A series of thoughts, images or emotions occurring during sleep.
Dreaming is a universal and powerful experience — all humans sleep, and all humans dream. Dreams can be fleeting fragments of images or entire complicated narratives unreeling like movies before the mind's eye. The visions can appear benign or soothing, or they can inspire heart-pounding terror. They can be peopled with friends and loved ones or commanded by horrifying monsters.
Dreams can mimic reality or create a totally surreal environment. They can be clear and detailed or jumbled and confused. They may impart wisdom or knowledge, or they may leave the dreamer completely baffled by their content.
What are dreams? Where do they come from? And what significance, if any, do they hold for the dreamer's life?
The variety of answers set forth to these questions over time reflects the values and the social and psychological structures of various cultures. Ancient peoples, among them the Egyptians and the Greeks, believed dreams were messages sent by the gods to sleeping minds.
The father of modern psychiatry, Sigmund Freud, thought that dreams, created by the human brain, could serve as windows into the psyche, revealing a cache of wishes unfulfilled, and many of his followers today consider such visions to be a major tool in psychoanalysis.
On the other hand, some scientists have theorized that dreams are unnecessary bits of information being expunged nightly from a person's memory, just as a computer's files are cleaned of unwanted data.
The ancients regarded sleep as a second life, a life in which the soul freed from the body was supposedly much more active than during the waking state. And researchers into the paranormal, in some ways echoing the ancients, believe dreams may have a psychic element, revealing the forces of destiny, the reality that is about to happen.
See Out-of-body Experiences, Doppelgänger, Apparition, Altered State of Consciousness, ESP, Seance, Materialization, British Society for Psychical Research, Asport, Rappings, Automatic Writing, Findhorn, Glastonbury Scripts, Theosophy, Psychic Archaeology, Spiritualism, Poltergeist, Ghost, Parapsychology, The Chakra Store, Mystic Gifts and Charms - New Age Gift Shop & Wicca and Pagan Supplies, Love Spells -- Use these powerful love spells to help you find and keep your true love, The Tarot Store, Divination & Scrying Tools and Supplies, Unique Amulets, Talismans, Good Luck Charms, and Love Tokens, Powerful Witch Doctor Spell Kits, Powerful Spells - Cast by Andreika the Witch, Webmasters Make $$$, AzureGreen - Celebrating All Paths to the Divine, ISIS - Tools for Your Soul's Journey, and The Pyramid Collection - Myth, Magick, Fantasy and Romance.
Sources: (1) Shepard, Leslie (editor), Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, Thomson Gale; (2) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (3) Steiger, Brad and Sherry Hansen, The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained, Thomson Gale.
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