Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sleeping With Sappho

Since childhood, I've had a problem with nightmares and bad dreams. They persisted into adulthood and have plagued me even as late as the other night. In my childhood and teenage years, my grandmother Faye told me to put a holy book under my pillow at night and that would solve the problem.

"You'll still have dreams, but they won't be bad," she said.

Of course, back then, it would have been the bible in my family, but now obviously, I am ancient Greek. So I woke up last night around 3:50 am and went to the bathroom. I knew that going back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night would subject me to a higher risk of nightmares, as it usually did for some reason. So hearing my grandmother's words again, I went to my library in search of a book to place under my pillow.

I decided upon the writings of Sappho, the ancient Poet of Lesbos and devotee of Aphrodite who lived around 600 BCE. She's also been called the 10th Muse. Her writings are basically a holy text of love and devotion to the Goddess. So I thought if anything could combat nightmares, it would be the Goddess of Love and Her Divine Poet. Of course, some of the poems and texts are in fragments, but many of them can still be deciphered into a sensible expression. The mere fact that I hold in my hands writings that are nearly 3,000 years old, is enough to amaze.

I think it's pretty much every man's fantasy to go back to BCE Lesbos, but my goal was to prevent my bad dreams at this point. I placed the book under my pillow and slept peacefully the rest of the morning until around 9 am. I did not have a single nightmare or bad dream. This was highly unusual. Going by my sleeping pattern and the frequency of the nightmares, I could have set my watch by them and guaranteed that I would have one during this period, but I didn't. 

I really felt the presence of Aphrodite and Sappho as I slept and rested in my bed. It also brought back a lot of memories for me, and for a little time, I missed my grandmother who passed away in 2005. Although she was a different religion than I am now, I would have never thought of this had it not been for her words that I still remember even today.

I am very grateful to Olympos today, and I will certainly be sleeping with Sappho from now on.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris.

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