Significance of Dreamsdream Incubationhow to Incubate a Dreamgreek Sleep Temples

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Dream Analysis and Dream Incubation to help Uncover the Significance of Dreams

The ability to see into the future while dreaming has formed the plot for many fictional stories. Some people might even argue that they can actually see the future in their dreams. - This is when scientists and doctors start to shuffle their feet and change the subject. Because when it comes to the subject of dreams, they know very little about it. So how can they really comment?

What doctors do know is that sleep is the natural follow-on of fatigue which can be caused by physical or mental activity. But even though the physical body is relaxed while sleeping, the mind still operates at a level only slightly below its daytime or waking level.

The Greeks and Sleep Temples

The Greeks were totally convinced that dreamers could (and did) forecast the future. And so spent a great deal of time in sleep temples 'incubating' dreams. Some might say that time could have been much better spent erecting squares on the hypotenuses or right-angled triangles! Others will feel the respect and awe the ancient's showed for dreams have helped us to better understand our night-time visions.

The word 'dream' can be traced back through Anglo-Saxon to its German origin 'trugen' which means 'to deceive'. This suggests that a dream is an illusion. But is it?

Freud, Sex and Dreams

At the beginning of this century, the theorists had a field-day with dreams. Sigmund Freud produced reams of material about dreams and dreamers, concluding that dreams were the unconscious outlet of daily frustrations with, of course, sex being the mainstay of his arguments.

Freud proved, to his own satisfaction, that just about any dream had a sexual base. Indeed, some of his arguments might make one wonder what a modern-day analyst would do if Freud were to appear as a patient!

Nonetheless, many other theorists added their contributions and the first half of the twentieth century saw a flood of theories about dreams. - None of them that wonderful. - And it wasn't until the 1950s that a more scientific investigation into dreams was started. It was found that in the average sleep-period of eight hours, 90 minutes will be spent in dreaming and a night's sleep in which no dreams at all occurred would be so unusual, as to be considered abnormal. Sleep has a regular pattern the world over and scientists were able to pinpoint dreaming precisely, by watching the sleeper's face.

What can modern-day dream analysts tell you about your dreams?

If someone told you that you had personal access to a wonderful storehouse of knowledge, power and wisdom, maybe you wouldn't believe them. And if I tell you that the storehouse is none other than your dreams, you might be even more surprised. Yet this is exactly what dreams are.

There's no doubt that dreams have the ability to solve problems, inspire us with enthusiasm, warn us of danger and give us glimpses of the future. So one would think, in this day and age, their importance would be recognised. Certainly our ancestors knew better for they regarded dreams and their meanings as oracles. - Throughout the ancient world, there were sacred shrines where divine dream messages were sought, understood and acted upon.

The ancients took definite steps to link themselves with God, the gods, angels and dream messengers through the art of dream incubation. Nowadays, there are no shrines or temples dedicated to the divinities of sleep. But that doesn't mean that the age of dream-miracles has past and deserted us. We can still learn a lot through our dreams.

How to Tune into Your Subconscious

By tuning into our subconscious, we can contact these forces which the ancients called the gods. But just like the ancients did, some believe that we too should follow certain disciplines. This means total abstinence from sex, eating meat or fish and the drinking of alcohol for at least 24 hours before incubating a dream.

The time to incubate a dream is just before going to sleep when you feel relaxed and warm. Tell yourself that you will remember every detail of the dreams you are about to receive. Ask your dreaming mind to send you a sign.

When a special dream has been received, you must be sure to thank the powers that be for sending it. This completes the incubation ritual.

It's important to write down your dreams when you awaken. What dream interpreters do, is translate symbolic dreams expressed in the language of the heart, into coherent messages - the language of the head.

Scientists will tell you that it's impossible to dream to order. But the age-old advice to anybody with a problem is 'to sleep on it' and it works!

And who can say that the human mind is not capable of peering into the future? It may sound rather fantastic but much stranger things have happened!


Thurston, Mark How to interpret Dreams Are Press (1989)

Jung, C.G. Memories, Dreams,Reflections Fontana Press (1995)

More about this author: Carole Somerville

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