Lucius’ Lucid Dream
Book 11 of the Metamorphoses and Religious Conversion
Keywords:altered states of consciousness, Apuleius, conversion, lucid dreaming
In Book 11 of Apuleius’ novel Metamorphoses the protagonist, Lucius, transformed into an ass due to misusage of witchcraft encounters Isis through a dream while sleeping at a remote beach in central Greece. This incident results in the retransformation of Lucius into a man and his subsequent dedication to Isis. However, the information we have from the text regarding both what preceded and followed Lucius’ dream suggest that, instead of arguing that Lucius had a mystical experience that led to his conversion, it could be well argued that what he experienced was a lucid dream, i.e., an altered state of consciousness. This article suggests that such alterations of human consciousness may lead to religious conversion when the subject that has such experiences believes that supernatural agents may provide a solution to her/his problems.
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