Inside the beehive
Dreams have been with humankind for countless generations and will no doubt be with us until the end of days. A dream is a series of thoughts, or emotions occurring during sleep. Dreams put us in touch with our deepest emotions; they enchant us and frighten us; they contain our most secret wishes and fears. This is not a passing fad or a new age trend.
Dreams most often portray events which are impossible or unlikely in physical reality, and are outside the control of the dreamer. Many people report strong emotions while dreaming, and frightening or upsetting dreams are referred to as nightmares.
The history of dreams and their interpretations leads us back to ancient Egypt and it is said that the first written record of dream interpretation dates back to 1350 BC. Originally in Egypt dreams were thought to be part of the supernatural world. They were thought to be messages sent during the night perhaps as an early warning device for disaster or good fortune.
In ancient Egypt dreams were predominantly interpreted by the priest and that in the early Greek and Roman eras dreams were thought of in a religious context, and it was not until the Hellenistic era of Aristotle that dreams were thought to have the ability to heal. Dream interpreters aided doctors making their diagnosis. There are many superstitions and beliefs that are associated with dreams.
For some Chinese, dreaming is an actual place that the soul visits every night and for this reason many people are wary of alarm clocks fearing that the soul will be awakened and not be able to return to its body. Some Native American tribes and Mexican civilizations share the same understanding of a dream dimension.
During the Middle Ages in Judeo-Christian societies dreams were thought of as evil, temptations from Satan. Moving into the 19th century dreams were dismissed as symptoms of anxiety, that is, until Sigmund Freud reintroduced the notion of dreams having significance. In the Muslim world however dreams were thought of a little differently. In Pre-Islamic Arabic poetry there are frequent descriptions of shamanic dream visions of such things as ritual death and rebirth.
The importance of a dream is usually in direct proportion to the impression it makes on the dreamer. Most dreams happen under normal circumstances and have no real value or need for interpretation. They derive from our worldly experiences and activities, a person spoken about, a book read or TV program watched. Other dreams are fantasies or illusions, playful and harmless.