Death in dreams is rarely about physical death but change, recognising that we – and those we care about – aren’t who we used to be as time passes by.
Our priorities change, our focus changes – we move house, change jobs and start to notice physical changes in the body, as we are getting old. We notice change in other people too, including our children as they grow up. We can process this in some way as thinking “life is over” (when of course it isn’t), or metaphorically as “that person isn’t there anymore” – all these things can have an impact on why we dream about death itself.
Just because you’ve had a death dream (whether about yourself or someone else) doesn’t mean you (or they) won’t go on to live a long, healthy and happy life if we look after ourselves physically, mentally and holistically.
Death dreams can be distressing but they are common dream, especially to dream about losing people you love; the most likely reason is that it’s because you care.
It’s natural to worry someone you love will leave you – physically or emotionally – and this anxiety manifests in dreams. It’s understandable you may worry it’s a predictive dream but the most likely explanation is it reflects your anxiety of death rather than a premonition of it.
Many people have this type of dream and it doesn’t come true. That’s why it can be helpful to look for a more symbolic meaning. If someone has been very ill or been diagnosed with a terminal illness in “real” life, it would make sense that you have this dream as you search for ways to cope with that news.
As I’ve mentioned, death can also represent change – you may have noticed something different about the person you have dreamt has died; in their behaviour, their looks or their outlook on life. This can be symbolised by the death dream, where a particular relationship is under the spotlight, but it is also a common dream for parents (especially mums) to have, as children get older.
To dream of losing children is common at particular stages of their lives, especially when they’re toddlers and again as they grow into their teenage years. It’s most likely because at these ages you start to notice a change in them, in that they’re less likely to “need” you on a practical level. The death in the dream can represent their transition in to different life stages and our emotional response to that; losing what they once were to how they now are – associated with feelings of redundancy or rejection, but symbolised as loss or death.
These are not to be confused with Visitation Dreams (video coming soon). This is where someone you love has passed away and appears to you, perhaps with a message, inside a dream. This type of dream after bereavement is common although for some people this doesn’t happen until several years after the death, if at all. If the person who has passed away has a message which is happy and healthy in the dream, this can leave you feeling very positive. However, if the dream of your deceased loved one makes you feel guilty in some way, it’s more likely there are some unresolved issues which you may need to explore when you’re awake.
You may be dreaming about your own death or people you don’t know and this can symbolise your mood or a period of personal transformation at the time of the dream. Winter can be a time when everything feels like it’s dying so the time of year you have this dream can also be a factor. Prolonged periods of low mood can bring death into focus and so if you’re having dark thoughts, chat them through with your doctor as soon as possible.
If you dream you are killing someone, this can symbolise the pain or hurt you may (or fear you may) have caused them, and worry this has potentially damaged the relationship. We sometimes say “well that’s killed it” meaning that we’ve possibly ended something or brought about the end of something, albeit unintentionally. The “killing” in the dream is possibly a metaphor for something ending though – if for example you dreamt you were killing a monster, the monster could represent fears that you’re learning to control.
If someone is trying to kill you in the dream, this may symbolise hurt they have caused you or the aggressive actions of others that have caused you pain. If you’re frightened of the person in your dream and they are hurting you in your waking life as well, then it’s important to get help as soon as it’s safe to do so. Talk to your doctor or organisations like Refuge can help.
It’s always important then to explore who and what is dying in your dreams, and how, and relating this to fears and worries you have in your daily life.
Keeping a dream diary when you have a common dream can be useful. You can download a free guide from my Members Area when you subscribe to my newsletter.
Interested in Mental Health? Take a look at Helping You Sparkle™.
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