I remember a bunch of dreams every night, mostly 2-3 mini ones and 1 long one. The mini ones are pretty stupid tbh but in the long ones which occur close to my wake up time always have one thing in common, me dying. In my last dream, there was this horrid monster that would chase me every night, ultimately catching me everytime and eat my body as I was forced to watch from a small distance. Others I would peacefully die due to cancer after bidding farewell to my family or due to magical fights with dream characters or a crocodile chasing me and well, killing me as my body rotted in a gutter.
I don’t really consider them as nightmares because they don’t scare me nor do I wake up in a cold sweat, gasping or wheezing for air.
So, maybe… it’s a dream sign?
Any repetitive dream can be used as a dream sign. The challenge here is that you have already articulated 2 very different scenarios. A monster attacking and dying of cancer. In terms of using this as a dream sign, I would pick the more prevalent one and focus on that scenario only. Rather than a more generalized theme “I’m dying”. Good luck.
It’s interesting that they aren’t nightmares. I don’t really get nightmares, only very rarely, and usually it would be where I did something horrible, not something horrible done to me. I think you can use them as a dreamsign. Just like anything if you are put into a tough spot or life and death situation, that can be the thing that makes you go lucid. It’s a dream sign because in real life you aren’t faced with life and death situations on a daily basis, this is something that happens to you a lot in dreams. Also the intensity or novelty of such a moment can be an opportunity to focus and ask yourself if you are dreaming.
I think it is a high quantity of death dreams. Another good thing about that is being given a lot of personal examples of dying in a dream where obviously you didn’t die in real life from it. That might sound silly to experienced lucid dreamers but I think most go through a phase of fearing that. I think that can be very useful to rid yourself of the fear of dying in a dream which many people have. It’s another chance to internalize that dying in a dream isn’t going to have any effect on you.
It’s not always going to happen, it kinda sounds like a phase, but yes that can be a blessing being put in a tight situation in a dream. It can really wake you up and make you go lucid. Then you can turn the tables on the dream and hopefully have some minutes after you deal with the situation to fly around or do whatever you want. So in that way I think it is a dream sign like you are asking.
@DrTechnical has given the perfect answer.
Anything that frequently happens in your dreams can be used as a dream sign. I have used dying as a dream sign before - there was a time when I had a great frequency of death dreams.
In one, I died and went to the afterlife. Then, a great flood burst into the afterlife and I died there too. I am one lucky guy.
The challenge is identifying it. You you are dying, you are likely distracted by the intensity of the experience. You also don’t have much opportunity to practise the trigger for the reality check in real life…unless you do a lot of dangerous diving and climbing…
You could try to identify something more situational. If your body gets eaten a lot, try “I’ll RC when I see someone/something eating.” If you get cancer a lot, “I’ll RC when I’m in a hospital” (which you can also do when there’s a medical scene on TV).
What happened to me several times is that I was about to (most probably) die and that made me lucid. Usually it’s related to falling from great heights, for example sitting in a bus that goes off a mountain road or somehow being launched in the air to ridiculous heights like being thrown with a catapult.
How this relates to your situation: I think what made me lucid in those later dreams where it did, was that I usually wake up from such a dream (if it was an ND) and dwelling on it for some time. How could this have happened in the dream? Oh why did this happen again? Wasn’t that (flying) an awesome feeling even though it was completely over the top? So maybe what made me realize this as a dream sign wasn’t so much the classic „consider you’re dreaming whenever you encounter the DS IWL“ but rather a retrospective analysis immediately after waking up.
Not sure if you’re fond of your dying dreams. Sounds like you’re mostly indifferent to them. Maybe look into them and see if you can attach a certain emotion or sentiment to them, after waking up from them.
I think there is a really good general LD point implicit in @Marvin’s post here…
Dream signs start out as quite concrete things that you could describe to someone else. Images, sounds, situations.
The real dream signs, though, are those feelings and atmospheres that you learn by instinct, by the whiff of them, through the course of growing experience. Precise emotions you only ever encounter in dreams. You may be in a dream situation you’ve never encountered even once before, but you know it’s a dream, because it just has that taste.
Managing to attach your experiences, or a subset of them, to a feeling like this, might help you out!