How to Find Treasures in Your Dreams

Episode Six

DEATH ... part one
 (Exploring the other side of life in dreams)


Death!  Here today, gone tomorrow.
Even more mysterious than the vast number of single socks devoured and lost forever in clothes dryers around the world, are the eternal, profound, ever-looming mysteries of LIFE and DEATH. Did I exist before I was born? Will I exist after I die? Are birth and death two ends of the same pogo stick? What do we do in the meantime? How profound of John Lennon to realize that “Life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross notwithstanding, DEATH has a bad rep and is not a popular topic in coffee clutch conversations. It seems to me that most people are scared to death of death, especially their own!  When our lives take on that mindless frenzy of activity, are we desperately, unconsciously trying to ward off the Grim Reaper? And yet, however ubiquitous our fear of the thought of death, this is not true in more ‘primitive’ societies where death is honored as a vital part of life.

Occasionally a death dream may literally come true. A few years ago I dreamt of horrible killings. People were being shot, slaughtered. An awful dream! I could not understand why I had this dream. Then two days later, I received a phone call from a friend in New Zealand telling me of sudden death in his family. They had become victims in New Zealand’s worst-ever massacre! I was shocked and horrified. When I considered the time differences, I realized that I had dreamt my dream at the time the killings were actually occurring! (Shiver!)
I felt that I was given this dream in order to be ‘readied’ to help my friend, rather than to be overwhelmed in a total state of shock when he called.

But, by far my most prevalent death dreams portend not a physical death but refer to some aspect of myself that needs to die off, some worn-out, yucky pattern that no longer benefits me, in order that some healthy new paradigm can emerge.
    So don’t be too quick to call the undertaker if you dream you died from being tossed over a cliff by a wild Tasmanian male belly-dancer.  Instead, explore your dream images ... maybe even take up belly-dancing!!
    It’s an easy stretch to appreciate how dreams can guide us with exquisite knowing into an ever-increasing appreciation of the transformative power of death, either literally (when we croak) or metaphorically (when we need to transform).

    This Episode, Part One, explores my experience with metaphorical death.
Part Two (next month) will explore my experience with literal death. Not mine, of course, but literal death nonetheless.
    It takes courage to honor death images in our dreams. This became gut-wrenchingly apparent to me as I painted the image from my dream/vision, “Old Nathan.”

Of all my death dreams over the years, none epitomizes the potential for healing in death (and therefore life) better than the following dream. And, by the way, it took me months before I could bring myself to draw this Old Nathan character, so repulsive was his image, and he stunk! The rewards of finally making him into a Dream Card are great, however. Upon seeing his pathetically sad face and broken, twisted body, I felt compassion at last for his woundedness -- and my own.

Old Nathan is not from a ‘night’ dream and is the result of another way of dreaming.  While in a meditative state, I actively, consciously interacted with my spontaneous inner images and thoughts with the intention of meeting with an Ancestor of mine.  If you would like to widen your dreaming horizons, a treat is in store for you when you read Robert Moss’s two latest books on this topic -- Conscious Dreaming (Crown Publishing, 1996) and Dream Gates (Three Rivers Press, 1998). Robert’s books are available online through Dream Network at or email Robert at ...



*Healing emerges*
*When, instead of neglecting*
*You befriend your wounds*

Conscious Dream: October 12, 1997,  Old Nathan is Dying

My Grandmother, Kitty (who died of asthma at the age of 29), takes me back in time to meet Old Nathan, the originator of our ancestral line of TB and other respiratory diseases.  He’s lying in the dirt by some hovel cave, DYING.  He’s despicable looking, smells awful.  Kitty also tells me he’s a murderous, sex perverted villain who has now become so sick he cannot do much but suffer as he wallows in the dirt.  Kitty also tells me he is so hated that no family members will help him in any way.  Until someone does, he will perpetuate the foul respiratory diseases
on and on for our future generations.  So, it’s up to me!  I have to go to him.
I finally muster enough courage to get close to this stench-ridden fiend and look into his bleary bloodshot eyes. He pleads with me to be his friend. “No one has ever cared,” he whispers, as a waft of his foul breath almost keels me over. Then I take the ultimate plunge -- reaching out, I hold his hands in mine, then tentatively, hug him. Something falls away. He asks, “Got one of those emerald stones?” “Sure,” I reply, as I dig in my pocket and give him one. “Thank you, I need this badly.” Then Old Nathan puts the emerald in his mouth. The healing has begun.

I am reminded of Robert Bly’s admonition to, “Eat Your Shadow.” My Old Nathan image tells me in a thousand graphic ways that to overcome the fear of the shadow of death, I simply need to ingest, eat, befriend that shadow in me, which previously I would rather have ignored or vigorously spat out.
Yum! That tastes pretty good after all.

        What might your death dreams be asking you to release?

Click Here for Episode Seven DEATH ... part two "When a Great Friend Dies”

BIO:  Noreen is owner of 7 Arts Studio in Milford, Ohio, and is in turn owned by her 5 cats.  She is a stained glass artist, dream adventurer, writer, drummer, computer art buff and teacher of Tai Chi
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