Dreaming, Egyptian Style The Ancient Egyptians, like many other cultures, held dreams in high esteem. To the Egyptians, dream time was an excursion into the Underworld. The journey could be very dangerous, but it could also be beneficial. They believed one could communicate with the gods, learn of their future, practice Magick or heal illnesses while dreaming. They also believed it was possible to project nightmares to their enemies. They practiced both dream interpretation and incubation. If one wished to communicate with the gods via dreams, a ritual in the god's honor would be performed. This may include fasting and abstaining from any type of social interaction. A clean piece of linen would be written upon with specially made ink. It would indicate which god was called upon and what the dreamer desired from the god. The piece of linen would then be rolled up and used as a wick in a lamp. The lamp would be lit while the dreamer recited a special prayer to the god. The dreamer would then go to sleep, careful to have writing material by his side to record the message. The message would most likely be coded and require interpretation by a priest or a professional dream interpreter. However, if the god spoke directly to the dreamer, no interpretation was needed. Another common practice to induce dreams of power was to draw a figure of an appropriate god, often Bes, on one's left hand. The hand should then be wrapped with black cloth that has been blessed by Isis. The god selected for evocation would depend upon the intention of the dreamer. Thoth was a popular choice, probably because he was the god of so many different things. Images of the god Bes have been found carved on headboards. It was believed that he could ward off nightmares and protect children during the precarious nighttime hours. Set was also commonly employed during certain periods of Egyptian history. He could bestow desired information upon the dreamer or he could cause one's enemies to have terrible nightmares. Dream books, or books containing interpretations of dream symbols, were not uncommon in Ancient Egypt. Many Egyptians were buried with their dream books. Dream incubation was practiced in Ancient Egypt as well as Ancient Greece. Often times the dreamer would desire healing. He/she would go to a special place, usually a temple, to sleep. Many preparations were made and the dreamer would perhaps do some of the things outlined above. Sweet Dreams! ©2004 Fruit of the Nile. All Rights Reserved.