Monthly Archives: December 2018

The Egyptian Dream Book

The Egyptian ‘Dream Book’ is preserved in the form of a papyrus with a hieratic script. This papyrus was found in the ancient Egyptian workers’ village of Deir el-Medina, near the Valley of the Kings. This papyrus has been dated to the early reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 B.C.).

Each page of the papyrus begins with a vertical column of hieratic signs which translates as ‘If a man sees himself in a dream’. In each horizontal line that follows, a dream is described, and the diagnosis ‘good’ or ‘bad’, as well as the interpretation is provided. Thus, as an example: ‘If a man sees himself in a dream looking out of a window, good; it means the hearing of his cry’. The good dreams are listed first, followed by the bad ones (written in red, as it is the colour of bad omens).

Around 108 dreams, which describe 78 activities and emotions, are recorded in the ‘Dream Book’. These activities may be said to be things commonly undertaken by the average person. Most of these activities deal with some form of sight or seeing. The second largest category deals with eating and drinking, and a few more deal with receiving and copulating.

The papyrus probably had several owners before being finally being deposited in Deir el-Medina. Although it is unclear who its original owner was, some of its owners can be traced through their names on the papyrus. For instance, we know that the scribe Qeniherkhepshef once owned this papyrus, since he copied a poem about the Battle of Kadesh which took place during Ramesses II’s reign. Also, the names of this scribe’s wife’s second husband, Khaemamen, and his son, Amennakht, can be found on the papyrus, indicating that the papyrus belonged to them.

Another interesting thing about the ‘Dream Book’ is that it was once part of an archive. In addition to this papyrus, there were a variety of papyri which dealt with literary, magical, and documentary works. As the ‘Dream Book’ has demonstrated, this was an heirloom that was handed down from one generation to the next.

It is interesting to consider whether the ‘Dream Book’ was regarded by the ancient Egyptians as a piece of ‘serious’ or a ‘popular’ piece of writing. After all, if archaeologists of the future were to discover newspaper clippings of the ‘daily horoscope’ (without the knowledge of the social context of our age), they would probably be equally unsure as to whether these ‘predictions’ were meant to be taken seriously or not. Obviously, how serious a reader takes these ‘predictions’ would be a whole different matter that could be explored as well.

Nevertheless, the Egyptian ‘Dream Book’ is a fascinating piece of work which shows one of the beliefs (be it serious or not) held by the ancient Egyptians. Moreover, the value placed by the ancient Egyptians on knowledge can also be seen, as this papyrus was passed down from one generation to another as an heirloom.

The Dream Interpretations

Here is a list of the dreams and their meanings. You will notice that some of them make more sense than others. The simplest way to read the list is to preface it with, ” If a man sees himself in a dream…”

  • Against his finger ~ good ~ signifies receiving cattle.
  • Anointing self with oil ~ bad ~ indicates his people will be taken away from him.
  • An ape represents a heart.
  • As helmsman of a boat, ~ bad ~ speaks of a judgement against him that is not justified.
  • Baring his own rear-end ~ bad ~ means he will be poor.
  • Barley and emmer in the beyond ~ good ~ he will be protected by his God.
  • Being appointed an official ~ bad ~ in a dream means death is approaching.
  • Beaten by a willow ~ bad ~ foretells a funeral procession.
  • The bed goeth up in flames ~ bad ~ indicates his wife will be expelled.
  • Beer represents surging emotions.
  • Being given a head” ~ good ~ “in order to speak.”
  • Being pricked by a thorn ~ bad ~ signifies telling lies.
  • Binding ~ good ~  receiving a house in the end.
  • Binding people who are netted in the night ~ good ~ speech will be taken away from his enemies.
  • Binding your own legs ~ good ~ dwelling with fellow-citizens.
  • Bitten by a hound ~ bad ~ means to be touched by magic (but not in a good way).
  • Bitten by a snake ~ bad ~ means a dispute against him.
  • Blood ~ good ~ an end to his enemies.
  • Blossoms ~ good ~ prosperity.
  • Bones ~ good ~ sustenance of the palace.
  • A bow in your hand ~ good ~ receiving an important office.
  • Breaking a vessel with his feet ~ bad ~ fighting.
  • Breaking apart stone ~ bad ~ his God is angry with him.
  • Breaking into ~ good ~ receiving a wife.
  • Breeding with a cow ~ good ~ happy day.
  • Brewing beer in the house ~ bad ~ foretells of being turned away from his own house.
  • Bringing mice from a field ~ bad ~ signifies a bad heart.
  • Building a house for oneself ~ bad ~ foretells contrary words ahead.
  • Building his own house ~ bad ~ foretells disputes against him.
  • Burying alive ~ good ~ lively prosperity.
  • Burying an old man ~ good ~ prosperity.
  • Busiris ~ good ~ great old age.
  • Carrying off temple items ~ bad ~ foretells property confiscated.
  • Carved-up billy-goat’s limbs are given to him  ~ good ~ a favorable outcome.
  • Casting copper ~ bad ~ indicates a future of roaming the earth.
  • A large cat ~ good ~ a large harvest.
  • Catching birds ~ bad ~ something of his will be carried off.
  • Causing cattle to come in  ~ good ~ people will be assembled for him by his God.
  • Chewing ~ good ~ something will happen.
  • Chewing a melon ~ bad ~ disputes will happen.
  • Chewing a plant ~ bad ~ indicates a debate.
  • Chewing waterlily leaves ~ good ~ you will enjoy something.
  • Climbing up a mast ~ good ~ he will be elevated by his God.
  • Clothes are wet ~ bad ~ means fighting.
  • Closing house ~ bad ~ indicates repulsion.
  • Consuming the flesh of a donkey ~ good ~ to become great.
  • Consuming the flesh of a crocodile ~ good ~ consuming the possessions of an official, it may also mean acting as an official.
  • Copulating with a female aardwolf ~ bada judgement against him.
  • Copulating with a kite ~ bad ~ something might be grabbed right out of his hand.
  • Copulating with his mother ~ good ~ he will be joined by clansfolk.
  • Copulating with a pig ~ bad ~ your possessions will be emptied.
  • Copulating with his sister ~ good ~ something will be assigned.
  • Copulating with his wife in the daylight ~ bad ~ his crimes will be seen by the God.
  • Copulating with a woman ~ bad ~ signifies mourning.
  • Cranes ~ good ~ prosperity.
  • Crocodiles signify acting as an official.
  • Cultivating herbs ~ good ~ victuals will be found.
  • Cutting up a bull ~ good ~ the opponent will be killed.
  • Cutting up a female hippopotamus ~ good ~ much food of the palace.
  • Cutting your own hair ~ bad ~ something will be taken from the house.
  • Dreaming you are dead ~ good ~ a long life.
  • A dead bull means enemies.
  • Drinking blood ~ bad ~ signifies fighting.
  • Drinking warm beer ~ bad ~ suffering will come upon him.
  • Drinking wine ~ good ~ living according to truth, or mouth will be open.
  • To drive away his tears for God ~ bad ~ denotes fighting.
  • A dwarf or midget ~ bad ~ signifies taking away half his life.
  • Dying from a back-wound ~ good ~ you will live after your father.
  • Eating in a dream represents food.
  • Eating an egg ~ bad ~ something will be stolen.
  • Eating figs and grapes ~ bad ~ foretells pain.
  • Eating grapes ~ good ~ receiving something of one’s own.
  • Eating a gutted catfish ~ bad ~ you will be seized by a crocodile.
  • Eating hot meat ~ bad ~ signifies no justification.
  • Eating sycamore figs ~ bad ~ signifies pains.
  • Eating faience ~ bad ~ indicates strong dispute.
  • Eating the flesh of cattle ~ bad ~ fighting or that something bad will happen.
  • Eating tigre-nuts ~ good ~ governing townspeople.
  • Eating what he detesteth ~ bad ~ he will eat unwittingly (not a good thing).
  • Enchanted by a spell ~ bad ~ foretells mourning.
  • Entering the temple of ‘female deity’ ~ bad ~ denotes an unfavorable outcome.
  • Extinguishing~ bad ~  possessions will be ended.
  • A face as a panther ~ good ~ acting as chief.
  • Fallen prostrate before the southern tribunal ~ bad ~ you will be removed from office.
  • Falling ~ good ~ prosperity.
  • Falling off a wall reveals the outcome of a quarrel.
  • Following behind a herd of billy-goats  ~ good ~ a favorable outcome.
  • Fattening the cattle ~ bad ~ an unfavorable dream.
  • Feces ~ bad ~ his possession will be consumed.
  • Ferrying in a ferry-boat ~ good ~ the going forth of all disputes.
  • Fetching jars out of the water ~ good ~ a life of abundance.
  • Fire~ bad ~ your son or brother will be taken away.
  • Flames coming against him ~ bad ~ he will be slaughtered.
  • Giving one’s self victuals of the temple ~ good ~ life will be assigned to him by his God.
  • God Who Is Above” ~ good ~ a great meal.
  • Guarding patras monkeys ~ bad ~ change is ahead.
  • Hair hath lengthened ~ good ~ your face will brighten, or possibly, the multiplying of possessions.
  • Harnessing a wagon ~ bad ~ indicates insults against him.
  • Herbs of the field ~ good ~ sustenance for father.
  • Homage-praesent ~ good ~ your call will be heard.
  • Honey jar with a cover ~ good ~ something by his God.
  • Immersing in the river ~ good ~ being purified from badness.
  • In the field ~ good ~ you are giving to him.
  • Killing a bull ~ good ~ your enemies will be killed.
  • Killing snakes ~ good ~ disputes will be killed.
  • Looking into a deep well ~ bad ~ you will be placed in prison.
  • Looking through a window ~ good ~ his call will be heard by his god.
  • Lying down on the floor ~ bad ~ something of his will be consumed.
  • Making love with a cow ~ good ~ a day of love.
  • Measuring barley ~ bad ~ signifies a dispute against him.
  • Measuring barley with a measuring cup ~ bad ~ victuals will be regulated.
  • Milk ~ good ~ much food.
  • Mixing dates ~ good ~ victuals will be found.
  • Moon shining ~ good ~ clemency to him of his God.
  • Mourning ~ good ~ the multiplying of possessions, or possibly the road will tilt.
  • A mouth filled with earth symbolizes eating off fellow-citizens.
  • Nomads ~ good ~ your dead father will come.
  • Notching sycamore figs ~ bad ~ indicates depression.
  • An ostrich ~ bad ~ signifies harm to him.
  • Paddling water ~ good ~ prosperity.
  • A papyrus scroll ~ good ~ established in own home.
  • Penis stiffening ~ bad ~ the victory of his enemy.
  • People far away ~ bad ~ death is drawing near.
  • Placing beer into a jug ~ bad ~ something will be taken away from the house.
  • Placing incense on the flame for the God ~ bad ~ the power of God against him.
  • Placing your own face against the floor ~ bad ~ requirements by yon (?) ones.
  • Planting gourds ~ good ~ a good life as his God’s gift.
  • Plastering his house with yellow ochre ~ bad ~ his people will be taken away.
  • Ploughing emmer ~ good ~ something unspecified.
  • Plundering ~ good ~ you will be satisfied.
  • A pond ~ good ~ the road will tilt.
  • Potting ~ bad ~ foretells that you will be in pain.
  • Pounding barley and emmer ~ bad ~ seeking from him.
  • Praising ~ good ~ he will be justified before his God.
  • Preparing a shrine ~ bad ~ a crime will be brought to light.
  • Pressing wine ~ bad ~ your possessions will be confiscated.
  • Receiving ~ good ~ estate will be united.
  • Receiving copper  ~ good ~ you will be exalted.
  • Receiving a harp ~ bad ~ you will come to harm.
  • Receiving material  ~ good ~ prosperity.
  • Removing a wall ~ good ~ purification from badness.
  • Removing his fingernails ~ bad ~ removing works of his hands.
  • A river ~ good ~ he will be heard by his God.
  • Sailing downstream ~ bad ~ means tying, it also signifies life running backward, and/or speaks of a violent dispute.
  • Sailing in a boat ~ good ~ dwelling with fellow citizens.
  • Sawing wood ~ good ~ his enemies are dead.
  • A seat in his boat ~ bad ~ means his wife will be set aside.
  • Seeing a woman’s vulva ~ bad ~ a “backside” of misery.
  • Seeing your own face in a mirror ~ bad ~ signifies another wife.
  • Sees himself in a dream, and the mouth is broken ~ bad ~ God will break his heart.
  • Shank of his leg is amputated ~ bad ~ a judgment against him.
  • Shaving your lower body ~ bad ~ mourning to come.
  • Shod with white sandals ~ bad ~ roaming the earth.
  • Shooting at a target ~ good ~ something will happen.
  • Silver and gold ~ good ~ much food of the palace.
  • Sitting in a garden of sunlight ~ good ~ pleasure.
  • Sitting in the hold of a ship ~ bad ~ the dragging of your own heart.
  • Sitting on a sycamore tree ~ good ~ badness will be driven out.
  • Sky is raining ~ bad ~ disputes are coming.
  • Snaring birds ~ bad ~ being deprived of possessions.
  • Snatching the wood of a God from his hand ~ bad ~ his own crimes will be discovered by his God.
  • Standing on high ground, holding ~ good ~ a favorable outcome.
  • Stone  ~ good ~  receiving something.
  • Taking dates ~ good ~ victuals as a gift of his God.
  • Tearing your own clothes ~ good ~ you will be freed from all badness.
  • Teeth falling out below ~ bad ~ an underling will die.
  • Tending small kids ~ bad ~ possessions will be lost.
  • Threshing grain ~ good ~ receiving life in house.
  • Throwing hay onto water ~ good ~ elation.
  • Throwing wood ~ bad ~ harm will be brought into the house.
  • Throwing your own clothes on the ground shows the outcome of a dispute.
  • Tigre-nuts ~ good ~ a happy life.
  • A tomb ~ good ~ possessions will be great.
  • To send far (a message) ~ good ~ great.
  • Tossing about his house ~ bad ~ he will be ill.
  • Towing a boat ~ good ~ landed well in his house.
  • Uplifted fingers ~ good ~ provided by his God.
  • Upon a roof ~ good ~ something will be found.
  • Upon a sycamore ~ bad ~ you will lose.
  • To dream of urine ~ bad ~ something belonging to his daughter will be consumed.
  • Veiling himself ~ good ~ he will drive away his enemies.
  • Waving a rag (or pennant) ~ bad ~ you will be challenged.
  • Dreams that you are weak ~ bad ~ you will find enemies.
  • Wearing an Asiatic garment ~ bad ~ you will be expelled from office.
  • Weaving thread ~ bad ~ your possessions will be confiscated.
  • White bread ~ good ~ that your face will brighten.
  • Wings enfolding ~ bad ~ he is not justified before his God.
  • With a blow ~ good ~ something to him.
  • With one greater than oneself ~ good ~ you are exalted by your own ability.
  • With one side paralyzed ~ bad ~ something taken away.
  • A woman signifies “against a wife by the husband.”
  • Working stone ~ good ~ established in his house.
  • Writing ~ good ~ being established in office, it also means life is good.
  • Writing on a papyrus roll ~ bad ~ his crimes will be reckoned by his God.
  • Your own face in water (reflection?) ~ bad ~ spending a lifetime in another life.
  • Your penis hath enlarged ~ good ~ an increase of possessions.
  • Your woman with a married man ~ good ~ retreat.

Kasia Szakowska : Behind Closed Eyes : Dreams and Nightmares in Ancient Egypt. The Classical Pr of Wales, Swansea, 2003.

Is Your Lover True?

On receiving a love letter that has any particular declaration in it, lay it wide open; then fold it in nine folds, pin it next to your heart, and thus wear it till bedtime; then place it in your left hand glove, and lay it under your head.

  • If you dream of gold, diamonds, or any costly gems, your lover is true, and means what he says.
  • If of white linen, you will lose him by death.
  • If of flowers, he will prove false.
  • If you dream of his saluting you, he is at present false and means not what he professes, but only to draw you into a snare,

Found in: Encyclopaedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences

Divination Pudding

Here’s something really fun. It’s a Divination Pudding, traditionally served at Yule or New Year’s celebrations.

This is not a creamy milk-based dessert pudding; instead, this is a traditional English dinner pudding. You’ll need about a loaf of stale bread, three eggs, a half cup of heavy cream, a quarter cup of brown sugar, and spices such as cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, allspice, mace, and ginger. Pick two spices, and use no more than a quarter teaspoon of each.

You will also need some trinkets such as small toy cars, rings, large coins like half-dollars, or other prizes. They will be baked into the pudding, so use common sense when picking the objects.

Grease a quart baking dish. Tear the bread into small pieces. Beat the eggs until stiff. Fold in the heavy cream and add the sugar and spices. Place the bread into the baking dish, pour the wet mixture over it.

Now comes the fun part. Hide the prizes in the pudding. Push them down into the gooey bread, then cover them over. Bake your pudding in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, checking it frequently. The top should be golden brown and an inserted toothpick should come out clean. Serve hot, with butter and whipped cream.

Caution: WARN your guests about the prizes, so that nobody chokes on them! You might want to make a separate pudding for toddlers, or use prizes that aren’t small enough to swallow. The coins represent money, the cars mean a journey, and the rings signify love.

Source: Llewellyn Journal

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