Electric Dreams

An Excerpt From The Lucid Dream Exchange
Lucy Gillis, Editor

Dream Characters and Reality Checks
Part Three: Incubation and Fantasy

Linda Lane Magallón

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Magallón, Linda Lane (2006 January). Dream Characters and Reality Checks. Part Three:
Incubation and Fantasy. (An Excerpt From The Lucid Dream Exchange, Lucy Gillis, Editor.)
Electric Dreams 13(1).

Back in May, Linda Lane Magallón tackled the subject of dream characters in part one of her four part series. Are dream characters real people? Do they have a will, or a consciousness of their own? Are they all the same, or could some be lifeless projections? Join Linda as she takes us on a journey through her own thoughts and intriguing dreams. You may not look at your dream characters in quite the same way again!

Dream Characters and Reality Checks
Part Three: Incubation and Fantasy

(c) 2005 Linda Lane Magallón

Reluctant Willie

Lucid, I yell, "Willie, Willie!" remembering how many times this has not worked to bring Willie to me and I feel my emotions move into despair. This time, I halt them and affirm my desire instead. "I've got to believe I can," I think to myself.

Around the corner of a light green house, a slender, but not thin, Black woman strolls towards me, dressed in slacks and a shirt. Is this Willie? I feel myself start to doubt and stop myself, as if holding my breath. As the woman comes my way, something like a banner of dark long hair furls out between us to hide her face. I hope that she really is Willie and note that she is sporting an Afro. Will I never see her face? I wonder. Then I affirm that I will hold onto the dream until I do.

She comes around the obstruction and takes me by the left hand with a "come with me, I want to show you something" attitude. (She may actually say this, but the exact conversation is unremembered.) Her hair metamorphs a couple of times from the Afro to several versions of less kinky hairstyle, although all are mid-length. The last has convoluted curls on top and a fairly straight bouffant. She is slightly taller than I and younger than I expected. I think, "I've never seen her so close, so long." We walk along the sides of what seem to be shop fronts. Finally I stop her and ask, frowning, "What's taking you so long?" meaning to meet me in waking life. When she starts to answer I realize I need to ask an even more specific question. "Are you going to come into my reality?"

As she smiles and looks off to my right, I notice her slender facial structure and cocoa complexion. "I'm waiting, too," she responds. "Next week sometime," she says turning back to look at me with a wink.

"Next week! Ohh!" I exclaim in astonishment and gratitude. As I awake, I am aware we are still holding hands.

Unfortunately, Willie never did show up that next week. Not in the waking state, not in the dream. I was disappointed, discouraged, disenchanted.

I don't recall where I got the notion, but I do remember it was born of desperation. I'd been searching for a new career without success. The suggestion was that, to reveal my vocational heart's desire, I should analyze my daydreams. There was one fantasy in particular that had started when I was a kid, then grew and changed as I did. As an adult, I was too embarrassed to admit that I still enjoyed it. Its genesis had been superhero TV shows and comic books.

Not surprising, really. My maiden name was Linda Lane, but when people first met me, they'd call me Lois. Lois Lane was the comic character whose prime function was to be rescued by Superman. It didn't seem fair that he'd then fly off and have all the fun. This inequality definitely called for a change in the story line. So one day, in imagination, I took to the sky. No more Lois. I became Casey Lane.

When I began analyzing my now grown-up version of the fantasy, I discovered that some of the scenarios were much too vague. So I gave complete names to the characters and retrofitted them with histories, personalities, vocations, and avocations, all in an attempt to fill out my ideal working environment. One of the characters was an Afro-American woman I'd been calling Willie. I augmented her biography and expanded her name to Willette Nicholson. I was very much aware that I was creating this character. Willful fantasy was under my control, whereas dreams were totally out of control.

March the 8th International Women's Day. At approximately 4:30 in the morning, for the first time in my life, I awoke to the fact that I was dreaming. It began as a nightmare, as usual. Then I was rescued from suffocation, not by Superman, but by a mysterious black-clothed woman who flung me over her back and took me soaring through the sky. The dream continued:

We fly over the plaza and down the street through a city of skyscrapers. The woman makes a right turn, then stops. While hovering, she rolls me over onto my back so that she is holding me in an embrace.

"Hello, Casey," she says softly, smiling. Her features are indistinguishable but dark in color. She is projecting a blast of emotion toward me. I am receiving an intense feeling of kindness and loving concern. She knows me as Casey - my super self!

"Will-it!" I exclaim in utter astonishment as I recognize her. This mutual recognition has brought me to lucidity. Willette lifts me to an upright position. Still embracing my body with one arm, she stands to my left. We are both suspended in the air.

I can't believe my eyes. Here is the subject of my creation: a character who I made up in fantasy. But now I know she's an actual person, a completely mature, independent adult, standing right next to me, holding me, talking to me! And she can really fly! I can hardly comprehend it all.

"Why?" I ask. Why is she here, saving me, showing so much concern for me? Looking me straight in the eye, she says with utmost gravity, "You were once my mother."

The loving concern I felt emanating from Willie was so intense, I carried it with me the entire next day. I was convinced, both in the dream and after I awoke, that I was encountering a real person.

Here was the dichotomy expressed more vividly than I could have imagined. On the one hand, there was this character that I had created, then enhanced during the most intense period of visualization in my life. On the other hand, there was this emancipating entity, freely speaking and acting on her own. It was as if I'd incubated a new being in my imagination, who then crossed over and was born into my dreams. If a statue had come to life in my own front room, the psychological impact couldn't have been more powerful.

I am in a meeting room filled with people seated at rectangular tables. Willie is seated across from me. I lean forward urgently, asking if she is now living in this world and get an affirmative answer. I may also ask about doing a project together. Then I stand to see her smiling but leaning slightly away from the table with an aura of self-confidence (like she knows she can join me but doesn't have to commit herself).

This connection has been intense, almost to the point of lucidity. I go into the next room and gain some additional self-awareness when I wonder what name Willie would have in this life. As if in my imagination, I get the impression of two names, the second ending with an "sey" like in "Morresey". The room is a bar filled with people. Gazing at a row of women seated at the bar, I finally gain full lucidity.

I suddenly realize that I have seen Willie in an earlier part of this dream. "Willie! Willie!" I bellow, facing the women, who look at me askance. I'm ready to bolt for the next room, but stop to offer an apology for my behavior. "Excuse me, I'm lucid," I say and leave. I quickly walk to the meeting room, which is still filled with people, sitting and standing about. "Willie!" I call again. When no one responds and I don't see her, I hurry on to the next room. This one is a huge auditorium with descending seats to a stage on the right-hand side of the room. It, too, is filled with people. I call out Willie's name again, my eyes sweeping the room.

Someone with mid-length curly light brown hair steps directly in front of me and the two of us sit down on the steps. "What do you know about her?" s/he asks, referring to Willie. I try to remember our conversation at the table. "Only that she was born in this world, which says mountains," I reply. I recall that I had been wondering if Willie would remain a discarnate throughout this life.

"Do you know anything about her family?" "First I thought she was alone," I reply, thinking hard and picking up more imagery, "Then I got an impression of a lot of problems, so I don't know."

Those lucid dreams, in which I remembered to or wanted to look for Willie, were so infrequent that I pursued the elusive will-o'-the-wisp for many years. This dream was the turning point.

Fantasy Incubation

There was absolutely nothing within my experience to encompass what had happened. I began a dream journal and read every dream book I could get my hands on. I also continued to run excerpts from the fantasy in my mind just before sleep. Maybe that would provide more substance to the dream. Maybe, if there was enough substance, Willie could make a second crossing - into the waking state. Maybe I could become more Casey-like in dreams or waking life.

I am walking with Willie through the courtyard of an old apartment building to a "gathering of the clan." Two friends come walking towards us; they turn a corner and go up a couple of steps and inside a screen door. As Willie and I follow them, I ponder on the fact that this married pair are the models for two of the people in my fantasy. Thinking this way brings me to a low level of lucidity.

Inside the apartment I recall their fantasy names and compare them with the waking ones. "It's Sandy and Nancy Tully, not Torrey," I remember aloud. Then I turn to the man and call him by his waking name. "Walter!" I exclaim.

"Who's that?" he responds. "The guy I patterned you after," I tell him.

Off to the right are the rest of the group. I take a big breath and proclaim loudly to them, "You're all figments of my imagination!" Astonished, they all collapse and sit down on the floor.

As I wake, I hear a voice saying, "I wonder what she I be?"

Of course, many Willie dreams were directly influenced by the fantasy. This was especially true when I slipped from hypnogogia into a dream. A few times the scenery of my reveries would show up in my dreams, but rarely was the story line reproduced. For the most part, the dream would head off in directions I'd never imagined.

After a while, in some non-lucid dreams, I simply "knew" that I was Casey. My waking persona had been replaced by my fantasy one. This turned out to be immensely helpful. As Casey, I knew I could fly away from danger or stand up to threats. Thus, nightmares could be transformed within the dream, before I ever woke up. My dreaming self, who had been the unwitting victim of almost 40 years of hellish existence, was being remade as a super self.

Doctrinal Compliance Again

For Willie, just the opposite seemed to be happening. She played roles I'd never visualized. A social worker (she was a scientist). A spy (she was a human rights activist). An elementary school teacher (she taught college as a grad student). A trumpet player (yes, she was a musician, but she played the flute). In the fantasy, she had a strong personality; in the dream she could act like a wimp.

Dream Willie was extremely elastic. Something besides deliberate pre-sleep intent was forming her character. When I read Jungian literature, she'd act like a Jungian archetype. If I were studying Freud, I'd dream something with sexual content. Depending on what I read, talked about, or saw on TV, she'd be Christ Consciousness or the Wicked Witch of the West. She was also The Thinker, a Primal Screamer, a food server, a fund-raiser, a dress model, a printing shop clerk and The Lone Ranger! The most pervasive influence was the Seth material. I dreamt of her in Jane Roberts' imaginal Library, as an oversoul and as a channeled entity. I dreamt she told me that Jane Roberts was part of our "family." Whereas other folks in the Seth community interpreted that to mean I was part of Jane Roberts' extended family, the Sumari, I assumed that Willie was referring to my fantasy clan. In any case, I accepted neither possibility out of hand. I knew only too well that Doctrinal Compliance was swaying my subconscious. Dream conformity to what I experienced in waking life was preprogramming Willie's dream persona. It was responsible for both the foundation and maintenance of most dream settings as well as the ongoing narrative. A lucid dream wasn't free of this background influence, either.

Lucid Creation and Comparisons

Within lucid dreams, I could deliberately conjure up Willie's image, but it would be quite vague or readily collapse. Once, her dream body turned into an egg! Maybe I was once her mother, but this retro-birth was ridiculous. I was more successful when I simply called for her. True, she didn't show up very often, but then is a real person always available at our beck and call?

At the edge of hypnogogia, I tried to picture her in new surroundings to see how much control I had over the pre-dream stage. A lot, it turned out. However, once the dream began, the scenario was likely to morph. I learned that, in-dream, create your own character was not an easy task. Most definitely, I couldn't do everything I wanted to do. In fact, the more I attempted the deliberate do-it-yourself approach to dreaming, the more I realized how unyielding the dreamworld could be.

Reality checks I did, by keeping records and comparing methods of retrieval.

I came to understand that the sort of Willie I encountered depended on the method of encounter. The non-lucid dream Willie was not like the fantasy Willie. Less sure of herself. The automatic writing Willie was more like the channeled Willie. Very authoritarian. The Willie of poetry was not like the day vision Willie. Abstract and conceptual rather than visual and objective.

Lucid dream Willie was hard to find. Hypnogogic Willie was often an imp. This sort of reality check yielded the conclusion that each type of retrieval system actually formed a different kind of Willie.

Me as Willie

Occasionally, in non-lucid dreams, I actually became Willie - knew myself as Willie, looked out from her point of view. I assumed this was an expansion of the fantasy. There, the characters had the communal capacity to become aware of one another's thoughts and feelings. Tele-empathy. Also, when I ran the fantasy in my mind, I usually took on the role of each character, especially when they had speaking parts. Temporarily, I could play Willie. But I never thought of her as a "part of me," like an essential limb or organ. Rather, she was a cloak I could create and wear, then take off and put away.

I experimented with this concept in waking life. My hair was given a permanent of tight curls. I wore her colors (red and black) all winter long. Perhaps because of that period of pretending, I spoke up with more confidence and began to identify myself as a researcher. Act as if, and it rubs off on you.

Other Dreamer's Willie

When I began talking about Willie to colleagues and friends, several other people dreamt about her. But with the exception of Melinda Nelson's hypnogogic example, their variations weren't much like my waking or dreaming versions. True, other people could dream of Willie singing or dancing, but not to the rock and roll beat of the music tapes I played when I imagined her. She was the parent of many children as well as a daughter in one of my past lives (dream reactions to "Once you were my mother"). One dreamer's version of Willie was a little child; another's was a high priestess. Personal projection was the driving force, while tele-empathic perception took a back seat. Willie could show up in other people's dreams as an exalted divinity, an opera singer's attendant or a camera projectionist (speaking of projection!).

Willie was also the inspiration for communal creativity after we woke. Besides Melinda's drawing, friends created a plaster face mask for Willie (using my face), a Tarot reading and a horoscope (based on the date and time of the breakthrough dream). But none of them really rang true.

Waking Life: The 10% Manifestation

I was running errands one day and musing that if I ever met Willie in waking life, she'd probably not have that name. After all, I was Casey only in the fantasy. So what name would she have, I wondered. "Diana" came to me. Two days later I walked into a new job and met the woman I was replacing. She was of Anglo descent, not Afro-American, but that didn't stop me from chuckling at her name. It was Diane Wills. I had imagined that Willie's childhood home would be in Carson City, Nevada. That's where Diane and her husband were going to retire.

Because the horoscope based on the date of the breakthrough dream didn't feel right, I decided that, if I were to guess Willie's astrological sign, she would be a Leo. Then I had a dream that Willie and I would meet in Mexico. By this time, I didn't take it very seriously. Nevertheless, when my husband and I journeyed there, a black woman was part of our tour group. I mentioned dreams; she was interested in New Age phenomena. After talking with her, I discovered that she was the mother of a single son, like Willie.

She was a vegetarian, like Willie. And she was a Leo.

Every once in a while, I'd have synchronicities like these. Bits and pieces of the fantasy Willie would come true, but never the whole package. At first, I was frustrated, then disappointed, then resigned. I tried my best to create my own reality in the waking state, but it proved to be a far more difficult task than influencing dream with imagination. How much actually came to be? "About 10%," Willie had suggested in a lucid dream. That may be an overstatement.

The Letdown

Through all my seeking of her asleep, I learned a lot about the lucid dreamworld. The exploration was fascinating, whether I looked for Willie or not. With increasing frequency, I did other things. Willie was so elusive that she was becoming an in-dream jokester and I was not enjoying the joke. I felt rejected, ignored, conned, let down. Funny thing, the breakthrough dream had prefigured this. When Willie told me, "You were once my mother," I tried to understand.

"You mean in another existence?" I ask.

Willette does not respond verbally, but half turns and looks off toward the clouds. The clouds are white and billowing as if in anticipation. They form a corridor through which a patch of blue sky can be seen. The sky brightens, taking on the silhouette of a robed Christ-like figure. As I watch the figure approach, I become more and more hesitant, fearful of being misled spiritually. I'm convinced Willette's comment means that she believes in reincarnation. Willette gestures with her arm to indicate that this god-like figure is coming halfway to meet us. "You mean Jesus?" I ask doubtfully.

Willette gives no answer. I worry that the figure might not be the "true" divinity sanctioned by the Church. "Why am I hesitating?" I ask her, though I know the answer. There must be some way out of this dilemma. I mentally flail around, searching for a reason not to go. (Where was I going anyway? To my death? Would I ever come back?)

Ah-ha! I find an excuse; Willette's answer has given me the key. I remember - I am wife and mother to my own two children. They need me. I can't go yet.

In fact, as I remember, superimposed on the scene is a mental impression of my bedroom just outside the closet doors. I seem to be in two places at once. Standing in my bedroom. And standing in the dream. "My children!" I proclaim.

Willette looks at me seriously. "There is something unresolved here," she says as she releases me. I fall backwards and down out of the sky. I wake with a jerk, as though I have just crash landed on my bed.

The elation of meeting Willie was tempered by the spiritual conflict I'd had to endure. And then, when I didn't do what was expected, I was dropped like a hot potato. Some friend. I ignored this part of the dream. It made me feel too uneasy. I was trying to think positively about dream Willie. Repression, big time.

The issue of whether the god-like figure was really Christ became moot when I left Catholicism soon thereafter. I never thought the Christian god would respect me enough to meet me half-way. To indicate that I was remaining neutral as to its identity, I called the figure "The Cloud Walker." Six years later, I finally got up the courage to incubate a return to the breakthrough dream. I didn't encounter Willie, although Jan accompanied me for a time. It turned out that there were two Cloud Walkers. One of them was a kindly gentleman named Da'caug. The other one was me! You can read the dream and make of it what you will. I thought it was amazing, euphoric and, at its conclusion, a bit humorous. What a delightful change from the sensations I'd experienced at the end of my breakthrough dream. I felt quite resolved, thank you very much. About the Cloud Walker, that is, not about Willie.

I'm in a large room filled with women. "Willie! Willie!" I yell. In response some of the women in the first row seated facing me change color from white to black. But it's a "fake" change, like overlaying one transparency over another and I'm amused/irritated to see that their features haven't changed from Caucasian either. "Do you know how long I've been looking for that woman?" I ask the group rhetorically.

"How long?" responds a woman's voice to my right. I turn and discover I'm seated on top of a counter along with a whole row of women. "Since 1982," I reply. "March 8th, 1982, as a matter of fact."

A woman rushes past me down the aisle. Another woman perched on the opposite side stops her with, "The woman (meaning me) wants to talk to you about the mesh."

Is the woman in the aisle Willie? I look at her back and notice her bouffant black hair, trying to decide if she's Black or White. She hesitates, then continues on. I watch her, tempted to jump down and follow. But I stop by telling myself, there ain't no way I'm going to run after her if she doesn't want to see me.

Return to the Breakthrough Dream

I am journeying down a single-lane dirt road through a hot, flat desert on my way to a distant city. Then I decide I don't like to travel that way and rerun the scenario, this time in a hot-air balloon. My friend Jan is with me. Problem is, the winds could carry us anywhere in the desert, where we might die of thirst. So Jan checks out the water supply, in tanks that look like scuba gear.

Finally, I decide I don't want to go that direction at all and turn around, back the way I've come. I gaze up at the distant mountains that parallel the right side of the road. They seem to come together at a single peak which I know is the "north pole." Then I realize that it looks that way because I can see the curvature of the planet. Wow, this must be a small planet for me to be able to see its curvature so well! The scene makes me slightly giddy. I realize I'm not on Earth.

As I bring my gaze down, I find myself standing at the edge of a semi-circular cliff. Beyond, white clouds swirl, obscuring the view below, but I know that they mask a bottomless abyss. In fact, it seems that if I could look through the clouds beneath my feet, I'd see more blue sky and finally the blackness of starry space, as if the cliff is suspended like one of those "cities in the sky." In front of me in the distance are the multi-forms of layered clouds and the shadow of a building nestled into the cliff. Above this panorama is the limitless expanse of the blue heavens.

Knowing full well I might fall, I decide to step off the cliff. What a thrill to realize that I don't drop! Not even a little bit! Instead I skate forward across the top of the puffy whiteness. I have conquered my fear and with what wonderful results! I can feel the wind stream past my face and the sun's warmth on my shoulders. The feeling of wonder surges up from inside, straining to meet the expansiveness of the outer scene. I fling my arms wide as the feeling inside my body fulfills itself in ecstasy. This rush of energy brings me to lucidity.

I land at the building across the cliff and enter via the door. There are a few people about in this elevator foyer, but one man in particular steps forward to greet me. He speaks some phrases in an unfamiliar language. "I'm awake...on earth," I exclaim, alerting him to my degree of consciousness. "Earth" is a lower case word, very, very far away. His eyebrows go up and his eyes sparkle as he realizes that I am lucid.

"What is this place?" I ask curiously. "Phobe," he replies emphatically, rhyming the word with "robe." I remember him using that word when he first addressed me. "Phobe?" I ask excitedly, "You mean one of Jupiter's moons?" "No," he replies, furrowing his brow in concentration. I get the impression of a spot in the far distance of a horizontal plane.

"What is your name?" I inquire. He tells me. "Da'caug," I repeat slowly, carefully. It sounds like "Da-cawg."

Da'caug takes my hand in his. He feels so familiar, like family. I realize that while he's serving as my guide, he is also according me great respect, as if I were a colleague. We tour the back side of the building, ending up at the far side of the cliff. This time I force myself to look down into the white clouds and see far below me, the edge of a cosmic ocean. Hands firmly clasped, we both push off from the cliff and once again I experience the ecstasy of flying while standing up.

We return to the building and enter another door into a room busy with the atmosphere of commerce. There are people in check-out lines, as if purchasing items in a gift store at a lodge. The whole area now has the feeling of a national park. A woman walks by, one I recognize from the first room.

"Hilda?" I ask Da'caug if that's her name.

"No, Ada," he replies. "She doesn't have a ____."

I don't catch the word but it seems like "soul," though I know that's not it. Da'caug seems genuinely perplexed, like he can't figure out what she is. I get the impression that she is more solid and doesn't have the same kind of spiritual emanations that the other people in the scene do. I look at them, concentrating, trying to see their auras myself, but all I see is a shimmer as their forms temporarily dissolve and then refocus into sharp outline.

"Auras," I say, "How can you tell?"

"There used to be a brochure," says Da'caug, looking around for one. Am I supposed to buy it? No, Da'caug is going to give it to me, but is unable to locate one. Instead, he starts telling me how to see auras. His words resolve into a couple of lines of print in a book. I get the impression that "seeing" auras is equivalent to seeing an additional layer of information overlaid on the printed words.

(NOTE: Phobos, who in mythology was an attendant of Ares, is actually the larger of the two moons of Mars. Its root is "-phobe" which is Latin for "fear." But after the initial trepidation, I certainly experienced none of that! Actually, the scenario was the antithesis of fear, perhaps where the "other side" of our fearful selves dwell.

I had been incubating to "go home;" to find Willie so she would take me "half-way" to god, as in the breakthrough dream. In a later dream of the night, I became lucid in a room, paused to gather my energies, and called out "Where are you Willie?" But the effort cost me the dream.)

The energy to have Willie dreams seemed to be winding down. Perhaps the reserves I had accumulated during 30 years of fantasy were being depleted? I sought her less and less in lucid dreams. I saw her with diminishing frequency in non-lucid dreams. Elation and anticipation were replaced by disappointment. I was angry, at her sometimes, but mostly with myself. Willie was a trickster and I was a fool, or so it seemed. Cynical, I became, about the whole affair.

Grounded Once More

After speculating in the stratosphere, it took years to get grounded again. Thank goodness, I had a ground to fall back on. I had built its foundation with my research into telepathic and mutual dreaming.

After everything is said and done, who is the only creature who can serve as a reality check on dream characters? What sort of character can give you feedback as to whether or not your assumptions are accurate? There's only one. A cooperative, fully alive, physical human being.

Last in the series - Back to Verification: Mutual Dreaming - See LDE 37. http://members.aol.com/caseyflyer/flying/dreams.html (Dream Flights)

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