CyberD's CALD Guide & FAQ

With many thanks to CyberD for this CALD Guide and Talon Arana, the creator of CALD.
Thanks Sandra, Scipio Xaos and MagykKatte for their help, suggestions and proofreading.
Very special thanks to PasQuale for providing us with such a wonderful site.

Character Assisted Lucid Dreaming - CALD

Within dreams the mind creates many things, from environments and situations to people. Most dreamers find that their dreams draw elements they recognise from waking lives. CALD is a technique that attempts to counter that we do not associate these elements as parts of dreams. The way CALD does this makes it stand out from other techniques.

What is Character Assisted Lucid Dreaming?

CALD is a lucid dreaming technique where the dreamer creates a character to associate with dreaming. By building this character through communication, your goal is to make them appear in your dreams. When this occurs, their association with dreaming will help you recognise when you are dreaming. This technique may sound ambitious, perhaps even a little crazy, but if you give it a try, you may find it highly rewarding.

How does CALD work?

CALD works differently for each person and is often very flexible. To help you, this guide is broken into the three main points, with an general FAQ at the end:

  1. Create a character
  2. Communicate with your character
  3. Use your character to achieve lucid dreams
  4. General FAQ

Creating a character

Firstly, understand that creating a character does not make you crazy. This process is no different from that of a fiction writer, except one of real life. Your character can be anything you want them to be, but before you start you need to make sure you are committed. Creating a character will do no good if you decide not to follow through.

The process of creating a character is the same as creating one for a story. Begin with a single idea. What do you want them to be? You could start with an element of personality, or appearance. You could draw inspiration from an idea completely unrelated to building a character, such as time, the colour orange or the sky. Your character does not have to be human. If you are having trouble you can make this step simpler by using a pre-existing character or real person

Now that you have a starting point, you will want to focus on two important aspects: appearance and personality. You may be able to avoid one of these, but most characters will have a well defined appearance and a distinctive personality.

You need to build your character’s appearance to a workable level. It is not critical to define every aspect of them, and you may find that some details change. Close your eyes and try to visualize your character. If you can do this then you can move ahead, if not then you will need to ask yourself some questions. What is your character’s gender? Perhaps your character is an animal or an alien? Maybe even an object? Think about the details, hair, eyes, height? If you are having trouble, you may choose at random, as it can always change.

Now have a character you can visualize. If not, then all is not lost. Coming up with a personality might help you decide how your character will look. Take as much time as you need.


This is where things get interesting and complicated. If you are starting out then you may want to choose character traits you have good understanding of. Making the character have a very similar personality to yourself may be a good move, as quirks may be added later. For now, you will only need a basics idea. When you begin interacting with your character, you will find their personality becomes much more defined.

You want to consider your character’s background. Does your character come from a long line of successful businessmen? Perhaps they were sent to earth ten years ago on a spaceship? Maybe they just have not told you yet, or perhaps they have no background at all. Creating a fictional background for your character is not crucial at all; your character’s background can be as simple as knowing they are a character who was created by you to help. Remember that you are allowed to break the fourth wall with your character and they are allowed to know what they are.
So at this point you should have a pretty good idea of who your character is. Once you have a good idea of who you character is you are ready to move on to the next step.

Communicating with your character

So you have used much effort to create a character, but what do you do now? You talk to them, of course! At first you may feel awkward talking to someone who is not physically there, but give it some time and it will come more naturally. Imagine your character in the same room as you, or one inside your mind (e.g: mindscape, dreamspace). They could be standing, sitting or leaning against the wall; anything that makes them feel real to you. Say hello! Then hear their response. Congratulations, you just spoke to your character for the first time!

The learning curve for everyone here is different. Some will find they have to think carefully to come up with a response, others will be able to imagine an immediate reply. Some will not be able to come up with anything. If this is the case you need to force it: this is called puppeting. It is perfectly okay to force a response, especially in the beginning. Your initial goal will be to talk with your character for as long as you can. Ask them questions, get their opinion on things. Get used to talking to them.

With time you will find that the responses come easier, even without your conscious input. If you having trouble, then sleep on it or do something else for a while. You may find your character is easier to talk to when you come back. If you can hold a conversation with your character, then you are ready to start using your character to help you.

In some cases a character may not speak, fear not! However, in some cases a character might not be able to speak. Your character can be intentionally silent. If you find yourself in this situation then you will want to visualize your character more intently. Throw your new puppy a ball and imagine the reaction.

The most important part of this step is visualization. You have to believe your character exists within your mind, otherwise they will be no help at all. If you feel like you are succeeding then you are ready to move on.

Use your character to achieve lucid dreams

There are many ways you can use a character to help you achieve lucid dreams, you just need to get them as involved in dreaming as possible. If you interact with your character enough, you may find them appearing in your dreams. You can also make it your characters’ mission to help you dream and be lucid. They could appear in your dreams and tell you you are dreaming, they will remind you during the day to do reality checks or perhaps they will offer some assistance with other lucid dreaming techniques. All you have to do is ask, and remember the more you interact with your character the better!

This last step really comes down to you. You have to figure out to what degree your character is going to help. Persist and interact as much as possible for the best results.
So you use another technique already?
Great! Here are some ways your character could assist you with the technique.

[list]MILD: Your character could repeat mantras with you or come up with new ones. They could even use the technique themselves, “I’ll help X to lucid dream” or “I’ll appear in X’s dreams.”

WILD: Your character can help you focus, keeping your mind active by having a conversation instead of letting you fall asleep. They might also help you remain calm if you find you are excited or distracted by HI.
Be creative, and get them involved. Your character can be a dream master if you want them to be. If you believe their wisdom will help you to dream, then chances are that it will.[/list:u]
Here is the best part: now that you have created a great character and are having lucid dreams, you can go on the most awesome adventure with the very character you have created. You can talk with them freely, fly around with them by your side or perhaps have the dual of your life with a super powered and friendly character.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I tried this technique but my characters never show up. Is there something wrong?
A: Some people do not see their character often, or at all. That’s fine-- In most scenarios when using CALD Talon (the creator of CALD) would rarely see her character right away, but summon them later. Sometimes, people have NDs with characters they had created IWL showing up. In some cases, the characters show up and urge the user to do a reality check. It all really varies from person to person.

Q: What should my character be like, I can’t think of anything?
A: Check out some of the characters created by other forum members. Looking at Character Chats in the playground may give you an idea. This is CyberD’s profile of his character, Nova.

Q: Should I talk to my character more often?
A: It does not matter how much you talk to your character. Some will only talk to their character when they are in bed, others will have their character go everywhere with them. You can make your character as intrusive or passive as you like.

Q: Can I talk to my character about the fact they are a character?
A: Of course you can! There is no need to hide anything from them. It may be best that your character knows what they are.

Q: Can I have more than one character?
A: You can have as many characters as you like. The more you have, the more work you will need to put into maintain them. Before creating a new character, take some time to decide if having another will help you.

Q: My character is perfect. Is this bad?
A: Not at all, your character can be as flawed or perfect as you want them to be. Since they exist only in your mind, it does not matter how perfect they are. Would you rather spend time with an ideal character or one who has flaws just for the sake of it? Unlike writing, no one else is going to judge your character.

Q: My character agrees completely with everything. Is that bad?
A: It is only as bad as you think. Remember, your character is a part of you and may feel the same as you. Creating conflict for the sake of it will get you nowhere. If you really want your character to disagree, try finding something you do not have a strong opinion about and debating with them. This can be a good way to build your character and your communication!

Q: Can my character disappear or die?
A: Yes. Sometimes character’s may leave and disappear into the world you created for them. This could be unannounced, or they might tell you before they do. If you do not want them to go, be sure to tell them. You could also look for them in a dream. A character can only die if you believe they can, and if it does happen it will probably happen in a dream. You could avoid this by making your character an immortal. If somehow your character is killed, then you could bring them back to life during a dream or by asking another character to do it for you.

Q: What is the practical use of CALD?
A: Characters can be a means of communication, with other users having characters, it can be a key to talking with others-- Talon personally had characters act as internal alarms, gateways into lucidity, and reminders for reality checks-- When she was younger, she also used this system from remembering certain facts and dates for tests. Treating it like a second memory has been personally useful.

Q: What about the recreational use?
A: It’s fun to interact with characters, as it tests a creative aspect of your mind to create, and develop your own character. Interacting with other people, and seeing what they have created, for some, is enjoyable as well. They can be inspirations for drawing, poetry, and stories. Well developed characters, as well as realistic character interactions are important for more involving stories.

Q: What else can I use my character for?
A: Anything you can think of! Talking with your character can help sort your thoughts or troubles. You can use them as inspiration when doing anything creative, or even ask them for their opposition of things. Your character can be as useful in everyday life as you want them to be.

Q: Does CALD have anything to do with schizophrenia?
A: This question is why some people avoid CALD. Generally, society defines anyone who hears and responds to voices in their heads as crazy. The biggest and most important difference between someone who suffers a condition like Schizophrenia and someone who uses CALD is clear this: The person using CALD understands that the voices and characters are not real. So long as you do not talk to your character aloud in public, then you will have no problem. Just be sure to remember your character is only a character for helping with lucid dreaming, and is not and cannot ever be physical and real.

You will find that by having a character you become more aware of yourself and who you are. Spending time inside your head and separating your thoughts to personify your character in real time, can help you better understand yourself.