Dreaming of Death
There is also a longer version published in eBook format - Dreaming about Death
Links to section headings:
In every moment of our life we face the possibility of death. In fact we only live because we are constantly dying. Our body is all the time dying as thousands of cells die, and in doing so the new and living body can continue. If we allow ourselves to realise that it illustrates the meaning of the phoenix – it is consumed by the flames, and yet it arose anew. We have the fire of life within us, we eat and feed the fire that consumes us and gives birth to us continuously. It is the warmth of our body, the warmth, even passion, of our emotions and that is life – continuous through death.
Example: This was not a dream, but a direct perception during sleep. I saw that a large part of my being was dying, and another part coming to life. Andy
Our bodies renew themselves every day: stomach cells renew every five days;
our skin cells are replaced every month; the skeleton is replaced every three months;
the raw material of DNA is replaced every 6 weeks; our brain cells are completely new every year.
The whole body is replaced every two years.
Every cell in your body listens to your self-talk and out-pictures the results Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of
It is not surprising therefore that the subject of death figures in many dreams. As with any major life event, in our dreams we meet death in various forms as part of our attempt to develop a working relationship with it. Such dreams enable us to become aware of what our deepest fears or feelings are regarding our own death, or the death of someone we love or know. But they also have the possibility of showing us what our fullest inner wisdom or intuitions are about what it means to die.
If we cannot meet the spectre of death, then our ability to live a full life will be diminished. At every turn death faces us in one way or another, and if we have not met and transformed fear into wonder, then we will be paralysed in expressing freely and lovingly to what life offers.
We have to remember though that what we first meet in dreams about death are the family and culturally inherited images and ideas of what death is. For instance Western culture gradually developed a view of the world based on early scientific theories. Namely that life is purely physical, and so there can be no survival of ones personal awareness at death. It is a view gradually being eroded by findings in quantum physics, and is not shared by many other cultures.
The skeleton in the image typifies this Western view of death. But the view in older cultures is that life continually flows through birth and death, as in the second illustration. (See: the book The Field, that examines latest findings in quantum physics in an understandable way).
But many people dream that they have died and become distressed by it. But as far as I can tell such dreams are a necessary part of a natural development. The experience of death is a part of learning to go through change – as caterpillars do as the transform into butterflies. You cannot go through such personal changes unless you willing to let yourself die.
|I feel strongly that all the new breed of children will need to learn how to die. It is like a process of transformation such we see caterpillars going through. In our life today there are stages of growth and points of massive transformation as one period of growth ends and another stage begins.|
Learning to die was a method of passing through the transformation into the next stage of growth, and we are carving a way for children if they attempted the further stages of growth.
Dreaming of our own death
In the example below the dreamer does not face any great fear of death itself. The strongest feelings are of loss. Over a period of time the dreamer may move beyond such feelings of loss into exploring other possibilities of death.
I was due to be executed – what for I don’t know. I was not especially afraid of this, but my most vivid feelings were of great sadness at the people I was leaving behind, and for all the things I wanted to do in life, but would not now be able to. Then at the end I was watching myself being hanged. D.
This theme of facing death is quite frequently met, and it often leads to confronting what we really want to do before the end of this present life; what we want to express, say or give to those we love or are involved with; and what we want to achieve. So such a dream may wake us up from spending too much time in trivialities.
Examining many dreams dealing with death, it is noticeable that some dreamers are stuck in fearful or grief laden feelings, while others move on into a positive relationship with the ending of life. The difference appears to be centred on what level of emotion the dreamer can tolerate and accept, and how daring they are. Many people, on meeting death in their dream, awake with feelings of pain, fear, or dread. If they could fully meet those feelings they would pass on to develop a very different experience of death in their dreams. The following dreams illustrate this.
A young woman told me she had experienced a recurring nightmare of a piece of cloth touching her face. She would scream and scream and wake her family. One night her brother sat with her and made her meet those feelings depicted by the cloth. When she did so she realised it was her grandmother’s funeral shroud. She cried about the loss of her grandmother, felt her feelings about death, and was never troubled again by the nightmare.
The dreamer in the following example meets her feelings through the actual events of the dream.
My mother in law died of cancer. I had watched the whole progression of her illness, and was very upset by her death. Shortly after she died the relatives gathered and began to sort through her belongings to share them out. That was the climax of my upset and distress, and I didn’t want any part of this sorting and taking her things. That night I dreamt I was in a room with all the relatives. They were sorting her things, and I felt my waking distress. Then my mother in law came into the room. She was very real and seemed happy. She said for me not to be upset as she didn’t at all mind her relatives taking her things. When I woke from the dream all the anxiety and upset had disappeared. It never returned.
Here is quote from a student of Jung.
“Most significantly, Herzog suggests that the experience of dying in a dream can symbolise a life-transformation. But this occurs only if the dreamer (1) can transcend the negative reaction to death’s image, and (2) be touched “by the dream’s deep resonance with the experience of death as transformation and also by the elemental power of enthusiastic joy in life.”5 This “transformation” occurs if one’s waking activity is affected such that the dreamer comes to terms with the vicissitudes of life, as well as the reality of death.”
We can deal with our feelings of death
Each of us meet our feelings and fears in different ways, and the next waking dream shows a very full meeting with death and its possibilities.
I knew I was dying and it was incredibly real. So real I wept deeply because I knew this was the end of everything and I would lose my children. All that I had created in life would be at an end too. But there was nothing I could do about that and I died. Then I seemed to be at a slight distance watching my dead body, and I saw my father, who had died some years before, come and carry the body over a threshold into a heavenly meadow. There a resurrection took place. My dead being was given new life. And the new life came from all that I had given to others, and all I had received from others, during my life. That was my spiritual life that survived death. A.C.
As can be seen from this beautiful experience, the dreamer meets the depth of feeling connected with the final ending of life, and then moves beyond it. So the last part of the dream is not an avoidance of pain, but an acceptance of the finality of death and how it is transcended by giving ourselves away to others, and receiving from them. It says that our spiritual life is a form of integrating all of our life activities and seeing what can be transferred from our limited life into the life universal. All that cannot be a part of the eternal cannot be a part of our life after death is burned out.
Because dreaming about death is a very frequent theme, and has many aspects, you must look at any death dream you have had and see each part of it in context with the other parts of the dream. For instance the context of death in the first example is connected with hanging and final loss. In the second it starts similarly but ends quite differently.
You can continue contact with the dead through your dreams
There is yet another level connected with dreams about people we have known in life. This next dream and exploration of the dream shows how we can continue contact with the dead.
Example: Our son passed away on 12/22/2012. he was 24 years old. Today my 13 year old daughter told me she had a dream last night. She said she was looking in a mirror and saw her brother. She said at first it scared her then she was okay. She said she joined her brother. She said they were on a beach but it was nothing like she had ever seen. She said he was in a bright yellow shirt and tan shorts which she thought was a bit funny because he would have never wore that when he was alive.
She said the first thing she asked him was if there was a hell. She said he told her no but there was a place for those who had done really bad things to learn from them. She said that she asked a bunch of questions that he told her he wasn’t allowed to answer. She said she asked him if he missed everyone and he told her no because he could be with us whenever he wanted to. He told her he could go everywhere. He said both to beautiful and not so beautiful places. It was all his choice. He told her tell everyone he was okay. She also said he looked really good but not quite the same as he did when he was alive.
The above dream is exactly what can happen when we meet someone we love in a dream. Usually people’s minds are so full of beliefs and information that clogs up their ability to have such a clear dream. The mirror is first an indirect contact, but then the girl joined her brother in his experience of death. The answers she was given to her questions are exactly my own findings in regard to death.
Example: Yesterday my wife told me I had been calling out in my sleep, obviously dreaming. She said I had been calling my mother. She described it not as a cry of pain or anger, but as if urgently trying to get my mother’s attention.
My mother had died shortly before this dream, so I tried to explore the feeling of calling to my mother and experienced a spontaneous waking dream of my mother being in something like an old people’s home. She was very withdrawn and non communicative, and as I explored the feeling of this I sensed she felt as if she had been abandoned and felt resentful and angry about this.
She had died from multiple strokes and so was not aware of her process of death. I could see that in fact she had not been abandoned, but was in a place where she was creating her own environment through her emotions and attitudes. I attempted to communicate with her but she refused to respond at all, and I was unsure if she really was withdrawn to a point where she couldn’t hear me, or if she was angry and so not responding. So I called to her aloud and said she must realise she was dead, not abandoned. She had failed to realise her new condition and so through resentment from feeling we had all left her, had created a growing isolation and barrier to being with others. I explained that if she remembered something of the love she had given and received in life, this would release her from the bondage of her loneliness, and bring her into contact with many people who wanted to be with her who were dead.
Here is a different approach.
Did I tell you my dream about my Mother the day after she died?
I kept hearing my name spoken (calling me) just as I’m waking up in the mornings……it was so strong today that I had said, “yes”, before I realized there was no one here but me. And another thing…. the phone keeps ringing and no one is there when I pick it up…….it happens too many time to be a wrong number. I am thinking …..who is out there trying to contact me?
But some experiences give us a much clearer example of contact with our dead. The following is taken from the writings of D. Stanilav Grof and is a personal experience he met.
“In one particularly unnerving session a young man suffering from depression found himself in what seemed to be another dimension. It had an eerie luminescence, and although he could not see anyone he sensed that it was crowded with discarnate beings. Suddenly he sensed a presence very close to him, and to his surprise it began to communicate with him telepathically. It asked him to please contact a couple who lived in the Moravian city of Kromeriz and let them know that their son Ladislav was well taken care of and doing all right. It then gave him the couple’s name, street address, and telephone number.
The information meant nothing to either Grof or the young man and seemed totally unrelated to the young man’s problems and treatment. Still, Grof could not put it out of his mind. “After some hesitation and with mixed feelings, I finally decided to do what certainly would have made me the target of my colleagues’ jokes, had they found out,” says Grof. “I went to the telephone, dialled the number in Kromeriz, and asked if I could speak with Ladislav. To my astonishment, the woman on the other side of the line started to cry. When she calmed down, she told me with a broken voice: ‘Our son is not with us any more; he passed away, we lost him three weeks ago.’”
Some dreams are showing the state of those we love after death
I believe the following dreams can really give a wonderful picture of this.
I walked around the corner, looked into the room my son was in when he was living here just a few months ago. He was in his bed, on the opposite side he slept on, alone, and sick. His face was pale white with large red areas on his cheeks from fever, he had a thermometer in his mouth which he removed to say, “Ma, Im really sick.” Maybe he also said he feels terrible, I cant recall that specifically. Most people dream their loved ones smile, or tell ,them they are ok… this dream made me cry, and feel fearful for him.
Despite the difficult feeling the mother felt in response to her dream of her dead son, it describes very clearly a stage of after death experience, the burning up of physical desires.
The next dream is even more clear in its symbolism.
My mother in law just passed on Aug 7th, 2010, she had cancer, and the process of her dying went rather quickly, we are a very close knit family, and my husband, sister inlaws, and especially the grandchildren are really having a hard time wuth her passing. However I had this disturbing dream last night. In this dream, I was in a small soft lit room, and in this room around the 4 corners of the wall, there were framed pictures of my mother in law from a baby until adulthood even pictures of when she was ill before she passed….. She looked up at me and it was my mother in law, her eyes were bulged and red, and she had tears coming down her face.
The pictures on the wall shows a full life review. This is recognisable what happens when you die. Of course it can be disturbing, after all you are reliving every moment. Phyllis Atwater, who is an expert on near death experiences, and who has experienced them herself, says, “For me it was a total reliving of every thought I had ever thought, every word I had ever spoken, and every deed I had ever done; plus the effect of each thought, word and deed on everyone and anyone who had ever come within my environment or sphere of influence, whether I knew them or not (including unknown passers-by on the street).”
The fever shown in the previous dream is caused by the loss of a physical body. Without body we lose all physical desires, and that can be very difficult for some. It is like burning up of those desires that link you material life. There are other stages that we go through that you can read about in Rudolph Steiner’s Philosophy of Life and Death.
Several months after he started dreaming, Herb received some of the answers to questions he held at the time of his mother’s death. Did his mother have a message for him? Where had she gone? The veil between this life and the next was swept away in a dream: I meet my mother as a young woman on a beautiful campus of higher learning, where there is always light. She is playing a violin here in a symphonic orchestra. She tells me that my ability will surpass my hopes and that my dreams will be a large part of the revelation of knowledge which will come through my higher self.
“I had read of great Biblical prophets, such as Joseph, who had important dreams,” Herb says, “but I thought such talents were only for men such as he was, and not for such an insignificant person as myself.”
My 20 year old son, Max, died less than a month ago.
I had a strong feeling when I first learned of his death that he had remained “earth bound”. I can’t describe it exactly, but I felt very strongly that because his death was sudden and he wasn’t ready to go that he hadn’t moved on to the other side.
I have prayed for a sign from him and he came to me in my dreams the past two nights.
The first night he said he wasn’t dead and I couldn’t convince him otherwise. He even said that he wouldn’t be ready to go for another “year and a half”. But I got to hug him and feel him and it was him.
Last night he came to me at my house. He was sitting at the kitchen table and we just talked for a few minutes before I brought up the fact that he HAD to go into the light. He got a bit angry. Then I told him that I knew about the drugs in Utah and he hung his head in shame. Then I told him he overdosed. At first he disagreed, I began to think about things that I could show him that would make him understand…like stuff from his funeral, but then he understood. Like he knew what I was thinking and was kinda like “don’t bother, I get it.”
I started to cry and we hugged and I began to tell him about all the books that I’ve read on the afterlife so that he wouldn’t be scared. He hugged me and asked me if our souls would always be together and I said yes, that if you’re close on earth that means the souls always stay together.
We left my house then and went to the other side. He was leery of going so I told him that once he got there he would probably see grandma Josephine and grandma Jean and that Baxter, his old dog, would probably even be there.
I went further in with him, to try and find the souls he was meant to be with so that he wouldn’t be scared.
As we looked he began to feel more at ease. Drifting away from me and looking for himself.
Then a crashing booming voice said something, I don’t remember what, but I knew I had to leave. So I went back to the tunnel that we had come in through and Max came, with another young man, about his age, they were wildly happy….riding what kinda looked like skateboards, but not. He took me back through the tunnel. He said he understood and that the other soul that was there with him was his friend and that they wreak havoc on the other side playing pranks and acting rambunctious.
I started to cry and he hugged me so tight and I told him I loved him so much and he whispered in my ear “I will see you soon”. He was completely calm and not upset anymore…like someone saying, “see you tomorrow”…like time wasn’t a big deal.
I watched him skateboard away with the other soul and he turned back and gave me a huge smile and waved and I felt all over that he understood everything now.
The tunnel began to close in…getting smaller and smaller at his end of it so I had to turn around and walk through my side because I had to come back.
I knew, even in the dream that I had helped him get there.
Was this my sons spirit? Did I help him? I feel it was…and waking up today I feel better. I miss him terribly but I feel like he is safe and where he should be.
I put the above dream in because it is so clearly a healing dream. I know from personal experience what it is like to meet and know the joy you felt in helping your son. I know also that we are almost hypnotised into believing that when someone dies that is the end of them.
But there are some dreams that are about the person still alive who is grieving so much it is a real pain to the dead person.
Example: Perhaps the most common dream experience in spirit communication is related to the message which in essence says, “I am fine and happy. Your grief, however, is holding me back and making me sad. You can help me greatly by trying to overcome your sorrow. You must stop grieving!”
People who grieve because of someone they love has died fail to understand the the person has not gone or left them. In fact the ‘dead’ person is now more fully aware of those left behind, and is very influenced by what they feel. Please read Talking with the dead
Death can represent a fading or dying of some aspect of you: Dreaming of death is often not about the end of your or someone else’s life, but a means of showing how some aspect of your outer or inner life is fading, lost, or being superseded by a changed approach, so may be shown as dying.
Other possibilities are that your love or drive to achieve something might die, and be shown as death in your dreams. The change from adolescence to puberty, or maturity to old age, is also often depicted in a dream as oneself dying. In this case it is a past way of life and identity that is passing away.
Dreaming of a dead body: This shows another aspect of death in dreams. Lost opportunities or unexpressed potentials in you are frequently shown in this way. All of us unconsciously learn attitudes or survival skills from parents and others, or we have a talent or gift that has got buried, denied or even killed out by events. If these or other facets of our personality are unrecognised or ‘buried’ they may be shown as dead. Sometimes we have killed the child or teenager in us because of difficulties or trauma at those ages, and these may be seen as a dead person in your dream, or even a corpse you find buried.
Some death dreams may show the awakening of new life in the dreamer. For instance, Sue explored a dream in which she was told her baby had died. She woke shaking with grief and tears. When she explored the dream she felt it showed her becoming alive enough to feel the grief of past pain, and the death of her hopes and love in a relationship that had just ended. She had suppressed her pain for so long. In now coming alive enough to feel her emotions, she was feeling at last that something she previously loved had died in her.
If the death is someone we know: Sometimes, as in the example below, this shows a desire to be free of someone; or unexpressed aggression; perhaps one’s love for that person has ‘died’. We often ‘kill’ our parents in dreams as we move toward independence. Or we may want someone ‘out of the way’ so we do not have to compete for attention and love.
During my teens I was engaged to be married when I found a more attractive partner and was in considerable conflict. Consistently I dreamt I was at my fiancé’s funeral until it dawned on me the dream was telling me I wanted to be free of him. When I gave him up the dreams ceased. Mrs D.
Death of oneself: Death is an extremely important event facing all of us, and yet it is a mystery, so we often experimentally confront and explore it in our dreams. A dream about ones own death may also show a retreat from the challenge of life, or a split between mind and body.
The experience of leaving the body is sometimes an expression of this schism between the ego and ones life processes.
Other possibilities are to do with the death of old patterns of living – one’s ‘old self’, the loss of the boundaries that limit your awareness to an identity connected only to your body. This latter is usually a willing surrender of self to the process.
The next examples depicts what was mentioned above. It is a way of reminding ourselves to do now what is deeply in us before we die – especially regarding love.
I dream I have a weak heart that will be fatal. It is the practice of doctors in such cases to administer a tablet causing one painlessly to go to sleep – die. I am completely calm and accepting of my fate. But I suddenly realise I must leave notes for my parents and children. I must let them know how much I love them, must do this quickly before my time runs out.’ Mrs M.
Talking with those who have passed on: I know from personal experience what it is like to talk as the apparently dead to the living. This is because I had an extraordinary out of body experience. I had suddenly felt as if I were shooting upwards and experienced a feeling of coming out of pressure and was now free – like a cork out of a bottle. Then I was awake and looking down at my sleeping body and suddenly felt terrified (I realised afterwards it was terror that I was dying). Then I remembered reading about experiences such as this and was laughing uncontrollably through release from terror. Then I was travelling across the German countryside where I was living, curled up with my knees to my chest, and found myself standing in our sitting room at home in London.
It was such an astonishing experience I stood in shock looking down at my body, feeling it and trying to understand. My body felt solid and real and I was dressed in outdoor clothes not my pyjamas. Then with great enthusiasm I looked up and saw my mother sitting alone knitting, our Alsatian dog lying asleep in front of the gas fire. I felt sure my mother would see me because I felt physically present and absolutely and vitally awake in a way I had never experienced before. So I called out to her, “Mum, look what has happened.” She stopped knitting for a moment but obviously didn’t see me or hear me. So I felt if I shouted this would reach her. “Mum” I shouted, “look it’s me Tony”.
There was no obvious sign that she had heard me, but two things did happen. One was that I saw or realised that she had an upstairs side of her and a downstairs side. Her upstairs (conscious) side had no awareness of me, but her downstairs side (unconscious) gave me a wonderful welcome and I had the awareness of us knowing each other in a formless love. Then at the same time my dog must have heard me shout because he woke and came rushing to me and was so full of love for me he rushed around where I stood barking and showing his joy. I later heard from my mother saying she had had been alone that night as my father was out, and she had seen the dog get up and bark and jump around for no apparent reason.
I learned enormous and important lessons from that. I realised that having no physical body the human living cannot usually hear us. They need physical sound to know we are present, but yet another part of her knew and responded. So I saw that if she had thought of me and spoken to me I would know, even though she might not be able to hear my reply – unless she was a medium or learned to listen to thoughts. The reason being that in the body most people cannot communicate via thoughts.
Since then I have learned more and see that whenever we think of the dead with warm feelings we are immediately in their presence. So all you need to do is to imagine them and talk to them, as if you would if they were there physically. Talk to them saying whatever it is you want to communicate. In dreams you will be able to receive their answers. I learned also that my dog could hear and see me, and that he loved me.
I know it sounds simple but it is. Communication with the dead is easy, but we make such a big thing of it. Remember that at death we have no physical organs to speak through, so it all has to be done through thoughts. Also that at the level of thoughts we create huge difficulties by what we think. So a thought such as, “I am not a medium so I cannot talk with my dead son” is like a brick wall that we have created and cannot get through. Thoughts and imagination are incredible powerful and are real at the level of dreams and the dead – and of course our own inner world.
I think that reading this book would help you to clearly tell you about the after death state. http://www.amazon.com/Closer-Light-Melvin-Morse/dp/0804108323/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1307353595&sr=1-1-fkmr0
Thoughts about death
There is a disinclination to deeply consider death in North Western culture. What passes for this is the excuse that physical death ends all life, when such a statement is observable not true. Nothing that we can see in the physical world exists outside of evolutionary connections with past objects or forms. Our language, our body, our personality, have all arisen out of what existed previously. The past is obviously alive in the present, so how can there be death to anything except the limited awareness people consider to be themselves, their ego?
Death is the great adventure of the psyche. The great undertaking of individuation takes us into the meeting with our birth and infant traumas. We face the monsters created by our sense of being unloved, of parental desertion or betrayal. The demons of self doubt, of self destructiveness, of worldly struggle and fear spring up to meet us on the journey and we have to do battle. The negative habits of our lifetime pull at us or bind us to our past unless we can break free. The instinctive hungers and drives, of reactive fear, challenge us. Can we take the tiny boat of our self awareness across their swirling and torrential waters? Can we swim in the whirlpool of desire and use its energy to achieve a new awareness and transcendence? Can we meet the unconscious influences of the archetypes and find some ability not to be lost in them? Even if we can, after all these great feats, should we find our way through them, lies not an upliftment of our being into wonder – but death!
What will we make of it?
Example: It seemed a terrifying thing to be dead and descends into a crypt, lifeless and without motivation. Here I felt or experienced a very strong sense almost like a dead body, if it had awareness, might feel in a crypt. This is quite difficult to describe. I suppose what I was experiencing was a sort of ready made or social image of death. The sort of fears we have about it. It had in it the sense of dust, decay and cobwebs – the quiet dead silence of the tomb. But here, right in the midst of death, I had the sense of eternal life, of resurrection. It seemed to me as if you could not have one without the other, and this was the meaning in Christian doctrine where it says you must die to be reborn.
I am not sure if it was at this point that many images of the mixture of death and birth came on me. I had the experience that one needed to be bitten by the snake and die before one can be reborn into that transcendent life. But what came next was a long experience of exploring the view of life arising out of being a biological bag of water, wind, and shit. This went on for image after image of rampant wet sexuality or eating, of seeing nothing in life except physical existence. Again it is difficult to describe because of the huge variety of the images and scenes.
I suppose the underlying thing I was searching for in this series of feelings and images of the very physical side of life, such as eating and fucking, and the question was, is this all there is? There was an underlying morbidity in what I saw and felt. I think it is all summed up in the much used phrase, “Life’s a bitch and then we die”. But I think my view that I wanted to find the transcendental in all the aspects of life, but it was difficult within the way I was looking at these feelings or parts of life experience.
I thought, or at least I came to the conclusion, that they expressed the preoccupation with the body and the physical that most of us have in present times. We are preoccupied with the physical and with examining it in detail. We are all trying to arrive at an understanding of the meaning of things, of death, through this minute examination of the physical world.
The longer I was involved in these images, the more it seemed ridiculous in the light of everyday knowledge that all things rely on each other, and that everything exists as an integrated part of the cosmos. The theme of the dream then changed. The day before this session I had a long conversation with B. She had described some of the people she works with or cares for in the old people’s home. B. had described how frightened some of the people are of dying. Although they had lived a long and varied life, they had still not come to terms with death. In the dream I realised I was looking for some way of communicating certainty about the goodness of death to B. I wanted to be able to look her in the eye and tell her she would be cared for.
Tracing it back, when we go into death through the jaws of the hunter, the lion, what do we meet? If we go back far enough we discover not anger or lust, but the lion’s desire to feed its cubs, or to survive. We find ourselves back in, back behind things. Behind the snake, behind this tiger, behind the human being, behind the decay. If we go back far enough we find ourselves in the awareness of the pack, in the species, in the formative forces of survival and reproduction that lies behind things. We find ourselves in that mystery, in the jungle where the essence of life pervades the various forms. From that place the viewpoint that we are nothing but a physical form, that we are a small cog in the wheels of life, that we must put up with what we have, seems ridiculous.
From that place we look at ourselves and see what a fantastic piece of equipment our body and mind is. As a conscious person we are right in the middle of everything. To say, “Oh God, we are nothing but a piece of slime, a helpless pawn in the hands of destiny,” is ridiculous. We are the culmination of everything that has existed before. We are that growing tip, that exploring awareness, in touch with unimaginable potential. We are everything that can be. What can we do?
The walking dead or rigor mortis: Aspects of the dreamer that are denied, perhaps through fear.
Dancing with or meeting death or dark figure: Facing up to death and experiencing or exploring possible ways of relating to it.
Death of someone close to us: As explained above, this often refers to ones own feelings or talents that have been hurt, denied, or ‘killed out’ by events and your response to them. The following example illustrates this.
‘My son comes in and I see he is unwashed and seems preoccupied and as if he has not cared for himself for some days. I ask him what is wrong. He tells me his mother is dead. I then seem to know she has been dead for days, and my two sons have not told anyone. In fact my other son has not even accepted the fact.’ Anthony.
Anthony is a divorcee. Processing the dream he realised the two sons are ways he is relating to the death of his marriage – the children’s mother.
McCall recalls dreaming about her father a month after he died in September 2000. She was at a joyous community gathering where a hot air balloon was being launched. She saw her father sitting on a bench with her sister, in front of a church. “He was talking and laughing just as he had been in life. He was always the life of the party.”
She leaned over to her sister and asks, “Dad’s so funny. Does he know he’s dead?”
“Yes, I think he does,” her sister answers.
To McCall, the dream was powerful and healing. “It made me feel that he was OK.”
Although the unconscious has a very real sense of its eternal nature and continuance after physical death, our conscious personality seldom shares this. Also we all we all carry within us ideas, behaviours, talents and ways of life from those now dead. The farmer today unconsciously uses the collective experience of humanity in farming. What innovation he does today his children or others will learn and carry into the future.
This aspect of a life beyond the physical is shown in many dreams. For instance a man I knew dreamt of walking with a friend of his. As they walked they came to a river. The friend crossed, but the dreamer was unable to. Even in the dream he felt crossing the river meant his friend had died. Some time later he discovered that his friend had died at about the time he experienced the dream.
As the dream points out, the friend died, but continued another type of life ‘across the river’.
A woman told a similar dream to me. Her teenage son came down to breakfast looking very unhappy. When she asked him why he said he had a dream that deeply disturbed him. In it he was walking with a friend and the friend walked through a door. When her son tried to follow he could not pass through the door. They could not find a rational explanation for the dream, but on arriving at school, her son heard that his friend had been killed in a motorbike accident on his way to school.
The river and the door are often used in this way, suggesting a change to another dimension of life usually unreachable by the living.
Idioms: Dead and buried; dead from the neck up/or neck down; dead to the world; play dead; dead to the world; dead tired; drop dead; stone dead; at death’s door; brush with death; death wish; kiss of death; sick to death.
What feelings about death does this dream highlight?
If I imagined the dream being carried forward, how would I change it? (For help doing this see Taking the Dream Forward.)
Am I changing and my past self dying?
If this is someone I know what are my feelings about them – and where are those feelings arising in me at the moment?
What part of myself have I killed?
Did an aspect of my potential get buried or killed in the past – if so what?
See: Life and Death; Life After Death; The Archetype of Rebirth or Resurrection - Life and Death - An Amazing Near Death Experience - Death and Dreams - Levels of Awareness in Waking and Dreaming - Near Death Experiences Journal.