What Does It Mean to Dream of Death?

What does it mean to dream of death? In this article, 6 possible interpretations and why this dream is so common.
What Does It Mean to Dream of Death?

Last update: 26 May, 2022

The idea that dreams can be interpreted through symbols is something that has always accompanied the history of humanity. Although it indeed reached its peak as a model within the context of psychoanalysis, in reality, almost all civilizations have used this practice. Today, we tell you what it means to dream of death, one of the most common dreams.

Contrary to popular belief, not all interpretations of dreaming of death are negative. However, each analysis should be assimilated with caution, as many variables determine the actual meaning of your dreams.

Let’s take a look at six possible interpretations that can be hidden behind a dream about death.

What it means when you dream of death

Dreaming of death, regardless of whether it’s “just a dream,” is cause for more than a few worries in many people. It’s possible that after the dream, you wake up overexcited, with fear, and even with some anxiety.

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If the dream is recurring and not just an everyday experience, this may be nothing more than a symbol of something that is far beyond your mind’s interpretation. Here are six possible explanations for dreaming of death that can help you unravel the mystery.

1. A dream of death could indicate a fear of death

Soñar con la muerte es común en aquellas personas que le tengan miedo
Most societies today view death as something negative, so the fear of death has existed since the development of consciousness.

Yes, this may seem like a very obvious interpretation, but it should not be left out of our list!

Fear of death is perhaps one of the most common fears. When it becomes chronic and affects the quality of life, it’s referred to as thanatophobia.

According to a 2017 survey by Chapman University, up to 20.3% of Americans fear dying. This data allows us to get closer to those in other parts of the world. In addition, some authors claim that devotion to religion increases the fear of dying.

Dreaming about death can be one of the many manifestations of your fear of this experience. Whether you’re aware of it or not, it can be a way of alerting yourself that such a day will eventually come. Intimate experiences with your own death or the death of someone close to you can increase this fear.

2. A dream of death may indicate anxiety about the unknown

Death frightens people because it implies a rendezvous with the unknown. This is also true of the fear of the dark. It’s not that you are afraid death, but that you’re afraid of not knowing what happens when you die. In this sense, you can also interpret the dream through a symbolic sense.

Dreaming of death may then imply anguish for the unknown. You may be about to face something important in your life, something you already know about, which causes you anxiety. It may be a new job, a move, starting a new relationship, embarking on a new venture, or any kind of experience that requires some eleven of ignorance.

3. The end of something important in your life

Another possible interpretation of dreaming of death is that it represents a symbol of something that is coming to an end. Death implies the end of life, the point at which any kind of experience related to it culminates.

Contrary to the previous explanation in which you are about to start something new, in this case, the dream embodies a situation that you are about to leave behind.

Perhaps you’re ending your relationship due to infidelity. Maybe you’re moving out of a city where you’ve lived for a long time, you’ve left the job that was your dream job for many years, or any kind of similar situation, for example.

4. A dream of death may occur in moments of change or transition

For those who believe that there’s life beyond death, death is not the end of something, but the beginning. It’s a transitional stage to what true life really is. Many philosophical theories are based on this, as well as the major religions.

Under these concepts, dreaming of death may imply moments of change in your life. The examples we’ve given are valid for this interpretation and more extreme—for example, a change in your religious beliefs, physique, or ideas.

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5. A loss of innocence

Soñar con la muerte puede ser consecuencia de perder la inocencia
When we go through difficult situations and our way of seeing the world changes, we lose our symbolic innocence. This important transformation can manifest itself in dreams.

Dreaming of death can also be related to the loss of innocence. Any kind of experience that involves a confrontation with innocence can rock all the senses. In the process of assimilating this, you may have dreams related to distress, such as dreaming of death.

This is not to be understood only from a sexual point of view. You can lose the innocence of your ideas, of your illusions, of your expectations.

You can also lose your innocence with regards to the way you conceive the world or think others are. Since this loss always implies surprise and astonishment, it’s natural that your dream experiences are also affected.

6. A fear of something that’s harming you

Finally, dreaming of death can also be a symbol of something or someone that may be harming you.

The material idea of death – the typical hooded figure with a sickle – is often associated with harm, pain and suffering. If it appears in your dreams, it may be a representation of something or someone who inflicts damage on you in real life.

Don’t just think of physical harm, however. It can also be emotional. Someone who humiliates you, teases you, insults you, or belittles you also cause you damage. By analogy, you may also feel this fear towards places or institutions (the place where you work, for example).

With this last idea, we’d like to close our six interpretations of dreaming of death. Keep in mind that all these explanations are general, since they take as a reference a symbol associated with death. Therefore, the’re not particular explanations according to your specific case.

With this, we want to tell you that you should always contextualize the object of dream interpretations. Carefully assess whether they fit your life experience so you avoid assimilating unrelated ideas.

Finally, we must also remember that dreams don’t always have to have a hidden meaning. “A cigar is sometimes simply just a cigar,” as Freud once said!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Ellis, L., Wahab, E. A., & Ratnasingan, M.  Religiosity and fear of death: a three‐nation comparison. Mental Health, Religion & Culture. 2013; 16(2): 179-199.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.