|Cards used for divination in Rite of Oneiric Insight|
(Gate of Ivory, Back, Gate of Horn, respectively)
Gate designs by artist Amanda Kiefer.
Notes on a couple important details for "The Rite of Oneiric Insight":
In Duncan Barford's Rite of Morpheus, he employs a divinatory technique which involves blindfolded attendees choosing to walk toward one or another corner of the room & then revealing to them which Oneiric gate the corner signifies. I hesitated to follow this technique for several reasons, one of which was the simple fact that I had set the room up in the form of a large bedspace & it would be a hazard to try to have people stumble about blindfolded in loose bedding. The other primary reason is that I placed a great deal more emphasis on the visualization portion of this rite & I didn't particularly want to rouse people so abruptly after a long guided meditation.
Instead, I created a deck of cards which contains only two faces: Gate of Ivory or Gate of Horn. All the backs are identical, of course & I laminated them for longer wear. I gave each attendee a muslin pouch into which they would later put a clary sage steeped cloth & mugwort herb, but before that, they needed to select one of the two cards I had placed in their pouch. I did not dictate how they should do this, only that they should consider carefully their forthcoming dreams with great focus. Some selected right from the bag, others took them out, shuffled & spread them. The result were quite incredible, but I will save that story for "Rite of Oneiric Insight Part 3: Reflections."
The verbiage used for the visualization's beginning & ending, that is, the relaxing entry into a meditative state & the gentle reentry in to the waking world was borrowed & adapted from several of Jody Whiteley's sleep hypnosis videos & scripts including, but not limited to:
Sleep Hypnosis Hypnotic Bedtime Story for Self Confidence Self Esteem
Sleep Hypnosis for Lucid Dreaming a Free Hypnosis Script
Morning Meditation by Jody Whiteley
Sleep Hypnosis for Self Confidence (newest version)
Sleeping Under Red Eleven (Google Drive)
The body of the dreamwork visualization, or the "Journey to the House of Sleep," I composed using excerpts from a variety of sources including:
Metamorphoses Book XI:573-649 The House of Sleep (A. S. Kline's Version)
Homer, Odyssey 19. 562 ff (trans. Shewring)
Charles K. Dillaway, Roman Antiquities & Ancient Mythology for Classical Schools (2nd ed)
The Orphic Hymn to the Oneiroi found within the visualization I adapted from "Dream" by Kimberly Nichols as published in "The Sacred Songs of Orpheus IV: Ares to Death," in Newtopia Magazine.
The text of the visualization (journey body only) is below. Please note that I have omitted the meditation entry & reentry out of respect for Jody Whiteley & her work. My adjustments to her compositions was minimal -- only small to adaptions for context & sequencing of events were made.
"Journey to the House of Sleep"
A Visualization for Rite of Oneiric Insight
(Relaxation/Meditation Entry Omitted)
"...you can see where you are going now is some place darker and more mysterious and you can hear the faint sounds of ocean breezes and see a twilight sky and the starry cloak of mother Nyx closes over the scene above you until you are looking at the canopy of Night’s heavens and you come to rest upon the soft earth amongst a swath of tall grasses and wildflowers… and as you land, the wispy, green undergrowth, rustles and scratches the sides of your bed that bumps softly twice and it lands to tamp down the foliage to one side, maybe its your left side, there is a path roughly carved into this bluffy landscape and a door has opened beside your bed to invite you to take a little stroll down this path which leads away from the ocean, bending up over a rise, out of sight and you are curious about what you might find across this meadow so you get up out of your bed or your chair and take a walk along this path…
The trail is very slightly sandy and feels soft and warm beneath your feet and it is slightly damp, but the air is dry and comfortably cool, not chilly. You near the top of the rise in the path and as you do, the sounds of the sea become a little bit quieter and you notice that the breezes have begun to ebb, slowly and softly disappearing into stillness.
You keep walking in the dim light of the starry sky and when you reach the crest of the hill, you are amazed to see the Moon has broken over the horizon to highlight a wide, low valley, bathed in blooming poppies and sleepy herbs, drowsy plants from whose juices dew-dappled Night gathers sleep, and scatters it over the darkened earth… at the center of this blanket of ethereal, luminescent flowers is a hollow mountain with a deeply cut cave…
As you begin your descent along the path into the valley, you notice that the sounds of the world around you have disappeared…
And you become aware that you are now approaching the House of Sleep, a place where perpetual stillness reigns, no noise being heard but the soft murmur of a small fork of the river Lethe, which creeps over the loose pebbles, and invites you to slumber…
Here, in Hypnos’s sanctuary, silence dwells. In this place of complete peace, you will find no guardians…
No waking cockerel summons Aurora with his crowing,
no dog disturbs the silence with its anxious barking,
no geese cackle their sharp alert…
No beasts, or cattle, or branches in the breeze,
no clamour of human tongues.
Only the flow of Lethe’s stream, murmuring and calling you to drowse…
As you come closer to the cave entrance, clouds mix with fog, and shadows of the half-light are exhaled from the ground, and through the soft haze, perhaps in the corner of your eye, you think you might see two grandly adorned gates, fading in and out of the shadows. And you remember that somewhere, sometime, someone told you about these gates, these gates somewhere beyond the North Wind… the Gate of Horn and the Gate of Ivory, from which Dreams emerge…
And you know, somehow, in some way, that there are no doors in this palace and that beyond the mouth of this open cave, if were you to travel through the mouth of this cave, lies a tall bed made of ebony, a downy nest, spread with a dark-hued coverlet, where the god of Sleep himself reclines, his limbs relaxed in slumber… his head surrounded by fantastic visions…
But you have not come here to have an audience with the drowsy god, you have come to meet the Oneiroi, the dream spirits who gather round him and lie, here and there in the soft, quiet darkness of his bedchamber… uncertain dreams, taking different forms, as many as the ears of corn at harvest, as the trees bear leaves, or grains of sand are strewn across the shores…
Standing a few yards from the entrance, you pause for a moment and observe your surroundings… could this place be a dream? And this is when you remember why you came here… Yes, to honor the dream spirits that rest here and depart through the spectral gates to offer their visions while we sleep… You reach into your pocket and find a paper, a paper with a hymn printed upon it… It is Hymn to the Oneiroi, and you take a deep breath, filling your nostrils and your lungs with the heavy scent of Sleep’s landscape, and you begin to recite…
Swift-winged dreams, Oneiroi,
messengers of the stars,
oracles to the human mind,
in the sweet silence of sleep
you arrive without a sound
speaking to the soul…
Whispering, you rouse the senses,
in our slumber you reveal to us
the will of the Blessed Ones.
Sincere souls that take the honest way
of devotion to the divine,
you silently show
glimpses of distant tomorrows.
Good wins every race
in mortal minds.
Good leads our lives
to anticipated pleasures,
and relieves our suffering
so the spirits can reveal
the mysteries of Their domain.
The sincere always end more sweetly,
but the insincere remain blind,
pensive with fears,
their respite from pain is never revealed.
In all things bring us closer
to the noble path.
Reveal the concealed
signatures of fate.
Let no strange apparitions
show us signs of ill omen.
We call to you, beloved Ones,
show us the will of the gods.
In the tranquil silence of the Moonlit landscape, you sense a stirring from within the very heart of the mountain. This stirring you sense from within, with your intuition, your second sight, because the cave is too dark, this place too quiet for you to discern the movements with your well-used senses. Fixing your eyes on the mountain’s yawning mouth, you wait…
And with a sudden, silent rush there emerges a flood of airborne creatures, a surging wind of dark forms on the wing… birds, bats, or angels of the Night sky — how many ways can we know Them? They surge into the fog, and if you look, not with your eyes, you might see them leaving through the gates, a fluttering, torrent fading into the shadows…
The softest breeze brushes your cheeks and flutters down your body and you know this sensation must be the passing of some of these dream spiritits, making their passage into the the realm we call the unconscious…
Something tells you it is time to return to the path and begin your departure from this sleepy valley, but before you turn away from the House of Sleep, you look once more at your hymnal page. You notice it has changed. Take a moment to trace that page into your memory so that you may carry it back with you to a place of wakefulness…"
One final note: The Ceremony Pamphlet with Hymns, Outline & Credits in printable PDF format is available HERE via Google Drive.