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What does it mean when you dream about ashes?

Ashes are usually associated with dreams of loss or bereavement. The dreamer could be experiencing the physical death of a loved one or the separation of a friend or spouse. It could also be an indication of lost chances or opportunities.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Ay, this was the vision that was sent me as I lay in pain and misery among the bones of my dead in the ashes of my kraal.
I rose shaking the ashes from me, and went without the kraal to wash away their defilement.
The man who had been watching this fire, and whose task was ended for the present, gladly withdrew, and left them with their friend, who, spreading Nell's little cloak upon a heap of ashes, and showing her where she could hang her outer-clothes to dry, signed to her and the old man to lie down and sleep.
I saw him fall down--just there, where those ashes are burning now--and wondered, I remember, why it didn't help him.'
The child continued to watch him for a little time, but soon yielded to the drowsiness that came upon her, and, in the dark strange place and on the heap of ashes, slept as peacefully as if the room had been a palace chamber, and the bed, a bed of down.
They found the ashes scattered by the wind, but the peas and lentils had sprouted, and grown sufficiently above the ground, to guide them in the moonlight along the path.
As soon as she had recovered her breath a little, she called out to the White King, who was sitting sulkily among the ashes, 'Mind the volcano!'
So Alice picked him up very gently, and lifted him across more slowly than she had lifted the Queen, that she mightn't take his breath away: but, before she put him on the table, she thought she might as well dust him a little, he was so covered with ashes.
All the ashes will get into it--there, now I think you're tidy enough!' she added, as she smoothed his hair, and set him upon the table near the Queen.
As they stood here, listening to the echoes as they died away, and hoping in vain to hear a voice they knew, some of the ashes in this turret slipped and rolled down.
Again the ashes slipped and rolled--very, very softly--again--and then again, as though they crumbled underneath the tread of a stealthy foot.
I have made a special study of cigar ashes -- in fact, I have written a monograph upon the subject.