Looking in a mirror in everyday life is driven by the laws of physics, which are the same throughout the universe. The reflective surface of the mirror bounces light back to you from the surface – giving the appearance of flipping everything horizontally in so doing.
But dreams are a creation of your own subconscious. If it doesn’t want something to obey the laws of physics then it doesn’t have to. Everything in a dream is about how you perceive it in that instant. And your perception can change from one moment to the next.
Mirrors in Lucid Dreams Don’t Obey Physics
Lucid dreams are also a creation of your own subconscious. With lucid dreams, although you can control how you interact with the dream, you’re not consciously creating most of the dream itself. Your subconscious is still in control of that bit. It’ll take cues from how you interact, but ultimately it’s still the part of your mind doing the creating.
With that in mind, what you see in the mirror in a lucid dream (or a normal dream) will be whatever your subconscious conjures up for you. And from a dream interpretation perspective, this can be one of the most telling things of all.
Let’s look into the different things that might occur if you lucid dream and look in a mirror.
Why You Can’t See Yourself In A Mirror In A Dream
Before we continue, remember, that until the advent of cameras in relatively recent history, it was actually quite difficult for someone to actually know what they looked like to other people. This is because a mirrored surface doesn’t show you what you actually look like to the world. You’re flipped horizontally – left to right. So what you see in the mirror isn’t what other people actually see. And since almost nobody has an actual symmetrical face, it does make a difference.
So, in the real world, when you look in the mirror the image you see is driven by the immutable laws of physics. The light will reflect back at you whether you like it or not. The only way to not see your image in a mirror in reality is to look away or close your eyes.
But in dreams, lucid or not, it’s your subconscious which decides the contents of the mirror. Whether you see yourself, or some approximation of yourself, is up to your subconscious. It may decide to not show you your reflection at all. You won’t be able to control this whether it’s a conventional dream or a lucid dream.
So, you can see yourself in a mirror in a dream if your subconscious decides to show you. Or, what you see in the mirror may be more like a TV screen with no resemblance to you at all. If your subconscious does decide to show you yourself in the mirror it’ll be an approximation, based on your subconscious interpretation of you.
Why You Might Look Different In A Mirror In Your Dream
This is because your subconscious mind is creating the image for you. It does this based on what it interprets as you. Some people might see themselves with a fairly accurate representation. Others will see twisted and contorted versions of themselves. Some people have described seeing themselves as monsters.
A lot of this depends, to some extent, on how you feel about yourself in your waking life. With this in mind, if you do look in the mirror in a dream and see yourself as a contorted monster, it could be your subconscious way of telling you that you might need to work on yourself for a while to improve your self image.
But it’s not actually even as simple as that. With everything about dreams, context is king. When you’re lucid dreaming and see a contorted monster in the mirror you’ll need to ask yourself if that really is intended to be you that you’re looking at. It might not be. It may be that your subconscious is just creating an image for you as a portal to another area of your lucid dream for example.
In a lucid dream you are in control of your actions and reactions within the environment your subconscious creates for you, but you aren’t responsible, in most cases, for creating the actual environment.
What You Might See In A Mirror In A Lucid Dream
Different people see different things if they look in a mirror in a lucid dream. Some people online say that you shouldn’t look in a mirror in a dream of any kind because what you might see will scare you.
One of the key things to remember, particularly with a lucid dream, is that you control your actions to the things that are happening. So if you think you’re going to be scared by something in a mirror in a lucid dream, then choose not to look – or choose not to be scared. This is an interesting difference between a lucid dream and a normal dream in that in a lucid dream you know you are dreaming.
If you know you are dreaming, then it doesn’t really matter if the mirror shows you something ghastly – because you know it’s a dream and can’t hurt you unless you choose for your reaction to be one that feels like it’s hurting you.
You may be shocked by what you see, but remember, it is still a dream.
Seeing Yourself As You Think You Are
Some people report seeing themselves as contorted or twisted beings, monsters even. This suggests they may need to engage in some work in their waking lives to learn to forgive themselves and love themselves. Others might see themselves as shorter than they are, or diminished in stature for some reason. This suggests people need to work a little on their self confidence perhaps.
Seeing Your Deepest Darkest Fears
Other people report – quite commonly – seeing vague nightmarish characters. Few of the people who reported such things go into any kind of detail, making it difficult to ascertain exactly what it is they do see. Most seem to see zombies, monsters, ghosts, shadowy demons etc. But some see strong warriors.
Lots of people state that one shouldn’t look in a mirror while lucid dreaming because the outcome is rarely a good experience. However, if you choose to do so, or indeed end up doing so accidentally, remember that it is a dream and it cannot physically harm you. And it could be a good indication of some of the personality things you need to be digging deeper into your self-improvement to try to resolve.
Seeing Portals to Other Realms
A few of the people commenting on their lucid dream experiences stated that they sometimes see mirrors in their lucid dreams as portals to other realms or sections within the dream. The mirror image looks like the surface or a river, or lake with the ripples for example. And on pushing into the mirror they can traverse to weird and wonderful other locations. One individual noted that they felt like they had pushed their head into the wall behind the mirror. Not in a painful, scary way, but simply that they could feel the presence of the copper pipes and wires within the wall.
This shouldn’t be confused with Astral Projection – although there’s limited studies to suggest one is the other or not. Nevertheless, with the available evidence so far, it seems as though Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming are different things. Similarly, Lucid Dreaming is different to Remote Viewing, in that you’re not likely to be seeing actual worldly events happening from a distance while you sleep.
Why Shouldn’t You Look In a Mirror In A Dream
The answer to this depends a little on your state of mind. If you’re not easily spooked, or you’re able to quickly and easily discern that what you see in a mirror in a dream is, as we’ve explained above, simply a picture conjured by your subconscious then there’s no reason not to look into a mirror in a dream. But remember – what you see is not what you are.
But if you read too much into the vision you see reflected back at you, you may be in for a rough time and may need some professional help coming to terms with what you see.
Always remember, it’s a projection from your subconscious you’re seeing. It needs interpretation through context to tell you what it means. What you see in a mirror in a dream, whether lucid or otherwise, should not be taken at face value at all.
Much of this article is a collection of anecdotes from around the internet on the subject of what happens if you look in a mirror during a lucid dream. In general most people believe that looking in a mirror in a lucid dream is a scary experience and one that they, personally, would avoid in future.
But others have said that although they have these kinds of nasty experiences on occasions, sometimes the experiences are wonderful and lead to whole new areas of the dream and self-discovery.
My view is that so long as you remember (and if you’re lucid dreaming this should be easier than for a conventional dream) that it is a dream, and whatever it is in the mirror is a message from your subconscious and not a physical entity then looking into a mirror in a lucid dream could actually be a very helpful way of learning more about yourself.
If you feel that there would be too much to uncover and deal with then perhaps they are however, best avoided. Or at least, investigated when you have some professional help to unpack (and demystify) the things you see. Sometimes it can help to journal your dreams so that you can go back to them in the ‘cold light of day’ and evaluate the messages you think they contained.
If you’ve looked in a mirror in a dream and what you’ve seen disturbs you, consider getting some professional help from a qualified counsellor, psychologist or dream interpreter/therapist. There may be some stuff to unpick and you can do it with the right guidance.
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