Can dreams guide you in life, specifically in healthcare, career, and relationships in a concrete, direct way? You bet they can! That’s just one of the many valuable uses of an ancient practice known as dream incubation. Maybe you’ve already heard of it.
In the previous article (April 2023), I wrote about sleep hygiene because it is necessary for solid sleep and for cultivating clear dreams. Sleep hygiene and dream incubation go hand-in-hand. Both were up front and center during the course of my 5 day/4 night Dream Medicine retreat which took place last week at Hollyhock on Cortes Island, Canada. Participants shared their best sleep hygiene protocols and added a few new elements to their routine, per my suggestions. Then, after being introduced to the practice of dream incubation, we practiced together for several nights in a row. The coolest remark was when one woman, after a couple nights of success, exclaimed how “this stuff really works!” Obviously, I already knew this to be true, but how awesome is it to introduce someone new to the idea, guide them each night, and witness what they experience! (For confidentiality, I cannot comment on what she intended to gain from dream incubation, or why she needed the support of her incubated dreams, but I can tell you that the impact was impressive).
Having practiced dream incubation techniques for over a decade, I can promise that the practice can become your best guide in life – your most trusted inner advisor. Dreams can show us what we already know deep down, but have been afraid to see or acknowledge. With that said, be sure you truly want to know what you are asking about when doing dream incubation. Sometimes the truth is not what our ego wants. Always be clear with yourself before diving into dreamwork of any kind.
It’s best to practice dream incubation for more than 1 night – a week’s time is best. Every night in any given week, focus on the same question. Avoid Yes/No type of questioning. Often, I like to use “Show me what’s happening with _____fill in the blank____,” as part of my incubation process. This way you can accumulate information in the event that one dream provides little, or rather you recalled little from the dream, and also gather information in an open-ended manner.
Expect to receive information from all senses (sight, sound, etc.). ALWAYS keep a dream journal because dream fragments, no matter how initially powerful, can fade. Once you have gathered your dream evidence, consider your choices. If you have the opportunity to verify incubated dream recollections, play the role of an investigator. This can build confidence, especially in the initial phases of learning. Furthermore, know that just because you learned of something or have been guided in a particular direction, doesn’t mean you must speak or act. Sometimes it’s best to observe, and simply sit with the information provided from the incubation process.
Know that one does not have to be lucid in a dream to be shown valuable information. However, a lucid dream experience can allow you to consciously travel to a place, even going beyond the current time-space. What’s so cool about this practice, is that some people can have a powerfully vivid, even lucid, dream on the very first attempt. I’ve witnessed it happen among those I have coached in dream incubation.
If this article has enticed you, and you want to learn more about THE HOW of dream incubation, reach out to me. I offer one-on-one dreamwork services, as well as group workshops, and retreats. Next month, find me in Ashland, Oregon at the 40th annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. There, I will be hosting a workshop on incubating and honoring visitation dreams with deceased loved ones. If you can’t make the conference in-person this year, consider the online version full of research-based and clinical-based papers and presentations by some of the world’s foremost sleep and dream experts. If you need continuing education for your license, you can get those too.
Until next time…
Dream Well ~ Be Well,