Dreams give you messages in a variety of ways, some are precognitive giving you insight into your future either near or far. Others are symbolic, some dreams help you to unlock what is buried within your subconscious so that in your waking state you can apply the learning. Whatever your dream state reveals to you, dreams can only enhance your waking life.
Throughout cultures dreams have had enormous importance attached to them, dreams are mysterious and significant. Dreams serve a purpose in our lives, they can help us resolve problems or alert us to problems, dreams help us to relieve tension, give prophetic guidance, and they inspire the artist and writer. Sigmund Freud believed that dreams were an emotional safety valve as they helped the individual to resolve inner conflicts.
The ancient Egyptians practiced dream interpretation as they believed that the basis of dreams was reality and the conscious mind was the controller. The Egyptians wrote down their dreams in 2000 BC, they were documented on papyrus. There is an Egyptian papyrus dating from 1250 BC, it is the oldest written record of the meaning of dreams, the dreams are interpreted by the priests of Horus, Horus is the Egyptian god of light.
The Egyptian records reveal that there are three main types of dreams:
(1) Dreams where the gods demanded a pious act.
(2) Warning dreams such as illness or revelations.
(3) Dreams that came about through ritual.
It was believed by the Egyptians that dreams were also oracles, bringing specific messages from the gods. To induce incubate dreams they visited a shrine where they slept overnight on a ‘dream bed,’ there they waited to receive divine advice, comfort or healing from their dreams. Travellers who were sick took potions or fasted in order to induce dreams.
Distinction between good and bad dreams:
Votive inscriptions, revealing help had been given in improving health, can be found at the Shrine of Apollo at Delphi, also at the Temple Epidaurus which was dedicated to the cult of Aesculapius, Aesculapius was a highly regarded healer.
Rituals before sleeping:
The Greeks practiced pre-sleep rituals, they purified and dedicated themselves. They did this by preparing themselves for two days before entering the shrine, they abstained from sex, did not eat fish, meat or fowl and they only drank water. They made an animal sacrifice to the god they wished to invoke in their dreams. Some subjects stood before a statue of the god in order to be imbued with feelings of awe before they slept and entered a dream state. After preparations the subject would then lay down, they slept upon the skin of an animal that had been sacrificed.
Dreams that heal:
During the night, priests stood by the bedside of a sick dreamer dressed as gods, this was done to give the patient medical treatment. The following morning the subject’s dreams were interpreted by the priest, and the priest would then tell the subject the best way to care for their health.
Beings of light dream couriers:
The Greeks believed the god Hypnos brought sleep to mortals, he did this by fanning them with his wings or by touching them with his magic wand. The god of dreams Hypnos’s son and the messenger Hermes, sent his dreams to the sleepers below. Morpheus the ancient Greek god of dreams, also sent warnings and prophecies to those who slept at shrines and temples.
The dream people:
It was believed by the Greeks that the people within their dreams lived near the Underworld. Homer said that these phantoms entered the dream world by way of two gates. Those entering true dreams (dreams that came to pass), enter by the gate of Horn. Those entering false dreams, (dreams that delude), come through the Gate of Ivory.
Precognitive or Prophetic dreams:
Aristotle belief was that premonitory dreams of sickness could be caused by the dreamer’s unconsciousness recognition of the symptoms. The ancient Greek philosopher thought the dreamer acted unconsciously to bring about the dreamed event.
It was ruled by the Emperor Augustus that anyone who had a dream about the state must proclaim it in the marketplace. The Romans believed that it was imperative to find out the wishes of the gods.
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