In modern times this technique is often called dream induction, a term borrowed from hypnosis; but that implies you (active and rational) are programming your (passive, irrational) dreams via commands. I prefer the older term incubation. It implies less control--and that's realistic. Your question's just an egg; you can't predict what kind of critter will hatch from it.
If you're new to dreamwork, it may take a few nights or even a couple of weeks before your dreams take your new interest seriously, but the odds are they'll eventually respond meaningfully, as the following examples show. Be warned, though--sometimes the response is "You're framing the problem wrong!"
Also listed here: a few cases of induced non-dream answers in various forms, like automatic writing in Trigo, automatic drawing in Opening and hallucinatory answers in Dipsomania.
RELATED TOPICS: dreamwork and dream research - dreams within dreams, and dreams ABOUT dreams - commonly incubated dream-types: lucid dreams (dreams where you know you're dreaming) - flying - nightmares - exposing dream saboteurs - resolving frustration - or try inducing advice-dreams, diagnostic dreams or dream cures and prescriptions - incubation fail you? try prayers and wishes - See also the full INDEX OF SUBJECTS.
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|ALONE IN THE DARK IN THE WILD: by Wayan; 1980/7/24, a vision-quest nightmare.
A nightmare of a killer who I let torment me because it's better than being alone...
|ALTHEA'S MONEY DREAMS: by Althea; 1999/1/22, financial dreams provoked by... financial dreams?
After reading a booklet of dreams about money by Wayan, Althea has four such dreams of her own
challenging family ideas of class, gender, inheritance... and then practical investment advice!...
|ANNABEL ROSE: by Emily Joy; 2006/12/14, a ghostbusting dream on... love? sex? what?
Edgar Allen Poe confronts his dead girlfriend, who wants to drag him into the grave with her...
CAUTION: HUNGRY GHOST, SEX TALK
|BACKACHE DIALOGUES: by Wayan; 1993/12/10, four bizarre diagnostic dreamlets.
I asked my dreams why my back hurt. They told me: pregnancy, marsupial pouches, snapping turtles...
|BATTERED, WITH SYRUP: by Wayan; 1998/11/6 & 11/21, two healing dreams.
I'm a battered girl who sings in a mall. The Dictator (of all people) helps me start healing and learn to fly...
CAUTION: BATTERING AND ITS CONSEQUENT DAMAGE
|BEAUTY, BRAINS, WARMTH: by Wayan; 1987/11/28, a didactic dreamtale.
The Goddess won't tell me who to seek, to love, just WHAT to seek--and what not to...
CAUTION: DIVINELY SANCTIONED TRIGAMY?
|BITTER JADE: by Wayan, 1983/4/8, a dream on change.
Why's Jade the bitter artist throw me at her happier, calmer daughter? Wait, is Jamie the new ME?
|THE BOSS'S GUTS: by Wayan; 1993/6/3, a dream on health-sabotage..
Flu. Ow, cramps! But that night I dream of a miner's rebellion against our fat-cat boss. Which side am I on?
|CAIRO GIRL: by Wayan; 2008/2/18, a feverdream shifting from nightmare to joy
I'm lost in the angry streets of Cairo. But I meet a goth-girl with moth-antennae:
a jinni who's working for longterm change. She takes me home...
CAUTION: MOTH NUDITY
|CENTAUR QUARTET: by Wayan; 1982/2/26, 83/12/24 & 84/10/16, recurring dreams of my spirit family.
Can our interspecies family survive? Our very instincts clash around solitude/boundaries, sex and incest
CAUTION: SEX, INCEST, REPRESSION/DENIAL
|CHART THE GROWTH: by Brenda Ferrimani; 2004, painting of an incubated, oracular dream
I asked my dreams "What's my truest purpose?"
I dreamed my body was a tree, and a voice said "Chart the growth"...
|COUNT COUP!: by Plenty Coups, 1857; a child's defining dream
I sought a dream of Helpers. But rather than give me gifts, they gave me a daunting challenge...
|DAMOCLES LODGE: by Wayan; 1998/12/22, a dream on what hangs over us.
I meet a nice werewolf in a hall of past-life junk, so sharp and rusty we dare not play...
|DARE: by Catshall; c. 2013/6/13, a haiku on an incubated nightmare
I challenged my dreams to hit me with their worst. And they did...
|A DIFFICULT PATH: by Anna Kingsford; 1877/11/3, an advisory dream.
I lead my daughter up a thorny path; sheís getting scratched. She'd rather stay in that fishing village below...
|THE DOOR GIRL: by Wayan; 1997/9/6, a road-not-taken dream.
A doorway not taken (for the most sensible of reasons) provoked a magical dream of what I missed...
|THE DREAMSUIT: by Wayan; 1992/7/12, a dream on unconscious programming.
An experimental helmet knocks me out. I'm groggy, miserable, till I learn what it did to others...
|EDITH KEELER: by Wayan, 1975/10/8, an incubated dream giving multiple answers
I asked my dreams to show me my Shadow--what I deny. It showed me at least FIVE! And in every
time-branch, a runaway truck crushed me--the Truck of Ideology. Not that I seemed able to avoid it...
CAUTION: RECURRING DEATHS
|FAMILY STORE: by Mark Ian Barasch's father, c. 2000; a subtly psychic dream healing a family
I dream my son the writer's living above our old family store, the one that failed in the Depression...
|FINANCIAL PORN: by Wayan; 1980/12/24, a Christmas dream on capitalism.
On Christmas eve, I ask my dreams what they think of our annual orgy, and...
CAUTION: THE F WORD AND THE C WORD (CAPITALISM)
|FIRST DREAMFLIGHT: by Wayan; 1969/11/11, two dream-results from my first dreamwork experiment.
I never flew in my dreams. I felt cheated. So one day I set out to CREATE dream-flight...
|FIVE ELVISH DREAMS: by Dolores J. Nurss; 2005/6/10-2005/6/19, an incubated lucid-dream sequence
1: I visit Elrond and Bilbo in Elvenhome, but overthinking traps me in a timeloop;
2: Elrond says he renounces seriousness for joy, and plans a great, inclusive party;
3: I feel unworthy, but set out on a desert quest with Elrond's young apprentice;
4: I meet joyful, drunken, singing elves but hide in a tree, too shy to join in;
5: I meet a nervous elven singer and a dolphin trapped in a tiny pool in my bedroom...
|FOOD CAME BETWEEN US: by Wayan, 1993/4/25, a tasty dream epic.
The terror of Navy breakfast, the joy of filterfeeding, how to marry pudding, and a sniper lunch with kisses...
|FOUR SCREENS: by Wayan; 2018/1/24, a dream urging me to drop some armor--but not all
I dream my Doors of Perception have four layered screens--when one is plenty to keep out mosquitoes...
|FRANKENSTEIN'S ORIGIN: by Mary Shelley; 1816/6/16, the (hypnogogic?) dream inspiring a famous book
I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing
he had put together; I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out...
|THE GIFTED CHILD: by Brenda Ferrimani, 2013?, a painting of an incubated dream
Previous dreamwork had made it clear my mother had betrayed me; I asked
my dreams how to protect myself from those who do not love me...
|GRAMPA GOT AIMED: by Wayan; 1987/6/17, a psychic dream.
The girl I love has a family that'll stop at absolutely nothing to destroy us. But I'll fight for love...
CAUTION: SEX; EMOTIONAL VIOLENCE; MOLESTATION HISTORY
|HEADING FOR A FALL: by Wayan; 1993/11/2, a dream of drastic shortcuts.
I crash my car on the way to therapy. I ask my dream why. And it tells me! Deliberate, but not suicidal...
|HER HANDS ARE TIED: by Wayan, 1992/4/17, a dream advising a different therapist
I had a chronic illness doctors said was psychosomatic. So I saw Ani, a therapist...
I dream we're prisoners. Ani leads a successful escape, but then walks around
oblivious that her hands are still tied! I offer to untie her; she seems not to hear me.
Great in a crisis, but oblivious to chronic stuff? To me? Not the best fit...
|I FIGHT FOR BEAUTY: by Wayan; 1990/1/1, an incubated dream within a dream within a dream.
From Hawaii to Wyoming, I fight for beauty, always waking to find I'm someone new...
|I MIST MY SISTER: by Cory and Wayan; 1992/9/20; a dream-comic. Cory's healing dream triggers one by Wayan
My friend Cory's sore back is healed by a dream. So I ask for the same, and get this dream of incest...
CAUTION: KARMA, SEX/NUDITY, INCEST ISSUES
|I TOSSED MUSIC: by Wayan; 1997/9/19, an advisory dream.
I asked my dreams "should I return to school?" They replied with this bizarre tale of sabotage...
CAUTION: VIOLENCE TO DUMB INSTRUMENTS
|I WON'T DIE TILL LOVE DIES: by Wayan; 1981/1/21, a divine dream .
I meet the mermaid goddess of love in her pool, but when she advises me, I dispute one small point...
|IT STINKS: by Aleksanteri Nevalainen; 2011/8/19, an accidental dream-incubation
Can dreams have taste and smell, I wonder? That night my dreams set out to show me...
|J.F., T.B. AND ME: by Dream Junkee; 2008/1/24, a lucid nightmare-comedy
Lucid, I summon a sexy literary character. But he tries to take over my personality and make it his lucid dream...
|THE LEOPARD'S CLUE: by Wayan; 2012/3/17, an incubated advisory dream.|
My boyfriend, a leopard, sniffs out a clue to an old murder involving me in a past life. But did I witness, die, or kill?
|LIE TO AVOID MURDER: by Wayan; 2016/3/3, a sex dream prompting nonsexual action
Two jealous women symbolize Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump. Trump wants me to KILL Clinton. I lie to avoid...
CAUTION: SLEAZE? OR A SLY WAY TO PROTECT VICTIM?
|LUCID LIMITS: by Wayan; 1990/2/13, a lucid nightmare. Yes, they're possible!
A nightmare. I go lucid as the bullets tear through me. Yet I go on with the dream! Why?...
CAUTION: NIGHTMARISH VIOLENCE
|THE MAN WITH THE GUITAR: by Wayan; 1992/7/4, a psychic dream-comic (or illus. text))
A volcano erupts in San Francisco! No human could survive the blast, but one researcher does--what IS he?
|MOON-STRIPED TIGER PROWLING: by Sylvia Rosen, 1975/6/29; dream poem
The foul old fossil woman had carved and burnt her own flesh in the name of art;
we washed her till she was reborn young. It was my turn next to enter the water...
|NED'S KISS by Ned's mom and sister Ethel; pre-1961, cledonic dreams of a playful revenant
I wished I could kiss my son farewell. That week, Ethel called. "I dreamed Ned kissed you, not me!
I was hurt. He laughed like anything and kissed me too..."
|THE NEW DALAI LAMA: by Wayan; 2011/9/9; a prescriptive AND predictive dream.
I dream the new Dalai Lama's a kind woman who gives me startling health advice
AND shows me how to fly. The next day...
|THE NIGHTMARE EFFECT: by Emily Joy; 2006/12/14, an anti-nightmare.
My own fear creates a field of time/speed distortion; can I use it against my attackers?
|NOCTURNE: dreamed 2011 & 2013/11/19 by S---; nested, incubated advisory dreams
After asking "Am I ready to say yes to someone new?" I dreamed I met my old love...
|OJIBWAY DREAM NET: by Regina de Cormier-Shekerjian, c.1984, a dream-poem of a visiting animus
I hung the dream-net over my bed. It worked. A blue-winged man with a leg of silver came to me,
drummed, danced, offered to teach me secrets. Awake, I found a blue feather caught in that net...
|OPENING: by Wayan, 1992; incubated automatic drawing
Why don't I push for more art shows? I asked how I feel at shows of my own work, and this came out...
|OTTER MEDICINE: by The-Fringe, a Crow healer, early 1850s; a shamanic dream with physical effects
I slept on an island in a scalding hot spring, praying for a dream. I got one--and woke up on the shore...
|OTTER NERD FROM TITAN: by Wayan; 2012/4/15 & sequel-dream (2013/2/9), a dream-poem on social skills
A suspicious exobiologist warns me that otter from Titan may not be the amiable, nerdy celebrity it seems. But...
|PASTLIFE MIDDEN: by Wayan; 1998/12/28, a past-life dream.
I bike deep into Time Hall, barging through security gates of amnesia, to climb the midden of the past...
|PENTALEMMA: by Wayan; 2002/3/10 to 2006/5/1?, a 13-page nondream improv-comic on deep goals
Hypnotized in therapy, I saw AT LEAST five competing goals tugging at me like gravity fields.
Naturally I drew them. Come tour the Inner Solar System of our desires...
CAUTION: NUDITY (BODY, HEART, BRAIN, SOUL)
|THE PERIODIC TABLE: by Dmitri Mendeleev; 1869/2/17, a dream solving a key scientific problem
"I saw in a dream a table where all the elements fell into place as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote it down..."
|PUT TWICE AS MUCH IN: by Wayan; 2003/9/22, a dream warning how much it takes to change
All the claymation figures I made in my teens are gone but one. And the centauress has a broken hip
and spindly leg. I start to mend her, but I need TWICE the clay I thought...
CAUTION: FURRY NUDITY
|QUADRUPLE WEDDING: by Wayan; 1995/5/15, a unifying dream.
Day: Why did I get sick from figure-sketching? Guilt?
Dream: I'm at a group wedding; shall I wed a dwarf, a feral boy or a horse?
|QUEEN COBRA: by Wayan; digital painting of a 1987/1/15 dreamlet.
I asked "I'm still scared to date anyone. Why? What's my next step?" That night, I was answered...
CAUTION: SEXUAL IMPLICATIONS
|HIS RACIST SON: by Wayan; 1994/1/8, an incubated dream offering two diagnoses
Suddenly I hate and fear black kids in school! The counselor says I'm clinically paranoid: I need drugs!
My dad says "How strange, how sad." And goes home to light a candle at his shrine to the Confederacy...
CAUTION: INDUCED RACISM
|RACK: by Wayan; 2006/4/4; a comic business-bondage dream
My friend Chris gets tied up at the office--thatís his job, looking martyred! But when the boss is away...
|RAETHE: by Wayan; 1990/4/19; a delicate follow-up dream, drawn & poemed
In the Cave of the Ant Ambassador, I meet his mate, a beautiful translucent fox named
Raethe. Way happier with her mate (& body!) than in that dream just two months ago...
|RANGE: by Wayan; three 2019/8/19 advisory dreamlets plus 2020/1/8 followup
1: My dad can't see my world. Literally can't see my world...
2: The House of Busyness is unlivable--busy, crowded, noisy...
3: Achievement takes twelve factors; any one can block you...
|REGRESSION THERAPY: by Wayan; 2016/6/19, an incubated dream (answering a waking question)
I dream of a therapist who allows kids to regress to crying babies; they take weeks
to re-mature to face the present. Will it work for me? Can't see why not...
|ROBERTíS PLAN: by William Blake; late 1788; an advisory dream...
Blake was broke. Couldnít typeset Songs of Innocence and Experience.
But in a dream, his brother advised him...
|SAINT BARBIE: by Wayan; 2016/6/19, a dream of a meme we need
After a living Barbie doll dies while campaigning for niceness, I find myself invoking her
to shock people into decent behavior: "In the Name of Saint Barbie!"...
CAUTION: BARBIE, UNICORNS, IMPLICIT TRUMP CRITIQUE
|SATISFACTION: by Keith Richards, 1965/5/7, a famous dream song (and a well-prepared dreamer)
I always kept a guitar and tape recorder by my bed. I wake up and see the tape's run to the very end.
I ran it back to the start and there, in a sort of ghostly version, was...
|SHE CRASHES AND BURNS: by Wayan; 2005/5/7, a diagnostic nightmare.
I ask my dreams how to find love. I dream of a 1920s bohemian girl
teasing stuffy folk. But her pranks turn dangerous, then deadly...
|SHOVED OFF A CLIFF: by Wayan; 2017/9/7, a nightmare-warning (I'd asked what to do next).
Atop a sea-cliff, I meet a young couple in love. One look at me and they
push me off! When I see I can't save myself, I try to take them with me...
CAUTION: NIGHTMARE BARING UGLY TRUTHS
|SHRUNKEN MEN: by Wayan; 1992/2/21, a dream on the masculinity crisis.
Day: Robert Bly's book Iron John, claiming men need male mentors, annoys me.
Dream: the giants co-opted Captain Picard of Star Trek, but we don't need him to rebel...
CAUTION: MOCKS ROBERT BLY
|STEVENSONíS BROWNIES: by Robert Louis Stevenson; 1850s-1880s, a series of dreams
Stevensonís dreams changed over decades: from childhood nightmares into
creative collaborators dreaming whole stories...
|TAROT: THE SPHINX (the High Priestess): by Wayan; Tarot card, 3x5", summer 1978.
The card of intuition, dreams--and asking. She knows all the secrets. And might just tell you, if...
|TELEKINETIC KIDS: by Wayan; 2017/9/8, a warning and exploratory dream
A black separatist commune hides two little girls who are psychokinetic.
They fear I'll expose them. But I've spent my whole life passing too...
CAUTION: PARAPSYCHOLOGY, RACIAL SEPARATISTS
|THEATER HOSTAGE: by Christine M, 2002/10/22, an apparently clairvoyant dream
Gunmen held me hostage in a grand hall; at last they shot me. Next day: the Moscow Theater hostages...
|THREE-YEAR PREGNANCY: by Ithmonike of Pellene, ca. 320 BC? Two dreams of an odd god.
I was barren. I asked Asklepios, God of Healing, to make me pregnant. Soon I was--for 3 years, until...
|THYROID: by Marc Ian Barasch, c. 1985; a set of life-saving diagnostic nightmares
In 1985 I was flooded with nightmares about heads and necks. They had an unparalleled intensity...
|TIAMAT'S REBELLION: by Wayan; 1988/1/1, a dream about neoteny.
That day: I read of a young healer in rural Indonesia harassed by the local mullah.
That night: I dream she leads a revolution on a starship against her elders...
|TINA FEY TRIES TO FLY: by Wayan; 2017/4/24, a mystical feminist farce of a dream
In a world where speech is in Mayan glyphs, comedian Tina Fey (dressed for prom night)
climbs a Tibetan peak to learn levitation. But the flying monks are scared of women...
CAUTION: COOTIES; ROWDY JESUS; MAY FLUNK THE BECHDEL TEST
|TRICERATOPS, or, THE GUY WHO SCRIPTS MY DREAMS: by Wayan, 1982/8/24; a dream on dreams
Stuck in a horror movie, I get to meet the triceratops-headed monster
who scriptwrites all my nightmares. But he's open to suggestions...
|TRIGO: by Edith L. Willis; 1929/6/4, an induced automatic-writing prediction (profitable, too)
In an idle moment I held a pencil and asked the air who'd win the Derby.
'Trigo' meant nothing to me, but was listed at 32 to 1, so...
|TRINARY: by Wayan; 2012/3/17, a base-3 dream.|
I meet a woman named "2-0-1-0", realize that pronunciation means it's not base ten, but
mistake it for binary. Not with a 2 in it! It's trinary, and hides a diagnostic message...
|TRITONIAN FOXTAUR U.: by Wayan; 2016/9/10, a wish-fulfilling dream set on Triton
I'm an exchange student at the Solar System's best university for
the magic arts; my classmates are methane-breathing foxtaurs...
|TWO-HEADED BEAST: by Wayan; 1997/7/31, a 5-page Gothic dream-comic (or as illus. text)
In Castle Frankenstein, will Mary Shelley wed Elmer Fudd? His two-headed monster has marital advice...
|VAMPIGS AND SMILES: by Wayan; 1991/12/9, an advisory dream.
Our landlady was a friend, but she broke our rental agreement. Talk, compromise, or rent strike?
|VIEWPOINT: by Wayan; 1991/6/9, a dream on pastlife amnesia.
I ask to see my past lives, and dream of a viewpoint where I can--but this Mormon ranger...
|WERE-TROUT: by Wayan; 1997/8/2, a dating-advisory dream.
I'm a one-legged hopping hermit in the ruins of LA, and my only hope
for love is to conjure up a girl out of a trout and a puppy...
|WHAT YOU IMAGINE HAPPENS: by Wayan; 1982/2/21; a dreampoem on quarks. Or spooks.
I'm stuck on a runaway bus. So we decided to picture the axle falling off, and
it obeys! But the bus zooms on, carried by a horde of little animals...
CAUTION: ESP SKEPTICS WILL LOATHE THE AFTERWORD (true story, though)
|WINGVOW: by Wayan; 101K, 1994. Digital collage of dream figures
Here's an incantation to induce flying dreams. "Bring me wings NOW, or forever hold your peace..."
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