The Sun and the Shadow is a record of Kenneth Kelzer’s experiences with lucid dreaming. It explores the impact lucid dreaming had on his day to day experiences and his overall spiritual development and personal growth. The Sun and the Shadow is not a book on how to induce lucidity or how you can apply lucid dreaming in your life, as the back cover may suggest, but an indepth exploration of Kelzer’s lucid dreams, his interpretations of those dreams, and how those dreams played a significant role in his life. Those readers expecting a book on induction techniques or lucid dream experiments may be dissapointed.
The title was chosen “to emphasize the interplay between the light and darkness within [Kelzer’s] own psyche and, by implication, within the psyche of everyone.” Kelzer believes that as you explore this interplay through dreams, both lucid and non-lucid, you will come into contact with the Light (Sun) and your darkside (Shadow), thus enabling you to advance to a higher spiritual, psychological, and intellectual state. “It is the contact with the Light itself that is the most valuable and important benefit in the cultivation of lucid dreaming.” The shadow is “ultimately an ally and and source of strength to the dreamer” that should be explored and and studied as you pursue the Light.
Kelzer constantly refers to the “Light” in his recollections and analysis of his dreams, but chooses to not place a defination on the “Light.” It is apparent, however, that when Kelzer speaks of the “Light” he is referring to God, at least in his personal experiences. “The Light” may be interpreted in a more general sense as spiritual bliss, or nirvana.
It is interesting to note that Kelzer learned to develop lucidity by the old Carlos Castenada Hand Trick. (Carlos Castenada is the author of a series of books relating his experiences with a Yaqui Indian sorcerer named Don Jaun. Don Jaun taught Carlos to remember to look at his hands when dreaming, thus cueing lucidity. There has been some professional doubt on whether Carlos Castenada’s books are autobiographical or works of fiction). After a while, the hand trick stopped working but Kelzer had learned a new cue: the light-headeness and tingling pulsations in his forehead the preceeded lucidity. Kelzer also had success inducing lucid dreams through early morning meditation and focusing on hypnagogic images.
Kelzer’s book seems the perfect follow up to Scott Sparrow’s Lucid Dreaming: Dawning on the Clear Light. While Kelzer seems to explore his inner self through interpretation of his dreams in part one of his book, Sparrow’s work is more of a study on lucid dreams. It is obvious Kelzer is a student of Sparrow. Both authors take a Jungian and spiritual approach on dreams.
Part II of The Sun and the Shadow ends Kelzer’s expirement and is an evaluation of lucid dreaming. Kelzer devotes one chapter to defining lucid dreaming. He concludes his indepth analysis with “the lucid dream is, above all else, a pathway toward a direct and personal experience of the Light,” once again revisiting his belief in the union with God through lucid dreams.
The following chapter lists the benefits of lucid dreaming. While some of these benefits correlated with what other dream researchers have discovered, I found the majority to border on paranormal, mystic, or farfetched. For instance, Kelzer believes lucid dreaming can:
provide a person with an experimental base for seeing all the cosmos as “lucid,” that is, ultimately composed of energy and light, rather than dense physical matter
provide a person with a basis for cultivating an “energy conscious” in his own mind
allow a person to advance toward the higher cultivation of intution
allow a person to to learn to sense more quickly and clearly any negative forces that may be approaching and to learn how to get out of harm’s way more quickly
allow a person to see more clearly the direct relationship between his own thoughts and his manifestable reality
In summary, The Sun and the Shadow is exactly what its subtitle states: “My Experiment with Lucid Dreaming.” It is not a book on lucid dream induction techniques or lucid dream experiments. It is simply a journal of Kenneth Kelzer’s interpretations of his dreams. Readers may find Kelzer’s thoughts on his experiences and growth useful in the study of their own dreams.