Some believe that the people you meet in dreams are all aspects of yourself. Others who are often into the metaphysical take a more literal interpretation and think any encounter with someone who has passed over is a meeting with the spirit of that person. I believe that both views are wrong.
I have numerous examples of dreams that clearly indicate some of the encounters with individuals in dreams were to make me aware of issues the person I encountered was experiencing. Later discussions with the individuals revealed that the information the individual revealed in the dream was completely accurate. I have also had dream encounters with individuals who have passed over. Some reflection on the dreams usually quickly revealed that the person in the dream had a defining characteristic similar to someone very much alive with whom I actually had the encounter.
I think that many, but not all, of the people we encounter in dreams are aspects of ourselves. As an example, suppose you dream that someone you know has just moved into your house or apartment with all his or her baggage. This may mean that you have recently adopted a characteristic or behavior that you associate with that individual. So in this case the person you meet is an aspect of yourself strongly associated with this other person. If you are old and have felt your physical ability is declining, but recently have experienced a burst of energy and a more youthful outlook, you may dream that someone you consider very energetic and youthful is moving into your place. If you are young and impetuous, but recently have listened to someone older and wiser, you may dream that someone you respect for age and experience is moving into your place with his or her luggage.
We must always look for associations when interpreting our dreams. This is especially true when we dream about the departed. You may dream about a family member who has passed over, and this dream may help you deal with the loss of this person, especially if the relationship was close. The dream could occur to give you that reassurance that life does not end with a physical death, but existence continues in a different form.
However, often this is not the case. The person who has passed over may be chosen by the subconscious to play a part in your dream because of your associations with that person. As an example, suppose your mother has passed over, and your mother was someone whom you considered, and still consider, exceptionally loving and giving. An encounter with your mother in the dream may represent a recent or future encounter with another person who has those qualities. You dream used your mother as a symbol because of your strong identifications of her with those qualities.
I recently dreamed of a brief meeting with a friend who passed over nearly ten years ago. Some reflection on the dream and my recent encounters with family and friends made it clear that the dream was not a literal encounter. I strongly associated a certain characteristic and behavior with this individual, which I recently observed in a major way with someone close to me who is very much alive. This is a reminder of one of the first principals: dreams are usually not literal. I will discuss the times when dreams are literal in a future post.
In my case, dreams that I believe were actual encounters with someone who passed usually occurred shortly after the person’s passing. I have had pre-sleep experiences concerning my mother who passed more than fifteen years ago, but I do not regard them as dreams. The pre-sleep experiences were psychic experiences that occurred as I was falling asleep rather than dreams. The dividing line is nebulous; some consider dreams as only occurring during REM sleep, although studies have shown that this is not the case. Dreams can occur outside the REM cycle, but still happen when we are asleep. However, as we pass from the beta state to an alpha state just before entering sleep we are open to paranormal experiences that are not normally regarded as dreams, although some may call them waking dreams. You may want to review my post Seeking Answers from Dreams on 4/08/2015.