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Death and Dying Dream Symbolism and Meaning

Last Updated on December 3, 2020

Dreaming about death and dying can be quite a scary experience, especially if you dream of the death of a loved one or even yourself. A lot of people naturally wake up very worried when they have a dream about death or dying!

Fortunately, dreams about death and dying are usually not precognitive types of dreams that predict the future – death is usually just a symbol in the dream – often signifying a change.

How to Interpret Your Dream About Death:

You will always be the best interpreter of your dream, so it’s important to learn how to analyze the dream on your own. Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you make sense of the dream:

What are your personal experiences with death?

Most people are very uncomfortable with the notion of death, though some are very comfortable with talking about it and are very accepting of it. Your own personal experiences and meanings for death (as well as your beliefs about what happens when someone dies) will all play a role in understanding the symbolism of death in your dream.

How do you describe the person who died in the dream?

Alone boy stay near sea. Cloudy sky and foggy water

Are these any qualities you recognize missing in yourself or that have gone under a change? What is your relationship to the person? Many times people in our dreams represent parts of ourselves.

What else happened in the dream?

Death in dreams is usually a way of getting your attention, but the other objects and details in the dream will provide more clues as to what really needs your attention or what message the dream is trying to convey to you.

What Type of Death Was It?

Did you dream of a peaceful relaxing death or a violent murder? A peaceful relaxing death might signify a transition or change you are experiencing.

A violent murder or dreaming about killing someone might symbolize anger, hatred, or fear. The way someone dies in a dream will give you a lot of clues as to what exactly the dream may mean.

How Did You Feel When You Woke Up?

Were you scared? Sad? Angry? Relaxed? The way you feel during a dream and after you wake up from a dream can provide you a lot of insight into the meaning of the dream.


Common Dream Symbols for Death

death dream meaning

Death is usually a symbol for something – often your feelings about someone or something. Below are some of the common symbols for dreaming of death and dying:

Fear of the Unknown:

No one really knows for sure what happens when we die. Some believe we go to heaven, some believe nothing happens at all.

There is a lot of uncertainty about death, and dreaming about death could symbolize uncertainty or your fear of the unknown. This is especially likely if your dream about death happened in a dream of an apocalypse.

Coming to an End:

Many see death as the end of life and to be the end of everything. There could be something in your life that is coming to an end – maybe in your relationships, your career, or even the end of a problem/burden that has been bothering you.

On a positive note, it can also symbolize the end of bad habits, such as drinking, smoking, or gambling. Maybe you are making healthier food choices.

Loss/Grief:

Grief is a very powerful emotion that often accompanies death. Are you grieving something in your waking life? Again, it could be related to your relationships, losing something of importance and value to you, or losing control of something in your life.

Many people are afraid of losing what they have, so this is not an uncommon theme we see in dreams. Ask yourself: Is there anything that has changed recently in your life that you are mourning?

Change/Transition:

Many people believe that death is a transition from one life to the next. Change is one of the most common dream interpretations for death in a dream. Dreaming of death in some cases could mean seeing a change in your problems, your relationships, or your career.


Common Types of Dreams About Death

There are many different types of dreams about death. Here are some of the most common themes we see in dreams:

Death of a Loved One:

To dream of a loved one dying can mean that you are afraid of losing something important or valuable. Think about your relationship with the person – is it changing? Or does the person symbolize something else in your life?

Death of Yourself:

To dream of your own death could mean a number of different things. It could mean you are feeling fear or anxiety about a situation in your waking life, or that things seem uncertain.

It can also signify you are going through a change in your life – be in your relationships, career, or quitting a habit.

Death of a Child:

Dreaming about the death of a child can be especially upsetting. If it is your own children, it may symbolize that they are coming to an end of a stage of their life (such as going from toddler to school age, or from teenager to college) or it could symbolize that you are fearful for their well being.

Dreaming about the death of a child could also symbolize your own inner child – maybe you need to be more playful or spontaneous or creative.

Death of a Friend:

Dreaming about the death of a friend often means that something is ending in the friendship, or that the friendship is undergoing a change. What is your relationship with this friend like in real life? Does your friendship need some attention?

Also, think carefully about how you describe the person – are these any characteristics that you see in yourself that are missing or are undergoing a change?

Death of an Animal:

Animals in dreams can mean a number of different things. To dream about the death of one all depends on the type of animal and your relationship with it. For example, dreaming of a pet dying may symbolize a change in companionship or friendship.

To dream of a ferocious animal dying may symbolize overcoming a fear or obstacle. Also, think about qualities you would use to describe the animal. Are any of these qualities ones you identify with that could be going through a change?

Dreaming About the Deceased:

Dreams of those who have died is not uncommon, especially if you were close to the person or had a deep connection over something. Sometimes these dreams are just a part of the grieving process, others believe they may be true communication with the loved one. Learn More About Visitation Dreams.


Have you had any dreams about death? What have your experiences been? Do you have any possible interpretations or meanings for related symbols we may have missed? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

35 thoughts on “Death and Dying Dream Symbolism and Meaning”

  1. If someone could give me some insight on a dream I had, I would truly appreciate it. I had known someone in real life in high school, he since has passed away in 2005. I want to make this known, when he was still alive I barely knew him. But for 10 years now he has been in my dreams on and off for 10 years. In most dreams he is either next to me, or watching me from a far. He never says a word, but always has a sweet smile on his face. In the last dream I had last week he was walking past me and had duct tape on his mouth, with a black round circle in the middle of it. This is the first time I have ever seen him like this. Can someone help me figure this out?

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  2. I often have dreams of a good friend of mine that passed away about five-yearsago. We are always together in my dreams and we are either around,using or looking for drugs but have a hard time finding them.there is always several other people in my dreams that in real life I don’t know but in my dreams it seems like I have known the people forever.i dream of strangers almost every night and I feel like in my dreams I ve always known them.can anyone relate to this type of dreams?.

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  3. Dreamt my mother in law who recently passed woke up & said I’m awake. She was dressed in her favorite color lavender. Her family were all around but we were not at her funeral. It was like she just woke from a rested nap. I felt peaceful not scared. What was she trying to tell me?

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  4. I very rarely remember my dreams but I cant get this one out of my head. I dreamt my cousin, who I’ve not really known since childhood, died & they exhumed his body to obtain some DNA. It was very graphic which was awful for me as I’m a fairly delicate person. What on earth could this mean?

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  5. I was age 15 when, I first saw my father in my dreams. I woke up terrified at the thought of loosing him. He was lying in a casket, 13 years later he died. I am a only child. It took that dream and 13 years with other events to accept the loss of my father. He has only visited me once in my dreams Within the Padres 2 years to give me a hug. He died in 1991. I now see a (visual) similar dream, a casket, but there is a man waiting in the scene dressed all dressed in white.

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  6. I dreamed my mom was sitting on a couch and I kept telling her “we need to go it’s not safe” after I had just witnessed my friend getting stabbed by a dead person. She just looked confused and the evil thing burst out of the room I had locked him in. I started to run but turned around when my mom wasn’t beside me. She was still on the couch and the evil one jumped on her and stabbed her through the heart. So can someone tell me what that means.

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    • I had a dream that my father was dying but he died 23 years ago. It was the whole experience of how it happen I was dreaming about. What is the meaning of this all

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  7. My Dream, I was a guest in a large house,I appeared in it in my jams and dressing gown?
    Appearance of many potted plants arrived and then more people none I recognized?
    It was a large gathering and some rooms were transfixed into studios of film making. No matter where I wandered I could not recognize anyone.
    I awoke and it took seconds for me to realize I was here and not there.

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  8. I dreamed i could see a much younger versjon of myself having fun in the water but i could hear my aunt talk about me like i was dead she was saying i was always at my friends house which i was at that age ect it was just weird does anyone know what that means?

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  9. I had a dream this morning in which I had been shot, I was surrounded by the people who mattered most when I finally took my last breath. I woke up immediately after, but when I woke I felt the sadness, but I also kind of felt relieved. Is it weird that I could still feel the area in which I got shot? And what do the people around me signify? I recently made a huge transition from my entire family and hometown to a larger town so I understand the change aspect.

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  10. I had a dream where i was trying to climb a tree, all of a sudden i didn’t realize that i got impaled by a huge thorn right through the chest, my dad was rather nonchalant about it, i was the only one scared & confused. Then it’s like my soul left my body, i couldn’t see anything, i felt like i was going to be reincarnated as a different person, but somehow i knew i would lose all my memories, it felt like i was running out of time so i forced myself to be ok with it, to let go. I’ve always thought dying was ok, but i actually felt really lonely, i woke up crying.

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  11. I was always told in my family that dreaming about death means someone was going to get married but dreaming of marriage meant someone was going to die.

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  12. My dream happened in three parts the first part of my dream my dad hung percent of palm tree and I couldn’t reach you I woke up screaming for that and I finally got the flu was like I continue to train the same train which my dad home with in the middle of a violent storm a branch and struck my eldest and youngest daughters they drowned in the river below pump I woke up crying and I finally went to sleep again I don’t get my little daughter sister and a massive waves at the beach and I couldn’t get through with like a Tidalwave and she drowned also
    There’s nothing I can do and I felt all the emotion I woke up crying screaming and couldn’t believe that the dream just continued all night

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  13. I had a scaring dream about dying in my sleep(this is the first time ive dreamt about this)it felt so real and now I’m scared to go to sleep cause im worrying about not wakening up 😢

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    • I basically had the same dream. I dreamed that my life was leaving my body. I could feel it leaving my chest, then my arms. I was reaching for my husband, calling his name & then woke up. My heart was pounding extremely fast. It scared me to death. Couldn’t go back to sleep for 4 hours. This dream really bothered me!

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  14. I dreamt of my mom planning to die. It’s like there’s a hospital that gives options to people that wants to die already. Like they have 5 weeks of session and my mom applied for it. I was crying so much. I was telling everyone I can’t do continue without her. My aunt said to me, let her be because this is what she wants. Then I again saw her knowing it’s her 1st day on that kind of session. I again cried and talked to her not to continue. I cried hard and begged her..

    I woke up and can’t remember anymore the other things that happened. Can someone help me on this?

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    • That is almost exactly how my dream went except she was kind of already ill we knew that today would have been the last day the medication would work. It was like flicking through a memory book we (me and my mum) went everywhere together, to restaurants, cafes, previous schools, driving. I was saying I can’t go on without her, I would be completely lost and I don’t know what to do.
      I was begging her, let me repay her all the time I’ve spent making her late for the bus or gone upstairs halfway through a film. I woke up in tears, it went on all night.

      Reply
  15. I had a dream where I was at some type of event or conference. It felt like it had to do with church possibly. And I walked onto either the 3rd or 1st floor and almost immediately notice a bunch of people are being violently murdered by their doppelgangers, or people who looked exactly like them. My first instinct was to get into an elevator and push the button to go to the 2nd floor.

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  16. This dream happened in two parts. One was a year ago, the other was a couple days ago.
    In the first dream, I was in a hospital with my mother(I was the patient, she was there with me) and she asked me if I was hungry and offered me some food. I said no and that I was tired and I closed my eyes. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears and slowly, it started beating less and less until it stopped and I woke up. I didn’t actually die in the dream, but I had this overwhelming feeling and I KNOW I died in the dream somehow. I also woke up feeling overwhelmingly sad.
    In the second dream, I opened my eyes and I was alone in a place I’ve never been and two people were standing over me. They then told me I was dead and then told me what I was meant to do and stuff. Throughout the dream, I visited my friends and my mom and couldn’t talk to them. At some point I had this thing and I touched my mother’s arm with it and she could see and hear me and we talked. When I woke up, I again felt overwhelmingly sad and I was crying.

    (Note; My mom is very much alive, and no one close to me has died recently.)

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  17. I had a dream that I was dying at a relatively young age (40 ish), surrounded by loved ones. My mom was there and was telling me it’s ok to go and not be afraid, that she was gonna be there with me till the end, and that she would be ok. My brother and cousin were there also, crying and making sure I was comfortable and not cold.

    HELP!!! What could this mean???

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  18. I saw a dream that my music teacher died in my dream.It’s not like we had really close relation but still.It was like my mom got a call about his death and he died because of an accident can someone explain me what does that mean???????

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  19. please help me interpret my dream , I’m driving an open top car , my Mum is my passenger , we are on a grassy road , I am out of control , the car is going over bumps and I cannot stop it , we speed towards what looks like an all white tiled subway entrance , I scream for strangers to get out of the way , I know we are going to crash . My mother is thrown out of the car and hits her head on the wall infront of is and falls to the floor obviously dead , she groans though and I get out of the car to reach her and say I’m sorry but I then wale up . please help me , this dream was horrific , my mother is in her 70’s and well and we have a loving relationship with no issues .

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  20. In my dream, I was driving down road and out of nowhere there was a huge brown horse and I hit it. So I was driving farther down the road and the same thing happened. I’m just curious if someone might be able to help me out with what might this mean. Thank you

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  21. Can someone help me understand this,please and this. My daughter passed in September of 2019 from an OD at the age of 32. Last night I dreamt she died in a mall bombing as a preteen/Teen

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  22. I dreamed about my grand baby passing I woke up scared heart racing and mind wondering, just reading up on some things I’m messing with this guy whom is in a relationship and it’s been going on for 4 1/2 years I really want to stop but it seems as if when I try to stop dealing with him it seems like something drives me back to him I know one thing is loneliness lack of money but I feel so less of a woman dealing with him I’m afraid to let this go honestly but I’m so unhappy at times he has done so much for myself my grown children and my grand baby what do I need to do besides pray about it

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  23. I believe this article is a bunch of bologna. I had a dream of my aunt dying in my arms. Woke up from my sleep feeling nervous/scared. Two days later my aunt died. I also had a dream about my father dying in his sleep in the bed and I almost lost him from a car wreck last month and it has been a year since I had that dream. I honestly believe dreams can sometimes me a warning and is a form of communication with God.

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  24. My dad died 16 yrs ago n my mom died 8 yrs ago last night I dreamed I drove my dad to the funeral home n my mom was standing behind him fixing the collar on his suit n he told me leave him there ni should leave I woke up crying

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  25. I keep having a dream that I’m walking on a motorway towards oncoming traffic. There’s a motorway sign that is to my right that says TUKSBURY. If thats ment to be Tewkesbury it was spelt wrong. And I see a well dressed attractive young woman walking towards me carrying some womans head dripping with blood. And she says take it. As if it was a ball or some thing. And I tell her to take it back to were you found it.
    Eny ideas please would be a help.

    Reply
  26. I saw my mother died in my dream and in that dream I was just crying whole time in that dream it was scary and I feel like my world end.

    Reply

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