Mtyhs and Legends: Journeys Through Time

Sweet Dreams are made of this,
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world and the seven seas,
Everybody’s looking for something…”
Sweet Dreams lyrics by Eurythmics
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) Album~1983

Have you ever gone to sleep and had the weirdest, craziest experience? Or experienced something so realistic that when your alarm clock goes off you’re disoreinted and confused because what you experiecned was so real you couldn’t possibly have been aslee? Or maybe your dream experiences lead more towards the silly and nonsense. Stuff that makes no sense in the real world but makes perfect sense in the sleep world. Dreams…what are they? Are they simply the by-product of our minds processing what happened today? Are they memories we’ve locked away and only visit when we’re relaxed enough to deal with them? Are they actual travels? The truth is..nobody knows exactly what a dream is. Aside from images, emotions, ideas and sensations, we don’t know what dreams are or what purpose we serve. Dreams have long been debated. In fact there’s even a branch of science devoted to studying dreams. The study of dreams is called oneirology. Onerios being Greek for dream and logia to mean “the study of” . It’s funny in a way how most things comes back to the Greeks…or at least the Ancient Greeks. They had a lot of ideas and were pretty advanced for their time. What does dreaming having to do with the Greeks…or even Ancient Greeks? Simple. Everything. Well..mostly everything. See that word “Onerios”….technically it’s a name. Even more technically it’s a race of spirits of dreams. Which leads us to Morpheus. Not very much is known about Morpheus. The myths vary on who his parents were. One myth acknowledges his parentage as that of Nyx the Goddess of Night and Erebus, the literal embodiment of Darkness. In other myths..Hypnos; God of Sleep is the father of Morpheus his mother is said to be Pasithea; Goddess of relaxtion and rest. Morpheus and his brothers Phoebetor(creater of nightmares..not somebody you’d want visiting you), Phantasas/Phantasos (creator of the illusionary dreams…the ones that you seem to automatically know are dreams) and Ikelos/Icelus (said to be the creator of the true dreams. The ones that are so realistic you don’t know if you’re actually dreaming or really awake). If Phobetor, Phatasas and Ikelos were the ones creating the dreams..then what was Morpheus’ job? While the other three pretty much worked in tandam to bring somebody a dream…Morpheus was the one that oversaw the dreams of kings, heroes and could even influence the dreams of Gods. He was also sent as a messenger…it’s been said to be “in the arms of Morpheus” a person would have a sound sleep, but would also dream about their futures or coming events. In effect the Gods and Goddesses would give Morpheus divine messages to deliver. Since he’s the only one of the four brothers that could take on human form…it made perfect sense. He’d take somebody into his arms, make sure they slept soundly and then deliver the divine message in the form of dreams. That is what put Morpheus above his brothers. Ironically..the Greeks never wrote much about Morpehus…he’s what you would say one the lesser known Gods. The Roman poet Ovid however…did write about Morpehus in Metamorphoses. Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a poem that spans 15 books. It uses mythology (loosely..but it still uses it) to describe history from creation all the way up to the “deification” of Julius Ceasar. It’s a pretty solid reference for Greeky Mythology..and especially handy for looking up the lesser known Gods and Goddesses.