One aspect of human experience that I find particularly fascinating is the topic of Lucid Dreaming. I’ve been so deeply invested learning lucid dreaming techniques from the very first lucid dream I had, where I realized that I was in a reality that was as real and as tangible as the one you’re reading this article in, while being fully asleep. It was actually so real, that as I tromped through New York City seeking answers to Life, the Universe, and Everything, that I was determined to bring back a license plate with me. Like any other topic I knew nothing about, I set out to find as much out about lucid dreaming as I could; I wanted this sleeping reality to be a place I could visit as often as possible!
My search initially led me to trying to replicate the experience. I charted out what I ate the night before, what time I went to sleep, how I felt, and any other detail I could come up with. It was truly one of the most exhilarating and exciting experiences of my life, and I wanted to get more than a cursory look into this incredible world that not only was completely mutable on thought, but one that literally was as real to me as my waking reality, if not more so.
I feverishly kept a separate Dream Journal, and charted out every dream I had. Little did I know that the time, that this is one of the most powerful tools for inducing lucid dreaming. Just like anything else; the more we practice something, the better we get at it. I was practicing at recalling my dreams, which in turn, raised my awareness while shifting my waking focus to the act of dreaming. I started to figure out details such as most of my lucid dreams happened in that morning twilight state before I really want to wake up. I learned that I could set my alarm for 2-3 hours before I awoke, to bring me out of deep sleep into a lighter sleep state where lucid dreams seemed most-likely to occur.
I eventually found my way to the “Lucidity Institute” and then to an amazing device called the NovaDreamer. Both were instrumental in helping me create a regimen for lucid dreaming, and the NovaDreamer actually induced lucid dreams within the first week of using it! But, this article is not intended to speak to any of that. If you are interested to know more about what I know about lucid dreaming, please visit my website called; DreamHerbs.com. Yes, it’s got herbs on it we sell here at the shop, but lucid dreaming is truly one of my greatest passions in my eternal exploration of human consciousness.
One of the things I found along the way were natural herbal products that helped me lucid dream. In my research, I discovered that several cultures placed a high value on lucid dreaming, so I looked to those cultures’ practices to discover what methods and perhaps herbs they used to help with lucid dreaming. One culture that was of particular interest were the Xosa, the Samgoma, Karanga and South African shamans. All have a long history of contacting ancestors through dreams. Silene capensis is used by the Xhosa of South Africa to communicate with the ancestors. (Woolcott, 2011). Imphepho (helichrysum odoratissimum) is used by the Samgoma to induce trance states and to communicate with ancestors. (National Digital Repository, 2011) Synaptolepis kirkii is used by the Karanga and other shamans in South Africa to bring on visions and to treat epilepsy. (Ethnobotany Life, 2011)
Any culture that places such a high value on dreaming; it would make sense that they’ve explored every possible plant in their environment that may help induce lucid dreaming, and/or enhance dream recall to help bring those messages back. Upon research, this panned out to be true. Using personal travel and subsequent experience with this ancient and sacred shamanic plants, this is how DreamHerbs has built it’s modest database of plants that help induce lucid reaming or help with the process of dream recall.
Two of the most powerful “Dreaming Herbs” I found for me were Silene Capensis and Entada rheedi. Silene is easy to work with, but Entada rheedii is a different story altogether. The seed is the most desired part of the Entada plant, and the seed is the size of a flattened golf ball. And, the part of the seed that’s used is the “meat” of the seed. This meat of the seed is like a giant sunflower seed, and can be difficult to blend with other herbs. This is why I created the Dreamer’s Blend on IAmShaman and Shaman’s Garden.
I make a tea out of the Dreamer’s Blend and also roll it into a cigarette. I make sure I’m in a state conducive to relaxation. I have my Dream Journal next to me and review other dreams. I take note of what I ate that day, what kind of mental state I’m in now, and write that as the first part of my entry for the evening. Sometimes I think ritual gets in the way of achieving our desired goals, but this is a case where I think ritual has vastly increased my frequency of lucid dreams.
Anyway, find out LOTS more information on Lucid Dreaming on one of my sister sites called DreamHerbs. It’s another labor of love, and one that wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of both A. Szostek (article research) and Jake More (website design).
REFERENCES: Woolcott, Ina. Silene Capensis, Ubulawu, African Xhosa Dream Root Induces Lucid Dreams. Shamanic Journey, Shamans and Shamanism. Web. 27 June 2011. <>. NDR › National Digital Repository › Indigenous Knowledge › Stories › Imphepho. NDR › National Digital Repository. Web. 27 June 2011. Uvuma-omhlope (Synaptolepis Kirkii) Profile. Ethnobotany Life. Web. 27 June 2011.