“….such stuff as dreams are made on…”
I have spent very little time in my life thinking about dreams. I know, within myself, that I do have dreams and just, very occasionally, I remember them. However the matter of dreams and their interpretation has been recorded through millennia – records exist from at least 2000 years before Jesus’ feet first touched the Egyptian earth. Dream work can be traced through history and faith groups from that time on. Joseph’s time frame was somewhere between 1000 and 1500 years before the birth of Jesus.
Those who interpreted dreams (the magicians and wise men above) were highly respected and probably should be thought of as the forerunners to medics; to consult such a magician as commonplace perhaps as, if not a 21st century trip to the doctor, a pre NHS consultation. In other words not so common amongst the poor.
I have a cousin in Canada and her wife goes religiously to her weekly dream group where members share their dreams and in a safe environment explore what they might mean. Nowadays this area of analysis is understood to belong to the psychotherapist.
And so I pondered where did Joseph’s expertise and apparent comfort around dream work come from? He did not have the luxury of being able to look up on the internet the accepted meaning attributed to dreams about cattle, cows or corn and clearly there is no suggestion in his story that he travelled to study before being trafficked to Egypt. I like to think that perhaps this was just knowledge that he picked up as he was growing up. Like many things knowledge and experience is freely available but temperament and openness to an experience or the insights another passes on birthing in turn a new expert.