The Radiance of Dorothy Fadiman

Dorothy Fadiman is one of the pioneers in Transpersonal Filmmaking and her film “RADIANCE: The Experience of Light” is considered a classic in the field. RADIANCE is both a cinematic expression of Fadiman’s own personal transcendent experience of Divine Light and a visual/poetic exploration of the spiritual significance of light and “radiance.” Here, in Fadiman’s own words, is the story of how this great work was born:

My husband and I create a simple ritual, we take turns drinking from a goblet, gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes, and each take some excellent acid. It’s the 60’s… We know our dealer, and we trust that we have taken good quality (legal at that time…) LSD. As our inner worlds expand, and deepen, I lay down, l close my eyes and start to breathe deeply, as my heart opens and… I hear a voice…inside my head, speaking to me:  “May I fill you with Light?’

I have no idea who or what is speaking to me and in this moment, it doesn’t matter.

Whatever it is, I trust it. When you are in this state, where everything is connected to everything…whatever is happening seems right… and I say YES.

With the word “yes” my entire body begins filling with LIGHT, A BRILLIANT CASCADE …of light. A waterfall of radiance flows through me, every cell of my body is filled with this light. As the brilliance becomes almost unbearably intense…then, Jim reaches out and touches me… Suddenly, it STOPS… His touch pulls me back into the room…. I remember saying “What are you doing?????” It’s a moment I refer to now, affectionately, as “Illuminatus Interruptus,” but, in THAT moment, THEN, I am shocked.

Looking back, I know now that I was not ready to receive any more of light than when it stopped after Jim touched me…I realize now that the intention of this cascade was not only to infuse me with light… which it did, but also for me to be able to bring this light back, into my own world….like I am doing now, to tell people about it.

I spend the next ten years raising two daughters while trying to write a book about light. The dirty laundry piles up for days at a time, the dented grey file cabinets fill with my research about light, when the girls are in school, I sneak away to the basement of the art library at Stanford and spend hours under glaring fluorescent lights searching for images of radiant saints and glowing angels as I struggle to write my book.

Finally, after ten years of trying to complete my mission to tell this story with pictures and words on paper, there is a knock on our door. Literally, standing there, is a filmmaker. He says, “I heard what you’ve been trying to do, to write a book about light. Did you ever think of making a movie???”

With his help, I make my first film RADIANCE: The Experience of Light. Since then I have produced more than 25 films...each, in its own way, infused with the "light". The guidance which appeared to me during the experience of light more than 40 years ago, is with me today, every day.

RADIANCE: The Experience of Light can be viewed online at:
or downloaded at:


Dorothy Fadiman has been producing award-winning media with a focus on social justice and human rights since 1976. Most of her films have been shown on PBS and in Festivals throughout the world. For more about Dorothy and her work, visit her websites at: and

No comments: