I've been giving some serious thought and some light reading about the subject of Lucid Dreaming. Throughout my magickal career, I've always had grief and annoyance when the subject of lucid dreams, astral projection, and similar experiences are mentioned and sometimes described in astounding detail. Shit, I have enough trouble just remembering enough of my dream to piece together anything coherent, if I remember anything at all.
A friend and fellow grimoire magician often shares his experiences with me. He often conjures various spirits and reports that he has no connection or experience during ritual, but often experiences the spirits in technicolor afterwards in his dreams. He's spoken of his ability to consciously conjure spirits while perfectly asleep and dreaming, and needless to say, he experiences these spirits in ways that many of us (myself included) simply do not.
Recently, he recommended Carlos Castenada's The Art of Dreaming to help me begin experiencing lucid dreams. This book is certainly interesting, but bizarre, influenced by entheogens, and probably largely fictional. Nonetheless, it does appear to lay a framework down to begin working with your dreams, if you can fish out the gold nuggets while enjoying a bizarre fiction.
One of the first steps you take, according to the book and per the recommendation of my friend, is to develop some subconscious habits in waking consciousness that will manifest during dreaming, forcing you into lucidity. One in particular is to look at your hands often with the intention of doing so in your dreams. Be ever conscious of the intention that you wish to lucidly dream, and try to carry this intention with you as you go to sleep, often reminding yourself to look for your hands.
I've been reading this book and also Working with Archangel Gabriel to help me hone better lunar-based skills, lucid dreams included. Two weeks to the day after initiating this process, I have experienced the first lucid dream in my life. I wasn't able to maintain focus for long before slipping back into regular dreams and then waking, but it was as real as day.
I simply remember standing in my room next to my altar. The sudden sensation that I was totally aware of where I was, who I was, and what I was thinking swept over me. It just "hit me". I thought, "Shit! Look for your hands!" And so, I did -- and I knew that I was officially having a lucid dream. But then the thought occurred, "Am I really dreaming? Or is this reality and I just think I'm dreaming?" The logic then prevailed that in normal waking consciousness, I would probably not be asking myself these questions. The realness of everything was distracting to me -- I was trying to breathe in every detail because of how surreal it felt.
But I forgot what I was supposed to do next with lucid dreaming. I decided, "Hell, I'll conjure a spirit! We'll see what manifests while I'm in this state!". So I began to get my things together excitedly. In a flash, the last thing I remember was lighting some offertory incense. I got too distracted by things in the dream, and lost consciousness of it. Then I woke up.
My friend assures me that if I continue with what I've been doing that I will have more experiences. He says, as the book also indicates, that you cannot become distracted by things in this state, because it will either force you into regular dreaming or you will simply wake up. You need a lot of energy to maintain this state, and he has recommended trying to maintain my energy level by sourcing it from one of my chakras.
It was intense and I have been unable to think about anything else today.