Liminal dreaming occurs at the boundaries of consciousness. This category of dreaming is made up of hypnagogia — the hallucinatory dream state through which we pass as we sink into sleep — and hypnopompia — the floaty, mesmerizing dreams we have as we surface back into waking. Liminal dreaming is one of the most unusual states achieved by our brains, both experientially and as measured by EEG. This talk describes liminal dreaming: what it is; how it works; and various ways in which artists, inventors, scientists, and thinkers of all sorts have harnessed hypnagogia and hypnopompia for specific purposes. Session participants will receive a brief overview of sleep cycles and dream phases. They will then learn exercises that allow them to practice liminal dreaming and how to use this extraordinary mind state for:
- Creatively and problem solving: Access the visionary power of hypnagogia and hypnopompia using liminal dream practices developed by Thomas Edison, Salvador Dali, and a range of other impressive artists and thinkers.
- Dream incubation: Engage the dreaming mind to help answer personal or intellectual questions, encourage the healing process, or enliven intuition using this practice that comes to us from the Greek cult of Asclepius.
- Yoga nidra: This ancient practice involves slowly withdrawing the senses to reach the state of consciousness between waking and sleep. The goal is to direct intention and, ultimately, achieve Samadhi.
- Oneiromancy: This form of divination through dreams is used by many traditional cultures to contact divinities or ancestors in search of teachings and wisdom. We’ll explore the use of oneirogens—herbs or substances used for oneiromancy.