Dreaming in the Dark Times – 1st Original Article 2020

Mugwort Herb

 Dreaming in the Dark Times Series: Rediscovering Herbal Toltec Shamanism

Classically I have been dreaming within my lifetime in this body from the earliest times in my memory. I have dreams that I remember from when I was 5 yrs old. I have paid close attention to these visions and how they relate to myself, my future and present reality, past lives and generic fire. I believe everyone dreams and in my family many people remember these nightly occurrences and they seem to have powerful meanings that have been handed down by my pure blood grandmothers on both sides Italian and Sonoran.

I’ve heard many stories for these ladies about their dreams, some of which included me. After many years of research into Lucid dreaming and meditation mind states, and adopting nagualismo aka Toltec Shamanism (generally Mexico area of the world currently), I believe we all dream every night often 7 dreams but only some of us remember these visions. If you are lucky enough to remember any portions of your dreams at all, it’s my opinion that you are actually awakening from within and on a very powerful path to wholeness or spiritual development.

My best guess is that dream forgetfulness is the brain helping us to cope with stress and fear. We become zombies or slaves when we forget our dreams and make the subtle decision to live life asleep or without attention to our unconscious mind, dark psychology and deep fears (which is where our Power hides in Nagualismo and Shamanism).

We’re each on a hero’s journey through many lifetimes and I want to share with you some magic swords and staves to help you as I was helped through this journey in my current body. Here’s a short list which includes many plants that are stocked and sold at Rainbow Bliss Botancials in Tempe AZ:


White Sage (any sage is great really)


Hemia aka Suichuichi Sun Opener

Silene Capensis aka Afrikan Dream Root

Blue Lotus (any lotus or water lilies)

Fly Agaric (Red and White Magic Mushrooms)

Calea Zacatechichi (Aztec Dreaming Grass)




Roses and more

So I can obviously only focus on a few of these in this short summary and how to use them and my personal experience such that you can take advantage of the most wonderful time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the Fall of the Light, the Dark Times, from Scorpio to Capricorn, the Winter and the Journey of Persephone to Hades. The Astrologers, Magicians, 3 Wise Men, Witches and Shamans all knew this was the most powerful dream time. Hence Santa Claus, Krampus and Christmas all seem to coincide with the Winter Solstice approx Dec 21st.

The beautiful thing for me in my tradition and throughout my upbringing, all endings are beginnings and this year more than ever (what with so much fear of Cov-19), it really does feel like the end of the World (as we know it) and therefore the beginning of something NEW!

The nitty gritty


Let’s go on a journey into ourselves where time is endless and always feels dilated like we’re tripping, where lifetimes can be experienced in two hours, where people from time long past are alive and everyone can fly or transform at our will. In dreams, nature, gods, angels, dreams and aspects of ourselves run wild but are also completely in colLABoration with us, especially if we gain Lucidity (the holy grail of dreaming).

With Lucidity as the goal, I have dipped into more than herbalism and shamanic practices. I figure dreaming is a form of immortality because of the opportunity to live out experiences in time dilation. Therefore lucid  dreaming qualifies as “the Great Work” or a true alchemical goal such as the elixir of life or the philosopher’s stone. One of my astrology teachers mentioned this to me: She was in her 90s in her body and because of western medicine operations, she had a lot of physical troubles, but her mind was sharp as a obsidian blade. She was always focused on medical astrology and had been a member of the brotherhood of light (C. C. Zane) before I was born. So she not only used tons of daily herbs and vitamins (all based on her astrology prescriptions), but she dreamed. She said that because of my placements that I was a dreamer as well (a luminary such as the Moon in the 12th house). Because we dream, we knew there was life beyond the body as we had experienced it every night and that she wasn’t fearful of death.

So as a teen, I studied hypnosis, dreaming induction via audio, binaural beats music, and eventually runes, tarot, astrology and divination. This path gave light and direction to shamanism both a warrior’s and a magician’s path where a person stalks their shadow constantly like a native tracker would. I started picking sage and mugwort in San Diego area CA. I had a strong relationship with those plants for a while and enjoyed their effects on my dreams often. Both are highly effective and protective medicine plants. Interestingly enough, in 2019 I began getting in deep with the spirit of Mugwort which in Europe is known as the Witch Queen of the Herbal Kingdom (discussed in my podcast show EntheoRadio). I learned that it fights parasites and has a chemical that is also found in Absinthe, thujone, which is generally regarded as a visionary or entheogenic substance in certain doses.

In 2019, I took so much daily mugwort that I had so many dreams that were vivid and long and ultimately I started a spontaneous detox and parasite cleanse, reality became bendy and I was super tired, more interested in napping than usual. Sometimes I saw spots or felt sickly and hot then normal about 30min to 60min later. Die off….the herb was healing my body and killing off things that lived in me and often controlled my subconscious decisions. So I eased back into minimal dosage.


Mugwort is powerful and a true entheogen. When we develop relations with a plant ally like her, we often integrate our shadow and increase our personal presence and the power follows. Think Medicine (plants/entheogens) follows Power. Power follows Medicine such as Ego follows Soul and Soul follow Ego/Mind. It’s light and dark, life and death, or yin and yang.


I think in the future I will touch on other plants and fungi under the topics of Oneiromancy and Oneirogens (Dream Control/Practice and Dream Generating Substances. For now, let’s cover a new item on the shelves at Rainbow Bliss and an entheogen that is used by the Xhosa of Afrika as well as by myself in the Nagual/Toltec Practices locally, Silene Capensis.


In the traditions of Afrika, we know the Xhosa fermented the herb and that it was drank in water after fermenting or chewed and it was consumed over several nights or days in a row as to encourage a build up of the active ingredients. So I followed the fermented water procedure and I believe I added a little honey. The mixture had mold on it in 24 hrs, but I forged on and boiled it and fermented again. I drank 4 to 6 ounces on the first night of a mixture that was about 18 ounces of water. Before fermenting I smashed the roots with a rock as it was traditional in the Xhosa culture. I definitely noticed an enhancement of cognition in dreaming and length of dreaming. I took the substance for four days in a row before bed and I also began to add other sleep encouraging herbs such as lavender and roses, valerian and on a couple nights moldy blue cheese (a story for another time, yes it has effects).


The first night, I noticed at least 6 dreams, one of which was very odd and in my tradition it’s encouraged to burn or destroy horizontal water dreams, so I did that. It wasn’t a nightmare but horizontal water for Toltec Shamans can represent stuckness. The most interesting experience in my dream was the last dream (which is often the dream I remember best), in which I was reading a book on Tarot card places for Science fiction characters and there was a page that outlined Darth Vader’s role as the Tower card. It seemed to be a very unique dream because I can remember reading which is usually very difficult in dreams for me, also I remember thinking about the concepts in the book and explaining them to other people in the dream. The silene definitely helped me to notice my dream thoughts and better under the workings of my own mind in the dream world. This concept of reading or telling time is rare for me and indicates that perhaps a person is on the verge of realization of the dream and to achieve lucidity.

Perhaps further experiments will occur and be encouraged this season as I know and understand it the yin or dark time of year and sleeping can often be deeper or longer if you allow it. Remember dreaming is a spiritual practice and waking up here in this reality and there in the dream world are often the same psycho-spiritual pathways.

Farewell, my other me. In’Lakech.

Hugh T Alkemi

@mushroomshamanism (insta)