Dad Dies


Dad Dies


I am somehow responsible for my father’s death.  I find his charred body in a fireplace.   It’s horrible.  There are two endings.  In the first, Lois is telling me that Dad died in his sleep at the same time that I found him in the fireplace, but that he was at home.   In the other ending, I am attempting to let Lois know of the death but do not do so.  I am thinking of letting Andra know so someone will be with Lois when she is told.

Insight:  I don’t know what this one is about other than that I am scaring myself in some way.

Preference Predictions

Most accepting character:  Father, Lois, Andra

Most rejecting character:  Dream Self

Most preferred character:  Father

Most rejected character:  charred body

Most preferred action:  want to tell her

Most rejected action:  death

Most preferred feeling: none

Most rejected feeling:  horrible

Oppositional sociogram with ambivalence on the acceptance, character, and action axes.


Sociomatrix Commentary

(Constructed 9/3/85)

Dream Self:  I don’t care for myself in this dream.  I don’t like my ambivalence about what to do about Dad’s death and I don’t like the horror I feel.  I love Dad, but I hate the fact that I am responsible for his death in some way.  I love Lois, and I am relieved to hear that Dad died in his sleep, though still hating the fact that he has died.  I am relieved of a sense of responsibility and I know that his death was not gruesome.  Am I mistaken?   Could it be someone else in the fireplace?  Why do I assume that it is Dad?  I don’t like the fact that this happened at the same time because it is confusing.  I like not telling Lois because it would be over the phone.  Someone needs to be with her when she is told, and I am in Phoenix.  I love Andra, particularly her ability to support others when the chips are down although I dislike her disdain of spiritual growth.  She needs to be there.

Father:  I love Joseph.  He has done very well by himself during the last couple of years.  He is very happy and making a contribution.  I love myself, because I enjoy life and I’m a great guy.  I dislike death because I prefer to live.  Joe thinks he’s responsible for my death, because he thinks that through inattention and negligence he let me get into the fireplace and be burned to death.  How silly!   Why would I get in a fireplace?  Even if I did, it wouldn’t be his responsibility.  Maybe that’s someone else.  In any case, he’s scaring himself.  I love Lois.  She’s wonderful!   I don’t like the idea of dying in my sleep, but it’s better than getting burned to death!   Actually, neither one of these happen to me.  Dream Self is just catastrophizing.  When and if I do die, it would be better to have someone with Lois, but since I’m not dead in this dream, it doesn’t matter.

Fireplace:  I don’t care one way or the other about Dream Self.   Death is just a change of form that I do.  You put something in me and I burn it up.  I didn’t do too good a job on this guy since he didn’t burn too readily.  Must have been some other guy who died in his sleep.  I sure got this one!

Charred body:  Why didn’t this jerk get here in time?  Why did he let this happen??  He better feel responsible!  Death is not as bad as I figured it would be, but the dying was horrible.  I’m glad it scared you.  Maybe you’ll be less negligent.

Lois:  Whoever that guy was, he must have died at the same time as Joe.  This is very confusing.  I don’t know what’s going on.

Home:  I really don’t have anything much to say.

Andra:  Dream Self needs to learn to feel more responsible.   Maybe this will shock him.  I love him, but he is into weird stuff – dreamwork and metaphysics.  I want to be with Lois when Dad dies.

 Dream Commentary

If you could change this dream in any way that you wanted, as long as it respected the rights of all fellow dream group members, how would you change it? 


Father:   Look, I never died, so I really am not interested in changing the dream on my account.  I do wish that there wasn’t all this confusion about my death.  I’m just fine.  I would change it so that they would know that I did not die or that anyone else did.  I don’t think that was someone else in the fireplace, anyway.

Fireplace:  I don’t have any objection to that.  I don’t care what I burn.

Charred body:  I’m not a real body, just an aspect of yourself you’re scaring yourself with.   That dreamage is fine.

Lois:  I would much prefer that no one died in this dream and that there was not the confusion and fear.   I would much prefer to fix dinner for everyone.  They can throw a mannequin in the fireplace if they want to.

Home:  Agreed.

Andra:  Fine.

Dream Self:  OK.


I am eating dinner at Dad’s house with Dad, Lois, and Andra.  There is a fireplace nearby.  We have thrown a mannequin on the fire and it is burning brightly.  We are toasting, “Here’s to the death of our fear of death!”

Waking Commentary

     If you were this dreamer and were dealing with his waking issues – money, relationships, fears, career choices, physical health, and spiritual development – would you do anything differently?  If so, what? 

Father:  You jump to conclusions that you disobey God’s law and do Him real harm.  You are doing very well.   God is happy enough with what you are doing.   Lighten up!

Fireplace:  You are purifying yourself in cleansing yourself of lust, not biting your nails, and doing what you know to do each day.   You are not destroying anything of value in your life.  Enjoy the process of sacrifice of laziness!

Charred body:  If you would completely burn up what you start to destroy you will not be shocked by half-way measures.   I’m talking about lust and  meditation.

Lois:  When you get alarmed, your judgment gets cloudy.  Be less self-critical, but keep the fire burning daily.


Andra:  Get on the stick and earn some money!  Pay your bills!  It will help your self-esteem and sense of autonomy!

Dream Self:  I’ll contact Bruce tomorrow about working with the Tempe Clinic.  I’ll contact the New Times and put in an add about my dreamwork classes.  I’ll keep working with abstinence in nail-biting and masturbation.  I’ll keep using the GSR with my meditations, since that seems to help me to focus initially.

Life Issue Commentary

(The dreamer formulates a specific question about a life issue and asks some or all dream group members for their opinion about it.) 

If you had to make a decision about how to handle this life issue, what would you do about it?

What do I need to do to earn more money?

Father:  Don’t worry about it.   Do what you’ve mentioned above.  Enjoy the process.  Don’t push.  You have enough, and it will continue to grow.

Fireplace:  Continue to burn up the barriers you have to creative acquisition.  You are already doing so.  Just keep on.

Charred body:  Burn me up completely so that I don’t scare you and confuse you.  In other words, stick with your stated purposes and don’t look back.

Lois:  Don’t focus on money. Doing so will only create anxiety and a sense of lack.  Instead, focus on service.  Emulate me in the way I cook and my thoughtfulness toward others.

Home:  Relax.  Enjoy.  Recognize your doubts and enjoy them instead of reacting to them.

Andra:  Focus on what you want and go after it.  You confuse yourself by changing course.  Stop.

Dream Self:  I will do what the waking commentary suggests and use the dreamage before sleep.

Actual Preferences

Most accepting character:  Andra

Most rejecting character:  Father

Most preferred character:  Father

Most rejected character:  dream self

Most preferred action:  death

Most rejected action:  died in sleep

Most preferred feeling: responsible

Most rejected feeling:  horrible

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Sociogram Commentary

Very strong preferences and an incredible amount of internal ambivalence.  Antithetical sociogram with opposition on all axes.  Extremely high ambivalence.   Is the fireplace a dream self surrogate?   Is this emphasizing waking identity in the role of purifier?   That seems to be the gist of the commentaries.  The ambivalence on the acceptance axis seems to be between accepting the deaths as real vs. discounting the associated actions and feelings as based on misperception.  While the charred body is rejected, the reasons are different.  DS rejects it because it is a horrible sight implying guilt and blame.  Father rejects it because it is illusory.  Lois rejects it because it is gruesome.  On the action axis, death is strongly rejected.  There is ambivalence between not telling Lois and wanting to.  There is strong feeling that this whole situation could be avoided if DS were just more responsible.  That certainly sounds familiar.

On one level, death is illusory.  Meditation is thanatomimetic: imitative of death   Out fear of death is what keeps us from waking up.

On the acceptance axis, Andra opposes Dream Self.    is one of my two sisters.  She is two years older than I am.  I admire her for her “can do” attitude, tenacity, assertiveness, warm caring, optimism, integrity, and love of life.  To the extent that I identify with her, I look at this pattern without blame or guilt, I think.  To the extent that I identify with my waking perspective associated with this life issue, I feel guilty, responsible, afraid, and in conflict.

On the form axis, Father and Fireplace are in opposition.   The progression seems reasonable enough, but those aspects of self which are most preferring are not most preferred.

On the process axis, “want to tell her” is in opposition with “death.”   The conflict is between the need to take action in a way that is responsible vs. complete responsibility for utter failure.

One emotion is enough: horrible.

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