Art by Jonathon Earl Bowser
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She finds it far more refreshing than bathing in water."
There are so many forgotten dreams... splendid dreams... as lives move through the Greater Dream... And maybe even we Gods and Goddesses are but living dreams in a Dream that is larger still...
Consider short-lived mortals of sixty-five years... Whither went their dreams from when they were fifteen, twenty five? Each sleep -- maybe a dozen dreams; each wakening, all those further flights of fancy... Where do they end?
Dream-bubbles, floating upon ethereal winds... Some gather around Old Father Sleep, Himself -- in His mountain cave of somnolence and silence, near the River Lethe... With each of His slow breaths they tremble and quiver and roll over His long white beard, delicately brushing His eyelids, His forehead... Can such dreams hypnotize even Hypnos, Himself, when He blinks a weary eye?
Some ascend into the Outer Void -- human dreams drifting towards lifeless worlds...
Some are recorded in the Memories of Mnemosyne -- and thus are never utterly forgotten...
Of course I collect many of the very finest, myself -- as does my brother, Icelos. Our brother, Morpheus, remains too busy creating new ones to trouble Himself with past dreams already dreamed -- especially dreams of others.
And who am I? I am Phantaseos, one of the sons of Hypnos. I inspire daydreaming, flights of fancy, whimsical reveries, phantasmagoria... I am the heat-shimmer in the air, the distant mirage, the nebulous possibility, that which cannot quite be grasped and defined... Upon the nighttides, I am the dreamshift; my energy begets sudden dream-metamorphosis -- for I am a metamorph. I am the dream-gap.
So many dreams... streaming forth from the human world... Entire seas of dreams have collected in the craters of Luna and on Mars -- adding dimensions of DreamLife to fecundate otherwise dead worlds. The whole atmosphere of Venus is filled with dreams from Gaia. An interstellar ocean of dreams is gathering as a sphere surrounding this entire solar system -- about a lightyear out! Dream Fishers from other stars come to net and collect some of them...
The most magickal dreams, the most scintillantly beautiful, the most wonder-filled ones are chosen like special flowers for special bouquets by the Dream Gatherers and the Dream Weavers -- the daughters of Morpheus: Arielle, Diaphonie and Eveleen. They weave cloaks of dreams for those Gods and Goddesses who care to wear them. (Aphrodite often does...)
Aphrodite even loves to bathe in dreams! She finds it far more refreshing than bathing in water.
Ahhh... Aphrodite bathing! There is a Dream-Come-True! Many a time I have taken the form of a nearby stone or statue or column, leaf or dew, to imbibe that beauty!
As with most Goddesses, Aphrodite generally prefers to bathe without any troublesome males around -- since it tends to beget but one primary desire upon their part (and parts)! The same holds true for the Muses. (And we all know how meticulously private Artemis is about her baths!)
But if one is capable of enjoying the aesthetics, the sheer beauty of these Goddesses -- in and of itself -- like a poem, like the flow of pure melody, like an exquisite dance -- and if one is gifted with being a metamorph -- so they know not one is there! -- then -- ah! -- pleasure beyond compare!
Dare I disclose it -- that many a time I, Phantaseos, have been the water, itself, that the Muses have bathed in! (This is one of my most carefully kept secrets.) The water that has embraced and caressed every most luscious curve of Calliope, Clio, Euterpe, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Polyhymnia, Urania, Thalia, and beloved Erato... (And Aphrodite, too! She does not always bathe alone or with dreams!)
When the names of these Goddesses are, themselves, pure poetry, what further poetry to be the liquescence that exquisitely caresses every sacred millimeter of the naked splendour of all these manifestations of the divinely feminine -- and more than once -- all at the same time!
To have been the water kissing those lips, embracing the roundures of those breasts -- right out to the very tips where the nipples chirp, nuzzling into their navels, trickling through each separate hair where lovers' hands love to meander, flowing around their hips, their soft white thighs, swished into each hidden nook -- those lips where few get such a look! -- and swirling round to tickle every toe! Not even Zeus, Himself, has had the pleasure to know these Goddesses as I have known them!
Ahhh... to have explored the far shores of their flesh -- in a mesh as intimate as each kissed place, embracing each minutest smitch of skin with flowing traceries of touch, laced together with each ravishing limb, interpenetrating each moist opening, kissing eyelids, tickling ears, as lovelips of water -- tonguing all this quivering magnificence, flushed with laughter, while they splash me at each other in sheer delight!
And as they leave the pool, still, as every little droplet, I have clung to each of those sumptuous bodies, sparkling in my jubilation, breathing in the fragrances of the flowers they lace through each other's hair.
It is a delirious kind of rapture, a delicious ecstasy -- delectably enticing me to recurrently return -- whenever the yearning will not be denied...
But I was speaking of the fate of dreams and of how Aphrodite loves to bathe in them -- before being diverted by other titillating memories...
Lush Aphrodite, so generously endowed -- delectable as fruit at its peak of sun-ripened juiciness...
She favors a large tub in the shape of a white swan -- made of alabaster. It's a deep tub; its feather-shaped sides come up as high as her neck, when She's sitting in it. The swan's head is turned back, looking at Her over its right wing.
Generally Arielle gathers the dreams that Aphrodite bathes in -- catching them up in a long trailing mantle woven of the most delicate gossamer and moonbeams -- so that not a single dream-bubble bursts -- that none of those most exquisite dream-essences be dissipated and lost...
I never tire of watching Aphrodite bathe. Being the mother of Eros, Her every gesture is an entrancing kind of slow dance through time and space -- evocatively erotic, subtly suggestive, exquisitely graceful.
In the past, in Aphrodite's garden, I have taken the form of a centuried oak and of the marble fountain with its statues of mermaids and mermen disporting -- to watch Her bathe -- from variant perspectives. I have been asphodels, irises, hyacinths and sunflowers on a breastlike knoll -- for still a different view. I have merged my essence with the tub, itself, that She bathes in. I have been fluttering butterflies and the gowns Her attendants have worn. I have been the silver combs Hekate uses to bind up Aphrodite's hair -- and the Love Goddess's silver mirror. I have been the flutes, the lyre, the panpipes that are often played by the Muses, themselves, while Aphrodite bathes. I have been the perfumed oils, the distillations of flower essences that add extra fragrance to the air. Once I was the hundred candles and the candelabra holding them -- when Aphrodite bathed by starlight.
A few times She has become aware of my presence. I doubt She knew I was there as Her tub, manifesting that large staring eye, looking up from beneath Her -- between Her parted thighs. What a view!
But the time I tried looking through the eyes of hovering butterflies it was a rather restricted and fragmented perspective. I wanted greater clarity, so manifested human-type eyes on the wings. Aphrodite caught sight of two of those wings metamorphosing into eyes. Her own large, sea-green eyes widened in astonishment, then sparkled vivaciously, seeming to say, "You rascal, you!"
And one of the times when I was the oak tree I wasn't as careful as I perhaps should've been. I manifested several hundred eyes -- as the leaves. At that very moment She happened to lean back, stretching languorously, looking up -- and saw them there, all staring, enrapt in the rapture of every shifting nuance of Her sensuous movements. A puckish smile tweeked the edges of Her ripe, full, rose-petalled lips; Her eyes twinkled; and She gave me a mischievous and knowing wink. Hundreds of eyes winked back!
Aphrodite is not Artemis. The Goddess of Love appreciates being lovingly admired -- especially if one is quietly innovative and discreet about it.
But probably the most memorable time was when I was the hundred candles and the golden candelabra.
The very flowerheads in Her garden, nodding in the night, seemed to bow just a little more as Aphrodite passed to take Her bath. Her tub had been moved under the open sky so that all the constellations of the night shone down like enigmatic jewels of living fire. A soft summer breeze tinkled windchimes hanging from the branches of the oaks.
Hekate attended Her -- and three of the Muses -- Polyhymnia, Urania and Euterpe.
Although often Hekate puts up Aphrodite's long silken hair before She bathes, this time She did nothing with it. In the night, its softflow silkenswift sun-colored waves reminded me more of moonlight shimmering on the waves of the sea She was born from. At least a hundred fireflies bejewelled Her hair -- wink-blinking their twinkling magic.
With just the five of them, it was a small procession. The Muses each carried a single lit candle -- with both hands. Euterpe and Urania led the procession. Then came Aphrodite, Her hands before Her, palms touching, as in prayer. Hekate followed, holding a censer glowing with frankincense. Polyhymnia came last -- with another candle. They were all silent -- wrapped in a holy hush.
Their diaphonous gowns rippled in the nightbreeze -- with just enough seethrough to mysteriously tease my secret eyes with delectable surmise. I was the candelabra -- ten candle holders to each golden dolphin ranged around the alabaster swan; and I was the candles -- but they were not yet lit; so I was looking through the pupils of darkness of sportive statues -- the dolphins' golden eyes...
As the Muses lit the candles, my eyes became the flames -- flick-licking each one of their faces in a delight of lingering light.
In that sacred silence they gently placed their own candles aside -- on some nearby marble benches. Hekate did the same with the incense she bore. Then, in total unison, palms together, pointed upwards, poised between navels and breasts, they raised them slowly, up past their faces, separating in a V, spreading to encompass and embrace all the stars in the heavens -- as if gathering all that scattered light, their fingers curving in and down, so that their curved palms and wrists formed the upper part of a heart, bringing the star essence down to their own breasts, their palms, now, like doves, closing around, little fingers the spine of a book, palms the covers, closing, taking in all the precious prayers of all their believers, taking them into their hearts, to pulse Answers into the fabric of time and every human heart resonating to the living pulsars that are the hearts of the Goddesses. During the course of this bath, thousands of prayers would be answered -- one with each heartbeat of the particular Goddess it was directed to. Such is their power -- drawn down from the stars.
Then followed the disrobing of Aphrodite, Hekate doing the honors. All that erotic magnificence -- bared to the night -- and I, with a hundred eyes to delight in the sight! Tongues of flame danced on the tip of each wick as the wayward breeze licked me a tantalizing tease; and what could be more pleasing?
In undulant grace Aphrodite ascended the seven steps to the upper lip of her winged tub while Euterpe turned the spigot that opened the flow from the swan's back-turned beak.
Little rainbows wriggled out of the spout -- like living dreamsnakes. These were playful dreams of Iris -- come alive to provide footing for Aphrodite's descent into Her tub. As She descended, the rainbow snakes pop!ped into a twinkling spray of rainbow mist, filling the tub -- this dancing iridescence -- continuing to flow from the spigot, rising, rising to form a brilliant rainbow arching into the heavens.
Hekate carefully arranged Aphrodite's hair so it cascaded over the back of the swan.
I heard, then, the opening notes of someone caressing the strings of a lyre. They were wistful notes, hinting of distant dreams... It was the dryad, Felicita -- who lives in one of the oaks in Aphrodite's garden. Joining her, out of the shadows, came two more dryads -- Demurae with cithera, and Elyse -- with her panpipes.
The haunting tones of the panpipes and the yearning accompaniment blown through the cithera enriched the melodic weave as the dulcet voice of Polyhymnia began singing the Songs of the Pleiades.
Then down the arch of the rainbow came Arielle, herself, accompanied by half a dozen more dream-gathering sylphs, pulling behind them that billowing mantle woven of gossamer and moonbeams, filled with hundreds of iridescent dreams. And oh but they were lively dreams, dancing around, swirl-twirl-whirling in their individual dream-bubbles!
Euterpe turned off the rainbow flow through the mouth of the swan and a swirl of rainbow mist rose to twinkle on each of the sylphs' lips and eyelashes and sparkle in the semi-transparent clouds they wore like wind-teased gowns.
The sylphs guided the gathering of dream-offerings into Aprhodite's tub, preventing them from floating free and drifting off with the mantle, itself, which rippled atop their buoyant liveliness. Urania sprayed the air above them with a perfumed oil -- impregnated with the extracted essence of heather. The weight of the aerated oil was just enough to keep the dreams from drifting out of the tub, even after the mantle of gossamer and moonbeams was removed.
There was a small disturbance at the bottom of the tub as Aphrodite wriggled Her hips about. One of the dreams was tickling Her! She laughed in liquid gaiety. A deft pelvic thrust sent dozens of dream-bubbles bouncing up against each other, lifting to Her levity -- rising to Her face and a few to a foot or so above the top of Her head before settling down again -- a bit above Her breasts.
Then Aphrodite luxuriated in those hundreds of dreams, swirling them around with long graceful fingers so that every one of them was blessed with coming into contact with Her naked skin. Some She caressed; some She puckered and kissed. Whenever She did this I could see the energy within the dream become more animated, much more lively, as if the dream wanted to burst its bubble!
Amidst the dreams were some from Aphrodite's (and Erato's!) favored poets -- some of those most sensitive, sensuous, ethereal lines that never got written into waking life, dreams capturing subtle feelings that are beyond words... There were dreams of songs that will never be sung, exciting climaxes to symphonies that never got finished, visions of mystic seers into the sublime beyond.
There were dreams of love's first kiss, of interlaced lovers' trembling bliss, of ecstatic transcendence. Dreams of tremulous yearning, of unutterable purity, of illumination, emancipation, fevered excitation. One dream suggested dancing infinities all interpenetrating a pregnant eternity... Dreams of flight, of dancing through the night, naked to the stars... Dreams of turbulent phantasmagoria -- with colors that have never been named. Dreams all tingly and exuberant, corruscating, exhilarating, titillating... and each of them radiated a vibrant energy that left Aphrodite's pearlescent skin flushed like the rosy blush of Aurora.
Especially provocative or exciting dreams She would pass to the attendants She thought would take most delight in them -- and with bemused smiles they might watch the full unfolding of those individual dreamlife dramas in all their three dimensionality, inside those dream-bubbles...
The most special of them Aphrodite would compress in Her palms, creating living dream jewels from them. Later they would be strung into necklaces, worked into tiaras, dangled in earrings...
Gradually the candles burned down, sputtered out, one by one -- but no one replaced them -- for each dream carried its own inner light. Each one was someone's secret inner world, swirling with all those dream-images of enchanting delight, coruscant with wonder... halycyon sights... lambent and limpid... dramas infinitismal, and yet so passionate and so piquant in their ephemerality... That the Gods and Goddesses might savor the wine of their dreaming is half the reason humanity was generated!
Metamorph that I am, when the flames on the candles died, I transferred my visionary essence to the oily sheen coruscating on some of those bubbles of dreams... Thus, for a span I was slicked around a dream that hovered right where a pendant would hang above Aphrodite's breasts -- which provided a most provocative view -- looking both up and down and all around... Then dream-shift to some bubbles nuzzling below, shimmering against the lustre of Her breasts, slick-a-lick of heather -- kissed all over the tip of Her left nipple, sliding a slither in fluid-smooth touch, riding the crests of Her every breath...
As the heather-scented oil transferred from the surface of the dream-bubbles to Aphrodite's skin, scattered dreams began lightly rising, though still hesitantly hovering as if wanting to linger, still, in the embrace of the Love Goddess's energies, exchanging their own energies with Her.
Then they would lightly lift... higher and higher... teased by little waftings of playful breeze to the tops of the ancient oak trees, borne by zephyrs towards the dimming stars to seek their final destinies in the winds between the worlds, drifting towards the Outer Void on tides of light... joining and maybe fusing with dreams that had preceded them...
The last lingering dream floated free, hovering just out of reach of Euterpe's outstretched finger as She stood tippy-toed, bidding it farewell like a fondest of memories, when Aurora caressed the horizon with Her radiance.
Still seated in Her tub, Aphrodite stretched luxuriously while Polyhymnia poured a pitcher-full of the happiest dreams of infants -- like pellucid dewdrops -- steeped in the essence of heliotrope.
Like transparent pearls they ran down Her roseate skin -- still flushed from the exchange of energies with the dreams She had bathed in.
The pellucid dreampearls draped Her in the energy-pattern of a web -- much like a spiderweb with dewdrops on it in the morning light -- but all around Her living flesh, as if Aphrodite were their morning.
It was awesome to behold -- wink-blinking it all in from the perspective of the lively bounce of the tip of Her left breast (I, still, the heather-scented oil) as She rose to Her feet to greet the rising of the sun.
Polyhymnia sang a paean to the dawn, accompanied by the celebrative chorus of the rest -- including hundreds of warbling birds.
Once Aurora had risen fully over the edge of the horizon, fusing with the dreampearls beatifying the flesh of Aphrodite, Her heat and light begot a fabulous transformation -- for every baby's dream began pop!ping into exuberant life! Tiny fairies and chubby little cherubs with wings burst into the delight of ecstatic flight, laughing and giggling in a paean of joy.
Gathering the filiments of all the popped dream-bubbles they had birthed from, the fairies wove them into the finest of nets and laid it at Aphrodite's feet. After She had stepped upon it, the cherubs and fairies -- and a flock of doves and sparrows -- each took strands in a circle all round Her and bore Her aloft, out of the tub, their wings a blur, gathering strength from the rays of Aurora, transferring Aphrodite gently to the nearby grass. Then, dropping the strands, and teeheeing or chirping in uttermost delight, they ascended in flight to explore the heights their wings would take them.
Hekate draped a DreamCloak over the shoulders of Aphrodite -- woven by Diaphonie from a dozen of Morpheus's most daringly polychromatic creations. Each of the dozen dreamscenes was perpetually changing; chimerical metamorphoses, imaginative pyrotechnics, a multi-view kaliedoscope of fluid fantasticality. To a mere mortal it would be hypnotizing in its awesomeness..
But for me, Phantaseos, it was another kind of opportunity... I am the dream-shifter. Just the slightest touch of that DreamCloak to the nipple I was cosied around and like a spark of electrical energy I was jisming through the dreamscenes as they would brush against the striding pulchritude of the Goddess of Love. I am the dream-energy, itself, sparking in tremulato as the DreamCloak would brush Aphrodite's seductive buttocks. Climax after climax after climax after climax -- in dozens of places at once -- in the release of that vibrant dream-charge into the exquisite essence of She who is the quintessence of the Living Dream made real.
But -- too much ecstasy can drive even a God to delerium! Thus, what a piece of peace to zap-the-gap from the trailing edge of Aphrodite's DreamCloak to a pebble Her divine foot brushes in passing, and just pause there -- stoned into ecstatic euphoria, absorbing the warmth of the sun, luxuriating in just remembering every exquisite nuance of... Aphrodite... bathing...