Dreams about your father dying mark a significant development in your psyche. This is not a dream that should scare anyone. These dreams tell you in no uncertain terms that it’s time to break free from your psychological attachment to your father and step into your own life.
Before you read this post, I suggest reading the main post of Father Dreams because there I give you more details about Father symbolism.
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Working with Dreams About Your Dad Dying
Sometimes dreams of your father dying are very upsetting. For example, a young woman, prone to depression, had an exceptional relationship to her father.
She dreamed that they were riding together on a motorcycle. He said to her, “time for me to die now” and suddenly the motorcycle split into two. He drove off the road on his part of the bike and crashed, and she continued onward on her own motorcycle.
Her father was her hero. She was the proverbial “daddy’s girl”. Not obviously dependent, but clearly psychologically attached, as though she were still “his child”.
Her psychological dependence on him held back her psychological development into adulthood, hence her vulnerability to depression.
I talk a lot about the movement of our psychic energy: when it moves forward, that’s progression. Progression means consciousness develops.
When that energy moves backward, that is regression. When we regress, we can fall into old patterns and get stuck. That’s what a depression is: psychological fixation, stagnation, or inactivity.
In order to get things moving again, we have to change something in our current attitude. Don’t get me wrong, though. Regression is not always bad or neurotic. Sometimes we have go backward to pick up something we have left behind. That something is always precious life force which has gotten stuck somewhere along the way.
Naturally, that dream of her father dying upset this young woman. However, I offered her congratulations on finally breaking free from the father-complex.
Well, that’s only partially true: psyche was telling her it was ready to break free. She, however, still had to work on making that a reality. That’s what we mean when we talk about integrating the dream material.
Dreams About Your Father Dying Mark a Time for Change
As I have already said, in general, the father in dreams symbolizes your attitude toward life.
An attitude toward life has many facets. It is our normal point of reference. Our attitude is how we respond to typical life events without even thinking about it. You may know your typology, meaning, introversion versus extroversion and thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuitive.
All of that is part of your habitual attitude, which is exactly what you want to look at if you dream of your father dying. You may be stuck in your typological identification.
Your goal in individuation is not about becoming a better INFP or ESTJ. Your goal in life, at least according to C.G. Jung’s idea of personality development, is about developing all of those functions where you are weak.
We need all of those psychological functions in order to adapt to the ever-changing world around us.
Anything we do habitually consumes us, as in the image we see of the Ogre eating children. That’s an image of the Father eating anything that wants to come into its own life.
The Father Image: How We See the World
Remember that an attitude can be both conscious and unconscious. Whatever the dream of your father dying represents in your life, it has something to do with how you see the world.
Our relationship to our actual father, or to anyone who served as a father figure in our childhood, affects our lives in profound ways. This applies whether our relationships with our fathers were good or bad. Believe it or not, psychologically speaking, too good of a relationship can as bad as too bad of a relationship, as in the young woman whose dream we have already talked about.
Here’s another example. One of my closest friends has an amazing relationship with her father. He’s an awesome man, who is lots of fun to be around. She once said to me that no man could ever compare to him.
Oddly, that did not cause her to be too picky about men; instead she drew into her life, men who were nothing like her father – men who were abusive, weak, impotent in life, or troubled in some other way.
Here’s yet another example of the father dying in dreams. A woman who had a terrible relationship with her abusive father hadn’t spoken to him in over 30 years. She dreamed her father died and that she gave the eulogy. The woman was finally free. Again, amazing psychological healing is depicted in this dream.
Dreams of Father Dying in a 21-Year Old Woman
A young woman once asked me about recurring dreams of her biological father dying, a man with whom she had very little contact.
Naturally, this woman had fantasies about what it must be like to have a real father. Certainly in some ways we need those kind of healthy fantasies. The can actually nourish the Father image within.
However, we cannot let the fantasy keep us in an infantile state, longing for the father we never had.
I told her that this dream imagery was profoundly moving, especially given that it came to her when she was 21 years old.
In the world of psyche, 21 years old is a powerful turning point in your life, as long as you can recognize the significance of it. You are at that precious age when it’s time to take your first step into the world as an adult. Your whole life is before you and the world is full of opportunity.
Archetypally speaking, that new world is the world of the Father. It is a time in your life which naturally constellates the archetype of the Father.
By constellate, I mean that the archetype is instinctually stimulated into action. When this happens, underlying forces start driving us – psychic forces which should carry us along a course of psychological development.
A New World Awaits You
I say that archetypal forces should carry us along because in this day and age, too many people resist stepping into adult life, and instead, neurotically cling to childhood. We cling in a number of ways: feeling sorry for ourselves, blaming our pasts, indulging our weaknesses, or by just doing whatever we have been told is the right thing to do.
A woman’s actual father, when he is capable, should usher her into the world. This is not so she can follow his way, but rather so she can find her own way in life. So again, if you dream of your father dying, psyche is telling you something about your readiness for life outside of the old family dynamic.
In general, when a woman is in touch with and guided by her inner Father, then she will discover her own ideas about life and its meaning. She does not accept conventional opinion or authority as her own.
Father Dying in Dreams: The Meaning for the Good Sons
A young man who told me that he had a great relationship with his father, dreamed that his father died. As I told him, this is not a dream that should scare anyone. To repeat myself in case you didn’t get it the first time, dreams about the death of the father mark a significant development in the psyche of anyone who has them.
In general, the father is an extremely important figure for a son. The father is the one who first breaks the son free from the psychological ties of the Mother, and then, initiates the boy into the ways of world. This is the idea behind all primitive initiation ceremonies, as shown above or in the video below.
Integrating the Message of the Father Dying
After a dream of the father dying, the boy’s next step is to break himself free from the ties to the Father.
For a man, before he can step into his own life as an independent man, he must psychologically break free from the ties to his father. Only then can he become the Father. Until he makes this break, he is forever, only the son.
A dream of your father dying is an indication that it’s time to step into your own life as a Man. Now, you become the Father (even if you don’t yet have children, for this is a symbolic image).
As an aside, even if you have had terrible relationship with your father, this dream’s message is similar: you’re ready to break free from that and live life according to your own terms.
Want to learn more about working with dreams or Jungian Psychology?
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