Death is the ultimate change in consciousness. According to ancient Egyptians, death causes the ba (soul) to leave the physical body and begin its journey through the Netherworld or Underworld seeking to return to heaven. Prior to entering the Underworld the soul’s heart is weighed in the balance as the gods looked on. If the heart is lightweight, then the soul may continue its journey through the underworld up to heaven. If the heart is heavy, then the soul has “unfinished business” that weighs down its ability to make the passage to heaven. It wanders in the underworld seeking an opportunity to rise with the sun on a new morning, reincarnating to have another opportunity to lighten its heart by resolving unfinished business.
A soul seeking its way through the underworld to heaven gets help from the god Anubis, a jackal-headed god, who shows the way. The jackal head represents the unique ability of a canine (dog, jackal) to detect the scent of a trail. When we are lost and cannot find our way home (in this case, it is the way to our heavenly home) this god detects the scent of our original descent from heaven, thereby finding the way back to heaven.
In this metaphorical story, the Underworld represents our unconscious and the heavens represent our superconscious. Cayce taught that the "bridge" between these two is our subconscious. It was believed in ancient Egypt that the Nile represented the barrier between the land of the incarnate living and the land of the “living" dead. Thus, crossing the Nile from the Eastside to the Westside was like crossing the barrier between earthy consciousness to heavenly consciousness on the other side. Keep in mind that the Egyptians considered the rising Sun in the East to be new consciousness and the setting Sun in the West to be night consciousness, or the unconscious realms. The two conditions are awake or asleep, living here or dead to this world.
Jumping ahead to the later Greeks and their mythology, we find another metaphorical tale among the "Thousand sons of Sleep." The following gods are so much in oneness that they are fathers, sons, and brothers to each another. Morpheus, as in morphing, was the god of dreams. He brought ever-changing shapes to human consciousness during sleep. Morpheus was also a messenger of the gods able to communicate divine messages to sleeping mortals. Among his family was Hypnos (as in hypnosis), the god of sleep. Hypnos' mother, Nyx, was the goddess of the night. Thanatos (no relation to Marvel Comics' Thanos) was the god of death. Thanatos and Hypnos were close because sleep is a shadow of death. Another member of this family was Phobetor, as in phobias and fears, who brought the shape of animals in dreams, often resulting in nightmares because a common theme in dreams is being chased by an animal. Another is Phantasus, as in phantasm (illusions and apparitions) who brought prophetic dreams.
Rather than think of these as beings, consider them to be personifications of dynamic forces in the mind when it is freed in sleep or a sleep-like state.
Both the ancient Egyptians and Greeks considered dreams to be among the sacred forces in life. The Egyptians sought to interpret dreams to gain the message from the unseen forces. However, the ancient Greeks held dreams to be so mysterious and sacred that they believed them to be unfathomable. Even so, in almost direct contradiction of their mystery theory, the Greeks considered dreams to be real activity, real events.
Edgar Cayce used Morpheus in one of his dream readings, calling the human intermission of sleep being "in the arms of Morpheus." (5754-1) Cayce explained that dreams are of the "other self," the soul-self and its level of consciousness. He said that dreams are mostly a process of co-relating outer influences, events, and relationships with inner ideals, standards, and hopes for a successful incarnation. Incarnate life was about soul growth. A lifetime was an opportunity to bring out one's better self, resolve karma, channel love, comfort others, and gain understanding through doing. He used to teach, "In the doing comes the understanding." (1719-1) For Cayce, the dream state was a touchstone for our personality with our soul-self's individuality. Of course, he did not limit dreaming to co-relating, aware of how many other activities may occur during sleep, including rejuvenation of the body. Remember, he taught holism: body, mind, and soul working cooperatively for soul growth and service to others.
Becoming aware of our "other self" during sleep cycles, aids our soul growth and enhances our understanding about our whole being.