Guest blog post by Jeremy Rhoades. Trained as a transpersonal psychotherapist in San Francisco, California, Jeremy has practiced a blend of existential, humanistic and relational therapy, Dzogchen, harm reduction therapy (motivational interviewing) for working with addiction, gamification of the transformation process, and support for radical self-acceptance since 2006.
Psychedelics, meditation, and psychotherapy can all improve daily life through increased awareness. Acknowledging the link between suffering and desires, aversions, or distractions can motivate us to change. Occasionally though, you may find yourself compelled by something else that breaks through into consciousness, akin to deja vu, a sudden flash on a memory, dream, synchronicity or vision. I developed the Dreamscapes Alchemical Manifestation model (abbreviated DAM) as a framework for attuning to these moments of heightened awareness in order to move through life with greater ease, tracking “breakthrough-clarity,” and using it as an inner compass– while taking into account that your journey of personal evolution is not always linear. We constantly fall in and out of “flow state.”
How the Dreamscapes Alchemical Manifestation model came to be
While providing Harm Reduction psychotherapy to clients who struggled with addiction, I gathered information from their subjective experiences about what improved their lives and what was harmful. As we collaborated on building their plan for change, we would consider whether the plan could survive a relapse without totally resetting the whole game. Harm Reduction brilliantly sees relapse as part of the process, rather than the enemy. Over the years a “game board” began to emerge, where you can go forward, backwards, or start all over again at square one (The Situation), in relation to your stated desire for change. These were the antecedents and early iterations of the DAM model.
This map continued to coalesce in tandem with my observations of clients’ and my own experiences over the past decade. I offer it as an experiment that others can try out, and I always defer to your own inner truth if your personal journey turns out to have a different map with alternative phases and rhythms that diverge from what the DAM model suggests.
The 7 Phases of Dreamscapes Alchemical Manifestation
The DAM Model is a map for preparation, transformation (with or without psychedelics), and integration. It maps the internal landscape– the Dreamscape. The model comprises seven phases through which awareness may evolve over many weeks. It begins with inquiry into your motivations: “What situation currently compels me to seek an outcome, change, or manifestation?”
The Seven Phases of the map are:
- The Situation
- The Known
- The Bridge
- The Unknown
- Situation, Revisited
- Alchemical Manifestation
Techniques of dream re-entry, visualizations, and somatic inquiry can help you align with intuition, and prepare you for entering uncharted territory during your microdosing journey. These techniques/skillsets/handrails can also be the active ingredients to alchemize intentional transformative experiences in their own right – “portals into The Unknown.”
Applying the Non-doing philosophy of the model to your Microdosing journey
You may find yourself drawn to microdosing because you see that it may lead to self-improvement. It is also possible you have already dedicated much arduous labor in order to forge internal “first matter” (the pure substance of alchemical experiments) in the laboratories of therapy, meditation, and self-development practices. Your quest– your journey– is both spiritual and psychological, and whatever outcome or manifestation you seek is the equivalent of internal gold. Dreamscapes Alchemical Manifestation holds an underlying philosophy that the doorway from one phase to another, on your personal evolutionary journey, may come to be seen as an already-present, accessible inner resonance. We only need to relax into this inner resource.
Microdosing is a wonderful tool for helping tilt the odds in your favor for accessing “flow state.” Like many tools, it is not only about what is administered (the microdoses themselves), but about how you engage the process. With proper preparation, microdosing can provide a rhythm for constantly re-engaging flow-state, getting glimpses over and over and learning to stabilize the glimpses into longer periods of awareness, presence, and sometimes clarity. The Dreamscapes Alchemical Manifestation model is a map that can help you enter this transformative, evolutionary journey using your current life circumstances as the starting point. Then, as you build the capacity and mindset to direct awareness towards all aspects of your current life situation, you may invite the illuminated situation itself to show you the next steps for transforming questions, problems, stuckness, addiction, desires, goals, or creative aspirations into new, personally relevant tools, allies, guides, optimal settings, alignment with flowstate rhythms, visions, or some other manifestation of an answer to your initial reasons for why you want to go on a microdosing journey at this time.
The DAM model can be seen as an accompaniment to your microdosing protocol. Where the protocol sets out how, how much, and how frequently you will use a psychedelic (or other active medicine), this model is a way to provide scaffolding around the protocol and, ultimately, carry you through a cycle of growth. And at the end of a microdosing cycle, as you find yourself in a new situation and notice what has changed from where you started, you can apply the insights of your journey as you integrate the gifts you have received and prepare for a new cycle. You are always invited to begin again, with fresh eyes.
If you are feeling lost or stuck along your path, it can be helpful (and fun!) to imagine a world in which your overall journey takes place, and to find actual images for each phase– thus “zooming out the map.” In other words: laying out the setting of your dreamscape, much as you might sketch out a vivid dream as a series of comic-book-style panels. There is a playfulness here. Each image will be deeply resonant with aspects of your own life, and will show the general context for that particular phase. Therapy can help with identifying the dreamscape setting for each phase.
Some examples you might enjoy experimenting with are as follows: For Phase 1, The Situation, you may resonate with the image of sitting in a cafe, or beginning a walk through the forest, or being in an underwater scene. Of course the possibilities are endless, and paying attention to dreams and recurring themes in waking life can help illuminate your setting. Phase 2 would then extend from the first phase, into another room, landscape, hidden chamber, or familiar memory. The Bridge may sometimes seem more like a tunnel, or a crossing in which you are flying from The Known to the Unknown. And the Unknown may show you visuals that are completely new to you. (Indeed, you are on the lookout for new, strange, and foreign images here!) As you exit through the Situation, Revisited (Phase 5), you find yourself stepping out into a world that looks different than the one from which you entered the original Situation. At this point you may choose to cycle back to a new Situation image, or jump to the entangled superpositions of Youcation and Alchemical Manifestation. During Youcation, you dedicate a few hours or days to a personal retreat in a physical setting that displays some elements of your journey so far. The outcome of this “time away” – whatever you learn during this time – constitutes your Alchemical Manifestation. These gifts may be new allies, guides, or settings for your next journey; or something else altogether that somehow relates back to your original Situation and provides greater clarity.
Merging the DAM model with new technologies
For microdosers, the journey often begins before the actual start of your protocol– when you are still in contemplation and preparation. Later on, perhaps a few weeks after taking your first microdose, you may find yourself on The Bridge and heading into the Unknown as you notice your mindset and perspective undergoing some shifts. Or, you might find yourself constantly redefining your Situation throughout your microdosing cycle, if that is what you need at this time. Either way, it’s always helpful to periodically reach out to therapists, coaches, spiritual guides, and friends along the way for support in processing, integrating and understanding which phase you are currently navigating.
While this model can provide a great scaffolding for microdosing and traditional talk therapy sessions over a period of about three months, it is also positioned to be used by future generations engaging the leading edge of new technologies. A provocative parallel to the main map is the quest of creating a digital dreamscape. New technology enables us to generate immersive worlds using AI, by simply entering written text. The possibilities are rich for using the DAM model in the Metaverse, with your own dreams, positive memories, or future visions providing the virtual “setting” of the phase you are traversing. While the content of each phase of your map can be represented in words or images, virtual reality may add a new textural dimension to your experience.
The map below gives a diagram of the seven phases of the Dreamscapes Alchemical Manifestation model:
This event will be very interactive and include time for questions and participant input. Until next time, enjoy your wanders!