Behind closed eyes by Kasia Maria Szpakowska

By Kasia Maria Szpakowska

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The earliest concrete evidence for incubation, however, appears not until the Late Period, 2500 years after the country’s unification, and long after the earliest mention of unsought dreams in the Letters to the Dead. The earliest Dream Book dates from the Ramesside Period, approximately 1,000 years after the earliest reference to dreams. My goal at this time is to trace the evidence from Egypt’s first 2,000 years in particular, highlighting the permutations in the perception of dreams. Notes 1 I am using the word ‘farworld’ here in place of the usual ‘netherworld’ or ‘underworld’.

The noun qd is used in documentary texts of non- royal individuals only: the oracular amuletic decrees, a letter, biographies of officials, and the Opening of the Mouth ritual. t to mean ‘dream’ may reflect two distinct scribal traditions based on geography. It may be no coincidence that out of the fourteen texts that use qd, the majority originated in the Theban area. The examples coming from Thebes consist of the letter, an oracular ostrakon, two biographies, the early examples of the Opening of the Mouth ritual and sixoracular decrees (two are certainly from Thebes).

50 For the publication and commentary see Posener 1960. 51 Von Beckerath (1992) notes that there is a reference to sleeping (sd̲r) at the end of the broken-off papyrus, but as the remainder is missing we cannot ascertain whether the protagonist was about to sleep in order to induce another vision of the ghost, or simply drifted off to a dreamless slumber. 52 Bourguignon 1972, 415. 2 THE DREAM PHENOMENON Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake fromthat dream?

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