Shared dreaming occurs when 2 or
more people go to sleep with the intent to meet one another in
the dream state. Often, we carry with us the idea that a dream
meeting will be just like a meeting in the waking state. The
success of a meeting between sighted people requires that we
recognize each other by visual clues. Using photographic
technology, this is very easy to do. In the material world,
just compare the person standing in front of you with her
digital or analog image.
However, you can't bring
photographic equipment into sleep. Even REM monitors aren't
imported into the dream state! Instead of the camera eye, you
must use your dream eye to realize your meeting. And we tend
to forget that our dreams aren't seen through two material
eyeballs; it's our non-physical eye that does the "seeing."
It's our third eye, our psychic eye, that perceives while we
The third eye might be literally
clairvoyant and, indeed, seem to "see" just like our physical
eyes "see" a current version of our dreaming partner. But the
third eye isn't limited to that particular mode of perception.
Oh, no. It can see horizontally, into the past and future. It
can see vertically, all the many layers of self. And it can
actually allow you to move diagonally into the depths of
Thus, precognition and
retrocognition can be part of dream perception. So can
telepathy, when we don't just "see" our partner, we "read"
her. And then there's empathy, when we "become" her, walk in
her moccasins, and "see" from her viewpoint. For dreams, we
aren't limited to the edge of reality; we may move far beyond
Let's start with the easiest case
of identification: the waking person, the clairvoyantly
perceived, literal surface self. This is the self that is most
likely to appear at the beginning of any attempt at shared
dreaming, while we're still constrained by waking bias.
During one of the mutual dreaming
experiments I facilitated, The Lucidity Project, a participant
named John Echo was dreamt as "an older, bald man wearing
glasses." John confirmed that this picture applied to him.
On the very first date of another
project, Dreams10, one of the group members was described this
way, "The first person to introduce herself to me calls
herself Barbara Shor. The image I have for her is middle aged
(with) short curly blonde hair (the color of straw), a little
heavy." Barbara recognized this as an accurate description of
These project members had never
seen their team members, never exchanged photos, never
received written or aural descriptions of them until after
they recorded their dreams. Psi verification is fairly easy
when strangers are dreaming with one another. But suppose you
already know your partner. Any dream image of her might be day
residue, a memory dragged in from the waking state, to be used
for your own purposes. That image could well be your own
projection; the dream in which it appears might not have
anything to do with your partner. So how can you tell if your
third eye is operative if you've already seen your partner
with material eyes?
For one group project, where
people knew one another by sight, I had everyone send me a
photograph of themselves. I photocopied the pictures, mixed up
the copies and put each one into a white, sealed envelope.
Then I mailed the white envelopes within larger manila
envelopes, with instructions not to open the white envelopes
until after incubating and remembering a dream. A member would
put his sealed envelope under his pillow, then try to dream of
the particular person whose image it contained (without
knowing who it was, of course). He could confirm or disprove
the accuracy of his third eye after opening the envelope the
But what if, instead of a group,
there's just the two of you? Once, my partner spontaneously
dreamt up a perfect solution to this sort of dilemma. She
didn't just dream about me; she dreamt about someone I knew
and she didn't.
The Dawning of
20 years ago, Megan had this
dream: "Linda Magallon brings a friend to meet me. Her friend
has dark, shoulder-length hair, parted in the middle, slightly
wavy to each side. Her face is oval, long but not too narrow,
and her lips are medium small. Delicate bone structure. A
bird-like person, very curious about something I'm writing.
Her skin is very fair. She's on the thin side, but not skinny.
I'm very busy writing, and not too social, and I get the
impression that I'm acting out the woman's impression of me,
even though I'd like to be more social."
Since Megan did not know who the
friend was, she simply described her. I recognized the literal
representation of Jean Campbell (author of Dreams Beyond
Dreaming and now host of the ASD Bulletin Board).
Then I did two things to confirm
that this was a psi event. First, I sent Jean's photograph to
Megan. Megan wrote back, "From the copy of the photo you sent
me, it looks 90% like the person you brought to see me in the
dream. Only she was younger in the dream and her hair was
shoulder length. As I indicated, I perceived her expectations
of me to be that I was very withdrawn, and in my pre-lucid
state, I didn't resist them. I kept working and mumbled a few
things to her about what I was writing. She sat in front of me
and slightly to my right. Her 'feeling tones' were pleasant
and full of curiosity. I described this metaphorically as
'bird-like,' - you know the way birds look at you, trying to
figure out what you're doing?"
Second, I sent Megan's dream and
comments to Jean. Jean replied, "The Megan dream just blew me
away. I don't remember (being in) the dream she's talking
about, but her assessment feels pretty right to me."
I'd like to point out that Megan
didn't dream of Jean as her then-current version. She dreamt
of a still younger Jean. Perhaps you might conclude that this
was a case of retrocognition, seeing the past instead of the
present. But having researched hundreds of mutual dream
reports, my vote is for telepathy. I don't think Megan saw
Jean's outer image, past, present or future. Rather, Megan
picked up Jean's ideal image of herself, the self we think we
are or wish we could be. Megan was reading Jean's perception
of herself, how she imagined herself to be.
I still dream of myself with dark
hair, even though my hair has been white for the past couple
of years. Sometimes, it's a shock to see a white-haired woman
looking back at me from the mirror. That's not how I "see"
myself at all! It's not surprising to me that people would
dream my hair a rainbow of colors. Over the course of time,
I've tinted my hair every natural shade. Some of my partners'
perceptions have been quite clairvoyant of my physical head.
But I also have a vivid imagination, plus I've dreamt myself
in any number of hair hues, too. It's often hard to confirm
that a partner has been using telepathy to perceive something
I've imagined during the day. Or it was, until I started
paying attention to my daydreams; trying to remember them or
making quick notes for later review.
However, telepathy can be very
obvious if the evidence shows up in a set of paired dreams.
Once I dreamt of gazing at myself in a mirror and was bemused
to discover that my hair was colored blonde. That same night
my partner dreamt of me as a blonde. At the time, I had brown
hair. In the waking state, that is, not the dream.
This is my dream from another
one-on-one experiment, where I pictured someone known to my
partner but unknown to me: "I am driving up a four-laned
causeway, with no sides, so fast that I fear once I get to the
top, I'll rush too quickly down the opposite side.
Fortunately, at the top, the road levels out and I can
moderate my speed. I do this twice, like an amusement park
ride. Then, as I go downhill, the road narrows into two lanes.
At the bottom "T", I turn right and the road becomes a single
lane. People have left their cars behind and are evacuating
their bicycles. One woman's small white bike is buried next to
the curb of the road; a bald-headed man's bike is hidden
behind some dirt."
My partner, Kyla, dreamt, "I am
traveling somewhere with Steve. We're riding bicycles. We stop
to make a repair. There are lots of people around us at the
curbside people from our past. Everyone is very friendly and
Kyla's dream included the same
kind of "bicycle" event as mine. There was no indication that
we saw one another, though. Instead of meeting, we were
meshing. This is a very common reaction to shared dreaming.
When we plumb the depths of being, when we move ever closer to
each other, we are not constrained by the edges of the
physical body. Or the dream body. We meld with one another. We
dream with one another, as if it's our own dream. Sometimes
the melding is balanced; we both contribute our equal share to
the common dream. More often, one person is dreaming his
dream, when the second comes along and "peeks over his
shoulder," so to speak. Except she's usually not aware of him
or his shoulder! She moves into his position, his "mindspace,"
and dreams her version of his dream. If this was true for Kyla
and me, who was dreaming whom?
Well, I have ridden a bicycle, but
it had been several years. I hadn't been around a bald-headed
man for some time. The landscape was unfamiliar, but that's
usual, since I rarely dream carbon copies of my recent
physical environment. I hadn't been imagining anything
similar, either. The dream particulars could have been all my
"stuff," but I really didn't know.
But Kyla was certain. "The 'fast
hill driving' is a long term dream image of mine," she wrote
me. "The causeway is one of my transition areas. I've been on
it in many different forms and dreams over the years. There is
always some flavor of danger/high energy a sense that I must
flow with the pattern to get safely through. Nothing 'unsafe'
has ever happened to me though. And Steve IS bald."
If you would like to read more
about psi and shared dreaming, check out the ASD
Psyberconference. My own paper, "The Mystery of the Missing
Mutual Dreamers" is posted at