I figured my first peer-reviewed dream research post should nod to the one of the unrecognized classics in the field of lucid dreaming phenomenology.
This is correlated with, but not necessarily caused by, the fact that my current academic journals are boxed away somewhere in the barn behind a ten foot wall of hay.
So, one of my favorite aspects of lucid dreaming is the sometimes spontaneous emergence of abstract geometric imagery composed of light. This imagery includes starbursts, multi-colored snow, orbs of various sizes and colors, lattice work, mandalas, and other geometric light creations.
Anyone interested in this phenomena should first consult George Gillespie’s work in the journal of Perceptual and Motor Skills, as well as the Lucidity Letter. His work is almost twenty years old but is still unmatched for its clarity and focus. Work like this slowly but surely is bringing back introspectionism from the ditch it was thrown in and left to die back in the 1930s.
In the classic article “Light and lattices and where they are seen,” Gillespie (1989) differentiates between ordinary light phenomena and what he calls stable intense lights. Unlike the other forms, these kinds of light are scannable. In other words, they appear to remain stationary as the lucid dreamer systematically scans the extent of the visual field. These lights take many shapes, which Gillespie categorizes as areas of light, discs of lights (like “suns”), and “fullness of light” which fills the entire visual field.
For Gillespie, the feeling of being in the presence of these lights is intense joy and feelings of gratitude and devotion.
These days, this kind of non-iconic geometric imagery falls under the umbrella of entoptic imagery, and is also known as form constants (in LSD research) and visual dynamics.
I thought I would share this classic from the vault because often lucid dreamers feel like they are alone when they describe their own personal introspectionist analysis. It’s always nice to know that others have experienced something similiar.
For more of Gillespie’s work, check out my dream resources page.
Gillespie, G. (1989). Lights and lattices and where they are seen. Perceptual and Motor Skills
Ryan, Nice article. Practiced lucid dreamers have also written about their experiences with geometric shapes in The Lucid Dream Exchange ( a quarterly e-zine ) at http://www.dreaminglucid.com
Ryan Hurd says
Hey Robert – yes, I encourage everyone to check out the LDE if they haven’t already!
In my lucid dreams I see and feel these massive shapes. I’ll manifest one as small as a grain of sand and then I’ll manifest on as big as a skyscraper . In the same tense I feel the mass of each. And then a rapid successtion oh shapes big and small