Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Dream Incubation Experiment

Tonight (Monday 13 May 2013) I am going to commence a series of experiments in dream incubation. As I have been practising dream techniques for a while now, I feel I am ready to make some serious attempts at dream incubation. This is how my experiment will operate:

I will choose a desired dream scenario/topic at the start of the week (Monday). I will record my chosen topic on this Blog. Throughout the week I will try to incubate (‘planting the seed’) the desired dream, by concentrating my waking mind, throughout the day, on the possibility of experiencing it in a dream-state; and thinking about the desired dream during the period before falling asleep. This is a technique described in a study by Deirdre Barrett at Harvard University (Barrett’s Study on Dream Incubation (1993), Dreaming, vol. 3, no. 2) and described in her book, The Committee of Sleep: How Artists, Scientists and Athletes Use Their Dreams for Creative Problem-Solving – And How You Can Too (Crown Books/Random House, New York: 2001). Dream incubation can be used for problem-solving or simply recreation. I will record my dreams as they occur, as normal, and compare the results with my dream incubation aim.

This week my desired dream scenario/topic is: A successful legal interview for a pupillage.

Dream Incubation (Day 1 - 13 May 2013)
These are the notes that I recorded as soon as I woke up. This dream will be posted as usual on my  main Dream Diary (Dream 163), but I also want to comment on it here. Clearly, the first day of dream incubation did not work, as the dream was not about legal interviews/pupillages. However, there are some strange elements, which reflect what happened in my waking life the day before I had this dream. For example, there is clear evidence of the Light and Mirror dream control experiment (follow link for article) appearing as a topic in this dream. I had been typing up this experiment (on a laptop) shortly prior to going to bed. The reference to laundry and piles of clothes may come from the fact that I had a huge pile of washing in my bedroom which I had been planning to sort out yesterday, but had forgotten/not bothered to do. I put it in a large laundry bag to keep it separate from my clean clothes. My nan asking me about whether I was studying politics may have been because we had had a conversation about politicians earlier in the day, and while I was typing up the Light and Mirror dream control experiment she asked me if I was doing my university law work, to which I had replied 'no'. I saw some pigs in a Norfolk field a few days before I had this dream, which may have influenced the image of the pig in the dream. Also, earlier in the day, I had cooked some curry in a big saucepan on the cooker and my nan had asked me if I wanted her to stir it. Further, I had spoken to my nan about my ex-boyfriend returning to Burma and the fact my late granddad originated from 'Bermondsey' in London. There had been some publicity about the local carnivals which would be happening this summer, and the neighbours who I saw walking past the window had been visited by an ambulance earlier in the day, because one of them had suddenly fallen ill. My nan had been watching the ambulance arrive from the living-room window. My nan and I had decided also that we would go to Norwich in the week and would visit UEA while we were there. Last time I was at university I had been standing outside Suffolk Terrace, trying to enter the library via the late-access door (I failed, because my swipe card wouldn't work).

Dream Incubation (Day 2 - 14 May 2013)
I had in fact been sunbathing a lot in the garden which appeared in this dream, which may account for that appearing. I am not sure where the other references come from - particularly the gold tooth and getting bit. When I was very young (from about 13 years, throughout teenage years before university) my friends and I used to go into the public toilets to smoke. I had recently been down the seafront and bumped into my old friend SF, who I had not seen in a very long time. She is now a mother and was with her young son. I saw her when I was going for a walk with another friend, and the very spot she was sitting was one of our favourite locations when we were kids. There was no observed affects from the dream incubation experiment. This dream is written up in full at Dream 164.

Dream Incubation (Day 3 - 15 May 2013)
This dream was SO strange - not necessarily the bit about working in a strip club, as I have done that before when I needed money and actually enjoyed the experience (it was nothing like in this dream, however - the dancers were not allowed to be alone with the clients and we were not propositioned for sex either). The strangest bit was my family trying to encourage me to take drugs, as that is not something that would ever happen in reality, although they might encourage me to seek medicine for anxiety if I am currently experiencing problems with emotional/mental health. This dream is recorded at Dream 165. Again, there is no known affect from the dream incubation experiment.

Dream Incubation (Day 4 - 16 May 2013)
Again, this dream, like all the others seems to be proving to me that my dream incubation experiment has not been working. I am not sure what may have influenced this dream. I spoke to HM on the telephone around the time of this dream and in my nan's house where I am currently living, there are many photographs of me and HM as children hanging on the walls, which may have inspired me to dream of her as a child. This dream in recorded in full at Dream 166.

Dream Incubation (Day 5 - 17 May 2013)
This is really weird, as until now (some months later when I am updating my Blog after a hiatus - from having no internet available) I had forgotten this dream - mainly because it wasn't particularly significant in terms of content. I had applied for a job as a Senior Resident at university (the same job was previously called Resident Tutor) and I am able to say now, sitting here on campus, that I luckily did get the job! Obviously, that was on my mind at the time of having this dream. The odd thing is though, recently EB and I were talking about what we should call him if he needed a fake identity and I said: "Frank". I had totally forgotten that I had a dream in which he was called 'Frank' and I have no idea why that came to mind, other than my nan had been talking about Frank Sinatra and I had mentioned Frank Sinatra to EB. We also both like Amy Winehouse, who's first album was called Frank and we had laughed about the drugs helpline, Ask Frank. This dream is recorded at Dream 167.

Dream Incubation (Day 6 & 7 - 18 & 19 May 2013)

So, clearly my dream incubation experiment was not successful. I am not sure why, but can guess that perhaps one week is not long enough for a first time experiment such as this to work. I think I will try this again in the near future to see if I can achieve better results.


  1. Have you ever tried asking someone to fan your body when asleep? In my experience, this leads to wonderful dreams of gliding through the air or sailing on breezy oceans.

    1. I have never tried that, but thanks for the recommendation, I will definitely try it when I get the opportunity! x