|Henry Fuesli: The Nightmare|
On Sunday, Jeffe contended that REM sleep is more than a reboot of neurons. On Monday, Laura shared how her subconscious resolves problems overnight.
Being the Word-Whore that I am, I’d like to introduce you to the three men with whom I spend quite a bit of time…dream-time, that is. Paranormal fans might recognize them as leaders of the Oneiroi. Mythology students might debate them as the sons of Nyx (Goddess of Night) or Hypnos (God of Sleep). They are the brothers and/or nephews of Thanatos (God of Death) and Geras (God of Aging). However the family tree may or may not fork, the mythical masculine Greek deities to whom I am referring are:
Morpheus, Phantasos, and Phobetor
Morpheus: “Matrix” fans will recognize the name; some may grasp the deeper relevance of Laurence Fishburne’s character. Morpheus is large and dark, faceless and winged. He is the manipulator of humanoids within our dreams. His late-night stories are clear to the dreamer, vivid and comprehensible. He is rumored to visit kings and heroes. (That those we envy and emulate are slow-witted, impatient, or have stifled the art of imagination, is a tragedy to debate some other time.)
addicts, and inventors rejoice! Phantasos is the dream-god of fantasy. His theatre troop is rife with the inanimate. His landscapes are surreal, his stories highly symbolic. From his name the word “phantasmagorical” is derived. Shrinks may define it as, “a shifting medley of real or imagined figures.” Filmmakers use it to describe, “a sequence of pictures made to vary in size rapidly while remaining in focus.” Folks seeking the “unique” and “unexpected” should feel free to embarrass themselves with the Snoopy Dance or the Cabbage Patch should Phantasos guide their dreams.
Phobetor: If anyone wondered which poor maligned deity gave rise to the term “phobia,” allow me to introduce Phobetor. Strange how a god given to using animals to animate his dreams is also given the duty of delivering nightmares. Those with pet-hair allergies may begin cackling wildly now.
I subject every story I write to the review of the three brothers, for their influence shapes the tale into a plot arc:
- Phobetor trains the protagonist to manage fear
- Morpheus teaches the protagonist to manage success
- Phantasos guides the protagonist away from all the stresses to escape into pleasures unimaginable
Admittedly, my tales tend to linger under Phobetor’s influence. How about you? Does your heart race when the hero/heroine is fighting the hellish? Do you gloat when the goal is finally achieved or do you fret about how fleeting it may be? Does escaping the constraints of reality hold the greatest appeal?