The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 18

Dreams. Nightmares. Obsessions in dreams. Deep sleep. Time in sleep.

Dreams occur during the time when the doer is withdrawing from the four senses into the state of deep sleep, and during the time when the doer is returning from deep sleep to its connection with these four senses. Dreams may or may not occur. If they occur they may or may not be remembered. When they are remembered the record may be accurate or imperfect. The doer dreams while it is in connection with the nerve centers of seeing, hearing, tasting and smelling and their areas in the brain. Most dreams have to do with seeing. While dreaming, the doer does not go away from the body; dreams of places or persons, near or distant, occur in the body, nowhere else.

Dreams begin when the doer has let go the hold it has, through the breath-form, on the physical plane and abandons the organs of the four senses, but still lingers in the areas of the optic, auric, gustatory and olfactory nerves and remains, through the breath-form, in touch with the areas and sees, hears, tastes and smells and contacts by means of them. Dreams are usually connected with seeing. Sometimes, but rarely, people hear in dreams; they hardly ever taste or smell and hardly ever dream of touching anything, or of feeling warm or cold.

The reason is that the organs and nerves of sight and hearing are more developed than those of taste and smell, and that there is no special organ for feeling, because feeling is an aspect of the doer, not a part of nature.

The sense of sight is a fire elemental and when the doer is in the dream state this elemental brings before the doer the picture it has recorded in the waking state, on the same day or years before. The pictures may be alive and move, and so form actions or events. If the pictures are of a distant past, they usually represent the events as they were, but if they are of recent events or are caused by physiological disturbances, they may be distorted. The pictures brought up depend upon the coincidence of the cycles of thought. Whether the pictures are vivid or indistinct depends upon the closeness of contact between the doer and the nerve centers, and the ability of the sense to register the picture.

The pictures or sounds may be produced by many causes. One of these is the interest of the dreamer in continuing the activities of the day or of some past time. Hope, expectation, anxiety and fear make up the dream and give it its direction. Another cause may be something that others think about the dreamer, which reaches him and coincides with one of the cycles of his own thoughts; or his own mental nature, reason, may cause a dream to give him a warning as to his conduct. Sometimes elementals show him pictures which have become destiny, are waiting at the threshold of the physical plane and will appear there, as the burning of a house, the sinking of a ship, the death of a person, the finding of some article. There can be physical causes due to physiological disturbances—like indigestion, pressure of some object upon the sleeping body, the slamming or rattling of a door, cold air striking the body or a pain. Another cause may be the presence of astral entities which prey upon the vitality of the sleeper. These are a few of the causes that produce dreams.

The ways in which pictures and sounds and in rare cases tastes and odors are produced vary. One way is that a thought present or past, held in the waking state, is followed by the elemental serving as the sense in the body. When sleep comes, the fire elemental serving as sight, for example, follows the thought and gathers the material for the dream. The material may be the matter that was perceived as the picture, or matter from the four elements taken from the fourfold body of the dreamer. Sometimes also material of part of the dream is furnished by the bodies of persons concerned in the dream, or by elementals not one’s own. When the bodies of other persons are a part of the picture, these bodies remain where they are, and when distant places are seen they are not brought near nor does the dreamer go to them. The reason persons and places though distant can be seen in the dream, is that the barriers of what is called distance disappear and leave the vision or hearing unobstructed, or clairvoyant or clairaudient. The elementals of sight or hearing producing the dream, work and adjust all this material into a present, harmonious, acting picture of near or distant scenes or events.

The subjects of dreams may be of any activities the dreamer has had or thought of in the waking state. It may be that the dreamer lives through scenes entirely foreign to any experience in his life or anything he has read or thought of. In this case he sees something that has happened, is going on, or will happen in a distant place, or the scene and the dream experience may be from a past life. This is unusual and happens only when the cycles of his past thoughts coincide with his thoughts and conditions of the present.

Dreams are usually confused, topsy-turvy and indistinct. There is no consecutiveness or any connection between one scene and another. It is rare that one related series of events is followed through one dream, where the sky is blue, the objects clear in color and outline, where the water shimmers and sparkles and the boats rise and fall on it, where the things done follow each other for a purpose, and the persons seem real. The reason for this is that the thoughts of the dreamer in the waking state were nearly as disconnected and indistinct as in the dream. The clear and distinct dreamer is the clear and distinct observer and thinker.

It is possible to make dreaming a means of learning. One may carry a subject of thought from the waking into the dream state and consider it in that state. In this way he may consider the subject from two states in which he is conscious. In the dream state many of the obstacles of the waking state are absent. To do this one must charge his breath-form to bring up the subject for consideration at a certain time during sleep. The subject must be fixed on the breath-form by clear thinking and then it may be followed night after night. The main thing is to be clearly conscious, not drowsily but fully, both in the waking and in the dream state.

In passing from the waking to the dream state there is a period of darkness, forgetfulness, in which the sleeper is unconscious. It is best not to continue the waking thought into the first part of the night, but to instruct the breath-form to call the doer from the deep sleep into the dream state, and to present to the doer the subject of thought, when the physical body has rested and is refreshed. It should be impressed upon the breath-form that the doer should be fully conscious of the subject and of the dream. One can also learn to be conscious in the dream state that he is dreaming. In fact, the waking state is a dream, but the doer is not conscious that it is a dream.

Different from the learning which the dreamer continues from his waking activities when the breath-form calls him at his request, is the instruction which he gets at times from his non-embodied doer portions. Men do not take cognizance of the doer while they are awake, nor do they pay much attention to what happens. Therefore the doer sometimes uses a dream, because that is an unusual thing, to call attention to some fact. This warning, instruction, or illumination, may be given by symbol, or as a vision, or a phrase; the person will or should know the meaning for him.

Nightmares are an unusual phase of dreams. They may be due to the physical causes already mentioned, which interfere with digestion, circulation or respiration. A late supper may cause congestion of some organs, pressure on the nerves which suggest to the sense elementals a cause for the pressure, which the elementals then show to the dreamer distorted and exaggerated. The cause seen or felt in the dream may be some animal, but the picture of it is a hallucination. On the other hand, nightmares may also be due to actual entities trying to obsess the sleeper, as a pig astride the stomach, or a crab or spider clawing the abdomen, or a demon gripping the throat, or a creature in animal or human shape at the sex. Such entities may be evil-disposed elementals, or mixtures of elementals and disembodied entities. These entities attack humans to obtain their vital force, for by means of it they can prolong their own existence. They can approach a person in sleep when his thoughts in the waking state were about sexual practices and so tempered his psychic and physical atmospheres that such beings could approach through them.

One of the worst phases of psychic destiny connected with dreams is the creation of an incubus or a succubus, or obsession by one created by another person. Such phases are fortunately unusual in modern times.

An incubus is a male created by a woman, a succubus is a female created by a man. These creatures are created by a person having no sexual intercourse, but thinking, while the sex force accumulates, about a form of the opposite sex which has the features and traits most desired. The thought is built into a form by elementals, and in time it appears to the person in a dream. Then or later the person has intercourse in dream with that form. The appearance and relation continue, until there is a definite presence at night.

Every human has two sides; the female side is suppressed in the man, and the male side is suppressed in the woman. To carnalize the entity there must be a physical germ, as in the case of any physical body to be born. The suppressed woman is called upon by the man, or the suppressed man by the woman, to furnish this germ, which is astral. Then this unites with the solid germ of the vitality, and so there is a basis for the building of a physical body which is gradually made more solid by its absorption of vitality. The desire attracts to this basis a nature unit from one of the elemental races, a disembodied sense elemental which belonged to another human. This elemental having, as all elementals have, the form of a human, had gone back into its element, after the breath-form of the human to whom it had belonged, was divided. It attaches itself to the germ. As it becomes more physical it continues the relation with the person in the waking state. It partakes of all of the four elements through their systems in the fourfold physical body; so it gets its breath and blood and nourishment in addition to the generative force with which the thing started. Ultimately it appears to its creator during waking hours as a fleshly, palpitating being of the other sex and is a succubus or incubus, endowed by the elementals with even more beauty, grace, strength, amorousness and desire than its creator thought of. If the thought was of something brutish, fierce, bestial, then the succubus or incubus will present that in a greater degree than desired.

Seen by any other person the thing would seem like a human being, solid and real, but there would be something strange about it. The cause of the strangeness would be that the thing has no atmosphere of its own, as it can only exist in the atmospheres of its creator, or in those of another human.

At first the thing comes only in dreams, but as it becomes more established in the psychic atmosphere of its creator, it can appear to him or her in daylight. It may appear gradually or suddenly, at first only when it is desired, but later even when it is not desired. It can disappear gradually or suddenly, as it is only half physical. It explains its existence according to the nature of the individual. If its creator is religiously inclined, it may say that it is a saint or an angel; if the human likes art or aesthetics, it may claim to be a god or goddess appearing by special favor.

In the early stages of association, the thing will be affectionate and loving, and wait on its lover. Then it demands more, grows insistent and commanding. It may show jealousy, revenge and anger, and may harm its lover. Often the human would like to get rid of it, but cannot, not knowing how. Then fear comes. As the human grows weaker because of loss of vitality, a nameless dread begins to overshadow him and insanity or suicide may be the end. That may be the end of the physical life, but not the end of the demon and of the relationship. After death the incubus or succubus may persecute the doer that created it. However, the demon cannot continue its existence unless it can get vitality from a living human being. It may get this vitality from sleepers in their dreams, or it may obsess one of its own sex; then the obsessed is driven by the obsession to intercourse with the other sex.

“Religious” cults have been founded on the worship of incubi and succubi. These may then be called “spiritual husbands” or “spiritual wives.” Such cults idealize and intensify sexual relations without the responsibility of physical progeny. Ascetics, hermits and men and women in monasteries, nunneries and other “holy” places, with whom sex expression is restrained but in whom such thoughts find lodgment, have created incubi and succubi and believed them to be heavenly beings. The more ignorant they are, the more certain they are of the “spirituality” and saintliness of their visitors.

Dreams occur during the intervals between deep sleep and waking. Dreams may be remembered, but what occurs in deep sleep is not. The reason why the doer does not remember what happens to it in deep sleep is that the doer is out of touch with the four senses and their areas in the brain and has no way of attaching its feelings in deep sleep to the memory of sights, of sounds, of tastes and of smells. Feelings must be connected with perceptions through these four senses for the doer to remember anything when it is in a physical body. When the doer dreams, it may be on the form plane of the physical world, though it usually is on the invisible side of the physical plane. These are the dreams that have been referred to and which may be remembered.

After the doer-in-the-body has withdrawn from the sense areas and nerve centers it may pass into and remain in the voluntary nerves of the cervical region during sleep. This region is as far as ordinary doers go, some do not even go as far.

Deep sleep is a forgetfulness of all sights, sounds, tastes and smells, and which may be the being conscious by the doer in its own state; this has three degrees, psychic, mental, and noetic. In deep sleep the doer may go over and continue activities of the day or of the past, without relating them to seeing, hearing, tasting or smelling.

In the first degree the feelings and desires that go on in the doer are of a sensuous kind, or they are related to sensations painful or pleasant, as of anger or of affection. The feelings and desires are simple, not associated with external objects. So a person who likes money and deals with it cannot hear the jingle of coins or the crackling of notes, nor can he see the money. He cannot touch the money, or see or hear or taste or smell the objects which he buys or sells, yet the feelings and desires which these transactions produce in his doer are there, and usually they are the only things that are there. A feaster cannot see the choice morsels or the table decoration, or smell the appetizing odors of food or wine, or hear the voices of his companions, or make a clever turn in conversation; nor can he feel the pains of indigestion, yet of the separate feelings and desires which are produced by all of these he can be conscious. They may be there. A person who likes the dance cannot see her preparation and dressing up, the lights, the dresses of the other dancers or of the moving figures, or hear the music or the compliments paid her, or smell the perfumes or feel the pressure of bodies, but the feelings and desires coming from these perceptions of the outer world are often there in deep sleep and with them, perhaps, jealousy and greed.

In the second degree, the feelings and desires of the doer are concerned with rightness, with the righteousness or wrongfulness of the acts and omissions of the day or of the past, and with the rightness or incorrectness of abstract thinking. Perturbations come upon the doer, arising from outward activities when there are no longer any activities, or anything that seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling or contact can enter into. The neglect of duty or duty well done are here felt as remorse, anguish, regret and fear, or as peace, content and ease.

In the third degree, the feelings and desires are concerned with identity. They are again feelings and desires alone, without any association with external objects. The “I” and the feelings are the only things which exist for the doer in that degree. In the waking state the doer says: “I did that; I made that speech; I hit him; I will do this or that; I got the best of that bargain. This is my property, my shop, my estate, my husband, my wife, my child, my dog. I shall take that office, that property, that woman. My opinion is right. My plans must be carried out. My name will be famous. He wronged me. He hurt me. I lost that.” It says, too: “I am great; I am generous; I was not considered.” But in the third degree of deep sleep there is only the identity with the feelings and desires of doing, making, hitting, getting, owning, taking, intending, suffering, losing and being.

The persons, objects and events which produced the feelings and desires do not exist for the doer in this degree. The persons, the happenings, the objects which evoked these feelings have disappeared and the feelings of “I,” of the power of the “I,” of the loss to the “I,” of the injury to the “I,” remain. The objects—enemies, competitors, audiences, property, husband, wife, child, dog, injuries, praise and blame—have disappeared, but the feelings and desires produced by them remain as the feelings and desires of the “I” and “mine.” Of these the doer is conscious.

These three phases in which the doer is conscious, feelings-and-desires, rightness-and-reason and I-ness, are commingled in deep sleep, as they were in the waking state. One phase usually dominates the other two. The Light of its Intelligence is on the doer, and the doer is therefore conscious of its feelings and desires. These states of the doer are the result of the activities in the daytime. They are not a cause of future action, but are a reward or punishment for the acts and omissions of the doer in the waking state. Nor does the doer learn anything in sleep, unless the desire for learning existed in the waking state and the necessary work was then done. In that case, the Light of the Intelligence may aid in solving problems that were worked over, or give illumination. A great deal may be learned in sleep if one will charge himself in the waking state to be informed on certain points.

The time spent in deep sleep depends upon the length of time the physical body needs in which to be repaired and refreshed, upon the digestion and assimilation by the doer, apart from the four senses, of its experiences during the waking state and upon the refreshment the embodied doer portion needs. When the body is fit for new activities and the doer is ready, nature and the doer seek each other. The doer returns by way of the medulla and the cerebellum to the sense nerve areas, and connects with the rear half of the pituitary body and then takes up its stations in the body. The eyes open, sounds are heard and the doer is conscious of this. Then it becomes conscious of where it is and of the identity or name of the body by which it is known in the world.

Time seems to be different in deep sleep, in dreaming and in the waking state. The difference lies in the standard of measurement. The essence of time is accomplishment, and this is measured differently in each of the three states. The accomplishment is a result that is brought about by the change of the relation of things to each other. In the waking time, the accomplishment by which time is measured is the movement of the earth in relation to the sun. A revolution of the earth around its axis in relation to the sun is the measure of a day, a revolution of the earth around the sun is the measure of a solar year, and a revolution of the pole of the equator around the pole of the ecliptic is the measure of a sidereal year. This kind of time is measured by the eye, is objective, external and the same for all on the surface of the earth. In waking life man is guided by this kind of time and so far as he can think of time he measures it by this standard. This time is the phase of time for those who are conscious of matter in the solid state of the physical plane, that is, time which they measure as earthly time of the physical plane.

In a dream one may live through many years crowded with events, and on awakening find that he has slept only a few seconds. Therefore the dream time seems unreal when compared with his measure of waking time. He does not and cannot compare the waking time and the dream time and judge, in the dream state. However, if during a dream one is conscious of the experiences of his waking time, those waking experiences seem as unreal in the dream time as his dream experiences seem unreal in the waking time. In deep sleep he cannot compare the waking time and the dreaming time with the time in deep sleep, nor can he compare the time in deep sleep with the waking time and the dreaming time, because in deep sleep the four senses of the waking and the dream states are out of touch with the doer and the doer is unconscious of them. The accomplishments measured in deep sleep time are results brought about by the changes of feelings and desires, rightness-and-reason, and I-ness-and-selfness, in their relations to each other from the beginning to the end of deep sleep. On awakening the waking time cannot be compared with the deep sleep time because the measures are so different. In dream states the doer measures not according to earthy time of the physical plane, but usually according to the fluid, airy and fiery time of that plane; in deep sleep the doer measures according to the changes in its feelings and desires produced by the things that happened to it while with the senses. Sometimes the feeling brought back from deep sleep is one of peace, confidence and ease; sometimes it is the reverse; in either case, it is an indication of the thing accomplished in the deep sleep.

Reality is for a man what he experiences or knows at the present moment. The experiences of yesterday are as unreal as are dreams, as long as he does not live them over again in feeling and desiring. If he lives them over, they are in the present moment, and become real again. Thoughts of the future are only dreams, unless these thoughts are felt and lived. To the degree that they are felt and lived they make the present disappear, take its place and are reality.

Dreams seem to be unreal because one cannot bring them into the present moment and he cannot put himself into the state in which he was in dream. Man has not built up his four senses so that he can act with them on the form plane of the physical world; he cannot even use them on the astral or radiant side of the physical plane. At present these senses cannot act independently of the physical organs and nerves. In the waking state they need these organs and nerves; in the dream state they need only the sense nerves. If man had these four senses so developed that they could act on the form plane, what he could see in dream would be more real to him than the things he now perceives in his waking hours.

The material on the form plane is finer and firmer, and the senses are sharper, more sensitive and more far reaching when acting on that plane than when acting on the physical plane. If the senses were properly developed they would have a consecutiveness and order in their functioning, which would permit man to perceive consecutiveness in events and to remember them in his waking state. Instead, he now remembers only topsy-turvy and distorted patches. At present when the doer dreams and is not definite in its purpose, and when the senses are not coordinated and controlled, nature ghosts rush into, around and out of the atmosphere like a lot of noisy children, and help to make the unrelated shifting scenes.