“There are two gates of Sleep: one of which is said to be of horn,
through which an easy passage is given to true shades, the other
gleams with the whiteness of polished ivory, but through it
the Gods of the Dead send false dreams to the world above.
After his words, Anchises accompanies his son there, and,
frees him, together with the Sibyl, through the ivory gate.
Aeneas makes his way to the ships and rejoins his friends:
then coasts straight to Caieta’s harbour along the shore.
The anchors are thrown from the prows: on the shore the sterns rest.”
The concept of two gates to the ethereal realms is an old one, dating back to Greek times. It is also a concept rich and fertile with imagination. It seems though the concept is more of an ephemeral reality than it is an place of brick and mortar. The Gates of Horn and Ivory first appear in Homer’s Odyssey. The gates are explained to be the gateways or doors to two dimensions. One of superficialities and falsehoods, a mask over the visage. The other a more real depiction for those able to discern their dreams.
This of course is a classic analogy of there is almost more to the man than the clothes he wears. Two gateways can indicate two aspects of self or even the different roads of one’s life. The choices we make will bring us to either the Gate of Ivory or the Gate of Horns. As earnest and intriguing as a gate of true knowing sounds to the erudite seeker, the gate of horn is actually a place of shadow and darkness.
In modern spiritualism there are different worlds and dimensions mentioned to the aspirant along the spiritual path. Perhaps, the most notable is the astral realm. The astral realm or astral plane is the place where the soul resides. The soul exists parallel to its body, then at the time of death the silver cord that binds the soul to the body, is cut. However this spiritual world may be visited by one in a lucid dream or an astral projection. If these two gateways do exist then they should be seen from the astral plane. In theory it may even become possible for one to step through the gate. There is no record of what would exist beyond these gates aside from the few annotations of Greek scholars.
While I cannot say whether these Gates exist since they do purportedly exist solely in the dream world. One may presume a way to visit them. The best way to do that would be in a lucid dream by an advanced practitioner of such. The key or challenge in the dream would not only be to retain one’s conscious awareness through out the dream but to visualize the gates before them.
This in and of itself becomes a tricky matter since the Gate of Ivory is entrance and deliverer of a mere facade. One would need to know the nature of the gate before themselves before entering. As with any spiritual interest or esoteric endeavor this becomes a time to exercise proper spiritual control over the deities that preside within. The Gates are home to the Gods of the Dead, Morpheus, Phobetor, Phantasos and Hypnos. Using these names of power or beseeching these Gods for assistance would most assuredly guarantee one a safe passage.
The experiment or proposal is not an easy one and it is certainly not one without it’s cryptic qualities. However should one succeed in such an endeavor who knows what awaits on the other side.
Given the nature of the existence of the gates it would seem that they are accessible only in the hypnagogic state a place where the mind is famous for playing tricks . The Gates of Horn and Ivory, exist as a literary mark in Greek anthology. Should they prove to be more than an explanation of simpler times to explain the unknown; then the possibilities of visiting these places and learning from them are most intriguing.