Stories of Lucid and Liminal Dreaming Workshop/Retreat, near Orgivia, Spain, May 5-10, 2023

Dear Night Club Community,

You find me writing a couple days from the dream retreat/workshop with Andrew Holecek, held May 5-10, 2023, near Órgvia, about a two-hour drive from Malaga in southern Spain. An austere land, thirsty, perhaps some fifty years from now a desert, this place seemed to me a destiny, a prelude to the inhabitable.

A group just shy of 40 souls from Singapore, Chile, England, Scotland, Cyprus, Germany, Spain, Portugal, many places near, far, wide, shallow and deep, gathered in a “Hidden Paradise,” as our retreat center is called. Joining us were several “traders,” not those who come with bear skins and snake oils (although they were there too, in spirit, ephemeral beings us all), rather those alchemists of “money” who “trade futures.” That they “trade futures” might be an auspicious sign for them, and for all of us for that “matter,” for I suspect that after our few days together what we take as “present” is not what it used to be. Whether that is the case, I do not know, I only dream. What I can say is that their “presence” was nothing short of a de-light. Delightful sharing with those so fully alive to new events and teachings that sophistication often masks – I’ve been made stupid by learning. Humbling in other ways too, for while not couched in the parlance that circulates in yogic circles (dogmas proliferate now that yogas have gone mainstream), there was a native wisdom that revealed the universality of dream yoga practices. To say this differently, lucid dreaming and dream yoga are within the realm of human nature as such, with no cultural determinants obscuring but perhaps only refracting them, and thus curiously known and unknown by all simultaneously. Speaking of traders as a “group” is to do them an injustice, of course, but we must objectify and reify if we are going to say anything at all. As for the “rest” of us, well, a motely crew for sure: of generous hearts, welcoming dispositions, tears, contrasting outfits, and good humor – ah, yes, laugh we did, heartily and often. Laugher seems to me a curious sort of recognition of juxtapositions that don’t cohere, the absurd made flesh and thus known unintelligibly.

This was my first so-called “experience” with and of Andrew, though I qualify experience because after these few days I am no longer persuaded that “I” can speak of “experience” as such. In the same way that I now doubt “moments” as such. For it seems that in the apparent logic of dream yoga, beyond the pyrotechnics of lucid dreaming (fun, but a bit of a ruse, a seduction, or perhaps a prelude? … I don’t know), we would need to transcend our “experiences” of Experience. That for another day or perhaps lifetime. But to return to Andrew. On the final day of our retreat I said, if memory can be relied on, which it can’t, that what drew me to this retreat was a recognition that he, Andrew, had, through (and despite) all his learning and erudition, preserved the “eros” of and in his work – that Love abides in what he does and how he is.

I was a former academic, said me, initially attracted to the academy, and to the study of philosophy in particular, because I sensed that there was eros within the structure of beings and Being. Whatever isn’t Becoming. But the more I “became academic” the less love there was, and to be fair, the less loveable I became. I “became” intolerable to others and to myself – there was no one left to lament my departure, to put it mildly. Not even me. And so, I walked away from a cushy, full-tenured professorship and went to do some yoga because that was the only practice that offered relief. That was some 8 plus years ago. Whether my powers of discernment are sufficiently attuned to these reflections, I do not know, anyway, I said to Andrew and to the group that I was not prepared to commit myself to any practice, way of life, certainly not one that included learning that has the odor of “academic,” unless I could smell Love. Not that I would classify Andrew strictly as an “academic,” but I would not say he isn’t either. He has his heart in many places and knows the academy, can speak of it and to it, with sufficient guile and poise to be understood, without being wholly of it. I thanked him for preserving the eros and Eros in his work, “for introducing us to your muses, and for allowing us to hear your song.” Cher asks: “Is there love after love?” and I suppose now as I near a decade hence, Yes.

I did not “have” a lucid dream during the retreat. I slept like a proverbial “baby.” Which for me, is a big deal, given my historic bouts with narcolepsy. No lucid dreams, but not for lack of trying. I recited my daily mantras, did my 21-breath exercises as I lay in bed, established my wish, which, for the record, was to dream, awaken in my dream, and meditate with Siddhartha Gautama, aka “the Buddha.” Alas “no can do” seems to have been the message from the god Eros and the retreat ended. We took the bus to Samsara, said my goodbyes, and settled in a small apartment in Malaga on a personal “re-treat” before going home. Funny word – “re-treat,” to treat again, but not backing down as in “retreat?” “Workshop,” funnier still.

On my second night in Malaga, I went through my evening practices and, … and this might be crucial, I did not insist, as I am obnoxiously inclined, I did not insist on anything, dream worlds come what may. I had just listened to the latest recording of Ryan Hurd’s “Lucid Talisman” on Night Club, in which there is a discussion of dream incubation practices, the most important one that came through my ears was relaxation. My prayers and such were, if I do not deceive myself, offered up in the spirit of relaxation, asking for nothing in return.

There was a sequence of non-lucid dreams. The topic, so to speak, was God, and I learned that God is not primary, but rather Love is “prior.” I don’t pretend to know what this “means,” except to say that as far as this dream is concerned, God and Love seem to be in a sequence for me, whether of Time, or of Being, I do not know, … anyway, God and Love should not be conflated, I was told. I am not making a statement; I am recounting a dream. The reason for this observation, so the dream goes, is that God grieves. This was a striking revelation for me because I recall that as a young boy I used to pray to God and wondered if s/he/we/it suffered – I was not then praying to the crucified Christ, who certainly suffered, I was too young to know much about theology, God was for me some Magnificent Creative force and I wondered whether the Creator in all its Magnificence suffered. Anyway, here comes a dream in which I am told that God does indeed suffer, insofar as grief is some species of suffering, and he suffers-grieves chiefly when “Love is broken.” This is in the character of a voice, as clear as any, for there are no images, all I recall is pure darkness at first, followed by some hints of brown-red flickers of I know not what, so I cannot tell you why or how Love is such that it could be broken. Grief is, consequently, broken Love, and oddly enough, it is grief that binds us.

More about this Janus-faced grief. At this moment my ex-wife appears (I am still dreaming, but it seems as if I can say to the dream that it isn’t lucid), and in a sequence of dream-lets she reappears and reappears until I stop, in defiance, and face her and realize that it is not “I” who conjured her up, but she instead has entered my dreams because she is “aggrieved.” She, instead, had chosen to come into my dreams, whether I gave permission or not is, I suppose, another question. “Aggrieved” was the word spoken, which, I gather should not be taken as a sense of infringement, but rather, as a person who feels the grief of broken Love. An important bit of pedantry perhaps, important insofar as “aggrieved” could be taken for the sentiment of someone who claims the denial of a right, as if something is owed to her, as the victim of some violation, but no, in this case, her only claim is to know, as I know, as she wanted me to know, as we learned through 28 years of marriage ending in an acrimonious divorce, that we were protagonists in the play of a God who grieves broken love. Ours was a love that participates in Love. In a flash she was gone, and I knew then, in my lucid to the non-lucid dream, and now, that there is no bitterness, no resentment, no score to settle, for we both recognize that Love breaks, that we grieve as God does, and that in that grief we are bound. To be bound and separated simultaneously is as grief itself, I suppose, that strange concoction of painful pleasure and a pleasurable pain that seems so quintessentially of living. Maybe Samara is Nirvana, and Samsara Nirvana because, like the God, we live a divine melancholy, a taste oh so bitter-sweet we call living. Love is, on the other hand, of One-Taste.

And now to the lucid part. I woke up in a dream, call it my dream if you wish, recognized the dream as dream, said to “myself” … “This is a dream,” as I had been practicing day after day during the re-treat. In this dream, “I” started smashing through walls of some building that I could not recognize – maybe through brick walls, at the very least the dream was laced with a brownish-reddish hue that one sees as bricks. Or in the dark. This got exciting and I began conjuring up more and more walls – I’m going all superhero like. Each time the walls got thicker and thicker and I was caught in the electronic guts of the building, wires, cables, all this electrical stuff, and I kept pushing them away and into the next wall, as in a spider’s web until … I remembered where I was going, which was to meditate with “the Buddha.”

Siddhartha Gautama was in the “basement,” and it was there that “I” appeared, except Siddhartha was a blue, female frog. Or a toad. I can’t tell the difference. Big head. Huge eyes. She looked a bit like Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars – although those eyes … different. I said to myself, and to her I suppose, “You don’t look like Siddhartha to me,” and at that moment a big red Jabba the Hutt emerged to take her place, this red frog a male. Striking about the male red frog or toad was that he looked at me with one eye as my bulldog Hugo looks at me – askance. Askance not as suspicion but as in askew, sideways, as if to say that whatever is “really” seen is not seen directly. Hugo is real, as far as I know, and he has appeared in many dreams, including dreams in which he is disguised as a furry Ganesh. I missed Hugo just then, my dear Michèle more – filled suddenly by absence. Hugo has a piercing look, always with his head turned sideways, he, looking at me with one eye, searching as he does through the ripples on the surface of my soul – a feeling of welter and waste before God’s breath is spread over what has not yet been created. The male red frog-toad looked at me in exactly this way – askance, a reminder perhaps that “what you see, ain’t what you get”. To which my response was predictably the same, as you might expect from this brutish me reliant on what is my habitual obvious: “You don’t look like Siddhartha to me.”

Frog after frog, toad after toad started appearing, and reappearing each time I doubted. For each doubt “You don’t look like Siddhartha to me” there was another frog-toad. Then this avatar I am calling “I” looked around and saw that he was in a basement full of Jabba the Hutts meditating. The Buddhas were everywhere, and now in an array of colors, yellows, greens, organs, purples, who knows, I’m color-blind, all of them jowled, puffing away, and I figured, “okay, time to meditate,” for as far as this lucid dream is concerned, Siddhartha Gautama the so-called Buddha is a bunch of multiplying frog-toads in the shape of Jabba the Hutt meditating in the basement of a building whose electronic guts I just navigated through.

I suppose this is as sensible a way of rendering those few days in Andrew Holecek’s company, and in the company of our fellow traveler-traders, all of us speculating on our futures, through the present of remembered pasts. Because the details, of what was said and what was learned, should be, first, the purview of those who were there, and second, most of that can be found in libraries. It is how our teacher weaves them together that is the crux of the issue, for threads here and there of “knowledge” have been there and here for millennia (go to the libraries – or to kindle, before we put a match to it and burn the books). Not to deny his unique genius – but taking one to recognize one, I can only remain silent on that score. Those five days were as a blanket, that became our mantle of Love, under which we giggled as children, toad-frogs croaking at a distance, a shroud of a welcoming darkness, illumined by each other’s light.


Thanks for the wonderful description of those moments and sharing the fruition of your experience during the retreat and in the gap afterwards!


Sounds like you had a great time at the retreat! I like the concept of traders trading futures, not sure if I 100% got it but it sounds like your referring to all the people present trading what would have been an old future for a new one gained by insights at the retreat.

This is very good to hear! In my lucid dreams going through walls has created some of the most interesting results for me. Sometimes gaining the attention of dream characters that talk to and interact with me. Another fun one is falling through the floor and just enjoying the free fall through all the dream scenes that appear.

(This is the method I use)

In one dream I free fell through so many dream scenes I made it to a space where there were no more floors and I was just in a pure free fall with walls rushing by me. After awhile I maneuvered my body back to a standing position and landed on a floor and standing directly in front of me was a human looking figure that opened a door for me. As I approached it he gave me a costume or something similar, I don’t remember exactly what, I’d have to look back in my dream journal, and told me I would need it to go into the next room and in the next room all sounds sounded like instruments. It was a pretty cool dream.

Breaking through walls, floors or ceiling is a nice way to transition dreamscapes in a dream. If you set an intention while in a dream transition it can be a great way to control some of the aspects of the dreamscape you enter. My two favorites dream transitions are jumping into mirrors or really small objects and opening portals.


I had the experience of having suitcases in both hands but when I came to a brick wall I just stuck my head through it. It was great. Putting my hands/head through things in a dream is my go-to lucidity checker.