The Mirror Experiment: Looking At Your Residual Self Image


🌙 Written by Kai Riverstone, international lucid dreaming expert and teacher. Learn how to lucid dream in 7 days or less.

Looking into a mirror in a lucid dream can show you your UNCONSCIOUS representation of yourself. Your residual self image. This was mentioned in a film; The Matrix. Here’s what it all means.

In the The Matrix, where Neo enters the dream state and finds he is suddenly wearing a tuxedo and has hair, despite it just being shaved off in reality. This is because his brain creates his body out of his ‘residual self image’ or the way he views himself. The way we view ourselves is of course, very important as it opens doors for you to develop yourself and your life.

Residual self image from The Matrix

It’s known as your ‘residual self image’ and has a number of different meanings. Here are a few common ways we view ourselves in a dream, and what they mean…

The mirror experiment in a lucid dream

This is a very powerful way of seeing your unconscious self image. What you think about yourself at that given time, deep down. This isn’t something you’ll have conscious control over.

This could be quite a scary experiment, so be warned! The lucid dream mirror experiment is known for revealing some startling things! A dream object like a mirror has the ability to show you things that you don’t know you think! If you’re ready for it though, let’s get started. Here’s what you do;

  • Get lucid in your dream using a technique of your choice
  • Find a dream mirror and look inside it
  • Don’t expect to see anything (You’ll find that usually, what you expect to see in the mirror won’t actually be there)
  • Write down what you see in your dream diary, and come back to the same experiment every month. See how it changes!

A lucid dream mirror

Interpreting the mirror: What does it mean?

Opposite personality

A ‘shadow personality’ contains unwanted or undeveloped traits. Your own negative personality traits are pushed into the dark recesses of your mind but can surface in your dreams as a lurking beast, the lustful harlot, or even a sewer rat.

If you take on the role of a famous person, for example, an artist, this emphasizes your innate creative talents.

Dreaming of yourself as OLDER or YOUNGER

Identifying yourself as a character of your own sex, but at a younger or older age than you are now can mirror your personal development.

For example, a woman who dreams of being a very old woman may be coming to the end of a phase in her life.

Dreaming of yourself as a young child may simply hark back to when you felt more protected and secure and suggests you spend time nurturing yourself.



If you dream that you are someone of the opposite sex, you are trying to develop a balance of the opposite qualities. Thus a man understands and appreciates feminine traits and vice versa. To become an androgynous or sexless figure in a dream indicated that unity integration and wholeness have been achieved.

It’s almost a good thing if you’re dreaming of being the opposite sex, because you’re developing traits that allow you to identify with both genders. This means you’re more sensitive to women if you’re a man, or more sensitive the the needs and wants of a man if you’re a woman.

Animal disguises

If you dream of being a land animal, bird or insect or other creature, your dream is reflecting a struggle with your so-called animal instincts. Many animals also have stereotypical and cultural associations too, such as the ‘dirty rat’, the ‘chauvinist pig’ and the ‘stubborn mule’. Look at the context of the dream to decode the exact meaning of your animal disguise. For example, does the animal represent a quality that you crave, the freedom of a bird perhaps, or is your dream trying to tell you that your behavior is in some way derogatory?


Your family, friends, and acquaintances may all appear in your dreams to highlight a particular quality or deficiency within your own character, mirroring back and making you aware of a good or bad trait. It’s actually a commonly used technique to develop yourself. Look at people in your life and see them as mirrors. Ways in which you’re being made to see your own flaws and strengths.

So again, Dream interpretation is subjective, so make of it what you will. It’s good to understand what it means when your brain projects you in a certain way in a dream. The way you appear in dreams is down to the way you view yourself, and how you REALLY feel about yourself and your life.

Learning more about your dreams

Dream interpretation can be a VAST topic and it’s different for everyone, because we all dream differently. That being said, there are some dream symbols which tend to mean the same thing across lots of dreamers. you might also want to get yourself a basic dream dictionary to learn more about what your dreams mean.


  • Get a good dream recall supplement like Vitamin B6 and write more of your dreams down so you can look back at the symbols later
  • Learn how to lucid dream with our 30 day bootcamp and get a deeper understanding of what your dreams mean