Oneiros

A person completely dominated by a particular emotion, even if only temporarily, can bring about a permanent change in the World of Dreams. This is how ghosts are formed: the imminence of death induces a terror so profound that it is impressed on the World of Dreams, bound up with a bit of the dying person’s personality and knowledge. This spirit lingers, like a very minor fiend, troubling the dreams and perhaps the lives of those present at the death or visiting the place of the death. The more powerful the original person, and the purer his or her emotional state, the more powerful and persistent the ghost will be. Fortunately, ghosts are rare, but still battlefields are terrible places for years afterwards.

The oneiroi are more interesting manifestations of the same phenomenon. They are the remnants in the World of Dreams of people who have in life been personally powerful and so dominated by a single emotion that their passions correspond with the archetypes of thought, and who have left behind them bundles of concepts and emotions, forged together by their will and impressed with their personalities. The oneiroi have achieved godhood by aligning their passions with the forces of Nature. To quote one of them:

Though they dwell on the World of Dreams, oneiroi are, like daimons, capable of manifesting themselves in the real world. They are often extremely powerful spirits, and, as the ages pass, reinforced by their avatars, they become more so.

The oneiroi are not complete personalities. One might question that they are really sentient. Certainly they do not behave like daimons, who are much more like the gods of Earth in their predilection for meddling in the affairs of mortals. That the exemplars rarely do.

The oneiroi are not much worshipped by the common run of people, whose attention is diverted by the extortion rackets of the daimons. The oneiroi tend to be inattentive to worship, and rarely perform favours in return for sacrifices, though when they do they are capable of feats beyond the scope of most daimons. On the other hand, people who are dominated by the same emotions as an oneiros, as they come more and more to resemble that oneiros, gain the power to accomplish miracles characteristic of that oneiros. The presence of these avatars makes the oneiroi as powerful in the world as any daimon, albeit vicariously. Many people try to become avatars to gain power, but desire for power is not the dominating emotion of most oneiroi (but see Acanthe), so it doesn't work. Neither is devoutness, so the most sincere devotion to, say, Jolian, is of no use in becoming his avatar.

A number of the more important and powerful oneiroi are mentioned in this encyclopædia (see below), but by no means all. Those mentioned can be considered the greater oneiroi. The lesser are innumerable.

See: Acanthe, Amaranth, Chansith, Coppelia, Foliat, Goth, Heptakhlor, Hylas, [[[Jolian]], Khryseis, Lena, Luciphage, Morbius, Persiflex, Regis, Sialosti, Timeon, Vesper, and religion.


Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.