Brief History of Lucidity Letter

Jayne Gackenbach
Lucidity Letter Editor

This is a brief history of Lucidity Letter and its publisher, Lucidity Association. In the fall of 1981, a few years after the completion of my dissertation on lucid dreaming, it became apparent through my correspondence that there was a small group of people who were interested in this dream experience. I had learned how very obscure a topic it was with my dissertation, even though I had the good fortune of living near and seeking the advice of one of the dreaming greats, Bob Van de Castle, and the support of the Association for Research and Enlightenment and especially Henry Reed and Scott Sparrow. Although Scott had written one of the early monographs on the topic and Celia Green had graciously given me her books on lucidity and related topics free of charge, I was soon to face the reality that there were really very few people "out there" who were interested in this topic, in contrast to its wide interest in 2016. It wasn’t until just after my dissertation was completed in the fall of 1978 that I stumbled on an early abstract by Stephen LaBerge. Although he was to become my closest colleague during those formative years, I also wanted to somehow reach out to others who wrote to me with some interest in the topic.

So it was on a rather impromptu note that in December of 1981 I put together some excerpts from letters of colleagues, notes on my own research program, and news about other lucid dreaming activities and called this compilation, Lucidity Letter. I mailed it out to about 40 colleagues who I thought might be interested in this work. By the second issue (March 10, 1982) I had received letters of encouragement as well as suggestions for improvement from Julian Jaynes, Judy Malamud, Scott Sparrow, Charles Tart, Robert Ogilvie, Patricia Garfield, Stanley Krippner, K. Ramakrishna Rao, and Stephen LaBerge among others. Thus this quarterly newsletter was born.

The December 1985 issue was our first bound "journal" with the special theme "Dream Lucidity and Death." It remains one of our most popular issues. Starting with 1986 we went to a twice yearly, bound journal format, which we continued through 1990. Two people were especially instrumental in supporting my early efforts to publish Lucidity Letter, my colleague Stephen LaBerge and my friend Mary Tuttle. Without either of their continued and loyal support we surely would have folded.

So too my departmental chair, Al Gilgen, at the University of Northern Iowa was for years behind this publication. But more changes were afoot. After a few years of supporting my journal-creating efforts, the university notified us that we needed to find a new publisher for Lucidity Letter. Although we had already begun a minimal subscription fee, the university was still carrying the bulk of the expenses. Thus Lucidity Association was created as a nonprofit organization to publish Lucidity Letter. We formed Lucidity Association in 1987.

The first proceedings of our now annual Lucid Dreaming Symposia were published in the June 1986 issue. These were from a symposium that Stephen LaBerge and I organized in the summer of 1985 at the University of Virginia preceding the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Dreams (ASD ). All subsequent symposia have been organized and hosted by the Lucidity Association and held in conjunction with the annual ASD meetings. These proceedings appeared in the December issues of 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1990.

Although my family and I moved to Canada in the fall of 1987, the operations of Lucidity Association and Lucidity Letter have continued very smoothly from north of the border. During our years here several other people have emerged as strong supporters of Lucidity Association/Letter. Harry Hunt has morally supported all of our work as well as sat as Chair of Lucidity Association, Consulting Editor and frequent contributor. Kathy Belicki has served as Associate Editor and occasional contributor. Fariba Bogzaran has sat on the advisory committee and been a contributor and a presenter at our annual meetings. Elinor Gebremedhin has served as Associate Editor and contributed to the last few issues. A special salute to Stephen LaBerge, who has remained a steadfast supporter, shoulder to cry on, friend to argue with, and overall cheerleader and workhorse throughout the entire 10 years of our operation. 


* These comments are adapted from the 10th anniversary issue of Lucidity Letter which came out in 1991.

** ASD is now called the International Association for the Study of Dreams (www.iasdreams.org). 

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