Recounting the death of Socrates in Plato’s Phaedo, it’s said that the proper practice of philosophy is “about nothing but dying and being dead.”   As dreams generally blur distinctions between the living and the dead, it seems that, like philosophy, the dreamtime endeavors to engage dreamers in the proper practice of dying and being dead.  Dreams, I therefore contend, are trying to teach those of us who are in physical bodies (and thus still incarnating) how to be in living, ongoing, and imaginally responsible relationships with those who are busy being dead. While teaching dreamers the necessity of dying before we die, dreams help us practice and prepare for death and for all that may follow . . .

We’re coming up to that time of year when various traditions from around the world venerate the dead.  It’s a time when the veil between the two worlds is said to be thinnest, thereby making it easier for the living and the so-called dead to be in communion.

There’s perhaps less separation between the living and the dead than is sometimes imagined.  Nonetheless, these traditions not only include the dead — making a place for them in their ongoing living experience — they also celebrate them. Vividly. The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, a yearly celebration that takes place in Oaxaca, Mexico is but one example of this viivid tradition.

In honor of world traditions that vividly venerate the dead, I invite you to share any dreams of the dead you may be experiencing.  You’re welcome to share current dreams or dreams from days, weeks, or even years past, and they can be what I refer to as  ‘waking-world’ dreams or sleeping dreams.

Simply type your dreams of the dead into the comments section below.

Or if you prefer to share your dreams privately, click on the ‘submit private dream’ button at the very bottom; I will respond to you privately.


  1. Dear Renee, Funny you should ask about dreams of the so-called dead. *** In the early morning hours of August 4th I dream of my Grandfather Reid, who died in 1948, 3 years before I was born. So we never met, but in the dream we know each other well. He is coming out to meet me as I approach the farm house where I grew up, with specific instructions about which variety of forsythia to plant “if any of them in the hedge have died out.” It has large, floppy blossoms with red veins. There is a daffodil plant at the end of a row which is falling out of the earth, and he points to that. He is friendly, but exacting. I have the feeling he is aware of most everything that has happened recently around that place, and has no doubt that I will understand the necessity to do as he asks. *** A few “facts”: my grandparents came to the valley to grow apples and had the house built in 1913. They had 6 children, all but 2 born in the house. The 5th one was my father, who kept on growing apples there after his dad died, never wanted to do anything else. My grandfather Reid and my infant sister are the two people who have died in that house, although my dad lived there until 3 weeks before his death in 2012. In 2014 my brother and sister and I reluctantly sold the place to a neighbor, who planted new orchard and made many necessary repairs. He also cut down beloved shade trees and removed gardens that my grandmother planted. There was a hedge of spirea; the forsythia was in a huge clump in another part of the garden.*** Comment in my dream journal: “I’ve never dreamed of him before. The “home place” is moving, evidently.

    • Thank you for this beautiful dream of Grandfather Reid and the family home, Anna.

      And yes, you’re right. The “home place” that you mention is evidently moving . . . but now remember, Anna, that “home” always moving (whether it’s evident to us or not). Home is always changing, just as we are.

      Perhaps then the hedge that Grandfather Reid mentions, and that variety of replacement forsythia that he shows you — the one with floppy blossoms and red veins — is not something that ought to be looked for “back there” on the actual property of the old family estate? Or not merely back there, at any rate. For it seems that Grandfather Reid comes to you (specifically) in a tending sort of way, as if to show you that he is ever watchful, ever caring, and still very much interested in what goes on “there” with you. “There,” of course, is a living imaginal home — a shared imagination that contains you both — but, as Grandfather Reid points out, in a friendly but exacting way, there’s some work to do. He charges you (specifically) with the task of replacing the dead and dying off things you find there with a living variety of forsythia. In the language of the dreamtime, Anna, this would suggest that you are being charged with replacing “dead” memories of the farmhouse — and dead memories, of course, are that variety of memories that we cling to in a “back there” kind of way — and replacing these with a living, imaginal variety. And . . . here’s the kicker . . . he’s asking that you do this for HIM, and for the sake of what’s uniquely possible between you. Wow!

      We are all being charged with this, near as I can tell, Anna, in our own unique way, of course. We’re so apt to cling to the memory of what we’ve lost. But then the dead are truly dead, or at least they’re dead to us. For unless we find a way to move through our memories into ongoing living relationships, the dead exist only in our memories of them and not, therefore, as they are NOW but as merely endless repetitions of who (or what) they were when we knew them. Even when, as in this particular case, Anna, you have no memories of Grandfather Reid because he died before you were born. So you only knew him through what remained of him in the material world — the farm and the farmhouse, and all that he left you and the family. And it’s through your memory of the material world that he left you that he comes to you now — so the dream of the farmhouse is a kind of portal between you -– to show you that not only is he busy being dead, he also has work for you to do on this side of things!

      Gorgeous. Thank you, Anna.

  2. Thank you so much Renee, for your insightful response to this dream. I’ve been tending both the dream and your response over the past very busy week, and everything you said seems to catch the feeling and help illuminate the reality of this dream about “home-making.” Oh, and last Saturday night, October 1, my brother’s daughter married her long-time lover, and our own daughters were bridesmaids/matrons. Grandfather Reid’s last living daughter, now 91, was present. It turns out that October 1 is the anniversary of Grandfather and Grandmother Reid’s wedding in 1913. No such thing as coincidence…

    • Thank YOU, Anna. And thank you Grandfather Reid. Gorgeous. No such thing as coincidence, indeed. You are all “homemaking” now, at the wedding and in your various lives and attendant homes, with the love in the world that IS Grandfather (and Grandmother) Reid as they are now . . . and all of it conspiring to get your tender attention.


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