What is the Meaning of Oneiromancer in The Sandman?

Image Credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘The Sandman’ follows the story of the titular character and his quest to save the realm that he has created out of people’s dreams. He is known by many names throughout the series, most common of which are Morpheus and Dream. As the story moves forward, we discover that different people know him by a different name and that he is a part of a mythology, the stories that people have been telling their children for a very long time. One of the words used to describe him is the Oneiromancer. What does it mean and what is its significance for Dream? Let’s find out.

What is the Meaning of Oneiromancer?

Oneiromancy is the method of predicting the future with the help of dream interpretation. It also involves profiling a person or gaining insight into their situation based on the dreams they have. Considering that Morpheus is the King of Dreams in ‘The Sandman’, it is natural that he uses people’s dreams to find out all kinds of stuff about them. In fact, he can barely keep an eye on people in the waking world. But in the Dreaming, he is privy to everyone’s dreams.

He has a library where every dream that has ever been dreamt is recorded in books. When Unity Kinkaid visits the library, Lucienne tells her that they have all the books that have ever been written as well as the ones that haven’t been written yet. We can assume that these aren’t actual novels that they are talking about, but books about people and the dreams that they’ve had. If so, then all the yet unwritten books must be predictions of the future.

The Oneiromancer is an apt title for Morpheus because dreams are the only tool he has to understand and manipulate humans. He creates good dreams and terrifying nightmares for them, and it is through their dreams that he decodes their entire life. He knows every single person on the planet because every single one of them visits him every night, spending a third of their lives in his realm.

Image Credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix

The term also comes from Greek mythology, which serves as the origin of the myth of the Sandman. It talks about the gods that existed even before the Olympians and the Titans. Morpheus is one of them, and the group that he belongs to is called Oneiroi, the gods of dreams and nightmares and all things sleep. While his siblings were more involved with everyday dreams and nightmares, Morpheus was more into relaying messages through dreams. He was known to visit the kings, or the hero of some story and would bring them prophecies from the gods, which would often act as the catalyst of their journeys.

Following the same thread, ‘The Sandman’ uses Dream as an entity that wields its powers from its realm called the Dreaming where it can show any person whatever he wants. He can use these dreams to communicate with people, as he does with Rose. He can even take things from people’s dreams like he takes the crossroads, the gallows, and a serpent from the dreams of different people before he calls on the Fates to answer his questions. This means that dreams, at least for him, are more than just a wisp of smoke that disappears when people wake up. In his realm, dreams are more real than reality itself, corporeal and changeable, and the things that he can use to affect change. While the first season of ‘The Sandman’ only scratches the surface of his powers, it does give us an idea of the things he can do from the titles used for him.

Read More: Morpheus’ Tools in The Sandman, Explained