Via Utne Reader, Jennifer Dumpert explains oneirogens, substances taken for dream enhancement and manipulation:
• Mugwort: Promotes lucid dreams, “astral travel,” and visionary dreams. Contains thujone, the most active ingredient in absinthe.
• Roman Chamomile: Calms dreams, reduces stress, and aids sleep. It is helpful for those who experience nightmares or restless sleep.
• Lavender: Increases alpha waves, promoting tranquil, calm dreams. Relaxes the nervous system and reduces tension and irritability.
On the last Saturday of every month, Oneironauticum participants worldwide enter dream space together. We do this by sharing an oneirogen. An oneirogen is anything that induces vivid dreams. Our oneirogens are often substances, but sometimes they’re practices or sensory triggers. Whether it’s garlic, galantamine, or Tibetan Buddhist lucid-dream practices, if it promotes dreams and dream recall, we’ll try it. Sometimes our oneirogens are easy to come by. Other oneirogens, like Silene capensis or Blue Water lilies (Nymphaea caerulea), take some effort to find.
Galatamine, a drug used to treat Alzheimer’s and other memory impairments, can be purchased either over the counter, or else in a less processed form, derived from the bulbs of flowers. I ordered our galantamine in the form of Red Spider Lily extract from the web. Galantamine promotes a self-recursive effect that causes those of us sleeping in the same space to also dream of ourselves together as a group. Galantamine also seems to produce strong emotions.
Used by indigenous peoples in the Mexican state of Oaxaca for the purposes of oneiromancy—a form of divination based on dreams— the leaves of the plant Calea Zacatechichi from the sunflower family are dried and steeped to make extremely bitter tea. Calea supposedly helps you gather messages from these higher planes and remember them once you wake up. In our experience, Calea produces sensually rich, particularly vivid dreams. On a Calea night, I looked through a window at a cityscape so clear that every window, cornice, and glittering spire stood out with microscopic clarity, more real than life.