Dream Interpretation: Prophetic Dreams
Dreams have been a part of mankind’s existence since written history and we make the assumption that dreams have existed prior to that. As of today the earliest recorded prophetic dream as well as dream interpretation takes place in the Epic of Gilgamesh where Gilgamesh “dreamt that an axe fell from the sky. The people gathered around it in admiration and worship. Gilgamesh threw the axe in front of his mother and then he embraced it like a wife. His mother, Ninsun, interpreted the dream. She said that someone powerful would soon appear. Gilgamesh would struggle with him and try to overpower him, but he would not succeed. Eventually they would become close friends and accomplish great things. She added, "That you embraced him like a wife means he will never forsake you. Thus your dream is solved.” (Oppenheim)
The belief that dreams can be prophetic is strong in many cultures. For this belief to exist there must be some evidence to back it. Granted the science to back these claims is still being developed yet many people throughout history have claimed to have had prophetic dreams such as; Hitler, Abraham Lincoln, and Caligula. Hitler had a dream “that he was buried under an avalanche of earth and red-hot debris. He woke and left the trench, which was shelled shortly afterward, killing the soldiers inside.” (Williams) Abraham Lincoln and Caligula both had dreams of their own demise.
What Makes a Dream Prophetic?
There are some dreams that may be blatantly obvious in their meaning and how they may be prophetic however the rest of us may not realize a dream is/was prophetic until an event has taken place. Only then, in retrospect, do we realize the dream was prophetic. Prophetic dreams could range from something simple to predicting a natural disaster or catastrophic event. The evidence needed to prove that a dream was prophetic really depends upon the dreamer and who is willing to believe them. What makes a dream prophetic really depends upon belief, belief of the dreamer and the belief of the audience (who the dreamer tells).
How Do I Know if My Dream is Prophetic?
The best way to know if a dream is prophetic is to have a better understanding of your dreams and the meanings of elements in your dreams. Yet since dreams can range in occurrence there isn’t a catch-all for determining if a dream is prophetic in absolute terms. A person may not recall any of their dreams and then all of a sudden is able to recall one dream that has bearing on events in their life or the world around them. Another person may never seem to have a prophetic dream at all. The value a person gives to their dreams also has bearing on their interpretation and importance. From what I have gathered from personal research is that prophetic dreams tend to be vivid, detailed (specific items stick out), emotional and may cause a sense of urgency or concern in the dreamer depending on the kind of prophetic dream. Recording your dreams even just a word or phrase can help a great deal in remembering future dreams. The more you pay attention to your dreams the more you will learn about them and yourself.
1. Oppenheim, A. (1956) The interpretation of dreams in the ancient Near East with a translation of an Assyrian dreambook. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 46(3): 179–373.
2. Williams, Kathryn. History Repeated: Famous Dreams and Their Outcomes. http://www.divinecaroline.com/22202/97339-history-repeated-famous-dreams-outcomes