A mortician’s dream

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While it is true that we all have common symbols in our dreams that mean the same thing for all of us, it is equally true that our unique experiences also make for symbols that have meanings that are unique to us. For example, a dream of a dead body, for most of us, would symbolize an issue in our life that has ended or a part of our self that has died off and is no longer viable… but for a mortician dreaming of a dead body is something entirely different.

I’m a frequent guest on Dangerous Conversation hosted by Scott Ledger and part of the Bubba Radio Network. Last month when I was on, they had an in-studio guest, Enoch the mortician. He told me that for several years, after he became a mortician, he would have – almost nightly – dreams of one of the dead bodies he had cremated or embalmed that day. In these dreams the body would crawl out of the crematorium or off the gurney and would begin to climb up Enoch’s body! The corpse would be twisted, the head turned the other way, etc. and as the corpse climbed his body it would cry, “Why? Why are you doing this to me??”

Yikes!!!

Scott, Enoch and I discussed this for some time trying to get to the bottom of it. At first, I told him this may really be a question he was posing to himself. Perhaps he was asking himself, through these dreams, why he was in this profession. Enoch very much enjoyed his job from day one and never questioned it and in fact, felt it was his calling.  After more discussion, we finally got to the heart of it. Listen to the audio below. It begins with Scott, the host, asking if perhaps Enoch isn’t being honest with himself about his profession and then, as we dig a little deeper (sorry for the pun) we get a fascinating glimpse into the psyche of a mortician…


This audio clip is so interesting to me, not only because of the subject at hand but because of how it wonderfully illustrates the way our dreaming mind communicates to us what it feels is wrong or what it feels is missing. In Enoch’s case, what was wrong or missing – all those years he was having the dream – was the communication with the soul of the body he was working on. His perspective changed from the corpse being merely a dead body to it being a person, a soul. And I think that’s why the head on the bodies in his dreams was always twisted backwards… because Enoch needed to twist his perspective forward. Looking at it as a dead body is looking backwards towards the past, looking at it as a soul looks towards the future, what is to come after this death. That one shift in his perspective ended those dreams once and for all.

I don’t know about you but I have a whole new respect for these folks in the mortuary business. There’s a person for every job, as they say, and thank goodness there are people like Enoch out there, carefully giving our loved ones, and even some day our self, the final send off.

What are your thoughts on this? Post below.

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