Article: A Dream of Death and Healing

dreams deathA Dream of Death and Healing

“I was battling a potentially fatal health situation. I had lost twenty pounds with no end in sight, and was facing many unpleasant symptoms. I was preparing myself for the inevitable.”

Fariba Bogzaran, PhD

How can dreams help us when we are facing illness and death?

The “Amazing Dreamers” series of interviews in IASD’s DreamTime magazine puts the spotlight on inspirational dreamers who have dedicated their life’s work to dreaming. Here, Clare Johnson talks to dream researcher and visionary artist Fariba Bogzaran, who unlocks a dream that prepared her for both death and healing and which ultimately gave her and her artwork a new lease of life.

CJ: Fariba, why are dreams important in your life?

FB: My life was saved by my mother’s telepathic dream when I was an infant; in the middle of the night, she dreamed that someone was suffocating me. At that moment, I was indeed being suffocated as the cot blanket was over my head. The horror of the dream woke her up and there she found me motionless under the blanket, blue and purple from lack of oxygen. Dream awareness and creative action from dreams have not only contributed to who I am today, but they have created the person I became.

CJ: Could you share a ‘big’ dream with us?

On the Fringe of Death’

I am walking through a mansion that is falling apart. All the plaster is peeling off, the windows are shattered, the floor is uneven. There are many levels in this house. Through one level and staircase I see an opening into another world. It is beautiful and spacious. I am alone until I walk into a room. Four women are sitting in a chair in a circle facing each other. They are ‘fringing’ a raw canvas. 

The atmosphere is very quiet and contemplative. It feels like they are cloistered nuns. A voice says that this is a vehicle of meditation. In the center is a table with all the strings from the raw canvas. In the slowness of time, I become lucid. I want to remember the scene. I stand there witnessing the calmness of their presence in light of the destruction of the mansion.

CJ: What did this dream teach you?

FB: I had this dream when I was battling a potentially fatal health situation. I had lost twenty pounds with no end in sight, and was facing many unpleasant symptoms. I was preparing myself for the inevitable.

One by one I was closing chapters in my life and was preparing to leave. I was also trying to slow time so I could be with life as long as possible. I was at my home in Hawaii and I would spend hours being with nature, floating in the sea, breathing in as much of life as possible. I had bought several raw canvases to do painting. I was preparing them by fringing the top and bottom, based on another dream in 2002 where I created a series of ‘carpet-like’ paintings.

Embodied Meditation

FB: Because I had so little energy, all I could do was fringe both sides of the canvases and leave them blank. After the dream above, I began fringing the canvas as a mode of meditation. I passed the three-inch ‘normal’ fringe where I would usually stop, but I continued one thread at a time. I would pay great attention to each thread and think of how my life was ‘hanging on a thread!’

At one point, the action began taking me inside a particular zone. I felt calm, relaxed, and experienced timelessness. All thoughts slowed down. I realized this action was very effective. It was embodied meditation. It was hard for the mind to wander. I felt the action was total mindfulness, an integral mindfulness!

Was I going to die or heal? I prepared for both.

New creation

FB: When my health made a turn around, I began making things with the fringes. What I released with the threads became an occasion for new creation; the beginning of a world I could never have imagined. Among many factors in my healing process, I attribute the wise elders’ method as one of the vehicles for my healing.

Now the dream has taken me into a new horizon. My home, studio and study are filled with hanging fringes, fringed white canvases. It is leading me to the creation of a new art form!