woman sleeping on her side
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
December 8, 2023 ·  4 min read

What Does it Symbolize When a Person Who Passed Away Shows up in Your Dream?

There are many theories in relation to whether or not dreams mean anything. Spiritual beings would argue that there’s a lot to learn from a dream. They say there are guides that offer you insight into life. However, many scientists would simply say that your brain is working through things. It may look like a replay of your day, an opportunity to face your fears, or a chance to refresh your thoughts during a stressful time. Sometimes, you get unexpected visits from someone you knew before. Maybe you cut ties with that person. Or maybe they passed away. What, if anything, does this kind of dream mean?

To begin with, dreaming of a deceased loved one can bring up a range of emotions. You may feel a sense of peace and love. Or a sense of sadness, this can either be because they hurt you in life, or because you miss them. Dreaming of someone who has died recently is a globally common occurrence.

This kind of dream is often viewed as a part of the grieving process. However, according to Healthline, if the person you dream about passed away some time ago this can be a reflection of the transition in your own life. Death in a dream doesn’t always represent exactly that. Sometimes it is the brain’s way of facing a new phase in your life. Have you moved recently? Have you been given a new job offer recently? Or perhaps you’ve just graduated and are looking at all your options as you map out your future. 

According to experts, when trying to interpret a dream, you should not focus specifically on minor details. Instead, evaluate how you are feeling. The sentiment you get from a dream will tell you more about it than anything else you might be thinking or seeing. Furthermore, a dream is often symbolic of something else. |

Read: Have You Dreamed About Any Of These Things In The Last Year? See What It Means!

Rubin Naiman has a Ph.D. in psychology and has spent many years studying sleep patterns and habits. He says of trying to understand what a dream might mean, Dream interpretation is about decoding the dream. It enlightens us and expands our awareness psychologically, [offering an] expansion of consciousness.” To dream of a loved one who has passed away, often can represent changes in your life and the anxiety or peace you may feel with the decisions you’ve made regarding said change. 

Naiman also says that, ”A lot of contemporary neuroscientists believe during REM sleep, the brain is involved in maintenance tasks, and it accidentally ‘kicks up dust,’ visually. At that end, dreaming is considered totally meaningless. On the other hand he explains, “The other end is that dreaming is more substantial than waking. And we see this in ‘dream cultures,’ such as the indigenous people of Australia, who believe dreaming is intrinsic to our spiritual existence.

Experts categorize this kind of dream into 4 reasons:

  1. The first is that you’re grieving. Someone passed away recently and your brain is trying to work through the pain of the loss. 
  2. You’re projecting your own emotions. When a loved one appears mad or disappointed with you, this is often a reflection of how you feel about yourself. You may feel as though things are left unsaid or you feel guilty for not making amends for something before their passing. 
  3. Self- sabotaging is another proposed meaning behind a dream about a deceased loved one. Lauri Loewenberg is a dream analyst, she explains that our deceased loved one may have exhibited behaviors, including substance abuse and frivolous spending, and we can see those same patterns within ourselves. 
  4. The last possible common cause for this kind of dream is visitation. Some people do believe that our loved ones can visit us from beyond. They might share some wisdom, heed a warning, or point out some change that might be necessary in our lives. The way to know if it was this kind of dream is to observe your loved one. If they look great, happy, and healthy, this dream may be a visit. Another way to know is to examine how you feel. If you’re at peace and feel comforted by the visit this may have been your loved one stopping in to say hello. While a “visitation” dream may seem an outrageous possibility to some, professionals such as Loewenberg suggest this could be a very real possibility. 

Scientists have been performing sleep studies and dream analyses for years in order to better understand how the mind works. However, for spiritual beings, dreams offer something much deeper and more meaningful. They believe you can gain insight into the soul, a deeper connection to the deceased, and the opportunity to use wisdom provided by ancestors or those whom we’ve dearly loved in this life.  

Keep Reading: 7 Signs A Deceased Loved One May Be Contacting You In Your Dreams