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Dream Incubation 101

Dream Incubation is an ancient practice of calling forth a dream you would like to have. It's usually done to call a dream that gives guidance or clarity on a situation or answers a question, but purely recreational dreams are also candidates for Dream Incubation.

There are many different ways to plant a dream seed and you can, and should, experiment with different methods to see what works best for you. Basic Dream Incubation can be broken down into four parts:

  1. Set the Intention
  2. Prepare for Sleep
  3. Recall the Dream
  4. Give Thanks

Set the Intention

You're really going to need to make an impression on your subconscious here. You most likely won't be able to get away with a flippant request and have it truly answered. I mean, you are going to need to make it abundantly clear to all levels of yourself that THIS IS THE DREAM you want to have tonight. Besides really wanting it, there area a few things you can do to set the intention on multi-levels:

  • Journal about the topic for 5-10 minutes before bed-- with pen and paper, not fingers and keyboard
  • Write the topic/question on a piece of paper and slip it under your pillow
  • Place objects representing or concerning your Dream Incubation next to your bed, within sight
  • Pray about the topic before bed
  • Create a mini-ritual around the topic
  • Light a candle to represent your Dream Incubation request and let it burn all night (use fire safety smarts!)
  • Tell someone about your Dream Incubation request-- speak it out loud, invite accountability
  • Write your request on paper and burn it, releasing it to the Heavens

Prepare for Sleep/Receiving the Dream

Make the act of getting ready for bed a sacred one. Prepare your space and your body for receiving a message from the Divine. Here are a few ideas:

  • Smudge yourself and your room-- get stagnant and unhelpful energies out of the way
  • Put clean sheets on the bed
  • Lightly spritz your pillow with lavender or rose water
  • Lightly anoint yourself with your favorite oil
  • Place a statue or picture of a Dream-Giver next to your bed: Archangel Gabriel; Morpheus, the ancient Greek God of Dreams, not the badass guy from The Matrix; any night deity; Mother Mary, Queen of Heavens
  • Consider abstaining from sexual relations on the night you incubate a dream
  • Consider having an orgasm on the night you incubate a dream
  • Eat a light dinner and abstain from caffeine and sugar after 3pm to help keep your mind clear and calm
  • Take a bath while pondering your Dream Incubation request (showers work too!)
  • Cleanse and balance your chakras

Recall the Dream

For the best results you may already want to have a dream recalling practice, but if you don't there is no time like the present! Here are a few ideas for remembering the dream you incubated:

  • When you request the dream, include the caveat "AND I affirm that I will remember this dream." For best results you can even request that you be given the dream just before you wake up (so the last dream of the evening) AND that you will remember it.
  • Write something down immediately upon waking. If you are like me and are often woken up by tiny humans who need you for everything, at the very least make a quick bullet-point list of what you remember. And get back to it as soon as you can to flesh it out!
  • If you can't remember anything right away, write down feelings, sensations, vague keywords that seems appropriate-- anything!
  • Take Vitamin B-6 the day before to help boot dream recall
  • But be patient. It may take a couple of days or even a couple of weeks before your Dream is fully incubated. Rinse and Repeat!

Give Thanks

Whenever you receive a BIG dream, a dream loaded with meaning and symbols, it is a great idea to honor it and to give thanks for it. A few ideas for doing this include:

  • Write the dream down
  • Draw or paint an image from the dream
  • Act the dream out/Act on the dream
  • Say a prayer of gratitude for the dream
  • Place an offering of thanks on your dream altar or somewhere outside that calls to you
  • Share the dream but remember to keep a tiny bit of it to yourself so that you don't give all the power away
  • Do a combination of these suggestions-- it doesn't have to be just one!

When To Incubate A Dream

  • When you are stressed about a decision and would like clarity
  • When you need help solving or fixing something
  • When you are in mourning or grieving
  • When you need a physical, emotional, spiritual or mental diagnosis or healing (dreaming is not a replacement for appropriate medical attention!)
  • When you have an adventure you'd like to try out
  • When you need more information or clarity on a dream that came to you spontaneously (this is the reason for most of my own dream incubations)
  • When you are going over the same thing repeatedly and getting no where
  • When you need inspiration or a new idea
  • When you'd like to test-run a possible future-reality based on the choices you are about to make

If Dream Incubation Doesn't Work

Keep trying. Be patient. And be faithful to your dream journal. It may take 2 or three days or even two weeks for the dream to properly incubate. Dreaming-on-demand does not, unfortunately, mean instant gratification. Dreaming is a relationship. It takes time, consistency, and trust.

Sweet Dreams! And if you successfully incubate a dream, I want to hear all about it!