New Year holiday death dreams are not what they seem.

“I don’t usually remember my dreams, but during the New Year period I’ve had four dreams about death. Should I be worried?”

Natasha is a journalist, and her death dreams prompted some research that led her to wonder whether there was a connection between New Year and these kinds of dreams. Are they more common around this time of year, why, and what do they mean?

Natasha called me for an interview, and her article, Had a death dream recently? It might not be your worst nightmare, was published this week.

As it turns out, I do always notice an increase in people bringing me death dreams at this time of year. There are several good reasons why.

While every dream is unique and personal, and I most certainly do not advocate a dream dictionary approach to interpreting and understanding dreams, our dreaming brains and minds often come up with death themes when we are processing feelings and thoughts about endings.

Whether or not we consciously make New Year resolutions or set intentions for the year ahead, most of us review the previous year, or become aware of what has changed – or not changed – between last Christmas and this one, between last New Year’s Eve and this one.  Our dreams may process this reviewing as all the little deaths or endings that occurred during the year. Our dreams may literally help us to put the old year to rest.

Less subtly, most of us do make New Year resolutions, or look toward a new year with an eye to change for the better. Your dreams may perceive all those declarations of “I’m putting an end to …,” as deaths. Old habits need to die to make way for new and better ones.

So why might our dreams express changing a habit or witnessing change in such macabre or frightening ways as seeing people we know and love die, or seeing ourselves dead?

Why doesn’t our dreaming brain or mind come up with a more supportive scenario, such as a gentle ritual of letting go, the closing of a book on a certain subject, or the scattering of rose petals to the winds?

The drama and high emotion reflect our unconscious mind’s feelings and thoughts about the endings being processed. Consciously we’re absolutely with the new programme, keen to give up chocolate forever, put an end to bad work habits, or say goodbye to toxic relationships, but our unconscious mind usually has a different agenda. Your unconscious mind may rely on that chocolate for deep emotional sustenance, on those bad work habits to prevent you from the success it deeply fears, and the toxic relationships to keep you in congruence with your deep beliefs around self esteem and punishment. Your unconscious mind is going to kick and scream loud and clear at the prospect of change. It’s going to pull out all the plugs and express its deepest feelings: this, to me, your unconscious mind, is as devastating as death of a beloved, for you are my beloved.

Can you imagine how successful your New Year resolutions are going to be if your unconscious mind has such an emotive agenda? No wonder kicking old habits can be so very difficult to do.

This is where dream work is so powerful and practical.

Getting to know your unconscious mindset through interpreting your dreams gives you the information you need to make progress in any aspect of your life. You get to discover where your unconscious mind is with you, and where it is against you. You also get to discover quite magical and wonderful elements of your unconscious mind that you can bring into consciousness to enhance your life and wellbeing on every level.

The people who die in your dreams represent specific aspects of your unconscious mind associated with those endings you feel or fear, aspects you can discover through applying dream interpretation tools and techniques, or through consulting a professional dream therapist.

Sometimes our death dreams help us to see what we might be ending prematurely, or not nourishing within ourselves. Explore your unique death dreams so you can be sure what the deaths symbolise and what this reflects in your life.

There are other reasons why people tend to experience more death dreams around this time of year:

Spending time with extended families can be challenging for some people at Christmas, especially if there’s added pressure to conform to traditions and expectations.  Whatever your conscious experience of the matter, your unconscious mind may have a few tantrums to throw when it comes to dream time.

Another reason why you might notice more death dreams during the Christmas to New Year period is because there are more holiday opportunities to sleep in. When you don’t have to jump out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off, you tend to remember more dreams in general. There’s more time to drift and recall dreams. Waking up naturally, during the holidays, is also conducive to more dream recall, as we tend to wake up just after a dream.

We’re now a little way into January, and perhaps this blog has given you some clues as to why some of your New Year resolutions may have already faltered, but more than this, I hope you feel encouraged to understand change through the eyes of your dreams, to let the past rest in peace, and to welcome the birth of the new.

You can read Natasha’s article on New Year death dreams here.


Jane Teresa Anderson

Graduating with an Honours degree in Zoology specialising in neurophysiology from the University of Glasgow, dream analyst and dream therapist Jane Teresa Anderson has been researching dreams since 1992, and developing and teaching dream alchemy practices that shift perspective and reprogram unconscious limiting beliefs. Jane Teresa is a multi-published author, and appears frequently in the media on television, radio, and in print. She is also host of the long-running podcast, The Dream Show, and offers her online study and certificate courses through The Dream Academy.


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