Vignettes of Ruin and...

Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

Dormis, Somnia & Obscura

In The Nightmare on October 4, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Dormis, Somnia & Obscura (The Sisters of Sleep)

Original Artwork by Linda McKernan

I am honoured to present this painting in oils, inspired by Dormis, Somnia & Obscura here on the Gods of Vice. Although technically, from left to right, it’s really Obscura, Dormis & Somnia. There are little clues that identify each one.

Linda is extremely gifted, you can see more of her work here. The painting above now belongs to her series of works called “Cailín Beag.” (Gaelic for “little girl”).

I am amazed that something so pretty could come out the darkness I’ve felt writing the entries in this place. Looking at Dormis in repose, I feel the compulsion to close my own eyes, to try and follow her to wherever she has gone. I ascertained once that Dormis only grants a restful sleep devoid of dream, but I cannot help but think that here, she herself is dreaming, and it is good.

Dormis, Somnia & Obscura (the Sisters of Sleep)

In The Nightmare on February 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Dormis. Somnia. Obscura. Grant me restful and restorative sleep so that I may comfortably inhabit this body when I wake, amen.

And then it happens. I cease to exist in the physical world. I don’t even recall leaving it. But the bonds of flesh and bone have been transcended and I am carried, weightless, on the back of a black bottomless ocean. I am not cold or hot. My desires do not exist here, so I am at peace. I can breathe without burden. Everything I have ever known has ceased to be, and I have never felt more free.

The greatest gift Dormis can grant us is a dreamless sleep.

All Dormis requires in exchange, is that we submit to her world every night, for a few hours. When she calls us and wraps herself around our limbs, making them heavy, we should obey and give up the fight to stay open-eyed. When she passes her dry hands over our eye-lids, we do not make ourselves a cup of coffee and defy her, just so we can stay up all night watching films and playing games and even reading books.

Otherwise, she will banish us. This happened to me several times before. When I tried to return, she sent her sister, Somnia, to bar my path. She kept jolting me awake. When I tried to relax, she sent shots of nerves through me. Then she would not even let me close my eyes. I watched a starry night turn into a cloudless blue sky and back again. I watched the shadows of trees across the drawn curtains, their naked branches like fingers reaching through an invisible divide, beckoning. I lay there, growing more and more frustrated. If I knew which door to take, I would take it!

Dormis, Somnia, let me in, let me in, LET ME IN!!

And equally, when it is time to leave the realm of Dormis, we should not out-stay our welcome. Others must be allowed to take their turn, as the veil of night falls across the face of the Earth.

Otherwise, we stand to face the final sister, Obscura, and her wolves. I, for one, know the fear in being chased by them. When I run upstairs and end up downstairs, when I turn a door handle only to have it close instead of open, when I think I am awake in my mother’s house but I am really fighting the blankets in my lover’s bed, that is Obscura and her pack. They descend upon me in a storm of terror, driving me into the fringes of dream, where the life I have lived has been shredded and pasted back together, but in the wrong way. I recognise it but it no longer makes sense. Suddenly I am in my grandfather’s home, standing on the dark and dusty landing where the eyes of my ancestors coldly regard me from their Victorian frames. I call out but I know there is no one there and then the stairs give way and I am suspended in space. Above me, the world splits and crumbles. Then gravity pulls me and all the debris of conscious downward, at hyper speed. I feel like I might die after all- there is no way out that I can find-

Dormis, Somnia and Obscura are screaming: get out, get out, GET OUT!

And I am gasping, awake. Like taking my first breath, I have a second chance, I am reborn. The nightmare has reminded me I am alive!

And I cannot wait to sleep again.