Dreams : a Reader , 1-4






"Buddhist Dream Experience"



"Dreams in Ancient Egypt"



"Dreams and Dream Interpreters in Mesopotamia"



"Dreams and Dreaming in Islam"



"Visionary Traditions among Native Women of the Plains"



"Ro^le of Dreams among the Asabano of Papua New Guinea"



"Western Dreams about Eastern Dreams"



"Historian of Mysticism"



"New Anthropology of Dreaming"



pp. 9-28 – 1. Serinity Young : "Buddhist Dream Experience"

pp. 12-13, 22-23 ritual dream-incubation






"dars`ana (Tib. : lta-ba) – seeing – particularly in the sense that ... the devotee both sees the deity and is seen by the deity."


Atharvan Veda 4:9

"eye ointment, an.ana, for protection from troubled dreams."


Chandogya Upanisad 5:2:8-9

He or she "lies down beside the fire either on a skin or [on] the bare ground, remaining silent and unresistant. If he sees a woman [in a dream], he [or she] should know that this rite has been successful."

22, n. 1:22

SVB 3:4:2

"Place the deity {a scarab-beetle?} who dwells in the dung (Sankarevasinim) {is this the original of the god /S`ANKARA/?} in a basket along with unhusked grains ..., and put it on the head. Then lay [one’s self] down in a pure place and sing the hymn [from the Sama Veda] that begins "imam uhuvu." After this one should remain silent while falling asleep and he or she will he in a dream the fruit (phala) of what will come."


KSS 12:5 = OS 6:76-7

"a king ... asks the monk to teach him how to become a Bodhisattva. The monk replies that ... there is but one method to be sure of that, doing a svapna man.avaka – seeking a dream."

23, n. 1:25


"seeking and examiming a dream ... in order to establish that the deities approve the proposed location of the mandala."


rMi-lam brTag-pa (‘Dream-Examination’)

"a set of instructions for obtaining ... dreams ... that will generate the thought of enlightenment ... . ... "On a seat of Kus`a grass prepare a pillow of fragrant grasses and put on a garland of [jatapa] {/JATAruPA/ ‘thornapple’} flowers. Recite mantras [in order to consecrate] milk from a young girl [a nursing mother], and then use it to anoint the eyes."

SVB = A. C. Burnell (ed.) : Samavidhana Brahmana. London : Tru:bner & Co, 1873.

KSS = Katha-sarit-sagara by Soma-deva

OS = Tawney : Ocean of Story.

VANMP = Vajra-avali-nama-man.d.ala-payika by Abhayakara-gupta

pp. 14-15, 24 deities in men’s dreams




"Goddesses such as Durga and Kali personify these dream women, as do the many female ghouls, ogresses, and wrathful yoginis ...; they are all depicted as disheveled, with dark skin...; and they have great power".


"Tantra emphasizes the iconography ... of active and powerful d.akinis (Tib. mKha> <gro ma) and other female deities, some of whom are distinctly fierce in appearance, dance wildly, and wear necklaces of human skulls. ... they frequently appear in the dreams of male Buddhist saints. ... d.akinis .. can bestow siddhis, the supernatural powers ... . Quite often they bestow these in dreams. Appropriately, these divine women can be actively sought by means of dream rituals."

24, n. 1:34

For more on d.akini-s, vide :- Hildegard Diemberger : "Lhakama (lha-bka>-ma) and Khandroma (mkha>-<gro-ma) : the sacred ladies of Beyul Khenbalung (sbas-yul mKan-pa-lung)". In :- Ernst Steinkellner (ed.) : Tibetan History and Language : studies dedicated to Uray Ge’za. Universita:t Wien, 1991. pp. 137-53.

pp. 16-17, 22, 24 women’s dreams



22, n. 1:18

"The seventh-century ... Kadambari by Ban.abhat.t.a, describes ... Queen Vilasavati ... sleeping in the temples of the goddess Can.d.ika and telling her dreams to Brahmans, quoted" in K&K, pp. 16-7.


"In the Lalitavistara ..., his wife Gopa awakens from a frightening dream and predicts the Buddha’s imminent desertion of her for the ascetic life. ... she sees the whole earth shaken and herself naked, with her hair, hands, and feet cut off." On this dream, her husband Siddha-artha commented : "Be joyful ... . Beings who have previously practiced good works have such dreams. Miserable people have no such dreams." Mara also experienced a dream, whereof "line for line the imagery is the same." Siddha-artha’s extollment of his wife dream is also mentioned in the Abhi-nis.kraman.a Sutra and in the Mula-sarvasti-vadin Vinaya {This would, of course, imply that Mara had likewise practiced good works, according to the doctrinal literatures (long since lost) of the various sects which produced those books, such as (for the Abhi-nis.kraman.a} the Dharma-guptaka (p. 21, n. 1:7).}


In Bodish literature, Padma-sambhava is told "the dreams of his wife Bhas`adhara"; and Mar-pa is told "the prophetic dreams of his wife Dakmema." {The off-hand dismissal of these women’s dream by men is reminiscent of the fateful consequences of the dismissal of Kassandra’s warning about the Trojan horse (GM 167.e).}

24, n. 1:42

"the Kama Sutra lists dream interpretation as one of the sixty-four arts of a courtesan."

K&K = David N. Lorzen : The Kapalikas and Kalamukhas.

pp. 18-19 dreams, death, and women

p. 18

"Hesiod in the Theogony (211-213, 756-766) says that Night is the mother of all three : sleep, death, and dreams."


"Examples ... abound ... in the ancient Indian medical texts and in ... epics and folk tales, in which women figure prominently in dreams that predict death, especially dark-skinned women, those wearing red clothes or carrying red flowers ... . This is actually a description of the goddess of death, Mr.tyu, "a black woman with red garments and red eyes," [MBh 12:248:13-21, cited in OEHM, p, 228] as well as of Kali."

p. 19

"the word padmabhajana (lotus vessel) ... is used, for example in the Hevajra Tantra, to mean both vaginas and skulls." [p. 25, n. 1:61 : "Cited by James H. Sanford, "The Abominable Tachikawa Skull Ritual," Monumenta Nipponica, vol 46, no. 1 (spring 1991):14."]

MBh = Maha-bharata

OEHM = Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty : The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology. U of CA Pr, 1976.


pp. 29-43 – 2. Kasia Szpakowska : "Dreams in Ancient Egypt".

p. 31 dreaming about the dead as their reply to epistles addressed to them

"texts known as "Letters to the Dead". These letters (most dating from the First Intermediate Period) were written to a deceased relative or acquaintance, usually requesting some sort of favor on behalf of the living individual, and then left in the tomb of the addressee. ... These particular examples treat the dream as ... allowing ... the dead to watch the living."

pp. 35, 42 similitudes of dreams for waking existence

p. 35

"a split second, the likeness of a dream, and death is reached on account of knowing her." [Maxim 18 of TP] {"Her house is the way to the nether-world, going down to the chambres of death." (Mas^ali^m 7:27)}

TP = Teaching of PTH.-H.TP {cf. also Siddha-artha’s metaphor of his sleeping concubines as corpses}

p. 42, n. 2:37

[quoted from "HS" :] "As for a lifetime done on earth, it is the time of a dream."

"HS" = "Harper’s Song". SAK 22(1995):221-27

p. 35

[dream as metaphor of exile] "It was like the unfolding of a dream – like a man from the Delta seeing himself in Elephantine, a man of the marshlands in Nubia." [from "TD&T"]

"TD&T" = "Teachings, Discourses and Tales". In :- Middle Kingdom Studies. 1991.

p. 36 dreams mentioned in "Oracular Amuletic Decrees"; dream by a Nubian king

[instance from "Oracular Amuletic Decrees"] "We will make all dreams which she has seen, good ones. We will make all dreams which she will see good ones. We will make all dreams which any man, any woman, any people of any kind in the entire land saw for her, good ones." The deities "cause his dreams to be good. We will drive away their bad intent which is in them."

"dreams as they were comprehended in the Third Intermediate Period : ... deities had the ability to change the nature of dreams already seen and as yet unseen".

[25th dynasty, consisting of Nubians] "The last pharaoh of the twenty-fifth dynasty ... In this dream, ... saw two snakes, one on either side of him. The dream was interpreted for him as representing Upper and Lower Egypt, over which the pharaoh had total dominion."


pp. 45-71 – 3. Scott Noegel : "Dreams and Dream Interpreters in Mesopotamia and in the Hebrew Bible".

p. 46 "Stele of Vultures" at Lagas^ [p. 61, n. 3:12 : "For a translation see Jerrold Cooper, Presargonic Inscriptions," SUMERIAN AND AKKADIAN ROYAL INSCRIPTIONS, 1 (1986), "pp. 33-39."]

"appearing beside Eannatum’s head (a widespread literary topos in message dream accounts ["e.g., Agamemnon’s dream in Iliad 2:6ff." (p. 61, n. 3:14)]), the god Ningirsu guaranteed the king’s" being "over nine feet tall and created by the god himself".

pp. 46-47 text "Lugal-banda in the Mountain-Cave" [p. 61, n. 3:17 : "For ... translation ..., see Vanstiphout (1998), pp. 397-412."]

p. 46

"Lugalbanda lies down to induce dreaming, and the dream god Anzaqar promptly appears ... .

p. 47

Anzaqar then commands Lugalbanda to wrestle and kill the bull and present its innards "before the rising sun.""

"Dream – a door cannot hold it back, nor can a doorpost; ...

It is a closed archive basket of the gods."

Here is a "comparison to a sealed basket of cuneiform tablets, a well-known practice in juridical contexts, which classifies dreams as secret legal texts".

Vanstiphout (1998) = H. L. J. Vanstiphout : "Reflections on the Dream of Lugalbanda". In :- Jiri` Prosecky (ed.) : Intellectual Life in the Ancient Near East. Prague.

pp. 47, 61 Akkadian & As^s^urian royal legends

p. 47

[legend of S`argon king of Agade] "the young Sargon, while serving as a cupbearer for King Urzababa in Kish, had a ... message dream ... .

[quoted from "SSL" :] There was a single young woman, she was as high {tall} as the heaven, she was as broad as the earth".

"SSL" = Cooper & Heimpel : "The Sumerian Sargon Legend". JAOS 103 (1983):67-82.

p. 61, n. 3:25

"There also exists a seventh-century B.C.E. account known as the "Vision of Kumma," ... See ... Sweek (1996), pp. 109-111."

Sweek (1996) = Joel Sweek : "Dreams of Power from Sumer to Judah". PhD diss, U of Chicago.

p. 47

"a priest dreamed he saw the goddess Ishtar holding a bow and sword and promising victory {cf. battle-goddess Athene}, which he then related to the king." [reference to IDANE, pp. 249-50]

IDANE = Oppenheim : The Interpretation of Dreams in the Ancient Near East. Philadelphia, 1956.


"the night before crossing the torrential Idid>e River, ... troops all experienced the same dream in which Ishtar offered ... : "I shall go in front of ... the king whom I myself have created!"" [IDANE]

p. 48 neo-Babylonian royal legend; Akkadian epic; Mari prophetic dreams

"at Harran, one stele reports how the deceased king ... appeared to [the reigning king] in a dream and deciphered another (presumably) symbolic dream. [" "he saw a dream within a dream ... ." Butler (1998), p. 115."] ... the dream depicts an astronomical omen involving the moon, Jupiter, and "the Great Star.""

Butler (1998) = S.A. L. Butler : Mesopotamian Conceptions of Dreams and Dream Rituals. Mu:nster : Ugarit-Verlag.

[Epic of Erra the God] "the poet concludes by stating that Erra revealed the entire text to him in a dream, which he recorded faithfully". [reference to PE]

PE = Luigi Cagni : The Poem of Erra. SAN. Malibu : Undena, 1977.

[quoted from "MD"] A seer "saw the following dream : "It was a god. You will not rebuild my house. If you rebuild it, I will make it collapse into the river.""

"MD" = Jack M. Sasson : "Mari Dreams". JAOS 103(1983):283-93.

p. 49 Akkadian version of Sumerian epic; dream by Sumerian king; Sumerian epic

"the dream of Gilgamesh’s friend Enkidu ... . It describes Enkidu’s appearance before the divine council where he learns of his imminent death."

EG = Andrew George (transl.) : The Epic of Gilgamesh. NY.

"the god Ea’s disclaimer that he did not explicitly "leak" news of the impending deluge : [quote from EG] "It was not I who disclosed the secret of the great gods. I caused Atra-hasis to examine a dream, and he perceived the secret of the gods" (XL:186-187)."

"Gudea, ruler of the city of Lagash ..., experienced two enigmatic dreams, the first in which a colossal man spoke words of indistinct meaning. Puzzled by this experience, he boarded a ship to Nin[a], the dwelling of the goddess Nanshe. It is ... a priestess through whom the goddess speaks, who interprets his dream as meaning that he will build the god Ningirsu’s temple." [reference to CG]

CG = E. Jan Wilson : The Cylinders of Gudea. Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1996.

" "Dumuzi’s Dream," the god Dumuzi experiences a bewildering dream influenced by the South wind. {<ibri^ /DaRO^M/ ‘south wind’ (Strong’s 1864) is cognate with Old Norse /DRAUMr/ ‘dream’}

[quoted from HThO, pp. 30-1 :]

An owl had caught a lamb in the sheepcote,

A falcon had caught a sparrow in the reed of the fence. ...

The winds only swept the fold."

HThO = Thorkild Jacobsen : The Harps That Once. Yale U Pr, 1987.

p. 50 Mari dream about chapel; Akkadian version of Sumerian epic, on dream about objects falling from the sky

[quoted from "MD"] A certain seeress wrote in her epistle : "In my dream. I entered Belet-ekallim’s chapel; but Belet-ekallim was not in residence. Moreover, the statutes before her were not there. Upon seeing this, I broke into uncontrollable weeping. ... the priest of Ishtar-pishra, was stading at the door of Bele-ekallim[’s champel], but a hostile voice kept on uttering "tura dagan, tura dagan."" [tura dagan = O Dagan return [hither]/come back/reconsider"]

[dreams of Gilgames^, which he told to his mother the goddess Ninsun -- quoted, with modification, from MM, pp. 136-7 :] "a meteorite [kis.ru] from [the god] Anum fell on top [s.eri] of me. I tried to lift it, but it was too heavy for me. ... the young men kissed its feet, ... I lifted it and brought it to you. ...

... an axe [has.sinn] was thrown down, and they gathered around it. ... I loved it ... and I doted on it."

MM = Stephanie Dalley : Myths from Mesopotamia. Oxford U Pr, 1989.

p. 51 dreams by Ut-napis^-tim, having words spohen by E-a requiring punning for their accurate interpretation

distinct dreams

word in dream

significant pun on it

one dream

zerma ‘spurn’

serma ‘construct’

makkura ‘property’

makura ‘boat’

later dream

zananu ‘provide’

zananu ‘storm’

nuhs^u ‘abundance’

nuhs^u ‘excessive’

kukki ‘cakes’

kukku^ ‘darkness’

kibati ‘wheat’

kibittu ‘heaviness’

p. 54 Akkadian mantic professionals


their specialty








pp. 73-91 – 4. Marcia Hermansen : "Dreams and Dreaming in Islam".

p. 76 terms for ‘dream’

" "h.ilm" pl "ah.lam," ... was derived from the idea of dreams signaling the onset of puberty through sexual content and nocturnal pollution." {"Nocturnam semine emisso" (LA-L 1:420a)} {another meaning is /h.alam/ ‘louse, mite’} According to a ha.dit, the "righteous dream (ru>ya s.alih.a) comes from God while the deceptive or impure dream (h.ilm) is from the Devil."

Yet another term used in the Qur>an is "manam."" {cf. Hellenic /MNEMo-/ ‘memory’}

p. 76 significance to >al-lahh of humans’ dreaming

[in the Qur>an] "One of the signs of God is said to be one’s dreams (manam) in the night and the day (30:23),

God’s [will?] shows things to the Prophet in a dream (manam) (8:43), and

dream experiences have some analogy with death (39:42)."

[in the "RD&A"] "God receives souls at the time of death[;] and those souls that have not yet died[,] in their sleep. He keeps the souls for which He has ordained death[,] and dismisses the rest until the appointed time."

"RD&A" = "The Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife", book XL of The Revival of the Religious Sciences, transl. by T. J. Winter. Cambridge, 1995.


Kelly Bulkeley (ed.) : Dreams : a Reader on Religious, Cultural, and Psychological Dimensions of Dreaming. Palgrave (an imprint of St. Martin’s Pr), Houndsmills (Basingstoke, Hampshire, England), 2001.