Insights on the History of Dream Interpretation
Dream specialists may have been interpreting dreams for as long as people have been dreaming.
We know that everyone, even animals, has dreams at least once a night, and people have long been curious about the causes and meanings of these mysterious visions.
As early as 3000–4000 B.C., the practice of dream interpretation was being practiced. On clay tablets, people wrote their dream interpretations for posterity.
Primitive peoples may have been unable to tell the difference between the actual world and the realm of the imagination at first.
Often, these individuals saw their dreams not just as a continuation of the physical world but also as a realm with more power than the one they were experiencing at the present moment.
Dream Interpretation in Ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt
Because dream interpretation was so essential in ancient Greece and Rome, generals, and other military commanders often traveled with dream interpreters.
It was not uncommon for the Greeks and Romans to believe that dreams were messages from their gods.
In ancient Egypt, dreams also had a sacred significance, and priests served as both dream interpreters and dream historians.
In hieroglyphics, the ancient Egyptians documented their dreams.
In ancient civilizations, those who had very vivid or profound dreams were considered fortunate and accorded special status.
The ability to read dreams was thought of as a gift from the gods and gave those who had it a high social rank.
Dreams in the Bible and as a Prophecy
Dreams are mentioned approximately 700 times in the Bible, indicating that the people who lived then regarded them as very important.
Many of the Bible’s and other holy texts’ most important books cover dreams and how to interpret them.
Dreams are widely seen as a type of prophecy in many cultures. In the past, people used their dreams as a means of predicting the future and making adjustments to their daily lives.
Many cultures saw dreams as omens—messages from the afterlife or signs from the gods. Dreams were sometimes thought to be the work of devils, whose goal was to torment the person who had them.
It was common for political and military leaders to be guided by their dreams, which influenced everything from the conduct of a war to the conclusion of an important political decision.
When it came to diagnosing and treating all kinds of ailments, doctors relied on the power of dreams as well.
Indigenous People’s Beliefs About Dreams
Indigenous peoples saw dreaming as a method to communicate directly with gods and spirits, and societies throughout the globe continue to do so today.
Some people still think that the soul leaves the body during dream sleep and communicates with the spiritual realm.
The Chinese were one of the few cultures to think that the spirit departed the body during sleep. If the dreamer was abruptly woken, they worried that the soul would not be able to return.
There are some Chinese people who are still wary of using alarm clocks because of this. Just one example of how stories from the distant past might continue to influence our lives now.
Many indigenous peoples of Mexico and the United States have this traditional understanding of the significance of dreams, including the idea that dreams take place in a parallel plane to our own.
These people had the belief that their deceased ancestors might manifest as animals or plants in their dreams.
Hence, the idea that they might converse with their recent and distant ancestors, as well as learn from their past experiences, was a common belief among them.
As a means of gathering knowledge about one’s life goal, people saw their dreams in this manner.
Dreams According to Sigmund Freud
It was not until the early nineteenth century that dreams began to be respected, and they were frequently ignored as the result of stress, external noise, or even poor food and indigestion.
During this time, people stopped paying attention to dream interpretation because they believed that dreams had no significance.
When Sigmund Freud arrived in the late 19th century, however, this all changed.
Freud’s emphasis on the importance of dreams shocked the psychiatric community and brought back the art of dream interpretation, which had been dead for a long time.