Myth Man's Greek Mythology



Hypnos was the ancient Greek god of sleep and dreams, a son of Nyx (Night), who bore him either alone, or with Erebus, the god of Darkness. His wife was called Pasithea, one of the youngest Charities (Graces), given to him by Queen of Olympus Hera, and he was the father of the Oneiroi (Dreams).

 The Oneiroi consisted of his three children with Pasithea: Morpheus, who sent human shapes of all kinds to the dreamer, Phobetor, who sent the forms of animals, and Phantasus, who sent inanimate things.

 Together with his beloved twin brother Thanatos (god of Death), he lived in a big cave in the Underworld, where the river Lethe (Forgetfulness) comes from and where day and night meet.

His bed was made of ebony and the rays of the sun or moon never reached him, nor any sound, while he faithfully did the bidding of Hades, the undisputed Lord of the Underworld.

The poet Homer had Hypnos living on the island of Lemnos.

Hypnos watched over the procession of newly-arrived shades coming before Hades, checking their names off his list. He and his older twin Thanatos are often seen sleeping on the job.

Hypnos' special power is Hypnokinesis: As god of Sleep he has divine authority over sleep. This power permits him to induce sleep and visions, and to even manipulate dreams much like his son, Morpheus, but to a degree far more powerful.

For the most part Hypnos was reputed to be a benevolent, mild mannered and gentle god, visiting people and helping them fall asleep. It can be said that because of sleep, he owned half of the peoples' lives. He sometimes took the form of a singing bird, other times that of a winged youth or old man.

He carries a drinking horn, from which he pours sleep-inducing opium. Hypnos detested violence and death, so he would resort to the Eternal Drowsiness to disable his adversaries.

He was highly empathetic with a perceptive personality, able to sense and respond the the emotions of others even if they were not openly expressed. His high intuition enables him to tap into his own inner resources to surmount difficulties with grace and wisdom. Hypnos was beloved by the Muses, who considered him their favourite.

Hey, who doesn't like Sleep? :)

Aergia, the goddess of sloth, was his attendant.

The poppy was his symbol, a flower associated with the sedative qualities of the opiate it produces. The earth in front of his Underworld cave was full of poppies and other sleep-inducing plants.

The moon goddess Selene once fell in love with a handsome shepherd named Endymion and desperately desired for him to stay beautiful forever, but Zeus was not about to render immortality upon him. Zeus ordered Hypnos to put him into an eternal sleep, with his eyes wide open, allowing Selene to always gaze upon his handsome face.

The word 'hypnosis' derives from Hypnos, referring to the fact that when hypnotized, a person is placed in a sleep-like state. The class of medicines known as 'hypnotics' which induce sleep also take their name from Hypnos.




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