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History's Famous Dreamers: Lucrecia de Leon, Spanish Dream Spy

There are no surviving images of Lucrecia de Leon, this image is, I believe, one of Lucrecia Borgia and I love the symbolism in the image.

There are no surviving images of Lucrecia de Leon, this image is, I believe, one of Lucrecia Borgia and I love the symbolism in the image.

LUCRECIA WAS A RISQUE BABE in an era when the only fame garnered by being risque was execution-by-the-Inquisition kind of fame.

She was young, unmarried, sexually curious and stunning.

She was also a powerful dreamer who spied on the King's enemies and could foresee the future, all from the comfort of her own bed.

Born around 1568 in Madrid, Spain, Lucrecia began having prophetic dreams around the time she began puberty. As she got older her dreams began to catch the attention of church and state. Illiterate, when she was 19-years old a priest began to visit her, almost daily, to record her dreams, most of which came true. 

Over the next few years her fame as a prophetess began to grow and she was lavished with attention, gifts and money. It is believed she become power-hungry to the point she began making up dreams that were often proved false or were blatantly self-serving. After a few too many bold (reckless) dream accounts that made a fool of King Philip II, she was officially investigated by the Inquisition and the 400+ dream accounts that she had permitted to be recorded were used against her. Although she ultimately wasn't sentenced to death, she was tortured, flogged, exiled and then quietly slipped away from the pages of history.

Among the more interesting tidbits about Lucrecia and her dreams:

  • A dream lover came to her most nights and traveled with her in the dream state to different locations, including the King's private rooms (which she could describe in perfect detail even having never been there), where she witnessed one of the King's men committing treason.


  • Lucrecia also visited her priest-scribe's quarters in the dream body. When describing his private room in exact detail the next morning he became frightened and ended their session early. No doubt it spooked him that she, or her Dream Lover, was powerful enough to walk right through whatever psychic boundaries the priests had placed over their private quarters.


  • Lucrecia flew to England in her dream body and observed Sir Francis Drake plotting against Spain and writing to the sultan of Turkey for support.


  • In 1587 she dreamt of the defeat of the Spanish Armada, which came to pass in 1588 by the English.


  • On more than one occasion Lucrecia witnessed the understories of old pagan earth gods and goddess still playing out several layers below the current reality. These visions came to her on nights when her Dream Lover offered her river water gathered on Midsummer's Night to drink and included bare-breasted goddesses wrapped in snakes carry cauldrons of water.


  • Lucrecia eventually took on a lover from her own world and became pregnant shortly before the investigation by the Inquisition began. Although still sending and receiving love notes from her lover while in jail, she also began a tryst with a warden who would even arrange for the pregnant Lucrecia to visit him privately at his own home.

St. Teresa de Avila she was not.

Today, all that is known about Lucrecia is preserved in the National Historic Archives of Madrid-- something I sorely wish I had known about when I lived in Madrid. I also would have loved to wander the area of Madrid in which she was born, to have stopped and paused at the prison in Toledo where she was jailed, and waited for whispers of her story to come to me.