Have you ever dreamt of a deceased friend or relative? Did you wonder upon waking if you experienced a possible visitation or just a dream symbol? How can you tell?
In the weeks after my father passed, I found myself sitting with him at a TWA departure gate in some nondescript, silvery gray airport. My father didn’t say anything, and little happened in the dream. After a second dream of waiting with him at the TWA gate, the symbolism suddenly hit me. The TWA gate symbolically stood for ‘Trans World Airlines’ – the most appropriate airline for the recently deceased to trans-fer from the world of the living to the world of the dead.
Looking back, I now see how this dream symbolically reflected my inner emotional processing of my father’s transition. He sat at the gate with apparently nothing left to do, except for me to accept his journey. Though some might wonder if the spiritual essence of my father sat with me in these dreams, it seems to me that I sat with a dream figure, a symbolic projection of my mind.
However in lucid dreams, when I realize that I dream, I have an advantage. I can consciously engage the deceased dream figure, and see how it responds. In my book, Lucid Dreaming – Gateway to the Inner Self, I include a chapter on this fascinating topic, because oftentimes, lucid dreamers become lucidly aware upon seeing the deceased and realizing, ‘This must be a dream!’
Dream Symbol or Visitation?
So how can we reasonably differentiate a dream symbol of the deceased with that of a possible visitation? The following points may help you notice subtle distinctions that differentiate a dream symbol from a possible visitation:
In lucid dreams, it seems easier to determine a dream figure’s status, especially if we thoughtfully interact with the deceased dream figure, judge their awareness and test their responsiveness, knowledge and behavior. We can even ask them questions and obtain information outside of our knowing, which we can later seek to validate. Processing all of this information should help clarify the nature of the encounter.
Dreamers and lucid dreamers must take care to examine personal assumptions and beliefs, when engaging the deceased. Avoid getting trapped by strong beliefs on either side of the after-death question, and simply investigate with an open mind. By investigating, observing and questioning with a curious heart, we can become more insightful explorers of the mysterious realm of dreaming.
Author Robert Waggoner wrote the acclaimed book, Lucid Dreaming – Gateway to the Inner Self (now in its ninth printing) and the recent book for beginners, Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple with co-author, Caroline McCready (visit LucidAdvice.com ) He co-edits the free on-line magazine, Lucid Dreaming Experience, which had a special issue on deceased dream figures ( see www.DreamingLucid.com ). When he isn’t writing or giving workshops, Robert occasionally dreams of his two very talkative, but now deceased cats, Penny and Nickel.
For me and many others, our first lucid dream lesson seemed a simple one — don’t get too excited or the lucid dream may collapse. Within seconds of feeling far too much emotion while lucid, I could sense the coming collapse of the lucid dream. After a few more similar experiences, the lesson to modulate my emotions felt hardwired into my lucid dreaming playbook.read more
Do you begin to relate to the reflection? Does your analytical mind arise (e.g., ‘I need to wash my hair’) or the emotional mind (e.g., ‘You look marvelous!’) or the social mind (e.g., ‘I wish that pimple would go away—I want to look good for the party’)?read more
At the time, it seemed a simple question, which I posed to the young woman in the lucid dream. But this simple question led to profound lessons in lucidity, and taught me much about the nature of transformation in dreams, lucid dreams and waking.read more
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