For as long as I can remember back to childhood, I have had problems with nightmares and generally bad dreams when I sleep at night. Often these dreams make absolutely no sense, but are still terrifying nonetheless. However, there have interestingly been rare occasions when I realized I was dreaming and invoked Gods like Athena to destroy the dream or the evil therein, which She did. Many, many years ago, I dreamed I was being attacked by a vicious and giant snake. Snakes themselves are not evil, but there are snakes that can harm you, and probably malevolent spirits that can take the form of one. It's also possible that it could have been a manifestation of negative things in my life at the time. The giant serpent, whatever it was, attacked me like a monster defending its lair. Why I was there, or why the snake had come to me, I had no idea. It was so real I could actually somewhat feel its fangs the first time it bit me. But I closed my eyes and earnestly asked Athena to come fight for me. She did. The creature was destroyed and the dream ended.
Now during childhood, I was Christian (Southern Baptist), probably because my late grandmother Faye was my only teacher in the ways of religion and spirituality. She instructed me to put a bible under my pillow at night. "You'll have dreams," she explained, "but they won't be bad ones." It was probably a local southern belief system, but I tried it any way. Being that it happened during my time as a child, I honestly cannot be sure of its exact effectiveness. But today, as a Hellenist, I interpret her advice to mean a religious book or text, something that possesses Gods, Heroes and their powers and goodness. So for the last two nights, after having numerous nightmares up to that point, I tried putting The Iliad under my pillow.
I'm happy to say that it works. My dreams have been drastically decreasing in their scariness. Last night, I had none at all, only dreams that were good or neutral. In terms of Hellenism, I would venture to say that this practice could include anything that talks about Gods and Heroes, like The Odyssey, the various mythologies and stories, and the writings of the philosophers that talk about the Divinities, such as Plato and Democritus. I suppose it would depend on the book or text that you prefer or feel a connection to. The copy of The Iliad I use is a very old translation that was published in 1944 (now out of print). One of my favorite parts in the text is, "Whoever departs from the Gods, I find to be in wanting." I agree. My life would not be complete without the Gods. Thus, I keep the Gods with me at night by sleeping with the book that has them in it. It has noticeably helped me get better rest. If you're having sleeping problems, this general practice might be worth trying.
I would also think it would have to be an official book or text from Hellenic religion, and not simply a modern writing that happens to have the Gods in it. Below I will list some examples.
Hesiod Works and Days, Theogony, Shield of Herakles
Any book of the Greek Myths
The Homeric Hymns
The Orphic Hymns
Plato Complete Works
Not Official would be anything that is not from ancient Greece. For instance, a history book written by a modern author, such as Greek Religion by Walter Burkert or The Hemlock Cup by Bettany Hughes. These are not religious or spiritual writings.
In the Goodness of the Gods,
I'll see you at the next Herm down the road,