The stuff that dreams are made of is called etheric energy. It has often been called the astral light because, in the spirit realms, this energy can be seen glowing with radiance in the air.
In your spirit body, which you inhabit at night during your out-of-body travels, your subconscious mind can create "thought forms" quickly and easily. A thought form is a projection of etheric energy into the seemingly solid form of etheric matter.
Thought forms can be furniture, rooms, scenery, even people or animals as long as your consciousness maintains enough attention to animate them. When you move on to other scenes or awaken, these quickly-created thought forms will dissipate back into etheric energy over a period of hours or days.
Lucid dreaming occurs when you become aware, in your physical consciousness, that you are dreaming. This means that the conscious, physical mind has become engaged in the dream state. These vivid dreams are therefore easily recalled when you awaken in your physical body. A lucid dream is then recalled, from the physical mind's point of view, as being more vivid than a regular dream. It actually isn't more vivid than other dreams are, it's just that the physical mind's recollection of the dream is more vivid.
The deepest levels of sleep typically occur in the first two or three hours of the night. During deep sleep your spirit body can travel to higher states of consciousness, sometimes merging with your soul family as a nighttime reunion of like-minds. You are also able to meet the spirits of friends and family who have passed on from physical life. The spirit realms are their home and you locate them simply by focusing upon their personality, then projecting your consciousness to that location. This thought-powered form of travel has been traditionally called astral projection.
In the lighter states of sleep, emotional issues are often worked through and resolved in the dream state. The key to understanding dreams is that they are composed of symbols, rather than actual people, places and objects. When you focus on the emotion that the dream evoked, then you can unravel how the symbols in the dream played out the emotional tension that you were working through.
For example, when frightening things happen in a dream, they are not literally happening. Instead, they are a playing-out of the fear issue that the dream represents, and they are an opportunity to examine such a fear. Basically, the light dreaming state is an echo chamber of the last 3 or 4 days worth of emotional pressures, worked through as symbols in a dream.
You can develop dream recall by keeping a dream diary beside your bed. When you awaken each morning, before you do anything else at all, write your dreams down in as much detail as you can. With practice, you will bring the lessons of your dreams closer into your daily waking awareness and recall deeper dreams. In the deeper dreaming state, you are traveling the spirit realms to communicate with friends and explore anything that interests your curiosity.
Nighttime is a time for your spirit to travel to other realms of consciousness and for self-healing to occur. While your physical body sleeps and recharges for another day of waking consciousness, your spirit body soars through other realms within your complete range of consciousness.
You can gain great insights into the events of your physical life when you tell yourself, each night before bed, that you will remember what you learned while you were out of your body and cruising the other realms of consciousness.
Courtesy of Owen Waters, www.spiritualdynamics.net