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 content in ancient Egypt, and priests their 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.