Pray to the Moon when She is round,
Luck with you will then abound,
What you seek for shall be found
On the sea or solid ground.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Rite of Oneiric Insight, Part 1: General Outline

"Greek Dream" by Jacqueline Kurfürst of DeviantArt.
"Greek Dream" by Jacqueline Kurfürst of DeviantArt.

It is nothing but incredible that I (somehow, by some providence) made this happen before the deadline I set (in a vow of sorts) arrived.

And because I am in the habit of bogging down all my ceremonial documentation with colossal amounts of detail, I am going to begin with an outline of pertinent bits, lest I lose track of things in a rabbit hole along the way... 

The short version of the story is this: there is nothing in the ancient calendars to follow if one wishes to observe a special period of observation for the Oneiroi. So I decided that National Sleep Awareness Week, as established by the National Sleep Foundation was just perfect. Last year it was March 3-10 & I just flailed. Or wasn't ready. Or something. So I vowed to get it figured out by this year.

And here we are. National Sleep Awareness Week: March 2-8, 2015. 

Last night I hosted the first of many (I hope) ceremonies I entitled: "Rite of Oneiric Insight" which I confess isn't the most imaginative name, but it gets to the point. 

This rite has two purposes: 1) to offer respect & gratitude to the gods/spirits of the House of Sleep & their mother Nyx & 2) to request their favor in the form of illuminating &/or prophetic dreams. 

I borrowed ideas from a slew of sources including Duncan Barford, Jody Whiteley & Robert Moss to name a few. And, if I get to the details, I will give all the various sources their due recognition. But for now, just the essentials (my actual rough outline/recordkeeping for this rite):

Rite of Oneiric Insight

General Outline:

Guest arrival & briefing.
Cleansing. (Wash hands and face)
Light lamp or candle, recite Orphic Hymn to Nyx. (Translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis, 1977)
Light incense.

Make personal supplications &/or thanksgivings.
Libation & hypnagogic tea/elixir.
Visualization with Orphic Hymn to the Oneiroi. (Adapted from Kimberly Nichols, 2013)
Closing & direction for Personal Sleep Ceremony.
Extinguish lamp or candle.

Direction for at home procedure:

Personal Sleep Ceremony: 
Light candle.
Recite Orphic Hymn to Sleep. (Translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis, 1977) 
Extinguish candle.
Morning journaling. (Communication, if desired)


(4) Face towels & washcloths w/soaps, moisturizer
Candle, incense & offerings
(4) Small (approx. 4 oz.) Drinking Horns 
Hypnagogic “Elixir” (herbal formula prepared in advance)
Visualization script
Deck of cards for divination — 2 faces: Gate of Horn, Gate of Ivory
(4) Dream Journals
Pamphlets containing Orphic hymns & ceremony outline
(4) Extra sheets with Orphic Hymn #3 to Nyx
(4) Muslin bags to contain: Clary Sage steeped cotton squares, mugwort herb (optional) 
(4) Beeswax & poppy seed offering candles

Foretold in the Language of Dreams, Natacha Atlas (during introductions, preparation, pre-visualization)
8 Hours Relaxation Music Sleep Study Meditation and Good Dreams, Jody Whiteley (during visualization/guided journey)

I used the living room of the Agora, our community center (a community-funded single bedroom apartment). The setting was intentionally cozy, my partner called it "opium den-ish." There was no "shrine" or "altar" proper, per se -- only a ribbon candle & an offering bowl. (I consciously decided not to bring my statue of Nyx because I didn't feel that imposing my own image of the goddess was appropriate to this very individual experience. I later received the feedback from one attendee that she would have liked to have had the icon present.)

The number of attendees was strictly limited. Everyone who attended was "prescreened" as it were, by a letter stating the expectations & intent very clearly. This was my way of getting around the concern that people might attend out of spectator-desire versus a genuine interest in dreamwork &/or developing a relationship with the House of Sleep. 

Images of the pamphlets can be found below. I will make the printable PDF file available via Google Drive in the near future. I will also post images of the cards used for divination, the visualization script as well as share my reflections... time willing. 

"Rite of Oneiric Insight" pamphlet, outside panels
"Rite of Oneiric Insight" pamphlet, outside panels

"Rite of Oneiric Insight" pamphlet, inside panels
"Rite of Oneiric Insight" pamphlet, inside panels

Now, to dance.

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