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or, Diary of an Oneironaut.






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The Hippocampus

by The Oneironaut - 15:33 on 03 September 2016

























Another peek into the Cupboard of Time. On this date in 2008 I had a dream about an extraordinary creature. The dream went as follows:

3 Sept 08. I woke at 3a.m. after this dream: I'm in a large old round tower-like building, a sort of library with a spiral stair going up inside around the walls which are lined with books. There's a pond on the ground floor inside.

Suddenly a huge monster creature rises up out of the water. It is pale, white, half fish-like (some sort of fin-like structure or pattern on its spine) but with six legs and an elongated face sort of a mixture between a horse and an anteater (the elongated snout). It has large shiny dark eyes. I think of it as a water-horse. I'm initially frightened by its size and sudden appearance and I run up the stairs to get away, thinking that it won't be able to follow...but it starts to nimbly climb the stairs. The name Hippocampus comes into my mind. The Hippocampus then takes one of the books off a shelf and starts to read it. Then he speaks kindly and intelligently to me and my fear subsides, I realise he is not threatening after all but kind and wise.

As I wake from the dream I puzzle about the name Hippocampus... I know I've heard it somewhere but can't remember what it means, apart from I think it might be a part of the brain. I wonder why the creature is called that. Over breakfast I ask my son has he heard if it and he says straight away "It's half fish, half horse" he says there's a Hippocampus in one of his myth-based video games, then agrees it's also the name for part of the brain. I look it up in the dictionary and find that the hippocampus is indeed part of the brain but also the scientific name for the Sea-horse genus - Hippos = Greek word for Horse, Kampos = Greek word for sea-monster. And I realise of course! The horse-like face of my dream creature was Sea-horse snouted.

I wondered what the hippocampus part of the brain is for...so I did a Google search and found a  fascinating article all about it in Wikipedia. Basically the hippocampus in the brain (in humans the early anatomists thought it resembled the shape of a sea-horse which is why it's so named) seems to have roles in memory and spatial navigation or map-making of one's environment. The hippocampus also has theta-rhythm brainwaves.... according to Wikipedia, theta waves occur during both active behaviour (particularly locomotion) and REM sleep (dreaming). I've read elsewhere about theta waves being in REM sleep too. 




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