P1. Death dreams are one of the most common dream types reported by active dreamers, but the death dream meaning remains elusive and sometimes downright scary.
Death manifests itself in dreams in many ways, from bereavement to funerals to burials to dying to killing, to … and even the undead, etc. The main forms reported by dreamers are as follows:
- I experienced my own death in my dream
- I experienced someone else’s death in my dream
- I conversed with someone in my dream who had died recently or long ago
For any death dream, meaning is usually an urgent imperative for the dreamer. But even according to Artemidorous, almost two thousand years ago, such dream images don’t have any fixed meaning. Instead, they must be interpreted with care for that specific dreamer in that specific dream.
Death dreams often mean the end of one thing and the start of another, whether it be a job or a relationship or leaving home or simply a the end of a stage of life, like a mid-life crisis. But whatever you think it means, it always symbolizes a conflict that is happening within your body right now. Our brains are not the only organs in our body that harbor consciousness. Your heart or liver may not speak in English to your head, but they do communicate with each other and with you through your dreams.
The Greek philosopher, Aristotle explained in antiquity that a dream often provides an indication regarding the dreamer’s state of health and well-being, because dreams bubble up from the biological ground of that person and are unfettered by conscious logic.
Society has fed each of us with stories about death since our earliest childhood, and we have to come to terms with those stories on a mental level and then on a physical level too. We have all sat for an exam or other stressful event and found our bodies also react strongly to our stress levels through feeling sick or visits to the toilet or shaking and loss of control. However it manifests for you, the effect of stories on our physical bodies is undeniable.
It is not surprising that we experience symptoms of stress in our dreams too, in which case, these stresses and anxieties are pictured as images in our dreams.
I Experienced my own Death in my Dream
The first issue then is that there is no record of anyone who dreamed they died in their dream who actually did die in that dream. Of course, that would be impossible. But there are plenty of examples of people who dreamed they died in their dream who woke up ok.
Our dreams, as are our imaginations, are limited to events similar to our direct experiences in life. So dreams about our own death usually stop at the moment of death, and we often wake up then. This is because we don’t actually know what happens when we die and cannot imagine it either, very successfully. But it’s enough for our brains to make their point by getting this far in the story. It often shakes us to the core, and if we face up to the death event we can learn something useful about ourselves.
So dreaming of your own death should be interpreted positively as the start of something currently in your life at the moment. You are going through a transition and change is either already happening or about to happen. The dream is suggesting that you should consider embracing that change because some aspect of yourself has already ‘died’ and new growth is unfolding within you.
I Experienced someone else’s Death in my Dream
This is a complex are because it depends on your current relationship with that person. But the possibilities might be that you are worried about someone close to you, or maybe it’s a wake-up call to say that someone needs your attention; or possibly, you feel resentment towards someone; or maybe someone close to you is dying and you are learning to cope with that upcoming loss.
Each situation needs to be considered individually rather than setting blanket rules.
I Conversed with someone in my Dream who had Died recently or long ago
Conversations of this type may mean there is unfinished business with the person who has recently died, especially if they were close to you. This is something you may want to meditate upon to explore what needs resolution.
On the other hand, you may be conversing with someone famous who died long ago and you are seeking advice or teachings from them. Pursuing a lucid dream to explore this possibility may be the best way forward.
My Own Recent Experience
I had a dream the other night about me having a terminal illness. I had chosen my own path instead and was being led through the last rights before achieving death, but not in a religion I recognized, but in a strange cult religion. I had various tasks I had to do to go through different stages of death. The final one was having to decapitate three small pig-like animals in order to pass through the final gate to death. I achieved this gruesome requirement and the bodies of the animals changed into the fingers on my hand with cold finger ends that felt like meat. I had no feeling in them nor any pain. In the almost darkness of that place I passed through the final gate and into something beyond. I felt detached and cold emotionally like I was beyond feeling any depression. It was a feeling of liberation to a degree but I couldn’t see into the unknown. It was the void for me.
In my real life, I was waiting for an appointment to check if I had cancer, so the dream was not a surprise since I was worried about the test. However, the medical check came up with a better result than I expected and I have avoided an unpleasant cancer result this time. So the dream was not predictive in any way but more descriptive of how I felt about things and how unpleasant I saw having such a medical condition was.
Who Dreams of Death?
People who dream of death are often going through a period of turmoil in their lives. It may be stressful or exciting, but either way, it often comes out as the metaphor of death in some form.
For these reasons, a death dream meaning should not be taken too literally. It is symbolic of feelings and events happening currently in their lives.