In second-century B.C.E., the dreams of Hor, an Egyptian man seasoned as an employee in the Temple of Isis, archived his dreams (Shushan, 2006). Although the entirety of his dream archive no longer remains, much of the dreams that did survive provide insight into the values and life of an Egyptian during his time. Hor’s recollections were claimed to be prophecies, but there is speculation as to how widespread agreement with this claim truly was.

Egyptian dream-books describe the importance of symbolism within a dream. Like the Greeks, Egyptians placed a strong emphasis on the value of death and burials as religious messages sent from the gods during sleep. Commonalities exist between the Egyptians and Greeks as to the meaning of these symbols in dream interpretation: both consider such dream experiences to be signs of prosperity in actual life (Shushan, 2006). The Egyptian analysis of dreams also implies that dreams draw a strong connection to the morals and character-values of their culture. Images and actions during dreams represented the dreamer’s ability or desire to conform to the Egyptian social constructs of the time (Shushan, 2006). It was thought, for instance, that religious figureheads would see the gods more frequently in their dreams and receive more messages pertaining to Egyptian moral values than that of Egyptians who were not men of the temples.

Ancient Egyptian Dream Book (circa 13th century BCE)

Ultimately, Egyptian dream-books focused specifically on religious connotations. The interpretation of dreams held great value in predicting near-future events and many messages were used as guides for behavior during waking life(Shushan, 2006). The Egyptians provide proof that dreams have been a topic of interest for centuries (Shushan, 2006; Stewart, 2004). Although their approach to dream analysis lacked scientific bases, their interest in the meaning of dreams continues to be a topic of research among psychologists, as well as anthropologists, in the contemporary world.

The following video is an excerpt from “The Way of The Dream.” It is an interpretation of the dreams of Joseph, an Egyptian depicted in the Book of Genesis. Joseph’s story eventually leads to his ascension to Egyptian throne. His dream description is important because it demonstrates the significance of spirituality in ancient Egyptian dreams, as well as the ancient Egyptian peoples’ belief in the prophetic nature of their rulers’ dreams. Dr. Marie Loiuse von Franz, a renowned Jungian analyst, describes the religious meaning behind numerous symbols present in Joseph’s dreams:

By: Victoria Owens

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