Saturday, April 20, 2013

In The Chalk Circle, Part 1

ately I’ve begun to notice something extraordinary: as I begin to drift off to sleep each night, I have been increasingly able to pinpoint the exact moment when sleep begins. I become aware of the distinct line between waking and dreaming thoughts. The key to achieving this is to be acutely attentive to the nature of the thought: a dream-thought is readily identifiable because of its irregular and irrational nature. As an example, a few nights ago I dreamt that I was in the vestibule of my grandparents house—the old one, that used to stand way up at the top of the hill—and my grandmother was speaking to me. Aha! Impossible! Because I know that she is dead, and the old house was sold decades ago—therefore this was clearly a dream-thought! 

    The impact of such a realization often causes me to snap awake immediately, triumphantly proclaiming to myself: “This is sleep!” But the next step is even more extraordinary: the trick is to not let yourself be jolted awake by the revelation of the initial dream-thought, and to continue to dream, but with the conscious awareness of doing so! This is a kind of inner alchemy—a discipline—that should be practiced and cultivated in order to unlock the mysteries of each nocturnal flight. The dreams can even be influenced and controlled with this method, and extraordinary powers might become available to the practitioner of this occult method.
    I will begin an experiment: I will keep my journal by my bedside and try to locate the thoughts that occur directly on either side of the sleeping/waking divide, and then try to hold on to them in my memory and write them down when I awake the next morning.


Wednesday, July 8, 2007
3:46—Washington Square Park, NYC
On the rim of the Old Fountain: High Summer in the park—beautiful afternoon in the Sunken Amphitheater—my thoughts trail off with the fountain spray...

The pen moves hesitantly...waiting for instructions from it’s master, who has succumbed to the dissipations of the mighty Doldrums. The Great Torpor has me in its grip and the Fatigue stretches for miles, coloring the sky and trees and faces, while holding me motionless...
    On certain days, the Fountaineers have been known to pump in water from the Sargasso which then sprays up from the old fountain and disperses into the park/crater, bringing with it the spirit of the Doldrums: of ships’s masts standing motionless and perfectly perpendicular in the dead calm—of sailors sprawled on the bleached decks under a monstrous sun. On other days, perhaps on a whim, these same Fountaineers will divert waters from a tributary of the Congo, and bringing with it all the characteristics of that terrifying and mighty river...


/// supernatural fiction ///  Washington Square Park /// lucid dreaming


  1. I'm agog to hear more. The way you describe it, there's a clean divide between wake and sleep. I've seen it differently since I heard about hypnagogic and hypnopompic states.

    From the Oxford English Dictionary (

    1972 Science 16 June 1203/3 The ASC's [sc. altered states of consciousness] experienced by almost all ordinary people are dreaming states and the hypnagogic and hypnopompic states, the transitional states between sleeping and waking.

    1. Well, you know, I think that I used this idea as more of just a literary device to set up the story as opposed to a theory that I actually believe in.
      It casts some doubt onto the nature of the journal entries that follow, as if perhaps they are all dreams that the narrator has dutifully written down upon waking as he promised to do in the prologue. It also plants the seed that perhaps the narrator is also a bit mad, and about to embark on a very strange journey, which gives me a kind of freedom to indulge in all manner of strange perceptions and undertakings. I may have been influenced (who hasn't?) by Poe in this regard (the feverish narrator of "The Tell-Tale Heart" comes to mind. Have you read Meyrink's "Golem"? The entire book may be a dream—it's unclear.
      This concept of a clean divide between waking and sleeping actually came to me in a dream! lol. I have always found that trying to take a nap during the day to be a risky business (at least for me). It seems that the transitional phase is where the great and terrifying subconscious comes bubbling up and I am usually overwhelmed by a sudden eruption of nameless fears and anxieties. No rest for the weary! lol
      Thanks for taking the time to read my (electronic) scribblings—much appreciated!

    2. Yes, we are not bothered here with science or semantics. Literature is constructed from literary devices. All biography or memoir is a kind of fiction and no fiction is worthwhile without a healthy dose of truth.

      A near namesake of yours, Bryan M. White, has a dream blog, The Encyclopedia of Counted Sheep. You'll see that he enhances the dreams into short stories that make sense, out of the kinds of fragments one grabs hold of when waking.

      I shall check out Meyrink.

  2. I seem to recall that shamans concur with your view of the occult powers which lucid dreaming can bestow.

    Put "lucid dreaming" into a search engine and you get nearly 3 million hits. This is where I remember the pageless book you wrote and I published, "Create Your Own Magic and Inner Alchemy"; and ignore them all.

    1. Hey—thanks for the tip—I think I will use "lucid dreaming" as a tag!
      It seems that I have written hundreds of "pageless" books—I seem to have a talent of writing titles but no actual book! lol)
      Yes, the priesthood is always covetous and insanely jealous. If they gave their secrets away they would all be out of a job! But sadly, (in my opinion) most of our modern priests have nothing useful to teach us anyway.