Morpheus – The God of Dreams

Morpheus was the God of Dreams, the one with the amazing ability of appearing in dreams of mortals in any form. As his name implies – the Greek word “morphe” means “form” – he was the one who shaped and formed the dreams.

In The Arms of Morpheus

Morpheus was the God responsible for the dreams of people. When in the arms of Morpheus people would enjoy a sound sleep, but would also see dream about their future or even coming events. Morpheus was the dream messenger of Gods, communicating the divine messages through images and stories, created as dreams.

Being the master of dreams, Morpheus had the ability to send images to the visions of people, to shape these images and give a form to the creatures that lived in dreams. Morpheus himself had a talent in mimicking any human in the dreams, and was able to take any form he wanted.

Ovid the Poet wrote in his Metamorphosis:

King Sleep was father of a thousand sons – indeed a tribe – and of them all, the one he chose was Morpheus, who had such skill in miming any human form at will. No other Dream (Oneiro, Morpheus’ brother)  can match his artistry in counterfeiting men: their voice, their gait, their face – their moods; and, too, he imitates their dress precisely and the words they use most frequently. But he mimes only men…”

The Winged Morpheus

When in his real form Morpheus had wings on his back. It was believed that he and his brothers were given wings by their uncle Thanatos, the deity of death, although some interpretations said that they were wing-born.

Morpheus and Iris

Morpheus and Iris

The legend says that Morpheus used his wings not only to reach those who needed help in their dreams but also to carry his father, the wingless Hypnos, to the dream world in the caves, when in several occasions needed to be saved from Zeus’ menace.

This version also suggests that Hypnos was a pretty lazy deity, spending most of his time sleeping.

Family tree of Morpheus

Father: Hypnos, God of Sleep. Descendant of Erebus and Nyx

Mother: Pasithea –  Goddess of relaxation and rest. Descendant of Hera and Dionyssus.

Uncle: Thanatos – God of Death

Brothers:

  • Phobetor: He was the one who created the scary dreams. He was the personification of nightmare, taking the form of huge and scary animals.
  • Phantasus: He was the one creating the fake and illusional dreams, and had no animus form.
  • Ikelos: He was the one creating the true dreams, making them more realistic.

Morpheus was very protective of his whole family. He had the perfect family for his deeds:  His father, Hypnos  was the personification of Sleep, seen both as god and devil. His mother Pasithea, was the deity of Hallucinations, his grandmother Nyx, the deity of Night,. And his uncle was the fearsome Thanatos, bringing death to people.

Morpheus and his brothers were called Oneiroi (Dreams) . They were his ultimate assistants: Icelus was responsible for the reality parts of the dreams, Phobetor was the creator of phobic or fearful dreams, while Phantasus created the unreal dreams, full of phantasms. What made Morpheus the biggest among his brothers was his ability to oversee the dreams of heroes and kings and influence the dreams of Gods.

The Dream World of Morpheus

The Dream World of Morpheus was the place where his family lived. While shaping dreams of mortals as he wished, and visited countless bedrooms, Morpheus slept in a cave full of poppy seeds. That mythical fact is maybe why morphine (known as morphium as well) – opium based medication for severe pain – borrowed its name from Morpheus.

The River of Forgetfulness and the River of Oblivion were found in that world, highly protected by the gates under the supervision of two monsters that would easily materialize the fears of any uninvited visitors. The legend says that only the gods from Olympus were allowed in this family nest.

morpheus and iris

It seems that Morpheus was one of the busiest deities so he didn’t have a wife, or at least so it was known in the Greek mythology. But some interpretations were ready to see him with Iris, the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods.

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13 Responses to Morpheus – The God of Dreams

  1. Aidan April 21, 2010 at 02:11 #

    I would like a Greek story that Morpheus is in.

  2. sophia oliveira September 21, 2010 at 01:33 #

    I would also like a Greek story that Morpheus is in

  3. Fart September 23, 2010 at 00:30 #

    this really helped my friend but we could’ve used a story

  4. brenda November 5, 2010 at 00:26 #

    it would really be nice if one of the paranormal romance authors like Gena Showalter did a story on Morpheus.

    She can transform even the crudest of gods to sexy guys. The books by her are very romantic and mysterious.

  5. Veronica January 3, 2011 at 23:49 #

    Morpheus has been my favorite Greek deity since I was ten. I’ve always believed he and his family were the most powerful out of all the deities–and the most awesome. My stories typically contain a figure representing death, sleep, or dream.

    Love the post; I always enjoy re-reading Greek myth facts.

  6. Alana April 19, 2011 at 00:47 #

    if you want a story look up ◦Ovid, Metamorphoses… its about morpheus

    • auto-correct-for-stupidity October 19, 2012 at 03:13 #

      the Metamorphoses is not about Morpheus himself, but about a variety of greek gods and how the world was created according to the greeks, Morpheus only appears in a couple places.

  7. Athena February 2, 2012 at 01:21 #

    My friend writes stories about greek myth at wattpad.com read them! look up jillianandkate (there is only one.) they are really good check them out!!!!!!!!

  8. nicole September 8, 2012 at 23:33 #

    i think Morpheus is a great god instead of all the ones that have blood and gore and is now dubbed my favorite greek god in mythology.

  9. Jesus Demetris Zeus December 5, 2012 at 22:46 #

    Morpheus is the agent that reveals the plans or prophecies from Erebos or AiA, beyond time and space; (AiA is the X-section of the x-y-z and ix-iy-iz space-phases, A and iA). All prophesies or plans for humanity are improvised in the timeless frame or pre-time, by the Divine Word, so as to take account of unforeseen events in the after-time, carrying out modifications accordingly.

    Morpheus himself is NOT the originator of prophecies. All such originators, prophets not oracles, are terminals of the Divine Word. (See the-divine-word.com)

    Morpheus is more ancient than Hermes-353, who is not a person but the office or function of delivering dreams, (plans), as instructed by Morpheus.

    Through the offices of Hermes, Morpheus delivers the Divine Plans (prophecies) in dreams, so as to guide the rulers of Mankind. This is why Hermes refers to him as the “Poemander”.

  10. mary jane December 17, 2012 at 08:35 #

    I named my bong Morpheus because it looks melted, thus being morphed, plus morpheus from the matrix helped with the actual name morpheus. Then I read up on this morpheus after forgetting about him completely. Makes my bong’s name much more suitable.

  11. A.Z May 24, 2013 at 16:35 #

    Love the totally cool part about “In the Arms of Morpheus”. Never heard of that before :D! Hm, I thought Hypnos was actually born with wings like his twin brother Thanatos…

  12. axanis December 5, 2014 at 19:24 #

    Morpheus or brother Dream or any other thousand of names has many comics about him by Neil Gaiman called Sandman. I highly recommend them (he’s also one of the Endless and I suggest you google them to get an idea of the tone)

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