Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dream Gourds: Are they real?

What is a dream gourd?

I first read about dream gourds in Piers Anthony's "Xanth" series. It's a punny series with dozens of books set in the mythical land of Xanth. The dream gourd is essentially a theatre setting where the Night Stallion sets up nightmares for people. These nightmares are delivered by "Night Mares" travelling to people to deliver the bad dreams. Day Mares deliver daydreams.
The sets withing the dream gourd are set up like a maze.  If you stare into one of these gourds, you can get stuck in there and your body will be frozen until eye contact is broken.

My dream gourd

So, here's the thing.  I dream in a similar way to the dream gourd.  It's not like in the book where there's a bunch of horses delivering dreams out of a set of course.
The sets are there though.  It's hard for me to remember or describe them all.   I know there's a beach set, a Los Angeles concrete river setting, a plantation setting in Georgia of all things, a forest setting, city settings, a wooden house setting, and various others that don't necessarily make sense.
The interesting thing is that I force all of my dreams into these settings.  I know it may seem weird, but it's true.  I can't control every aspect of my dreams, but by controling the settings, I can influence them.
Here's the cool thing:  I almost never have full fledged nightmares.  If a dream starts developing into a nightmare, I have numerous outlets in my settings that allow me to escape.  I can't really describe them, but they're there.
Every great once in a while, I'll get caught by the beginnings of a nightmare that comes on fast.  It takes a little work, but I wake myself up before it ever gets too bad.
Another cool feature is a small rewind.  I can rewind a moment of different dreams if I need to see how it works out with a different response on my part.  It helps me to learn how to handle the situation better.
About once every couple of years, a new setting appears.  It's possible that it happens more often, but I can't say.  I don't remember most of my dreams, just a few here and there.
Dream sets really help me to sleep more peacefully and my dreams are often productive, allowing me to consider events in different ways so that I can improve.  The nightmare escape routes are particularily useful. :)

Do you have a dream gourd?

 I'm curious if others have sets where their dreams happen.  Do you have escape routes for nightmares?  Do you learn from your dreams?  Do you control them at all?


marsanderson said...

I have sets, but I don't have nightmare escapes. I rarely have actual nightmares, I just get the oh so fun sleep paralysis instead. Every once in awhile, I can escape by focusing REALLY hard on moving my toe.

I'm quite envious of your rewind feature. I don't know that I've ever tried to control a dream, but now I might!

I do learn from them - usually something I've been obsessing about will be the focus of the dream, but my brain puts it into a ludicrous context and when I wake up, it is not such a big deal anymore.

John H. Carroll said...

I have never even considered escaping by focusing on the toe. I may have to try that if an escape route doesn't work.

Dreams are a very mysterious process. I don't fully understand it, but I try to bend them to my will. :D