Dreamed 415 AD by Gennadius, friend of St. Augustine
The first recorded lucid dream was described in a letter written by Saint Augustine in 415, about his friend Gennadius.
One night, Gennadius dreamed of a guide who led him to a city where he heard heavenly music. This dream was vivid but not lucid.
The next night, the guide returned, and questioned him, until Gennadius realized he was dreaming. Then his guide argued "If your soul can be conscious while your body sleeps, why should you fear death?"
We could take this as a mere sermon or fable, of course; we don't have it direct from Gennadius. But consider some of the characteristics that researcher Ann Faraday found common in modern lucid dreams:
There are other themes common in modern lucid and prelucid dreams that aren't here (like flying, sex and telepathy); but so many markers are present, I'm convinced it's a genuine lucid dream--the earliest recorded, as far as I know (there may be some older ones in Tibetan texts).
- Vivid preparatory or "pre-lucid" dreams
- --The dream the night before
- Spectacular, even psychedelic color and sound
- --The music, and possibly the city
- Guides and oracles
- --This guide seems to be both
- Themes of spirituality and transcendence
- --Inarguably present here
- Unusual clarity of mind
- --The guide uses lucidity itself as evidence of immortality. Logic, not mere faith!
Note that the dreamer didn't set out to go lucid. No such tradition existed in Greco-Roman culture. They actively induced other types of dreams; but their dream literature seems to overlook this as a cultivatable dream type.
It looks like the first lucid dream was prompted by... the first lucid dream.
Figures, doesn't it?
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