Identifying Precognitive Dreams Through Patterns: A Prospective Approach


Robert Waggoner

© 2002,

Precognitive dreams are timeless phenomena (no pun intended!)

For millennia, religious texts, historical notes and personal memoirs have recorded fascinating accounts of dreams that seemed to contain precognitive information about future events. From Pharaohs to Presidents to the common man, precognitive dreams have ignored status, rank, culture and belief, and transfigured our unquestioning acceptance of linear time and local perception. In many ways, precognitive dreaming remains a persistent mystery in search of an acceptable explanation.

The psychologist, David Ryback Ph.D. in his book, Dreams that Come True, recounts his movement from skeptic to believer. A survey of his college class showed 66% felt they had experienced a precognitive dream. When half of the class provided examples, his rigorous analytical criteria found that 8% of the class had dream experiences that suggested paranormal future sensing as the most likely explanation. His subsequent explorations supported his contention that one out of twelve individuals has valid precognitive dreams.

My interest in precognitive dreaming stems from my pre-teen and early teenage years, when I would have occasional dreams in which a voice announced that a certain symbol meant that this dream event would occur by a certain date - and it did. Not only were the dreams personal, but sometimes they announced future events of national and international significance. Obviously I found this situation both interesting and troubling. I clearly recall one Sunday afternoon, when I reasoned (at age 12 or 13) that if God existed the same "yesterday, today, and forever" as they said in church, then there must be a "timeless" dimension. Apparently in dreams, I mused, one had access to this timeless dimension.

In the past 25 years of keeping a semi-regular dream journal, I began to notice that there were certain commonalities to many precognitive dreams. As my experience progressed, these characteristics became increasingly apparent as consistent "patterns" which indicated precognitive dreams. Whenever I noticed a "pattern" that indicated a precognitive dream, I would investigate the dream information's validity and/or accuracy. Probably three out of four "precognitive pattern" dreams were shown to be valid and partially or fully accurate. This feedback gave me confidence that the extrasensory information was basically reliable, and that "precognitive patterns" could function as markers.

For individuals, the value of recognizing likely precognitive dreams and their level of reliability is that one can then act on the information in a prospective and proactive manner. A recent example of this occurred this year, when just before waking, I heard the familiar "voice" tell me that Amgen was going to 44. I woke up, and thought about that for a moment, since I owned a few hundred shares of Amgen which were selling at 62 or 63 dollars a share. I realized the "voice" didn't say when this would occur, but I knew the "voice" had a very high accuracy rate, so I decided to sell the Amgen shares at 64. By the time I made it to the Boston ASD conference in June a few months later, Amgen had dropped to 44 and beyond. It now trades in the mid to upper 40's. At the Boston ASD conference, I joked that I was being positively reinforced to pay attention to possible precognitive information.

In a larger and more science oriented sense, this Precognitive Pattern Process could be used in the following ways:

1) to identify various patterns in precognitive dreams and their level of reliability,
2) to identify possible precognitive dreams before the event,
3) to predict (and prepare for) possible events,
And 4) to identify individuals with highly reliable precognitive dreaming skills, or teach individuals precognitive dreaming skills.

While my overall process to identify precognitive dream patterns and filter out conflicting variables is more involved than the Amgen stock example would indicate, it is simple enough that a thoughtful dream journal keeper or dream investigator could make progress towards a proactive and intelligent use of likely precognitive dreams.
My dreams have suggested to me that events are not pre-destined. I have had a number of "if-then" precognitive dream announcements, in which the dream clearly states that 'B' will happen, only if 'A' occurs first. Similarly, I have had precognitive dreams that stated the event would occur in either one period or another period, or the event would "possibly" occur during a certain defined period. Thus, I assume that future events are "dynamic" and have varying degrees of probable manifestation; some events are very likely to occur, while others are much more variable due to their reliance upon preceding events, timing or unknown variables.

The Precognitive Pattern Process

The Precognitive Pattern Process is composed of three parts: I) identifying possible precognitive dream through proven annunciation "patterns", II) filtering the dream and the dreamer's state, and III) preceding with an analysis, investigation and prediction.

Part I -Identifying Possible Precognitive Dreams Through Annunciation Patterns

In my experience, significant future events are most often announced in dreams through various annunciation patterns. Dreamers must learn to identify their own types of precognitive annunciations.

1) Visual, Oracular and Emotive Precognitive Annunciations

A) VISUAL PATTERNS - The most common type of precognitive dream annunciator is a visual symbol representing the movement of time or a time-specific future symbol. For example, many of my early precognitive dreams were heralded by a dream symbol of a clock face with the hands wildly spinning forward. If I noticed the clock face symbol in a dream, then I would pay special attention to that dream as having precognitive elements. The clock face became an annunciator of a probable precognitive dream. The movement of time may be shown through other visual symbols; a calendar with the months being torn away, the movement of the moon across the sky (suggesting the passing of months or years), sand through an hour glass, etc.

The inclusion of time-specific dream symbols is another major precognitive annunciation. For example, though in waking reality we put our house for sale in May, I dream that I see a "Sold" sign being put in our yard just as I hear the crowd roar at a football game's goal. When I awake, I realize that our "goal" of selling our house will most likely occur during football season. In this true example, our house sells in October. There 's an abundance of time-specific dream annunciations, such as holiday themes like Thanksgivings, Christmas, Easter, July 4th, a person's birthday or seasonal aspects like spring flowers, Christmas trees, fall colors, baseball, hockey, etc. By becoming alert to very specific time oriented annunciations, one can determine an approximate period for a possible future event's manifestation.

B) ORACULAR PATTERNS (from the Latin "orare - to speak"). A significant pattern in my precognitive dreams is a Voice within the dream. This oracular information normally has certain characteristics. It is frequently given just before waking up in a short, concise statement, with no visual imagery in my visual field. On those occasions when it is given during the dream process, it seems to have a source from behind me and normally requests that I pay attention to the dream or explains that a certain symbol indicates a certain passage of time.

Secondarily, this "oracular" knowledge may come in other forms. For example, a deceased relative's spoken admonition in a dream can be a common "pattern" for precognition. (Sometimes I have become lucid when I realized I am speaking with someone who has passed on, and then will ask them questions about future possible events.) Another oracular pattern for precognitive information can be a dream "telephone call" or "fax" or "e-mail" (in times past, one would read accounts of valid precognitive or telepathic information that came to dreamers via a dream telegram!). In my experience and in many reports, a dream "call" is often precognitive or telepathic advice and should be considered. Oracular information as a precognitive pattern is sometimes the most reliable, particularly when given right before waking. However, like the Greeks at Delphi, one must listen to the words exactly and avoid assumptions.

C) EMOTIVE PATTERNS - A more elusive precognitive pattern is a particular type of emotional feel in a dream that contains a strong emotional urgency to pay attention to the dream, or a special type of dream vividness (often mixed with urgency). These dreams may also contain a "time-specific" symbol, such as a Birthday cake, to prefigure the event. Similarly, an emotive pattern suggestive of precognition may be an extremely intense emotive dream (or series) in a long period of emotionally placid dreams. These emotional "spikes", particularly when repeated in a short timespan, deserve special attention.

2) Repetition Equals Rectitude
Dream events OR dream symbols that are repeated in a short timespan bear special attention and frequently suggest the likely approach of a waking event. If the dream occurs twice in one night or on successive nights and has emotional content, pay attention! Repetition can be another type of precognitive annunciation, and is normally highly reliable.

3) Similarly, A Bit of Precognition Goes a Long Way
If you awaken from a long dream and within the next few hours, a bit of that dream "occurs" in waking reality, then there is a strong chance that aspects of that dream have precognitive information.

Secondary Considerations

4) Last In; First Out
In my experience, precognitive dreams normally occur as the very last dreams of the night. Since these last dreams are normally the first or only dream remembered, this aspect of precognitive dreaming (which has been noticed by many precognitive dreamers) suggest that one's dreaming or inner self is providing dream information in an intentionally useful manner.

Though an early night dream (like 1 or 2 a.m.) may be precognitive, my experience suggest that these may not come to fruition for years. The main exception to this is hypnagogic imagery that occurs as you are drifting off to sleep; this can be telepathic.

5) Precognitive Dreams Are Like Deer, If You See One……
If you keep a dream journal and discover that you have had a precognitive dream, then read the other dreams of that night (and the night before and after) to see if they carry precognitive information regarding additional aspects of that event or another . I have noticed on innumerable occasions that "precognitive dreams" seem to be herd-like, and travel in packs. Sometimes, it appears that almost all of the dreams for a certain period of days were precognitive; this may be followed by weeks of no precognitive activity.

6) Precognitive Specializations
In many life endeavors, we learn to specialize in areas that interest us or we feel a natural talent. Similarly, precognitive dreamers often see that their precognitive dreams follow areas of specialization. For example, they may have numerous precognitive dreams about career events, or finances. Others may specialize in family events or relationships. Some may specialize in "positive" precognitions while others only find "negative" precognitions. Long term dream journalers may find that their area of specialization expands or changes as the years or their interest changes.

7) Connect the Dots; Connect the Dates
After a "waking event" confirms a dream as precognitive, go back through your dream journal and notice the dates of the dreams that seem to refer to the precognitive event. You may notice that you dreamt of the event precisely one year before, or one month before, or on the first day of the month in which the dream occurred. Moreover, you may see that the precognitive dreams tend to become more frequent as the event draws near, or the dreams may have increasing urgency.

8) The Curiosity of Curiosity
Frequently, I have precognitive dreams about people or things with which I am curious. I do not incubate these dreams; they simply happen. On a number of occasions, I have been introduced to people in the dream state (for example, new friends) whom I have never met. Later in waking life, I have met these people and they have been precisely as I saw them, even to the point of wearing the same clothing as in the dream.
Curiosity seems to be a type of "intent" - curiosity works.

9) Odd Man Out
This refers to an odd aspect of less significant precognitive dreams in which the dreamer picks up the "odd" thing about a place or event. For example, as a businessman, I travel quite a bit and stay at numerous hotels. Once I dreamt that I was at a "hotel by a lake or ocean" (in reality I was later invited to speak at the Holiday Inn By-the-Bay in San Diego) attending a conference and the rooms had an extremely odd thing that looked liked a Buck Rogers spaceship. In waking reality, I was soon invited to speak at a conference at this hotel and when I went into the normal hotel room, I laughed at this spaceship looking lamp that I had drawn from my dream months earlier! The "odd man out" phenomenon suggests that our dreaming perception may recall more easily or pay attention to the "odd" or unusual aspect of a future place or event. The odd man (of the future) stands out.

10) If Lucid, Try Precognition
When you become lucid (or conscious of dreaming while dreaming), seek precognitive information on a topic of interest by asking dream characters for it or suggesting that the precognitive information will appear elsewhere - for example, when you enter a room, or open a drawer or a book. In my lucid dreaming, the results have been quite accurate.
If you are a lucid dreamer and intend to seek precognitive information, experience has taught me that the particular goal should be set up while in the waking state.

Part II - Precognitive Pattern Process - Filtering out Conflicts

11) Consider The Context - A Calm Life Leads to Clear Sight
The context of a dream must always be considered in light of the context of one's life situation at the time of a dream. If you are getting a divorce and then dream that your "hometown" is destroyed by a fire, your dream may be providing vivid information about your sense of emotional loss. Therefore, one must always consider the context of one's life before concluding that a dream has precognitive elements.

In simple terms, precognitive dreams are much easier to see and be accurately surmised, when the dreamer has achieved a relatively placid inner and outer life, and a state of emotional well being. When one is in a state of depression or emotional turmoil, there is likely an increased frequency of alarming dreams and repeated dream symbols (which may mirror one's mood). Therefore, if one's inner life is in turmoil, then normal precognitive annunciators like repetition of dream symbols or unique emotive urgency patterns may give false positives. Clear sight needs a calm life to be effective.

12) Consider Your Belief System
One's belief system influences one's perception, analysis, interpretation and response. When it comes to precognitive dreams, if you believe that they are very rare, you will decide it isn't worth your time to see if they may be valid, and the resulting lack of feedback may indeed "prove" your belief. Any dreamer/investigator into precognitive dreams needs to develop an open and objective mind. For those who do not believe that dreaming provides information on upcoming events, or believe that dreams are untrustworthy or impossible to understand, then it is likely that their belief system will ignore or misshape their dreams (or dream memory) containing valid precognitive elements.
In my discussions with long term dream journalers, most consider precognitive dreaming a natural and occasional aspect of dreaming. A healthy "openness" to investigate matters is all that is required.

PART III - Guidelines for Analysis, Investigation and Prediction

13) Observer, Actor, Reactor --- Where are you?
By determining where the "dreamer" is in the apparently precognitive dream, you may then have some guide as to your involvement in the drama suggested by the dream. You may be simply an Observer of the action, and basically untouched by the events in the dream and later waking event. You may be an Actor with regard to the dream action, which strongly suggests that you will find yourself directly involved in the later waking event. Finally, your role in the precognitive dream may be better stated as a Reactor, in that you react to events that are happening around you or happening to you. These types of precognitive dreams suggest that the waking event will necessitate a reaction on your part, but the waking event may not be directed towards you. A number of precognitive dreams about my father's passing suggested to me this sense of "reacting" to an event.

14) Follow the Feeling
Whenever interpreting a dream, precognitive or otherwise, it seems vitally important to "follow the feeling" within the dream. Do not let your waking self tell your dreaming mind what is the "correct" feeling for the dream. Do not let societal convention and niceties censor or whitewash the actual "feeling within the dream". By following the feeling that is within the dream, only then do you have a chance at truly understanding that dream message. (A corollary to this is that if your dream "interpretation" is not in accordance with the feeling within the dream, then your interpretation is likely incorrect.) For example, a dream about a cemetery that has a positive feeling may be suggesting the death of a unhealthy relationship or negative belief system. Follow the "feeling".

15) Investigate Your Possible Precognitions - Feedback Leads to Mastery
Whenever possible, investigate your potentially precognitive dreaming in a thoughtful and considerate manner. This may involve calling or writing a friend with an open-ended question. Have you been thinking about changing your hairstyle? How's your mom? Their response may help you understand if the dream has any literal or symbolic precognitive aspects. In my experience, symbolic aspects are the most common.
It may also show you that you "specialize" in a particular aspect of precognitive dreaming (relationships, finances, careers, births/deaths, etc). In any case, feedback helps you to learn from your successes and failures, and make appropriate changes in your analysis.

16) Predictions: Moving from Basic to Specific
When approaching a precognitive dream prediction, I suggest that you proceed from the simplest observation to increasingly complex ones. Is the likely event good or bad, positive or negative? To whom does it occur? When will it occur? What does it regard - career, home, finances, health? If health, then what part of the body? What is the issue there? What does it feel like?

Predictions have degrees of accuracy and validity. You may find that your ability to interpret the information is very accurate to a certain degree, but then falters. Repeated dreams may tell you that your sister is getting a new job in marketing with a raise. The waking event may be that your sister does get a new job, but it is in mail processing of marketing materials and the raise refers to the new job being on a higher floor! Know what you know - and stop there. As you get more feedback, you will learn which precognitive pattern provides you the greatest accuracy and which are more basic.

A final note is that precognitive dreams range from tiny personal affairs to large events. The Precognitive Pattern Process is geared to recognizing larger events of personal, multi-personal, regional or national significance. Small precognitions, while interesting and sometimes amusing, rarely meet the annunciation criteria to fit into this process.
Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Investigating Non-Precognitive Dreams
In the final chapter of the book, "Dreamtime and Dreamwork: Decoding the Language of the Night", edited by Stanley Krippner, professor Jon Tolaas seeks to address common errors in labeling certain dreams as precognitive or psychic. In the following points, I have sought to summarize his observations.

- Some apparently precognitive dreams are actually based on subtle, verbal and nonverbal waking observations or interactions, he calls "fine cuing". For instance, imagine meeting an old friend on the street and that night dreaming he was sick in bed. A week later you learn that indeed your old friend was sick and in bed. While it may seem like a precognitive dream, the actual case may be that you subconsciously picked up subtle body language or subtle characteristics from your waking interaction which indicated your friend was in the process of becoming sick. The fine cues were the basis for the dream.

- Similarly, some apparently precognitive dreams may be a form of "dream sensing" in which we incorporate sensory clues from the environment into our dreams. This dream sensing may also suggest a hyper-sensory aspect, such that we become subconsciously aware of imperceptible sounds, changes in pressure, earth movements, etc., and use this subconscious sensory data in the formation of dreams. For example, if I dream of a house burglary in the neighborhood, and in the morning find a neighbor's house burglarized, it may suggest that my acute senses picked up common sounds of a burglary, e.g., breaking glass, which I incorporated into the dream event.

- Another type of apparently precognitive dream may be based on subconscious linkages. Here, the person's subconscious begins to notice a number of events or trends that may soon come together to form a likely event. The subconscious creatively links these trends and the outcome together in a dream, which later seems to be precognitive. For example, five years ago, you read the local dam is slated for repairs in the next 10 years. That winter is an unusually heavy snowfall. Now in June, it has been abnormally hot and very rainy. You suddenly dream that the dam begins to fail - is the later event proof of your precognition or your ability to link numerous trends together subconsciously?

- Some "small" seemingly precognitive dreams involving one's self may be actually a type of self fulfilling prophecy. In this case, one dreams that one does something, like meets an old schoolmate. Then in waking life, one subconsciously puts himself or herself in a position in which the dream will come "true". For example, one spontaneously decides to have lunch at a restaurant across town, which happens to be across the street from your old schoolmate's office (though known, this is never consciously considered). Then, at the restaurant, you are shocked to meet your old schoolmate - just like in the dream! In some instances, the dream information is self fulfilled by unconscious actions.

- The seemingly precognitive dream is determined to be so after the event or retrospectively. In this case, is the dream's connection to the event simply an exercise in perception, where one sees what one wants to see?

- Lastly (and Tolaas does not broach this issue) there is a criticism that an event that seems to correlate with a seemingly precognitive dream is simply a coincidence - nothing more than a random happening of two separate events that have no connection. Obviously one can find numerous examples of apparently precognitive dreams that avoid any concerns about fine cuing, hyper sensory data reception, dream sensing, self fulfilling actions or using trends and linkages subconsciously. Similarly one can find examples of proactive or prospective uses of precognitive dreams to respond to "retrospective" issues.

Final Comments: My hope is that by using a model like the Precognitive Pattern Process, investigators (and dreamers) can begin to "capture" possible precognitive dreams, and learn the ways of precognitive dreaming. Many of us on the frontier of dreaming know that certain rare species of dreams exist. By helping scientists learn about their elusive prey and the patterns they follow, one can help them develop sophisticated scientific traps based on the patterns, and finally "prove" that precognitive dreaming exists - much like lucid dreams were caught years after some of us first started lucid dreaming, when Keith Hearne and Stephen LaBerge realized a means to trap a lucid dream for everyone to see. Precognitive dreams are fairly common. They follow patterns. All we need now is a trap.

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