Example: 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 to the children’s mother.
A dead body, death of someone we know: very often, as in the example, the death of some aspect of our outer or inner life. Our drive to achieve something might die, and be shown as a death in our dreams. Lost opportunities or unexpressed potentials in ourselves are frequently shown as dead bodies. All of us unconsciously leam attitudes or survival skills from parents and others. Often these are unrecognised and may be shown as dead.
Example: ‘During my teens I was engaged to be married, when I found a more attractive panner and was in considerable conflict. Consistently I dreamt I was at my fiance’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 ceased1 (Mrs D).
If the death is of someone we know: frequently, as in the example, desire to be free of the person, or unexpressed aggression; perhaps one’s love for that person has ‘died’. We often ‘kill’ our partners in dreams as we move towards independence. Or we may want someone ‘out of the way so we do not have to compete for attention and love.
Death of oneself: exploration of feelings about death; retreat from the challenge of life; split between mind and body.
The experience of leaving the body is frequently an expression of this schism between the ego and life processes. Also death of old patterns of living—one’s ‘old self.
The walking dead, rigor mortis: aspects of the dreamer which are denied, perhaps through fear. Dancing with, meeting death or dark figure: facing up to death.
Example: ‘I dream I have a weak heart which 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. 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). This is a frequent type of ‘death* dream.
It is a way of reminding ourselves to do now what we want to, especially regarding love. Although the unconscious has a very real sense of its eternal nature and continuance after physical death, the ego seldom shares this. We have an unconscious realisation that collective humanity carries the living experience from the life of the dead.
The farmer roday 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. Idioms: dead and buried, dead from the neck up/down; dead to the world, play dead. See death and rebirth under archetypes. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences