Book Review – Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple: Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity and Personal Growth By Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready

March, 2018

Book Review –

Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple:

Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity and Personal Growth

By Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready

No sailor controls the sea…Similarly, no lucid dreamer controls the dream. Like a sailor on the sea, we lucid dreamers direct our perceptual awareness within the larger state of dreaming.” – Robert Waggoner.

We don’t consciously create our dreams; we only ride their waves and direct our experience.” Caroline McCready.


I love dreaming. As a child, I woke up from dreams feeling like I had visited another world – a world that is as real as the “every day” world we move around in. I still feel that way. I love having a “big dream” – one the feels like a communication from another realm or includes visits from the Beloved Dead. These dreams feel so real, sometimes more real than what happens while I am awake! I have spent years recording my dreams, tracking patterns of dreaming by the moon and by astrological sign. I have participated in dream circles listening to the dreams of others, marveling at how we often had similar dreams or walked in each other’s dreaming on the same night. I often wondered how those connections come into being.

But, after all these years, I have had little experience with lucid dreaming. Other than listening to how easily it comes for some of my friends, that is. And wondering why I haven’t had a sustained lucid dreaming experience. In case you are not familiar with the concept, lucid dreaming occurs when dreamers “wake up” inside a nighttime dream, realize they are dreaming and can direct activity in the dream. Oh, I have so wanted to do this for such a long time. I’ve read lots of books, taken courses, explored all kinds of approaches to lucid dreaming, but have never been able to do more than realize that I am dreaming and shock myself awake with excitement! So, I was truly excited to read “Lucid Dreaming-Plain and Simple.” Authors Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready are lifetime dream explorers, like I am. They’ve not only experienced lucid dreaming, they’ve studied it. Their research started with the works of Stephen LaBerge, Patricia Garfield, Ann Faraday and Carlos Castaneda, among the better-known early pioneer writers on the topic. I, too, poured over these authors’ works, studying and practicing techniques for lucidity.


(Original Painting by Susan Rossi)


Waggoner and McCready are much better students than I! They have dreamed lucidly with great success and now offer us a doorway into dream deepening that is a synthesis of the lucidity pioneers and their own experience. And this book is more than a dreaming technique guide. It is a manual about consciousness and perception.

I devoured this book. It is well written and engaging, full of the authors’ experiences in the dream time and well sourced in independent dream research. I have tried several of the techniques for lucid dream entry the authors present. It still hasn’t happened for me. However, I am filled with new optimism. Because Waggoner and McCready broaden the approach to lucidity way beyond simply achieving it. They present lucidity not as the result of techniques or the ability to fly when you want to in a dream. Rather, they raise with the reader an inquiry into of the awareness of consciousness and its role in “waking” and “dreaming” reality. As a longtime meditator, I realized I can go through this doorway to get to lucidity and that truly, dreaming is about playing with the web of consciousness and its interrelatedness with all that is! Waggoner writes that through his practice of lucid dreaming, he discovered a “consistent framework of rules and principles beneath lucid dreaming events” and that this “hidden framework suggested that dreaming and the unconscious actually followed rules and had structure.” Dreaming is not just “random firing of neurons.” In fact, he explores the idea that there is an intelligent awareness that exists behind our dreams and that this awareness will respond to questions posed to it. For those of us who read PaganPagesOrg, this feels quite familiar, I’m sure. All that is has an awareness we can dance with and through this dance we engage in co-creation with the web of energy and intelligence behind the solid world that we perceive.

In examining lucidity with this broad view, McCready and Waggoner address the nature of what is “real.” We readers are encouraged to explore with a critical eye the nature of our assumptions about “waking” and “dreaming.” Through this process, the authors state, we will receive “an education in the nature of the mind and perceived experience that calls forth insights capable of transforming yourself and your waking life.” So, for me, lucid dreaming is now about so much more than remembering to look for my hands in a dream. It is about “waking up” to my assumptions about the nature of what is real. It is about lifting the veil of separation so that all that is does not remain compartmentalized in my mind. So perhaps I am already awake within the dream during daylight hours! I loved this book and recommend it to you to awaken within the dream of your life AND in your nighttime dreams.

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About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart


Witch Tips

August, 2006

Quick & easy hints to get you through your busy day

The Poor Pagan’s Guide to Altar Care

Did you hear the one about the girl with the wooden altar? Sad but true–and an altar cloth can only cover just most signs of neglect and abuse, not all. To keep your fellow covenors from snickering behind your back, follow these simple rules & suggestions:

Avoid excess. Don’t stash your altar up in the attic or downstairs in the fruit cellar when your Presbyterian Aunt Petunia comes visiting–extreme temperatures, dryness or humidity can damage wooden furniture. And watch what you toss over it, too, since plastic or rubber mats can stain or soften polish unless labeled safe for wood.

Speaking of polish… Everybody knows what big spenders Pagans are, right? Avoid becoming a stereotype (and incidentally save a few shekels) by raiding your kitchen instead of Home Depot. Toothpaste rubbed on gently with a damp cloth removes water marks. A soft cloth can apply an equal mixture of salad oil & lemon juice onto scratches. Unfinished wood can be polished with a soft cloth and a little (very little) mineral oil. (For lemon oil polish, just dissolve one teaspoon of lemon oil into one pint of mineral oil.) Mahogany can be polished with a mixture of equal parts warm water & white vinegar. Wipe on and polish with chamois cloth.

Washing up. Dampen a cloth with a solution of mild soap (like Ivory) and water. Wipe down each section of your altar with that cloth, then immediately dry said section with a different (and dry) cloth.

Don’t overdo. Don’t polish more than three or four times a year, unless your altar gets heavy use. (Like if you’ve got a colony instead of a coven.) Don’t mix different types of polish. Too much polish can build up an unsightly cloudy film. And always remember to wipe off the polish before it completely dries.

Hold your applause. Sure I’m a genius (just ask me!), but even I can’t be expected to know it all. I grabbed the above info from a pamphlet titled On Your Own: Stain Removal, from On Your Own Publications.


author bio:

Two kids! Two cats! A little brunette with a big attitude! Plus dragons & fairies & darklings, oh my! And oh yeah, Weyland lives there too! They call the new apartment the Lanterns ’cause Morgan won’t let Wey name it the Busted Flush! (Did I mention the brunette with attitude yet?) Send your spare cash and condolences to [email protected] Mizpah!

Witch Tips

June, 2006

Staying Alive Out of the Broom Closet

Part One: At Work

Can outing yourself as a Pagan at your job get you canned? Of course! Let’s face it, Pilgrim, anything that makes you stand out from the crowd will get you noticed–for bad as well as good. And declaring yourself Pagan ranks right up there with painting yourself purple or taking off all your clothes by the time clock every morning. You need your ducks in a row to be sure that bulls eye you want to glue onto your posterior is as inconspicuous as possible.

But first, let’s address the most common FAQ here, just to get it out of the way: Yes, everybody’s gonna think you’re crazy. Trust me on this. I don’t care how long your coworkers have known you, how much you think they like & respect you, or what they say to your face–behind your back (where it really counts) everybody’s going to agree on one thing: you’re nuts.

But that’s okay–as long as that’s your only fault. To paraphrase Steve Solomon, you can sell one fault to your boss & coworkers. (Hey, nobody’s perfect.) Two faults are trouble, and a third is a guaranteed bus ride to the unemployment line. So be advised, as soon as you out yourself, you’ve used up your quota. Period.

Moving forward, attendance & punctuality cover a wealth of sins. If you’re chronically late or like to call out a lot on Fridays and Mondays, you might want to keep a low profile. Ditto if your performance reviews are in the basement. Or if, despite your best efforts, you just can’t beat that embarrassing flatulence problem you hope nobody’s noticed. (They have, and they just stopped being too polite to laugh about it in the lunch room.) Any and all of your personality quirks, even the ones which have previously gone unacknowledged, will be abruptly subject to scrutiny and conjecture now. Keep them at a minimum. You’re not working in a fishbowl any more, you’re under a magnifying glass.

Me? I make no secret I’m wiccan. I even wear the Blessed Be pinkie ring my girlfriend gave me as a Yule present. But I’ve been there for (shudder) fifteen years, I stay out of trouble, and I don’t volunteer info about my religious beliefs, political views or gender preferences. I have a motto: Prudence Pays.

So far it’s worked for me.

Next time, Part Two: At Home


author bio:

Weyland Smith lives in Mercer County New Jersey with the bright and beautiful Morgan, her two children, and their cats & familiars Flame and Macavity. They may be reached at [email protected] Any and all rumors that Weyland and New Jersey governor John Corzine were twins who were separated at birth are completely bogus–Wey’s a Republican. (And a poor Republican, at that! Sheesh…)