Evil and Dreams

Evil and Dreams

(dreams)

The notion of some form of conscious demonic force has been a part of the human imagination since prehistoric times. The belief that malicious entities lie behind natural disasters and other unpleasant aspects of human life is still prevalent in certain traditional societies, especially in such culture areas as Africa and Oceania, in the form of natural elements (typically animals or such phenomena as floods) or as spirits of the ancestors. Especially before the development of scientific discoveries that proffered more neutral explanations for the irregularities of nature, demons were believed to be responsible for unexplainable natural disasters and diseases.

Given this widespread belief, it is only natural that the common experience of nightmares has often been explained in terms of the intrusion of demons. This explanation is so widespread, in fact, that it is not unusual to find special prayers and ceremonies intended to protect the sleeper from evil entities. During the European Middle Ages, when sex was regarded as evil, erotic dreams were viewed as being caused by special demons called incubi and succubi. Some medieval churchmen went so far as to denounce all dreams as creations of the Devil.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.