Halloween, Samhain, and Dia de Muertos, All Saint’s Day. These holidays mark the time of year when the veils between the worlds are thin and dreams of those who have died are common.
So, not surprisingly, I dreamed a few nights ago of my mother who died in 1984.
I worked with the dream as I usually do but then decided to consult the tarot to see what else I could learn. I used a spread for dreams that I learned from Robert Place, creator of The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, the deck I used. In the spread, three cards represent the dreamer.
I pulled Gabriel (Judgment), Prudence (The World) and Stella (The Star), all Major Arcana cards, representing the mythical and archetypal.
In my dream, I am in a strange house, one I am comfortable in because I sit at a small table working on my laptop. Behind me to my right is a living area. Family members are there but I don’t see them. To my right is a stairway down to the next level, like a split-level. To my left is the dining area with table and chairs and beyond that a kitchen with no windows or lights on, so it is shadowed. Everything is in shades of black/white/grey.
I write something I am amused by so I lift my head and look over to the dining room to make a comment and share a laugh with my mom who stands at the far side of the table, her hands resting on the back of the chair. Her hair is dark as it was before the cancer and her shirt/blouse is a pristine white. She laughs with me.
I look to my right to gesture to someone and suddenly think joyfully, “Mom isn’t dead.” And my mind says, “Of course she is dead. She’s been dead all this time.”
I glance back. Mom isn’t there. Reality settles in, but still I am elated because Mom’s spirit was just here. “Hey, you guys,” I say, “Mom’s spirit was just here. I saw her right there.”
Family members don’t believes me, but my father, coming up the steps from the lower level says, “I believe you.”
And I wake up, savoring the all-too-brief, connection with my mom.
Now as I look at the three cards, I think how accurate they are about the experience of dreaming about the dead.
Representing you or I as the dreamer, first is Gabriel. According to Robert’s Little White Book, Gabriel calls the dead back to life. In Biblical mythology, Gabriel is also the messenger of God. He is considered to be the patron saint of messengers (writers), broadcasters, etc. So, as the dreamer, Gabriel’s trumpet calls the dreamer to be aware and alert to the visitation of the dead loved one and the message.
Prudence, the World, is the last card of the Major Arcana. She marks the end of a journey. She stands at a between place. For you as the dreamer, you, your soul, stand at a place between worlds. For me, especially with the Lion so prominent (I am a Leo), this confirms me as the dreamer,the one whose Gabriel’s horn points to.
And the beautiful Stella, the Star. She represents the one” who ascends to the heavens,” as Robert puts it. As the dreamer, you ascend to the place of dreaming where connection with other souls is possible. For me, she is both me as dreamer and my mother, there to bring me peace and guidance.
If you have a dream of someone who is died:
- Record the dream. Capture as much detail as possible since everything may have relevance.
- Play with symbols, metaphors, visual and verbal puns. Don’t discount anything. More information may evolve the more your work with the dream.
- Consult your favorite oracle about the dream. You can list the parts of the dream and pull a card or rune for each part, for example. Or ask one question about the dream and use the oracle to get an answer. You might ask for clarity about the message or next actions.
Keep your dream journals close to hand. Because you might be visited in your dreams with just the message and guidance you need, from the loved one who is gone.