What Does It Mean When Deceased Loved Ones Appear in Dreams?

Karen T. Hluchan
5 min readJun 24, 2020
woman sleeping

Dreaming is a fascinating mechanism in which the subconscious mind processes, in symbolic form, emotions and scenarios affecting our lives. The symbols within our dreams come from our personal experiences and cultural references, which means they can differ from person to person. What does it mean, then, when loved ones in spirit appear in our dreams? When a loved one who has crossed over into the next realm visits us in our dreams, it is really them appearing in spirit form to help us work through the various issues we are facing in our lives. Even if the dream is an unpleasant one, their presence in the dream is one of helpful assistance, even if it does not appear that way due to the content of the dream. It is who and what they represent which is important.

Our journey on earth is a spiritual one, in which we work through lessons for our souls to evolve and grow. Many of the lessons present challenges but with the promise of deep satisfaction within the soul when the lessons are learned and absorbed, allowing us to move forward with inner strength and peace. Honoring your soul and the souls of others is a vital lesson on earth as we are here to help one another in this journey. That help may come in the form of challenges which present us with opportunities for growth. Every situation we face and every person who comes into our lives serves a purpose. When loved ones appear in our dreams, they are helping us work through the earthly circumstances tied into our lessons. At times, they can also deliver direct messages with hints of what is to come or ways in which we can solve our problems. When delivering a direct message, there is a strong realistic quality which occurs during the transmission of the specific message which is inserted into the dream amongst the symbolic references. The occurrence of the message has the same quality as a vision. Dreams are often used to convey messages and provide time for a visitation from our loved ones in spirit.

Visions Versus Dreams

There is a distinct difference between dreams and visions. For most people, visions often occur immediately prior to falling asleep or upon waking but before you arise. Visions are very strong and have a realistic quality to them. When a deceased loved one visits in a vision, the experience can be very powerful, as every sense is magnified and the messages they share are clear and direct. Experiences with God, the angels, and past spiritual masters can also occur in dreams and visions. Again, when the visitations occur within a vision, it can be life changing.

Remembering and Interpreting Dreams

The messages within dreams are unique to each person. The best method for interpreting the symbolism within your dreams is to use word association techniques. Dream dictionaries are not very helpful because certain symbols may be positive for you but may represent something completely different for someone else. This is why word association is best because it taps into your personal symbols.

How to Remember and Record Your Dreams

Before you go to sleep, place a pen and paper by your bedside. In your mind, put the request out to the universe to remember your dreams. Try this for at least two weeks, especially if you have difficulty remembering your dreams. Be prepared to be woken up at an unusual time. This is because you will need to be awakened during the REM (rapid eye movement) cycle of sleep. It is during this cycle that you dream, and when you are woken up within the dream, you will recall it. Once you are awakened, do not get up out of bed. If you do, the memories of the dream will rapidly disappear. Instead, reach for your pen and paper to write down all the details of your dream. Do not concern yourself with sentence structure, spelling, or grammar. Just write down everything you remember without trying to interpret the meaning. Then, set it aside for at least a half day to a day.

How to Interpret Your Dreams

When you are ready to work on the interpretation of your dreams, sit down with the write up of your dream and a separate piece of paper. While keeping an open mind and without attempting to interpret the meaning, look at each being, object and action in the dream. Jot down the first things you think of immediately. Do not think or second guess and do not attempt to interpret. This is an exercise in word association. This process only works if you keep an open mind and jot down the first thought associated with the object, being, or action. Repeat this for all objects, beings, and actions in your dream. After you have completed this exercise for the entire dream, take a look at the words you wrote in the word association exercise. This is when you begin the process of interpretation. You should begin to notice a pattern or theme emerging. Think about how the theme relates to events occurring in your life. The symbolism in your dream has the potential to reveal insight into your life through the identification of the subconscious thoughts and emotions affecting your life.

Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming is the ability to directly communicate with beings in your dream while remaining in the dream state. There are many books and articles that teach methodologies for lucid dreaming. Knowing that it is really your loved ones in spirit in your dreams is the first step. When I attempted to speak with my dad in my dreams for the first time, I was able to consciously recognize him in my dream, but then I woke up immediately. While possible, it takes practice to be able to successfully converse with loved ones in your dreams.

Visiting in Your Dreams

Loved ones in spirit use dreams and visions as one of the many ways to get messages to you and to help you with your life. They do this because they have been trying to communicate in different ways while you are awake. Learning how your loved ones in spirit communicate and send you signs opens the beautiful connection you have with one another beyond life on Earth. When they visit you in your dreams, I hope you take comfort in knowing they are there to help you with your journey, as well as all the joys and challenges we experience.

With Love and Light,
Karen T. Hluchan



Karen T. Hluchan

I am a international Spirit Medium, Reiki master, paranormal investigator, motivational speaker, spiritual artist, and author of “How Have You Loved?”