Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Dreams

Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Dreams
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Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Dreams and Hallucinations

This is a copyrighted extract from my book  Psychic Dreaming  by Craig Hamilton-Parker ( ISBN 1-4027-0474-7 Sterling Publishers 2004 )

The philosopher Ouspensky became interested in the occult because of his childhood interest in the dream visions that he had while apparently wide-awake. Many of these visions happened at the point of falling to sleep and sometimes immediately on waking.


Ouspensky was experiencing the extraordinary state of consciousness that psychologists call hypnagogic and hypnopompic dreaming that happens to some people at the point between waking and sleep. Hypnagogic imagery may occur as the person is falling to sleep and hypnopompic imagery may occur on waking. People also report auditory, visual, kinaesthetic, and tactile hallucinations, as well as floating sensations and out-of-body experience. See also our section on Meditation Visualisations

If you have ever experienced this strange state of awareness you will know that the visions that are seen are remarkable and may include vivid pictures and scenes that are astonishing in their clarity. For me, the experiences of this during my teens inspired me to seriously consider painting as a career in order to capture some of the extraordinary images I was seeing.

Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic states

The Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic states happen when a person is right on the brink between being awake and being asleep. It’s sometimes accompanied by sleep paralysis and also sometimes by frightening images and a feeling of helplessness as if the dreamer is under a psychic attack by demons. I have been a hypnagogic dreamer all my life and I have never had any unpleasant experiences or paralysis during this state. Indeed I have always found this state of consciousness to be extremely inspiring and one that can be a stepping-stone to all sorts of psychic experiences.

Some people use hypnagogic dreaming as a means to trigger out of body travel, and retrocognition and it can also be used to induce lucid dreams. Although the images in a hypnagogic dream are very hard to recall afterward I have also sometimes used this state to look into the future. If the stream of awareness is targeted to a specific subject- such as what will tomorrow’s newspaper headline be- I have found that these dreams sometimes reveal images relating to the future.

Experiments and Symbols:

Inducing hypnagogic dreaming requires you to remain wakeful as you fall to sleep. Some people do this by drinking a lot of coffee before retiring as this keeps the mind active as the dream state kicks in.  Chocolate will also induce wakefulness as it contains Theobromine.

Some authorities recommend keeping the mind active by imagining doing something that involves imagery, audible and tactile sensations. Imagining driving a car for example can retain a conscious state. Visualise the car and the road, hear the engine-/radio and feel the steering wheel. This will help you to retain your attention as sleep creeps up on you.

I have found that one the habit of hypnagogic dreaming is established these artificial methods are not necessary. It is simply necessary to remain alert as the brain drifts towards sleep. Wakefulness can be retained by thinking of mathematical problems or word games. This stops the logical mind from falling into the abstract thinking that accompanies sleep and maintains wakefulness.

Maintaining Wakefulness

If you can maintain wakefulness as you hover at the edge of sleep you will start to see images in your mind’s eye. Sometimes I also see them in as if they are happening behind my actual eyes like projections onto the eyelids. In most instances, though the imagery appears as if floating in the space in front of you.

Although some of the images may be frightening it is important to remember that this is a hypnotic state and not to get too involved with them. Maintaining a transcendent state like an observer I have found helps to increase the intensity of the images. Try focusing on an image and ask yourself questions about it. Can you see the colors more clearly? What is its texture? Perhaps you can also induce sounds and smells associated with the images you see. I have found that the more you focus the senses on the images you see the more ‘real’ they become.

Inner Visions

You may see landscapes, faces, and all sorts of strange imagery. I have had instances where the images have turned into cartoon animations and I have witnessed extraordinary displays of imagery over which I have no conscious control. I often question where all this extraordinary imagery comes from as I could never dream up such extraordinary imagery in a million years!

The benefit of this state is that it gives you access to the astonishing creative that we all have yet never tapped into in waking life. When you experience the state, like me, you may wonder at the potential we have to create imagery and may find the experience creatively inspiring. The state may also help you to begin lucid dreaming and open your powers of ESP.

The Book

This is a copyrighted extract from my book  Psychic Dreaming  by Craig Hamilton-Parker ( ISBN 1-4027-0474-7 Sterling Publishers 2004 )

This is an extract from my new book
Mystical Dream Interpretation

About Post Author

Craig Hamilton-Parker

Craig is a TV medium, author and mystical teacher. I will approve and respond to comments that are short, well-written and on topic. For personal questions and experiences please post on our forums.
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