The interpretation of dreams by dream experts may be almost as old as dreaming itself. We know that all humans, and many animals, dream every night, and humans have always been fascinated to learn what causes dreams and what they mean.
The interpretation of dreams dates back at least as far as 3000-4000 B.C. We know that because the interpretations of dreams were recorded in permanent form on clay tablets. It is thought that many primitive peoples were unable to initially distinguish between the real world and the dream world. In many cases, these people looked upon the dream world as an extension of the physical world around them, and in many cases they saw the dream world as more powerful than the waking one.
Dream interpretation was such an important field to the ancient Greek and Roman world that dream interpreters often accompanied generals and other military leaders into battles. Dreams were taken extremely seriously, and the Greeks and Romans in particular often viewed dreams as messages sent by their Gods.
Dreams also had a religious context in ancient Egypt, and priests there doubled as dream interpreters. Dreams were among the items recorded by the ancient Egyptians in the form of hieroglyphics. Those whose dreams were especially vivid or significant were thought to be blessed and were given special status in these ancient societies. Likewise, people who were able to interpret dreams were thought to receive these gifts directly from the gods, and they enjoyed a special status in society as well.
There are over 700 mentions of dreams in the bible, and people in biblical times saw dreams as very significant. Dreams and their interpretations are mentioned in many of the most significant books of the bible and other holy scriptures.
In many cases, dreams were often seen as a form of prophecy. People often interpreted their dreams as omens or warnings, and adjusted their activities accordingly. Dreams were often thought of as omens from deities, as messages from spirits, or as messages from departed souls. In some cases, dreams were even seen as the work of demons, meant to confuse and trouble the dreamer.
Dreams were so important that they often dictated the actions of political and military leaders, affecting everything from the prosecution of a battle to the outcome of a political decision. Dreams were also thought to provide vital clues to healers, and they were used in the diagnosis and treatment of all manners of illness.
Dreaming was often looked upon by indigenous peoples as a way to commune directly with Gods and Spirits, and dreams are still used in this way by cultures around the world. Many people believed, and some still do, that during dream sleep the soul leaves the body and communes with the spirit world.
The Chinese were one culture who believed that the soul left the body each night during dream sleep. They believed that if the dreamer were suddenly awakened the soul may not be able to return to the body. That is why some Chinese are still leery about the use of alarm clocks. This is just one example of how ancient legends can linger into the modern world.
Some Indigenous Mexican and Native American societies share this ancient view of the importance of dreams, and share the belief in a separate dimension that is visited during dream sleep. These people believed that their departed ancestors lived in their dreams, and that they were able to take forms like animals and plants. Thus dreams were seen as a way for them to commune with their recent and ancient ancestors, and to gather wisdom and knowledge that would serve them in their waking lives. Dreams were also seen as ways to gather information about their purpose or mission in life.
The respect for dreams changed radically early in the 19th century, and dreams in that era were often dismissed as reactions to anxiety, outside noises or even bad food and indigestion. During this period of time, dreams were thought to have no meaning at all, and interest in dream interpretation all but evaporated. This all changed, however, with the arrival of Sigmund Freud later in the 19th century. Sigmund Freud stunned the world of psychiatry by stressing the importance of dreams, and he revived the once dead art of dream interpretation.
Being able to foresee an unfortunate fact of life like death, disasters, or illnesses through a dream is very common. Anyone may dream of something good or bad happening to someone else or even to themselves. Do dreams serve as a premonition?
Before we proceed in answering the question, let me first give you the definition of premonition and dreams. Based on the dictionary meaning a premonition is ‘a presentiment of the future; or a warning in advance’ while a dream is ‘a series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.’
Let’s first talk about dreams. We all know that dreams do play a role in our daily lives. The majority of people pay little attention to dreams. Dreams can help us find solutions to our daily problems and see things from a different perspective. Whenever we are dreaming, we can be who or what we want to be, regardless of the fact that in real life, sometimes it cannot be. Dreams have their own interpretation. For example, when you dream about loose, rotten, or missing teeth, it indicates that a family member or close friend is very sick or even near death. You can learn the meaning of your dreams through referencing a Dream Dictionary.
Now, what about premonitions? As defined earlier, it may be a warning in advance. Many people have had premonitions in different types of situations. When we say premonition, it is conveyed through dreams. A certain foreboding of what will happen in the near future, but in a vague sense. Many cases of premonitions are documented before a disaster, such as when the Titanic sank in 1912. There were over fifty counts of recorded premonitions before the event. In fact, some of the passengers who had a premonition cancelled their tickets before riding the Titanic and were saved from the horrible disaster that ended up taking place.
Do dreams serve as a premonition? Well, it actually depends on the dream itself. If a person dreams about the whole scenario of an event, it can or may happen in the future. Yet, in another view, it can be just a dream that she had but has a different significant meaning. Unfortunately a dream can serve as a premonition yet, at the same time, it also cannot be.
We could say that a dream served as a premonition when the dream itself foretold something that could happen in real life. But, if your dream was something out of a grandiose anticipation of what you have been thinking of, it may be just from your subconscious mind. My answer to the question: Do dreams serve as a premonition? Is ‘It depends’. Whether the dream you had has something to do with what could happen or instead may be just the subconscious mind revealed through a dream, can be hard to decipher. At the end of the day, when you are interpreting your dreams, you must tap into your intuition and listen closely to what it has to say.
There is a guiding principle to dream interpretation, and Edgar Cayce said it best when he called for us to interpret the dreamer and not just the dream.
Dreams are a tool, like the proverbial finger pointing to the moon. Don't focus on the finger or you will miss out on all the celestial magic. Dreams are the finger and they are pointing to the dreamer. Interpreting your dreams is an exercise in self-discovery and self-growth. They are almost always referring back to you and every character, image and emotion is usually referring to various parts of your psyche.
The primary purpose of dreams is to attempt to balance the psyche. Keeping this in mind will help you understand the meaning of your dreams and prevent you from getting way off track in your interpretation.
Trying to understand one dream in isolation is like trying to understand a person by spending one day with them. By recording all of your dreams in a dream journal you will, over time, find it easier to understand individual dreams you have in the future.
Dreams are like plays or movies that we create every night, and they have a similar structure. It can be helpful to look for this structure when trying to understand your dreams:
- Location: Where does the dream take place? How do you feel about that place? What emotions arise within you as you think about it? Does it have any relationship with a real place you know?
- Characters: Who are the characters? How are you presented? Who is the antagonist? How do you feel about each of those people (including the presentation of yourself), and how do they relate to parts of your own personality or to people you know?
- Plot: How does the plot unfold? There is usually a beginning (where the story is established and begins to build), a middle (where a crisis peaks), and an end (where the crisis gets resolved though sometimes dreams don't provide the solution and end in the middle of the story because it is up to you to provide the resolution).
Sometimes (rarely) dreams can be very literal and they are easy to understand. There is nothing wrong with asking whether the face value of the dream may have meaning for you.
Most often, however, dreams are shrouded in symbolism that points beyond the literal image. They can be trying to communicate a very specific message that applies to your waking life, they may be merely trying to balance your emotional life or they may just be hinting at some thoughts or emotions in progress without any final resolution yet in mind.
Dreams are often messages from our subconscious mind that are resisted by our conscious mind. For this reason, the subconscious often cloaks the message in symbols so the dream isn't immediately rejected or simply avoided by the conscious mind.
Unraveling these symbols can be very difficult, but also a lot of fun. It's the ultimate mystery and the most elaborate puzzle, but the answer is always within you.
Sometimes the answers are as simple as consulting a dream dictionary for the meaning of common symbols and archetypes. However, each person is different and has their individual dream dictionary. To make things even more interesting, your personal dream dictionary can change over time.
Interpreting your dreams can provide you with a life-long quest that goes way beyond the puzzle solving of the Da Vinci Code, but can also be much more rewarding.
Every dreamer has asked questions about why we dream, and what those dreams mean. While every dream is unique to the person who dreams it, the world of dream interpretation is a rich, fascinating and exciting one. We have included here some of the most commonly asked questions about dreams and their analysis.
What is the significance of dreams?
Dreams have significance in the real world. Dreams are told in a symbolic language, and the images in dreams tend to contain hidden meanings and hidden messages. When analyzing and interpreting dreams, it is important to understand that the stories told in dreams are symbolic and not meant to be taken literally. The significance of dreams for each dreamer is a personal matter related to each person's experience and emotions.
Why do recurring dreams happen?
Recurring dreams are among the most common types of dreams. Most often, recurring dreams indicate that the dreamer has some issue that is not being confronted in his or her waking life. Examining these recurring dreams, and understanding what triggers them, can often allow the dreamer to resolve the underlying issue and banish the recurring dream.
Do most people dream in color?
Most people do dream in color, but many may not notice the colors in the dream world. Since color is such a natural part of our normal day to day experience, color may be overlooked in the dream world. In addition, because dreams fade so quickly, the sense of color may be the first thing to leave the conscious mind.
Do animals dream as well?
All mammals studied have exhibited the same brain activity that humans exhibit during dream sleep. Many scientists see this as proof that animals do in fact dream, although what they dream about is likely to remain a mystery.
How are dreams affected by our daily lives?
Any feelings or thoughts repressed during the day are likely to make an appearance in your dreams during the night. For example, if you wanted to show your anger to someone but were unable to do so, you may express anger to that person or a similar figure in a dream. In addition, those who have experienced traumatic events are often troubled by nightmares in which they relive that trauma.
Do men and women dream differently?
Men and women both experience the same brain wave activity during dream sleep. The content of the dreams of men and women do differ, however. Studies of dream content have shown that men tend to dream more about other men than about women, while women tend to dream about men and women equally.
Why do I remember only bad dreams and never good ones?
One reason is that the most vivid dreams tend to be those that are remembered, and nightmares are generally more vivid than good dreams. In addition, sleepers are often awakened by a particularly vivid nightmare, and waking during dream sleep means that the dream will most likely be remembered in its minutest details.
What does it mean to dream about dreaming?
Experiencing a dream within a dream may be a way to deal with items from the subconscious mind. A dream within a dream may prevent the dreamer from waking up prematurely, and they often are reflections of a critical issue that the dreamer needs to confront and gain control of.
Will I really die if I hit the ground during a falling dream?
The many people who have described hitting the ground during a dream about falling are proof positive that hitting the ground in a dream is not a terminal experience. It is true, however, that dreams of falling often wake the dreamer, and that is probably where that old legend got its start.
Can dream interpretation be a valid method for self-growth?
My answer is Yes. But to answer the question of how it can be so...well, to be frank, I have no straight answers. All I can say is that the guiding hand of the Soul/Higher self/Source/Spirit works in mysterious ways. An understanding of our dreams is the most direct way of tapping into this cosmic intelligence. This is one of the easier methods when compared to other means such as clairvoyance training and other psychic developments. The reason for this ease is because most of us dream!
Interestingly, dream interpretation can also be applied in other areas too. It can be and has been used successfully to interpret the symbols of our clairvoyant vision while in meditation. Understanding the symbology can assist one in bridging a transition onto higher and more abstract means of knowing.
There are certain skills that I feel are important for successful dream interpretation. One of which is a developed intuition. Unfortunately, this faculty is something that no dream interpretation book or website can have. It is something that only we ourselves can nurture.
Intuition is what binds and creates recognisable connections to the seemingly unrelated dream visions and symbols.This in turn structures the connections into a cohesive and meaningful message.
Intuition is not mental reasoning. It is simply that inner knowing of feeling/sensing that is beyond logic and reasoning. Intuition is in fact a real cognitive process. Unfortunately our modern civilization is heavily ‘mental-rationalisation driven’ and therefore is not in the capacity to validate a higher order process such as intuition. In other words, we have been placing too much emphasis on logic, proving and reasoning.
Intuition sometimes doesn’t tell you the outcomes of events. In many cases, it is simply an inner knowing that explains and provides answers.
If the thoughts are those of how superior one really is and is smacked with elitism and pride, then one better take a closer assessment, before getting too carried away. These thoughts might not be intuitions. If they imply things like 'You will be rich and famous if you do this’ or ‘she must be wrong as I am smarter’, double check. That thought may be coming from the part of the ego/personality associated with body-mind survival.