The first records of dream interpreting originated in Ancient Egypt. The estimation of their creation is around 1350 B.C, the era of Pharaoh Ramses II and contained at least 250 interpretations. The Egyptians devised the one of the first dream book known to us now as Chester Beatty papyrus. In this book we can find illustrated symbols as dream definitions.
In Egyptian culture dreams were of great significance as they were translated as god warnings, guidance or predictions based on true facts. More specifically, it was believed that dreams were divided into three sections: dreams as a result of a ritual, advisory dreams and dreams where Gods were revealed, demanding something from the dreamer. The ‘Masters of the Secret Things’, as they were called, were educated priests that could translate dreams and practiced their rituals in sacred temples. The king’s temple in the big Pyramid was considered a place dedicated for such ceremonies.
The ‘book of the dead’ was a source of wisdom for the Egyptian priests in which they have studied that Gods and especially the Dream God Bess can be revealed in our dreams. Different interpretations could be made according to the attributes of each worshiped God. People in difficulty could pray to their God for assistance and then sleep in a sacred temple. In the next morning the Masters could explain their dreams. Here, we can see a similarity with the Ancient Greek culture on how the Asclepius priests could have been influenced from Ancient Egyptians in their practices.
Ancient Egyptians also developed the metaphysical properties of dreams through practicing conscious dream travel. It was believed that experienced ‘dream travelers’ had the ability to change dream shapes, transferring through time and space into transcendental dimensions of the afterlife, in the form of oneiric figures of birds and animals consciously. These travelers were considered to have telepathic qualities that were used as valuable instructions on state and military matters. Consequently the Egyptians identified dreams with the idea of being awake, as they believed that through dreams we can reach cosmic truths. In the dream book we can find this theory written with a symbol corresponding to an open eye, as it was told that dreamers slept with their eyes open.
The constellation of Sirius was described as the birthplace of advanced consciousness, the endpoint of the souls that have reached bliss, where divine beings with the ability to interfere with human life exist. In the dream books we can find information about the experienced dream travelers that were able to have journeys to Sirius.
In the ancient Egyptian civilization we can observe not only a lack of fear for the afterlife but also a connection between the dream world and death.
We can find a peculiar sense of devotion for the act of decease in a way that we could fantasize sleep as the closest experience we could have to death. Ancient discoveries can show that the Egyptian culture had not developed a scientific use of the dream world but rather a mystic practice based on traditions. This is where the idea of dream guides comes from and it should be cautiously judged as some truths could be located in the history of dream tradition but such books could also refer to cheap fortune-telling. In order to trace the differences we could try and find the theories behind the symbols. We could try and decode the interpretations by finding their differences but also their similarities, as the ancient Egyptians believed in the antithesis of the symbol and its interpretation and also in its similarity but only of the word symbols in an etymological manner.