Morpheus, the Greek God of Dreams
Morpheus is a seldom heard of God, who was not mentioned often in Greek Mythology. Morpheus is a God of Dreams and Sleep. His name means “He who shapes”. The words “metamorphosis” and “morphine” come from his name.
Morpheus is the leader of the Oneiroi, the spirits of Dreams. The Oneiroi work for Hypnos, the God of sleep. They are a set of triplets and are all Gods of dreams. The Oneiroi spend their days sleeping within dark caves in Erebos, the Land of Eternal Darkness, which is located in the underworld. Morpheus sleeps upon a bed of ebony, surrounded by poppies. When evening comes, the brothers soar from their caves and leave Erebos like great bats in the night, flying on their black wings into the mortal realm where they visit people’s dreams. There are two gateways from Erebos. One is a gate made of horn and when the Oneiroi fly through it, they bring prophetic dreams. The other is a gate made of ivory and when they fly through it, they carry meaningless dreams with them.
The Oneiroi consists of Morpheus and his two brothers, Phantosos and Phobetor (also called Icelus). Phobetor is the God of nightmares and a shaper of dreams. From his name we get the word “phobia“. Phobetor is often seen as an animal or a bird when he is in the dream state. Phantosos is a God of fantasy and his dreams are surreal and have deep meaning and insights.
Morpheus himself visits dreams, bringing wisdom and guidance. He always appears as a man in dreams and is a master of illusion and the art of mimicking others. Morpheus is able to take the guise of any man and portray them perfectly, imitating their look, voice, and demeanour precisely. However, Morpheus can only appear as a man and is never seen in any other form. Morpheus brings prophetic dreams from the Gods to Kings, heroes and those in power.
Morpheus and his two brothers are the sons of Hypnos, the God of Sleep and either Pasithea, the eldest of the Graces or Nyx, the Goddess of Night. They are the nephews of Thanatos, the God of Death. The brothers are winged Daemons.
Not much is known of this very elusive God. He is as mysterious as our dreams themselves. One wonders as Morpheus lies upon his bed of Ebony, surrounded by the entrancing narcotic poppy blooms…What does Morpheus dream of?