Dream Interpretations in Different Cultures and Times

Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egyptian culture, dreams were seen as messages from the gods that could foretell the future or provide guidance. Specific dream symbols, such as the Nile River or different animals, had particular interpretations.

Native American Cultures

Many Native American cultures place a high value on dreams, which are often seen as messages from the spirit world. Dreams can provide guidance, aid in healing, or even be used to find lost objects.

Modern Western Culture

In modern Western cultures, dreams are often viewed through a psychological lens. This perspective tends to interpret dreams as reflections of our subconscious thoughts, feelings, and desires.

African Cultures

In many African cultures, dreams are considered an important connection to the spiritual world. Ancestors or spiritual guides may communicate advice, warnings, or prophecies through dreams.

Ancient Greece and Rome

Dreams were believed to be direct messages from the gods or from the dead in Ancient Greece and Rome. They believed that the best way to receive divine revelation was through dreaming and thus revered and carefully interpreted their dreams.

Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, dreams were seen as evil and its images were temptations from the devil. In stark contrast with the lofty status of the ancient view, the church condemned dreaming.


During the Renaissance, dreams began to be seen as a window to unconscious desires. This was a period of revitalization for dream interpretation, led by scientific discoveries in anatomy and physiology.


The Chinese believe that the soul leaves the body to go into this world. Hence, they deduce that dreams are the wandering of the soul whilst sleep.


In Japanese culture, dreams are perceived as being influenced by external factors such as a deity or spirit, rather than internal factors like unconscious desires.

Aztec Civilization

Dreams were considered to be a type of prognostication in the Aztec civilization. They believed that dreams are a way for individuals to interact with the supernatural world.