Morpheus, the god of dreams and the molder of the dreams of kings, heroes and gods.
In Latin, the name means to shape. This references his ability to fashion or mold dreams because he shaped and formed that which appeared to the dreamer.
His father was Hypnos, the god of sleep with the power to influence any mortal or god to fall into a trance-like sleep through his sheer presence. Hypnos was the calmest and quietest of all the gods and was said to have a thousand sons. Among the many, three remain known to myth: Morpheus, Icelos, and Phanatasos. Their mother was Pasithea, the goddess of rest and relaxation. Morpheus share none of his parents traits and took delight in his powers of manipulating the dreams of men. His parents disapproved of his rebellious nature, urging their powerful son toward stillness and calm, but he hungered for more. It was this ambition that likely drove him to the court of Hades where he was properly appreciated. His grandparents, Nyx and Erebus, were also members of the Court of Hades, and likely drew their grandson to their domain as well.
Morpheus’ command of the dreams of men and gods was unmatched. He was most skilled in mimicking anyone, transforming himself into any guise, including their appearance, speech, habit, gait and bearing. While his brother Icelos was known to take on the transformation of animal and beast, Morpheus chose for his true form that of a winged humanoid, flying silently and swiftly throughout the domain of dreams that he came to think of as his own realm.
As the rift between the Olympians and Chthonians widened, Morpheus’ place as the messenger of the gods became more and more entrenched with the command of his master, Hades. In the waking world, he was a member of the court of Hades, and served him as a general serving his king. What event occurred that transferred his loyalty so firmly to the Underworld is unknown, but it is likely the Hades fanned the flames of Morpheus’ ego and fed Morpheus’ hunger for recognition and authority. The formerly beautiful, angelic being became known in the world of men as a demon as a result of his reputation and alliance with the Lord of the Dead. The bringer of dreams themselves were known as oneiroi, or dream demons. With Morpheus as their leader, he adopted the moniker fully. In the world of dreams, when not taking the form of another, he is a literal winged demon.
Morpheus was one of the busiest of all the gods, as much if not more than any of the Olympians, given his domain of watching and ruling the dreams of kings, heroes and gods. As such, he had little personal life. He never married and it is unknown if he fathered any children.
It was said that Morpheus slept on a bed of poppies and from his name is derived the drug morphine.
He is also known as “The Sandman”