The Dream Nail is an Ability in Hollow Knight. It can collect Essence and enter dreams.


Hold down DREAM NAIL to charge and swing the Dream Nail. This can perform several functions:

The Dream Wielder Charm, granted by the Seer after collecting 500 Essence, greatly reduces the charge time of the Dream Nail and doubles the SOUL gained from hitting living enemies (from 33 to 66).

Awoken Dream Nail

After collecting 1800 Essence, the Dream Nail can be awoken. This allows access to dreams and memories that were previously hidden. The Awoken Dream Nail can be used on the corpse of the Kingsmould in the Palace Grounds. This grants entry to the White Palace.

Furthermore, the Awoken Dream Nail can be used to view the Dream Nail dialogue of the Shade Cloak creature in the Abyss. This creature has different Dream Nail dialogue depending on whether Void Heart has been obtained.

How to Acquire

The Dream Nail is acquired in the Resting Grounds by inspecting the Dreamers Memorial. Doing so sends the Knight into a dream where they receive the Dream Nail from a Moth.



Essence is the energy gained from multiple sources after obtaining the Dream Nail. After obtaining certain amounts of Essence, the Knight can return to the Seer for rewards. A total of 2400 is needed for all in-game rewards and achievements, though up to 3208 essence is available from exploration and bosses. Warping using the Dreamgate uses 1 Essence each time.

Essence Sources

  • Using Dream Nail on a Spirit (26 total)
  • Collecting Essence spawned by a Whispering Root (482 total)
  • Defeating a Warrior Dream (1100 total)
  • Defeating a Dream Boss (1600 total)
  • Hidden Dreams Icon.png Regular enemies have a chance to drop Essence:
    • Normal chance: 0.33% (1/300)
    • Dream Wielder equipped: 0.5% (1/200)
    • If Essence was spent on warping to a Dreamgate: 1.67% (1/60)
    • If Essence was spent on warping to a Dreamgate and Dream Wielder is equipped: 2.5% (1/40)

Essence rewards from the Seer


Achievement Attunement.png Attunement
Collect 600 Essence
Achievement Awakening.png Awakening
Collect 1800 Essence and awaken the Dream Nail
Achievement Ascension.png Ascension
Collect 2400 Essence and hear the Seer's final words


  • The Dream Nail can be used to push back most enemies.
  • The amount of Essence that can be stored is capped by the 32-bit signed integer limit, which is 2,147,483,647 (over 2 billion).
  • Even though the Fluke Larvae near Flukemarm and in the Godmaster Icon.png Junk Pit are not considered actual enemies in-game, they still have a chance to give 1 Essence after being defeated.
  • Certain NPCs can sense their mind being read, namely the White Lady, Snail Shaman, Bardoon, Seer and Midwife.
  • The backboard for Dream Nail dialogue is different for the Pale King's dialogue shown during the Birthplace memory. While all other Dream Nail dialogue uses a backboard with pink Essence, the backboard for dialogue during this scene has white Essence.
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