Interpretation of dreams:
Artemidorus wrote down in the second century AD, all he knew of dream interpretation from the records of the Greeks, Assyrians and Egyptians, the book was called Oneirocritica (dream interpreter). The book was used as a reference by authors up to the 18th century.
The Hebrews dream beliefs:
The Hebrews believed that dreams were messages from one god alone. The Hebrews differentiated between good and bad dreams, the bad they believed were brought by evil spirits. Dreams were an integral part of the religious structure of the ancient Hebrews.
Within the temple at Shiloh the Hebrews would lay down to sleep, first they would offer a sacrifice to god. Through incubating dreams they would receive divine revelations.
Dream interpretation within different cultures:
Assyrian – If someone saw an empty pot in a dream it prophesied poverty. A goblet filled to the brim promised fame and children. If a date palm was seen being cut down, the dreamer was going to find a solution to their problems. Seizing a snake meant the dreamer was to be protected by angels. Seizing a snake in a dream was a very good sign, it meant the angels would protect the dreamer. Meeting a bird during the dream state meant that something lost would be returned.
Hebrew – Seeing a cooking pot in a dream denoted peace and domestic calm. If a palm tree appeared in a dream, the dreamer was about to be punished for past sins. If a cooking pot was seen in a dream it denoted peace and calm within the home. A snake meant a secure and profitable livelihood and a snake bite promised a double income. Birds were good omens, however owls were not, they meant bad luck.
Egyptian – To see a pot being filled in a dream meant pain. If beer was being poured from a pot it meant there was to be a robbery. Within the Egyptian culture, a dream showing the dreamer sitting in a tree meant that troubles would be overcome. Filling a pot in a dream was a bad omen promising pain. If beer was being poured from a pot there was to be a robbery. If the dreamer saw a snake in their dream a dispute would soon be settled. If a bird was caught in a dream, there was to be a loss of some sort.
Greek – Within the Greek culture if wine was being poured from pots in a dream, serenity was indicated. If a cup was drunk dry this was very lucky. Dreaming about trees for making ships was unlucky, unless the dreamer was a carpenter or a seaman. If wine was poured from pots serenity was indicated. Drinking a full cup until it was empty was very lucky. Snakes were bringers of illness and enemies. If the snake was powerful then that was even worse. Eagles signified rulers, wild pigeons signified immoral women.
Dating back from 1000 BC in ancient India dreams were greatly valued, a prophetic dream indicated that the events were to take place. If a dream takes place near dawn the event would happen sooner than one that was an early night dream.
The Japanese had shrines for incubating dreams. Japanese emperors who were searching for solutions to political problems, incubated their dreams at a Shinto temple at Usa, on the island of Kyushu. Within the emperor’s palace there was a dream-hall, it had an incubation bed that was made from polished stone.
Rituals were conducted in order to create good dreams and defend against the effects of bad ones. Later the Muslim dreams were associated with astrology.
Australian Aborigine beliefs:
Dreamtime is the basis for these beliefs. In ancient times spirits sleeping underground rose and wondered across the earth, as they walked they sang the names of everything they passed. As they walked and sang they shaped the landscape, they made humans and taught them the art of survival.
North American Indian beliefs:
Within the belief system of the North American Indians is the premise that the hidden wishes of the soul are revealed. The most vivid dreamer was chosen as a medicine man. The Iroquois tried to make desires come true by acting them out. The Huron believed the soul would be satisfied by expressing its desire in a dream.
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