A woman approaching death dreamed she entered an immaculate room of marble flooring. She walks around an empty chair that faces the entrance. Beyond the chair is a wall of prismatic glass beads. She can see a brightly colored scene behind the wall, although it is blurry due to the beads. She senses that it is a beautiful garden. She would like to step through the beaded wall into the garden, but she is unsure how high she is above the garden. She doesn’t want to fall and risk dying, so she does not pass through the wall.
Death can be frightening. Even though we may be given assurances that something beautiful or peaceful awaits us, our conscious mind can have difficulty trusting. Often this is because we identify our being with our body. No body, no being goes the rational-materialistic view of life.
Another woman approaching the end of her life experienced the following visions on a regular basis:
I look out my window and see people of many ages enjoying a summer day. Some are riding bikes, red bikes. Some are moving about on small boats. They look up at me, move towards me, and then glide over the top of my apartment. In another area people are square dancing. Sometimes there is a line of people dressed in green. They wear masks that depict the heads of different animals, such as a dinosaur or a lion. Nearby my patio door there is often a woman with a small child, and the woman’s mother as well. Usually I only see these images at night when I am inside looking out my window.
Not long after the death of her beloved dog a woman dreamed:
I’m in a large building filled with people and dogs. The dogs are being tested for work as therapy dogs. The woman who is interviewing me doesn’t realize my dog has died. I begin crying because I am so sad. Another woman approaches and takes me over to a large window which overlooks a field of frolicking dogs. When I finally spot Harry I am full of joy that he is well and happy. But the woman tells me I can’t go and pet him. He is in another realm now.
The day she died an old woman dreamed that she saw a lit candle on the window sill of her hospital room. The candle flame suddenly went out and she was overcome by fear and anxiety. But then, just as rapidly, the candle relit on the other side of the window and she promptly awoke. [reported by Marie-Louise von Franz in her book, On Dreams and Death, p. 64]
A window is a powerful symbol in these types of experiences. At the same time it establishes a boundary it also allows a glimpse into the future, into a world that beckons from the other side. Does a beautiful garden actually await the first dreamer? Will the dog owner be united with her pet, or the woman having visions enter a world of people riding bikes and dancing? Perhaps. We don’t know. But more important than the specific objects and people depicted, may be the mood and symbolism behind the images. For the dog owner and the women nearing death, color and new life are reflected: flowers growing, dogs playing, people enjoying a serene summer day, a mother and child, an extinguished flame that is reignited. Such window experiences convey the idea that another life awaits beyond the threshold of death. The window offers a view, but maintains separation until your appointed time.
1) von Franz, Marie-Louise. On Dreams and Death. Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston.1987.
Copyright © Andy Drymalski, Ed.D.
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