Super-High Neptune: Somnium

Somnium is Latin for dream: it gives rise to words like insomnia, somnolent and somnambulate aka ‘can’t sleep’, ‘drowsy’ and ‘sleepwalking’. It’s also one of the brand names for a controversial sedative – lorazepam – a Nintendo game and an ultra-sci-fantastical occult lit novel by Steve Moore

“…Written in the early years of the 21st century, when the author was engaged in dream-explorations and mystical practices centred on the Greek moon-goddess Selene, Somnium is an intensely personal and highly-embroidered fictional tapestry that weaves together numerous historical and stylistic variations on the enduring myth of Selene and Endymion. Ranging through the 16th to 21st centuries, it combines mediæval, Elizabethan, Gothic and Decadent elements in a fantastic romance of rare imagination….”

It’s also the title of an amazing book published in the early 1600s by the renowned Capricorn mathematician, genius, scientist and astrologer to the Emperor of Prague, Johannes Kepler. 

Widely deemed the first work of science fiction, this Somnium features space travel, Moon demons and witches. It naturally attracted the attention of the Catholic Church who promptly tried his mother – a herbalist – for witchcraft. It was especially stressful as the woman who raised her had been burned at the stake as a witch.  

“…The story is the tale of Duracotus, who was the son of an Icelandic witch named Fiolxhilda. During his youth she banished Duracotus to Denmark for five years. Upon his return, she decided to share some of her secrets with him. She explained that her instructor had been a demon who dwelt on the Moon. During a Solar Eclipse, the lunar demons were able to travel between the Earth and the Moon via a bridge of darkness. The son decided he wanted to make this journey, and so he was transported to the Moon by demons…

To ease his journey he was given a drowsing draught and moist sponges to hold under his nose. He was carried to the point of neutral gravity between the Earth and Moon, then allowed to drift down to the lunar surface. Thus the author understood some of the effects of gravity and the need for environmental protection above the atmosphere…”

Imagine how this would have gone down in the 1600s! People were truly stunned by it. Kepler, btw, had Neptune Rising in Gemini.

There is also Somnium the album – a seven hour long melodic sleep spell by ambient musician Robert Rich:

“…It is a seven-hour album on a DVD-video and is based on Rich’s sleep concert series of the early 1980’s. Like those concerts, the music on this album was composed to influence the dreams and pre-REM hypnogogic visions of the listener. For this purpose it is suggested that the volume be kept down to the threshold of perceptibility, ideally with speakers surrounding the listener’s bed. Rich also recommends this album for conventional listening. It has been estimated that this is the longest single piece of music ever committed to a commercially recorded format…”

Rich is a Leo, with the Sun conjunct Mercury and Lilith conjunct Neptune in Scorpio.

The Somnium concept is super-Haute Neptune, don’t you think? Thoughts?

27 thoughts on “Super-High Neptune: Somnium”

  1. As a follow up on this great post, a book you might find interesting is The Astronomer and the Witch, by Ulinka Rublak which depicts the real life story of the trial of Kepler’s mother and Kepler’s defence of her. Great read & packed with historical facts about that era.

  2. Love this post, especially the drop-in by Robert Rich 🙂

    Any ambient music buffs or curious seekers, apps like Tunein for android ( surely Apple has equivalencies) help you access and explore radio stations around the world dedicated to the stuff . The German and Canadians ones are my personal fave . Dirty Elegance is my new fave ambient band. 🙂

    1. oOo thank you will I look twinfish – (liked dirty pockets), am getting a new phone soon, so thanks for the tip, muchly 🙂
      I spent quite a bit of time listening on youtube to Robert Rich after this post, the long tracks are great for working at the computer, found out through a Kim Falconer interview I am an aural writer, so interesting…just know I like music without vocals when I write

  3. Piscean Closed For Renovation

    same as andromeda actually, like the linking of ideas -in this case somnium – across three separate, you know, themes/objects/stuff/etc. linking disparate ideas into cool new thing is what i live for.

  4. Wow, I was just listening to Somnium on Youtube when my Stillness Buddy programme cut in. It stops your computer mid-flow, with either a Mindfulness pause or a Moment of Stillness pause, and it was lovely to just sit, be quiet and listen to this wonderful music. I do luuurrrvvve Neptune! Thanks for the link, MM, I’ll be getting this, great for home and also long-haul flights, since we at some stage will be flying to Istanbul when we re-locate to North Cyprus, whenever that is.

  5. Cool triptych post! Love the concept of 17th century Sci-Fi so much.
    But imagine writing a blog or a book and having your old mum tried as a witch? Talk about a creativity stifler. I totally see trauma inducing methods like this as a way to subdue the population. I love past life therapy and crystal dreaming and so I have come across this era loads in my travels, I think all witchypoo types resonate on this theme. It can be a powerful way to get in touch with your self confidence and creativity, unblocking the fears of lives lost in these eras and situations.

    The album cover of Rich’s is really perfect looking for the genre, cool. I will listen on youtube when I get a chance.

    1. Interesting that you say that. This era resonates with my feminist sensibilities. Such a shame that women are held up to blame as evil and dark when they were mostly doing healing work and practicing natural medicine. For a while just thinking about it made me very angry. I see it as a means to destroy feminine energy en masse or at least silence it. And where are we now ? Still in a very patriarchal society. I am hoping to in my lifetime see a major shift towards a balanced and loving world.

      1. Hi Erika, yes, I hope to see this shift towards a more intuitive and creative and loving world also!! The lower self is so passe.

  6. I was recently introduced to ambient genre of music this year. Of course I’d heard it before that, but I didn’t know what it was. A guy I met swears by it. He has a thing for house parties, but listens to ambient music to calm him down, and while riding his push-bike to work in the early hours of the morning. He says he switches on his ipod and gets on his bike and then kinda wakes up at his work. It’s meditative. And I think it helps a bit with his epilepsy too because it’s meditative.

    I really like James Blake’s music, particularly his recent self-titled album. But that’s a dance genre, but so so lovely with ambient qualities though, imo.

  7. Thanks for pinging me about the link to your your fiction. I am honored to be included with Johannes Kepler, and happy to still be alive in the process. I wish you great success with your new fiction. The dream is alive, indeed. – Robert Rich

    1. Piscean Closed For Renovation

      Your composition sounds fascinating, I will have to get a hold of it. hopefully it works in headphones too 🙂

      the cover image is very evocative – really like it.

      thank you.

    2. Hey Robert – i am honored, man, honored to have u drop in here! I heard of your music via Somnium the book and i love the concept of hypnogogic music…Tell me, where r u at re Deuter (apparently the ‘father’ of new age music) and the Kepler theory of music of the spheres?

      I am madly interested in practical magic music and think properly productive ambient music is going to be massive in the Neptune in Pisces era.

      1. Piscean Closed For Renovation

        be sure to keep us posted on your music discoveries mystic! maybe a ‘music’ tag for relevant posts…

Leave a Comment