts of Kyla's dream.
Color became the chief indication of one another's presence, not only in terms of dream actors, but also as regards the scenery and props. In one case, the goal for the Nexus group was to meet at the Great Pyramid. Team member Barbara Shor dreamt of a purple heart and a pyramid while I combined her two dream elements and dreamt of a purple pyramid.
By itself, color may not be enough of a signifier, but the case for telepathy is strengthened when other elements of similarity appear. For instance: texture or substance. Barbara's pyramid had a tip of clear crystal whereas I held between my fingers a clear crystal of pyramidical shape. Both of us had an extraordinary amount of light in our respective dreams, too.
This is a portion of Barbara's dream:
"The Pyramid is towering before me. I'm coming up on its lower right-hand edge, climbing up the steep hill toward where it stands. I know I'm really there because it looms over me with that strange, huge, but foreshortened quality that it has. Its energy is so powerful that it shimmers in the air. Yet its shape is so perfect that it somehow doesn't seem real. It's like an energy silhouette blanking out the sky, rather than a solid three-dimensional object. It's an almost-solid multidimensional object.
"As I look up I see that, real though it seems, this is a dream version, for the Pyramid is complete. It has an enormous, water-clear quartz crystal tip, and the sun rising behind it ignites the crystal in a blaze of light. Suddenly, the tip swings back to the right, as though it were hinged to the top of the structure. And I see a crowd of human-like golden winged beings flying in and out of the interior. From this perspective, and in the dazzling light, they seem more like a swarm of golden bees with vast wings made up of strands of golden energy filaments."
And here is a part of my dream:
"Unlike most of my dreams, the scenery is brightly colored and finally I become lucid--There's a store counter with things hanging on strings from a display rack. I handle them to prepare myself for the goal of the night. Talking to an unseen woman to my left, I describe, "The bottom has four sides and it comes to a point." With this, I "image up" a clear crystal pyramid, about an inch high. Holding it between left thumb and index finger, I can feel the sharp point pressed against the middle of my finger.
"Satisfied that I've got a good "feel" and image, I place it on the counter and walk to the middle of the room. "Excuse me," I tell the woman, "I've got to go to the pyramids." I hold out my arms and spin to wipe out the scenery, calling out, "Pyramids! Pyramids!" When I open my eyes, success! I'm in a brightly colored restaurant where the men wear fezzes. I hurry outside and turn my gaze up, up, almost straight upwards. It's the pyramids!
"The sight that greets my eyes is vibrantly tinted. The facade of the building is a bright purple, against a bright blue, against a bright green pyramid. But they're multilayered and flat on top. I grin at the ironic realization that the only pyramids I've ever traveled to in waking life are the ones south of the border. So my dreaming mind has conjured up Mexican pyramids!"
The form of the pyramid is one of the Consistent Clues. I dreamt of flat-topped Mexican-style pyramids. When the tip of Barbara's swung away, it left a flat-topped pyramid, also. And yet another clue is viewpoint. Barbara's pyramid was looming over her. In order to see my pyramid the first time, I had to look almost straight upwards, since I was so close to its steep sides. "Looming over" me is a good description of my perspective of the pyramid, too. More oblique were the long, thin forms, suspended in the air. I dreamt of things hanging on strings, whereas Barbara dream of vast wings made up of golden filaments.
In my dream, I spread my arms and spun to go to the pyramids, then exited the interior to the outside; in Barbara's she sees human-like winged beings exiting the pyramid to the outside. So, did Barbara see me, with arms extended, as a winged being? I'd like to think so. Other dreamers have dreamt of me with wings. Not surprising, I love to fly!
COLOR, LIGHTING, FORM, TEXTURE, PERSPECTIVE, MOTION