Interpretation Of Dreams
Dream interpretations have been documented on clay tablets as far back as 4000 B.C. For the ancient people, interpreting and understanding their dreams was a crucial part of life, as they believed it could reflect future happenings or show bad omens. Human beings have always been fascinated by their dreams, and still strive to this day to understand them.
In some ancient or primal societies, some members were unable to distinguish between the dream world and the waking world. They had the ability to choose between worlds. These were the powerful shamans of ancient times who were thought to have the ability to travel between the spririt world, or the "astral" world, what we call dream worlds. They believed that the dream world was an extension of reality and also more powerful world, almost as if we are all living double lives, one life in what we believe to be reality, and one in the dream world. Because of this belief, it was extremely important for people to write down, talk, and interpret their dreams.
In the Greek and Roman eras, religious context was given to dreams. They were believed to be messages sent from the gods or even from the dead. The people of that time look to their dreams for solutions on what to do or what course of action to take. They believed dreams were predictions of the future and could be used to make decisions. Powerful families, and even emperors had special dream interpreters around that would interpret their dreams and tell them what actions they should take. Their belief in the power of a dream was so strong that it even dictated the actions of military leaders. In fact, dream interpreters even accompanied military leaders into battle to help with war strategy. Shrines were even built where people would go to sleep, believing that a message could be passed to them through their dreams.
Aristotle, a Greek philosopher believed that dreams were a result of physiological functions. He believed dreams were able to show signs of illness and predict the onset of diseases.
During the Hellenistic era, dreams were centered around their ability to heal. Asclepieions, which were special temples, were built around the belief that dreams had healing powers. Sick people believed that they would be sent cures to their diseases through their dreams, so they slept in these temples in the hopes that it would happen. Dream interpreters even aided the doctors of the time with their medical diagnoses. They believed that these dreams held vital clues for these healers, and these healers believed they could use these interpretations to heal.
Even the Egyptians recorded their dreams in hieroglyphics. Egyptian priests acted as dream interpreters. People with particularly vivid or significant dreams were believed to be blessed and were considered special. People who had the power to interpret dreams were looked up to and seen as divinely gifted.
The dream world can be seen as an actual place that your spirit and soul goes to every night. Some call this place the "astral plane". Some people are able to wake up in their dreams and realize they are dreaming. These are called lucid dreams. But there is another type of dream world some people are able to enter called the astral plane. They are able to enter this world through sleep paralysis. They let their body go to sleep but keep their mind awake and are then able to project their consciousness outside of their body. They are then able to travel anywhere they want. The Chinese believed that the soul leaves the body to go into this special world. Some Native American tribes and Mexican civilizations share this same notion of a distinct dream dimension. They believe that their ancestors lived in their dreams and take on non-human forms like plants or animals. Some called them "skinwalkers". They were believed to be able to project their spirit into an animal and control it. They also believed that dreams were a way of visiting and having contact with their ancestors.
Today, people do not pay as much attention to their dreams, but they should, as countless civilizations knew their was something very powerful about the dream world. Maybe we will start to rediscover this lost knowledge and learn from it to heal our world.