In The Royal Society paper Geometric visual hallucinations, Euclidean symmetry and the functional architecture of striate cortex, it is demonstrated through a mathematical investigation that the retinocortical map of neuronal circuits determine the geometry of images experienced with eyes closed and in other states of excitation. In other words, the structure of the striate cortex, the area directly opposite the eyes at the back of the head, determines many of visual patterns we witness.
These patterns are found preserved in petroglyphs and in cave paintings, and there are many reports of such experiences upon waking up or falling asleep, or following binocular pressure on one’s eyeballs. Such images are seen both by blind subjects and in sealed dark rooms. Various reports indicate that although they are difficult to localize in space, and actually move with the eyes, their positions relative to each other remain stable with respect to such movements. This suggests that they are generated not in the eyes, but somewhere in the brain.
On the other hand, these images are sometimes compared to Eidetic Images, which have a history among psychologists and have been studied in relation to the creative arts. In the words of Heinrich Klüver, “the Eidetic Image has been identified in psychological literature as a vision, as a source for new thought and feeling, as a material picture in the mind which can be scanned by the person as he would scan a real current event in his environment, and as a potent, highly significant stimulus which arises from within the mind and throws it into a series of self-revealing imagery effects”
If anything, these images represent growth and form, structure and life. They are not separate from everything else occurring in the universe, but are rather a representation of the actual workings of it, on a visible and invisible level. There is a rich catalog of information and meaning to be derived from the use of such imagery and it can be used to increase perception and provide connection in a world that is sometimes distant and meaningless.