When somebody dies, for those left behind, the experience can be traumatic and difficult to process. However, when it happens, the universe can send us certain messages to help us deal with our grief and find solace in the knowledge that the departed is now in a better place.
A common sign we may receive is rain after a passing, although understanding exactly what it means can be difficult. So to help you interpret this message, in this post, we discuss the question, what does it mean when it rains after someone dies?
What Does It Mean When It Rains After Someone Dies?
1. A peaceful departure
Many people believe that rain after somebody dies is a sign that the deceased has experienced a peaceful departure and that they are on their way to Heaven.
This means the people they left behind can take consolation in the knowledge that their loved one is now in a better place with the angels.
It can also be taken as a sign that the departed has been admitted to Heaven and is now at peace.
Many beliefs about rain after a death come to us from Victorian England, and one of them is that the rain tells us that the soul of the departed is moving on.
The Victorians also believed that thunder after a death tells us that the soul of the deceased was at that moment passing safely through the gates of Heaven.
2. Heaven washing away sadness and grief
Another idea associated with rain after a death is that the rain represents sadness and grief being washed away, allowing those left behind to cherish the memory of their lost loved one but to continue with their lives without them.
It is thought that when the departed arrives in Paradise, Heaven sends the rain to help those in mourning.
The melancholy poignancy of the rain, especially during a funeral, helps people to grieve properly. Although it may make the pain of the loss more acute, it helps people face their loss and release their emotions rather than suppressing them and keeping them buried inside.
This is also why rain is such a common symbol in both literature and film when a death occurs because of the close association between the two.
Since rain is considered pure and sacred, many people also believe that standing in the rain can help purify us by washing away the sadness from our hearts. Standing in the rain after a loss can help us feel better, much the same as having a good cry.
3. Cleansing of the soul
An alternative interpretation of rain after a death is that it represents the purification of the soul of the departed.
When the soul of the deceased reaches the gates of Heaven, they are judged, and their soul is cleansed.
After this, if they are accepted into heaven, they are allowed to pass through the gates into Paradise, and rain falling after a death represents this process of purification, absolution and acceptance into Heaven.
4. God and the angels weeping
To many people, especially those who have recently suffered a bereavement, rain after a death is a sign of God, the angels and the sky itself crying for the recently departed.
For those who have lost a loved one, knowing that the angels and even God Himself are sharing in their grief can also help bring a certain amount of consolation.
Part of this belief may come from the fact that raindrops are so like teardrops, so when it rains, it feels like an outpouring of emotion, especially when people are grieving a recent loss.
5. The deceased is crying
Alternatively, the raindrops can be seen as the tears of the departed themselves.
Although they are heading to a better place, they are still saddened by the fact that they can no longer be with those they love most, and the rain is a manifestation of their tears falling from Heaven to the Earth.
This can also be seen as the departed sharing in the grief of those left behind, which, for those in mourning, can be a source of comfort.
However, another interpretation of this is that the departed is immensely saddened by the separation from their loved ones, and they are unwilling to leave them behind and move on to heaven without them.
6. A good omen
To the Victorians, rain after a death could mean many things, and sometimes, the interpretation could depend on when the rain fell.
In general, they believed that if rain began to fall during or after the funeral, it was a good sign that meant the deceased had been accepted into the afterlife, had safely moved on and was already with the angels in Heaven.
Another Victorian interpretation of rain during a burial was that the remaining members of the family would soon join the departed in heaven.
This idea can be taken as a worrying premonition since it means that those left on Earth will soon die.
However, it can also be taken as a positive omen since our lives on Earth are short, after which we are destined to spend the rest of eternity in Heaven with the angels and our loved ones – as long as we are accepted.
7. Rebirth and the circle of life
In some cultures and religions – such as Hinduism – the symbolism of rain after a death can be quite different.
To Hindus, rain after somebody has died represents their rebirth and is seen as a gift from heaven.
Rather than being something sad and upsetting, it is seen as a positive sign of hope and optimism – the departed has not “died” in the sense that they are gone forever but instead have been reborn. And with every rebirth comes another chance to move closer to heaven.
Indeed, for some people, when it rains, every raindrop represents a rebirth somewhere on Earth, so when it rains after a death, it is a time to rejoice for those who have been reincarnated rather than mourn for those who have died.
In this sense, even for non-Hindus, rain is a reminder that life goes on. It tells us that death is a part of life and that life continues after every death. As such, rain is a symbol of the never-ending cycle of life and death.
8. Thunder – The deceased has reached Heaven
To the Victorians, when rain after a death was accompanied by thunder, this also held a certain significance – depending on when the thunder was heard.
Thunder after the death but before the funeral was a sign that the deceased had reached Heaven. The thunderclap was heard just as the departed was walking through Heaven’s gates.
Another belief prevalent in Ireland was that thunder could also foretell a coming death and that when thunder was heard, somebody within 20 miles would soon die.
According to some versions of this superstition, the person fated to die was the highest-ranking person in the area.
9. Thunder during the funeral – The deceased has not reached Heaven
On the other hand, hearing thunder during the funeral itself was thought of as a bad omen because this meant the departed had not yet reached Heaven and that their passage was not as smooth as hoped.
10. Rainbow – The deceased is in Heaven
When rain is accompanied by a rainbow, it can be taken as a clear sign that the departed has reached heaven and is now with God and the angels.
However, there are also other interpretations of what a rainbow can mean, and some people believe that a rainbow over a house foretells the death of somebody living there.
Another idea is that, according to Buddhist belief, a rainbow after a death signifies that the person has escaped from the cycle of death and rebirth and has entered Nirvana.
This is also related to the phenomenon of the disappearing bodies of monks.
Sometimes, when a particularly holy Buddhist monk dies, their body can suddenly and mysteriously disappear. When this happens, a rainbow is seen, representing their spirit’s ascent to a higher plane.
11. Rain over an empty grave – Somebody will die
Also related to rain is the belief that when it rains over an empty grave, it foretells the death of somebody in the near future. This is due to the rain falling into the grave and filling it before it has accepted the body of somebody who has already died.
12. Large raindrops – somebody will die
Another similar superstition has to do with the size of the raindrops. When unusually large raindrops fall from the sky, it is thought to foretell an impending death.
Several possible meanings
As we have seen, there are several possible meanings and ways to interpret rain after someone dies, but the good news is that most of them are positive and comforting.
After a bereavement, perhaps the most important thing for those left behind is to find solace and deal with the grief while also celebrating the life of the departed. So when it rains after a death, the grieving can take heart from all the positive messages the rain may convey.