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


The Dream Nail is a sacred weapon and talisman, which can cut the veil that separates the waking world from dreams.[1] It appears to have been made by the Moth Tribe.[2] The Dream Nail allows its user to not only read the thoughts of an entity, or even inanimate objects, but also enter specific sections of the Dream Realm.

Before the Knight acquires it, the blade dulled over time, making it necessary to fill it with enough Essence to awaken it.[1][3] Essence are the fragments of light that dreams are composed of.[4] Dreams can also take the shape of those who have passed away.[5] Dreams and memories cling onto the Dream Nail when Essence is collected.[6][7]

Another one of the Dream Nail's abilities is to teleport the user from one place to another through dreams.[8] The user warps by imagining a great gate to a location connected to them, provided the location has a strong connection to dreams.[9][8]

The user of the Dream Nail is referred to as the "Wielder", an entity whose arrival the Moth Tribe had awaited.[2] The Wielder's purpose is to collect Essence and hunt memories all across Hallownest.[10][7] Once 2400 or more Essence has been acquired, the Seer declares the Knight to be the Wielder her tribe had long dreamed of.[11]


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).

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.

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.



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:
    • Less Essence was spent on warping to a Dreamgate than getting randomly from Enemies: 0.33% (1/300)
    • More Essence was spent on warping to a Dreamgate than getting randomly from Enemies: 1.67% (1/60)
    • Dream Wielder equipped and less Essence was spent on warping to a Dreamgate than getting randomly from Enemies: 0.5% (1/200)
    • Dream Wielder equipped and more Essence was spent on warping to a Dreamgate than getting randomly from Enemies: 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.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Seer: "But that talisman you now wield, the Dream Nail... it can cut through the veil that separates the waking world from our dreams. Even the Dreamers themselves can not hide from such a weapon. Though I must admit, that sacred blade has dulled over time."
  2. 2.0 2.1 Seer: "I've no more gifts to give... but you'd prove yourself the Wielder my tribe awaited."
  3. Seer: "the Dream Nail, it is so close to fully awakening! Collect more Essence! Once you have 1800 Essence, something truly marvellous will happen!"
  4. Seer: "Essence... the precious fragments of light that dreams are made of."
  5. Seer: "Sometimes dreams take the shape of those who have passed away. Such dreams are bountiful sources of Essence!"
  6. Seer: "Yes, I can see the dreams of this old Kingdom are starting to cling to you."
  7. 7.0 7.1 Seer: "The Dream Nail glows bright... It holds over 1200 Essence. Looking into it I can see so many memories peering back at me."
  8. 8.0 8.1 Dreamgate description: "Allows the wielder to travel instantly through dream. Some areas may lack a strong connection to any dream, disallowing use of the Dreamgate."
  9. Seer: "The time has come for you to learn how to revisit the places connected to you! Hold the Dream Nail tight, wielder, and imagine a great gate opening before you!"
  10. Seer: "Go out into the world, Wielder. Hunt down the Essence that lingers there!"
  11. Seer: "So much Essence... So bright.... You truly are the Wielder my tribe so long has dreamed of."