Well, here I am finally getting back into the swing of this writing thing after having a mini stroke — it was no fun and you can trust me on that — and I’ve been thinking about my technique of typing with my eyes closed and close to sleep using my wireless keyboard and new iPhone Xs Max. Yes, you can’t take your iPhone into a psychic state with you to take a video of the proceedings, but you can type what you see with the mind’s eye, as they say, so I’ve been thinking what a fabulous technique this is and wanting to clue everyone in to it, again. Of course, I cover this subject in more detail in Story Alchemy, Chapter 8.
I also just recently ran onto Jennifer Dumpert’s technique she calls liminal dreaming (Click here for her website.) to investigate other states of consciousness while close to sleep. I’m very excited about her new book that will be coming out toward the end of May. It’s titled Liminal Dreaming: Exploring Consciousness at the Edges of Sleep. Can’t wait.
So anyway, I’m getting back into what Carl Jung calls active imagination where you can visit and create other realities. Of course I use it for writing fiction. So here I am rebooting writing, and I realize anew how marvelous it is to imagine your story unfolding while in this liminal state within what I call the Imaginarium. I enter it through the Iris of Time, which is another psychic location that I created while writing Story Alchemy.
The other thing is that the little introduction I always write for myself as I enter hypnagogia, obeying the Code of Conduct, I call it, is also extremely important because it is a set pattern of images that conditions you for the discipline of typing while creating, and you need to do it every time you enter the Iris. Here is an example of what I type out as enforced by the Code of Conduct each time I enter:
I see the lady in white standing on the balcony. She puts something in a drawer, smiles at me, walks into the house through a sliding glass door. I open the drawer and see a key, which I pickup and enter the house also. I walk through a living room, through an archway and into another small, dark room with a large mechanism on the far wall that looks something like a bank vault. Before it stands a woman, the Keeper of the Gate. I hand the key to her, she inserts it into a mechanism and the center of the mechanism takes on a new form. A long slender dragon bathed in fire has wrapped itself about the circular mechanism and the center of it opens up, a small hole at first, that expands like an overgrown camera shutter. This of course is the Iris of Time. I position the dragon, Ouroboros, to where its head is approximately at the location where I am working on my story on the pentagon plot diagram. Then I walk through the opening into the Philosopher’s Stone, the Imaginarium. There I see Mnemosyne and her daughters, the nine muses. They all come to me and circle me then all close on me in a group hug. I feel loved and that my writing project is not only worthwhile but also of great interest to them. They then step back and disolve into the fabric of the universe and in their place stands Nyloh, who smiles and takes my hands in hers. “Be brave,” she says, “for there are hard times ahead.” Behind her stands her father, LrGon, looking unapologetic and eager to get started.
Typing out this activity that I am visualizing as I do so is the conduit through which my word engine flows. It starts the motor and sets the wheels in motion. Plus, of course, it also conditions the imagination to take you into the collective unconscious where you can find the story you are trying to tell. The imagination is that go-between that brings creative stuff from the collective unconscious into consciousness.
An additional benefit of this preliminary activity is that you learn how to manipulate hypnagogia, and if you have insomnia, can then teach yourself how to get through hypnagogia quickly by avoiding its many distractions that could be causing your insomnia problem. To learn more about this, read my book In Pursuit of Sleep: The Origins of Insomnia and What to Do About it.
Let me know what you think on twitter: @SheppardDavid.