Full moon in Cancer (my birth sign) tonight. Good time to recall the connection between the moon and dreaming. We notice the lunar ebb and flow in the cycles of our body and blood, in our mood swings, and also – when we pay attention – in our dreams. There are obvious physical forces at work here. But the ancients saw something more. They believed that beyond the physical moon, the astral realm of Luna is thickly settled (as they say on Massachusetts road signs) with varied and lively classes of spirits who take a keen interest in human affairs and often call us or visit us in dreams.
My favorite classical source on these things is Plutarch, who was not only a remarkable biographer, historian and philosopher but a Mystery initiate, a priest of Apollo and one who traveled much in realms beyond ordinary perception. In short, he probably knew what he was talking about.
Plutarch maintained that the Moon (I am capitalizing it now because we are not talking about the moon from which astronauts take rock samples) is the home of daimones - not to be confused with “demons” – including somewhat evolved spirits of the dead who take a close interest in human affairs and are very active in our dreams.
In an essay titled Divine Vengeance Plutarch describes a visionary journey to a locale in the sphere of Luna where three daimons sitting together in a triangle are whipping up dreams in a cosmic mixing bowl, or krater. Different streams flow into it, one “whiter than sea foam”, another “the violet of the rainbow”. It seems that a dream may be more or less reliable according to the preponderance of white. “This is the source from which dreams derive.”
In a most remarkable tract titled Concerning the Face that Appears in the Orb of the Moon Plutarch gives a more comprehensive account of the role of the Moon in relation to the soul history of humans. The Moon is here described as the portal through which spirits travel on their way to birth on Earth, and to which they ascend, if they pass certain tests, after physical death. Some of these spirits of the departed may be promoted to the status of daimons, with permission to interact with the living.
Not forever do the spirits tarry upon the moon; they descend to take charge of oracles; they attend and participate in the highest of mystic rituals; they act as warders against misdeeds and chastisers of them, and they flash forth as saviors manifest in war and on the sea.
But these spirits of the Moon, far from omniscient or infallible, are on probation.
If they act unfairly, giving in to wrath or envy, they are cast out and again confined in human bodies on earth
Check it out for yourself, in your dreams tonight.