Showing posts with label Dreams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dreams. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Put The Iliad Under Your Pillow


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.

Official
The Iliad
The Odyssey
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,
Chris Aldridge.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Day The Gods Wiped My Slate Clean

It's an understatement to say that I've had a great many struggles in my life, but on a cold day, it manifested into the internal monster that had been consuming me for a long time.

For what seemed like weeks and months, I pulled myself through an agonizing world that had no spirituality; I couldn't feel anything. I felt that my past errors as well as my own negative thinking about things, had put me in disfavor with the Gods that might take great feats to repair, something that I was terrified I wouldn't be able to do satisfactorily. I suppose we all have the fear of failure, an anxiety that haunts the back of every human mind. But some might say that mine flooded my head completely. I was so scared that I was incredibly far gone. The ancient Greeks call it miasma, and I'd say I was certainly covered in it.

Many times did I beg the Gods in prayer to pardon me of my past and shortcomings, but the pain and dread continued. Then there came the early morning hours of that fateful day, quite possibly around 3 am, I am unsure, but some time in the opening times of the day after midnight. During the previous day, I had fasted until sundown as a sacrifice to the Gods. According to some, fasting itself lifts you out of the physical ailments and into the spiritual world. I was able to narrow the sleeping time frame down using when I went to bed and awoke. In my dream, there was a horrific monster in the form of a shabby and dirty woman chasing after me. Demonic? My own inner anguish manifesting? Both? I don't know, but it was certainly one of the most terrifying dreams of my life.

I fled from her as fast as I could, but she never went away. Then, very suddenly, a group of people, male and female, dressed in normal clothing, came to my aid. The next thing I knew, I was standing on a bridge, looking down into a vast stream, and in that stream my friends stood with the evil woman lying on her back. I said, "Just grab a limb and pull." They ripped the woman apart, and as her skeletal remains washed down stream, I said, "Into the depths of Tartaros, I send you back!" 

The dream ended by the top of her pelvic bone being placed in my hand. As the day went on after the dream, or some might say a nightmare, I felt as if I had recovered from a sickness. I just knew that the Gods had come and wiped everything away, all the things of my past and put it behind them and myself. As if, Never think of it again, begin a new day. Now was the time I could restart. I no longer felt an ounce of negativity, fear, guilt, or a separation from the Gods. My spirituality had been restored. But I couldn't figure out the meaning of the pelvic bone, so I consulted the best oracle I knew to help me interpret the dream, my wife. It turns out that it's a symbol of personal power, and that when it was placed in my hand, the Gods gave me back control over my life. What's more, the bone actually came from the monster. I had been given triumph over it completely.

I decided to tell this story for two main reasons. Firstly, to dispel the myths and individuals who want to portray the Gods as cruel, uncaring, and having little interest in the prosperity of humans. They are absolutely fascinated by us and want to see us at our best. The Gods knew how badly I was hurting and they didn't want to see me go through it anymore. Second, the Gods wiping away my past shows their immense love for humans because, one, they cared enough about my turmoil to free me from it, and second, even as they were wiping it all away, they knew future mistakes made by me would likely follow, because no human is perfect. Yet, they still chose to be with me now and in the times to come. They didn't see me as a problem but as a potential.

You're never in too deep, that's the lesson I would tell others about my experience. Additionally, the Gods are always there, they always adore you, and they always want to help you. You may lose connection because you turn away, but you'll never lose it because they turn away.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

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