Greece Antiphon, a Greek living in the fourth century bc. wrote the first known descriptive book of dreams. It was designed to be used for practical and professional interpretations. He maintained that dreams are not created by supernatural powers but natural conditions. In the second century ad a similar book was written by Anemidorus, a Greek physician who lived in Rome. He claimed to have gathered his infonnation from ancient sources, possibly from the Egyptian dream book dating from the second millennium bc. He may have used works from the Assurbanipal library, later destroyed, which held one of the most complete collections of dream literature. Anemidorus classified dreams into dreams, visions, oracles, fantasies and apparitions. He identified two classes of dreams: the somnium, which forecast events; and the insomnium, which are concerned with present matters.
For the somnium dreams Anemidorus gave a dream dictionary.
For example, he said abyss meant an impending danger, a dream of warning, and to see a candle being lighted forecasts a binh, to exhibit a lighted candle augers contentment and prosperity, a dimly burning candle shows sickness, sadness and delay. This last interpretation is taken from folklore of the times and, because dreams tend to use commonly used verbal images, was probably true. He maintained that a person’s name—that is their identity, and the family, national and social background from which they arose—has a bearing on what their dream means.
Plato (429-347 bc) said that even good men dream of uncontrolled and violent actions, including sexual aggression. These actions are not committed by good men while awake, but criminals act them out without guilt. Democritus said that dreams are not products of an ethereal soul, but of visual impressions which influence our imagination. Aristotle (383— 322 bc) stated that dreams can predict future events. Earlier Hippocrates, the ‘father of medicine’, discovered that dreams can reveal the onset of organic illness. Such dreams, he said, can be seen as illogically representing external reality.
Hippocrates was born on the island of Kos. On the island was the famous temple dedicated to Aesculapius, the god of medicine. There were about 300 such temples in Greece alone, dedicated to healing through the use of dreams. Hippocrates was an Aesculapian, and learnt his form of dream interpretation from them. In such temples the patient would ritually have to cleanse themselves by washing, and abstain from sex, alcohol and even food. They would then be led into what was sometimes a subterranean room with harmless snakes in—these were the symbol of the god. In the morning the patients were asked their dream, and it was expected they would dream an answer to their illness or problem. There are many attestations to the efficacy of this technique from patients. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
See Poisonous Snake. More than anything else, this is a symbol of fear. It is also often a sexual symbol, and a symbol of wholeness, transformation, and rebirth, as in Ouroboros.
A symbol of the dark feminine and deception, it also represents wisdom and cunning. Almost every woman dreams about serpents at least once in her life, which could mean fear of a rival or of the male gender.
The serpent stands for physical drives.
If something is not right in that area, snake dreams appear.
The image of the serpent may also refer to the “water of life,” since it comes from inside the earth where the healing springs originate.
The Caduceus, the staff of Aesculapius, a symbol of the healing arts, shows two serpents winding around it. In the sacred temple of Aesculapius, serpents crawled on the floor of the sleeping halls. They were said to induce healing dreams.
According to 2nd century dream interpreter Arte- midorus, dreaming about serpents indicates healing and the return to vitality. It is also a symbol of immortality (shedding of the skin—rebirth).
The “Midgard-serpent” and the “Ferris wolf’ in Norse mythology threaten the gods as the world comes to an end.
The serpent is also the symbol for secret wisdom and the revelation of the hidden. Snakes are quick, attracted by fire and the birth of energy.
A snake steals from Gilgamesh (hero of the Sumerian epic) the herb of immortality, while he is taking a bath in a pond. In Greece, Gaia, the goddess of the earth, produces two half-serpents called Titans, who do battle with Zeus.
For the Gnostics of late antiquity, the serpent symbolized the dark, deep, and unfathomable side of God.
The serpent is also a symbol of Kundalini (the yogic life force). In ancient Greece, serpents were even honored publicly, because they were believed to be ghosts of the dead.
Snakes appear suddenly, out of the unknown, creating fear. It is impossible to have a meaningful communication with them; they are secretive and fear-inducing, as is the unconscious. Their poison is sin, their wisdom transformation and deliverance. According to Early Christian imagination, when a snake was attacked, it would only protect its head.
According to Freud, a phallic symbol. According to Jung, the image of the snake means that something important is taking place in our unconscious; it may be dangerous or healing. See Eel.... Little Giant Encyclopedia