Reasons Why the Dead Appear in Your Dreams

UPDATE 2.02.2012: I have edited and updated this posting for OMTimes. It is featured in OMTimes online Magazine February 2013, visit: Why the Deceased Show Up In Your Sleep

(There are many different terms when speaking of the dead: ghosts, spirits, spirit walkers, souls, entities to name a few. For sake of having no confusion I will refer to the dead as spirits or souls in this posting.)

I dream often of the newly dead, but I also dream of those who have died long ago and are still earthbound. Over many years I have been given knowledge in my dreams from the dead about both the physical realm, the afterlife, and all the realms in between. From working with clients’ dreams, of all kinds, I have deduced that many people have not fully realized how common it is for the dead to come calling in their dreams. Many people disregard visitations as concrete symbols representing aspects of themselves; and although this can be a true representation of one’s dream visitors, more often than not I have found the dreamer is actually experiencing a visitation. (For topic related purposes I will be only focusing on translating dreams of visitations, and I will not be focusing here on how people show up in dreams as aspects of the dreamer’s Self.)

For most dreamers a visitation appears for one or two reasons;

  1. Someone the dreamer knows (family, friend, loved one, or distant familiar person)  who recently died and the soul who just past needs the dreamer’s guidance or some type of reassurance of their death.
  2. The dreamer is in need of guidance, protection, comfort — a spirit (whether familiar or unfamiliar) will appear with a message, or love and warmth, for the dreamer (whether the dreamer realized he/she requested assistance or not).

The beauty of these types of visitations are they offer messages and comfort in the time of most need, either for the dreamer or the person who has passed on from their physical form. There is comfort in knowing when you, as a dreamer, are in need of some type of guidance or nourishment and you may sub-consciously call on your spirit guides, or a loved one you were once connected with, and they appear to offer help, love, light, and warm.

For example; recently I received a dream about a woman who lost her sister a few years ago. She was very close to her sister and found refuge in her dream world since her sister visited her often there. Many transitional life events took place for this woman in waking, and her dreams gave her the guidance she sought in waking.

Title: Under Water

We (family) were driving in a van, I’m not sure if Mom, Penny or Grandpa was driving, but I was not. We went across a bridge and the water went up over our heads. When we drove out of the water, everyone looked shocked, but OK. I said, “We could take the San Mateo Bridge next time. Penny said, “No, we don’t need to do that.” When we got home, Grandpa got out of the driver’s seat and threw up all over.

In this dream, the dreamer’s sister and grandfather had already passed on to the afterlife. However, they also returned from the afterlife to act as guides to the dreamer offering assistance when she needed it most. Questioning a sort of ‘direction’ or ‘action’ in her waking life she was unsure of, her sister appeared in her dream offering the blunt assistance she needed. Her grandfather appeared relieving the stress and anxiety the dreamer was experiencing.

Sometimes the dead will appear unexpectedly for reasons that the dreamer has a difficult time decoding. Some spirits will hand over a message, assistance, or guidance clearly for the dreamer; other times spirits create a mystical puzzle for the dreamer to piece together in order to translate the message. Either way, as a dreamer, if aware that spirits do appear in the dream realm, then a dreamer is be more prepared to find ways to receive and decode the images of messages given. With the simple knowledge of awareness a dreamer can also be alert to a (familiar or unfamiliar) spirit needing assistance on what it is they are seeking.

This same dreamer (as above) had a dream before her sister past. For a while she was her sister’s main caretaker at the time the dreamer began wondering about her own health. She had the following dream:

Title: Spirit Guide

Mom, me, and my two sisters were in a car (we were grown). Mom was driving. We were sitting at an intersection trying to turn right. The traffic was busy. We got tired of waiting, so me and my sisters got out of the car. We met “my friend” on the roadside. He squatted down and wrote “PAGE” in the sand. He is with a woman – they are both Africans. Then another man appears, a red man, who’s skin is brown but is covered in red clay. He has a bald head. We look up to see if mom is still waiting in traffic. She is gone.

The dreamer and I discussed this dream in detail. However, what I would like to point out here is that the dreamer’s spiritual guide / teacher appeared as the ‘red man’ pointing the way to her next transition in life. He appeared to help internalize all that was happening in her life passed, present and future and to offer her the teachings that were meant for her to learn in this lifetime. She resonated with the luminous light he held within him, and accepted him as her spiritual teacher. He appeared at the very moment she was ready to impel her Self forward into her own evolution of healing.

Spiritual teachers appear in dreams as enlighten spirit guides, we all have one or more. They live in the astral realm between the planes of the afterlife (heaven some may call it) and earth (the physical realm) and their purpose as enlightened beings is to teach other souls to experience their own enlightenment. What I want to point out is it can take years, many lives, many deaths, and many transitions for any one of us to reach true enlightenment we all seek. It is up to us to call on our spiritual teachers, or our angels, at the moment we are ready to evolve through our teachings.

What Our Earthbound Spirits and Why are They Still Here

Earthbound spirits are those who have died but remain (haunting) in either the place where they died or attach themselves to loved ones who they left behind. Some earthbound spirits are known to attach themselves to a material item they are incapable of letting go of. They are spirits who have not moved past the physical realm over into the afterlife. Many earthbound spirits remain present because they are still attached to the physical realm:

  1. They need to have resolution from something in their recent life,
  2. They are looking for forgiveness,
  3. or they are so bound to their material life

Whatever the reason may be they are unable to let go in order to move forward into the boundlessness of the afterlife. I would like to point out that earthbound spirits are different from spirits who have passed onto the afterlife. Those spirits who have passed on but return showing up in your dreams do so because;

  1. They may have a message to offer you.
  2. They want to show you that there is life after death.
  3. Some souls do return as the dreamer’s spirit guides.

Spirits who return after crossing over in the afterlife hold a beautiful radiant high vibrational frequency filled with love and light around them and within them. This differs with earthbound spirits, many of them have a low vibrational frequency and leave imprints of their energies behind to attach to people, places, and things. A dreamer will know what type of spirit has arrived in their dream world by the way they feel in the presences of the spirit in their dream. If the dreamer feels filled with a comfort, a luminous light, no anxiety, and a feeling of peace you are in the presence of a spirit guide. If the dreamer feels low, anxiety, anxious, unsure, then most likely the dreamer has tapped into an energetic field of an earthbound spirit. No need to be afraid, just let them know you are unable to help them and ask them to leave your energetic field. As long as you remain in control and fill your space with love & light in your dream no fear or attachment will take place. Most spirits that are stuck in the physical are lost and looking for help to move forward, they are in need of closure to move forward.

If it is a spirit guide that has appeared in your dream, welcome them with open arms for they are there to offer guidance. If it is a loved one who has passed on embrace what they have to share with you, and listen.

Spirits: symbolize an aspect of the dreamer. They may appear representing a hidden aspect of the dreamer that has been lost and is now needed in life to merge back with the dreamer. They may appear to be a symbolic representation of undiscovered powers offering the dreamer creativity and inspiration. When the spirit is offering something beautiful or shedding light on a situation it is best not to ignore them, it is best to embrace the offering so the hidden power within can come into light in waking life.  Spirits also appear bringing messages from the afterlife, they offer healing and comfort when the dreamer needs it most. An earthbound spirit may appear for the dreamer looking for guidance to the afterlife and reassurance about their death.  

Deceased Loved -One Returning symbolize: The dreamer’s desires to get back in touch with someone they loved; a need for comfort and strength from the person who has passed. Or the spirit may be appearing to reach out to the dreamer with a message of guidance. A deceased loved one may be bringing a much needed memory of the past or offering for the future in order for the dreamer to heal in the present.

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28 thoughts on “Reasons Why the Dead Appear in Your Dreams

  1. I have had 3 dreams of loved ones. At first I was a bit anxious, but I realized there is nothing to be afraid of, theyre only visiting because they have a message. Now, I embrace the fact that my loved ones chose me to visit. Although I may be a little nervous when they show up, I just look and listen….

  2. Greetings Layla, Thank you for your post. Isn’t this a wonderful gift we have? If you would like to share some of your dreams with me for my writing and research please see <a href="Click here to take survey” target=”_blank”> and check out Calling All Dreamers .

    Ask for your guides to continue to help you evolve this gift you have. Stay protected and stay open.

    Blessings, Meredith

  3. this is very interesting to read from my point of view since I have been raised as an atheist. It is very fascinating what happens to us when we die in that we don’t know what happens to our soul or sense of being. Would you say that those that are still here although they passed away chose to stay or had no choice, meaning they have to finish something before they can leave? and what happens when they leave? do they go to heaven in the clouds forever? do they just die? or are they reborn? some of the mysteries of the universe which cannot be solved. Or maybe I’m just being a confused 16 year old and it’s all in our head and there is no life after death?

  4. Hi Thank you for your post. I believe, and from my experience, those who have passed choose to stay only because they are unable to let go of their physical attachments. Now if you are asking if we return back to human form because of karma, or a never-ending cycle, well I feel that is something different. Why we continue to reincarnate I feel holds so many mysteries that I am currently exploring. I do believe we are reborn, return, and experience life many times; however, I also believe this has to do with the evolution of each of our souls. It also seems to me it has to do with light beings from other realms and dimensions and where we, as souls, truly exist from. There are many great resources to read and explore as you seek to find your own answers and what your truth may be. Suggested Books to read… that may help guide you down your path (or at least into a direction you might resonate with).

    Heaven, hell well I… I was raised Catholic and from when I could remember I also sought questions within myself and with the help of my dreams I always saw things from a different perspective. However, I was young and had no one in my family I could speak with about any of my thoughts, questions, or my dreams. So, I took it upon my self to find truth in my dreams and the messages given to me. Lots of reading and talking with people when I was 16, 17, 18, 19 years old and as I grew older I continued my seeking. I unraveled many beliefs and some resonated with me while others didn’t. Because of my own ability to explore I found out I was not alone. I suggest you start your own exploration and see what you are able to uncover for yourself. Do you dream often? Have your experienced a visitation from a loved-one or another spirit or being? Is this why you ask these questions?

    I don’t believe there is a right or wrong. I do believe that no matter what we each believe to be true we need to treat each other with kindness and acceptance. We need to surround ourselves with positive energy within ourselves, our environment, and with the people we interact with. We need to envision the good and embrace the flow of life as a whole, and know we are never alone.

    Maybe there is a parent, family member, or mentor you can speak to about this further?

    Blessings on your journey, Meredith

  5. hi my grandad past away just over 3 month ago on the night he past i had a feelin i had to be with him, the feeling is nothing i have felt before if i can to try and explain i would say it felt like i was being pulled to him but sadly i couldnt get to him, before i got the phone call to say he has past i was dreaming in a very bright white pleace ( i cant call it a room as there was nothing but bright whiteness) and my grandad was there telling me everything was going to be ok and that he loved me.
    ever since his passing i have been having dreams with him where i cant remember anything only that i had dreamt of him until a few days ago i dreamt of me, my boyfriend and my grandad was in this pleace where he was cremated sitting ouside in the sun. i remember telling my boyfriends dont freck out but my grandad is here he just smiles and leave me with my grandad like he know, my grandad then sat down and spoke with me but i never could hear what he was saying but i did get to hear him say that he would always be my grandad and that he loves me

  6. Thank you Christina for sharing this dream. Sounds like your grandfather is in your reach and you can call on him anytime — in both waking or dreaming — for his guidance. How wonderful to be so connected to him!

    If you are interested visit my posting on: Calling All Dreamers!

    Blessings, Meredith

  7. I had a dream that my good friend came to me in a dream and stated this ( it could have been you ) but we where both at a spa getting our nails done but he was with another women and I was by myself .

  8. My grandma passed away in January, and it was very difficult for my entire family and me. I’ve had several dreams of her, and the last dream I had, she was “alive” but sick again, and she passed away in my arms while she hugged me . I don’t know what to make of this. The dream before that, I hugged her but she was quiet. She just sort of looked at me.

  9. Thank you for sharing your dream with me Gaby.

    I feel that this particular dream needs more exploration before I would be able to provide a translation. It is quite possible your grandmother is trying to say goodbye and the difficulty your family has had in letting go may be keeping an aspect of her energy here – many people that pass feel a responsibility to look after their loved ones – tending to their sadness. There are emotions and loss here that feel heavy and it would be helpful for me if you were able to answer a few questions so I could better understand what may be happening in your dream. You mentioned in your dream she was alive but sick again. What was the feeling you felt around this dream? Lighter energy or low energy? You mentioned several dreams of your grandmother, where any of them light and airy or where they of a lower sad energy? How did your grandmother pass? Was it an unexpected passing? Or was your family and your grandmother prepared? What was the feeling or level of energy you felt when your grandmother “just looked at you”.

    I know this may feel like a lot of questions but they are helpful in understanding why you experienced this dream (and the ones before). If you are interested in exploring this dream further you may fill out a questionnaire here allowing me permission to use your dream towards my research and current book I am writing …. in return I will provide you a free Intuitive Dreaming reading.

    You also have the option of visiting my Intuitive Dreaming Sessions page for more information on my rates to set up a private email session.

    I hope to hear from you soon.
    Blessings, Meredith

  10. I have been having dreams of my grandma who deceased in April 2012. I dream her every week we have conversations but lately I am been getting warnings in dreams from this creature with a long black gown (like a grim ripper but not skeletal) that has a fork this things tells me I shouldnt be here or that i should wake up and shows me a book as to why. She had a message for her sister to hug her grandkids for her but she cant because the family is separated in 2. I want to help her I couldnt say goodbye either cause I live practically in the other side of the world. I know it is her soul not an image . Lately i have been dreaming her mad at me for not wanting to talk to her much. Any help would be great.

  11. Hi Alessandra, Thank you for sharing your dream with me.

    I am curious to know what the energy around your grandma feels like, this will help me understand her transition and the energy form you mention as a type of grim reaper creature is showing up for you. I sense you may be too close to the boundary line to the afterlife — only those souls that have left their human form are allowed to cross over – and this is why you are being told you should leave. Is your grandmother on the other side of this “grim reaper”? There are ways you can help your grandmother, just set an intention before falling asleep and ask her to return to show you how you can help. She has a message she needs to give.

    I would like to explore this dream more with you. Would you like to submit your dream for my research and writings? If so please fill out one of the following questionnaires and I will reply via email with a free Intuitive Dream Reading and we can explore this further together.
    Dream Guides: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7RG55TM
    Visitation Dreams: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/T79HMDG

    If you would prefer, I also offer Intuitive Dream Translations at a rate of $25.00 per dream for more info click here

    I hope to hear from your soon.
    Blessings, Meredith

  12. so i have a question a friend of mine who i have dated in the past twice passed away showed up in my dream lastnight like he came alive from the dead!! we had all went to the funeral it was summer time we were at a party and he showed up like nothing like he never passed can some one please help me figure this dream out

  13. Hi Lindsay! Thank you for sharing your dream with me. Did your friend feel light & airy, with a high vibration of light / colors? Or did he come across low energy? This would be helpful to me so I can help you understand why he appeared. It may be that he was bearing a message for you or someone else. Or depending on his vibrational frequency he may have appeared looking for transitional help himself.

    Would you like to submit your dream for my research and writings for a free interpretation? If so please fill out one of the following questionnaires:
    Dream Guides: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7RG55TM
    Visitation Dreams: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/T79HMDG

    Hope to hear from you. Blessings, Meredith

  14. thanx fo replying..he didnt feel light and airy.. he seemed distant but wanted his presence known!! so i really dont know if he was trying to tell me some thing like if he forgives me for being horrible or not :(

  15. Hi Lindsay, Are you able to fill out the questionnaire I suggested? You mention that he may have appeared to forgive you. I sense something deeper is going on here. How about you send me a direct email if you would like to discuss this further.

    Blessings, Meredith

  16. Hi there,
    I was perusing your site because I had some questions I wa wondering could be answered. First and foremost, I have experienced several visitations in my dreams by both earthbound spirits and spirits of the afterlife. The earthbound dreams are scary and I feel like I become numb and overwhelmed with fear. The visitations by deceased love ones, former neighbors that have passed, etc. have always been to deliver a message of love and reassurance of their presence. Eleven years ago my friend Erika passed on and has visited me many times. In every dream she has reassured me that she was always present and I always awoke immediately after feeling happy…Except for the last time. I’ve finally come to realize when I dream that Erika has not come back to life, and that I now talk with her spirit when she visits me. So in my last encounter with her, we moved on to other conversations. This time I asked her how she was and where she is in the afterlife (not fully understanding what it’s all about on the other side). When I asked her, her face began to morph, and her features began to swirl. At the same time her voice morphed as well, became slower in pace and pitch…almost like an old record player slowing down in speed causing her to be unintelligible. It happened very quickly, however, but it was so creepy that I woke up feeling terrible. I have not dreamt of her since and I ask myself if it was truly her, or a false representation of her? Or…could it be that the question I asked was not supposed to be known? Perhaps because I wasn’t supposed to know, I was pulling out of the dream causing her face and voice to morph as I was leaving? In any case, all of my visitations, asleep or awake were always warm, loving and positive (despite some bloodshot eyes in a few of them); except for this last dream. Do you or anyone else have any insight for me? Could it have been a false being portraying itself as Erika?

  17. Greeting Anthony, Thank you for sharing your dream with me. To answer your question – no it was not a false being portraying her. Rather some aspect of yourself was not ready to receive the answer to the question you asked. And quite possible it was not Erika’s place to tell you. Her visitations are for other reasons, I sense she is more your guardian, or at least was for that time in your life. Many times guides will only be present on certain parts of our paths, then when we ourselves grow, expand, evolve, and even begin to ask the right questions for our own seeking and journey, these guides move on – they accomplished what they set out to be present for and then move on. The beauty of this, is now you may have more advanced guides from higher dimensions around you waiting for you to call on them to begin this part of your journey / seeking. Here are some resources that you may find helpful: Books I Recommend This is a good place to start, other books and people, guides, and resources will start appearing.

    If there is anything else please email me. Or more dreams? Visit Intuitive Dreaming Sessions

    Merry Solstice!
    Blessings, M

  18. Thanks for your insight, Meredith! I believe she is one of my guardians! Merry Solstice/Happy Holidays to you as well!

  19. First off I just want to thank you for your information, and I would like to tell you my experiences of the deceased coming to me in my dreams. My father died in a motorcycle accident when I was 11 and it was one of the hardest things I ever had to go through.I remember constantly trying to think of ways I could have changed the outcome of his death. I had a dream shortly after he died, it involved me and another person, whom I had no relation to trying to win back our loved ones from the dead, but if you cheated you were immediately disqualified. Well my partner ended up cheating, then my father walked up to me and said “see there was nothing you could have done”. It made me feel better in the sense that it wasn’t my fault. I’m now 27 and my birthday has just passed, January 18th I share the same birthday as my dad. Well last night I had arem of my dad and he came through the door of my house and opened his arms to me so I ran up and gave him a hug and he said “happy birthday, birthday girl”. It was the most compforting experience I’ve ever had in a dream, it was filled with love, joy, and peace. Words can’t even describe how wonderful it felt. When I awoke I just cried but they weren’t tears of sorrow, it was extreme happiness. I know and feel that my dad is always with me and I believe he’s happy in heaven and comes to me in my dreams when he knows I need him the most. Death is not the end its the beginning to something even greater then we could possibly imagine.

  20. Thank you for sharing this Shannon. You said it perfectly when you stated: “Death is not the end its the beginning to something even greater then we could possibly imagine.”

    Blessings, M

  21. Hello my boyfriend woke up crying.I
    he had a dream about his father who passed away a while back from cancer….but when he passed he was weak lost all his hair…he said me and him walked in the building he was raised with his patents…and that I walked passed who father(whom I never got a chance to meet)and he said to me….Ayanna that’s my father….I than said to him oh I.didn’t know…..hos father he said was strong had all his hair….and than grab his hand and whisper in his ear….this is how im coming back Man strong….with hold hand shake..but he said his Dad was smiling

  22. I’m nearly 18 years old and ever since i was a little girl i have had many experiences with the deceased, including family members I have never met. For a good period of time at the beginning of my teenage years the gift of being able to see the dead disappeared. Were they just not coming around anymore? But recently my family flew back home to see my great grandmother who was dearly sick. The afternoon after we arrived to see her she passed away at her home. (friday) Sunday night I was required to spend the night at her house. That night i had a VIVID dream of her, may i mind you she passed away in the living room in her hospice bed. Anyways, i recall her in my dream standing in the middle of the living room, hospice bed still there, telling me she is getting ready for her funeral…i remember EVERYTHING she was wearing..blue floral dress and her hair fully permed. so the next day i told my mom about it and she asked my aunt what my grandmother would be wearing in the casket the next day at her wake. what do you know a blue floral dress with her hair all permed. just recently, actually yesterday, she came into my dream. i saw her because i asked her to show herself, but i also felt the presence of my great grandfather who had passed many years ago. i asked my grandma one question. and that was if she met God and Jesus yet. My grandmother was a very religious person, but when i asked her this question she looked down with sadness and said she hadnt met them yet because quote:”you have to be an angel for a long time to get to do that.” i dont know, is my grandma is heaven? i know that being there has been her dream for years now. I want to know how i can channel her in more and more.

  23. Thank you for sharing your dream. Unfortunately, I do not translates dreams here. If you would like to have a dream reading click here: http://ispeakindreams.com/book-an-intuitive-session/

    There are many dream forums around the internet… such as http://www.dreamjournal.net/ and Dream Moods. Just Bing Dream Forums if you would like free feedback.

    Also you can visit my posting on Dream Guides here : http://ispeakindreams.com/2012/02/21/types-of-dream-guides/ and maybe my book will help guide you… for more information on DreamWorkers Behind the Veil; Night Shift Dreams visit: http://ispeakindreams.com/dreamworkers-behind-the-veil-night-shift-dreams-book/

    There are book and link resources through out my website that may be of help to you also… or contact me for a dream translation session.

    Blessings, M

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