I don’t know a lot about dreams. You know the kind where you lay your head down to sleep and your mind creates all these fantasies or nightmares. It could be something as cool as battling a witch or as terrifying as being chased by a murderer. I’ve heard it said that dreams are just your mind processing what you’ve been up to throughout the day. I believe it. Lately, I’ve been dreaming about work and how I don’t want to miss my alarm, be late, or prove myself uncapable. If not that, then I’m dreaming about hippos.
I often wonder if dreams can be more than the brain processing information. I mean, these days we’re surrounded by stories where the main character gets a vision in dream form, a warning from the future, or an event they need tend to the moment they way up. It could be prompted by an ancient artifact, the Force, or the magic in their genetics. Whatever the reason, it makes dreams seem really powerful and important than they are in today’s world. I, for one, don’t think there’s a special message behind me showing up to work in my pajamas.
But it didn’t use to be this way, right? Ancient Egyptians thought dreams were important and used them to plan battle strategies and direct their state. Ancient Greeks and Romans thought they were future predictions or the dead coming back to visit. Then there’s the story of Joseph and his multicolored coat. A Biblical story in which the musical Joseph and the Amazing Techicolor Dreamcoat sprouted.
Joseph is a guy who ends up having it pretty rough despite how nicely things were going for him. He’s favored over his brothers by his father–hence where he gets the multicolored coat–and not only that, but he ends up having these dreams that prophecy him standing greater than his brothers. Dreams where his brothers are groveling at his feet. None of this sat well with his brothers, so they end up selling Joseph as a slave. A slave! Then they tell their father that Joseph died. That’s some serious family issues right there. As a slave, Joseph does pretty well. He makes the most of his circumstances and ends up gaining favor from the guy who owns him. Things are great–despite being a slave. Unfortunately, Joseph caught more than just the favor of his master. He also caught the eye of his master’s wife. She wanted him to share her bed, but Joseph kept refusing. He knew the consequences and knew it wouldn’t be worth it. This didn’t sit well with the lady master, so she framed Joseph. Told her husband that Joseph came after her with extravagant passes and refused to take no for an answer. As you can guess, Joseph’s master got mad and poor Joseph ended up in jail.
His story doesn’t end there, though. In jail, Joseph meets some people who are having strange dreams and he gains a knack for interpreting said dreams. Years go by and suddenly the pharaoh of Egypt is having strange dreams. One of the guys Joseph interpreted for was released back into pharaoh’s services and he mentions Joseph to pharaoh. Desperate for answer, pharaoh sends for Joseph. When Joseph interprets his dreams as prophesizing seven years of bountiful harvest followed by seven years of famine, pharaoh places Joseph in charge of storing excess food those seven bountiful years, and distributing it during the seven years of famine. Joseph went from a slave to a prisoner to Egypt’s salvation.
Remember Joseph’s brothers? The ones who sold him. They end up coming to Egypt seeking food during those years of famine. They don’t recognize Joseph, at first, and they end up groveling at Joseph’s feet for help to feed their families. Sound familiar? Before even becoming a slave, Joseph had dreams of standing greater than his brothers and here in the middle of a famine, his dream comes true right before his eyes. How cool is that?
Regardless if you believe the story of Joseph to be real, ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans once thought that dreams meant something important. They allowed dreams to direct their lives and took heed of them. Granted, back then, they didn’t have all the science and technology we do now. Science and technology tell us that dreams are nothing, but the brain processing information. They’re not supernatural prophecies of the future or visits from beyond the grave. In all honesty, I feel the magic in dreams has been sucked right out of them. No. You shouldn’t stake your life on dreams of hippos in your backyard or surviving a zombie apocalypse, but what if you humored your imagination and thought about the possible prophecies in them? I know I have a lot of dreams I can’t write off as the mind processing information, but I can write them down as potential novel ideas, stories to write and hopefully publish.
I like to think that dreams have more meaning than people give them credit for. Maybe some people still get prophesizing dreams and some people still have the knack for interpreting them? Like I said: I don’t know much about dreams, but I am a Dreamer and it’s fun to dream these things.