Death and Dying
A common superstition or myth exists that if you die in your dream, you will not wake up to tell about it. This is not the case, at least in most circumstances. If you do experience death and dying dreams and are fortunate enough to wake up, remember it or tell someone about it. The following are some possible interpretations of such types of dreams.To understand this dream further, look at who has died and what this person represents to you. If a parent died, this can be a sign that you are growing into your own maternal or paternal authority, maturing as an adult and able to leave behind the reliance of parents for your identity, advice or approval. Dreams of a lover or spouse dying can indicate a shift in the dynamics of the relationship – that you are moving on to love them in a new way as either or both of you grow and change. Or it could be that your partner is also a symbol, and represents a new relationship with yourself. Dreams of children dying can be especially disturbing, and here I want to reiterate what I said at the start – dreams often play out our deepest fears. To new parents especially, the overwhelming sense of responsibility at having a new child can make you fear that you are not up to the job, and to worry endlessly over all the potential hazards to your precious and vulnerable little one. Dreams of strange things happening to children, including dying or getting lost are actually very common.
Death dreams, in general, can either represent positive or negative events that may be taking place in your life. Often, they indicate a desire you may have to end or escape a current situation that is causing undo stress. This dream may entail an individual other than yourself dying.
Some believe that death dreams are good omens and will bring prosperity and longevity. Death dreams can also be a premonition of what is to come, which often typically reflects a person’s unexpressed anxiety and stress. However, it is possible that some dreams can predict events to come, so be mindful.
A powerful symbol of death dreams pertains to your own innermost feelings. These dreams can symbolize inner growth or your need to change and expand your horizons. Many people tend to live with some anxiety about death. These dreams may represent a method to cope with that fear and the reality of it. Some believe that death is a positive sign that the dreamer will have prosperity and longevity.
Many believe dreaming of their own death or a death of someone they know is a predictive dream showing what is to come. This belief is typically anxiety-provoking which makes it even more likely this dream is a reflection of the dreamer’s fears, anxieties, and stress. If the dream involves someone who has already passed, many may interpret the dream as a direct message from that individual.
Dreaming of your own death often happens when you are facing the end of something — perhaps a career, marriage or other major life-altering change. It can also reflect that something has died within the self or symbolize a new beginning or new chapter in your life. It might also be a dream telling you to leave all of your cares behind and start something new. An important fact that the dream may be telling you is to take a look at your own habits and how they are affecting your health, both physical and mental.
When dreaming about someone other than yourself dying, you may be harboring an anger, rage, jealousy or resentment against an individual either in your personal or professional life. You are attempting desperately to get away from him or her in your waking life.
Many times an individual will dream about the death of a child. The child could be a representation of your own childish beliefs and behaviors and the need to accept an adult approach to life. It is a need to move forward and improve certain aspects of your life. However, in other cases it may serve to maintain the importance of a connection to a child you had loved and lost.
Since the death may symbolize the ending of old beliefs, habits, thoughts, or inner qualities, the dying person or animal may offer further insight into what is coming to an end. Animals such as rats, mice, and other typically unpleasant creatures may symbolize negative thinking or negative approaches the dreamer is discarding. Animals also tend to symbolize an individual’s more primal, instinctual nature.
If the dream feels negative, it is possible the dreamer is attempting to repress what the dying object is experiencing. It is important to note that the nature of relationships one experiences with others in dreams reflects the relationships one has with oneself. In dreams, how we allow others to treat us is how we treat ourselves.
If the dream involves an individual who has already passed away, the dream may be a message from a wiser part of the dreamer’s psyche to his/her waking ego.
Carl Jung’s theory: If the dreamer is dreaming of the death of the opposite sex, especially if this person is unknown to them, this may represent a repressed anima (for men) or animus (for women). This theory states that all individuals possess both masculine and feminine aspects of self. In dreams, individuals may find they struggle to acknowledge and express all parts of self in balance and harmony.If dreaming of a person who has already passed away, it is believed that this may be a message from the dreamer’s unconscious to the dreamer’s superego. This dream may also be part of the mourning process, allowing the dreamer to make peace with the loss.
Dreaming about dying animals that you are fearful of may symbolize your acceptance of negative emotions or thoughts that you want to discard. This dream can evoke either a positive or negative response in your waking life. If the dream elicits a negative response, you may be repressing unhealthy, self-destructive behaviors in your relationships. It can also be a reflection of how you allow others to take advantage of or abuse you.
Dreaming about a loved one currently living who dies could symbolize your fear that he may leave you either by dying or by some other circumstances. Such a dream can also represent the loss of a quality in someone else; for example, someone close to you may have taken away emotional, physical or financial support from you. This act has created a negative influence and void in your life.
Dreaming of the death of a former lover may symbolize the end of the relationship and the dreamer’s ability to begin to move on. Death dreams may simply reflect the dreamer’s preoccupation with a loved one’s illness or recent death or a struggle with the acceptance that death is a reality to us all.
Dreaming about people or family members who have passed is sometimes a way of keeping a connection to them or reliving the impact they had made on your life. Depending on the relationship you had with the person, it can be a loving or anxiety provoking dream or one representing unfinished business.
All in all, death dreams represent various aspects and times of your life that you want to change or have difficulty looking at. Death dreams about those individuals who have made a negative effect on your life most likely represent the emotional scars you were left with. Recurring dreams about those individuals (which some people refer to as haunting dreams) may be your inward desire to have changed the outcome. Do not dwell on the negative connotations of death dreams. Use the knowledge you gain from them to focus on your own inner growth. The best thing to take away from these types of dreams is that they possibly can help you to foster a stronger connection with your deceased loved ones.
Most dreams of death and dying symbolize the end of something old and the start of something new. This dream could be positive or negative depending upon the thoughts and feelings the dreamer has about the dream and the context of the dream. Dreaming of death is most common in people experiencing a major life change or a rite of passage (entering adulthood, graduating, marriage, changing a career, retiring, etc.).
If the dream feels negative and the ending of something old is emphasized, this may indicate the dreamer is either too fixated on the past and needs to move forward, the dreamer is prematurely ending something that still needs his/her attention, or, in the case of dreaming of a death of someone still alive, may reflect feelings of jealousy, hatred, and resentment towards that person.
Many dreams are simply fulfilling a wish the dreamer has. The wishes we dream of are often the ones that are socially unacceptable, the things we don’t allow ourselves to think about during the day. Wanting someone else in our lives to die or wanting to die ourselves is socially unacceptable and the desire may come through in a dream. Dreams revealing these dark desires may help the dreamer seek help from a professional or face the feelings of anger and rage they have towards others in their life. More likely than not, dreaming of your own death may indicate your desire and need to escape the current stress of your life. Only confronting these stress in your waking life will resolve the dream and negative feelings associated with it.If you do dream of yourself or someone dying in a dream, I would urge you please take a deep breath, sit down and not panic. The chances are, the death dream you had was a symbolic one. There is a bit of a myth that if we die in a dream we will not wake up, but many people have dreamed of dying, seen their own bodies and so on, and woken to tell the tale.It is worth remembering that regardless of your belief system, death is usually not an absolute end. Whether you believe in an immortal soul that lives on and either migrates to a heavenly existence or returns to earth in another form, or that we are simply creatures made up of matter and energy (that can neither be created nor destroyed, only change form) then we can see that death is really a moment of transition. And this is the core to one of the main symbolic meanings of death – significant, often sudden change. Dreams of dying then can happen at important stages of life, when one chapter is ending in order for a new one to start. It is part of the cycle of nature – just as the trees lose their leaves and appear to die in winter only to sprout into new green life in spring, so too must we as humans go through periods of letting go, of shedding past beliefs, behaviours, relationships and even entire world-views, in order that we may grow and evolve. It can be scary to realise we are leaving such an important part of ourselves behind. It can be scary like dying. But remember dying is merely a change of state, and an essential one that. Death is needed for new life to occur. Someone dying in a dream then, can be incredibly positive when the true meaning is grasped and the opportunity realised.
Death dreams can be quite jarring and scary as if it was a premonition of your own imminent death or a death of a loved one. However, there is no need to be alarmed or panic. And no you do not actually die if you do not wake up before you die in your dream. In order to best understand your dream of dying, it is important to look at what is going on in your waking life that may have triggered such a dream.
Dreams can assist the dreamer to explore and understand the state of his/her unconscious and see what is needed for greater personal development. Dreams may not mean what they appear to mean at first glance. Characters and objects within a dream, although separate from the dreamer, may actually illustrate aspects of self to the dreamer. The qualities assigned to each object and their relationship to each other may reflect aspects the reader is unaware of, or is beginning to develop, or has repressed, or has only recently accepted. In dreams, death tends to be a powerful symbol of self-transformation, inner growth, and change. It may indicate the the dreamer is discarding what is no longer needed and making room for something new.
Analyzing this dream requires the dreamer to consider what is dying. The death of a child may symbolize the ending of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. The death of a person in one’s life may symbolize an aspect of self symbolized by that person for the dreamer. The dreamer may either lack this aspect or may have decided the aspect is not useful and is improving it or moving on from it. For example, if a dreamer dreams a superficial person is dying, perhaps the dreamer has recently identified how they have been superficial and are attempting to improve themselves and re-prioritize their life.
It is important to note that dreams can mean so many things to each individual, at any given time, and could mean more than one thing within the same dream. It is common for dreams to be layered in nature where a symbol may relate to something that occurred during the day, to our subconscious, to our spiritual growth, and to events in our childhood influencing our beliefs, thoughts, and behavior now.
Interpreting one’s dreams can be a powerful way to gain insight into a world the individual is too busy to explore during waking hours.