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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dream Symbols 2: Death

Continuing with the series on dreams, today’s symbol is that of death.

When you dream of your own death and see your dead body lying, for example in a sarcophagus or a coffin, or you see your dead body in a hospital bed, or lying mangled on the roadside after a particularly bad car accident, you may think that it is a portent of things to come. You may become fearful and apprehensive wondering what the next few days, weeks, or months of your life will bring.

And yet such a dream is not speaking to you of your physical death, but of the death of some aspect of yourself that brings about transformation. Elements in a dream are symbolic of the dreamer and his life, but generally are not predictive about what will come about in the dreamer's real life.

You may find some clues to what it is about you that has died by the manner of death. For example, if your death in the dream was due to a sudden and violent road accident, it could be that something in you has died in a sudden and violent manner, such as may happen when we suddenly discover that something no longer has validity in our lives and the discovery is a shock to us.

If you see your dead body in a hospital death, it may indicate that the dying process was long and drawn-out, if you were murdered, again, the death of whatever aspect of yourself is being symbolized, came about unexpectedly and violently. It can be the end of something you identify yourself with, an ideology, a project you have been working on, something you believed in with all your might and now find your belief has evanesced and disappeared.

Dream death is a major symbol of transformation. Death implies that something is gone, but the very nature of death also implies something else that is coming to life. As an element of the personality dies, room is made for something else to take seed and grow, and hence for a transformative process to begin. This is occasionally also symbolized by that which one is doing in the outer, waking life (see also an earlier post: Feng Shui Order, Replanted Ficus Trees, & Bees), which reinforces the dream images.

However, that which is coming to life in this type of dream differs from the pregnancy and birth dreams described in an earlier dream post, as in the case of the death dream the new image is not yet visible. It may well be that the dreamer does not yet have a viable image in his or her waking and conscious life about what the new aspect of life is to be, and may need to wait for another dream about preganancy, giving birth, or having a young child in his life in order to understand what the new element is.

An excellent book about this subject (and other transformative dream symbols) is Symbols of Transformation in Dreams by Jean Dalby Clift and Wallace B. Clift, which is out of print, but can still be found as a used book via Amazon.com.

If you would like to (anonymously or openly) post a dream (as a comment here) in which you saw your own death, please feel free to do so, and I will attempt to comment on any such posts.

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