The details within your dream often shape your interpretation and its overall meaning, but there are some dreams which you cannot get past a certain event in your dream to look closer at what it might mean.
Dreaming of people you know who have died is an extremely common dream, and it can cause any number of strong emotions, which will probably influence the rest of your day.
You may be unnerved if you remember in the dream that they are dead, thinking that their appearance is not natural.
Or, you may be overjoyed to see them again. In some visitation dreams, you may just stay in the moment, and not actually remember they are dead until you wake up, which can be distressing.
Whatever emotion you experience, it can be difficult to see past it to the details, especially if the deceased person you’re dreaming of has only just passed away.
This makes it very difficult to unravel the number of reasons why you might have had these dreams.
So let’s break it down.
Can the Dead Really Visit Us in Dreams?
For as long as we’ve been able to tell stories, folklore, and record history, there have been tales and accounts of the dead visiting us, in dreams, visions, and as apparitions or ghosts.
It can be difficult to know if your dream of them was as real as it seemed, and the uncertainty after having a dream of the dead visiting you can be just as confusing and distressing as the dream itself.
None of us know what happens to us after we die. Yes, we have a fair few ideas, but nothing has provided us with concrete, tangible evidence to tell us exactly where your soul, spirit, identity, or consciousness goes once your body is done.
Likewise, this ambiguity surrounds dreams involving dead loved ones. We cannot say for sure if they appear in our dreams, but we cannot just say it’s not them, either.
It could be them, or it could be our projection of them, or a wish fulfillment dream, and this is something you’ll need to decide for yourself when you look at the details of your dream, and how your loved one appeared.
How To Tell the Difference Between a Visitation Dream and a Normal Dream
In the simplest terms, a visitation dream is one which you wake up from, and you’re absolutely sure that your deceased loved one visited you while you were in your dream state.
Some argue that the difference between a dead loved one visiting you in your dream and your desire to see them is a bright light surrounding them in your dream, and anything else is just your projection of them.
A visitation dream is not dictated by this. How someone who has died appears in your dream isn’t exactly one-size-fits-all, and it can be very specific to you and the person who has died.
It’s more important to focus on how you feel during this dream to decide what it means to you. If you’re certain it was them, that counts for more than what a general interpretation does.
There are different types of visitation dreams, and they may not always involve the image of the deceased person as you knew them in life, but it could be something that represents them.
Types of Visitation Dreams
A Bright Light Surrounds Them
This is the most common type of visitation dream. Within your dream, you may see your deceased loved one at peace. The dream is filled with light, and your loved one looks untroubled by pain, stress, or anything else earthly.
They may tell you that they are happy and safe, that they’ve reached the end of their journey, or they may have an important message which you need to hear. This dream has hopefully offered some comfort to you.
You See Only A Glimpse of Your Loved One
You are experiencing a normal dream, and suddenly you notice a glimpse of the one person you know you cannot see in waking life.
Maybe it’s not even a glimpse of them at all, but the smell of their perfume or cologne, or something with a very personal connection to them.
The rest of the dream may halt, to revolve around this one image. Maybe you try to chase them, but you cannot find them beyond that one sighting.
This is one of the most vivid visitation dreams, and it can be stressful or frustrating, as there’s no reconciling moment within it.
As a Memory
You may have relived a memory within your dream which directly involved your loved one, a memory which you haven’t thought of in years.
It may only be a sliver of a memory creeping into this dream, or the full memory may play out. You could find yourself not wanting to wake up, instead wanting to relive the memory for as long as possible.
Sometimes this visitation dream can be them reminding you of the good times instead of how things ended, especially if you had an argument before they passed.
As Something Else Entirely
To some people, their deceased loved ones don’t appear as themselves, but as objects. This may sound odd, but dreams are always surreal, and hardly anything is what it appears to be in your dream.
You might be wondering what the connection between a dead loved one and a coin is.
You’ve probably heard of some customs in a number of cultures, where the dead were given coins to pay for their safe passage on their journey, and this is largely where the association stems from.
If you dream of coins and then receive one unexpectedly in waking life, you may feel this is a sign from your loved one. If you’ve been struggling lately, it can come as a reminder that they are still with you in some form.
Deceased loved ones can also appear as animals in your dream, particularly if they’ve always had a specific association with a certain animal, or the animal features characteristics which remind you of them.
What animal your loved one may take in your dream will be very specific to them, and you’ll know within your dream when this happens.
Your deceased loved one may also take the form of a plant in your dream. This may be a specific bloom that you associate with them, or a memory which is dear to you.
It may even be a tree, which also connects to your family history, and not everything can be erased by death.
If you dream of a flower and think of them, this may indicate that you should visit the site of their memorial.
Dreaming of falling over a stone, or dropping a stone into a clear pool, can be your dead loved one visiting you to warn you. The current path you’re taking leads to misfortune, or you’re straying from the one you should be on.
This dream can also be a warning to be wary of someone, or to remind you of a piece of advice they had once given you.
Reasons Why Your Visitation Dream Happened
Visitation dreams are very common, although not everyone feels comfortable talking about them, for fear of being judged, or the dream being too personal.
You Miss Them
This goes without saying, really, doesn’t it? The death of a loved one leaves a huge hole in your life.
It might only be evident after they’re gone how much time you spent with them, and now you don’t know what to do with all those spare hours, which are horribly empty without them.
A visitation dream can provide some comfort to you in this case.
Reconciling Their Death
A visitation dream is a way of lessening the awful turmoil death leaves behind, and it can also be part of the grieving process itself.
It’s extremely common to dream of someone who has died, and it can be your loved one telling you that they are safe, and you don’t need to worry about them anymore.
Things may become a little easier after a dream like this.
Something Was Left Unfinished
Dreaming of your dead loved one (see also Dead People Dream Meaning) visiting you is a common dream when their death was very sudden, or there was something they didn’t manage to do before they died, or there was something you needed to say to them, but you never got the chance.
This dream can be a way of starting to resolve these issues. Your deceased loved one may also be telling you to let go of any guilt or anger. They aren’t worried about it, and neither should you be.
There’s Something You Need to Know
A visitation from your deceased loved one may be a message from them. This may be them reminding you of something you’ve forgotten because of stress or worry, something vital, positive and affirming.
Or, they may be warning you about something to come.
Common Visitation Dreams and What They Mean
The ‘role’ of your deceased loved one which they assumed in your life can have a factor in the meaning behind the dream. For example, dreaming of a friend who has died who was a source of advice and inspiration will be different to a friend who was more dependent on you.
This is also true of dreaming of a deceased grandmother, and dreaming of a deceased father. Both played different roles in your life, and your personal associations with these loved ones will be completely separate from each other.
The specifics of your relationship with your deceased loved one and the memories you hold dear also play a factor, but let’s have a look at the symbolism behind these visitation dreams.
What does a Visitation from Your Deceased Mother Mean?
If you dream of your mother who has passed on, and this is long after she has died, this dream can occur when something in waking life, or someone, is reminding you of her.
You could be wondering what her insight might be regarding a situation in waking life. Maybe she would have a unique perspective that could help.
Her visiting you within this dream can also indicate that you need to assume a ‘matriarchal’ role in waking life, and adopt the qualities you associate with her memory.
A situation or a specific person needs the kind of help or insight only you can provide, whether you think you are capable of it or not.
What does a Visitation from Your Deceased Father Mean in a Dream?
Largely, the meaning behind your deceased father’s appearance in your dream depends on how you felt when you saw him.
If you felt confused, or troubled at his appearance, this indicates that you’ve been carrying around an issue for far longer than you should. It’s affecting every part of your life. He is telling you that it’s time you let it go.
Feeling happy or calm when you see your dead feather within this dream reflects feelings of happiness and security in waking life. You’re in a good place right now.
If you dream of your deceased father walking through your home, or entering the threshold, this is him telling you that he’s still looking out for you where he can. Part of him will still be with you, always.
Dreaming of a Visitation Dream from Your Dead Grandmother
The appearance of your deceased grandmother in your dream suggests that a long-standing problem which has had you questioning your capabilities will soon be over.
Just as it had been troubling you enough that it influenced every part of your behavior, its absence will leave behind a great sense of relief and joy. You’ll find once it is over, you’ll be able to accomplish much more than you previously thought possible.
If you felt as though your grandmother’s presence was admonishing, this implies that you should return to anything you’ve been putting off, even if it is daunting, or you don’t know how to confront it.
Feeling nervous during a visitation dream indicates that you could benefit from seeking out affection, advice, or connection with someone in your life.
You’re under a lot of strain within part of your life, or a situation in waking life is affecting your ability to prioritize, and you need to take a step back in order to regain some control.
Dreaming of a Visitation from Your Deceased Partner
Dreaming of your deceased partner visiting you, whether you were married in waking life or not, points to the love and affection you still hold for them.
They may come into your dream to tell you any number of things, from them being proud of you, to tell you they miss you, or that it’s time to move on.
Maybe there’s a situation in waking life which you need to think about what they would have to say. There may be some advice which you could do with acting on.
Dreaming of a Visitation from Your Dead Sibling
If you dream that your deceased sibling visits you (see also Family Dream Meaning), they may be telling you that they miss you just as much as you miss them, or something in waking life needs your attention, either something you’re ignoring or something you are completely unaware of.
Dreaming of a Visitation from Your Deceased Uncle
If you dream of your dead uncle visiting you, this suggests that you feel something is undermining you, or you want to run from the pressures of responsibility in your life.
His presence within your dream can also point to problems with authority, power, or another theme which is traditionally associated with masculinity.
Dreaming of Your Dead Aunt Visiting You
The presence of your dead aunt within your dream can suggest coming conflict, or a need to step in and help solve someone else’s problems.
Your aunt is reminding you that you can do a lot of good if you put your mind to it, but you also need to take care of yourself in order to do so.
This dream can also signify that you need to seek someone’s help in a situation within waking life. Think of what your aunt would do.
Dreaming of a Deceased Ex
If you dream of an old ex who has passed away, this could be your way of reflecting on the times you had together. Something in waking life has reminded you of them, for better or worse.
Their appearance within your dream can also indicate that you haven’t fully processed or let go of what happened within this relationship or stage of your life.
Other Things to Consider
Conversations with the Dead
It’s rare to have a visitation dream where someone who is deceased has a conversation with you, but there may be an important message within it that you shouldn’t ignore.
Often, what the dead have to tell us within a dream can be something you already know, or something you know you need to acknowledge sooner or later. But it often comes out wrong.
What they have to say can manifest as a nonsensical phrase, and while this can be distressing, it’s important to try to think of why they might have appeared in your dream, rather than a conversation that doesn’t make sense.
Your Own Emotions and Associations
The two things that will guide you into understanding a visitation dream are what kind of emotions this dream provoked within you, and also your personal relationship or connection with the deceased.
While the above examples serve as the symbolism behind your visitation dream, only you can decide for yourself what your loved one’s appearance within your dream has to tell you, as there will be many things to consider.
How To Invite Visitation Dreams
Visitation dreams never appear when you expect or wish them to. Unfortunately, these dreams aren’t something that you can call upon when you miss your loved one, but there are some things you can do to ‘invite’ these dreams.
Understand That It Won’t Be Immediate
The first step is to think about who you want to see, but not to try to somehow force them to visit you in your dreams, or expect them to appear when you’ve thought a lot about their potential visit.
It is important that you don’t demand them to come, as this isn’t something you have any control over, and you’ll just end up frustrating yourself.
This is worth keeping in mind, especially if you’re someone that practices lucid dreaming. You may only see your projected desire of them if you try, rather than your loved one themselves.
It’s also worth mentioning that time is an odd thing at the best of times within your dream, so things can be very abstract.
Your loved one may not show up until you’ve stopped waiting for them to appear, days, weeks, or even months later. Be patient, and be open to the possibility.
Keep A Dream Diary
It is possible that you may have a visitation dream without realizing it, if you’re in a state of mind that’s particularly confused, stressed, or otherwise negatively affected.
To better understand your dreams, it is worth keeping a dream journal, as this allows you not only to understand your dreams, but to give you a better understanding of yourself.
Practice Visualizing Them
In order to encourage their appearance within your dream, it’s worth focusing on remembering them as much as possible, down to the smallest detail.
That might not even be their appearance, but a unique habit you associate with their memory, specific phrases or tones of voice, or the way they made you feel.
Think about their smell, their favorite things, the way they’d interact with you, how they’d treat strangers. What they’d immediately accept, and what they’d dismiss as nonsense. What they would say if they could see you now.
Once you’ve got as much in-depth a picture of them as possible, you’re more likely to have a visitation dream.