Dream interpretation has been a thing since, well, forever! Ever since humans were conscious beings, we’ve known that our dreams have significance. Even as early as the Ancient Babylonians, priests and scholars were collecting dreams to interpret their symbols and omens, and coming up with basic dictionaries as to what certain dream elements might mean. Gilgamesh is the first figure in myth to see his future in a dream, and the most important part of the myth is that he needs a wise person (his mother) to help him understand his visions.
The ancient Greeks knew this, and ascribed lots of meaning to their ominous dreams, as well as dreams of upcoming battles. The Egyptians were fascinated by the dream world also, and they believed that those with the power to dream vividly could communicate with the dead and the gods. Many ancient cultures also revered oracles, who could help the dreamer interpret what he or she had seen and heard.
Then, Freud changed everything by bringing dreams from myth into science. He examined the significance of dreams, and tried to explain why people had the dreams they did, which led to the discovery of the unconscious, and the appreciation we have for it now!
Even the most skeptical person has to be convinced by the latest science. New theories are that in dreams, we rehearse scenarios that are threatening in some way, whether it’s emotional, physical, or spiritual. That helps us to be better prepared when we come across those situations in real life. Scientists don’t think it’s just theoretical situations, though. It’s clear that we’re extrapolating from experiences we’ve already had, and are seeing very possible outcomes. Or, our dreams can warn us of something. For instance, if you dream of losing an important game, it could be that your body knows it isn’t practiced enough, and is warning you.
With brain scanners, we know that when a person is sleeping, their mind is still running wild! In our sleep, we’re basically making sense of everything we’ve absorbed during the day, it’s like the buffering bar on your computer. And oftentimes, we have important revelations during that processing time, or we’re able to make startlingly accurate predictions.
But things aren’t always clear in dreams, and sometimes the details are hard to connect or understand, which is where someone like me comes in! I’ve been doing dream interpretation for over two decades now, and I consider it my life’s work. I get a thrill from helping people figure out what their powerful unconscious has already worked through while they were sleeping. Ever since I was a child, I’ve had vivid, important dreams that I knew had significance, and portended things to come. Now, as a career, I put those skills I developed puzzling over my childhood dreams and poring over Freud in college to good use! My clients learn to journal their own dreams, and to reflect on them to see trends and subconscious developments in their lives, which helps them become more attuned to their inner selves.