Can Dreams Foretell Death?

Grim Reaper

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It is quite common to dream about the death of someone close such as friend or relative.  These dreams can be very upsetting because the natural tendency, especially for those who have not observed dreams in depth, is to assume the dream has a literal meaning.  Therefore, the dreamer will often mistakenly assume the person in the dream who died will really die.  In many, and perhaps in a majority of cases, this is not the meaning of the dream.  So what does the dream mean?  In fact, the dream could have one or many meanings!

Dreams as a Reflection of One’s Own Energy

Dreams can come from many sources and have different levels of meaning but one thing is certain: Dreams always have a spiritual meaning in addition to possible literal, physical or emotional meanings.  It is important to consider a death dream first from the spiritual perspective and consider that everything in the dream is representative of energies within oneself.  So one might ask a question like the following that fills in the blanks with a descriptive adjective (happy, ambitious, generous, etc.) such as:

This _______ person reminds me of times when I am ________.  Lately, I haven’t been so _____.  Could this dream mean that that part of me has died or is dying?  Why?  Does the dream give clues?  How does the person die in the dream?  Is something similar happening to me right now?

Dreams that Make a Statement on Our Relationships

Dreams can also give us insight into our relationships with people.  To dream of someone dying may be telling us that our relationship with that person is dying or changing so dramatically that it may be unrecognizable.  It is important to reflect on the relationship and ask if the relationship might be ending or changing dramatically and perhaps make choices that will resuscitate or enrich the relationship, if that is desired.

Dreams that Foretell the Future

There are times indeed when dreams do foretell the actual death of a person, often in a graphic and realistic manner that also comes true.  I had a dream of watching my mother die in the arms of my father.  As soon as I had the dream, I “knew” this dream was a predictive one.  I made the decision to go back to the family home to visit with my parents, suspecting this might be the last chance I would have to see my mother.  I was glad I did because a short while after she passed away. What surprised me was that she died just as my dream indicated, in the arms of my father.  It was as if I had been a fly on the wall and had seen it all transpire ahead of time.

It is possible to also see one’s own death ahead of time.  Abraham Lincoln had a famous dream just a few days before he died of seeing his coffin laid in state in the White House.  A person may also dream about the Grim Reaper visiting, or an angel or possibly a relative who has already passed come to get the dreamer.  Again, the dreamer usually knows at a deep level the meaning of this kind of dream.

So when you dream of someone dying, go through the reflection process above and don’t let false or neurotic fears carry you away.  Chances are, if your dream is a predictive one, you will know it at the gut level, giving you a chance to prepare for the end.

Where Do Dreams Come From?

 Through dreams, the body is a conduit of energy from many sources..

Dreams Come From Many Sources

Dreams can be so flighty and ephemeral and yet so profound and weighty.   It makes one wonder where they come from in the first place.  The answer is that they come from many places inside and outside the body.  According to the quote to the right, Edgar Cayce says they can come from the body, mind and the soul.  This is so because of the amazing nature of the body itself.  The body is a conduit of energy and intelligent information at three levels: physical body, mind and soul.  It can not only send messages about itself to us, such as when we feel pain in an arm, it can also send messages from what is happening in our environment such as when we read information on a billboard.  But more than this, the body can be a receptor and sender of information purely on the energy or spiritual plane—as in cases of intuitive understanding such as mental telepathy and remote viewing.  This is so because the body is connected to the wider energy field in which it lives and can pick up messages if the person’s intuitive receptors are open to this form of communication.

While sleeping, the ego’s strong filtering system of weeding out strange and frightening information is also dormant with its guard down, making the dreamer much more open to receive messages from body, mind and spirit.  For example, the soul can send its messages of value and purpose to the dreamer much more easily than when ego is saying, “I’m afraid to do that!”  The body, itself can send messages to the dreamer if it feels like it’s usual messages of pain are being ignored as when a warning dream of needing to see a doctor presents itself.   Or the mind may send messages of a solution to a problem that the dreamer’s waking mind just can’t grasp.  This is why dreamwork is so effective for keeping in tune with the needs of the body, mind and soul.

Cat Dreams

Pootsie the cat

Pootsie in Dreams & Waking Life

Many people dream about cats, especially people who own and/or care for cats.  It is perhaps one of the most commonly searched dream themes that bring people to my blog so I decided to write a blog just on dreams about cats!

If you do a search on the Internet about the meaning of cats in dreams, you will find various offerings that run from the ridiculous to the profound.  Stay away from explanations that offer pat answers and answers related to superstition.  Our feline friends have had a long and rich relationship with humans collectively and us personally so they deserve much more careful reflection when they appear in our nocturnal journeys of the psyche.

A good starting point for researching the meaning of cats in dreams is to be found in Cloud Nine: A Dreamer’s Dictionary by Sandra A. Thomson which associates a type of psychic energy with the cat: feminine power.  I like this explanation because I personally believe that all images and symbols in dreams represent types of energy within our psyche.  Thus in considering a cat dream symbol I need to ask myself what part of my energy makeup does this dream cat remind me of?  Is it my desire for or joy in independence?  Is it related to the abilities of feminine intuition?  Is it related to a personality trait such as being “catty?”  In a man’s dream would it be related to feminine aspects of his psyche?

In waking life, I do have a tabby cat that is very assertive, curious and smart.  When I dream of her, I not only think of how the dream might relate to or tell me about her as my pet, but also how her energy relates to some kind of energy within me.  In dreams, I am always glad to see her acting boldly and running freely because the dream is probably telling me she is healthy and strong while those aspects of her that live in me are also healthy and strong.

And conversely, when I dream of her being hurt or unwell, it causes me to ask all sorts of questions not only about her well-being but my own as well.  For example, I had a dream that she had a wounded leg which caused her to be immobile.  A while later, that actually did happen and I had to care for her as if she were bedridden.  The dream also was warning me that my own ability to make my way through life with catlike grace and knowing was impeded by wrong turns taken that just weren’t for me.

For additional reading, please see my other blogs:

A Source of Spiritual Insight: The Appearance of Animals in Dreams and Intuitive Inspiration

Working with Dream Themes: Wounded Animals

Many Mansions: Dreams of a Dying Young Man

In my Father's house, there are many mansions...

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Because so many dreams concern themselves with the major transitions in life, dreams not only help us prepare for life, but they also prepare us for death.  There are grief dreams which prepare us for the death of another person or help us through and after that loss.  However, there are also dreams which prepare us for when our time comes.

I am reminded of the dreams of a terminally ill young man.    He was a hospital patient with a rare disease and wanted to share his dreams before he died.  I was asked to come and talk with him because I had recently taught a class at that same hospital on the relationship of dreams to health and well-being.

When I met with him he had perhaps several weeks to live.  He was pale and weak.  He thanked me for coming and said he just wanted to talk to someone who appreciated dreams because he valued his own and wanted someone who would not take his remarks lightly.  Often it is hard to find people who take dreams seriously, and one certainly doesn’t want to be laughed at or about when sharing a dream.  So I told him that I had studied dreams for many years and had taught classes on the subject.  I was very interested in his dreams and would be glad to listen.

Dreams of Many Mansions

The young man told me about a series of dreams he had in the weeks before about seeing a city of many gorgeous homes and magnificent buildings.  He thought that he would be going where those buildings were and live there.  I asked him how he felt about this.  He said the dreams were so beautiful that he wanted to be there.  He said the dreams made him feel comfortable.

Quite often, images in dreams with remind one of imagery in the Bible; however, at the time, I didn’t connect the imagery of many beautiful homes and buildings to Jesus’ quote (John 14:2) that in…”in my Father’s house there are many mansions…” but somehow, I think the young man did.  He passed away a few weeks later.   I would like to think he is there in those mansions.  Certainly, his dream comforted me, fulfilling another role of dreams:  that they often have meanings for others besides the dreamer.

Why Can’t I Remember My Dreams?

When I talk about dreams as being important to our well-being and that it is very healthy to work with and remember dreams, perhaps the most common question is:  Why Can’t I Remember My Dreams?”

There are many possible answers to this question and here or some to consider:

  1. No one told you how important dreams are so at some point in your life, perhaps as a small child, you chose to ignore them. Often parents will tell a child who has just woken up from a nightmare that it was “Just a dream!” and ignore the significance of it, sending a message to the child that dreams are not to be discussed, valued or remembered. As a result, at an early age, you may have made a habit of forgetting them.   A better parenting approach would be to listen to the child’s dream and explore his/her feelings around the dream in a non-judgmental manner, giving a message to the child that something important just happened that he or she can learn from.
  2. Our society values the day dreams but not the night dreams. Western society always encourages people to follow their dreams, i.e., the stuff of their fantasy such as the “dream job” or the “dream house” but it rarely encourages anyone to write down their night dreams or try to resolve issues in those dreams.  In some sects of Christianity, dreams are even thought to be the work of the devil—so unlike traditional societies where dreams were highly valued and heeded.
  3. Some dreams can be frightening, illogical and outlandish so it is often easier to just forget about them than to try to understand them. Dreams tend to run counter the logical, predictable ways of the waking rational mind, often presenting challenges many people either don’t want to face or find irrelevant to the demands of their lives.   Dreams will quite often question the dreamer on how her or she is living their life and this can be troublesome.
  4. Do you get enough sleep to dream? Studies have shown that you need to enter a deep sleep in order to dream.  Dreams that we remember usually occur when we are coming out of the deep sleep stage.  Sometimes they can come just before we enter that stage, making the dream hard to remember.   If you do not get enough sleep, chances are that your body is not going through the stages it needs in order to produce dreams you will remember.  You may not have remained in the post-deep sleep stage long enough for a dream to form.  This is very likely if you are habitually awakened by an alarm clock, rather than allowing yourself to come awake naturally.

Working with Dream Themes: Meeting the Trump in Each of Us

Donald Trump

“What am I to You?” 
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Whether we know or acknowledge it or not, we all have a little bit of Donald Trump inside each one of us.  Perhaps that is a reason why our current president has riled up so many people on both sides of the political fence.  They say that in each one of us is a universe populated by everyone and everything in the external world, where figures of energy propel us as much as they do in the outer world.  How we relate to the exterior world is a reflection of how we relate to our internal world.  The internal archetype of energy called Donald Trump seems to evoke a lot of energy both within and outside of us.

Dreams Are a Great Way to Meet Figures of Our Internal World

Have you met your internal Donald Trump?  If you are aware of your dreams and remember them, you may have already met Trump in dreamtime.  On Facebook someone posted a picture showing a dream image he had of Donald Trump.   It was of a reticent and scared toddler wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap.  This graphic image not only told us a lot about this man’s view of Trump but also something perhaps of Trump’s true nature.

Yesterday, I had a dream about Donald Trump.  He was sitting on a chair in my backyard, not my real backyard, but the backyard of my house in dreamtime, giving me a clue this was in the backyard of my psyche and not the external world.  He had a comforter on his lap which was decorated with pictures of himself.  He was also wearing house slippers that looked uncomfortably like the ones I wear in waking life, again giving me clues to how this internal Trump shapes my outward behavior.  He likes being comfy at home like I do with things reflecting me and my tastes, yet reminding me to make sure I don’t make too much of that need for comfort to the point of extravagance!  A bit later in the dream, I ran into him sitting behind the counter of a post office, again not a real post office near me in waking life, but the post office of dreamtime and my psyche—a place where communications are moved to and fro internally.  This dream might be telling me powerful energy resides from where I communicate.  It may be also be telling me that I need to watch this archetype of energy to make sure it doesn’t do crazy things like the waking-life Donald Trump does!

At least in my dream, Donald Trump isn’t acting outrageously like grabbing Pootsie, my cat who doesn’t like strangers to get a hold of her, nor is he trying to manipulate me.  He is just there, someone to be watched.

How does your internal Trump fare and how is his energy driving you?  Your dreams will tell…

Working with Dream Themes: Being Led by a Woman

Being led by a woman.

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Being led by a woman in a dream was one of the search topics that led a person to my blog so I decided to write a bit on this topic.

Being led by someone suggests that whatever energy this person represents is the energy that is leading the dreamer somewhere.  Whenever one has a dream about someone leading them, as asking questions like “What does this person mean to me?” And “Why would this person be leading me?” need to be done because this person, real or imaginary, is exerting great influence on the dreamer.

If the dreamer often has dreams of being led by a man and then suddenly has dreams where he or she is being led by a woman, this would indicate masculine energy such as the drive to act rationally, compete, excel or succeed has been replaced by a feminine energy.  Feminine energy often includes such traits as acting intuitively, being inclusive, all-embracing, forgiving, etc.  This shift in being led could well represent an aspect of the quest for wholeness in the dreamer, signifying a new area of growth.

Many women (and men, too) who have developed their masculine side with a strong career may experience these dreams later in life as they sense the need to develop the feminine side of their natures.  This kind of drive may find expression in new pursuits with a nurturing or intuitive creative bent such as artistic hobbies, care-giving, mentoring, etc.

For a woman, this kind of dream may also mean that the woman needs to learn such things as taking better care of herself, nurturing herself, standing her ground, trusting her feminine instincts, supporting other women, and understanding what it means to be a woman’s woman.  This is all part of the Heroine’s Journey.  Please click here for an excellent free guide for the lady on such a journey: http://annedavin.com/heroines-journey-trail-guide/.

Dreams of Spiritual Transformation

Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening

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Big changes in life are usually easy to detect.  We all recognize when there is a need to change a job, or a desire to get married.  There are external and internal catalysts that tell us it’s time to make a change.   We no longer feel the job is right for us or we meet a special person who awakens new and wondrous feelings.  We go ahead and make the decisions that set in place the change, and change happens.   We get a new job or we get married.   Our lives are transformed.   We judge the success of the change by the outcome of the new job or marriage.

Monitoring Spiritual Transformation is Often Not So Simple

On the spiritual level, the need to make a change, as well as the ability to monitor the success and degree of change is often a lot more subtle, and may take years to notice if we lead a busy, work-filled lifestyle.  The catalysts for spiritual change, especially the profound and life altering changes at the soul level, such as the need to live for a deeper reason, or a loss of feeling comfortable with the way things are can bring on rich, insightful, and even guiding dreams that help one through the often difficult challenges and obstacles that happen later in the process of spiritual transformation.  Dreams help us get prepared for the shift at the soul level.

Dreamwork Helps Monitor Spiritual Change

Doing dreamwork over a long period of time has many advantages, and one of them is the ability to see one’s own spiritual transformation take place before one’s eyes, over a period of time, presently or imminently—before it actually manifests in waking life.  This can be especially helpful if one is going through a long, dark period when no glimmer of hope for change seems so on the horizon.

This transformation can be seen in dreams by symbols and stories of change.  A symbols doesn’t have to be obviously spiritual or religious, but the dreamer will make the association if it is.   An important symbol in the dream may actually morph and change shape, showing the type of transformation that will take place.  A process taking place in the dream may symbolize what the dreamer will go through.  Voices may actually tell the dreamer that change has taken place, or will take place.

I am reminded of a recent dream I had where I parked my car and walked off, only to return to find that my old car had morphed into an amazing new car that had a special feel to it.  Someone in the dream scene told me that I had parked my car in a “zone of transformation” so that caused the car to be transformed!  Previously in the past couple of years, I had dreams of my old car having brake and tire problems—even being blown up, all of which seem to reflect the many spiritual challenges I faced at this time that related to making my way through life.  This transformational dream related to my car certainly lets me know that all those challenges are leading to change!

A Christmas Dream

Christmas Tree

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Around the holidays it is often common to have dreams that reflect this special time of the year. Here is a dream I had the other night. I call it a Christmas Dream.

I am in a beautiful house filled with wonderful Christmas lights and decorations. There is only one room on the second floor that needs some decoration. I bring a decorated Christmas Tree into the room and place it by the fireplace.

This is a peaceful, hopeful dream–one that is opposite in tone and feeling from what I am feeling day to day. It is reminding me that at a deep level, there is Christmas peace and light. So I just need to slow down and enjoy the season!  The to-do work is mostly done.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!  And have a very merry dream of the season.

Bringing Dreamwork into Religious Practice

Jacob's Dream

Jacob’s Dream. Image via Pinterest.

Just like prayer and meditation, working with dreams is a method of spiritual practice because dreams are spiritual in nature in that they speak for the soul.  Just by doing the exercise of recording and reflecting upon our dreams, we are connecting with the spiritual aspect of ourselves.

If we seriously practice a religion, the spiritual practice of dreamwork can be made part of our religious experience by 1) using prayer as part of our intentional dreaming and 2) by referring to the Bible or some other holy writing when we reflect upon the meaning of our dreams. 

Intentional Dreaming

Intentional dreaming is requesting a specific insight, solution or healing from a dream.  This is a very ancient practice that has often been connected to religion.  This practice can be done today by praying to Jesus, God or some other spiritual figure to provide guidance and help with our request before we go to bed at night.

Referring to the Bible or Other Inspired Writing

We can work with the Bible or other holy book to help us understand our dreams.  The Hawaiians have a practice of praying about an important dream to ask for guidance in interpreting the dream.  Then, they open the Bible to a random place and read the passage that presents itself.  They look for a correlation or some inspiration to come based on a combination of the dream and the passage.

Another way of tying dreams to the Bible is to look at the symbols in the dream.  Many symbols in important dreams are also symbols found in the Bible.  For example, I once dreamed of a chair in my living room that had caught fire and burned but did not burn up.  It reminded me of the Burning Bush in the Old Testament.  I reflected on the meaning of the Burning Bush in the Bible as a sign of God’s presence to Moses and wondered if this wasn’t telling me that something numinous was happening in my own life!  Sure enough, a strong and new energy soon came into my life which redirected my spiritual journey.

Still another way of understanding dreams as they relate to the Bible is to learn from any of the many biblical passages where holy people used dreams for inspiration and guidance.  The story of Joseph in the Old Testament and the story of Joseph, the husband of Mary, come to mind as people who relied on dreams to shape their lives.  We can observe how they worked with dreams and do as they did.  Try these practices and see how they enliven your dream and waking life!