One of the first players on the electronic dream journal market is the Alchera Suite. Alchera includes the features that seem to be standard in all dream journal software: multiple users, separate text fields for dream description, analysis, and conclusion, predefined analytical questions, and a preloaded dream dictionary. However, a few additional unique effects distinguish Alchera from other dream journal software. These include character and emotion graphics, games and methods, exporting dreams in HTML format, and a separate reality check program.
Alchera screenshot As dreams are entered, they are assigned one of five pre-set lucidity levels. These levels are displayed by small icons on the dream header line within a resizable box listing the dreams in the journal. Dreams are also assigned a pre-defined theme and subthemes. These pre-set themes may be modified, added, or deleted. There are separate fields to enter the dream description, analysis, and conclusion. Other fields include characters, own emotions, witnessed emotions, games and methods, and subthemes.
Characters and emotions may be dragged from the dream description into the respective character or emotion box. If the character or emotion has not been previously recorded in a prior dream, a wizard walks the dreamer through the process of creating the character or emotion (including assigning the character or emotion to a character or emotion type). This is nice but it would be nicer if previously defined characters and emotions automatically appeared in the character and emotion boxes.
One unique feature of Alchera is the character and emotion charts and bars. The character types within your dreams are compiled and compared with the average male and female dreamer. The same with the emotion types. Although this certainly looked impressive I personally saw no use for it in the analysis of my dreams. Why do I care if I dream about a certain character type more than the average male? Perhaps, some dreamers have a need for this and if they do, they’ll love it.
Alchera charts screenshot
The games and methods are really different forms of dream analysis in the forms of predefined questions. When the user selects a games and method option from the selection list, a pop-up window appears describing the background of the game/method. The user then has the option to include the predefined questions into the analysis portion of his or her dream record. This is a fresh approach to dream analysis as it allows the dreamer to choose his or her method of analysis. It is also possible to edit the questions, thus offering more personalized analysis.
Multiple symbol dictionaries may be maintained within Alchera. Separate symbol descriptions may be maintained in each dictionary. This allows you to enter your personal description and descriptions from multiple other sources, such as your favorite dream dictionary books, the bible, mythology, etc. Alchera comes with one predefined symbol dictionary. New dictionaries (up to 5) and new symbols are easy to add, modify, and delete. Symbols are displayed underlined on the symbol page. Clicking on the symbol displays its descriptions. Dreamers that are into symbolism within their dreams will find the multiple dream dictionaries very useful.
Searches are performed similar to a simple Internet search engine. Boolean operators allow you to search for dreams in which you dreamed of Pamela AND Cindy. Dreams with text that match the results are displayed in the dream list box.
Another program packaged with the Mythwell Alchera Suite is Lucille. Lucille (in the form of a window) periodically pops up on the screen asks the computer user a reality check question. Depending on the answer, Lucille will go away or inform the user that he or she is dreaming. The frequency of the questions and the questions themselves may be changed to suit your personal needs.
Overall, Alchera is simple and easy to use. The software is being continuously developed and new additions planned for the next two releases include: custom labels similar to the theme label, more attributes such as locations and objects, a separate diary, and DreamShare, a tool for dreamwork collaboration over the Internet.