Whether it features a person, a pet or even yourself, dreams about death can be baffling, sometimes a little scary, but ultimately uplifting.
Symbolically, death often indicates the end of a situation, relationship, habit or attitude; this is particularly true if you dream of your own death. On another level, dreams are a conduit of communication between the dead and the living. As such, dreams of loved ones who have passed on often contain messages from them. Usually these dreams offer comfort for those left behind, as is the case with Cheri in Gainesville, Missouri who writes:
About three months after my mom passed away suddenly, I had this dream: We are in a large parking lot. She is wearing the clothes she passed away in. She says, “Look how full the upper level is.” I look, and all I could see is a full parking lot. Then she peers over a ledge and says, “Look down on the lower level, no one wants to be there.” I see only a few scattered cars. The whole time, my mom appears to be floating, just inches above the pavement. And then it was over.
It has been 18 months now, and I remember this dream like I just woke up from it. I am so wanting to know if my dream really was my mother trying to tell me something, or if there was some other meaning behind it.
This dream was both a visitation from Cheri’s mother and an intriguing message about the after life. The full upper level brings to mind the most popular place to “park” after we die: Heaven. The lower level, well you can guess what that represents. Fortunately, few of us are wicked enough to get sent to this ultimate hot spot. The real question is, why would Cheri’s mom feel compelled to point this out to her? Perhaps she was trying to tell her daughter that there is more good in the world than evil. And that living a good life has its reward in the afterlife, where Cheri’s mom will be waiting for her.
A premonition of death
Is there anything more heartrending than a dream about a pet’s death? Dreams of her Rottweiler turned out to be a sad premonition for Audrey in Niangua, Missouri:
In my dream, my best friend — my 8-year-old Rottweiler, who was a very big part of my life — is lying dead in a bed of flowers. Many of the flowers are white and some are yellow. There is a large pond in the middle of the flowers. The water is crystal clear, and the sky is as blue as it can get. An older lady is standing with her back turned to me. I yell at her, “Why did you let him die?” I turn and start to run, and as I run, I am crying for help. The road turns into dirt, the sky turns black and trees are all dead. There are no people, just a few very old, rundown houses.
One week after my dream, I noticed my Rottweiler was ill. After 23 days of vet care, he died. He showed no signs of illness before the dream. The worse part of my dream came true.
This dream brought tears to my eyes. Dreams of pets who have died are some of the most poignant dreams that people experience. Perhaps it’s because so few religions address where animals go after death. Do their souls live on? Are we reunited with our beloved pets after we die? I believe the answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes. The connection between pets and their caregivers is a powerful bond of love, a bond that continues in the afterlife. For Audrey, the dream of her Rottweiler was a premonition. Because he showed no signs of illness, this dream came to her to help her prepare for his transition, at least at an unconscious level. The bed of flowers is a symbol of love, grace and peace, as is the blue sky and clear lake. These symbols contain a message of hope as well — her dog is in a beautiful place. It is only when Audrey ran from that scene that all of the elements of the dream turned dark. Perhaps she was running from her grief, or the truth of his impending death. The old woman facing away from her likely symbolizes Audrey’s feeling that no help was coming that would save her dog. If she can focus on the beauty of the dream, she’ll be able to tap into the dream’s healing energy to ease her grief.
Charline in Burbank, CA had an unusual dream of her own death:
I dream I am my current age of 45, but back in middle school, with lots of levels and stairs. I am with a bunch friends and co-workers. We have to get to a class that is kind of hidden, and you have to know the way or you will never find it. We are laughing and having fun going to the class. I am jumping over banisters, something I never do, and enjoying myself. We get to class and there is a special project. The teacher is a male, but I never see his face, just the back of his head. I’m handed pictures, some of babies, some of my classmates, all with pink backgrounds. Other pictures show me dead (or asleep, but my first gut reaction is dead). Then I woke up. I’ve had this dream before, but I knew my way around this time. Why am I dead in the picture? What does all of this mean? Did some part of me die, or is dying?
Since Charline is alive and well, I’ll opt for her interpretation that some part of her has died (or is unconscious). This could be an outmoded lifestyle, or an unrealized talent or dream that she might want to explore. The classroom represents a learning experience. The fact that it was hidden intrigues me. This may symbolize a hidden part of her nature that she needs to become aware of, something that has many levels, but is hidden deep within her and difficult to access (although it’s getting easier; she knew her way to the classroom this time). She might also be exploring the cycle of death and birth, as indicated by the pictures of her and the babies. In order to grow, we need to release things we’ve outgrown, like negative attitudes that hold us back. Whatever the outcome of this class brings, she knows the way forward; all she has to do is go for it!
Dreams of death contain messages of comfort, peace or renewal. They can hold powerful messages that help you understand your life — and the afterlife as well.