The Odyssey - Manual of Secret Teachings?

Alana

SuperModerator
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FOTCM Member
luke wilson said:
Anywaaaaaays, back to the subject of sacrifice. So what if animal sacrifice are not actually 'animals' like 2D animals but are actually 3D human beings who other people see as an animal maybe because of specific qualities and who by himself/herself being sacrificed it nourishes the God in a special kind of way who then bestows fortune on the ones carrying out the sacrifice. So we know Gods of the 4D STS variety who run our realm eat human beings primarily, so maybe animal sacrifice in myths arent actually 2D animals but people of a certain quality..? Kind of like, "you can all die or only 'he/she' can die, you choose?"

I think it is pretty clear in the Odyssey that it is actual animals that are being sacrificed.
 

luke wilson

The Living Force
Alana said:
luke wilson said:
Anywaaaaaays, back to the subject of sacrifice. So what if animal sacrifice are not actually 'animals' like 2D animals but are actually 3D human beings who other people see as an animal maybe because of specific qualities and who by himself/herself being sacrificed it nourishes the God in a special kind of way who then bestows fortune on the ones carrying out the sacrifice. So we know Gods of the 4D STS variety who run our realm eat human beings primarily, so maybe animal sacrifice in myths arent actually 2D animals but people of a certain quality..? Kind of like, "you can all die or only 'he/she' can die, you choose?"

I think it is pretty clear in the Odyssey that it is actual animals that are being sacrificed.

Thanks for the clarification.

Well I have found some writings that say the greeks were hugely fascinated by suffering, even abit more than glory;

_http://englishare.net/literature/POL-HS-Voyage-of-Odysseus.htm

One literary clue is the quest, a plot pattern found in story-telling seemingly everywhere on earth, from the earliest recorded times. You know how it goes: one or more characters leave the comforts of home, endure a tough journey into forbidding territory, encounter dangerous adversaries, engage in mortal conflict, and finally return home again, with or without the quest-object, the life-sustaining thing that motivates the quest-journey. [...]

The ancient Hellenic legend of the Trojan War is illustrative. Here, once upon a time, the Achaeans (a/k/a Argives) massed their tribal forces to attack the wealthy city of Troy; they traveled far away and fought for ten years; eventually after great loss of lives they looted and destroyed the city; and finally they returned home with the spoils--or they tried to. Few came home. Parts of this quest-story, with special attention to meals eaten and better-left-uneaten along the way, are immortalized in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. [...]

Far back before Heracles and all remembered stories there was Paleolithic cave painting, dating from as early as 30,000 BC in Europe. These earliest surviving works of western art typically are concerned with the hunt--and not with the hunters but with the hunted. They are images of victims. Why? The stone age tradeoff with the animal victim was that, in exchange for its meat, hide and bone, it was immortalized by humankind in art. The pictures were painted in underworld galleries where the dead animals could see that people are trustworthy and do nice work. [...]

Painting preceded writing in Europe by tens of thousands of years, but the literate Hellenes' arrangement with their heroes was essentially the same deal as the Paleolithic compact with wild animals. Like the food animal, the hero gives up the world of sunshine but receives in exchange an immortal fame, a presentation in art that the living will see or hear forever. Though some of the magic has gone out of it, this same aesthetic bargain still exists today, as can be seen in countless public memorials to the war dead and religious shrines of the martyrs.

What most interested the Hellenes about Heracles was not his magnificent strength, courage or skill in fighting but his terrible suffering. His quests were "labors," and they were agonizing. His namesake, the goddess Hera, was responsible for his glory (glory = "kleos" in Greek) because her animosity toward him caused all of his trouble and pain. "Hera-kleos" wore the lion's skin, and he wore it in such a way that he appeared in the lion's mouth (see figure above left), because he identified himself as victim.

Ironically, nobody remembers who Homer was, but he clearly was an heir to this very old magical tradition of victim presentation. Homer remembers the dead for their suffering, and he associates their labors with the sacrifice of animals that are killed and eaten.

In nearly the age-old way too, the Homeric bard sings the praises of victims in exchange for dinner. Let's now look in on an evening's entertainment at one of these ancient banquets...

Moving on to the odyssey starting with story-telling

Story-telling produces meat for the story-teller, too, almost in the old Paleolithic way that cave-painting produced it. A professional story-teller works the Phaeacian dining room, ahead of Odysseus on the evening's story-telling program. He's the bard Demodocus. Another Sheherazade-figure dependent on story-telling for survival, Demodocus sings for his supper. (Actually, he gets the food up front, before the art is performed, as the practical Hellenic custom of "hospitality" requires. First get the meat, and only then sing of victims. No meat, no song.)

Demodocus receives a nice piece of pork in advance, sings about Troy on request after dinner, and moves his audience to tears. The tears are an essential part. The listeners must be made to care about the people in the story and what becomes of them. And what becomes of them can't be good. Homeric story appeals to sympathy.

Demodocus sings sadly enough about the final destruction of Troy, an attack planned and led by Odysseus himself almost ten years earlier (Odyssey 8.469). Listening closely and hearing that Demodocus knows the true story, Odysseus reacts to the song appropriately. He weeps.

In a favorite Homeric figure of speech, an elaborate simile, Homer compares Odysseus' sobbing to the groans of a helpless war victim:

He [Odysseus] wept as a woman weeps when she throws herself on the body of her husband who has fallen before his own city and people, fighting bravely in defense of his home and children. She screams aloud and flings her arms about him as he lies gasping for breath and dying, but her enemies beat her from behind about the back and shoulders, and carry her off into slavery, to a life of labor and sorrow, and the beauty fades from her cheeks--even so piteously did Odysseus weep. Odyssey 8.521

The simile identifies hero with victim. Through Demodocus' art, Odysseus seems to have returned to the scene of his greatest military triumph only to find himself transformed into the helpless war widow who is beaten and hauled away into slavery. The image of the weeping woman is a reminder of the brutality at Troy, including Odysseus' own reputed crime on the night of the fall of the city, the killing of Trojan Prince Hektor's helpless young child Astyanax. The weeping woman could be Astyanax' mother, Andromache, whose laments fill the Iliad. [...]

The immediate point is a simple one: identification with victims is Homer's golden rule. What you do is what you get. Just as Heracles dresses himself in the skin of the lion that he has killed, the Homeric warriors come to view themselves as their victims. Achilles identifies with Hektor; Odysseus identifies with a Trojan widow. In Homer, those who do not identify with their victims become mere animals or monsters (because they treat their victims inhumanly as such). Those who identify with their victims are filled with suffering, but they become truly human through their expression of grief. [...]

In the very ancient spiritual idiom of the Odyssey--ritual sacrifice of animals--identity is transformed from the victim animal that is eaten to the spirit that endures in those who eat. Animal flesh is destroyed in the natural process of survival, but art rectifies this injustice: the ingested animal victim becomes human through incorporation. Once sacrificed and devoured, the victim gains the power of speech that it lacked when it was only a dumb animal. Its story now comes out, told through the voice of the speaker who has been fed. This imputed survival is its living "spirit."

Odysseus' after-dinner story describes the transformation of men to animals, and animals to men.

To put things into perspective, odysseus might be noble courageous inspiring person but when he comes to right/wrong where does he fall, he is part of the horde that attacks an innocent city then proceeds to lead his men to there final doom on the return journey home and in there we have all these sacrifices, songs etc going on.

Also before the trojan war,

In Homeric legend, Iphigeneia was to be sacrificed by her father Agamemnon for success in the Trojan War. [..]
According to the earliest versions he did so, but other sources claim that Iphigenia was taken by Artemis to Tauris in Crimea to prepare others for sacrifice, and that the goddess left a deer[4] or a goat (the god Pan transformed) in her place.

So I wanted to share this, personally I don't think the animals are just animals, the animals mask something else. My personal opinion. Also according to various sources, the greeks did practise the art of human sacrifices(there is archeological backing evidence), even seen in the story of the minatour plus other civilisations from south america and even in norse legends and societies. Anyways, am just puttin this out there as an extra piece to the puzzle. Maybe it is something, maybe it is nothing.
 

anart

A Disturbance in the Force
luke wilson said:
So I wanted to share this, personally I don't think the animals are just animals, the animals mask something else. My personal opinion. Also according to various sources, the greeks did practise the art of human sacrifices(there is archeological backing evidence)

Please provide the source to back up this statement.
 

luke wilson

The Living Force
After reading more carefully, I think animal means that part of us that doesn't feel empathy. Odysseus suffered the trials he did because he went down to an animal level and through the trials he was restored back to a man.

It can also mean psychopaths or organic portals, I don't know... Maybe this is how organic portals gain a soul, a.k.a empathy by sacrificing there animal self.
 

luke wilson

The Living Force
anart said:
luke wilson said:
So I wanted to share this, personally I don't think the animals are just animals, the animals mask something else. My personal opinion. Also according to various sources, the greeks did practise the art of human sacrifices(there is archeological backing evidence)

Please provide the source to back up this statement.

Well actually, after looking up more sources, it appears it is disputed that real human sacrifice was done in ancient greece. But here it is, it looks like it is the same problem with Bible archeology where sometimes the evidence doesn't support what is written down, but human sacrifice features in the mythology itself as is the case with King Agamemnon.

This review below illustrates the doubt whilst the next one provides the site in question.

_http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1992/03.01.25.html
This revised dissertation (Ohio State 1986) achieves its goal "to collect, organize, and present ... and then to evaluate the evidence for the ritual killing of human beings in ancient Greece." The collecting is voluminous: about twenty-five archaeological sites are discussed in detail and over a hundred literary testimonia, this alone justifying the price of the book. The evaluation is less systematic: the basic tendency is to discount the possibility of ritual killing, with the usual, mostly reasonable array of arguments: insufficient evidence, unreliable (poetic, late, tendentious) testimony, incomplete archaeological report. What we lack is any consideration of the counter-argument, which might begin with the Carthaginian material, which shows what a combination of archaeological and literary evidence can look like in an undisputed case.1

The archaeological evidence is judged doubtful in virtually every case. (1) At the Minoan "sacrifice" at Anemospilia, featured in National Geographic in 1981, the building may not be a shrine while the blade, which is actually a spearhead, may have fallen on the boy from above; his leg may be accidentally curled not bound since the hands are not bound; and the difference in bone color is not due to blood loss. (2) The scraped bones at Knossos, especially in the Room of the Children's Bones, may signal cannibalism but may also show preparation for burial or reburial. (3) Late Bronze Age Burials in the Argolid: the Dendra tholos tomb is possibly "suttee" but maybe "simultaneous death of a man and wife from disease, accident, or violence"; the tholos tomb at Kazarma is not published fully enough to tell; the claim of human sacrifice for three of the four Argolid chamber tombs "is open to serious question" while the fourth, an apparently simultaneous burial of six persons "above the door of Tomb 15 in Mycenae ... may represent some sort of funerary ritual killing." (4) Seven of the nine alleged slave burials on Cyprus only show that "occasionally the citizens of Geometric Lapithos buried their dead in the doorways of tombs" but in two cases (Salamis Tomb 2, Lapithos Tomb 422) the figures buried in the dromos were bound and so qualify as "ritual killing." (5) Three Middle Helladic "dual burials" of a male and female do not look like "suttee" when set against the full array of burials at Lerna (228 graves, 16 with more than one burial, eight or nine being "dual" including the dual burial of two males). (6) The spectacular burial at Lefkandi, however, does, at least as far as one can tell from the preliminary publication.

The literary record is subjected to the same sceptical inquiry. First funerary killings: many of these are simple cases of revenge killing; some seem to be literary invention (Evadne, Polyxena, Lucian de luctu 14), and none is "a killing performed in a particular situation or on a particular occasion..in a prescribed, stereotyped manner, with a communicative function of some kind." [But if revenge killing is stereotyped, can it be excluded? Conversely, would war killing not fit the definition? H's use of "sacrificial" vocabulary as an important criterion is undercut by his own discussion of Herodotus' rather flexible language.] The Cypriot ritual killings (above #4) were probably revenge killings, as we seem to find at Istria where "three Archaic tumuli built over central pyres, contained peripheral burials of humans and horses." H then considers the testimonia to "mythical" and historical human sacrifice, concluding that the mythical ones can be dismissed as unhistorical and the historical ones as pseudo-historical. The sacrifice to save the city fits too regular a pattern to be historical; youths given to monsters (e.g. the Minotaur) are not technically sacrifices since they are exposed not killed and are better termed folktales than myths; initiation rituals of Artemis, which are repeatedly attested, bloody but do not kill. (Herodotus' confusing description of the Athamantids at Alos is said to describe a ritual drama of initiation, depite the author's earlier, correct warning against haphazardly labeling anything an initiation.) Military sacrifices either were not carried out (Agesilaus at Aulis, Pelopidas at Leuctra) or are from a fanciful source (Phainias on Themistocles, following Henrichs). The cult of Zeus Lykaios, where alone human sacrifice is repeatedly attested, is dismissed because excavation has revealed no human remains at the site. [Could they not have been intentionally removed?] Thus, although the list is long it can be drastically shortened. Moreover, "for more than half the historical human sacrifices we are indebted to two writers...of late antiquity" whose reliability H effectively undermines by showing what might result "if some writer of late antiquity had only Pausanias as his source." H concludes that tragedy was instrumental in promoting the idea of human sacrifice: "no human sacrifices in the Homeric poems...a few then in other early epic; in the fifth century, a sudden burgeoning of human sacrifices on the tragic stage; then, beginning in the fourth, the creation of new human sacrifices by historical writers ... and finally, human sacrifice as a convenient narrative device in the novel... It is little wonder that the belief that the 'ancients' practised human sacrifice is now firmly entrenched." [One might object that we have hardly any literature other than Homer before the fifth century, and Homeric epic may not have room for human sacrifice.]

The book ends with chapters on the pharmakoi and the Locrian maidens, where the evidence for actual killing is almost non-existent, and with appendices on Pylos tablet Tn 316 (hardly evidence for human sacrifice) and on other cut marks and mass burials (mainly in wells). The mostly bibliographic notes run to fifty-five pages, the bibliography to twenty. [I missed only Hastings' still useful Encylopaedia of Religion and Ethics (1908-26) Eliade's much newer Encyclopedia of Religion (1987), A. Henrichs on wineless libations HSCP 87 (1983) and Early Greek Cult Practice, ed. R. Hägg, Acta Atheniensis 1988.] There is a subject index and an index locorum.

The general conclusion is that "at present very few connections can be made between the written and the archaeological evidence.... In the past, the written evidence ... seems to have had an influence on archaeologists, who quite naturally expected confirmation to be forthcoming from the soil. But the curious and varied collection of texts studied here ... is more a testament to the capacity and breadth of the imagination of the Greeks than a documentary record of their practices." A depressing conclusion for those of us who believe that a future for Classics lies in bringing archaeology and literature closer together.

I can't remember the exact programme(maybe the one mentioned but it didn't look like it was made in 1981) I saw but it was purported in the programme that they had actually found the site where the minotaur stories orginated from(Knossos which suprisingly came to an abrupt stop once a volcano nearby on the Island of Thera went off), and in the caves underneath the Island had found evidence for ritual human sacrifice... It turned out the whole island was obsessed with death in like a big way, if you are really interested look into it..

_http://www.flowofhistory.com/units/birth/3/FC17

The myth of Theseus and the Minotaur where Athens had to send a yearly sacrifice of its children to Crete, reflects Minoan rule and indicates that it might not always have been so peaceful. Recent archaeological evidence indicates the Minoans did at times practice human sacrifices.
Minoan civilization continued to prosper until it came to a sudden and mysterious end. A combination of archaeology and mythology provide clues to how this may have happened. The central event was a massive volcanic eruption that partially sank the island of Thera some eighty miles northeast of Crete and left a crater four times the size of that created by the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, the largest recorded volcanic eruption in recorded history, This eruption had three devastating effects: a shock wave which levelled Crete's cities, a tidal wave which destroyed its navy, and massive fallout of volcanic ash which poisoned its crops. Together these weakened the Minoans enough to let another people, the Mycenaean Greeks eventually take over around 1450 B.C.E.

Anyways, as always the evidence is at best shakey when it comes to archeology which some refer to as a glorified treasure hunt but yes, there you have it. An island where apparent human sacrifice goes on and then it comes to an abrupt stop.
 

Meager1

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
What most interested the Hellenes about Heracles was not his magnificent strength, courage or skill in fighting but his terrible suffering. His quests were "labors," and they were agonizing. His namesake, the goddess Hera, was responsible for his glory (glory = "kleos" in Greek) because her animosity toward him caused all of his trouble and pain. "Hera-kleos" wore the lion's skin, and he wore it in such a way that he appeared in the lion's mouth (see figure above left), because he identified himself as victim.


Apparently, the lion was a constant companion of some goddesses, Cybele comes to mind predominately as one of those, all of her images are in the company of lions.

Lions were also a symbol of the sun or fire, which was another early sign for goddesses.
Seems like Hercules was pretty much involved in that aspect.

Odysseus too, since his bed being a tree, is another sign for goddesses, who made people "from" trees in another kind of symbolism.

The woman crying bit is interesting as well. Back in "the day" a certain tribe would be chosen to act as the "woman" in times of war and to be the peace maker among the warring tribes.
After the Jesuits brought patriarchy, within a generation or two, the original meaning was lost and the tribe acting as "the" woman, became thought of as a "physical woman"..weak, cowards etc. They were then forced to go to war to prove that they were not "women" anymore.

Every native person I know calls this continent "turtle island", is was incredibly important for everyone to retain the information concerning turtle symbolism, and even though the old stories actually tell the story..almost no one understands it anymore.

So, perhaps the whole key to understanding the Odyssey is in understanding the conflicts both inner and outer, since it seems that this was a transition period, having to do with multiple wars, on several levels, as well?
 

luke wilson

The Living Force
Hi meager,

As you state it does appear some of the themes appear in cultures that might not have even met, so it is quite interesting to try to figure out the connection.

I have been reading that website more and I have to say the writer has some extraordinarily good points, he kind of presents a point of view that I have never considered before, and each page is presented as a sort of lesson, it is like you are in some kind of class whilst going through what he has written.

He says that story-telling, literature, art of any kind acts to alleviate stress - think lullaby or stories to put a child to sleep, more on this at the very bottom.

First the setting in which Homer lives..

A warrior tradition was responsible for the survival and territorial expansion of the Hellenes, but it was also a crippling problem for social development.

Centuries of chaotic violence preceded Homer. This troubled time, the Helladic Dark Ages (cir. 1150 - 800 B.C.), appears to have been ruled by marauding hordes of pirate-raiders like Achilles, Odysseus and the other city-sacking Achaeans described in the Homeric songs. Throughout this long reign of terror, except for occasional visits by squatters, cities in the Greek-speaking world were abandoned. Their former settlers, like Homer's Trojans, had been slaughtered or carried off into slavery, or they had fled into hiding in remote places like mountainous Arcadia and the island of Cyprus where the old ways were pastoralized (as I argue in Lesson 10 preserved on diphtherā, cattle hides).

Return of civilization, the rise of Hellenism: arts may have helped to stimulate better cooperation and a sense of community among Greek-speakers at the end of the dark ages. Or perhaps piracy diminished because there were no treasures left to pillage. Scholars are not sure how the Greeks pulled out of their uncivilization but, for whatever reasons, a time of social renewal known as the Greek archaic period began in about 800 BC.

Apparently, before it all became a sort of Industry to be performed in theatre and for entertainment purposes, it was serious business where the whole Hero cult worship thing was meant to be a way to bring the hero or whoever back to life, through the songs performed..

The magical use of art to control events is known in cultures throughout the world. The form varies greatly from place to place, but anthropologists call this general activity "sympathetic magic." An artistic or artificial presentation is intended to cause sympathetic or similar things to happen in the real world. [..]

It seems most obvious in the study of belief systems that are very ancient or very foreign, such as Paleolithic culture in prehistoric Europe where cave art was believed to satisfy the needs of animals to be remembered or glorified.

The Hellenic people, almost modern by comparison, believed in oracles and prophecies. These stories of sympathetic magic are visions or presentations of future experience. A biography, or at least the important aspects of it, can be told before the life is lived. The concept is comparable to "fortune telling," astrology or other primitive determinisms. The oracle, prophet or seer doesn't make predictions or forecasts based on probabilities, as far as the believer is concerned. [...]

The form of worship included food-animal sacrifice and a communion meal followed by communication with the spirit of the hero. Having been fed a libation (the pouring of blood or wine or other magic drink on the burial ground), the hero regained the power to speak. Heracles (Hercules) was the most widely summoned spirit, but there were hundreds of others including not only warriors and wise men but also women and children. Anybody who was buried and remembered with ceremony could be a hero.

How did the dead speak to the living? In each of these local rites someone necessarily took the hero's part or sang the hero's words. This inspired singing was not understood to be a dramatic performance, or a pretense for the entertainment of the crowd. In the rapture of the ritual, in the belief of the cult members, the hero was presented--that is, actually made present. The song or voice in the ceremony, as the faithful heard it, was the hero, not some actor's imitation, old timer's remembrance or historian's lore. The professional impersonator was "possessed."

Hero rites created the miraculous illusion that, by calling hem correctly and sharing picnics with them, the dead (or at least their voices) can arise from their tombs. The sacrifice of a food animal and its consumption in a stylized ritual meal, repeated year after year in the customary way, was a belief-machine that provided a glimpse of eternity or transcendence of time. The living fed the dead, and the dead fed the living. Sacrifice united all mortal beings of all time in an inter-dependent cycle of life and death.

Why were they interested in this communion with the dead?

Apparently through the dead, they were able to transcend human linear transitions and see things in a non-linear way, according to him that is why Homer writes in a non-linear way, it is not the view of a man but the view of a god.

Note that the story does not open with the beginning or asserted causes of the Trojan War. It does not conclude with the end of the war or its asserted consequences. It does not start with the birth of the hero or end with the hero's death. Homer does not have a historian's plan to tell the story of a particular war or to tell the biography of any particular person. Such beginnings and endings are quite important for mortals, but we have a different point of view here, the view of the immortal goddess.

What the goddess sees is a recurring story. A recurring story is a magic story, one that leads forever to something else, another repetition of itself.

Repetition, retelling and re-enactment of stories are epidemic in Homer. Within the Iliad, there are many replays of the same story. Chryses' plague is an echo of the larger story. Athena's hair-restraint of Achilles is an echo of the larger story. In the broadest repetition of all, the Odyssey is a final Homeric re-telling of the Iliad; its reflective hero Odysseus wanders home from Troy haunted by his experience of the war. Homeric song is an incredible nest of stories, all of which are intricately interrelated like a musical theme with brilliant variations.

Joining stories to one another, finding parallels or relationships between them, Homer establishes an imaginative world in which events don't simply happen without causes; they don't just end without consequences. Modern ideas of an accidental universe, ruled by chance and characterized by randomness of events, are entirely at odds with this Homeric view of the relatedness of stories. Homer looks for underlying principles to make sense of the apparent chaos and to unify time into a meaningful whole. The songs find patterns and comparisons, ways in which episodes go together into a coherent whole.

Homer provides the vision of the goddess, not a view of a certain time and particular people but a way of seeing that collapses multiple events into one timeless essence.

He also explains, prophecy, as the future is linked to the past and explains how it can be that the future is inevitable due do the past as a way of compensation

The future in Homer frequently depends on the past; hence the future often can be foretold, if the story of the past can be recalled. In these cases the future is not simply some made up story, acted out according to the whim of gods or the desires of human actors themselves. It is not invented out of thin air by creative seers and priests. It is not some new thing, independent of things that have gone before. It is what must happen, in fairness, to complete or compensate for what has gone before.

Under such a system of retributive justice, guilt works out through time: "the first shall become last" and vice versa. Time brings about a fairly predictable series of role reversals like the transformation of Odysseus the oppressor (the victor at Troy) into Odysseus the victim (the weeping war widow). Odysseus has been a famous sacker of cities; accordingly his fate, and the cyclops' curse, will return him to a home which reflects the cities that he has sacked. He has stolen the cattle of others, so his own cattle will be devoured. Ithaca, when he finally gets there, will be a reflection of dead Hektor's household: Odysseus' grieving wife Penelope will take the place of sorrowing widow Andromache, and Odysseus' paranoid young son Telemakhos will suffer from delusions that he is about to be murdered like Astyanax.

Because the future is the spiritual consequence of the past, in this way, Teiresias and other Homeric seers can read it in victims.

He even mentions that story telling could act as a meditative kind of thing,

From a modern scientific perspective, this feasting and story-telling phenomenon is explained in medical terms. Human beings have a unique nervous system that can be regulated to some degree by conscious thoughts. This system consists of a sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which raises stress levels, and a parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which relaxes them. The SNS drives up blood pressure, increases heartbeat, and optimizes the body for physical action, especially fight or flight emergencies. When it is frequently used, the SNS tends to get stuck in the "on" position, so that we can't relax--a condition that leads to sleeplessness, stroke, heart disease, impotence, ulcers, indigestion and a host of other stress-related ailments. We can shut off the SNS, however, by consciously stimulating the PNS, which triggers a calm, vegetative state, optimizes our gastrointestinal tract for digestion, and allows us to sleep. [...]

The Teiresias episode at the center of Odysseus' story reflects the ancient practice of resurrecting the dead by means of hero ceremony. These necromantic rituals often included not only a sacrifice meal, attracting the spirits with food offerings, but "incubation," the appearance of the spirits during the celebrants' sleep. In these festivities, heroic songs would have shortened the hours between eating and sleeping. There can be no conclusive proof as to the original, historical context of the Homeric songs, but their hypnotic cadence, repetitive phrasing, and surrealistic presentation of action suggest that Homer knew and borrowed parasympathetic techniques used in the incubation of heroes. Odysseus' story puts its audience to sleep.

meager1 said:
So, perhaps the whole key to understanding the Odyssey is in understanding the conflicts both inner and outer, since it seems that this was a transition period, having to do with multiple wars, on several levels, as well?

So yes it seems like it is immensely complicated, mainly because of our linear view I guess, apparently homer tried to show that everything is connected, even if it is beyond the sight of us mere mortals and some heroes knew it, like achilles and hecktor and that is why when they met in battle Hektor was already a defeated man - he knew it deep down, and achilles knew he wouldn't make it back home, he had a choice, to die as a hero, where his name would live forever(immortalised) or to go home and die as no one...

The Achaeans are willing to fight this difficult war for a decade because they know that the outcome will be defeat of the Trojans. They know the story in advance from Kalkhas. Their failure to capture Troy for nine years is not a sign of failure, as it might seem to an outside observer who places no faith in Kalkhas' story.

Not everyone in Homer is an oracle or prophet, of course. Many are fools who can't foresee the catastrophe that fate has in store for them. Some brighter ones who are not all-knowing have clear premonitions, strong feelings or forebodings about what is going to happen.

Even though the Trojans have held off the invaders for nine years, Hektor and Andromache seem to know that the war is going to end with Hektor's death and Andromache's enslavement. Hektor resolves to fight in a hopeless cause so that he will not live to see his wife being taken captive. Hektor seems to know particularly that he will be killed by Achilles. He fears only Achilles. Of course, Achilles is well aware of Hektor's fear, and he seems completely confident that he--and he alone--will kill Hektor.

In today's psycho-jargon we might say that Achilles has "a positive winning attitude," and Hektor has "an unhealthy self-defeating outlook." Achilles has Hektor mentally beaten or "psyched out," as we say. Mental attitude predicts what will happen when the two meet in single combat.

There's more to Homer's view than simple thought-magic, however. No amount of positive thinking by Hektor is going to change the result of the story. The story is real. The story-teller knows how it's all going to turn out, after all. It always ends with the same result, so there's only one correct way to imagine it. While Hektor wins glory on the battlefield, and he begins to think that he's invincible, Homer portrays him as deluded, rash and lacking in judgment. Hektor is destined to lose. When he accepts his proper place in the story, as a good loser, he's presented as a hero; when he "forgets" it, he's an idiot.

Stories that don't come true can be annoying, or even disastrous when we rely on them, but magic stories can be more than a little disturbing, too. The pre-existence of stories that will come true appears to deny the idea of human freedom or free will. Why can't Oedipus and his parents escape from their story? Why should the Argives have to fight for ten years before Troy will fall? Why must Hektor lose? Who or what is authoring these inevitable, painful stories?

Anyways, it goes on and on, explaining things from a new point of view, atleast for me.

I think the most important thing here is the very beginning, the power of magic and cult-making, think modern pop culture!!

This hypnotic power of entertainment exists in all attractive art. The spell can outlast the first impression and become addictive. This power produces a wakeful child's demand before bedtime to hear a well-known story repeated, again and again, or a stressed-out teen's mania to replay the same favorite songs, over and over into the darkest hours of the night.

What use is entertainment? It helps to regulate our bodies by unwinding our autonomic nervous system (ANS), a peculiarly human neural network that both increases and decreases stress. The stress-increasing half of the ANS (the sympathetic nervous system) starts our emergency pumps in a fight or other dangerous situation, or whenever we need increased blood pressure for immediate muscle power. However, this basic animal machinery can be harmful to creatures who think. Our pumps tend to stick in the "on" position due to imagined dangers, even though there's no present emergency or immediate need for heightened blood flow. Excess stress leads to sleeplessness and irritability, and it can cause heart attack and a variety of dangerous conditions, including inability to digest food and other problems of the gastrointestinal tract, such as ulcers. We switch the stress "off" only by stimulating the stress-reducing half of the ANS (the parasympathetic nervous system). Our conscious minds can flip this switch. All we have to do is stop worrying.

Like sleeping pills, narcotics, Zen, yoga, bathing, massage, prayer and meditation, literature and other fine arts are tools for shifting into the relaxed parasympathetic state, temporarily. It's no accident that literature tends to flourish in high-stress settings, such as the seats of empires (imperial Athens, Alexandria, Rome, Castile, Versailles, London, etc.), often when the military or economic forecast looks threatening. It's well known that recession, depression and war are good for Hollywood movie ticket sales--and especially when the film makers produce light-hearted, upbeat or fantasy films. [...]

When we are under the hypnotic power of entertainment, our guard is down, and we are suggestible. Art goes not only to our hearts and stomachs but to our foolish heads, which naturally are biased to believe whatever they see or hear. Literature's instructional power implants thoughts, attitudes and opinions in us, scripts our fashions and beliefs, and often manages our behavior by the book. [...]

So there are serious side-effects to literature, as there are side-effects to narcotics, sleeping pills and other cures for sleeplessness. The consequences are not only personal. When their art influences substantial numbers of people, artists concoct culture, or like-mindedness among the individuals who have received the instruction. The so-called religions of the book are all examples. This physical brain-building, memory-making power to addict individuals and to infect large audiences gives literature its academic standing as a subject worthy of study.

Seriously, this is interesting stuff. I am beyond fascinated.
 

Meager1

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FOTCM Member
Centuries of chaotic violence preceded Homer. This troubled time, the Helladic Dark Ages (cir. 1150 - 800 B.C.), appears to have been ruled by marauding hordes of pirate-raiders like Achilles, Odysseus and the other city-sacking Achaeans described in the Homeric songs. Throughout this long reign of terror, except for occasional visits by squatters, cities in the Greek-speaking world were abandoned. Their former settlers, like Homer's Trojans, had been slaughtered or carried off into slavery, or they had fled into hiding in remote places like mountainous Arcadia and the island of Cyprus where the old ways were pastoralized (as I argue in Lesson 10 preserved on diphtherā, cattle hides).




And so, doesn`t it make sense that this would have created entire cultures suffering a form of P.T.S.D, stunned and struggling to understand a world gone mad externally, and at the same time trying to ratify the internal, or come to terms with the "concepts" of gods and goddesses and why their particular favored One, had lost the battle and left them in the current state.
"Faith" on all sides, and all around, must have been shaken to the core. Many times.

It seems that the language in use at that time and the propensity to substitute an animal symbol for that of a human, or humans, was a common knowledge and everyone understood it.
Of course the way I`m understanding this, may be totally nonsensical, and the comparisons I`m making are only made, because these are the ones I know best and so have used here, though they do seem to hold a little weight, along side this sort of mythology/symbolism.

For instance, compare the symbology in the creation myth of the Algonquins;

The whole earth was submerged,( a water symbol often indicated the flow of time, or conflict as in war) but a few persons survived.
They had (taken refuge) on the back of a turtle, who had reached so (great an age) that his shell was mossy, like the bank of a rivulet. ( this probably indicates the remnant of an ancient civilization) In this (forlorn condition) a loon flew that way, which they asked to dive and bring up land.
He complied, but found no bottom.
Then he (flew far away), and returned with a small quantity of earth in his bill.
Guided by him, (the turtle swam to the place), where a spot of dry land was found.
There the survivors settled and (re-peopled the land) this clearly indicates that a new civilization was formed out of an old, or in an old place. The new,"Turtle island".

So, this is more a tale of relocation and reconstruction than a "creation myth."

The Loon of course is a "clan symbol" or the representation of a particular people or tribe.

It seems that this Loon clan/tribe, was sent out to find "new land" for the people of the old turtle (island) who were seeking an escape from, and or, a new direction/growth or freedom from oppression or "submersion" in a thing that required escape.
The Loon in fact, famous for his "forlorn cry" is one of the first "creatures" mentioned in the oldest Abenaki Gluscap( culture hero) stories!
In relation to all this, ancient images of Athena standing with one foot on a turtle, and the fact that the Aegean "turtle" coin, was the first hard money ever minted, may be complete coincidence, though much other native symbolism is clearly indicative of an ancient "goddess worship" underlying the whole.

Long straight hair,( or woman's hair) as a symbol of thought process, indicating "long and straight thinking" while short or curly hair, indicative of short thought,or crooked thinking, also cutting off of hair, no thought, just internal pain, all bad feeling and self absorbed and no one would seek the council of such a person , in such a state for obvious reasons.
Braided hair, was to show a joining or combination of two or more tribal cultures, into one.

Everything had a meaning and a symbol for it. And I don`t know if it`s the case or not, but it seems to me that the whole underlying meaning of everything, is in a spiritual sense, and all of the oldest symbols are for great inner struggles, more then for any outer ones.
In other words people survive just about anything,as history shows, but how they survive and what they become, is truly what the real battle is all about!

So, could the underlying meaning of sacrificing a bull for instance, have been symbolic of attempting to kill a male principle? Or the sacrifice of a gentle animal, a feminine one? The killing of Zeus's cattle, was the actual killing of his "men"?

Which just seems to make more sense to me anyway, then a actual blood and guts sacrifice of an animal, would make otherwise.
In the real world even today no one draws pictures of cows on their walls to glorify the death of the animal for food. But we do still think of the bull in a china shop allegory, as unrestrained destruction, or a bull as a dumb brute force, just as an example.
 

Laura

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luke wilson said:
Well I have found some writings that say the greeks were hugely fascinated by suffering, even abit more than glory;

_http://englishare.net/literature/POL-HS-Voyage-of-Odysseus.htm

Far back before Heracles and all remembered stories there was Paleolithic cave painting, dating from as early as 30,000 BC in Europe. These earliest surviving works of western art typically are concerned with the hunt--and not with the hunters but with the hunted. They are images of victims. Why? The stone age tradeoff with the animal victim was that, in exchange for its meat, hide and bone, it was immortalized by humankind in art. The pictures were painted in underworld galleries where the dead animals could see that people are trustworthy and do nice work. [...]

Painting preceded writing in Europe by tens of thousands of years, but the literate Hellenes' arrangement with their heroes was essentially the same deal as the Paleolithic compact with wild animals. Like the food animal, the hero gives up the world of sunshine but receives in exchange an immortal fame, a presentation in art that the living will see or hear forever. Though some of the magic has gone out of it, this same aesthetic bargain still exists today, as can be seen in countless public memorials to the war dead and religious shrines of the martyrs.

Fairly ignorant, I think. It is now known that the paleolithic hunters weren't eating the animals that they were painting and weren't painting the animals they were hunting/eating.
 

luke wilson

The Living Force
Laura said:
luke wilson said:
Well I have found some writings that say the greeks were hugely fascinated by suffering, even abit more than glory;

_http://englishare.net/literature/POL-HS-Voyage-of-Odysseus.htm

Far back before Heracles and all remembered stories there was Paleolithic cave painting, dating from as early as 30,000 BC in Europe. These earliest surviving works of western art typically are concerned with the hunt--and not with the hunters but with the hunted. They are images of victims. Why? The stone age tradeoff with the animal victim was that, in exchange for its meat, hide and bone, it was immortalized by humankind in art. The pictures were painted in underworld galleries where the dead animals could see that people are trustworthy and do nice work. [...]

Painting preceded writing in Europe by tens of thousands of years, but the literate Hellenes' arrangement with their heroes was essentially the same deal as the Paleolithic compact with wild animals. Like the food animal, the hero gives up the world of sunshine but receives in exchange an immortal fame, a presentation in art that the living will see or hear forever. Though some of the magic has gone out of it, this same aesthetic bargain still exists today, as can be seen in countless public memorials to the war dead and religious shrines of the martyrs.

Fairly ignorant, I think. It is now known that the paleolithic hunters weren't eating the animals that they were painting and weren't painting the animals they were hunting/eating.

Oh this is news to me, what were the paintings for?

Only source I have is the internet...

_http://arthistory.about.com/cs/arthistory10one/a/paleolithic.htm
What are the key characteristics of Paleolithic art?

It seems a bit flippant to try to characterize the art from a period that encompasses most of human history (however helpful one is attempting to be). Paleolithic art is intricately bound to anthropological and archaeological studies that professionals have devoted entire lives toward researching and compiling. The truly curious should head in those directions. That said, to make some sweeping generalizations, Paleolithic art:

* Concerned itself with either food (hunting scenes, animal carvings) or fertility (Venus figurines). Its predominant theme was animals.

* Is considered to be an attempt, by Stone Age peoples, to gain some sort of control over their environment, whether by magic or ritual.

* Represents a giant leap in human cognition: abstract thinking.

_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_painting
The purpose of the paleolithic cave paintings is not known. The evidence suggests that they were not merely decorations of living areas, since the caves in which they have been found do not have signs of ongoing habitation. Also, they are often in areas of caves that are not easily accessed. Some theories hold that they may have been a way of communicating with others, while other theories ascribe them a religious or ceremonial purpose.


_http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/sciencetech/what-the-lascaux-cave-paintings-tell-us-about-how-our-ancestors-understood-the-stars/15506

What do these great paintings tell us? Aurochs and other large animals portrayed in Paleolithic cave art were often hunted for food. The act of painting them in a sacred cave has often been interpreted as an important element in a ritual that invoked sympathetic hunting magic. The act of a painting the animal sends a message to its spirit, that great respect is intended and that only those individuals essential for tribal survival will be hunted and killed.

[Edit: Reading more links and they pretty much say the same thing but I know consesus doesn't mean it is right, maybe I am not typing the right search words that is coming up with the right information, some say some of the paintings themselves show the hunt, animals that are being hunted]
 

Approaching Infinity

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luke wilson said:
Oh this is news to me, what were the paintings for?

You may want to check out some of the following works: David Lewis Williams' work (Mind in the Cave), Tom Cowan's Fire in the Head, and Robert Ryan's The Strong Eye of Shamanism. They all deal with the issue to one degree or another. Basically, the cave paintings are evidence of shamanism, but there's a lot more to it than that.
 

Laura

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Approaching Infinity said:
luke wilson said:
Oh this is news to me, what were the paintings for?

You may want to check out some of the following works: David Lewis Williams' work (Mind in the Cave), Tom Cowan's Fire in the Head, and Robert Ryan's The Strong Eye of Shamanism. They all deal with the issue to one degree or another. Basically, the cave paintings are evidence of shamanism, but there's a lot more to it than that.

Also some archaeological texts where it is discussed that what the cave painters were eating (based on the hard evidence, not speculation) was mostly deer or reindeer.
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
As an aside from all the heavy stuff and to show the story itself is still very much alive and kicking - from _http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2011/10/childrens_book_week_opens_with.php and _http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2011/10/dissus_the_story_of_odysseuss.php (with minor edits for clarity):
Dissus, the story of Odysseus's youth, wins children's book award

Children's book week opens with prize presentation

The 57th children's book week opens on Tuesday evening with a ball in the Muziektheater in Amsterdam, where the winner of the children's literature prize the Gouden Griffel (golden pencil) will be announced.

The winner of this year's Gouden Griffel (golden pencil) award for the best Dutch-language children's book is Simon van der Geest for Dissus.

The award was made at the traditional Children's Book Ball which kicks off a special week of activities devoted to children's books. The theme this year is superheroes.

Dissus is the story of Greek hero Odysseus's childhood in a small village and has been praised for its use of language.

During the ten-day event, hundreds of book shops, schools and libraries will hold special events connected with this year's theme Super heroes: dare to be brave.

Sector organisation CPNB says children's books sell well, with one in five books bought by or for children.

Some review quotes from (Dutch only) _http://www.leesfeest.nl/node/1769 and _http://www.queridokinderenjeugdboeken.nl/web/Boek/9789045110820_Dissus.htm (Bing translation with minor edits):

Just a bit more beautiful

The story of Odysseus, that Homer wrote around 800 BC, is now recounted by Simon van der Geest in ' Dissus '. Homer wrote the ' Odyssey ' in poetic form. At the time this was very common practice, but nowadays almost no one does that anymore. It is therefore courageous that Van der Geest has chosen for this same manner of telling the story. We are not so accustomed to this style anymore, but if you get a taste for it, you can read it as often as you want ... it never will get boring!

' Dissus ' is about the adventurous journey of a boy and his friends. They are on the run for boys with whom they fought in the pool. On the journey home, which is a really long journey because they get hopelessly lost, they experience all kinds of adventures. Unfortunately, they also lose a few friends on the road, like the real Odysseus did.

While describing this trip home Simon van der Geest follows largely the story of Homer. The one-eyed farmer is reminiscent of the Cyclops whom Odysseus encountered. Odysseus escaped the song of the sirens by filling the ears of his crew with wax and with himself bound to the mast of the ship; Dissus has himself bound on a bike behind his best friend Job.
[...]
If you're interested in the classical literature and/or have no trouble with this peculiar writing style, then you have with this book a real jewel in your hands. The ' Odyssey ' was already wonderful, but Simon van der Geest has retold the story in yet again some nicer words.
[...]
A modern epic, masterfully written down in a natural language full of alliteration and rhyme and melodious with a pleasant rhythmic drive. Humorously Simon van der Geest adapts elements from the Odyssey into an actualized tale.
[...]
It rather has been quite some time since I read such adventurous youth poetry. That is not only due to the inventive way Van der Geest has processed the epos of Homer, but also due to the playful use of language, to the refreshing imagery, to the well thought-out structure and last but not least to the bright drawings of Jan Jutte.
[...]
An accessible introduction to the Greek mythology without any weakening of the profundity and the philosophy. The author is not on the squat and makes no postmodern fairy tale out of it. Van der Geest turns out to be a master with language on the square inch in his miniatures.
[...]
Dissus ' adventure is described in beautiful, humorous and occasionally tough language and in a smooth style, which shows the craftsmanship of Van der Geest. Seemingly nonchalant he processes alliterations, internal rhyme and rhythmic repetitions into good running narrative verses, which appear to be almost musical. Who reads Dissus, dances to the rhythm of the language. Dissus is a beautifully layered story, with effective feelings and virtuoso language. A classic story in a daring new jacket well cut.

Maybe that's the way to go with this story for new generations?
 

luke wilson

The Living Force
I have been debating with myself whether I should post more on this thread since I don't really have a strong foothold in this subject area. So this might be completely wrong and it's not mine but someone else's who according tomy subjective opinion is very convincing in his arguments...

Basically I have been reading more of the same website and his explanation of the odyssey borders on preposterous that it is actually quite captivating. According to him the illiad and odyssey are mirrors of each other in many different ways like for example, the illiad is about people going to there death whilst odyssey is about death coming to people. However, he puts it interms of possession where the heroes are possessed, as in compelled to act by a spirit. He further argues that this can remove the burden of guilt where violent/disturbing action can be blamed on something else other than the perpetrator. So for example achilles in his killing of hecktor is possessed and thus justified since heckor killed his close comrade but in his mania he goes overboard and acts as an animal - before this achilles did not want to fight because he was possessed with his anger towards agamemnon, likewise odysseus kills all the suitors and maids possessed by something else but this is where it gets really interesting in the writers interpretation. Which I add might be completely wrong but is still rather fascinating. Basically he ascribes the murderous acts in the palace of odysseus not to him but to his son, who has been possessed by the spirit of his father. His son was weak, to weak to fight for himself and so he needed this inorder to protect his kingdom and mother who he was quite possessive off ordering her about etc, the maids who slept with the suitors to him represented bitter betrayal and so had to die. Anyways the writer makes his case..

Some excerpt

With its dream-like form, and recurring interest in "noos" or mind, the Odyssey portrays an inner world of thought that differs in obvious ways from the outer world of action in the Iliad. The spirit-world and flesh-world appear so unlike one another that many readers have wondered whether the same "Homer" could have composed both.

When Achilles avenges Patroklos in the Iliad, Patroklos remains a shadowy ghost in the background of the physical action that he motivates. When Telemakhos avenges Odysseus in the Odyssey, however, the avenging spirit is brought into focus so sharply that we hardly see the physical acts of the murderer Telemakhos at all. Achilles and Telemakhos are both cases of daemonic possession, but this heroic insanity is presented objectively from the outside in Achilles, and subjectively from the inside in Telemakhos. We see the differing points of view in, for example, the primary targets of revenge: Hektor is characterized objectively as flesh and blood, with a family and his own personal hopes and fears, but Antinoos ("anti-mind") is an abstraction, an illusory figure seen almost entirely though the biased judgment of an angry rival.

The Homeric songs borrow this external/internal dualism from hero religion where the two opposed but inter-connected states, outer and inner, are labeled "living" and "dead." In this scheme, the living are present in the physical world of bodies, but they are weak-minded creatures who are not in control of their own behavior. Control resides in the heroic dead; they are the compelling spirits, motivations or drives, the forces or powers that animate behavior of the living. Warriors are driven by revenge for their dead comrades; children are directed toward adulthood by their haunting, dead parent. The dead are present in consciousness.

Before reading, I didn't know Homer is actually someone who is unknown and no one has any real idea about who or what he was, let alone if he was one person. They think he lived around 850 BCE, the events he speaks off are believed to have occured centuries before. If no writing to communicate things to the future, how did he know about things like the trojan war - fall of troy speculated to be about 1200BC? The illiad/odyssey were meant to be oral/songs to be performed since writing was yet to be invented during his time so the whole poems had to be memorised, that is over 30,000 lines combined and it was like this for acouple of centuries...!!! Anyways, I was reading the book 'seth speaks' yesterday and he mentions this group of people called 'SPEAKERS.' I wonder if this poems are a left-over from them or if homer was one?

seth speaks said:
The methods, the secret methods behind all of the religions, were meant to lead man into a realm of understanding that existed apart from the symbols and the stories, into inner realizations that would take him both within and without the physical world that he knew. There are many manuscripts still not discovered, from old monasteries par-ticularly in Spain, that tell of underground groups within religious orders who kept these secrets alive when other monks were copying old Latin manuscripts.
There were tribes who never learned to write in Africa and Australia who also knew these secrets, and men called "Speakers" who memorized them and spread them upward, even throughout northern portions of Europe, before the time of Christ.
Offhand, the work involved could take five years, for there were several versions, and a group of leaders, each going in different directions, who taught their people. The world was far more ripe for Christianity than people suppose, because of these groups. The ideas were "buried" already throughout Europe.
Many important concepts were lost, however. The emphasis was on practical methods of living - quite simply - rules that could be understood, but the reasons for them were forgotten.
The Druids obtained some of their concepts from Speakers. So did the Egyptians. The Speakers predated the emergence of any religions that you know, and the religions of the Speakers arose spontaneously in many scattered areas, then grew like wildfire from the heart of Africa and Australia. There was one separate group in an area where the Aztecs dwelled at a later date, though the land mass was somewhat different then,
and some of the lower cave dwellings at times were under water.
Various bands of the Speakers continued through the centuries. Because they were trained so well, the messages retained their authenticity. They believed, however, that it was wrong to set words into written form, and so did not record them. They also used natural earth symbols, but clearly understood the reasons for this. The Speakers, singly, existed in your Stone Age period, and were leaders. Their abilities helped the cavemen survive. There was little physical communication, however, in those days between the various Speakers, and some were unaware of the existence of the others.
Their message was as "pure" and undistorted as possible. It was for this reason however, through the centuries, that many who heard it translated it into parables and tales. Now, strong portions of Jewish scriptures carry traces of the message of these early Speakers, but even here, distortions have hidden the messages.
 
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