Hypnogogic adventures in consciousness

Thanks to reader Kimberly for a tip that led me to the following article, one which confirms and reminds me of various experiences throughout my life during the hypnogognic state that precedes sleep. For example:

• in my 20s, extraordinary out-of-body experiences preceded by loud electric buzzing that started in the middle of my head, like a box popping open (pineal?);

• since then, on a number of occasions, suddenly being presented with a series of vividly alive people of various ages and costumes, and, I presume, eras, parading by, one after another, hundreds of them, each looking directly into my eyes as s/he parades by;

• just recently, a single loud resonant clang of a bell seemingly just outside my window that startled both me and my dog;

• also recently, voices, on a number of occasions, either inside my head or just outside; thumpings in the walls;

• ten years ago, during the year after my husband Jeff Joel died, many visitations of one kind or another both in the hypnogognic and dream states.

BTW: none of these experiences are related to the swishing, hissing subliminal noise that a few months ago I consciously noticed accompanies me pretty much everywhere and all the time, and which, at this point, I chalk up to the electronic frequency sea that we’re all immersed in.

Kimberly suggests that I utilize my periods of sleeplessness to get more in touch with this state of being. But I’d rather go back to sleep, since without at least seven hours sleep at night, my racehorse nervous system goes haywire.

Here’s what I’m doing now to return to sleep during those “Hour(s) of the Wolf,” and it works:

I focus on the pineal gland, by attuning, attending to its subtle, nearly subliminal light. Sometimes it’s flashes, fading into auras, or brightening, for a nanosecond, then flashing again, or fading, brightening — so hard to explain. And it takes me awhile to tune into this subtle mutating light, this 7th chakra that is so much less compelling initially than the 3rd chakra where the solar plexus’s nearly obsessive, living breathing ideas/feelings tend to dominate like a writhing, fire-breathing dragon.

I’m getting pretty good at this new meditation now, after several months of practice. Just breathing, coaxing that solar plexus knot to let go, so that my awareness can ascend, as it naturally does, when freed from the emotional/mental body’s slavish tugs up through the 4th, 5th, 6th, and finally, ah, the light, the light. YES.

Once awareness is centered in the 7th chakra, I simply remain there, attending to the subtle light, watching the show and intending to become one with it; for when I do, it’s at that very moment that I fall back to sleep.

It seems counterintuitive, that one would attend to inner light in order to fall back into the profound inner darkness of dreamless sleep. But it works!

The 7th Wave: Hypnagogia as the Key to Evolution

February 1, 2011

Ever since childhood, a period when the border between worlds is thin, I have been a prolific dreamer. It wasn’t until I was eighteen, however, and had a series of wave dreams, specifically the 7th dream, that I started to record my dreams and become more conscious of their power.

Though I didn’t understand the use for dreams back then, I intuitively knew they were important and it wasn’t until many years later that I realized working with dreams as a spiritual practice would be the turning point of my life.

Over time I have witnessed extraordinary experiences especially in the lucid, hypnopompic and hypnagogic states. These have not only shifted my worldview, but have intrinsically transformed me as if I were perpetually marinating in a cosmic chrysalis bath.

What is Hypnagogia?

Coined by the 19th-century French psychologist L.F. Alfred Maury, hypnagogia is derived from two Greek words, Hypnos (sleep) and agogeus (guide, or leader). It is that brief transition between wakefulness and sleep and has many names including ‘borderland state’, the ‘half-dream state’ and the ‘pre-dream condition.’ (Hypnopompia, on the other hand, is the period between sleeping and waking.)

The visionary philosopher Rudolph Steiner of the famous Waldorf Schools emphasized the importance of the hypnagogic state. This is a period when we may have extraordinary visions, perhaps in the form of geometric shapes and patterns of bright light. We might also have auditory experiences of loud knocking, familiar voices or even more dramatic a supernatural heightening of our senses. Visitation dreams are also common during this period, and perhaps even more profoundly, people receive answers to life’s most important questions.

Hypnagogia and the 7th Wave

In Embracing the Wave: The Big Dream as Spiritual Practice, I describe the wave series as a precognitive map of my life, particularly the enigmatic 7th dream in which a group of us are anticipating an event involving a Tsunami-like wave, unlike any other, through a machine that captures radio frequencies.

Incidentally, there is folklore among surfers that the 7th wave is the ultimate ride and catching it will transport you to another dimension!

Though mysterious, the dream speaks loudly to my relationship with dreaming and waking states, as well as the various levels of consciousness that vibrate at specific frequencies. For instance, there is the alpha or meditative state; the delta or deep sleep which Tibetans Buddhists call dreamless sleep; beta waves which we experience in ‘waking life’; and finally, there is the theta state which is related to hypnagogic, lucid or deep trance. These frequencies act as Dreamgates that not only alter consciousness but can transform the dreamer emotionally, spiritually and yes, promote evolution.

Theta Waves

In the physiological sense, there have been major studies of brain wave patterns in these various states thanks to dream and sleep researchers like Melinda C. Maxfield . Maxfield has done extensive research on sonic entrainment, shamanism, and healing. According to her data, the hypnagogic state shares the same Theta frequency as the deep trance like state often produced by drumming. She writes “A pattern that incorporates approximately 4 to 4 1/2 beats per second is the most inducing for theta gain. Theta frequency is usually associated with drowsy, near-unconscious states, such as the threshold period just before waking or sleeping. This frequency has also been connected to states of “reverie” and hypnagogic or dream-like images.”

It is clear we are just scratching the surface to human possibility and perhaps embracing our dreams and simple curiosity is what we humans need in order to induce evolution.

The Hypnagogic State as Gateway to Evolution and Other States of Consciousness

My experiences are similar during shamanic drumming sessions, hypnagogic and lucid states but my auditory senses are more heightened than my visual capacities. The audio phenomena comes in many forms like loud chanting, booming vibrations, harmonic tones, singing and disembodied voices. At times there are even visits from elemental beings and ‘ghosts’, or beings who have passed over, and they seem to be in the room with me. What’s even more extraordinary is the feeling that the information I am receiving is being transmitted by a higher being or Wise Teacher.

Though I am conscious of being in my bedroom, I am highly attuned to more subtle frequencies that would not be available to me otherwise if not for this ‘heightened’ state of awareness. For example, one night I heard a high pitched tone quickly followed by dogs barking in the neighborhood. As soon as the tone stopped, the barking ceased as well. Could I have picked up on a higher frequency that only dogs could pick up? And if so, does this mean that human potential like contemporary evolution theorists believe can evolve in just one lifetime?

Meeting the Green Men

One of my favorite experiences was with two little men standing by my bed. They had red hair, were dressed in green and curiously checking me out. My husband and I had just moved into our new cottage in the mountains and I intuitively sensed they were not human but Nature Spirits inspecting the new tenants and were simply curious. This direct eye-to-eye contact with Nature totally shifted my personal view once again, tapping into a new world awareness of human potential and consciousness.

It is clear we are just scratching the surface to human possibility and perhaps embracing our dreams and simple curiosity is what we humans need in order to induce evolution. Or as Rudolph Steiner explains, “As we evolve further, this new dream-born world not only becomes equal of outer sensory reality with regard to inner truth, but also reveals facts depicting, in the full sense of the word, a higher reality.

Linda Mastrangelo

Linda believes dreams can transform individuals & bring communities together. Her research, art & therapeutic work run the gamut from spiritual alchemy to ancestral knowledge to altered states of consciousness. SF Dream Research Examiner SF Examiner and Empact Institute

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