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Lucid Dreaming

"The content of most of our dreams is largely determined by what has happened during the previous waking hours. Most scenarios are creative on partucular strategies acted out in the day and carried into sleep. Lucid dreaming allows the sleeper an almost limitless spectrum of creative possibilities, quite beyond our wildest imaginings." Malcolm Godwin

Lucid dreaming, a term coined by the late 19th-century and early 20th-century Dutch writer and psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden, who used the word ‘lucid’ in reference to mental clarity, is a phenomenon in which a dreaming individual becomes aware that what they are experiencing is not physical reality, but a dream.(reference) According to Frederick van Eden, there are nine different kinds of dreams: initial dreams, pathological dreams, dissociative dreams, vivid dreams, demoniacal dreams dream-sensations, LUCID DREAMS, demon-dreams, wrong waking-up  

"In contrast to the restricted consciousness of normal dreaming, the rare state of lucid dreaming is characterized by full- blown consciousness including all higher-order aspects: the sleeping subject is no longer deluded by the dream narrative, but becomes fully aware of the true nature of his current state of consciousness. This wake-like intellectual clarity comprises a restored access to memory functions including increased availability of self-related information, and fully realized agency, enabling the dreamer to volitionally execute his intentions within the dream narrative. Lucid dreaming can be trained, which makes this phenomenon a promising research topic despite its rarity in untrained subjects." (Martin Dresler et al., 2014)

A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware of the fact that he or she is dreaming and therefore often can consciously influence the dream content. Although awareness of dreaming while dreaming is usually considered an adequate criterion for lucid dreaming, some discussions have been held whether this is sufficient. , for example, separates dreaming-awareness dreams and lucid dreams, for which he poses an additional criterion that overall clarity of waking consciousness should also be retained. Seven aspects of lucidity or clarity in dreams have been formulated: (reference)

  1. Clarity about the state of consciousness that one is dreaming
  2. Clarity about the freedom of choice
  3. Clarity of consciousness
  4. Clarity about the waking life
  5. Clarity of perception
  6. Clarity about the meaning of the dream
  7. Clarity recollecting the dream

However, it is important to acknowledge that dream lucidity is not an ‘‘all-or-nothing’’ phenomenon but rather a continuum with different degrees: some dreams can be more lucid than others.

Even if the phenomenon of lucid dreaming was known since the times of Aristotle, it was successfully verified only in the 1970s in a sleep laboratory by measuring eye movements during REM sleep corresponding with dreamed gaze shifts. However, the first scholar to document lucidity extensively was the French aristocrat, Hervey de Saint Denys, whose very credible and well-written book initially published in French in 1867 was translated and published as “Dreams and the Means of Directing Them” in 1982. Much more recently, Mary Arnold-Forster, an English gentlewoman, described her own experiments in her book, “Studies in Dreams”, published in 1921. Apparently unaware of the earlier work of Saint Denis, Arnold-Forster E.M. Forster, was principally concerned with determining what she could and could not do when dreaming lucidly. Like many other lucid dreamers, she taught herself to fly and thus to enter, at will, all of the rooms of her house; she particularly enjoyed flying down her stairs. (reference)

Following the discovery of REM sleep by Aserinsky and Kleitman in 1953, the objective study of lucid dreaming was undertaken in earnest by K.M. Hearne in 1978 and by Steven LaBerge in 1980. Since then, numerous studies have been conducted and research indicates that lucid dreaming is mainly a REM sleep phenomenon, although it can also occur during NREM sleep. Since lucid dreamers have access to their waking memories, it is possible for them to move their eyes during the dream according to a prearranged pattern of eye movements and produce a distinct electrooculagram (EOG) recording during REM sleep. The dreamers can even communicate from within the dream.

According to recent findings, lucid REM sleep when compared to non-lucid REM sleep is associated with increased EEG 40 Hz power, especially in frontal and frontolateral regions. Another recent MRI study found increased activation during REM lucid dreaming in several brain regions, including the bilateral precuneus, cuneus, parietal lobules, and prefrontal and occipito-temporal cortices. This specific pattern of activation might explain the presence of higher order cognitive skills involved in lucid dreaming. The prefrontal cortex is associated with metacognitive regulation and self-assessment, executive function and top-down control of behaviour, attention regulation, while the precuneus is associated with self-processing operations, such as first-person perspective taking and experience of agency.


The Lucid Dreaming Experience Magazine seeks to educate, inform and inspire lucid dreamers by exploring lucid dream techniques, sharing lucid dreams and discussing the potentials of lucid dreaming. Link to Lucid Dreaming Experience Magazine  ♥♥♥♥♥


See also: Bibliography, Booze and dreams, Dream cycles, Dream glossary, Dream hacking, Dream recall, Dreams and brain disorders, Dreams as a source of inspiration, Essential oils, Food and dreams, Herbs for dreaming, Hypnagogic state, Lucid dreaming, Neuroprotective agents, Precognitive dreams, Psychic dreams, Recurring dreams, Shamanic dreaming, Sleeping brain, Sleep deprivation, Weed and dreams, WILD, Yoga Nidra


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According to Frederick van Eden, there are nine different kinds of dreams: initial dreams, pathological dreams, dissociative dreams, vivid dreams, demoniacal dreams dream-sensations, LUCID DREAMS, demon-dreams, wrong waking-up   

  1. The first type of dreams he called initial dreams

"This kind of dream is very rare; I know of only half-a-dozen instances occurring to myself, and have found no clear indication of them in other authors. Yet it is very characteristic and easily distinguishable. It occurs only in the very beginning of sleep, when the body is in a normal healthy condition, but very tired. Then the transition from waking to sleep takes place with hardly a moment of what is generally called unconsciousness, but what I would prefer to call discontinuity of memory. It is not what Maury calls a hypnagogic hallucination, which phenomenon I know well from my own experience, but which I do not consider to belong to the world of dreams. In hypnagogic hallucinations we have visions, but we have full bodily perception. In the initial dream type I see and feel as in any other dream. I have a nearly complete recollection of day-life, I know that I am asleep and where I am sleeping, but all perceptions of the physical body, inner and outer, visceral or peripheral, are entirely absent. Usually I have the sensation of floating or flying, and I observe with perfect clearness that the feeling of fatigue, the discomfort of bodily overstrain, has vanished. I feel fresh and vigorous; I can move and float in all directions; yet I know that my body is at the same time dead tired and fast asleep."

  1.  The second type of dreams he called pathological dreams

"As the outcome of careful observations, I maintain my conviction that the bodily conditions of the sleeper have, as a rule, no influence on the character of dreams, with the exception of a few rare and abnormal cases, near the moment of waking up, or in those dreams of a second type which I have classified as pathological, in which fever, indigestion, or some poison, plays a role, and which form a small minority. For myself as the observer, I may state that I have been in good health all the time of observation. I had no important complaints of any nervous or visceral kind. My sleep and digestion both are usually good. Yet I have had the most terrible nightmares, while my body was as fresh and healthy as usual, and I have had delicious peaceful dreams on board ship in a heavy storm, or in a sleeping-car on the railway."

  1.  The third type of dreams he called dissociative dreams

"The third type, ordinary dreaming, is the usual well-known type to which the large majority of dreams conform; probably, it is the only kind that occurs to many people. It is not particularly pleasant or unpleasant, though it may vary according to its contents. It may occur in any moment of sleep, in daytime or in the night, and it does not need any bodily disturbance to produce it. These dreams show dissociation, with very imperfect reintegration, and, as several authors have pointed out, they have in many respects a close likeness to insanity. The true conditions of day-life are not remembered; false remembrance--paramnesia--is very common in them; they are absurd and confused, and leave very faint traces after waking up."

  1.   The fourth type of dreams he called vivid dreams

"The fourth type, vivid dreaming, differs from ordinary dreaming principally in its vividness and the strong impression it makes, which lasts sometimes for hours and days after waking up, with a painfully clear remembrance of every detail. These dreams are generally considered to be the effect of some abnormal bodily condition. Yet I think they must undoubtedly be distinguished from the pathological dreams. I have had them during perfectly normal bodily conditions. I do not mean to say, however, that some nervous disturbance, some psychical unrest, or some unknown influence from the waking world may not have been present. It may have been, but it escaped my observation in most cases. These vivid dreams are generally extremely absurd, or untrue, though explicit and well-remembered. The mind is entirely dissociated and reintegration is very defective."

  1.   The fifth type of dreams he called demoniacal dreams

"In the fifth type, the symbolic or mocking dreams, the characteristic element is one which I call demoniacal. I am afraid this word will arouse some murmurs of disapproval, or at least some smiles or sneers. Yet I think I can successfully defend the use of the term. I will readily concede at once that the real existence of beings whom we may call "demons" is problematic, and yet men of science find the conception very useful and convenient."

  1.   The sixth type of dreams he called dream-sensations

"The sixth type, which I call general dream-sensations, is very remarkable but not easy to describe. It is not an ordinary dream; there is no vision, no image, no event, not even a word or a name. But during a long time of deep sleep, the mind is continually occupied with one person, one place, one remarkable event, or even one abstract thought. At least that is the recollection on waking up. One night I was constantly occupied by the personality of an American gentleman, in whom I am not particularly interested. I did not see him, nor hear his name, but on waking up I felt as if he had been there the whole night. In another instance it was a rather deep thought, occupying me in the deepest sleep, with a clear recollection of it after waking up."

  1.   The seventh type of dreams he called LUCID DREAMS

"The seventh type of dreams, which I call lucid dreams, seems to me the most interesting and worthy of the most careful observation and study. Of this type I experienced and wrote down 352 cases in the period between January 20, 1898, and December 26, 1912. In these lucid dreams the reintegration of the psychic functions is so complete that the sleeper remembers day-life and his own condition, reaches a state of perfect awareness, and is able to direct his attention, and to attempt different acts of free volition. Yet the sleep, as I am able confidently to state, is undisturbed, deep and refreshing. I obtained my first glimpse of this lucidity during sleep in June, 1897, in the following way. I dreamt that I was floating through a landscape with bare trees, knowing that it was April, and I remarked that the perpective of the branches and twigs changed quite naturally. Then I made the reflection, during sleep, that my fancy would never be able to invent or to make an image as intricate as the perspective movement of little twigs seen in floating by."

  1.   The eight type of dreams he called demon-dreams

"There may be deceit in the lucid dream. In March 1912 I had a very complicated dream, in which I dreamt that Theodore Roosevelt was dead, then that I woke up and told the dream, saying: "I was not sure in my dream whether he was really dead or still alive; now I know that he is really dead; but I was so struck by the news that I lost my memory." And then came a false lucidity in which I said: "Now I know that I dream and where I am." But this was all wrong; I had no idea of my real condition, and only slowly, after waking up, I realized that it was all nonsense. This sort of mockery I call demoniacal. And there is a connection, which I observed so frequently that it must have some significance--namely that a lucid dream is immediately followed by an eighth type of dream I call a demon-dream."

  1.   The ninth type of dreams he called wrong waking-up

"We have the sensation of waking up in our ordinary sleeping-room and then we begin to realize that there is something uncanny around us; we see inexplicable movements or hear strange noises, and then we know that we are still asleep. In my first experience of this dream I was rather afraid and wanted nervously to wake up really. I think this is the case with most people who have it. They become frightened and nervous and at last wake up with palpitations, a sweating brow and so on. To me now these wrong-waking-up-dreams have lost their terror. I consider them as demon-pranks, and they amuse me; they do not tell on my nerves any more."