Suicide in Dreams

When "death" appears in a dream, it is a very reliable indicator that the dreamer is growing and changing so profoundly that only the "death" of the old "me", (or part if "me"), is an adequate symbol of the psycho-spiritual process that is taking place.


The image/experience of "death" in the dream world is the single most frequent and reliable metaphor of profound psycho-spiritual growth and change that the collective unconscious has to offer. Basically, the archetypal image functions like this: if "I" am truly to grow and evolve, then all my life energy must be fully withdrawn from who "I" used to be, so that my life energies are available to who "I" am becoming - and "death" is the most apt metaphor of "the withdrawal of life energy" there is.

This means that "murder" and "suicide" in the dream world take on a special quality of meaning. The metaphors of "murder" and "suicide" in dreams tend to come up to symbolically describe those challenges of growth and development that can only be adequately met by conscious choice. There are changes that will happen over the passage of time, whether "I" will them to or not - and then there are those changes that "I" am drawn to make in "my" life that will ONLY HAPPEN IF "I" MAKE A CLEAR CONSCIOUS EFFORT. It is precisely these kinds of changes that are most often symbolized by the metaphors of "murder" and "suicide" in dreams.

For example, the dream of "suicide" is one of the most positive dreams a person in recovery from addictive behavior can have, because it almost always indicates that this time, the conscious effort to overcome the addiction will be successful; the "addict" is choosing to "commit suicide" SYMBOLICALLY so that the person free from addiction may truly come into being.

When suicidal thoughts crowd into a person's mind awake, it means the same thing(!) It is an example of "dreaming awake". The unwanted suicidal thoughts are and example of the same archetypal metaphor as in dreams; the person is faced with the necessity of changing his/her life so radically that only the "death" of the "old me" is an adequate symbolic reflection of the order of change "I" must bring about in my life, BY CONSCIOUS CHOICE.

As the Jungian analyst, Robert Johnson has said to suicidal people on several occasions, "By all means, kill yourself...(!) but DO NOT HARM YOUR BODY!"

Alas, all too often, people take these persistent suicidal thoughts literally, when, in fact, they are simply "dreaming awake". The unwanted thoughts and distressed feelings of frustration and hopelessness are clear indicators that the person is standing on a threshold of personal transformation - emotional, psychological, spiritual transformation so profound, that the person "I" am now, (the one who feels the pain the sense of being haunted and trapped), will be GONE, as surely and completely as if "I" had "killed myself". But this is a change that will not happen "naturally" just by letting enough time go by. In order to accomplish this kind of personal transformation, the person must CHOOSE to let go of his/her old life and turn toward the frightening challenges of the new life which is crying out in them to be born.

People who have these "suicidal" thoughts and feelings are experiencing the inner prompting that it is now time to CHOOSE A NEW WAY OF BEING IN THE WORLD, (and if they couldn't actually accomplish this transformation, they wouldn’t even remember these "dreams" in the first place!) Mistaken literalism is the greatest tragedy when it comes to suicidal thoughts and feelings - by all means, "kill yourself", but do not harm your body!


©Jeremy Taylor 2015