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Roman Dream Beliefs

In Rome, the importance of dreams was a topic widely discussed among scholars who openly proclaimed that dreams are inspired by our own passions, emotions and experiences of everyday life and do not come from gods. But even so they believed strongly that it was necessary to find out the wishes of the gods. The Emperor Augustus, indeed. ruled that anyone who had a dream about the state must proclaim it in the marketplace.  See Core

Jerome was born at Stridon, a village near Emona, then part of north-eastern Italy, in the fourth century. He is best known for his translation of most of the Bible into Latin. His writing, probably influenced by the church, had a cataclysmic effect upon how dreams were viewed by western Christians for the next fifteen centuries. Jerome apparently deliberately mistranslated the Hebrew word for witchcraft, anan, which was considered a pagan superstitious practice, as (observo somnia), “observing dreams.” The word anan appeared ten times in the Old Testament; seven times Jerome correctly interpreted it, as witchcraft or a closely related practice, such as divining; but in the other three cases, where the Hebrew text is specifically condemning witchcraft (anan), he redirected the condemnation against dreams. Thus, the prohibition “you shall not practice augury or witchcraft” became “you shall not practice augury nor observe dreams.”

 Cicero, a Roman philosopher and politician, his influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose in not only Latin but European languages up to the 19th century was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. Particularly in his essay De Divinatione, Cicero composed a sophisticated analysis of dreams, and much of what he said anticipated later criticism of all forms of dream interpretation. He criticised the popular conviction that dreams might be prophetic, maintaining that no divine energy inspires dreams and visions. His analysis asked such questions as, “Why do the gods not warn us of impending events when we are awake rather than during sleep? How can one distinguish between true and false dreams?”

Cicero took little account of cures indicated in dreams; rather, he asserted that human intellect alone has to be considered sufficient to provide for humanity’s own future welfare. He also maintained that because there are no objects in nature with Clairvoyance which dreams have a necessary connection, and because it is impossible to achieve a sure interpretation of them, dreams should not receive credence, nor be entitled to our respect. Dreams, according to Cicero, are simply the overflow from our waking life.

Hi views show the emergence of the intellectual and critical mind that sees only the outer world and misses the immense inner world.

 Example: Entering into the atmosphere of what I am calling the Rome Dream, I felt the enormous antiquity of the environment I was in. In particular, the depth upon depth of religious beliefs and viewpoints in us like strata in an archaeological dig. Underneath the Christian belief system was the strata of Roman, Hebrew and Greek beliefs. Beneath them were pagan, Babylonian and Egyptian beliefs. But I felt these backgrounds like a wealth of viewpoint and sensitivity, and underlying all of that was the fact that my body was more ancient than them all, stretching in an unbroken reproductive line to the beginnings of life on our planet. So underneath all these belief systems were the human attempt to understand and relate to life itself.

Example: As this emerges into my awareness I realise that most of what I have been taught is that our present-day self, our reasoning mind, past to us from the Greeks, through the Romans, with influence from the Moorish culture, and this gives us our rational self of today. But what I see in these dimensions of the deep mind, are things that are never mentioned. I see that as well as this bright transcendent ability to reason, we also inherited and carry with us the memory of times of torture, of hatred and violence, of fiendish human life. We know deep down that you could be hung for taking a piece of bread because you are hungry and starving – starved because of the dominance of those who have too much money, too much to eat.

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