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Below are the 17 most recent journal entries recorded in Varieties of Oneiric Experience's LiveJournal:

Sunday, October 21st, 2007
9:46 am
The History of Last Night's Dream

Just thought people who read this journal might be interested in a new book called "The History of Last Night's Dream: Discovering the Hidden Path to the Soul" by Rodger Kamenetz. The author has a very interesting theory on doing dream work and shying away from traditional interpretation. I just finished reading it last night and found it to be amazing and eye-opening.
Thursday, May 24th, 2007
7:23 am
I have a question for you
I'll say up front that this is only tangentially related to dreams.
Yesterday, I followed a link on jmprince's blog to this wiki, to discover that I experience synaesthesia-- something I'd heard about in passing but never really looked into.

I'd always assumed that my experiences were something that everyone "saw", but apparently not. I suspect that synaesthesia is far more common than some would have us believe-- partly because most of us who have it assume that our experiences are universal.

I thought I would test this theory with people who read my blog, and have cross posted it here, because I'd like to know whether the experience of synaesthesia lines up with a different dreaming experience as well. I could see where it might possibly have that effect, given the associative nature of dreams.

So if you like, follow the link to the wiki, and see if any of the things described there line up with your own experience. I'd be particularly interested in hearing which subtypes you experience, if you have this at all, and also the degree to which your dreams are complex/lucid on a regular basis (and whatever else you think might be relevant!)

Admittedly, this request suffers from self-selection bias, but if you don't ask, how do you know?

EDITED TO ADD: If you *don't* think you have synaesthesia after reading the wiki, please let me know if you lucid dream. I'm wondering how much of lucid dreaming is tied into a highly visual thinking process.

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Current Mood: curious
Friday, March 30th, 2007
12:10 pm
Angelic beings
I dreamed last night of creating stories about angelic beings. I was talking to someone, and standing in front of a window or viewscreen of some kind, and the beings I was making up stories about were wandering around on the other side. Like, I made them up in my head but they manifested or something. There were Greater Celestials, Lesser Celestials, Greater and Lesser Immortals, and Eternals. I think the Eternals were at the top of the heap, so to speak. The Immortals were at the bottom, like servants. The person I was describing them to said, after I mentioned the Eternals, "sounds old." I guess that was in reference to the Eternals, but could have been all of them.

I also dreamed I was laying in a "puppy pile" of people, male and female. The person to my right was supposedly male; but at a later point when I was engaged in more intimate activity with him (beginning with massage but progressing from there) he had no genitalia visible. He was as neuter as a Ken doll, or as the character of Metatron in the Kevin Smith film Dogma. Yet he seemed to be still male and could feel desire and pleasure. Distinctly odd. I added this part because his neutered quality seemed more related to being angelic than to be a eunich (sp?).
Thursday, March 8th, 2007
12:38 pm
Haven't had an entry in awhile...
Any news on the Wiki, Giant Moose? I still think that would be the best idea, since people could write out the whole stories of their dreams, and they would cross reference.

Meanwhile, let's talk about fluids in dreams.
Experiences of drowning/swimming/being underwater/drinking/rowing a boat-- anything fluid.
What have you dreamed about?
Saturday, February 10th, 2007
11:48 pm
Popular culture in dreams
I've been googling dream taxonomy, just to see whether there have been any other attempts to do what we're doing here. Almost everything I found had a strong analytical bias of one flavor or another. But this concerned a topic I haven't seen yet in our dream descriptions.

So I thought I'd ask our community the question they ask--

Do you dream of brand names/branded items of some kind?
If so, it might be interesting if you add a note about whether the brand differences in your dreams are things that are important to you when you're awake?
Monday, February 5th, 2007
10:09 am
Speaking with the dead
In this entry, maybe people could share their experiences of speaking with the dead. Who did you talk to? What did you talk about? Did they/you know they were dead? Was there a chain of events outside your conversation?

(And giantmoose-- Any word on the wiki yet?)
Thursday, February 1st, 2007
9:15 am
Dreams that Don't Fit
Last night I had a couple of standard dreams-- you know, nothing special. The kind where you get your check in the mail and it's more than you expected, or you meet an old friend you've been meaning to get back in touch with but haven't had time to see. The second was quite vivid and movie like-- but still, nothing special.

I was thinking about what makes dreams special for me, and frequently it's that they defy easy categorization on waking. I have trouble mapping them to issues in my life-- or they deal with existential issues. They make me wonder, and keep turning the puzzle pieces, trying for a match.

What about you? What makes a dream memorable?

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Tuesday, January 30th, 2007
11:16 pm
5:57 pm
Favorite rooms?
We love our dream houses-- that much is clear. Here, lets talk about our favorite rooms from those houses. What makes your favorite so great?
I will probably not make a list here, since I expect these will be full of specific details that defy more general categorization....
but you never know.
Sunday, January 28th, 2007
10:29 pm
I'll fly away....
In this entry, let's get into the details of flying dreams. How do you fly? Have you always flown in dreams? If not, do you remember your first time? Have flying dreams changed for you over the years? How often do you dream of flying?
Why/where do you fly?

--to escape danger
--to test dream vs reality
--flying and erotica?
--visiting people in tall buildings while you fly

--effortless, or nearly effortless flying
---but you don't go too high for fear of falling
--takes concentration and focus to achieve
---or else you rise
---or else you hover
---or else you drift back down
---and even with concentration you can only achieve a slight lift off the ground, maybe a few inches

--flying starting from a sitting position(hands under knees)
---which stops/changes as the dreamer ages?

Feelings about flying?
-- euphoria(that persists into waking? (me))
-- try to convince self that "it's real this time?"
-- defiant and smug about escape, but not necessarily focused on the act of flying?

Still dream about crashing in planes even though you have flying dreams
Saturday, January 27th, 2007
10:05 am
Describe your Great Big Party Dreams
Since we all seem to have them....
What kind of party is it? Who's there? What do you do? Topics of conversation/activities?
Here are a few to start with:

--Eating/drinking goodies at parties (thanks, hummingwolf!)
--conducting Important(but unclear) Business through the crowds
--gathering after/before some important event for light socializing
--chase occurring in a large party
--searching for someone at a party
--gallery/music/theater opening, admiring the setting
--servant at a large party/following servants through the party
--getting together with familiar people
--getting together with people you aren't likely to spend time with in real world

--cream cakes/ice cream cakes??
-- birthday parties
Friday, January 26th, 2007
10:47 pm
Dream Themes poll

Last one for now, coz I know I am testing patience, but I wanted to clear up a few left out of the first one & check frequencies. (I left out Fifth Business I'm afraid - lack of ticky boxes. I'm more interested in Does anyone dream of faeries)

Poll #914724 More themes

Have you more than a few times dreamt of

Endless Packing
Amusement Park/Aquariums
Tunnels/ passageways underground
The End of the World (disaster happening)
The End of the World (in the aftermath)
The Old Flame
Dipping into and out of Authorship of the Story
Dipping into and out of Reading or Watching the Story
Having No Pants On
Committing Crimes
Zoo Escaped & Run Wild
SF Adventure
Dinosaur Wood
7:03 pm
let's see if this works - experiment in x-posting a poll
I found the first poll absolutely fascinating. To see what people dreamed; to see that people have those dream abilities that I don't have (breathing under water (tomsdisch amongst others), invisibility, ticky boxes). That falling is so rare (I thought it was the commonest of all dream-types, but I'm wrong). And most of all that 84% of respondents had a familiar dream house to which they return in dreams.

It begs the question, what sort of dream house do you have? (and if I'm right in assuming a dream-history is maintained within dreams of the house)

Poll #914580 Dream Houses

If you dream of a house, is it

the same house from previous dreams
different house each time
sometimes new, sometimes remembered

Poll #914581 Within those house dreams

about the house

you own the house
you rent the house
you squat/other the house
the house has secret passages
the house is under construction
the house has many rooms
the house is in outer space/onlegs/ otherwise fantastical
the house is in a foreign country
the house is well done out
the house is shabby/falling down
the house is scary. (lights won't turn on or similar)
the house a safe-haven
the cellar is always beckoning
the house is somewhere you know in real life
the house is somewhere you don't know in real life
Thursday, January 25th, 2007
7:39 pm
wiki update
I suggested earlier that a wiki would make an excellent home for this project — each dream could be given its own page, with links to related dreams, and assigned to categories. I spent some time today looking at various hosted wikis (I know how to install a wiki engine on my website, but I don't know if I want to commit to the support tasks that this would entail.)

The best one appears to be Wikia, which is a sister project to the well-known Wikipedia and uses the same excellent MediaWiki software. The downside is that they are a bit choosy nowadays — they're not just a no-questions-asked hosting service like PBWiki or StikiPad.

So I went ahead and filled out an application for a wiki on Wikia. Fortunately it's less imposing than, say, a grant proposal (have we categorized Filling Out An Immensely Complex Form yet?) Here's what I gave for the description:

A listing of, and analysis of, dream archetypes. Despite each person's dreams being unique, and resistant to understanding, they do seem to repeat common themes and plots -- The Forgotten Errand, Visiting An Unfinished House, The Gift From A Stranger, Returning To School, etc.

This wiki would be devoted to enumerating these, linking between them, and exploring them from multiple perspectives such as psychology (esp. Jungian), anthropology, folklore and literature.

This is not to be a simplistic "dream dictionary" that provides rigid interpretations of symbols; rather, it treats dreams as a universal shared folklore of the unconscious and seeks to describe and categorize this genre, much as the brothers Grimm and others did for the folktales created during our waking hours.

This project was recently begun by the writer John Crowley, who suggested the need for "a real taxonomy of dreams: not an analytic mode or method, we are far from that pace Freud and others, but a simple taxonomy, like the meme structure of folktales." [1] A LiveJournal community [2] has been created to continue listing and analyzing, but it's been noted [3] that a wiki is a much better medium for this than a shared blog.

[1] http://crowleycrow.livejournal.com/40785.html
[2] http://community.livejournal.com/dreamtaxonomy/
[3] http://community.livejournal.com/dreamtaxonomy/534.html

Hopefully that will be erudite-sounding enough to snow them. I'll let you know; but it may take a week or so for them to get back to me. In the meantime, let's all keep dreaming!
11:06 am
Monsters and nightmares and chase scenes, oh, my!
You can scroll back to the previous entry to see that we're definitely making some progress with our list.

I thought we might occasionally pick a topic and try to list all the various wrinkles on that theme that we can think of.

For the first, I chose monsters and nightmares, partly because I think our definition of what consititutes a nightmare may vary, and it would be interesting to try to get a read on that as well.

For monsters-- are we talking monstrous people? unseen malevolent forces? animals in which the Beast is the most evident feature? Demons? Or something else altogether?

I look forward to reading your ideas on this topic!

Here's a start:

Monster appearance:
Non human:
-- Bugs/spiders/crawly things (5 legs+)
-- snakes
-- bees/scorpions/sting-y things
--GIANT bugs/slugs..etc.
--Slugs/slimy things
--Mythological creatures
--inanimate objects somehow come to life
-----sometimes combined bizarrely with other objects/living things (here' a great example)
--unseen malevolent presence
--monster-y creatures that are also somehow loved ones

--criminals (burglars/rapists/murderers)
--Politicians/people from government agencies/fascists/oppressors/prison guards, etc.
--people with supernatural powers (wizards/witches, etc.)
--damaged people("I will hug him, and squeeze him, and name him George!")
--drug pushers
--loved/familiar people who are somehow now enemies /with inability to use violence to defend oneself

monster behavior:
--stalks/chases/attacks/crawls on you
--kills you
--kills loved ones
--drugs/poisons you/loved ones
--enslaves you/loved ones

your reaction to monster:
--kill monster
--attack monster
----with regular weapons
----with illogical/fantastic weapons
--unable to do anything
--run away from monster
--killed by monster
--good defense against the big monsters, but the small things get you in the end

And (this might play into the nightmare thing? Guessing.)
your reaction on waking:

--feel monster is still physically present
--feel monster is still with you, even though unseen
--feel uneasy about dream events, as if they were real
--feel emotional distress about dream after waking, even though you know it's not real
--dream events remind you of conscious worries and you remain distressed

Nightmares without monsters:
Walls closing in/suffocating/drowning/being pulled away from safety(washing out to sea, etc)
Feeling trapped with or without suffocation
Feeling that you're going mad
Loved one with life threatenining illness or loss of body part/functioning
Loved ones dying
Being under fire(at war)
Experienceing a natural disaster

For hummingwolf,a nightmare is "a dream which scares me enough that I wake up with my heart pounding."
For shadefell a nightmare is "unpleasant dream experiences which cause fear, stress and anxiety, even upon waking."
For crowleycrow, a nightmare is "a distinct physical experience, unlike a bad dream. Whatever the content -- and it is sometimes quite innocent or banal -- there creeps into a sense of horror, foreboding, or alarm that becomes suffocating, until finally the dreamer awakes in physical distress, crying out etc."

Anyone else want to put their definition into concrete terms this way?
Wednesday, January 24th, 2007
9:37 am
Here's an early list of dreams
I'm going to try to divide these up by category, under the assumption that the categories will change as new data arrives. I started with source material from crowleycrow and jackfirecat.

Great input, everyone! I'm adding them as I have a minute.

Does anyone have any thoughts about how we define nightmares? There are many here that I might define as nightmares, but you might just define as dreams, or vice versa. Just curious as to people's thoughts on that.

Also libation provided a link to a treasure trove of personal dream descriptions, tagged by significant elements, here: http://libation.livejournal.com/tag/ . Click on over and check them out-- fun stuff.

Dream houses:

--one's own house, but with hidden/unknown passages
--one's own house, but under construction (improving)
--one's own house, but under construction (falling apart/things chewing at the foundations)
--one's own house, with unusual/new objects or people in it
--one's childhood home or past residence, but with different occupants, new/unknown passages
--visiting houses/neighborhoods familiar from childhood, even if not one's own
--Visiting combinations of familiar houses

--the ideal apartment/house seen as a refuge of some kind
--the terrifying house/apartment/building
--the terrifying house/apartment/building where you can't turn on the lights/lock/unlock the doors, etc

-- spending time on out of control elevators in a house/building
-- spending time searching for a bathroom in a house or building
-- hiding from terrifying people or creatures in a house/building
-- feeling increasingly trapped in a smaller and smaller house or building
-- house within a house-- like a dollhouse that you shrink down and explore

Dream cities/community issues:

-- elaborately produced big budget city
-- with special attention to specific kinds of architecture
--familiar city, but reorganized in a way that it isn't in reality
-- all the buildings connected by tunnels underground
-- the underground/or space city
-- holy places
-- combined with unholy/commercial places and activities
-- the astral dorm (you really just need to read this one. I think it deserves its own category)
-- malls
-- aquariums
-- amusement parks
-- poverty/wealth in dream communities
--finding treasure
--finding nasty surprises in unexpected places
--oppressive society issues (Jew in Nazi Germany, and similar)

Work environments
--the dream job with no downsides, but also no pay
--the bad job I used to have and thought I was done with
--it's the first day, and you're late(also under school)
--surprise! You're drafted.
--being asked to do a job of which you know nothing, because they need your help(crosses with famous people dreams)
--finding oneself ill prepared for work (no hammer holster, incomprehensible engine, piles of paperwork, poorly executed operation, unprepared to teach a class)
--dreams of completing tasks from your real job/life
--the forgotten errand
--perusing imaginary bookstores for spiritual advice
--pressure to complete a task with insufficient time/ materials

School environments
--back in school again even though you've been out for many years
--back in school even though you're married with children and aware of that/bring them with you
--the forgotten class
--the forgotten assignment
--lost in the school/lost schedule
--missing the bus


--taking a journey
--the frustrated journey(noted by joculum)
--lost in the parking garage
--the car has no brakes
--being forced to drive when you can't/don't have a license/don't have glasses, etc
--any of the above resulting in damage/injury to passers-by, etc.
--being driven somewhere you don't want to go, unable to escape
--car chases(as below)
--plane/train crashes with or without fatalities
--subways(or other) turning into rollercoaster rides
--lost baggage

Chase/stalking dreams
-- with or without the sense that you are participating in a movie
-- delight of chase/escape
-- terror of being chased/hunted by a predator
-- sense of being stalked by something unseen
--(crossed with house dreams) something stalking you in your house, light switches don't work, being chased into smaller and smaller places in a house

-- speeding up,
-- slowing down
--"running through molasses" (slow for me but everything around me at normal pace) or vice versa.

Dream transitions
--forced by dreamer
--using doors
--initiated by loved ones/famous people
--initiated by flying/changing mode of transportation

Flying dreams
--which start as falling and turninto a cosmic slide
--which start as a chase
--in which you explore and you have no physical bounds
--in which you explore and find your world limited even though you can fly

--being killed
-- seeing someone you know is dead, but they don't know
--conversing with the dead
--raising the dead
--knowing you're dead, but walking around anyhow
--meeting famous dead people
--End of the world and it's All My Fault
--End of the world, and it has nothing to do with my actions
--Massive weather events(tornado/hurricaine/earthquake) but no negative consequences
--Massive weather events and expected consequences

Physical identity issues
-- seeing onself in a mirror and seeing a different person
-- sleep paralysis/hypnagogic/hypnopompic hallucinations
-- inability to act as one wants in a dream crowleyclow posits that this might be evidence of slipping between sleep stages, if I've understood him correctly.
--Being your usual self in a dream, but other people treating you as an entirely different person.
--Being yourself, but with some exception: different age from your current one, different race, different gender, different species.
--Being a different person in your dream, but remembering the person you are in the waking world.
--Being a different person in your dream, with absolutely no relationship to who you are in the waking world.
--Being several different people in the same dream.

Physical/Body issues
-- lost or detachable body parts
-- dreams of health(when not healthy) or illness(when not ill)
--nakedness and exposure to others(with awareness and shame)
--nakedness with or without exposure to others, and no shame
--erotic dreams with or without sexual contact
--sexual contact with or without erotic content
--erotic/sexual dreams with content that you would find appealing in real life
--erotic/ sexual dreams with content at odds with your usual preferences/experiences
-- needing a bathroom, and not finding one
-- needing a bathroom, but facilities are filty
-- needing a bathroom, but there are people milling around, doors to stalls are broken, etc.
-- thirst/satisfied
-- thirst/frustrated(think Alice in the tea party)
-- hunger-- eating treats
-- hunger-- eating repulsive food
-- hunger-- unsatisfied
-- vomiting (the ordinary kind)
-- vomiting (surprising substances/objects) see for example the Dark Queen in Mirrormask.

Addiction/behavior issues:
dreaming about drinking/drugging(if you're on the wagon), or eating if you're watching your diet, etc.

Pregnancy/childbirth dreams
-- who's on board?(When I was pregnant with oldest, I dreamed I had a Magic 8 ball window on my belly, so I could see the kid before he was born. In my dream he was about 3 and had bright red hair.)
--virgin births
--being pregnant when you're not
--having children with people you would never have intimate contact with
--Suddenly becoming a parent or guardian of children/other people/creatures
--having far more children/people/creatures to care for than you actully do

definition of life/personhood issues
--Inanimate objects come to life
--People becoming inanimate
--animals acting like people

Brushes with fame/power issues
--meeting a famous person who needs your help(the rock band that desperately needs my help,stand in drumming for the shaman)
-- relationship with famous person
-- the big man who makes me feel guilty/nervous/anxious (crosses with work dreams)
-- shop talk with the famous
--conversations with deities
--meeting a guru/teacher/holy person who gives you advice
--meeting a guru/teacher/holy person who gives you lousy advice or tells you to go away
--meeting a guru/teacher/holy person who looks at you in confusion, like, hey, wrong department, what are you here for?
-- non-famous but omnipresent charcters-- to quote John Crowley-- "Fifth Business"(from Robertson Davies)-- a person who plays "all the parts that moved the play along but weren't central to the drama" .
--combination people--peregrin8 calls them Portmanteau people--"After Lewis Carroll's "portmanteau words" -- as when he would fold "snort" and "chuckle" together to make "chortle.". People who (simultaneously or alternately)represent a number of real individuals in your life, all pasted together.

Story dreams
-- acting out a story familiar to you
-- ability to direct the actions of others in a dream/switch heads
-- having the sense that you're in a movie or on a holodeck or similar
-- redreaming the plot of an existing move/story (for instance,bondgwendabond describes dreaming new Buffy episodes).
-- dreaming about dreaming

Relationship issues

--committing violent/Freudian acts one would never do in real life
--conversations with people one would never have in real life
--meeting the ideal Other
--meeting an old crush/ideal other and having non-ideal, ordinary conversation
--meeting an old crush and having a romantic encounter
--meeting an old crush and having a negative encounter
--meeting oneself
--telepathic communication
--searching for a lost loved one/pet
--marrying a stranger/monster/friend you'd never marry in real life
--finding yourself on the point of marrying one of the above and realizing-- Wait! I'm already married, and I like my real spouse better! And having to solve the ensuing social upheaval.

Dream creations

--the story/painting/movie/piece of music that we develop in our sleep
-- and can't remember on wakening
-- and remember, but find lacking on waking
-- and remember, and execute in real life(if you've done this, please share the story!)
--Dream creations we execute: Real details though not whole stories

Anyone have additions here? I know this isn't even close to all of them...
Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007
6:40 pm
Welcome to dream taxonomies!
Here's a link to John Crowley's blog entry on dreams that started this community. Let's get the ball rolling!

I'd suggest using the comments on this entry to give lists of your usual dream topics.

And if there's anyone out there who knows how to design quizzes or other online forms and would be willing to do one for this site, I'd love to talk to you!
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