Shamanic Dreaming: How to Expand Into Higher Consciousness While You Sleep


The Keys to Shamanic Dreaming: The Art of Conscious Sleepthe ancient tibetan practice of dream yoga is designed to give you access to dream consciousness in waking reality, which has the effect of powerfully expanding your spiritual awareness.

To begin this section on shamanic dreaming, I will first explain the modern term and experience of lucid dreaming. For us modern folks lucid dreaming and shamanic dreaming will share consistencies in the beginning stages simply because the initial goal of both is simply to become aware you are dreaming while you are dreaming. Learning to do this in the culture of my dreaming teachers—the Wirrarika—is very natural and nothing like what we modern people must go through.

Unlike our culture, dream recall is simply a part of everyday life for the Wirrarika. From a very early age, every morning a Wirrarika child is asked by her mom or grandfather, by the shaman or even many people: “What did you dream last night?” This Wirrarika custom of asking about and recounting dreams continues throughout life.

This dream recollection is key to beginning to learn lucid dreaming. Moving from intentionally remembering dreams in high detail to realizing you are dreaming while you are dreaming is a natural progression. For Westerners the best way to learn the highly advanced techniques of shamanic dreaming is to first become proficient at lucid dreaming. We are going to dive into this most important subject soon.

Most modern dream researchers agree on a simple definition for lucid dreaming: in a lucid dream the dreamer knows that he is dreaming while he is dreaming. For those of you proficient in lucid dreaming, I suggest you stick around anyway because you might learn something new.

A Brief History of Dreaming

We all have dreams that upon our wakening startle us with their clarity: the dream felt so real that while we were dreaming it didn’t feel or seem like a dream at all. Many, if not all of us, have also experienced a lucid dream (LD) in which we somehow knew we were dreaming while we were dreaming it, and upon awakening we remember that we knew we were dreaming while dreaming. Recent polls conducted by dream researchers suggest that around 80 percent of people have three to five lucid dreams per year. That’s a really small percentage—1 to 2 percent of dreams for a whole year. After people participate in a weeklong class on how to induce LD, the percentage rises to 10 to 40 percent. After many months of practice inducing LD, many participants report 80 percent frequency, and there are highly experienced oneironauts (lucid dreamers) who, after many years of practice, report 100 percent frequency when they intend to lucid dream.

Lucid dreaming and shamanic dreaming share many themes and processes, but shamanic dreaming takes everything to another whole level. So now you may be wondering why we should practice LD. Good question. The easiest answer is also the simplest: because we spend around a third of our lives asleep, why wouldn’t we want to have access to that part of our life instead of being in a state that resembles a coma? Below are some of the potentials lucid dreaming offers. Later, I’ll get into the whys of shamanic dreaming.


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+ Gain control. Explore your dream world with total clarity, and direct and manipulate dream themes, settings, and plots at will.

+ Get inspired. Collect ideas and creative motivation for the waking world from your subconscious.

+ Fulfill fantasies. During LD you can do whatever you want.

+ Therapy. While lucid dreaming you can face your fears, phobias, anxieties, past traumas, and even nightmares.

+ Gain energy and power. Lucid dreamers have shown that proficiency in lucid dreaming carries over many positive changes in the waking world.

What Is and What Is Not Lucid Dreaming

There are two states of consciousness before and after sleep that are often confused with lucid dreaming. The hypnagogic state and the hypnopompic state are terms used to describe the borderline state between wakefulness and falling asleep and being asleep and waking up, respectively. Both states may tap into the subconscious mind in a similar way and sometimes in an even more powerful way to normal dreams, although hypnagogia (falling asleep) is usually more pronounced than hypnopompia (waking up). Common experiences during hypnagogia include visualizations such as phosphenes (colored specks of light), geometric patterns, kaleidoscopic imagery, and flashing dream scenes similar to an ongoing dream. Since we are still partially awake, we often consciously decide to hold a scene or image or to let it go and pass to another. Personally, I find it quite enjoyable and peaceful to see phosphenes and to be able to control their movements while transitioning to sleep and have found this to be very conducive to evoking lucid dreaming once asleep.

Hypnagogia and lucid dreaming share some qualities, but they are not the same state of consciousness. During the hypnagogic state I can to a certain extent direct the images that I see, in a similar way to lucid dreaming, but I am not asleep yet. Being aware of the hypnagogic state can be a very valuable to lucid dreaming technique. It is an effective technique to “carry over” an image or scene into a lucid dream. More about that later.

A second state of consciousness often confused with lucid dreaming is the prelucid dream state. Although we can at times move from hypnagogia to lucid dreaming, especially with training and practice, normally we pass into normal sleep and then through a prelucid dream state first. The prelucid state is in most cases a very important bridge to becoming fully lucid. While in a prelucid state our dream seems utterly real, and many times we are astonished at the clarity. It’s quite common in this state to say to oneself, “This can’t be a dream.” Or to ask, “Am I really dreaming?” If you are making statements or asking questions to yourself about your dream, you have arrived at a state of consciousness where you could easily cross the bridge to lucid dreaming; however, this is not always the case. Often we stay in this dream state, it fades away, or we wake up without experiencing lucidity.

While dreaming we can often feel, or actually be, in charge of what is going on in our dream without being aware we are dreaming. Our unconscious is a tricky animal and is basically in charge of what we are dreaming. If you are in some form connected to your subconscious, it may seem like you are consciously in charge of your dream when actually you are not. Many times, especially for novices, this also occurs even when you are fully aware you are dreaming (LD). For the vast majority of people, it takes a lot of practice to be consciously in charge of your dream even when you know you are dreaming.

Strictly speaking, being in charge or having the ability in some way to control your dream is not a necessary component of lucid dreaming. Being fully aware that you are dreaming is the only requisite. You can be fully lucid in your dream with your unconscious mind still in charge. In this common circumstance you are simply consciously “going for a ride” in your dream. These experiences of being lucid while your unconscious is in charge can be supremely enlightening! You can lucidly experience fulfilling fantasies and facing fears, phobias, anxieties, past traumas, and even nightmares, with your unconscious mind in charge of the dream.

Letting your unconscious mind be in charge during lucid dreaming also opens up the possibilities of discovering and experiencing circumstances your conscious mind is not capable of due to many factors, the most important being the controlling aspects of our ego. During lucid dreaming, you are you but you are also not you. You are not encumbered by societal pressures, family, or work. No one expects you to behave a certain way or “get things done” while you are sleeping! Because of this, lucid dreamers tend to have a plethora of mystical, divine, and numinous experiences. They also tend to experience intense pleasure and even states of ecstasy, sexual ecstasy included. The occurrence of lucid dreamers reaching orgasm while lucid dreaming is well documented in dream study laboratories. Oftentimes lucid dreamers have such powerful experiences that they are incapable of putting them into words upon waking, and these feelings of awe continue for days, weeks, or years.

However, through many years of lucid dreaming, and listening to descriptions of lucid dreams from lots of people, I can also tell you that most lucid dreams are not overly inspiring, stimulating, or therapeutic. Sometimes they can be downright dull. Knowing you are dreaming doesn’t automatically make dreaming more exhilarating or enlightening. In most cases lucid dreaming with the unconscious mind “feels” the same as ordinary dreaming, which is actually a good thing. Some people resist lucid dreaming because they’re afraid they’ll lose the spontaneity and unpredictability of normal dreaming. But that is not necessarily the case. As already stated you can be fully lucid but not be in charge. However, there are many times I want to be in charge of my dream time, and learning how to do that is a remarkable asset in one’s life.

One of the most positive benefits of learning to be in charge of your lucid dreams, and later to actually control them (this may seem to be the same but it’s not and will be explained more later), is that during lucid dreaming we generally feel supremely confident! We are aware we are dreaming, so anything is possible. I can be in charge of whatever I want to be; I can submit and be humble if I want to. I can change my attitude to circumstances in my life that I might be struggling with for years in a blink of an eye. I can transcend negativity and pessimism and overcome my fears during my lucid dreams and carry the awareness back to the physical plane.

Lucid dreaming also tends to cultivate a unity of consciousness and the cosmos. Lucid dreamers regularly display a shift in their normal awareness toward a more holistic view of the world. Through lucid dreaming they discover a supremely expanded view of life, objects, nature, and other human beings. Through seeing objects, places, and life-forms, including people, as fields of energy while lucid dreaming, the lucid dreamer learns to obtain the same sort of information on the physical plane. This awareness allows the lucid dreamer to see and read other people’s energy patterns more easily, sense more clearly others’ moods and thoughts, and react more effectively and creatively.

To summarize, the learned ability to be consciously aware we are dreaming while we are dreaming is such a powerful enhancement of life that when it happens we are changed forever for the better. Lucid dreaming is in my mind one of the cutting-edge modalities that can lead humanity away from our anthropocentric lifestyles and toward a holistic reality. Once we master lucid dreaming techniques, we open the door to the powerful tool of shamanic dreaming.

Practice: Cleansing Your Day in Preparation for Lucid Dreaming

Anything we do consistently during the day will inevitably show up in our dreams. Our dreams are largely filled with subconscious impressions from our day. We all know that previous events and people from our past can also show up in our dreams. Not only that, energetically draining events from our past or from the day before can negatively affect both our current waking life and our dream time.

In addition to reclaiming lost energy by healing energetic drains from the past, it’s important to prepare for your journey into the dream world at night if you want to be successful. If we can clear ourselves of stress, tension, deep emotions, random thoughts, and all the various situations of the day, we can fully focus attention on the intention to first remember dreams and then achieve the goal of becoming aware we are dreaming while dreaming. To do this we can perform a simple ritual that can become a wonderful habit. I wouldn’t consider this a shamanic ritual but rather one that can augment and support our attempts at shamanic dreaming.

1. Sit down in a comfortable position before going to bed. It’s best to sit on your bed, or somewhere close to where you will sleep that night.

2. Simply sit for a minute and notice where your thoughts are. When ready, close your eyes and begin to visualize the events of your day.

3. You can visualize events as if looking at a movie screen in your mind, or you can take the visual perspective of looking at the scene from the outside or above. Take one event at a time, and breathe it in through your nose while reliving it. If it is an event you want to energetically discharge, then forcefully breathe it out through your mouth as you visualize the energy leaving you and dissipating. If it is a pleasant event, simply exhale through your nose and notice how the event made you feel. Reviewing energetically positive events is a great way to fortify positivity before dreaming; however, it is important to clear the energy-draining events before dreaming. Do as many events as you feel necessary. If you had an easy day, this process could be very quick; if you had a hard day, it will obviously take longer. In any case don’t rush, take your time, and get your energy moving to be in a clear and positive state.

4. When you feel finished, stand up, take one more deep breath, and while exhaling sweep your energy field clean by placing your hands on the top of your head and sweeping down over your chest, abdomen, genitals, legs, and feet. When you get to your feet, swish your hands out away from your body. The sweeping can be done slowly or rapidly, whatever feels right to you in the moment. Do this once or many times. I usually do it a few times just because it tends to feel really good and refreshing. I often find myself smiling after this, which is perfect for what comes next!

Practice: Importance of a Dream Journal

I am making this simple task an “official” practice for our work because of how important it is. In the past decade or so the activity of journaling has become extremely popular. Now there are books, workshops, and even conferences on journaling. Journaling enthusiasts typically use the activity for problem solving and stress reduction, and I’m told it can also be very enjoyable. It’s been proven to improve mental and physical health and can lead to increased self-esteem.

I have to admit I personally am not big on journaling for myself, but I have more than a few friends who love doing it and have been doing it for many years. I spend so much time writing, I can’t even think about keeping a daily journal about my life and thoughts. However, my dream journal is something I have kept up on and off for close to thirty years because it is so important to cultivating lucid and shamanic dreaming for modern people. Unlike the Wirrarika, we typically don’t have someone who will ask us every morning what we dreamt the night before. If you do have someone like that—awesome! But the dream journal is still pretty much indispensable for modern people in setting up lucid dreaming for many reasons. Every lucid dream researcher and teacher will tell you the same thing.

Why? Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D., known as the godfather of modern lucid dreaming due to his pioneering work at Stanford University and founding of the Lucidity Institute in 1987, puts it this way:

Your lucid dream training will start with keeping a dream journal and improving your dream recall. Your journal will help you discover what your dreams are like. . . . Learning to remember your dreams is necessary if you want to learn to dream lucidly. Until you have excellent dream recall, you won’t stand much of a chance of having lucid dreams. There are two reasons for this. First, without recall, even if you do have a lucid dream you won’t remember it. Indeed, we all have probably lost numerous lucid dreams among the many thousands of dreams we have forgotten in the normal course of our lives. Second, good dream recall is crucial because to become lucid you have to recognize that your dream is a dream while it is happening. Since they are your dreams that you are trying to recognize you have to become familiar with what they are like. . . . You can accomplish this by collecting your dreams and analyzing them for dreamlike elements. . . . Before it will be worth your time to work on lucid dream induction methods you should be able to recall at least one dream every night.

I suggest you buy a special dedicated journal with a lock to record both goals, intentions, and detailed recollections of your nightly dreams. It’s important that others don’t handle or especially don’t look in your journal, thus the lock. If you care to share your dreams with others, especially other lucid dreamers, that’s fine and can be very helpful, but this work is extremely private and shouldn’t be shared without your knowledge. Also, having a special pen to write with makes the experience more special, even sacred.

We’re  going to get into when and what to write in your journal shortly. But here I also want to mention a helpful tip from my experience. Often when waking from a dream in the night and not ready yet to wake up for the day, I don’t want to become fully awake because I know in my still half asleep (or more) state, I can easily slip right back into dreaming. Waking up to the  point  of  turning  on the light and writing might, or would, detract from  going back  to dreaming. But if I didn’t make some effort to immediately record the dream, I would almost always forget it. Waking up in the morning, I would know, on the periphery of my consciousness, that I had dreamt but wouldn’t be able to remember the dream. I think we all experience this.

The solution I came up with is to hang a  small whiteboard on the wall next to my bed with a marker attached to it. When I briefly wake up and remember my dream, I scribble a few key words on the board so I can remember the dream when I’m fully awake. When I’m awake I take cues from the scribbled notes and write out the details of the dream in my journal. As stated earlier, dream recall is a vital step to lucid dreaming. The little tricks and techniques we use and come up with to polish our dream recall all help in our goal to become lucid.

Practice: Creating Lucid Goals 

In 2007, David R. Hamilton, Ph.D., conducted research at the Dominican University of California involving 149 people aged from twenty-three to seventy-two years old, from many different backgrounds and cultures. The purpose of the research was to compare different techniques and strategies used to achieve our goals. Participants were divided into five groups.

+ Group 1 was asked to think about goals they’d like to accomplish over the next four weeks and reflect on the importance of those goals.

+ Group 2 was asked to write down their goals and reflect on their importance, as group 1 had done.

+ Group 3 went a little further. Not only were they to write down their goals, but they were also asked to write down some actions they could take.

+ Group 4 went further still: they wrote their goals down, reflected on their importance, and wrote some action steps, but they also sent these action commitments to a supportive friend.

+ Group 5 did all that group 4 did, but they also made weekly progress reports to their supportive friend.

As you might have guessed, Group 5 achieved the most and Group 1 the least. Group 5, in fact, achieved 78 percent more than Group 1 did.

Writing out your dreaming goals will absolutely help with:

+ Clarification. Being clear and prepared for any adventure increases the probability of success. For example, if you are going on a trip with a specific destination in mind, you can clarify what to pack, how you will get there, and knowing when you have arrived. The same goes with lucid dreaming techniques. Writing down your goals forces you to select something specific and decide what you want.

+ Motivation. Writing down your goals and clarifying them is just the beginning of the journey. When going on a trip you have to prepare, get on the road or plane, and actually arrive. Writing down the goals and reviewing them spurs the motivation toward the actual actions.

+ Keeping on track. So many circumstances pull us this way and that every day. Writing down goals helps us filter out what are the most important actions to take.

+ Evaluation. Written goals are like mile markers on a highway. They enable you to see how far you have come and how far you need to go. They also provide an opportunity for celebration when you attain them!

So the first items to write in your journal refer to why you want to lucid dream. Clarify your motivation.


+ I want to explore consciousness.
+ I want to fly around in my dreams.
+ I want to learn shamanic dreaming.
+ I want to heal myself.
+ I want to heal others.
+ I want to improve my self-confidence. I want to overcome . . .

I like to make a title page as the first page of my journal. Then at the top of the second page goes the date and the heading “Motivation,” followed by why I want to lucid dream.

Next, I’ll write some affirmations and truths about what I’m doing.


+ I will do my best to prepare for dreaming so I will be successful in becoming lucid.
+ I will try not to be frustrated when not successful.
+ The process of learning lucid dreaming takes time; I will go at my own speed.
+ My dream journal is a magical item of my subconscious and dream world.
+ I am clear on my motivation to do this and have written it down in my journal.
+ I will be successful in lucid dreaming!

Now don’t forget at any moment to write down feelings, emotions, thoughts, affirmations, doubts—whatever. It’s really interesting to see what we wrote in the beginning of the lucid dream journey months and years later.

After this initial section in your journal, skip at least ten pages for future goals, affirmations, and notes. On the first page of the actual journal you will record the dreams you have on your first night; put the date at the top and the two most important six- and seven-word phrases for this stage:

+ I will remember my dreams tonight.
+ I will write down my dreams tonight.

Place a bookmark at that page so you can easily find it when you awaken during the night. But first let’s look at induction techniques—techniques for inducing lucid dreams.

Practice: Enhancing Prospective Memory— Reality Checks

The reason for writing out the above phrases before going to sleep is to stimulate what psychologists refer to as prospective memory. Prospective memory means remembering to perform intended actions in the future or, simply, remembering to remember. Examples of prospective memory include remembering to take medicine at night before going to bed, remembering to deliver a message to a friend, and remembering to pick up certain items while shopping. Making lists, using sticky notes, and writing on a calendar, among other physical cues, can help us remember what we want or need to do in the future.

I am notorious for making a shopping list and then getting distracted and leaving it at home. I did just that yesterday when I went to the grocery store. But though I didn’t remember all the items on the list, the act of writing the list enabled me to remember the important ones. It seems that importance is key to prospective memory. Leaving on time to catch a plane will usually outweigh insignificant items on  a grocery list. Remembering your spouse’s birthday will probably outweigh taking out the trash. If the task is very important your prospective memory will remain active to the goal and keep checking if it’s time to do it until you actually do it. Much of what we intend to do in our everyday lives, whether at home or at work, involves habitual tasks repeated over time. When it comes to these kinds of habitual tasks, our intentions may not be explicit. We don’t write down or form an explicit intention to insert the key in our front door to open it when we get home. We  just do it. Forgetting to pick an item up at the store may  be no big deal; however, prospective memory failures can sometimes be devastating. For example, aircraft pilots must remember to perform several actions sequentially prior to takeoff and landing, and failure to remember to perform any of these actions may result in injury or death.

For lucid dreaming, we can effectively use a concrete prospective memory cue: right before you go to bed, write down in your journal and say to yourself that you will remember your dreams that night—and really believe it! But we are also going to want to perform certain tasks during the dream, the most important being the awareness that we are dreaming. Since we can’t take our journal or a list with us to remember, we need to remember without these tools. Learning to remember better in our waking life can greatly help us to remember while dreaming. As already discussed the importance of an event or task helps motivate us to remember. It’s the same with lucid dreaming: the more we desire to become lucid the more motivated we will be to remember.

The following lucid dream technique has two aspects. The first is to exercise our prospective memory and the second is to perform reality checks while exercising prospective memory. Anything we do consistently during the day will inevitably show up in our dreams. To learn lucid dreaming, you must be able to spot the difference between a dream and waking reality. During normal dreams you accept it as real life. It’s only when you wake up that you realize you were dreaming. By integrating reality checks into your waking life, you will soon do them in your dreams. This will snap your conscious mind to realizing: “I’m dreaming!”

Reality checks are very easy to perform; however, the more passion and energy you put into them, the more effective they will be when carried over into your dream time. To be truly effective, reality checks should be performed many times during your day—twenty times is a good number. Basically the reality check has a physical component along with asking a simple question, “Am I dreaming?”

Some teachers of lucid dreaming techniques suggest setting an alarm on your phone or watch to remember to do your reality check. In my experience it is far better to combine intentional prospective memory with the reality check by doing your reality check when you see a predetermined item(s) during your day or you do something specific during your day.

The first step is to write down a list of twenty-one targets, things that are likely to happen during a normal week. Once you have your list, break it down into three items for each day of the upcoming week and write this schedule down in your journal. You will not be taking your journal with you, nor a list of the three targets. This is an exercise to strengthen your prospective memory without using lists or sticky notes or alarms. Here we are exercising our mental power of recall. Examples:

I will do a reality check whenever I:

+ Buy something
+ Write something down
+ Hear someone say my name
+ Handle cash
+ See a yellow car
+ Hear someone laugh
+ Turn on a TV
+ Turn on a computer
+ Throw something away
+ Read something
+ Check the time
+ Hang up the phone
+ Put a key in a lock
+ See a bird
+ See an advertisement
+ Open a door
+ Eat anything
+ Flush a toilet
+ See the stars
+ Turn on a light

This is just a sample list; you must make your own. Obviously, if you are an editor you would choose something else besides reading as a target, or if you are a telemarketer, something besides hanging up the phone. We want the targets to be things we will do a few times a day (like flushing a toilet), not all day long.

When you hit a target, it’s time for a reality check. A reality check can be lots of things:

+ Touching. What happens when you touch something solid?
+ Breathing. Can you hold both your nose and mouth shut and breathe?
+ Jumping. When you jump, do you come right back down or do you float down?
+ Reading. Can you read a sentence twice without its changing?
+ Mirrors. Does your reflection look normal in the mirror?
+ Math. Can you add up two numbers for a correct answer?

Each of these reality checks can be useful. My preference is holding my nose and mouth shut and the palm test, which is not on the above list. To do the palm test, open one hand and then forcefully tap the index, middle, and ring fingers of your other hand on the palm of the open hand. I prefer this test over the others because seeing (finding) your hands in a dream is one of the main techniques of becoming lucid, which we will discuss later.

The more often you do a reality check in waking life, the more likely it is that you will do the same reality check in any given dream to test if you are aware that you are dreaming. The key to reality checks is to do them mindfully and frequently while at the same time asking yourself, “Am I dreaming?” “Am I awake?”—or some other variation of this question. If you are not asking yourself the question in waking life, then chances are you won’t ask yourself the question in the dream. It is the question, not the action itself, that will make this lucid dreaming technique successful.

Your brain creates neural constructs based on experiential learning: patterns of thinking based on your real-life experiences. For example, we know about the laws of gravity: we know that in the waking world we can’t just jump off the ground and fly away. There’s no question about it, just as there’s no question that 71 percent of Earth’s surface is currently water, Earth is in the Milky Way Galaxy, and the Browns won’t win the Super Bowl this year. Consequently, most of us continue through life without ever questioning the world around us. We become so accustomed to our reality, we forget to question it. And this applies in the dream world too.

However, when we question our reality on a regular basis, we open ourselves to actually experiencing alternate realities. When this becomes second nature in waking life, it will become second nature in dreams too. This is the bridge we are looking for to the world of lucid dreams. The other benefit of doing frequent reality checks throughout the day is that it ensures that you are constantly thinking about lucid dreaming. The more you focus on something, the more likely it is to occur, especially in the case of lucid dreaming. A perfect example of this is my current situation with writing this lucid dreaming portion. Since I started writing it and have been focusing on it all day for many days, the number of my dreams has increased and my recall has been outstanding. Remember: whatever we do in the waking world naturally affects our dream world. By constantly thinking of lucid dreaming while awake, we enhance our chances of becoming lucid while we are dreaming. Reality checks, reading and researching about it, and practicing other lucid dreaming techniques I will present shortly all combine to help us with our goal.

Summary of reality check technique:

1. Make a list of targets. Choose twenty targets that you know you will hit during a one-week period, multiple times a day. Group them into three targets for each day, and write them in your journal. Below are examples of daily targets for the first two weekdays.


+ Open a door
+ Eat anything
+ Flush a toilet


+ Hang up the phone
+ Put a key in a lock
+ See a bird

2. Memorize the day’s targets. When you get up in the morning, after you write in your journal about your dreams of the night, read and memorize your reality check targets for that day. Don’t read ahead; read only the targets for that particular day.

3. Remember to perform your reality check while doing your targets during the day If one of your targets is putting a key in a lock, while you insert a key, you will have to use your prospective memory to do your reality check. While doing your physical reality check, sincerely ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?” At this point I would suggest doing another different reality check because sometimes in dreams one is not enough to convince ourselves. In the waking world the answer to your question will more than likely be, “No, I’m not dreaming.” Remember, the action of questioning your reality and state of consciousness in your waking state while increasing your prospective memory is the point of the exercise. Soon you will be doing this while dreaming. The more you do it while awake, the easier it will be to do while dreaming. Keep track of your targets hit during the day with a small notebook or just a piece of paper. Also write down the targets you missed. Many times I have had the “put a key in a lock” target on my list, but often when I get to work in the morning and turn off my car, I realize I’ve missed my very first reality check when I started the car. That was a failure of my prospective memory, which needs improvement.

4. Tally up your hits and failures. At the end of the day write a tally of your hits and failures in your journal so you can mark your progress. This lucid dreaming technique has a definite snowball effect. The more you practice, the better you get. Congratulate yourself when you see improvement, and smile knowing you are intentionally raising your awareness and developing your memory. If you realize you are missing a lot of your targets, continue with the process and try not to be discouraged. Keep trying your best, and you will get it. Remember, hitting your target is only a portion of the technique related to prospective memory. Just as important is actually performing the reality check in a conscientious and high-level manner and sincerely questioning reality. If you fail to do either, hitting the target becomes somewhat trivial.

Excerpted from Advanced Shamanism by James Endredy 2018 Bear & Company. Printed with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International.

About The Author

James Endredy leads workshops throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada and is actively involved in preserving the world’s indigenous cultures and traditional sacred sites, such as those of the Huichol Indians of western Mexico. The award-winning author of several books, including Ecoshamanism, The Flying Witches of Veracruz, Teachings of the Peyote Shamans, and Earthwalks for Body and Spirit, he lives in Vermont. Find out more at