History of dream interpretation

History of dream interpretation

In his dream book “Oneirocritica”, Artemidorus outlined some early rules for decoding dreams, adapted from Greek, Assyrian and Egyptian records.

The Jews also believed dreams to be “symbolic” and they would go to interpreters to have their dreams explained. This could be a lengthy process, as the interpreter would first of all determine how symbolic the dream might be. The more symbolic, the more personal questions he would ask of the dreamer in order to form a personal analysis. Dream interpreters were held in high esteem during the first five centuries of the Christian era, and the Jews of Palestine and Babylon would consult them just as we would consult a doctor. A third century Babylonian Jew explained this by admitting, “A dream not interpreted is like a letter not read.”

The ancient Egyptians, Chinese, native Americans, and early Christians all believed in dream symbolism and many interpretations offered in the dream dictionaries on our shelves have their roots in these ancient beliefs.