Dreams of death can be terrifying. From being chased by strangers intent on causing harm to dying of illnesses, the imagery can stick around for weeks. Even worse, many people worry that dreams of death may foreshadow their own death. However, interpreting dreams is rarely this simple. While dream dictionaries abound with “definitions” for what symbols in dreams mean, the same symbols mean different things to different people. The key to interpreting dreams- especially your own dreams- is to keep in mind that your dreams are your own creation. They come from your unconscious mind, which means they aren’t magic and they can’t tell you anything you don’t already know on some level. When working to understand your dreams of dying, it’s especially important to take them in context and look at what else is going on in your life. Ultimately, our dreams tell us what is on our mind and nothing more. But if you’re interested in understanding what dreaming of death might tell you about what’s going on inside your own head, here’s what you can learn:
Dreams of Death: Revealing Anxiety
If you’ve had a headache for weeks or have been delaying getting a colonoscopy, your dreams aren’t telling you that that headache is cancer. Instead, dreams reveal to us what we’re worrying about, so a dream of death from illness may indicate that you’re concerned about your health. Take it as a sign to take good care of yourself and check in with your doctor. Go ahead and make that doctor’s appointment and give yourself some peace of mind.
Dreams of Death: The Collective Unconscious
Carl Jung, one of the great psychologists, was fascinated by the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is the part of the mind that collects and makes sense of the experiences and fears that are a part of the human condition, including death. All humans struggle with the concept of their own death, and dreaming about death can be one way of facing up to this fear without having to think about it in waking life. If you’re dreaming frequently about death, it may mean you’re struggling with the idea of your own mortality.
Dreams of Death: A Form of Practice
While studies of dreams have been extremely limited and most have not been well-controlled, there is some evidence that when we experience a situation in a dream, we are more equipped to deal with it in real life. Dreams of being chased, robbed, etc. may be ways for our mind to prepare us for frightening experiences. Accept your dream of dying as a form of practice for if you ever face a life or death situation in real life. That dream may be the very thing that prepares you to survive.
Dreams of Death: Symbolic Meaning
Freudian psychology is fascinated by the symbolism of dreams, and while much of psychology has moved away from this sort of interpretation, your unconscious mind may not have! Dreams of death can symbolize much, and the best way to interpret the symbolism if you dream of dying is to contemplate what death means to you. As a general rule, however, dreaming of dying can often indicate that you feel a part of yourself has died. These dreams often occur during major life turning points and during times of stress. The part of yourself that has died can represent a positive or negative change.
Dreams of dying are never a sure sign that you are going to die, so if you have these dreams do not panic. Instead, place the dream in the context of your life and learn the lesson the dream is trying to teach you!