What Dreaming About Dead People Means

what do dreams about dead people mean
Did you dream about a dead person?

Dreams about dead people

Are you dreaming about dead people? Trying to understand what these dreams are all about? Curious if you are receiving messages from the deceased.

If the answer is yes, you wouldn’t be alone. One of the most commonly reported types of dreams involves the dead. In fact, it is so prevalent that we created a page that’s all about the meaning of death in dreams.

My hope in penning this piece is to help you better understand why the deceased are showing up when you sleep. Hopefully, what follows will cast a light on a topic that is often not discussed and seriously misunderstood.

I’ve been studying dreams for many years in my work as a shaman. One thing is for certain, there are more theories about what dreams mean than I can shake a stick at.

Here’s the thing: When you take a step back and examine all of the theories in their totality, dream interpretation basically falls into two categories.

1. Psychological

2. Mystical

In this post, I’ll walk you through a little bit of thinking about both. Because material from dreams is often abstract, there’s really no way of knowing for certain what they mean.

That’s why it’s important to collect as much information as possible so that you can put together a mental mosaic of what you saw and (hopefully) arrive at a place of meaning.

Psychological meaning of dreams

Some psychologists believe that dreams are nothing more than random, fragmented thoughts, woven together into a storyline. Sometimes the narrative makes sense and other times, not so much.

At a basic level, this theory kind of rings true. Even though your body may be resting during sleep, your brain is not. If you’ve recently lost someone close, it’s possible that subconsciously, you are working through the grief process. Sometimes, a person we loved shows up in a dream many years after they died. In psychological terms, this could be your subconscious offering a sign that you’ve healed from the loss.

Or it could mean there is unfinished business. It’s just really hard to know.

Dr. Sigmund Freud, the Father of Psychoanalysis, believed that dreams were literally the “royal road to the subconscious”. Translation: There are hidden thoughts just under the surface of your awareness that hold significant meaning.

Could that dead friend or relative appearing in your dream be an indication of an unresolved conflict? It’s possible.

It’s important to state that not everyone agrees with Freud’s theories on dreams.

For example, Carl Jung, the Swiss Psychiatrist, believed that dreams served to integrate the conscious with the unconscious. A kind of melting if you will.

That said, he also allowed for the possibility that dreams hold spiritual meaning as part of your mind’s active imagination (Chodorow, 1997).

Does this mean Jung thought that when a dead person popped up in your dream, their spirit was trying to speak with you? The honest answer is: we don’t really know. Jung didn’t say either way.

Which brings us to our next category – spiritual.

dreaming dead people
Dreams about people who have died

Mystical meaning of dreams

Some people who believe in different forms of spirituality think that when you fall to sleep, your mind enters another realm of existence.

The reason they offer is simple. Because your brain waves change during slumber, your mind becomes open to receiving supernatural messages.

In other words, when you sleep, you are connecting to other worlds.   

That may sound odd but I’m simply sharing what some folks believe. I can tell you that many Native Americans think when animals show up in a dream, their presence is not accidental. Instead, they are considered gifts from beyond in the form of a spirit guide.

Pagans believe that seeing a dead person in dreams is a good omen. In other words, the dream itself is symbolic of something positive on the horizon.

Wiccans [at least some] hold the believe that when you see someone dead in a dream, you are actually communicating with them through time and space.

In some Christian dream interpretation books, there is a feeling that seeing the dead during sleep means that the person has not found eternal peace. Accordingly, their contact with you is a sign of help.

In other words, what you are seeing is a ghost – an apparition of their soul.  

The ancients believed that when you the dead in a dream and they asked you for something, it was your duty to comply. Not doing so risked angering the Gods and bringing certain doom to your life.

dreams about dead people explored
Is a dead person trying to talk to you?

Are dead people speaking to you in dreams?

At the end of the day, what you really want to know is if the dead person you are seeing in your dream is sending a message. Are they trying to communicate?

The honest answer to that question is nobody knows for sure. The departed person you are seeing could be nothing more than a subconscious projection of unmet needs.

Or it could actually be their spirit reaching out from beyond.

The best thing you can do is keep a dream journal. This will allow you to jot down any messages. Having one will also allow you to record special details.

For example, if your dead aunt visited you in a dream and asked you for water, you’ll want to write this down as part of the analysis.

Remember, objects in dreams can’t be taken literally. Instead, they must be viewed through the lens of symbolism.

When you have time, read this article on what dreams about being chased or hiding means. Doing so will allow you to better understand the concept of symbols in dreams.

Well, I hope you found this page useful. Dreams about dead people can be scary. But they are also super fascinating.

About Dirk Wolf 18 Articles
Dirk is a certified spiritual counselor and shaman. He uses ancient lore to teach lessons about self-insight, personality, relationships and wellness. Aside from freelance writing, he enjoys spending time outdoors in nature.