Dreams Without Nightmares, Hygiene For Our Souls

Picure: Fibonacci (CC)

“Thoughts are things” – Prentice Mulford, noted American philosopher.

Part 3, Essays for the Discordian occultist: introduction to the art of freaking out


Previous articles in this series, “Life is but a dream” and “Living The Dream,” have deliberately avoided too much theory and focused instead on practice. One of the reasons we started in Part 1 with lucid dreaming is because it acts as a safe environment for your early magick use[1] while teaching you most of the essentials in a fairly short period of time. For example, in that particular state you will have noticed the slightest negative thought manifests instantly. Furthermore, if you set out to have a nightmare it’s not hard to make yourself wake up screaming. However, few people do this because dealing with such situations usually comes instinctively. After all in that world you are an all powerful great magician who can make even the grass go green.

Now your experiments are moving into the external world where you will have spent years learning how limited your power is. The key point here is that everything you’ve ever encountered has had to come through your own reality filter, otherwise known as your mind[2]. Everything you know about the outside world has had to pass through the bowels of your brain.

During these exercises lets agree for the moment that you cannot order the chaotic external world and focus instead upon the only thing you can control, your mind. Think of the techniques below as safety precautions which have been shown by others to help keep that vital instrument clean and healthy.


1, Cultivate a level of “mindfulness” with daily meditation

Meditation is a good start. I use the techniques taught by Alan Watts[3] as a matter of personal preference. Meditate frequently as part of a daily routine and you may glimpse a sense of what Buddhists call mindfulness. This encompasses a feeling that judging events and circumstances is futile. It’s an excellent way to avoid nightmares as fear requires you to make a judgement. Resources on how to meditate are available elsewhere online and there are many variations on this. In a nutshell here is the three step process I use daily:

Step one: Frame it as an activity which you are doing in the spirit of play, it’s not a solemn duty or task. It’s in essence meant to be fun.

Step two: Find a comfortable place and time where you will not be disturbed. You’re about to ignore the outside world and sit in it without interaction, this will be easier if you’re free of distractions. Set aside around 30-60 minutes. Follow whichever specific procedure appeals to you most but personally speaking I was first drawn in by the simplicity of an exercise called “the mindfulness of breathing”. Here you close your eyes and count, in repeating cycles of ten, the natural flow of your breath.

Step three: Learn not to freak out too much when life gets in the way or when you have an unexpected moment of success.

Step four: !


2, Adopt a temporary moral code.

Try using the beliefs of a “moral” spiritual system for a while and see how it suits you. Magick is a highly subjective skill so which set of scruples you choose to use is entirely up to you. Any theology which has a moral system that appeals will do but personally speaking my favourite option is contained within a short New Age masterpiece called “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.[4] It takes an afternoon to read and carries less baggage than any of the more serious religious options. Give it a go in the same week you spend meditating and notice how your reality starts to shift into an easier place.

Here is the three step process, contained in more detail within, The Four Agreements:

Step one: “Be impeccable with your word”.

If you say you’ll do something ensure you actually do it. Avoid lying to people and think of it as a weapon not unlike poison.

Step two: “Don’t take anything personally”.

No one really knows you or why you’re doing what you will. If they say or do good or bad things it speaks only of their own character. This is also true of your own judgements. Say nice but truthful things about people and you’re exercising positive internal energy. Keep bitching about people and you’ll emphasise the bad in yourself.

Step three: “Don’t make assumptions”.

Discover the world with your own mind, don’t be led by others. Trust yourself and investigate the reality you personally inhabit. We all live in different worlds and it’s far better to gaze in wonder than become one of those dull characters who assume they know it all.

Step four: “Always do your best”.

Hopefully the above brief description has enticed you to go look at that book. Get it from a library or buy it or whatever, don’t just use my incomplete description of it. However, as with all these essays I am suggesting tools not rules. It’s perfectly acceptable to try Christianity, Islam, Satanism, Judaism, or any of the other deeply moral spiritual systems available in today’s theological supermarket. You’re only doing it for a bit though so don’t go telling everyone, they might get upset if you decide to give their BS[5] a miss later on.

3, Learn not to freak out

The advantage of your path is that Discordianism is a joke religion. Laughter is the music from which our universe is created. In the words of G.K. Chesterton, “the angels can fly because they take themselves lightly”. The moment you forget this you might fall into the trap of taking things seriously. So, here’s a quick three step guide to some of the things you need to know before going any further:

Step 1: There is in fact no such thing as magick.

Step 2: Maybe you should stop using the word “is”.

Step 3: A good Discordian never believes anything they can read.

Step 4: As a “High” initiate there is obviously nothing I can ever actually let you know about Discordianism.


4, Cultivate a sense of your true will.

All systems of magick are pretty hot on the notion of free will. Even the control-freak Gods of the the Abrahamic religions recognise in their more sober moments that you must respect other people’s right to self determination. They don’t do this because they’re ‘nice’ Gods, they do it because the consequences for a magick user who tries to control another are not beneficial in the long term. There’s a deep misunderstanding in some forms of modern occultism that bending others to your will is a worthwhile exercise, in my experience it’s not. In fact it locks you into a situation where you will ultimately depend upon them rather than yourself.

A good occultist entices people to co-operate rather than forces them to do so. However, not pushing other people around is the easy part, working out if you’re being true to yourself is far more problematic.

Getting to know thyself is a lifelong task as you are changing all the time. This essay could be a first step towards you really considering that journey of self discovery or, more likely, it’s just a timely reminder.

At a guess your body will likely currently be full of drugs, toxins and ideas that do not really belong there. Is it your true will to drink more beer or are you in fact under the influence of alcohol and by extension the will of the company who sells it? Did you really want that bar of chocolate or did the idea get seeded in your subconscious mind by a clever advertisment?[6]

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not suggesting you need to stop the drink or drugs I’m just pointing out if you’re going to use them make sure they don’t end up using you. Do these things mindfully or they cloud your judgement when it comes to discerning your “true will”. We’re Discordians, not monks. We live our lives but before you use the techniques of magick it’s worth you ensure it’s your drerams you are living and not someone else’s.

If you follow all of the above stages any problems you face will be more easily placed into perspective. Without wishing to lift the magick curtain too much next week you’re about to do nothing more than try an instense experiment in applied philosophy. Unlike Thelemites or other occultists you’ve always got the comfortable back door provided by the fact that Discordianism is a joke, it’s nothing more than a chance to play around with funny ideas.


The first four books in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

The British television show Spaced about a couple who live at number 23.

The Illuminatus trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Bob Shea.

And of course the always essential comments section where I invite anyone following this series to also report upon their experiences if possible…


[1] Or maybe not! These essays were written in a while ago in a slightly different form and a recent Disinfo article suggests lucid dreaming might not be as safe as I (and everyone else I know who has tried it) suspected. If your lucid dreaming was a tortured experience please remember my earlier footnote “occultism is not for everyone”. Better to discover that it’s not your thing while comfortably asleep in bed, now go back to “real life” and perhaps try these exercises again in a later life.

[2]Or more commonly Discordians use Leary’s phrase: “reality tunnel“.

[3] Although he was a good writer Alan Watts was a great speaker, look for his stuff on YouTube.

[4] I describe this book as “New Age” because it is in fact known by some as a survival guide for the oncoming “Age Of Aquarius”. Such concepts are way beyond this essay but it’s worth keeping in mind when your interest in these matters grows and you end up in some hippy shop talking bollocks about crystals.

[5] BS – belief system.

[6] Thelemic literature goes into further detail on this topic and the writer Rodney Orpheus is a good start.

Nick Margerrison

I write on Disinfo for fun, I've been a fan of the company for years.

In the real world I'm a freelance TV/radio presenter. I've worked for LBC, Kerrang Radio, The Bay, Edge Media TV, Hallam FM and The BBC.

My podcast is here: http://thecultofnick.libsyn.com/

10 Comments on "Dreams Without Nightmares, Hygiene For Our Souls"

  1. liquidself | Nov 25, 2012 at 4:53 pm |

    Things are thoughts.

    • cakey pig | Nov 25, 2012 at 10:14 pm |

      And thoughts are things.

      [edit: lol I didn’t see this quoted at the top of the article…. I thought I was being clever(!?)
      Just to say something constructive, I think the 30-60 minutes that the author quotes for meditation time is perhaps a little too long for many people, especially beginners. Quality not quantity! 20 minutes twice (or even once) a day is infinitely better than none at all.]

  2. I thought I never had nightmares, but then I talked to people who said they have nightmares and I guess I do. It’s just that they don’t scare me. Of course I like weird disturbing type artwork and stuff…

      • Damn I am at a library and don’t have head phones!

        • I know it probably sounds dumb what I said. But it did happen. A relative mentioned she had a nightmare and It occured to me that I don’t have nightmares and so I asked her what happened and she said something like a crocodile was chasing her. I was like “I would just call that a dream that a crocodile was chasing me.” So I asked her some more and she mentioned things like seeing dead bodies and stuff. To me it just sounds like watching a movie or something.
          I did have a dream that I got arrested and I was really bummed out about it and kept thinking how I’d ruined my life, then I woke up and I was really relieved that it was a dream.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm |

            I understand what you mean. There is no reason that the emotional content in your dreams shouldn’t match the level of processing you have as an adult.

  3. Interesting description of mind tools.

  4. Apparently this article is part of a book, but in the context of this website, I question why Discordianism needs to be mentioned exclusively. There are books about Sigils and Lucid Dreaming etc, where Discordianism gets no mention whatsoever. Lucid dreaming is in get rich quick books without any occult underpinning. Am I bending to the will of Discordianists by engaging these widely practiced concepts presented under the relatively small umbrella of Discordianism? Why do you suggest I have to call myself a Discordian to practice lucid dreaming?

  5. what is but what has been experienced. there is no such thing as magic, or magic with a k. there is only what is. the word magic seeks to pedestalize happenings deemed uncommon. the practitioner of reality’s avenues seeks to, through faith, depedastalize anything that seems unattainable. the use of that word by anyone has at its heart the intention to distance the perciever from the possibility of the percieved.

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