Deep Lucid Dreaming Interview Series
Creator of the popular World of Lucid Dreaming website and the Lucid Dreaming Fast Track course, Rebecca Turner shares the roots of her passion for lucid dreaming and discusses everything from facing down violent nightmares to meeting a giant woman in the sky.
Rebecca, what is it that makes you so passionate about lucid dreaming that you’ve devoted a whole website and forums to it?
Rebecca Turner: Lucid dreaming is one of the strangest experiences. It throws you outside of yourself and you can exist separately from the real world for the while. I really enjoy that. It feels so completely real and intense, but it’s all in your head.
There’s something very liberating about a lucid dream too because anything can happen. And I’m not just talking about the physical stuff – flying or making yourself omnipotent – it’s the conceptual stuff too. Getting to talk to other aspects of your self. Getting to dig deep into your unconscious perceptions of the world and fix things up. Getting to create new landscapes or music or philosophies, so vividly and effortlessly. It’s like nothing else.
Rebecca Turner: I’ve had plenty of lucid dreams in the void – the place where you collapse the imagery and the sensory data and just exist in the empty nothing. That can be peaceful or it can be alarming. It depends on your state of mind at the time I guess. But it’s a real eye-opener to exist like that, acutely aware of nothing at all. When I go there on purpose it can be deeply satisfying – like a good waking meditation only much sharper and all-engrossing because it comes so effortlessly.
Then there are those dreams which resolve some inner conflict. I’ve faced down some violent nightmares by becoming lucid, which is not only liberating in the moment but the long term impact relieves you of some deep anxiety which is so rewarding. I would say those are my deepest lucid dreams, where I can perform therapy on myself. I don’t share a lot of those dreams publicly because they’re profoundly personal. But I did use lucid dreaming as a tool during two years of post-natal depression and regaining my personal identity afterwards. It wasn’t a cure-all but it definitely aided my recovery
That sounds inspiring. I’d agree that therapeutic lucid dreams can do very deep work. Many people have found lucid dreaming helpful for overcoming health issues such as anxiety and depression. Personally I’ve found it helpful for overcoming trauma and bereavement. Could you share a transformative lucid dream?
Rebecca Turner: I tend to think a lot of lucid dreams are transformative, compared to the kind of mundane stuff we end up doing day-in, day-out with our waking lives. They’re just so out-of-this-world. Even the ones set on Earth. No, wait – especially the ones set on Earth. You get to see reality in a new light. The ordinary becomes extraordinary through the lens of a lucid dream. That changes the way I think when I wake up. I love that about lucid dreaming.
There was one landmark dream when I realised there was a hidden awareness behind my lucid dreams. I had been talking to Robert Waggoner about his technique of communicating with the inner self – by asking questions, out loud, to the fabric of the dream. It’s different from talking to lucid dream characters directly. It creates a reaction that is consistently meaningful and relevant.
The sky lights up and turns into a brilliant orange sunset. I see a giant woman appear in the sky, with long brown wavy hair and neutral robes. She is somehow full of bright light.
She doesn’t actually say anything to me. But I get an awesome sense of power and confidence from her, it’s almost euphoric. She is some sort of goddess, full of energy, and I then I feel like this could be a projection of my true self, without all the hang ups.
A long time later, I tried to recapture that moment in this digital painting.
That’s a beautiful lucid dream image. It’s incredible how imbued with power dream imagery can be. And so many lucid dreams seem intrinsically surreal. What’s the weirdest thing that ever happened to you in a lucid dream?
Rebecca Turner: I love those surreal dreams, where the imagery shows you what it’s really made of. I once dug into the ground only to fall into the sky of another world – that was awesome. I’ve also had a dream character peel himself out of the bark of a tree and become 3D in front of me. Another time my lucid dream went to black and I existed as a bodiless point in space. After a while I wanted to get back into a dream so I envisioned a movie reel in the darkness. I chose one of the frames and hopped right in. I woke up thinking: how on Earth did I come up with that?
Sometimes I think this might be drawn from childhood memories, like I saw it in a cartoon or read it in a book. When I was little I adored The Enchanted Wood and The Magic Faraway Tree – every day a new surreal world would swing around to the top of the tree and the children would go up to explore it. I think Enid Blyton might have inspired a few of my lucid dreams. There’s definitely an inner child that likes to frolic about in there.
Yes, I loved those books too. My five-year-old (also a lucid dreamer) is deeply into an audio book of The Magic Faraway Tree at the moment. Fiction has a lot to answer for when it comes to inspiring dreams. A UK Library Study of over 3,500 children showed that the lucid dreamers among them showed a preference for fiction and fantasy/sci-fi novels. It makes sense that these types of literature inspire lucid dreamers!
Even though lucid dreaming is much better known these days, people still have many questions about it. In your experience, which are the most common questions?
Rebecca Turner: Most people who write to me are still trying to figure it out and want to know: what am I doing wrong? Another one is: how long will it take to have my first lucid dream? They’re frustrated, because learning to lucid dream can be an uncertain ride, and they want reassurance.
Those who stick in there and actually do start lucid dreaming can run into some very common but easily rectified issues. With all the excitement of lucidity, they have the problem of waking up too soon, or being unable to control what they want in the dream. So they want to know: how can I stabilise and prolong my lucid dreams?
One question I still get asked at workshops and talks (although less often these days than a decade ago) is: Is lucid dreaming dangerous? I addressed this question in a recent talk in London.
Rebecca Turner: I really don’t think lucid dreams are dangerous. Are normal dreams dangerous? Maybe a nightmare could open up some wounds which you don’t want to feel. But is that dangerous? Or is that just part of the human experience? I think lucid dreams are in the same realm. You can push yourself into nightmarish territory if you want, and actually I’ve found that empowering. The darker moments end up shaping who you are as a person, more so than the good times. If you can guide the process lucidly – say, confronting your deepest anxiety in a dream – you’re going to get more out of it in the long run than if you simply touched on it in a normal dream and then woke up.
Rebecca encourages everyone to learn lucid dreaming. Her course, the Lucid Dreaming Fast Track, is a step-by-step program that takes beginners down the rabbit hole. She teaches how to wake up in your dreams, master dream control, and how to use lucidity for personal transformation.