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.The content and purpose of dreams are not definitively understood, though they have been a topic of scientific speculation, as well as a subject of philosophical and religious interest, throughout recorded history. The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology. Scientists believe that, in addition to humans, birds and other mammals also dream.
Dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep—when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. REM sleep is revealed by continuous movements of the eyes during sleep. At times, dreams may occur during other stages of sleep. However, these dreams tend to be much less vivid or memorable.
Dreams can last for a few seconds, or as long as twenty minutes. People are more likely to remember the dream if they are awakened during the REM phase. The average person has three to five dreams per night, but some may have up to seven dreams in one night. The dreams tend to last longer as the night progresses. During a full eight-hour night sleep, two hours of it is spent dreaming.
In modern times, dreams have been seen as a connection to the unconscious. They range from normal and ordinary to overly surreal and bizarre. Dreams can have varying natures, such as frightening, exciting, magical, melancholic, adventurous, or sexual. The events in dreams are generally outside the control of the dreamer, with the exception of lucid dreaming, where the dreamer is self-aware. Dreams can at times make a creative thought occur to the person or give a sense of inspiration.
Opinions about the meaning of dreams have varied and shifted through time and culture. Dream interpretations date back to 5000–4000 BC. The earliest recorded dreams were acquired from materials dating back approximately 5,000 years, in Mesopotamia, where they were documented on clay tablets. In the Greek and Roman periods, the people believed that dreams were direct messages from the gods or from the dead, and that they predicted the future. Some cultures practiced dream incubation with the intention of cultivating dreams that are prophetic.
Sigmund Freud, who developed the discipline of psychoanalysis, wrote extensively about dream theories and interpretations. He explained dreams as manifestations of our deepest desires and anxieties, often relating to repressed childhood memories or obsessions. In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud developed a psychological technique to interpret dreams and devised a series of guidelines to understand the symbols and motifs that appear in our dreams.
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Early Fairy History shows that the belief in the existence of fairies was first known and is based on the fae of medieval Western European folklore. The early stories about these Fairies have become know as Fairy Tales. Historically, these Fairytales often identify a variety of other beings from other mythologies.
According to the research that shows some of the theories that speculate on the origins of these fantastic little creatures:
1. They are souls that were never baptized.
2. They are souls caught between heaven and Hell. They have not been good enough to get into heaven, but they have not committed a bad enough sin to deserve Hell. They are in limbo.
3. These are fallen angels. It is believed that Angels that were loyal to Lucifer were also thrown out of heaven with him. God stopped them from being cast into Hell in mid-flight. He made them remain exactly where they were at the time. That is why some of these enchanted beings can fly in the air, many make living in the earth their home and others live in rivers, ponds, lakes and the ocean. Irish Folklore and folklore from Scotland, Scandinavia and others all have very similar accounts.
4. They are nature spirits. Somewhat analogous to the fallen-angel theory, this theory holds that they are among the many spirits that populate all things and places in the earth.
5. They are diminutive human beings. There is evidence that small-structured races populated parts of Europe and the British Isles in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, before the spread of the Celts. In Ireland, they were known as the Thuathe de Danaan.
They resided in barrows and in shelters burrowed under hills and mounds. They were hard working but shy, and, as stronger peoples invaded their land and captured their iron weaponry, they retreated to the woodlands to live a secretive life. Being pagan, they continued to worship the pagan deities. They were in union with nature and possessed keen psychic senses. Their skills and trades allowed them to lead somewhat normal lives while raising diminutive cattle and horses.