Friday, May 13, 2011


The language of dreams is particularly remarkable; for the images of dreamers are not always known and easily understood appearances; they are often starting symbols whose meaning it is difficult to express in common words, and which the dreamer himself is seldom able to unriddle; on which account it was customary in ancient times, and particularly in the Temples, to have interpreters of dreams. From this arose the science of expounding dreams (oneirocritica, oneiroscopia). It is, however, the language of poets and prophets; that is the object and the image are one; and it seems that the primitive language and the language of God to man was symbolic. The language of dreams is the same in the most dissimilar men and nations; the prophet and the seer, the true poet, the magnetic clairvoyant, and the prophetic dreamer, more commonly use this language than that of common intercourse. In it lies such a fulness of meaning, and combination of times and objects, that the most comprehensive prose is unable to give its full expression. As common than at present, when the outward sense are more distracted with occupations of the mind, so do we find that symbols and hieroglyphics were more common; as among the Indian seers, the Israelitish prophets, the Greek oracles, and the old picture-writing of the Egyptians, and the votive tablets of the Temples. It is similarly connected with art. This was also symbolic in its architecture; for art is but the expression of the inner genius which inspires the soul of the artist, or the imagination of a people, and is intimately connected with religious feelings. The expression of art is, therefore, but the true language of the seer, and therefore mostly as symbolic in meaning; as for instance, the Ark of the Covenant, which arose by divine inspiration, and then expanded into the Temple of Solomon; till at length Christian architecture, in universal freedom and purity, as it were, cast off all the oppressive weight of earthy matter, and with its pointed arches, vaulted roofs, and towering spires, strives upwards towards heaven, as if to receive the glorious power descending from above.

Source: The History of Magic by Joseph Ennemoser

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