You Really Can’t Foretell the Future In Your Dreams, But You Can Do This

—Oneiromancy—the idea you can foretell the future in dreams—doesn’t work, and you shouldn’t ever trust it.

Foretelling the future through dreams isn’t accurate enough. It will lead you down the wrong road and have you making foolish decisions.

Doubt this? Look at the record for prophets foretelling the end of the world. Lots of predicting going on, no results. No end of the world.

The idea dreams can foretell the end of the world is directly contradicted in the Bible. By extension, the Bible seems to speak out against prophetic dreams as well.

Dreams can offer revelation and understanding, but not the kind that foretells the future accurately.

Oneirocritic literature

Ancient men and women flirted with the idea dreams could foretell the future, that they were messages from the gods, for years, though they often recognized the dream was communicating in metaphor and not by direct message. Much of what is termed oneirocritic literature is, in fact, about dream interpretation.

  • From 2100 BCE, the Epic of Gilgamesh is often regarded as the earliest (mostly) surviving great work of literature. This book shows ancients gathering information from their dreams to make decisions.
  • Copied during the reign of Ramses II, the Ramesside Dream Book is a discussion of dream interpretation during this age in Egypt.
  • In Oneirocritica, Artemidorus suggests a person’s waking life will affect the symbols in his dreams.
  • The Arabic tradition offers the Great Book of Interpretation of Dreams by Ibn Sirin.

Why dreams don’t work for foretelling the future

Dreams speak in metaphor. When dream scenarios are used correctly, they spark reflection and ideas via a process of dream interpretation.

If you’re going to act on prophecy in a way that it’s going to be useful, you’re going to want direct language.

Direct Language Examples: The cup is on the table next to the saucer.
Buy this stock on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.
Go here and ask for a man named Fred.





What seems like direct language should be suspect when it comes to dreams. For example, you can hear a name in a dream. The name itself often is a metaphor for something.

It’s true name or an example of something can be third-party content, a message from an entity outside of yourself. Don’t be impressed by that. It doesn’t automatically make it true or accurate. Look for verification. Only God knows the exact future.

Always demand specifics

Try to get the exact numbers that will win the lottery, not “lucky numbers.” Go for exact names and locations.

If it’s too vague, it’s worthless as far as predicting the future.

Sure, you can sometimes find out things in dreams you didn’t have any other way of knowing. Yet, unless there’s an independent confirmation, there’s no way of telling if it’s true.

You can have a hunch about something like you come to believe that a certain company will be the next Google or Amazon. Or you can have a belief that a certain game is going to go a certain way and that you need to place a bet on it. Then, you can have that hunch crystallize in a dream. You’re still not foretelling anything. Your subconscious is merely putting together investment ideas. It’s doing what it’s great at—problem-solving.

You might be right, or you might be wrong.

In the case about feeling strongly that a certain company is going to be big and that it’s a great investment, remember about risk mitigation and remember the track record of others who have gone before. Some people have maid brilliant investments that have paid off in a big way; others’ ideas have gone bust.

There’s nothing wrong with using the dream to spur further investigation and reflection. Be sure to look for a factual basis for the idea. Use the dream as a pointer to help you think in new ways not as a reason to do something in and of itself.

Instead of looking at a dream as a message about the future, look at the dream as a way to consider something in a new way.

And always think in terms of bets and never bet so much that you’re going to wipe out your resources.

Dreams aren’t meant to be taken at face value. Taking the dream at face value is a misuse and a misunderstanding of the direct benefits they can offer your life.

None of this should stop you from making predictions about 2023, of course. What did you come up with? Let’s see if you’re right.


James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life.


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