Luna Lights

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Luna LightsThe 4th painting in the body of work called, Amazing Women’s Dreams

by dream artist, Brenda Ferrimani

In this fourth painting of “Amazing Women’s Dreams,” I take my inspiration from the dreams of Candace Pert, Ph. D. She’s known world wide as a brilliant scientist, pioneer of pharmacological research, author, teacher, lecturer. She’s also a loving wife, a devoted mother of three, a feminist, and occasionally a TV and Movie personality. —The list is infinite.

(Dr. Pert appeared in the feature film What the Bleep Do We Know!?? and Bill Moyer’s TV program Healing and the Mind. She is the author of the book Molecules of Emotion: The Scientific Basis Behind Mind-Body Medicine (Scribner, 1997), Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d (Hay House, 2006), and the musical guided imagery CD Psychosomatic Wellness: Healing your Body-Mind. )

I am so grateful to Candace for participating in the project, for generously giving of herself and her time. It was a pleasure to meet her at her Washington D.C. home last summer, and to spend a little time with her so that I could collect enough information (through all my senses) to intuitively interpret her dream(s) on canvas.

This painting is a diversion from the paintings I’ve done before. Everything is different about it starting with it’s subject. I’ve tried to reflect the soul of this amazing woman who I see as highly individual, unafraid to go it alone in science or life, always with the curiosity of a cat and a playful beginner’s mind approach to everything she does. Being heavily immersed in science and left brained thinking, she’s often inexorably drawn (when a door swings open), to disappear into the mystery and beauty of life beyond our limiting physical views.

“Luna Lights” blends two dreams together which I’ve never done before. I usually ask the dreamer to share one dream that they remember from anytime in their life, that they feel is unforgettable and life transforming. Candace offered two dreams that were currently important to her a year ago and reflect what’s been at work in her unconscious in the recent past.

In waking reality Candace has been intently focused for the past two decades in a very important work with her husband, Dr. Michael Ruff, developing a vaccine to cure AIDS. It’s a very exciting time for her as this work nears its completion! The dreams she shared with me seem to be preparing her for what’s unfolding, building her courage, self will, and confidence for the huge expansion already taking place in her career and public life.

The first time I heard from Candace was on Mother’s Day, 08. I had just returned home from a 3 day dream retreat in Colorado Springs. Candace had finally noticed my e-mail message because of my address (BDREAMCAT) that oddly reminded her of the cat dream she’d had that very day during a nap! What’s dreamwork without a little sychronicity, right? The following two paragraphs state the two dreams that I have combined into “Luna Lights.”

Luna Dream:

“I am in an old, abandoned, empty house trying to feed a large litter of kittens that I have been neglecting. They are very thin and emaciated. My daughter asks me where they have come from and I say I assume they are Luna’s (Luna is my very old Himalayan cat who had five litters more than a decade ago by mating with the Wild Cat of the Glen.)“

City Lights Dream:

“I am in a car being dropped off in an alley way. (Reminds me of Tin Pan Alley, or Vancouver or Victoria Island) I’m aware of my husband Michael on the driver’s side, but he’s not really in the dream. He’s dropped me off at my request in a dazzlingly, sparkling, and inviting beautiful city filled with multicolored lights! I am aware he has no place to park and doesn’t want to come. He’s to go his way and I am to go my way, and we’ll meet up later. There’s no insecurity or fear as I move out of the car to explore.” —Candace adds that this dream is related to previous dreams with a recurring theme, where she is always separated from her husband Michael while on a quest. There’s always poor communication, running, panic and desperation. This dream however, likely the end of the recurrent series, seems to reconcile the former chaos into a peaceful, confident feeling.

Candace and I talked at some length about the significance of the cat dream she shared, not so accidentally on Mother’s Day. For months she had been nursing Luna back to health after a near death illness, and the cat was finally responding. What was the meaning behind all the waking and sleep experiences of neglect, and starvation? Who or what really needed attention and tender mother love? Some renewal, reconnecting to some vital cat-like instinct to survive and thrive, was occurring deep within Candace’s psyche and mine too.

We talked more about Luna when she was in her prime. Did her mating with the Wild Cat of the Glen resemble in any way her own experience? Candace made a strong connection to what was happening in those years with her career. Luna’s story seemed to perfectly represent the magic and power that sparked when two exotically beautiful ideas merged. Candace’s imagination was actively blending eastern thought with the mysterious world of quantum theory. The consequence for having such a free and creative mind, was a lot of career expansion and many new projects to be tended, like the birth of Luna’s kittens. In her book, “Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d,” she describes that time with a lot of excitement and a feeling of being sought after, courted, and loved.

The Luna dream however, does not depict the old cat in all her splendor. In fact, she’s only eluded to and her thin, emaciated kittens are an eerie reminder of AIDS patients that still need a cure, and an urgency to finish her life-saving work.

By the time I actually visited Candace in July, she had been taking great care of herself physically and emotionally, and spending more time with her own dreams. She at that time, gave me the dream of City Lights which reflected an inner shift toward renewal, strength and confidence that was obviously transforming her.

Her dreams fascinated me and I was excited to begin the art project, and eager to make her dreams my own! —But, Wait a minute… “What am I getting myself into here?” This is always the question I ask myself knowing how sensitive I am. In the past, it’s been true for me that whenever I surrender to my process, dream images begin to come alive often with great significance to my own life. What would “Luna Lights” mean for me personally? What would it mean to discover Luna for myself? What path of inner exploration would this lead to? Am I ready for all the lights and excitement? How is my own self-esteem when I consider a more public life?

First off, while creating “Luna Lights” I have never felt so old! Just like Luna on her last leg, it has been very difficult to do the physical work I have always done for years. My energy reserves have been depleted and I find I can no longer stand up for 12 hours at a time, or sit at the computer for long hours. Worry and stress, just trying to make a meager artist’s buck in this economy, have kept me up many a night. Working and stressing, without proper sleep, diet and exercise, eventually brought all my endeavors to a screeching halt in May of this year, when one morning my right arm would no longer work for me. I finally found some help through acupuncture, when I was told I wasn’t getting enough blood to my arm. Heaven forbid. I felt totally helpless, thinking this was the end of my artistic life. My body like the old abandoned house in the dream, was falling apart and I knew I had to change!

Yet, after a few treatments and a month later when I was feeling stronger I fell back into mechanical, unconscious behaviors. Not listening to the message to mother myself I threw myself back into work. I had this great idea to have public lectures at my home, ironically on topics of self-growth! I thought this was an innovative way to get people into the studio to view my art. The new project however required hours of marketing, designing at the computer, scheduling, interviewing and coordinating, not to mention more $$$ for all this. Soon I realized I was responsible for way too much, and I was chasing my tail again in a loop of worry, stress and physical collapse! Right before the first talk in the lecture series I had an outbreak of Shingles. (Shingles is an inflammation of nerve endings caused by the Chicken Pox virus remaining in the body after exposure to the childhood disease.) Someone reminded me of the possible connection to childhood wounds as a sort of waking life metaphor which really resonated with me. Reflecting on my childhood, I remembered having the Chicken Pox and a sweet memory of my mother bathing my sores in calamine lotion and feeding me Chicken Noodle Soup. How I wish sometimes for someone to take care of me still.

Since the last illness the message has finally penetrated to slow down, relax and take care. I absolutely do not allow myself to worry. So what if the whole world seems to be falling apart! There’s a quiet space inside if I allow myself to go there. At night I enjoy listening to Candace’s CD on Psychosomatic Wellness. It’s been very healing and helps insomnia. I am also slowly losing weight and adding to my walks, Yoga class regularly. More than anything there’s been a real change in how I view myself and in what I expect from myself. A more compassionate and forgiving attitude has taken over. Luna for me, is about tending my inner life where a wise old crowne is emerging. The Crowne is deeply rooted in Moonlore; I’m reading more about this and getting a better look at that toothless old woman inside me.

Since completing the painting, Candace has informed me that Luna finally died and was buried in a special place in their backyard. Maybe that’s why I felt compelled to place her face in the sky watching over the dreamscape. Seems appropriate, anyway. Luna had such a sweet face with one eye slightly different, which I’m sure inspired me to make one eye the moon. Her death reaffirms in me that a powerful inner transformation has indeed taken place.

Now it’s on to the city lights and perhaps if I don’t meander to much, to the accomplishment of a long awaited goal and the realization of my full potential.

The sparkling city I have created is all about human potential. Tall buildings are very masculine symbols of potent creativity. The very feminine dream about cats combined with the very masculine dream seems to give me the balance I need. Maybe I haven’t peaked in creativity at all yet…I may be feeling older, but the dream tells me there are more surprises, and wonders up ahead.

In regard to all our creative, beautiful minds, I pause to consider the dark side hinted to in the shadows of the dream. “What consciousness do we bring to our inventiveness? “ We humans are ingenious and masterful, but in all we create we have a responsibility to temper our actions with respect for life and the great mystery inherent in all things. All this is very humbling and exhilarating at the same time!

Thanks Candace for your dreams and all that this dream-art experience continues to teach me.

Published in Dream Network, Winter Issue 2009

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