Greek mythology? I’d like you to meet my Dark Urban Fantasy

The Masquerade Crew Book Tour for Into the Arms of Morpheus is soon to begin! What this means is that my story, Into the Arms of Morpheus will feature on varying book review blogs/websites between Monday, September 29th and Friday October 3rd.

In honor of this, I thought I would pay tribute to the gods and goddess I used in my story.

This is how it’s going to go down. I’m going to give you the info that I found on the net about them and how I used it to create my characters.

Info and stories were minimal but here are some bits I picked up from http://www.theoi.com and of course, good old wikipedia.com. I poked around quite a bit to be honest. However I tended to stick with sources that used direct quotes from major works involving Greek mythology and reputable dictionaries.

Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to spend a lot more time reading about and searching for these guys but since I was working on a fantasy story I only needed the commonly known information.

So, here we go…Greek Mythology? I would like you to meet my Dark Urban Fantasy :).

Morpheus – the God of Dreams.

(Greek Mythology). Morpheus is not to be confused with Hypnos, who is the God of Sleep. According to theoi.com Morpheus is the son of Hypnos. Morpheus is the leader of the Oneroi, the gods or spirits of dreams. He is the head because he was responsible for taking on the likenesses of mortals. The other two were Phobetor (who forms the shapes of beasts, snakes, etc.) and Phantasos (who takes the form of rocks, rivers and other inanimate things).
I’ve seen other sources stating that Morpheus is the son of Nyx and one of the many brothers of Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death), BUT theoi.com uses direct quotes from Homer and Ovid. I’d go with those guys, who said he is one of the Oneroi who spawned from Hypnos who spawned from Nyx.

Morpheus appears in Ovid’s Metamorphoses where he takes the form of Ceyx (the son of the king of Thessaly) in the dream of Ceyx’s wife, Alcyone. Morpheus makes himself appear sodden and grey with a dripping beard to inform Alcyone of his drowning. After hearing this, Alcyone becomes mad with grief and flings herself into the sea. Zeus changes them into halcyon birds (part of that whole metamorphoses theme, everybody becomes something else). Before he assuming the form of Alcyone husband, Morpheus flew to her on ‘noiseless wings’. It seems he usually took on jobs for the gods of appearing as anyone within a dream (usually the dreams of kings or rulers).

(My Dark Urban Fantasy). Morpheus is certainly a god in his own right. It just so happens that his domain is dreams. To me, (though I’m no expert but I think Ovid would agree), Morpheus is rather like an awesome actor. He is ghost-like, but a master of convincing dreamers he is who he tells us he is. It’s important to remember that his expertise isn’t just in appearing as someone else, but he can get right into the human psyche, right into our deepest and darkest thoughts. So, as far as the dreamer is concerned, Morpheus is that person.

Another part of his role in my story is that he gets into the dreamers blood as well. Morpheus is where the name of the drug morphine comes from – that ultimate narcotic. He has a sedative, and hallucinogenic effect. So as far as my story is concerned Morpheus can make things all dreamy and fuzzy, but he can also make illusions and fantasy vivid. He can mess with your mind in a way that no one else could.

Morpheus rather likes being ‘worshipped’ by lovely young Sylvia. It’s ironic that the title makes use of that beautiful phrase ‘I’m going to fall Into the Arms of Morpheus’ because as much as Sylvia might want to literally feel his arms wrapped around her, that is completely and utterly impossible. He can make things so lucid the dreamer can be convinced it’s all real. Let’s face it we do have physical reactions to mental things. But Morpheus does not know physical touch. He cannot lay so much as a finger on anybody. All the same, he can get you.

Nyx – the Goddess of Night.

(Greek Mythology). Nyx is basically night, personified. She is the bringer of darkness and shadow to the world. She is a direct daughter of Chaos who is pretty much the beginning of everything. So, Nyx is one of the first created beings. She’s all over the place in small patches mentioned here and there in mythology but never for very long. She is the mother (apparently without use of a guy) of Thanatos (Death) and Hypnos (Sleep). Thanatos and Hypnos are sometimes depicted as twins. It’s more consistent to say the Onerei came from Hypnos. So, Nyx is Morpheus’ grandmother…technically.

I found one interesting and another very interesting bit of information about her. The first is that though she was often in the backgrounds of other cults in ancient Greece, she did have her own set of worshippers at one point.

The other is that Zeus is scared of Nyx. Zeus was angered by Hypnos on one occasion for conspiring with Hera to let him put the big Olympian to sleep but Hypnos pretty much went to his mother for protection (Nyx). When Zeus realized Nyx’s wrath was a possibility, he backed down. Homer called her ‘a subduer of gods and men.’

(My Dark Urban Fantasy). I don’t think I stray too far away from who she really is. BUT I’d say I present her in a slightly more vulnerable way at first. Mainly due to her little obsession with Poseidon. Really, she is too strong of a female for the sea god’s liking (he likes his cute little nymphs…which is in keeping with mythology).

However, she is at a point where after thousands upon thousands of years of just being this giant silently powerful entity, she is ready to be part in the mortal world, for at least a short while. Her feelings for Poseidon are the most ‘human’ feelings she can conjure. So, I found it the best place to start with her. In my humble opinion, feelings of romantic love and desire can bring the mightiest down to their knees.

I’m also distancing my gods and goddess from their family connections. I don’t mention who is related to who. It’s not necessary or needed in my story.

Major Disclaimer! I’m not going to lie…if Nyx were to request Morpheus, (who is technically according to Greek myth her grandson), to pretend to be Poseidon in a dream that would be wrong and very gross. Stop! Remember that Morpheus can be omnipresent and project illusions and images. He doesn’t have to personally perform them or be involved. He gets personal with Sylvia. Not with Nyx. So, lets make this clear. No poor little dream gods are being manipulated and abused by their grandmothers. It’s more like this…eh hem…

Nyx: ’Give me a shot of that stuff I know you have what makes me see that stuff I like.’

Morpheus: ’Okay, there you go. I’m off over here anyway.’

(Morpheus goes off on his way to see what Sylvia is thinking about, probably him!)

I like to think I did a better job of describing it than that though ;).

In contrast to Morpheus, Nyx can take mortal form and interact on a tangible basis. She usually calls herself Nina, whilst ‘playing mortal’. Even when in this form she is dominating. I honestly believe that only Nyx, the Night Goddess herself could override Sylvia’s need for Morpheus. Only Nyx, could override Sylvia’s issues with physical contact.

She is indeed a subduer of gods and men. She can render any god or mortal unable to see or have any sense of where they are or who they are. At one point in my story she blinds Death. I think Nyx’s greatest weapon is the ability to make you feel so utterly alone. She can override all the gods and strike terror in the heart of hardened warriors. There is a possibility of her being an ally more fierce than any in existence.

I sometimes think of Nyx, protecting people on secret missions in her shadows. I also think of the evil that resides in her murky recesses. She is horror, heroics and sensuality all in one. The night goddess has been there, though all of man’s existence, lurking and knowing. I would really rather be on her good side. I freaking love you, Nyx.

Death (Thanatos)

(Greek Mythology) – Thanatos (Death) is the son of Nyx and brother of Hypnos, some saying even his twin. He is associated with gentle, non-violent death. Apparently it is his sisters the psychotic Keres who are associated with violent bloody deaths. Thanatos is not to be confused with Hades, who runs the underworld. Thanatos doesn’t really run anything. He just kills people.

The Greek poet Hesiod confirms him as being the brother of Hypnos. There is a quote describing that whoever Thanatos gets a hold of will never escape his grasp. He is without passion or mercy and described as hateful towards mortals and ‘deathless’ gods. With Thanatos, there is nothing, only death. The good news is it won’t hurt.

Again, there are many mentions of him but not a lot of detail. Homer describes the twins Thanatos and Hypnos as having the job of carrying a slain hero to his homeland. I assume that this is to do with a painless, swift delivery from the battlefield.

(My Dark Urban Fantasy) – Death is not the main character in my story, but he does play a part as there is literally a ‘killer’ on the loose in Into the Arms of Morpheus. I don’t refer to him as Thanatos (which is literally Greek for ‘death’), only ‘Death’.

I focus on his cold quality. The Killer puts him up on a pedestal because Death is unmoved by love, passion, romance or tenderness. Mortal weaknesses such as a love of pleasure or attention are reviled. To the wannabe murderer it is a rare glory to rise above such things. In the Killer’s eyes, Death really doesn’t give a *cough* about that.

This god just can’t relate to feelings. It’s his lack of relating to feelings that probably give him anything like, well…feelings. He becomes irritated by mighty Nix daring to show vulnerability. She should be above such things. At no point does he call her mother.

It did occur to me whilst writing Into the Arms of Morpheus, that Death is a pitiable character. Even though they are dark and lesser known, it is possible to really desire and want Nyx and Morpheus. Hypnos? Of course, we all just need to zonk out sometimes.

Death? No. No one wants him. Not really. Not him as he is. Maybe some fantastical totally invented version of him, maybe some badly informed gothic type who confuses him with Hades. But not Thanatos.

Of course, you would want a quick and painless death as opposed to the psycho Keres sisters. But even in that case, you want an instant, blink and you miss it millisecond with him, and you will never even remember him afterwards. No wonder he is a hateful sort. He doesn’t really get any recognition.

But when he gets near, there is a palpable sense of the inescapable. Unlike Morpheus, he can touch you. When he does, you’ll never get away. It’s over. Goodbye.

So, there you go! Thank you wikipedia.com and theoi.com 🙂

I hope you will take the time to get to know Morpheus, Nyx and Death in my story, Into the Arms of Morpheus.

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By jmnauthor3000

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