The world of dreams is a truly remarkable one. The fact that two people from different parts of the world, with completely different cultural backgrounds and from vastly different experience levels can share the same dream is a fascinating puzzle. As humans, we share common concerns, hopes, anxieties, fears and conflicts, and these are frequently reflected in our dreams.
A Brief History
Recordings of dream interpretations date back to between 3000 and 4000 BC, where the people of Mesopotamia used clay tablets to record what they had dreamed. Our real knowledge of how the ancient societies felt and acted towards their dreams dates to Egyptian, Greek and Roman societies, largely thanks to the greater degree of written records from this time.
In Egypt, people with particularly vivid and significant dreams were thought of as sblessed by the gods, and the ability to interpreted the meanings behind the dreams was a sign of divine favour.
Aristotle believed that dreams were a result of physiological functions, and so could diagnose illnesses and predict the onset of diseases.
Throughout the Greek and Roman world, dreams were believed to be direct messages either from the gods or from the dead. This belief was so strong that dream interpreters were often a part of a military leader’s retinue in order to help with strategy planning.
Outside of the Western world, the Chinese believed that the soul left the body every night to go and visit another world. Because of this separation, they felt that being suddenly awakened may result in the soul being unable to return to the body.
One thing is certain – dreams hold our attention in a way few other aspects of psychology ever have held the ability to.
Certain dream themes are so common that highlighting them is an essential function of any article of this type. Dreaming that we are falling, that we are naked in public, or that we have lost are teeth are common dreams, and have been experienced by many people at one point or another.
Being chased in your dream is one of several common dream themes stemming from feelings of anxiety in your waking life. In such dreams, you could be running from an attacker, an animal, a monster, or some unknown terror.
Fight or flight is an instinctive response to a physical threat in the environment. Thus, it is entirely natural to run, hide, or try to outwit whatever is hunting you.
Being cheated on in a dream can often feel so real that you actually go and accuse your significant other of it. These dreams are unsettling and disturbing, and frequently leave you questioning the strength of your relationship.
Thankfully, dreams about infidelity are rarely due to your partner actually cheating on you, but more about your own feelings of insecurity. Analysing the rest of the dream can help to pinpoint exactly what is happening.
Dreaming of death – whether your own or that of a loved one – can be very jarring and incredibly scary. There is no need to be alarmed or panic about these dreams, however. And no, contrary to popular belief, you do not actually die if you don’t wake up before you die in a dream.
Dreaming of death does often point to a sense of deep change in your life. If everything is uncertain, these dreams are much more likely. But no matter how frightening they are, they are seldom a true premonition of death itself.
The sensation of falling in a dream is a very common one. So common, in fact, that the meaning of it largely depends on other factors within the dream itself, and on what is going on in your waking life.
Flying dreams are almost always lucid in nature – that is, dreams in which you know you are dreaming and are able to take active control of events. Most find the ability to fly in their dreams as a joyful, liberating experience.
Dreaming that you are completely naked – particularly in a situation which would otherwise be incredibly mundane – is very common. While it is undoubtedly alarming to the reamer, it is also one which other people tend to find more amusing than anything else.
Dreams of your teeth crumbling or falling out are surprisingly common, and incredibly disturbing when they happen. They are also a category of dream which tends to haunt you, leading to the images persisting long after you wake up. Like almost all forms of dream, looking at other factors tends to give a more accurate form of interpretation, but these dreams often stem from insecurities around how others view us.
Remember that your dreams – however common the theme of them might be – are unique to you. They stem from your personal background, your emotions, and your experience. Therefore, no simple article like this can offer a full interpretation.