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capacities.

136 It hypes us up and relaxes us simultaneously: this is healthy stress, the


precise recipe for lucid dreaming.
Need another reason to try ritual drumming? It improves immune response,
elevates self-esteem, and facilitates group bonding. Drumming is a fantastic activity
for a lucid dreaming group, but make sure to choose a location that doesnt bother
your neighbors.

The Lucid Diet


The Lucid Diet is one more way to deepen your immersion by cleansing the body
in preparation for powerful dreaming. This advice may be more relevant for those
who have lucid nightmares and initiation-style lucid dreams. Still, some basic
dietary considerations beyond the advice in Book One are advised for supporting
the ego-stretchingand sometimes ego-shatteringthat comes with greater
lucidity.

Aesclepius Revisited
The ancient Greek dream incubation rites described in Chapter 3 are more than a
useful metaphor. The priests were the doctors of the time; in fact, both Hippocrates
and Galen, the fathers of modern medicine, came out of the Aesclepian tradition.
Health in this era was seen as a harmony between the soul and the body. Patients
who came to the temples were fed a simple diet to cleanse their bodies and
prepare for the dreams to follow. Historical sources suggest the foods were
basically whole grains, fruits and olives, and other fresh and seasonally available
foods. After the dreamer was called to the primary chambers to sleep on the kline,
they entered into an intense period of fasting, prayer and chanting, followed by
ritual sleeping. This would continue until they procured a healing dream or vision.
We dont only have to look to Aesclepian rituals, of course, to see the advice of
purifying the diet when embarking on a period of turning inward and seeking
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dreams. Cleansing and fasting are a crucial prerequisite for Native American vision
quests. In modern European and American retreat centers, such as Esalen, the
wholesome diet is also strongly emphasized alongside immersion in natural
settings. We know this intuitively. Thankfully, more hospitals and cancer wellness
centers every year are setting up healing gardens and outdoor sanctuaries to
facilitate the healing process.
What happens when we dont cleanse? Expect trouble when undergoing an intense
period of dream-calling. Ive already discussed Ken Kelzers warning about creating
a safe container for psychological reasons. When I didnt prepare properly, my
effects were physical. I went through an intense period of indigestion in the middle
of a lucid dreaming immersion in 2007, when I was incubating dreams for my
thesis. Full disclosure (or TMI): after a series of difficult dreams, my digestive system
essentially seized. I had pronounced indigestion, bloating, and a merciless cycle of
constipation and diarrhea.
This took me by complete surprise. Under counsel of an advisor who has seen this
pattern before, I immediately reduced the stimulants in my diet (coffee and soda).
Even with these changes, a week of extreme discomfort followed. I began a new
level of dietary restriction, dropping all

Cleansing and
fasting are a crucial
prerequisite for
Native American
vision quests.

processed foods, animal products and refined


sugars. Finally, I did a four day cleanse,
drinking only ginger tea and lemon-infused
water, ending with a saltwater flush. After this
process, my digestion returned to normal and
I was able to reintroduce food. Interestingly,
the final series of lucid dreams after this
sickness contained resolutions to previous

dreams that came before. Perhaps I was finally able to digest what was happening?
Descartes got this part wrong; the mind and the body are connected. Mental stress
has physical symptoms, and each of us carries stress in different parts of the body. I
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Fiber rich foods, dark greens and fresh fruit play an important role in the Lucid Diet.
am a belly-worrier, but its possible your symptoms of an incomplete lucid
container could manifest as aches and pains, anxiety, or a series of migraine
headaches.
Save yourself the trouble and prepare a modified diet as part of the immersion. This
is especially important if your lucid immersion goals involve confronting old
challenges from childhood and facing current fears.

How To Eat In The Lucid Immersion


Even if you dont alter your diet, you can still make meals a part of the lucid
immersion by encouraging mindful consumption.

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Eat sitting at a table, not on the couch

Lucid Diet Tips


Reduce or eliminate:
alcohol
oils, starches and sugars
enriched grains like white
bread
meats and animal
products
In general, stay away from
processed foods, foods high
in carbs and fat.

Meanwhile, eat:
fresh fruits and vegetables
dark greens, like kale,
spinach and mustard
greens.
whole grains whenever
possible.
And drink lots of water and
herbal teas.

or standing up.
Eat without watching TV or reading.
Focus on the taste of the food.
Chew your food slowly. Chew each
bite five times, as digestion begins
with saliva, not in the stomach.

Full Cleansing
Three days of fruit juice, lemon-water,
or a fruit diet can profoundly clarify
your lucid intent. It makes for an
inexpensive and possibly life-altering
stay-cation, provided you have the
social space at home for retreat.
Be warned, though: there may be side
effects in terms of your focus, sleep
patterns, and emotional sensitivity. I
only recommend full dietary
cleansing for serious lucid dreamers
who have the time and support in
their lives for this process. Cleansing
is also not recommended if you have
blood sugar irregularities or currently
are taking pharmaceuticals for any
health condition.

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LDS: Lucid Dreaming Supplements


The use of supplements for inducing lucid dreams has increased exponentially in
the last few years. Much of the interest is due to the tutelage of Thomas Yuschak
and his book Advanced Lucid Dreaming: The Power Of Supplements, as well as the
Youtube video mentoring of supplement extraordinaire Scot Stride. Together these
two researchers developed the Lucid Dreaming Supplements (LDS) methodology.
In the past, I have been hesitant to recommend supplements for beginners, due to
fact that powerful psychotropic effects can jolt the dreamer into some pretty intense
scenarios, such as sleep paralysis and awareness during slow wave sleep, both of
which can be disorienting and alarming. Dream supplements also increase dream
bizarreness, particularly violent and emotional dream content.
Taking a pill doesnt automatically make you an advanced lucid dreamer, but it
could make you a lucid dreamer with a profound headache.
However, many of my issues with promoting supplements are diminished with the
immersion method because weve already controlled for set and setting. If you
establish a bedroom sanctuary, a community support network, and are also doing
mental and physical practices
for lucid dreaming, the
supplements will most likely
be a helpful ally.
Below is a brief rundown of
the most effective lucid
dreaming supplements for
which we have solid
research. Those who are
Cholinergics temporarily prevent
acetylcholinesterase from breaking down
acetylcholine, leading to increased memory function,
dream recall and lucidity.

currently taking medications


for depression, anxiety or
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sleep-related conditions should steer clear of lucid supplements, as these


nootropics alter your brains biochemistry and may work against your treatment
plan. Not recommended for pregnant women either.
Do your homework and be safe.

Cholinergic Supplements
This class of synthesized botanical materials induces changes in the brains
chemical state by preventing the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
As discussed in Book One, many dream researchers believe acetylcholine is the
biochemical backbone to REM sleep. To quickly review, REM is not a necessary
condition for dreaming, but most reported lucid dreams have been shown in the
lab to occur in REM. Cortical activation of some kind seems to be the precursor of
dreaming, and the cholinergic system surely fits this bill much of the time.
Supplements that support acetylcholine and are strongly correlated with lucid
dreaming include galantamine, nicotine, and Huperzine A. All of these can be
found without a prescription, but be careful, as galantamine and Huperzine A are
not regulated in the US and many other countries.
I trust you can find some nicotine
without much of a hassle, as its one
of the worlds most widely used
psychotropic drugs. Interestingly, we
think of tobacco as a daily habit, but
for many indigenous people in the
Americas, tobacco was taken
ritually, in large doses, to induce
visions. But acute nicotine
Caffeine is an easy way to jumpstart
lucidity simply because so many of us
already have access to it.

intoxication is not the goal of


nicotine-assisted lucid dreaming. It
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bears repeating: nudge your circadian rhythmsdont blast them to pieces. Also
consider alternatives to smoking such as nicotine gum, and avoid the carcinogens.

Focus On G al antami ne
Of all the lucid supplements, I have had the most success with galantamine. I came
across this natural supplement for the first time in 2005. A lucid dreaming
researcher and friend of mine had been conducting bioassays and reported a huge
increase in his lucid dreams per week as well as higher lucidity levels in waking
life too. I took him up on the offer to try it myself, but first he gave me stern
warnings about following his instructions exactly.
The next night, I took a galantamine extract pill before bed. This is exactly what I
had been warned NOT to do, but I was too
lazy to wake up in the middle of the night

It felt like my brain


was being drawn
and quartered.

and take the pill as instructed.


What resulted was one of the weirdest and
most uncomfortable sleep experiences in
my life. I woke up a couple hours after
going to bed wrestling with dark forces. It
felt like my brain was being drawn and

quartered; I was disoriented, dizzy and felt a little drunk. I kept falling back asleep
into these bizarre dreams that I can only describe as my head being scraped against
the bottom of a submerged iceberg.
When the night was over, I realized that I had experienced an unpleasant series of
sleep paralysis. I told my friend what happened and he shook his head and said, I
told you so
A year later, I got up the nerve to try galantamine again and this time I took the
dosage in the middle of the night. Of those four nights I took the supplement, I had
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3 lucid dreams, much more than my usual once every two weeks or so. These
dreams were filled with bizarre imagery, including some strange kinesthetics that
felt like my body was being stretched, as well as some violent imagery and vivid
colors. Since then, galantamine has routinely resulted in lucid dreams for me when
I combine it with some other lucid dreaming rituals like preparing for sleep
mindfully.
Here is my recommended source for galantamine, mixed with choline and vitamin
B5.

Amino Acids
These supplements can be easily found over-the-counter at drugstores and
groceries. Amino acids are brain food, providing the building blocks for
neurotransmitters. Choline, for example, helps the brain synthesize acetylcholine.
Its cheaply found as a Lecithin supplement, but is also present in some common
foods such as bananas, onions, soybeans, potatoes and plantains.
Choline is believed to elongate dreams, as well as help with remembering them.
Choline and galantamine taken together make a solid cocktail for promoting
lucidity.

Caffeine
Remarkably, a moderate dose of caffeine before bed can indirectly increase the
chance to lucid dream. Caffeine decreases time spent in deep sleep, and may
impair REM sleep in the short term. 137 So caffeines effect on increasing lucid
dreams may be related to a REM rebound effect as well as its reliable effect of
increasing cortical arousal. My advice is two-fold: for those with a habit, and those
without.
For non-habitual users, Thomas Yuschak recommends caffeine in conjunction with
a dream enhancer like galantamine.138 Roll out this mild brain kicker deliberately
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and infrequently, otherwise you will simply gain tolerance for the substance.
For habitual users, theres an even easier solution, although it may hurt a little. The
trick is to suspend your habit, depriving yourself of caffeine for the day (or long
enough that you feel the symptoms of withdrawal), and then drink a cup of coffee
in the middle of the night. This method, known as caffeine withdrawal induced
lucid dreaming (CWILD), has been pioneered by the moderators of the forum
Mortal Mist, who claim a high effectiveness rate.

Serotonin Enhancing Supplements


Another method of inducing lucid dreams is through a counter-intuitive practice of
repressing REM sleep in order to promote a REM rebound in the second part of the
night. These supplements may also increase dream bizarreness, which can increase
the likelihood of realizing lucidity. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter being targeted
here. When serotonin levels are high, acetylcholine levels drop, and vice versa.
High levels of serotonin in sleep are associated with non-REM sleep, including
healthy levels of deep sleep. Some supplements that temporarily increase serotonin
levels in the brain include melatonin, 5-HTP and L-tryptophan.139
Personally, my experimentations with 5-HTP did not lead to lucidity, but increased
night sweats. The serotonin class may not be my ally, but plenty of others report
positive effects in regards to vivid dreams. As with all supplements, do your
homework and, if possible, use placebo testing. L-tryptophan packaging has come
under fire for contamination, and none of these supplements are carefully
regulated. There can be dangerous side effects such as the possibility of overdose,
also known as serotonin syndrome.

Ethnobotanical Dream Supplements


The last class of dream supplements does not have much clinical data behind it,
and in many cases we do not know their mechanisms of action. The source
material for the use of these herbs, roots and extracts for dreaming are drawn from
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ethnographic reports from anthropologists.


Calea zacatechichi: Known as the dream herb, Calea z. is from
Oaxaca, Mexico. The dried leaves have been smoked for centuries by
Chontal shaman/dreamers as a cure-all and a voyaging aid.140 Calea
zacatechichi appears to heighten the vividness of imagery in
hypnagogia. Ingestion of the plant also increases the amount of time
spent in the light non-REM stages of sleep. 141
Lucid dreams may be experienced in these non-REM states, but
because the herb also increases micro-awakenings and disturbs sleep,
there are more chances to
promote lucid dreaming
from sleep onset. It most
likely produces a REM
rebound effect like
serotonin agonists, but the
psychoactive compounds
are largely unknown. A
final note about Calea z:
among the Chontal
Calea z. has been used as a divination aid for
centuries in Mexico.

peoples, some samples are


known to not have an
effect, suggesting that

different samples may have variations in chemical composition.142


Silene capsensis: Anthropologist Manton Hirst first reported the use
of this root from South Africa, known as African Dream herb.143
Historically, the Xhosa people have used Silene c. during initiation
rites. Women initiates take the root, and then report their dreams to
diviners. Unfortunately, its active compounds have not been analyzed
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yet. 144 In the West, Silene has had a mixed reputation, with many
reporting no effects whatsoever.
When it comes to dream herbs, I recommend Dreamers Blend, a tea that combines
Calea zacatechichi with African dream herb, wild lettuce and Mexican Tarragon,
all of which have anecdotal evidence for increasing dream vividness. It has a
pleasing aroma and can be burned as incense too. Drinking tea before bed has a
ritual context, making it a natural time to set an intention.

Dosage And Use Of LDS


Rather then repeating the careful work of LDS pioneers, I will encourage you to
check out their work for dosages, timing, and other topics, such as common
contraindications, desensitization and tolerance issues.
Supplements can be catalysts to greater lucidity, but they dont do the work for you.
Without foundational preparation for lucidity, it can just give you some weird
dream experiences, including increased negative dream content, nightmares and
bizarro bouts of sleep paralysis.
Instead, treat supplements with respect, as sacraments. Use them ritually as part of
your hour-long process of going to sleep. In my experience, LDS also clusters well
with wake-back-to bed methods, dramatically increasing the odds of a wakeinitiated lucid dream (WILD).
For example, wake up at 4am, take galantamine paired with B6, and then read for
15 minutes, followed by saying the Ho'oponopono affirmation. Settle back to sleep
with a strong intention and an open heart. This example touches the physical,
emotional and the cognitive, setting the stage for a holistic surge of lucidity.
I also encourage placebo testing of supplements, backed by a sleep measurement
tool such as Zeo. This way you can control for expectation and see how your sleep
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