A Dream of Grandmother

By Luigi Sciambarella

A photograph of Luigi Sciambarella

I was 7 years old and shared a bedroom with my brother. Thomas the tank engine wallpaper surrounded us and a large picture of a poorly drawn, rubber-fingered, young Arian Madonna faced us as we lay in our beds. The clouds behind her parted in the form of a halo, revealing a clear blue sky.


There was nothing particularly inspiring about this picture and, for some time, I actually found it quite creepy as her gaze followed you around the room. It was the kind of religious iconography that you could pick up at any church shop. The reason I'm describing the picture in some detail is because of what followed.

It was an autumnal morning, and I'd just woken up. Something felt strange; I couldn't put my finger on what. I looked up at the picture facing me and I was awestruck. Instead of the Madonna, I saw my grandmother, who had previously passed away. She had 3-dimensional depth, tone and colour and was looking radiant and healthy. No sign of the jaundice that had accompanied her fatal cirrhosis.




She beamed a warm smile which glowed out of the picture and into the surrounding area. She was surrounded by bright light. I had to adjust my eyes to filter it but it was neither blinding nor uncomfortable. The clouds now formed a rotating halo and the blue sky was alive with deep colour. This wasn't a picture, this was real! I processed these observations in an instant, quickly returning to the vision.


Despite the beauty of the scene, I was gripped by an incredible fear. I could feel my heart racing in my chest. I hardly knew what to do or say. In Italian, I asked "Are you my grandmother?" Smiling she replied, "Yes.” Immediately, I awoke. I recalled everything in crisp detail. I could feel a rush of adrenalin coursing through my body and my heart was still pumping heavily. I looked at the Madonna, who had returned to normal, and slowly regained my composure. What the heck just happened? Was I dreaming? If so, how was it so real?


I wanted to tell my brother what had just happened but he was already up and had left the room. I made my way downstairs and told my mum about the experience. Although she was excited, it seemed her grief at losing her mother prevented her from really registering what I'd said. She proceeded to tell me that my brother had only just told her of his virtually identical dream.

An image of a meditating figure in stars
An image of an angel by a waterfall

This experience really taught me some important lessons. One is that you are more than your physical body. Another is that certain experiences can manifest in the absence of physical sensory input and are not necessarily mediated by the physical senses. Also, dream experiences can be indistinguishable from physical reality and can provide you with invaluable information. They offer a natural portal into an amazingly rich, altered state of consciousness.

About Luigi Sciambarella


Luigi is an Off-Campus, Residential and Outreach trainer for The Monroe Institute.


He says, "My journey into the exploration of consciousness began at an early age. This wasn’t deliberate, answers to some of life’s biggest questions arrived before I had a chance to ask them!  My early non-physical and lucid dreaming experiences left me with the knowledge that there is much more going on than what we can perceive through our physical senses."


Find out more about Luigi here

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