My friend had a dream and she killed herself in it. She was sitting on a
cliff at the Grand Canyon and threw herself off. She is a very up and cheery
person and I had no idea what to say when she told me this dream.
Of course, whenever our friends talk about suicide, we need to act
responsibly and even suggest that they contact a professional or call a local
suicide help line. However, death and suicide in dreams are not all that
uncommon and if there is no depression or despair noticeable in the waking
person, the dreams are best taken symbolically.
As Jeremy Taylor, the world renowned Dream Worker, says "No matter how
distressing these images are during the dream, they are almost certainly
symbolic pictures of ways in which I am growing and changing, ways in which
my life energies are being redirected from old attitudes, perceptions, and
self-images.". Taylor has had several decades of experience and his ideas are
based on Carl Jung's work, which elaborates how the dreaming mind is always
working towards healing and wholeness.
The key symbols here are Death and the Self. When death is seen literally,
the focus is on the loss and absence, but when taken metaphorically, the
emphasis is on loss of the old to make way for the new. Death, in this sense,
is the great transformation. If someone distant in our dream dies, we often
say that characteristic in our personality is changing. If *we* die in a
dream, it may indicate a radical change in the core self, and this could
manifest itself in personality, attitude, behavior or other actions.
However, since the dream you mentioned is not mine nor yours, the best advice
beyond seeking professional help is to give no advice at all, but to do
active listening, to just be a witness for what your friend wants to share.
If they are going through a major transformation, you will find out about it
Richard Wilkerson is general editor for The
Internet Dream E-zine, Electric Dreams, and director of DreamGate, the Internet
Communications and Dream Education Center. He writes the Cyberphile column for
the Association for the Study of Dreams Newsletter.