The Tools Of Morpheus, Explained: Who Stole Morpheus’s Totems? How Did He Recover Them?


The King of Dreams, Morpheus, had transferred his entire power into three tools, or totems, that helped him to build the dreamworld and rule the dreams and nightmares alike. These objects were the source of his unending strength. The first object, the pouch of sand, contained the dream world’s fragments. Next, the helm was designed by Morpheus from the bones of dead gods. The Ruby included a part of Morpheus himself. So, when Roderick Burgess captured him and took his “objects”, he was in his most vulnerable state. However, after almost a century, when one of the guards fell asleep and dreamt, even though dreaming was forbidden for the guards, Morpheus traveled in his dreams.

A few moments before this, Alex Burgess came to visit him, and while he was leaving, the wheels of his chair, accidentally or not, broke the binding circle. According to the comic, the guards saw Morpheus lying like a dead person in the glass chamber right after waking up. When they opened it to see whether he was okay, he attacked them with the sand collected from one of the guard’s dreams. After that, he broke free into the world of darkness. In the series, seeing Morpheus walking toward him in his dream, one guard starts to shoot at the glass chamber anxiously. In this process, the glass was broken; Morpheus was out of the chamber now, and he put the guards to sleep with the help of the sand he collected from the guard’s dream. Then, he visited Alex Burgess and asked about the “objects” his father stole from him. Alex said he had no idea regarding this matter. He gave Alex the punishment of eternal sleep and then returned to his realm.

He had no idea where his tools were, so he had to seek answers from “the three sisters.” But without his tools, he had no power left to summon the three sisters. So, he had to absorb power from something he had created long ago and remained in the dream world. Thus, he absorbed his strength back from Gregory the Gargoyle and regained some fragments of his power to gather the offerings to summon “the three sisters.” When he finally managed to meet with “the Fates” (the three sisters), they told him about the whereabouts of the three objects he was seeking. They spoke in a riddle, but it was almost enough for the dream lord to look for them. So, where were the objects? Who had them? Why did they mean so much to Morpheus?

The Pouch of Sand

The Pouch contained the endless sand that helped Morpheus grant someone a dream or create a nightmare. We can see how often he has used the sand to travel through realms. Whenever he had to visit the real world or Hell, he used the sand to transport himself. Also, in the first episode, we saw him using the sand to make the guards sleep. However, it was not the sand of the pouch, which proves that maybe he could do all these magics with any sand. So, sand is probably the object that he used as a medium to travel or create dreams or nightmares. It was stolen from him by Roderick Burgess and, according to “the Fates”, was now owned by Johanna Constantine. Although, in the comic book, they said it was John Constantine. We will discuss later why it had to be changed to Johanna Constantine in the series. When Morpheus visited Johanna Constantine in the real world, she said she left the pouch with her ex-girlfriend Rachel. They visited her and discovered that the sand had granted her immortality, but at a terrible cost. Morpheus recovered the pouch from her and then put her out of her misery. Although it required some convincing from Johanna, in the end, he made Rachel’s death less painful than it already was.

The Helm or The Helmet

It was created from the bones of dead gods and was a symbol of Morpheus being the king of dreams. The helm is often used while he visits other kings of different realms. He probably also uses it for war purposes. The Magus also stole it along with the other items. According to the comic book, Sykes and Ethel Cripps took all the objects with them and ran away. Then, to stay away from the deadly spell of the Magus, they traded the helm with a demon named Choronzon in exchange for an “Amulet of Protection.” In the series, the whole thing was done by Ethel Cripps alone. Now, “the Fates” told Morpheus about Choronzon, and to find the Demon, he traveled to Hell with the help of the endless sand in his pouch. There he seeks the help of Lucifer Morningstar, and the ruler of Hell summons all the demons. Morpheus’ sand brought Choronzon in front of them, and he said he traded the helmet, abiding by every rule. So, if Morpheus needs the helmet, he must challenge the Demon and win. Choronzon picks Lucifer as his champion to fight against Morpheus. After a series of events, Morpheus finally won against Lucifer and took possession of his helmet. However, in the comic book, the Demon fought himself and lost, not Lucifer.

The Ruby, or the Dreamstone

The most powerful of all the objects was the Ruby, stolen from Morpheus by Burgess. Ethel Cripps had the Ruby all along, and later it was stolen from her by her son, John Dee. John did something he was not supposed to do with the Ruby (Materioptikon, as per the comic book). He altered the jewel, and now it only worked as per his wish. If anybody tries to use it, it can wreck them. When “the Fates” told Morpheus about the whereabouts of the Ruby, they said that it was stolen from a mother by her son. According to the comic book, soon after stealing the jewel from her mother, the mad doctor altered the stone to interfere with people’s dreams. He even called himself “Doctor Destiny”. But the Justice League stopped him and sent him to Arkham Asylum. They kept the ruby in a warehouse in Gotham. Morpheus learned about this from Martian Manhunter of the Old Justice League and went to the warehouse to collect the Ruby. In the series, the helm and the sand helped Morpheus track down the jewel. When he grabbed the Ruby, he knew someone had tampered with it, and it soon pushed him away. In the meantime, John Dee escaped from the hospital with the help of the “Amulet of Protection” and reached for the Ruby. After several events, Morpheus found him and learned about his wish to kill the king of dreams. He told him that if he wished to destroy the king of dreams, he must do it in the dream world. John Dee tried to kill Morpheus with the help of the Ruby, but unknowingly released its powers and made Morpheus stronger than ever. Even Morpheus did not know he could gain his full strength by destroying the Ruby. So, Morpheus brought John Dee back to the hospital (in the comic book, he brought him back to Arkham Asylum) and granted him a good night’s sleep.

Final words

The three objects made Morpheus all-powerful, so when Roderick Burgess stole them from him, it made him weaker than ever. The old god was shattered by mere men only because his objects were abducted from him. The objects were called Dream’s tools of the office. So, the name sums up why they were essential to him. He was a master of creation; without his tools, he was almost as vulnerable as any man in the mortal world. Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” primarily deals with the journey of Morpheus, from being captured by men to recollecting his tools in its first volume, “Preludes and Nocturnes”.

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Shovan Roy
Shovan Roy
Shovan is an aspiring filmmaker who loves to live in the world of cinema. When he is not writing his own scripts, he likes to study the work of auteurs and learn from them. The greatest films ever made are his constant escape from reality and also keep him motivated.

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