Archive for February, 2011


February 18, 2011

Duo (from 1981)

“To dream and altogether not to dream. The synthesis is the operation of genius….” Novalis

“I am aware of these ‘fancies’ only when I am on the brink of sleep, with the consciousness that I am so….In these fancies-let me now term them psychal impressions-there is really nothing even approximate in character to impressions ordinarily received. It is as if the five senses were supplanted by five myriad others alien to mortality.” Poe

I recently read the 1987 book HYPNOGOGIA The unique state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep by Andreas Mavromatis. This provoked some further study on hypnogogia and ‘dream states.”

The quotes above are from a page of quotes early in this book. There are original illustrations (by six artists). It deals primarily with “hallucinatory and quasi-hallucinatory events taking place in the state between wakefulness and sleep.” These include various phenomena, not only sights or “visions” but also sounds, smells, tastes and more.

Everyday “hallucinations” abound: a piece of trash in the wind that looks like an animal, signs that read the wrong way and so on. Things mimic other things and creatures/beings.

Film-makers such as Marie Menken and Stan Brakhage are steeped in hypnogogia. Natural “slurps and drivel” chorus into mockups. Moth wings and dewdrops (off of a leaf) create little cinema songs.

Then there’s Luis Bunuel, who finds his way into waking dreams in another way. Surrealism often tries to capture the “hallucinations” of everyday life.  Andre Breton, Robert Desnos (and others) would often find poetry while they were in a half awake/half asleep trance state.

Dreams become as real as waking life (or more so). The half awake/half asleep state can be a vivid example of what it’s like to live in two worlds at once.

the world of lucid dreaming:

waking dreaming in the wiki world:

a blog post on hypnogogia. I always loved the Thomas Edison story that he cites: