The Odyssey - Manual of Secret Teachings?

luke wilson

The Living Force
Last comment,

He says the tradition here is something quite common, actually everybody knows it but doesnt understand the implications.

It is 're-presenting' the past. Like a book on robin hood looks to 're-present' the dead robin hood into the present time so that he can inform us on how to act etc. Same as the chivalrous knights who clearly don't exist now but only in literature or art. That is a form of 're-presenting' the past so that we in the 'present' can be better informed. You know, that the past is always available to the present. Something along those lines but as with everything modern, distortions and lies abound! By doing this you can form a cult, which then translates into a culture... You know, like american culture which revolves around the civil war and war of independence which happens every year, the day when they celebrate those that died - the heroes etc...

"Culture" begins with cult, or group worship, but there had been many cults among the Greek-speaking peoples, dividing the separate communities.

Polytheism (the worship of many gods) in the Hellenic case seems to have been an attempt to build a larger, more unified society--as we would call it in America today, a multi-culture. Poets played a leading role in uniting the states. Homer, Hesiod and their peers merged the separate gods and goddesses into a single, grand mythological framework. Their songs helped to invent the Hellenic group identity, much as the books of Moses established a unified cultural framework for a collection of disparate tribes through stories of a shared, divinely inspired past.

Local ancestors or ghosts, known as "heroes," were as important as the gods for the development of literature and religion. All over the Hellenic world, hero cults gathered on feast days at local tombs or memorials, usually in burial groves or gardens outside of town, not to commemorate the past but to meet the ghosts! The dead, when properly buried, were believed to remain present in the ground, where they were responsible for local fertility, including the reproduction of plants from the soil. (Hence "cult" is the root word in "cultivation" and "agriculture." If I farm the land where my ancestors are buried, they are feeding me, so I encourage them to continue being kind to me by singing their praises and giving them some of the food.)

This is fascinating stuff... It makes so much sense!!
 

Buddy

The Living Force
I think you brought up some interesting points, luke. I've crossed paths with the texts of several writers whose theorizing on consciousness sounds persuasive. The concept of the "mythological consciousness" feels the most real and satisfying. For instance, the 'hospitality' concept brought to light in this thread represents a direct translation from the realm of the mythological consciousness state to the realm of practical life.

According to Erich Neumann, Ernst Cassirer (The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, trans. Manheim, Vol. II, pp. 94ff) has shown that in the different stages of mythological consciousness the first thing to be discovered is subjective reality, the formation of ego and individuality. The beginning of this development, mythologically regarded as the beginning of the world, is the coming of light, without which no world process could be seen at all.

As an aside, I've never heard of the "speakers" before, but judging by the excerpt, it seems their activities would be consistent with those of a 'conscious circle of humanity' taking on the responsibility to preserve truths from distortion and permanent loss. Perhaps even embedding them here and there until time and circumstance makes them visible to those who can benefit from them?
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
luke wilson said:
Last comment,

He says the tradition here is something quite common, actually everybody knows it but doesnt understand the implications.

It is 're-presenting' the past. Like a book on robin hood looks to 're-present' the dead robin hood into the present time so that he can inform us on how to act etc. Same as the chivalrous knights who clearly don't exist now but only in literature or art. That is a form of 're-presenting' the past so that we in the 'present' can be better informed.


Joseph Campbell had some interesting things to say about mythology and its role in regular life. For him, mythology provides clues towards the spiritual dimensions of life and helps people in putting life experiences in a much larger symbolic context. Carl Jung and his followers pretty much say similar things when they talk about mythological archetypes playing out a cosmic drama through us. Since the working hypothesis is that we live in a symbolic universe, mythology helps us understand and interpret the language with which the universe could be speaking to us individually and collectively. It is indeed a powerful subject.

Also, as Louden has shown in his treatment of Odyssey, mythological motifs form a sort of skeleton which gets expressed in different ways in different cultures by drawing parallels between Odyssey, Old Testament and older Mesopotemian, Egyptian and Sumerian myths. The deeper symbolic meanings are preserved while dressing up the message in different garbs. The hospitality myth and theoxeny for example is deeply embedded in many far eastern cultures. There is a saying in Sanskrit which translates to "Guest is God" and this is still taken quite seriously by common people and practiced with earnestness in those societies. Mostly people may not even be intellectually aware of the hospitality myth but practice it as a form of tradition - the way things are done in those cultures.
 

luke wilson

The Living Force
bud said:
As an aside, I've never heard of the "speakers" before, but judging by the excerpt, it seems their activities would be consistent with those of a 'conscious circle of humanity' taking on the responsibility to preserve truths from distortion and permanent loss. Perhaps even embedding them here and there until time and circumstance makes them visible to those who can benefit from them?

Well the way they are described definately puts them in this light but the way they work is not exactly easy to understand but he gives the description and it sorts of make sense, since I guess at that level things are different from our normal sleeping level. He says the christ entity is just one of the speakers. Even his explanation of this entity is quite intriguing and actually is quite in line with what the Cs have said but he gives a slightly different viewpoint - for one, it is a single unified entity but it can re-incarnate as different personalities for different work purposes and has done this for a long period of time. Sometimes it is recognised, other times it goes completely un-recognised. During jesus time, there was 3. The first was john the baptist, then jesus and then paul/saul according to seth. Anyways quite intriguing and from what I have read about there being a sort of conscious group that has operated through out our time makes it not sound so far fetched. Further his description of this times is quite phenomenal since he describes other personalities aswell, deluded men, men with great power but who lost themselves, like the Cs he says jesus wasn't crucified, but there was a crucifiction and the guy truly thought he was JESUS - what kind of madness makes someone think he is something he isnt to the point of accepting death this way. Well, he talks about it aswell.

From what he says about speakers in general, one can get the impression of mythology, what bud has referred to as mythological consciousness and our reality...

seth speaks said:
The Speakers were the first to impress this inner knowledge upon the physical system, to make it physically known. Sometimes only one or two Speakers were alive in several centuries. Sometimes there were many. They looked around them and knew that the world sprang from their interior reality. They told others. They knew that the seemingly solid natural objects about them were composed of many minute consciousnesses.
They realized that from their own creativity they formed idea into matter, and that the stuff of matter was itself conscious and alive. They were intimately familiar with the natural rapport existing between themselves and their environment, therefore, and knew that they could alter their environment through their own acts.
Generally speaking, once a Speaker always a speaker, in your terms. In some incarnations, the abilities might be used so powerfully that all other aspects of the personality remained in the background. At other times the capacities might be timidly used. The Speakers possess an extraordinary vividness of feeling and thought pro-jection.
They can impress others with greater import through their communications. They can move from inner to outer reality with easy ability. They know instinctively how to use symbolism. They are highly creative on an unconscious level, constantly forming psychic frameworks beneath normal consciousness that can be used both by themselves and others in dream and trance states. They often appear to others in the dream condition, and they help dreamers in the manipulation of inner reality. They form images with which the dreamers can relate, images that can be used as bridges and then as gateways into kinds of consciousness more separated from your own.
The symbolism of the gods, the idea of the gods on Olympus, for example, the crossing-over point at the River Styx - that kind of phenomenon was originated by the Speakers. The symbolisms and frameworks of religion, therefore, had to exist not only in the physical world but also in the unconscious one. Outside of your own framework,
houses as such or dwellings as such are not needed, and yet in trance encounters or dream encounters with other realities, such structures are frequently seen. They are transformations of data into terms that will be meaningful to you.

:offtopic:

His description of sleep is beyond intriguing aswell. Not only does he confim what the Cs say about sleep being a rejuvenation for the sexual centre but he goes further and actually says it is one of the most mis-understood things ever and it is true - scientists have problems figuring out sleep and its evolutionary importance since whilst asleep one is defenseless and clearly open to predatorship. He even talks about sleep cycles, that how we do it now is not the most optimum. That consciousness doesn't shine with the same brightness at all times during when we are awake. Ideally for him, sleep should be broken down into parts, one slightly big one, like 4 hours, followed by either 1 or 2 small ones like 2hrs each or 3 hours for maximum efficiency depending on the person.

Also not to mention he talks about other civilisations other than atlantis in great detail, talks about civilisations of human beings who got so advanced that they moved planets and to them planet earth is the ancestral home which again given anomalies in archeology(suppressed beyond belief since they don't fit the accepted timeline) some which show that humans might have even walked with dinosaurs makes it less far-fetched an idea.
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
luke wilson said:
seth speaks said:
The Speakers were the first to impress this inner knowledge upon the physical system, to make it physically known. Sometimes only one or two Speakers were alive in several centuries. Sometimes there were many.

Hi Luke,
Is the site you are referring to drawing on the Seth Material which was channeled by Jane Roberts? If so, then you can do a search for this in the forum and it will bring up quite a few references - this thread for example.

luke wilson said:
seth speaks said:
They looked around them and knew that the world sprang from their interior reality. They told others. They knew that the seemingly solid natural objects about them were composed of many minute consciousnesses.They realized that from their own creativity they formed idea into matter, and that the stuff of matter was itself conscious and alive. They were intimately familiar with the natural rapport existing between themselves and their environment, therefore, and knew that they could alter their environment through their own acts.
Generally speaking, once a Speaker always a speaker, in your terms. In some incarnations, the abilities might be used so powerfully that all other aspects of the personality remained in the background. At other times the capacities might be timidly used. The Speakers possess an extraordinary vividness of feeling and thought pro-jection.
They can impress others with greater import through their communications. They can move from inner to outer reality with easy ability. They know instinctively how to use symbolism. They are highly creative on an unconscious level, constantly forming psychic frameworks beneath normal consciousness that can be used both by themselves and others in dream and trance states. They often appear to others in the dream condition, and they help dreamers in the manipulation of inner reality. They form images with which the dreamers can relate, images that can be used as bridges and then as gateways into kinds of consciousness more separated from your own.
.......

This person seems to speak very authoritatively about the purported abilities of the so-called speakers. Gurdjieff commented that a man can only see at his own level. If we take the G statement to be true, then it implies the author of the website is somewhat at par with the "speakers". Perhaps taking a pause and reading what is written with a critical mindset would help

[quote author=luke wilson]
:offtopic:
[/quote]

Yes that is true.

[quote author=luke wilson]
His description of sleep is beyond intriguing aswell. Not only does he confim what the Cs say about sleep being a rejuvenation for the sexual centre
[/quote]
I think the C's said that during sleep, a souled being gets recharged through the sexual center which is in contact with the higher creative energies.

[quote author=luke wilson]
but he goes further and actually says it is one of the most mis-understood things ever and it is true - scientists have problems figuring out sleep and its evolutionary importance since whilst asleep one is defenseless and clearly open to predatorship. He even talks about sleep cycles, that how we do it now is not the most optimum. That consciousness doesn't shine with the same brightness at all times during when we are awake.
[/quote]
Well, based on 4th Way teachings, human beings are asleep; a look around the world - which includes our own selves - would reveal that most of the times we have little consciousness that can "shine brightly".

In general, the quotes you have provided sound new-agey - osit. If you wish to read such material and hone your discernment skills, it may be useful to read with a more critical mindset and question what you are reading.

My 2 cents
 

Laurentien2

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
luke wilson said:
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.

In book 10, Circe transform some of Odysseus crew in pigs. Odysseus protected by Mercury force Circe to bring back his men.
When I had said this she went straight through the court with her wand in her hand and opened the pigsty doors. My men came out like so many prime hogs and stood looking at her, but she went about among them and anointed each with a second drug, whereon the bristles that the bad drug had given them fell off, and they became men again, younger than they were before, and much taller and better looking.
Funny as what look like a severe punishment turn out to be beneficial for Odysseus men. Transformed for a day in pigs, rejuvenated them into younger, taller and more beautiful men.

Maybe that is how consciousness grow, suffering like the one we abused and finishing in a men is plate, nature as a funny way to make us learn our lessons is in it. Some pig just don't want to learn is lesson and want revenge again Circe. Yep! it all in the nose.
 

luke wilson

The Living Force
Hey obyvatel,

No the site am speaking off doesn't draw from channeled material - it's amazing how this increases credibility isn't it? That was me when I diverted into speakers. I am new to the seth thing so thanks for the link - i did a search prior and saw it written that seth, Ra and pleadians are the most serious material apart from the Cs but seth is no longer relevant. Out of curiosity I decided to check it out as I have checked out the others..

I found a very interesting article that might explain the witch hunt against Laura and the crew in reference to the trial of socrates in ancient athens - this if from the site I speak off, not seth... Incase you are wondering, it is somewhat on-topic as he expands on the influence of the odyssey and illiad in literature, where

Literary analysis often classifies particular works of literature as either Illiadic or Odyssean.

Philosophers are classified as either Platonists or Aristotelians. The group that follows Plato and the Odyssean way is concerned primarily with an inner realm of thoughts, ideals, words, spirits and abstract things apprehended by mind but not present to the physical senses. The rival camp, following Aristotle and the Iliadic direction, is interested mainly in external reality, bodies, the natural and physical environment, society, and laws or patterns recognizable in observable, objective facts.

Figures of Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), from Raphael's painting, The School of Athens (cir 1509), in the Vatican, Rome..Even when Plato and Aristotle walk side by side, as in Raphael's famous painting The School of Athens (detail shown left), they do not see eye to eye or point in the same direction.

Anyways Socrates never wrote anything down, and as you know he was sentenced to death... This is from the analysis of THE APOLOGY that plato wrote, where socrates tries to explain why his trial is a shambles.. Incase you didn't know, he is getting accused of not being pious enough, corrupting the young of athens - impressionable minds...

Because the city's fortunes aren't measuring up to those of the former glory days, Anytus and the officials are busy restoring the old piety, to win back the god's favor. Their holy work consists of hunting down potentially impious residents and offering them up as human sacrifices to appease the angry spirits. Like the ancient hero rituals, these legal ceremonies are intended to induce good fortune by smoothing things over with the angry spirits. The new twist is that there are no bulls or oxen or goats being offered to the god. There are human scapegoats instead. The heroes now are not dead ancestors, but dispensable people (like strange old Socrates at age 70, an obvious good-for-nothing) who can be killed to make the necessary hero-fertilizer of the rite.

It's not the purpose of Socrates' trial to define "piety," or to examine the nature of human relations with the gods, or to investigate Socrates' particular religious beliefs. Socrates wants his trial to turn on any of these more or less relevant considerations (as a Socratic dialogue might do), but the trial simply doesn't work that way. The whole point of the ceremony is only to affix the label of "impiety" to Socrates, by common agreement among the citizens, so that impiety itself (whatever it is) can be killed off. The idea, as in any witch hunt, is to find fault so that fault can be removed, thereby restoring prosperity to the faithful who have endured so much suffering due to the presence of evil-doers in their midst. Ridding the city of Socrates will make the seas safe once more for pirates, if it so pleases father Zeus to accept the sacrifice.

So sometimes as this shows 'trials' can be fixed from the very beginning especially when dealing with such psychopathic individuals. The writter doesn't mention psychopathic but it is clear to see the hand that is in control in ancient athens here, the last exerpt of this part brought it home. And this are the very same people Laura is dealing with but thank God, unlike socrates who is being made a scapegoat for the whole city, Laura's investigation hasn't reached such a magnitude.

The most interesting point about the "trial" is not its ritual character, which was common in the ancient world (compare the sham "trial" of Jesus), but Plato's portrayal of the the official religious proceedings against Socrates as a political charade. The trial is inside-out, like the characters of Euthyphro and the sophists described earlier. The spirit that ought to direct the proceedings in the court of the high priest (love of God) is only a mask worn for show, while the facts that should be obvious (political ineptitude of the leaders who have destroyed Athenian society) are hidden beneath the disguise.

I thought that was food for thought. Psychopaths anyone??
 

luke wilson

The Living Force
obyvatel said:
we have little consciousness that can "shine brightly"

Omg, i am soooo sorry that is me using bad english. I meant, our ability to focus. That focus doesn't maintain the same strength throughout when we are awake, sometimes it is strong, sometimes it is weak... So a broken up sleep cycle could help fix that. Anyways, I thought it was an interesting idea.. In spain they have siestas and I have read reports that it is quite beneficial..
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
luke wilson said:
Hey obyvatel,

No the site am speaking off doesn't draw from channeled material - it's amazing how this increases credibility isn't it?

I don't think so. Knowing the background of the information often helps in putting things into perspective. But the core assessment of the information contained in the quotes you provided does not change whether it is coming from channeled sources or otherwise.

You seem to be deflecting the point about using your critical and discernment faculties when reading any information. Without such an attitude, you would fall easy prey to disinfo and propaganda of the various shades and forms which are all over the internet. It is your choice though.
 

luke wilson

The Living Force
obyvatel said:
But the core assessment of the information contained in the quotes you provided does not change whether it is coming from channeled sources or otherwise.

Agreed. An interesting point you bring up though, since I have heard multiple debates either way.

obyvatel said:
You seem to be deflecting the point about using your critical and discernment faculties when reading any information. Without such an attitude, you would fall easy prey to disinfo and propaganda of the various shades and forms which are all over the internet.

Agreed.

Can I ask what is the shade/form of propaganda you refer to in this instance? My understanding of reading what others have to say about something else that came from another person who is inturn talking about another person is that one is essentially taking in opinion, such as if I read an analysis of what some writer thinks about what moses means when he says A or what Jesus means when he says B.. I don't know that is my logic so far.
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
luke wilson said:
Can I ask what is the shade/form of propaganda you refer to in this instance?
I have not read the source - only a few quotes that you provided and from that very brief look, my present thinking which I already mentioned is

obyvatel said:
In general, the quotes you have provided sound new-agey - osit.

You could explore the New Age Cointelpro section of the forum to get an idea of how these things work. There are great posts and analysis in that section which went a long way in helping me learn how to analyze such information, looking not for points of general agreement but looking for where it would sound off.

luke wilson said:
My understanding of reading what others have to say about something else that came from another person who is inturn talking about another person is that one is essentially taking in opinion, such as if I read an analysis of what some writer thinks about what moses means when he says A or what Jesus means when he says B.. I don't know that is my logic so far.
See above. Some possible criteria to evaluate information are to see whether one learnt something that is verifiable - preferably through personal experience - or that helps one deal with life situations in a more healthy and externally considerate manner.

The Seth Speak quotes that you shared had someone speak authoritatively about an unknown group of people called speakers who had great knowledge which has largely been lost. The impression is that the author knows about this "secret knowledge" stuff which makes the reader subconsciously place him at the position of a teacher largely because of the authoritative tone. I did not see any evidence of hard research backing up any assertion that was made at least in the quotes you supplied. So from what you presented here, it all seems like a sort of bait to hook the gullible looking for special knowledge.

Has it occurred to you that Laura does research on very similar subjects and publishes her findings with copious research and sources but does not make a big deal about the "lost secret teachings" yet that is what she and the team are actually working on? If you are genuinely interested in historical data and what can be known by scientific methods, you could be reading books like Secret History - but that is just my personal take on this. It is your time and energy and it is your choice how to utilize them.
 

reborn

The Force is Strong With This One
Aloha, All!

I actually still have not yet read *The Odyssey*, as I have been using my reading time to read through Laura's books. However, as it happens, something I recently read in the chapter called "The Tree of Life" in *The Wave: Stripped to the Bone* has brought me back here. This was a reference to archetypal dramas and a suggestion that each of us may be playing out a particular one (or more) at any given point in our life. During some contemplation after reading about that, it occurred to me that I could see how my life -- and probably many others' -- is playing out Odysseus' heroic journey. I guess other archetypes have been playing out in my life as well, but this is the first one that occured to me. I'll share the analogy that I see it having to my own life, and perhaps others will discover it in theirs. Please excuse me if this has already been posted about in this thread; given the abundance of information shared here, I'm sure that I've forgotten some of it ;)

Okay, so from what I've gathered from this thread, Odysseus' journey -- which begins in *The Iliad* -- includes the following elements. (I realize that there were other elements interspersed among these, but these are the ones that are prominent in my memory and my realization of this archetypal drama playing out in my life. I suppose that when I finally read *The Odyssey*, more of those other elements may reflect events in my life as well.)

So, first, I recall that Odysseus was involved in the shipping and trading of metals. For me this symbolizes going out into the world and working a "trade" and earning money ("trading metals"?) to provide for one's basic physical needs.

After that, he is involved in the Trojan War. To me, this symbolizes various "battles" in life in areas such as basic survival, finances, career, and relationships. These battles can be of varying degrees of intensity, and we have wins and losses throughout the "war". As the hero/Odysseus, we finally emerge victorious, leaving that battlefield behind, bringing the treasures we won (lessons learned) with us.

After this edification, the hero is kept from returning home while being detained on Calypso's island. This is a place of illusion and deception, as Calypso's name suggests. This seems to me to represent a time in our lives when we believe in ideals like "The American Dream" and living "happily ever after", and believe that we can control our lives so that they live up to these kinds of ideals. However, at some point, we realize that the idea of being "immortal" in this 3D STS world is just a form of eternal slavery, and we don't want to choose that, so we return to our journey toward our "true home".

Then he/we encounter the suitors, who can be symbolic of the illusions perpetuated in our lives by the Control System which keeps the feminine creativity of our right brain imprisoned and consumes her food and resources, which symbolize her energy. The hero destroys these illusions one by one thereby freeing the feminine right brain so that she can be reunited with the natural masculine left brain in a healthy balance within the Tree of Life which is symbolized by the bed made from a living tree. I can see myself being at the point in the drama when the illusions are starting to be destroyed; it seems to be an ongoing process that is catalyzed by learning and networking with all of you. :)

Symbolically,
Renee
 

3DStudent

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thanks for the analogy reborn. It seems like all these things: the Odyssey, the Work, and the Cass experiment are interlinked. It's like different ways to describe the same experience. And the Odyssey is heavy on the symbolism, which makes it more fun to pick through and contemplate.
 

Zadius Sky

The Living Force
Re: The Odyssey - Manual of Secret Teachings?

Hesper said:
So the break there is to give us a chance to snap out of a dissociative state and to think critically about the story Odysseus has been telling, which is interrupted right at the point that he's recapping his visit with all the Greek heroes and heroines, which serves to make the poem much more conscious, and also puts it at the center of a "mosaic" of Greek thought/stories.
...
Perhaps the characters he meets there are themselves clues to something bigger?

I'd like to add something to this "center of the mosaic" concept as it may or may not be applied.

The Intermezzo invites or provokes listeners to stop for a reflection or thoughts on the story being told. Just before the Intermezzo, there was Catalogue of Women or Heroines as being introduced by Odysseus' mother, Anticlea.

In his article, "Retrospective Prophecy and the Vision in Aeneid 6 and the Book of Revelation" (International Journal of the Classical Tradition, Vol. 16, 2009), Bruce Louden wrote:

Bruce Louden said:
In Odyssey 11, when Odysseus sees his mother, unaware she had died, he tries to embrace her three times in vain. As he wonders if she is an eidolôn (11.213), a phantom Persephone sent, Antikleia replies with a brief account of how the soul, after death, has no substance, but flutters from the body like a dream (11.216-22). Her brief comment is one of Vergil's models for Anchises' much lengthier account of the nature of the soul and reincarnation (Aeneid 6.724-51). Antikleia concludes with the admonition that Odysseus should remember (ισθ') all these things to tell his wife afterwards (11.223-24), the narrative trigger for the Catalogue of Women. In introducing the subsequent parade of mythical heroines, Antikleia becomes Odysseus' otherworldly guide.
...
In Odyssey 11, Odysseus introduces each woman in the Catalogue saying "and then I saw" (11.235, 260, 266, 271, 281, 298, 306, 321, 326), using forms of the same verb Antikleia used when she initiated the vision (εἶδω, ἶσθ'), underscoring the episode's primarily visual nature.

So, Anticlea became an "otherworldly guide" for Odysseus in the Underworld and leading the way to the heroines, who doesn't speak to Odysseus directly but are "spoken for." They are whom Odysseus sees. Within the Catalogue, there is another story to which James Houlihan has referred to as an "alternative Odyssey."

Here's an interesting read on this particular bit from a journal entitled "Incorporating the Other: The Catalogue of Women in Odyssey 11":

James Houlihan said:
1. INTRODUCTION

We know that Penelope reads the Odyssey differently from Telemachus. When Phemius performs an Odyssey where Odysseus is unlikely ever to return home safely -- 'the bitter homecoming of the Achaeans,' nostos lugros (1.326-27) -- , Penelope angrily requests that Phemius perform something less biting, for instance, 'the erga of gods and heroes' (1.338). In one performative speech-act, Telemachus enters manhood by a publicly cancelling his mother's request, sending her off to woman's business (weaving), and declaring that muthos is man's (i.e., his) business and the kratos in his home is, after all, his (1.356-59).1

'Homer' does not report the actual words of the alternative Odyssey, the nostos lugros, which Phemius presents. The other alternative that Phemius might have performed, to satisfy Penelope's reading, also remains in silence. Both alternative Odysseys wait for a Borges to develop them. Or, I should say, wait for the performance moment to evoke them. For obvious reasons, the oral tradition loves false endings, insertion points where stories can be added, alluded to, or passed by. Another, and stranger, alternative Odyssey is at the center of the catalogue of heroines (11.225–332).

2. THE CONTEXT OF THE CATALOGUE

Genres in the hexameter tradition are social, first, and linguistic, second: the social status of speakers determines if, and what kind of, commands they each may give. This helps explain why Odysseus among the Phaeacians does not reveal his name for so long: in the contestation of power in which social hierarchies are arranged according to performed speech-acts (muthoi), Odysseus wishes to remain purely and solely a xeinos whom Zeus protects. As such, no muthos that might deny his request can be addressed to him, and, in fact, the text describes his interchanges with Alcinous as agoreuein. Only when Odysseus has secured his pompe home, having repeatedly proved his worth and trustworthiness in words and deeds, and only when Alcinous finally asks what land he wishes to be sent back to -- then finally Odysseus reveals his name. Until then, he is 'no one.'2

What Odysseus finally gives Alcinous is a muthos (9.16), an authoritative speech-act performance of an extended feat of memory (Books 9 through 12) that doubles as a command ('send me home as promised'). It has a false closure of its own when Odysseus breaks off with the catalogue of heroines, often thought of as an appeal to Arete, leaving his audience 'bewitched' (11.333- 34). Yet in a moment of encoded audience participation, Alcinous requests that Odysseus extend his performance and 'tell of the pyschai of his dead companions . . . even if it takes all night' (11.370-76).

Closure is silence, and perhaps a loss of self. The closure Odysseus wanted to give to his night of storytelling -- the catalogue of heroines -- has a lot to tell us about his process of self-presentation that causes the Phaeacians to find him worthy to be sent home out of Scheria.3

3. FUNEREAL BEAUTY

The Nekuia is, in at least one way, Dantesque: death provides an Archimedean point from which to reflect back on life seen as a completed narrative, capable of sustaining aesthetic and moral meanings. This is true even of the catalogue of heroines where the stories are sometimes abruptly shortened. Yet what do narratives mean in this oral culture?

Unlike the dead heroes who talk directly with Odysseus, the shades of the women are spoken for, silent. Yet because of this restraint and detachment, these stories also draw us into them without the interference of the psychological tension that scintillates in the dialogues between Odysseus and his dead comrades (or whenever men talk, jockeying for status -- not that women don't also jockey for status). The dead women appear as already completed narratives: some punished for being inconveniently pregnant, some deceived by lovers and/or gods, some killed for infidelities, some the mothers of monsters, one the mother of a wonder. But they are always sexual beings.

Directly projected on the screen of memory, these women come from the other side of the ultimate threshold to hover above the sacrificial trough: pale, lovely bodies revived, for a moment, by dark blood, charged with the pathos of loving and dying. A funereal beauty subverts any easy reading-off of the catalogue as simply patriarchal -- or as a later addition.4

We have become accustomed to seeing a complementarity between 'Homeric' male and female (at least ideally and in the major characters) in the 'reverse similes' of Foley and the 'coming into phase' of Austin.5 In these brilliant critical works, there is often an assumed totality which gender roles, taken together, constitute. Yet what strikes me most about the catalogue of heroines is that the experience of these women -- put in relief by their being dead -- is other to the Odyssey as we have it, even if the Odyssey momentarily incorporates this otherness.

Let me offer a contrast. Eros in Archaic lyric poetry resolves the problem of the other by discovering the boundaries of a self in the very act of discovering those boundaries invaded by eros. Ann Carson, relying on Snell, relates the invention of Greek writing, based on articulating edges, to the establishment of psychic boundaries in the lyric poets.6 But in hexameter poetry, this is not the case. In the way of oral cultures, Odysseus is more permeable to experience, not having been trained to see and write but rather to hear and remember. Not the spatial qualities of the eye, but the temporal continuities of the ear -- and memory -- are what matter.

Anthropologists have taught us that every culture creates identity 'locally,' in ways peculiar to time, place, and beliefs.7 I want to suggest that the self in the Odyssey is not identified by boundary anxieties of the later literary world. Yet it is very much subjected to agonistic pressures of contested authority. Odysseus is permeable and inclusive, glorifiable by making himself remembered as one who has incorporated great stories, links to the ancestors, traces of eschatology. Odysseus wins from the Phaeacians the authority he needs by becoming the neiges d'antan he recalls.

4. THE STRUCTURE OF THE CATALOGUE

The catalogue is structured in a ring, ABA', around the problem of eros -- always a problem of self and other. The A sections are about disintegrative eros, the vulnerability of women to violence, divine punishment and madness (with Furies), and post-golden- age disharmony between mortals and gods. The central B section is about the eros of Pero, successfully integrated into society -- as that of Odysseus and Penelope ultimately is.8

Even digitally this chart may still convey a visual sense to my reading/hearing of the catalogue. (Roman numerals indicate the groupings in pairs as the text delineates them. Note the catalogue ends with a pair of trios. Parentheses indicate gods who do not couple with heroines but intervene dramatically in their lives or a character not expressed by name but clearly implied.) gunaikes + Aristoi / THEOI > paides

A

A I

Tyro + POSEIDON > twin sons

Antiope + ZEUS > twin sons

A II

Alcmene + (ZEUS) > Herakles

Megara + Herakles

A III

Epicaste + Oedipus ('GODS') > three sons

Oedipus Chloris + Neleus > three sons

B

(MELAMPUS) + PERO

A'

A' I

Leda + ZEUS > twin sons

Iphimedia + POSEIDON > twin sons

A' II

Phaedra Procris Ariadne + Theseus (ARTEMIS & DIONYSUS)

A' III

Maera Clymene Eriphyle

My first assumption, which I hope the reading below confirms, is that the oral poet, from the beginning of the catalogue, is looking to its center, the narrative impulse around which all the funeral beauty crystallizes in performance. My second assumption, given that 'Homer' is for us a written text, is that literary analysis can neither be privileged nor jettisoned.

A I

Tyro is raped by Poseidon impersonating Enipeus whom Tyro actually desires. Her love incites in her an idyllic wandering with a touch of the obsessive: 'she kept going up and down along the attractive streams of Enipeus' (polesketo kala reethra 11.240). Yet as she loves the fluid and ungraspable -- 'she loves a river, godly Enipeus.' (11.238) -- it might be possible to detect in her passion a culpable love for whatever is exotic, a 'love of the distant,' as Pindar puts it at Pythian 3.20: (Coronis) Erato ton apeonton. In love with a shapechanger, Tyro is easily deceived by a master of transformations, the cunning seagod.9

Their union forms 'one wave-vault,' suggesting an eros fusing (some might say transgressing) all boundaries between natural, divine, and human:

porphureon d' ara kuma peristathe, ourei ison kurtothen, krupsen de theon thneten te gunaika.
(A dark, surging wave rose up over them, like a mountain, forming a vault, hiding god and woman, 11.243–4.)

The sensuous beauty of the text becomes poignant: we can't forget that Tyro is making love with an illusion and we may recall the punishment of Ixion who also mates with an illusion, a Zeus- formed cloud in Pindar's Pythian 2.36–37. In any case, the moment is painterly.

The wave breaks. Poseidon 'consummates his passion' (11.246). The tide recedes. Then speaking the only dialogue in the catalogue, the god commands Tyro to remain silent about how she became pregnant. It is almost as if this command echoes throughout the catalogue to enforce silence on all the women, the more to heighten, again, the painterly silence of the illusion Odysseus is projecting onto his listeners' imagination, through hearing and memory.

'And with these words, Poseidon sank beneath the swelling sea' (hupo ponton ... kumainonta, 11.253). The swelling here points to the ominous situation that we the audience are left in: the position of an inexplicably pregnant woman. We have incorporated her fear. In the tradition, Tyro is victimized for this pregnancy by an archetypally cruel stepmother, Sidero (cf. Apollodorus, 1.9.7, the two lost tragedies of Sophocles; Jebb-Pearson 270 f., and Strabo 8.3.32). And Tyro's twin sons, Pelias and Neleus, are famous for their political struggles, the one with Jason the other with Herakles -- not to mention Pelias' murder of Sidero in the temple of Hera, and the struggles evoked by juxtaposing the twins with their three legitimate stepbrothers: Aeson, Pheres, Amythaon (11.258–59). In any case, we are far from integrative sexuality, and the more so, the more we recall the stories of Tyro and her twins, Pelias and Neleus.10

Things seem better with Antiope (the heroine paired with Tyro) who also bears twins, sired by Poseidon's brother, Zeus. Antiope even 'boasts of spending a night in the arms of Zeus' (11.261). Yet her ghost remains silent in the dark, and she is defined by her twin sons and her city.

In the tradition, Amphion and Zethus are -- like Pelias and Neleus and so many other heroes -- exposed at birth and then rescued; their identities are discovered and they avenge their mother, Antiope, who had been enchained by her cruel foster-mother Dirce (cf. Apollodorus 3.5.5, Pausanias 2.6.2, 9.17.4, 10.3610, Euripides' lost Antiope (Nauk 401 f.), and Ovid's Metamorphoses 6.111). If oral listening is more associative than demarcative, the stories of Tyro's and Antiope's twins could well form a supplement to each other. And in both cases women suffer dramatically: not only Tyro and Antiope but the deaths of their maternal tormenters are terrible and punished by the gods. Dionysus, angered over Dirce's dismemberment by the twins, drives Antiope (!) mad. (Dionysus, as avenger, makes a rare Homeric appearance immediately below in the story of Ariadne, 11.321–25). There is yet another vulnerable female in this story:

Amphion and Zethus were the first to lay the foundations of seven-gated Thebes and raise its walls and towers (purgosan), for although they were strong, they could not live in an unwalled (apurgoton) Thebes, the city with the broad plains (euruchoron). (11.262–65) At once the city and the eponymous nymph, Thebes needs to be protected behind a veil of seven gates. The hapax apurgoton ('untowered,' 'unwalled,' 'unfortified') shows that the broad expanses (and/or dancing floors) suggested in the epithet euruchoros are so vulnerable as to be merely tantalizing. There is a lost harmony between city and field, as in Iliad 22.145–56.11

If we look ahead to the A' sections of the ring, the two sets of twins (Tyro's and Antiope's) rhyme with two more sets of twins: those famous for causing the destruction of Troy (Leda's twin girls are surely implied, though the twin boys are explicitly named) and those who disturbed the order of world (Iphimedia's twins, 11.298–320). The presence of so many twins is probably a reflex of what Dumezil calls the Indo-European tripartite ideology: the struggle between twins, at least diachronically, is often a story of a struggle to found a social order out of chaos.12

A II

Thebes connects the next pair of heroines in the catalogue: Alcmene, queen of Thebes, and Megara, a princess of Thebes (11.266–70). As their stories are elliptical, in contrast to the fuller treatment of Tyro and Antiope, the catalogue retains variety and acquires shape. Also, the supplement here works subversively. By naming Megara, and not some other wife of Herakles, we should recall his murder of her and/or her children when he was in a state of madness (as in the Euripidean/Senecan tradition). So the oral aura of Megara supplements with madness and punishment the praise of Alcmene -- another woman impregnated by way of a delusion.

A III

By now the anaphorae of 'and then I saw X and Y' begins to sound like a sighing refrain of lament, especially when we meet the third pair, Epicaste and Chloris. The kind of erotic delusion experienced by Tyro -- suffused with sensuous beauty -- now gives way to the fully tragic (in the later dramatic sense), signalled by the appearance of the Erinyes who visit Epicaste. Her story begins with a significant variation in the anaphora: 'the mother of Oedipus I saw, beautiful Epicaste' (11.271). Every other heroine is introduced by her name, Epicaste only by the biological relationship that she violated: 'she who committed a monstrosity (mega ergon) through the unseeing blindness of her mind' (aidreisesi nooio) (11.272). The Furies cap the suicide:

And Epicaste, carried away by her own pain, fastened a high noose from the steep ceiling and went down to Hades, the strong gatekeeper. And she left behind (opisso), for future generations, everything that maternal furies fulfill (hossa te metros erinues ekteleousi). (11.277–280)

The word opisso works two ways here: Epicaste not only leaves 'behind' the Furies who killed her but also leaves them to be fulfilled 'in the future' life of Oedipus which must include the civil wars of his sons and the Seven -- hence the reason for the 'walled towers' mentioned above:

But through the malignant plans of the gods, Oedipus, though suffering torments, continued to rule the Cadmeans in much-desired (polueratos -- or 'land of many desires') Thebes. (11.275–76)

The story of Chloris (11.281–87) provides closure to section A, since Neleus, a son of the first-mentioned heroine, Tyro, now appears as husband of Chloris -- a ring within the ring:

And I saw the pale beauty of Chloris: Neleus wooed her with countless gifts and wed her, the youngest daughter of Amphion Iasion who was once the strong king at Minyan Orchomenus. And she was queen of Pylos and had shining children: Nestor, Chromius, and lord Periclymenus, and then, wonder to all who live and die, regal Pero ...
(11.281-87)

Chloris narrowly escaped the punishment visited on her siblings for the mad boast of their mother, Niobe. And though Niobe does not appear, the mention of Chloris in the context of avenging gods probably creates the groundwork for an allusion to that fundamental Greek parable.13

Chloris also serves as geographical shifter away from Thebes: she seems to share or even usurp patriarchal power in Pylos (he de Pulou basileue, 11.285).14

That this refers to the tradition of Neleus as a weak leader is hinted at by the presence of his son Periclymenus, the only son called 'lordly' and in the tradition the only one able to keep Pylos safe.15

Neleus also plays the role of an obstructing father, hoarding his daughter, in the next, exceptional story of Pero. (Even if Neleus is justified in terms of the ethics of magnifying one's bios, what we have is a conflict between the imperative to hoard and the imperative of fertility.)

5. PERO, THE EXCEPTION

And Chloris bore, wonder to all who live and die, regal Pero: all the young men wanted to woo her, but Neleus would only yield if some hero dared to steal the spiral-horned, big- faced cows of Iphiclus––not an easy thing. Only a handsome prophet (Melampus) swore to drive them home. Bitter chance trapped him and the painful chains of wild savages. But moons passed by, and days turned to months and months to a year, and finally Iphiclus released the man to tell all things fated, and the will of Zeus was done. (11.287-97)

Everything about Pero stands in opposition to the dead women we have met and will meet. Every other heroine is clearly delineated by an anaphora of a sighing refrain. Only Pero's story emerges from within another story, a narrative swerve, but then marked by a new kind of anaphora. The surprise is indicated in many ways. For instance, up to this point the women have been partially defined in terms of their sons. Pero is the first and only daughter of a heroine -- this will remain true throughout the catalogue.16

Some unusual phrasing helps shift the register. Pero's name is augmented by a phrase in anaphora, thauma brotoisi, 'a wonder to mortals' (11.286). This is immediately followed by the next line beginning: ten pantes mnoonto, 'that women whom everyone was desiring.' This anaphora, in contrast to all the other anaphorae, is threefold and wondrous: Pero/wonder/object of all desire. 'Wonder,' is a word that can represent divine intervention, as at 19.36: the thauma of Athena's miraculous illumination in the storeroom, which is immediately glossed by Odysseus as the 'way of the gods,' dike theon (19.43).

In another significant variation from the other heroines, Pero is not the mother of demigods; nor is she deceived and impregnated by a god; she is not killed by the gods as Ariadne will be (nor by a god's son, as Megara was). In the rest of the catalogue, relations between gods and women end in disaster, as befits the epic's sense of the passing of the golden age.17

Pero's story, by contrast, is nearly comic or carnivalesque, as I will argue more fully below. Her father, Neleus, obstructs the sexuality of a younger generation. Pero is released from this abnormal situation by "a seer" who, in attempting to win her, nearly passes into oblivion in a foreign jail.

Since Pero's story also shows an antidote to disintegrative eros in the A sections of the catalogue, Melampus is referred to only as a 'blameless prophet' (mantis amumon, 11.291) in order to emphasize his social role -- later the Odyssey will retell their story, using his name (cf. Appendix 2). His inborn nature as prophet is what finally matters. And his descendants include the Odyssean Theoclymenus (a more successful prophet than many have recognized, since it is largely the suitors' disdain that proves the prophet's worth). He is also unnamed so as to function more readily as a double for Odysseus, longing to return.

6. SILENCE AT THE CENTER

Only a handsome prophet (Melampus) swore to drive them home. Bitter chance trapped him and the painful chains of wild savages. But moons passed by, and days turned to months and months to a year, and finally Iphiclus released the man to tell all things fated, and the will of Zeus was done. (11.291-97)

Pero's story ends with the tag, Dios d'eteleieto boule: 'and the will of Zeus was done,' stamping the events as epic.18 Epic also is the cattle-rustling which Melampus performs to win Pero -- as does Odysseus to restore his oikos at 23.356–8. Yet this brief episode relating a hero's successful return to domestic life, after being mysteriously released by his captor and speaking mysterious thesphata, is the strangest alternative Odyssey in the poem. Once again, the scene is painterly. The actual dialogue of the prophet is alluded to, but left in silence. It is almost as if to make us see, to please the peculiarities of the eye, Odysseus, as narrator, downplays the pleasures of the ear, and moves to the edge of silence. Yet in the figure of Melampus, Odysseus creates a double of himself, a hero who wins a famous heroine, returning to domestic life from a long confinement in uncivilized (cf. agroiotai, 11.293) places. But to see just how bizarre all this is, two aspects of Melampus' mythological dossier are helpful. First, Melampus wins both the cows and Pero by curing Iphiclus of impotence: as we know from the scholia on Apollonius which paraphrases the Hesiodic Megalai Eoiai (fr. 261, Merkelbach-West), Melampus acquires from snakes the ability to understand the language of animals. When imprisoned in Phylace, he is able to predict the collapse of a house -- in the scholia, it is the house of Iphiclus, but in other traditions, it is the collapse of the prison where Melampus is jailed. He can make this prediction because he has overheard worms saying that the wood in the ceiling of his cell is rotten (Apollodorus 1.9.11.). Then, according to Apollodorus, Melampus performs a sacrifice which attracts vultures that he can talk with. They tell him that once when Phylacus was castrating lambs, his son, Iphiclus, stole the knife and thrust it into a sacred oaktree whose bark miraculously (and sexually) closed around the blade.19 His prescription for renewed vigor is to find the knife and make a tea from the rust on this blade. And so the prophet restores fertility.

Secondly, Melampus is a Dionysian trickster: he introduces the god's name, his rituals, and his phallic procession into Greece (Herodotus 2.49). Like the god, he both brings and cures madness: Apollodorus 2.2.2 tells how he cures the Proetides of a madness resulting from repressing Dionysus -- something the Homeric epics famously do.20 In this episode, Melampus cunningly withholds the cure to win a third of Argos for himself and a third for his brother, a successful trickster.

Returning to our text, we can now ask why Iphiclus releases (luse, 11.296) Melampus and allows the prophet to take away his cattle -- for surely heroes don't give away their livelihood gratis, especially in a poem like the Odyssey. What Melampus has to offer is the production of marked words:

kai tote de min luse bie Iphikleie thesphata pant' eiponta; Dios d'eteleieto boule.
(the force of Iphiclus released the man who told all things fated, and the will of Zeus was done, 296–97).

That the verb here is from epos (not muthos) emphasizes the product of speech.21 This 'curing by words' is a kind of conflict resolution that Homeric and Hesiodic speakers are generally engaged in, agonistically, even as they are working towards capturing power.

The curing words are further marked as 'prophecy' (thesphata). Ancient prophecies, like dreams in the temple of Asclepius or in the Odyssey, are not interior phenomena as they are for us, but signs of future events. A 'natural' order is precisely what is lacking both in Pylos where king Neleus obstructs fertility and in uncivilized Phylace where Iphiclus is impotent. A true prophecy will restore the natural order, bringing rebirth: it will be a medical prescription for renewed potency -- this is a poem, after all, that lauds the powers of drugs. In its world, medicine and religion and rulership are not yet separate entities. What Odysseus incorporates into his self (his self-presentation for power), is not only the aura and pathos of the catalogue (which cap the 1,472 lines he has already spoken), but also the carnivalesque spirit of Melampus, the healing prophet and Dionysian trickster. The alternative Odyssey that flashes for a moment amid the funereal and terrible beauty of the ghosts would draw from the genres the ancients called Menippean and we carnivalesque (those that Petronius elaborated); that Melampus' words are said to concern everything (panta) I take to be a generic marker of the inclusive nature of the carnivalesque.22

Melampus' authoritative speech-act that frees him from confinement embodies the carnivalesque: a narrow escape from death (through the interpretation of insect language), cures for impotence, a bride won, fertility saved, and the whole thing 'the will of Zeus.' If we smile here, it is the laughter of bodily and sexual triumph over death. Our poem ends with lovemaking in a palace which is serving as a morgue while passersby make sexual jokes -- all leading finally to the rejuvenation of Laertes, a rebirth among the elders.

APPENDIX 1: CLOSING THE RING

In section A' (11.298–332), 'Homer' completes the pattern which begins the catalogue by giving us two more pairs of wives who have borne twins by Poseidon and Zeus. The divine partners appear in typical ring symmetry:

POSEIDON + Tyro (11.241–57: 14 lines)

ZEUS + Antiope (11.261–62: 2 lines)

ZEUS + Leda (11.299–304: 5 lines)

POSEIDON + Iphimedia (11.306–320: 15 lines)

A' I

Leda reproduces the pattern by recalling Tyro and Antiope and their god-produced twins, but she also introduces a variation. The resumed anaphora of 'and I saw Leda' (11.298), takes us back, in a single stroke, not only to the basic catalogue structure but also to its tragic register: in this case, the Iliadic world. Leda immediately takes us away from Pero's very human marriage. Confirming the pattern that only male sons are mentioned in the A sections of the catalogue (to maintain the contrast with Pero), only the male twins, Castor and Polydeuces are mentioned here.

In section A' , the theme of disintegration is taken to its limits: the twins of Iphimedia, the Aloadae, are recalled in their attempt to gain the power and immortality of Olympus. This Hesiodic moment no doubt moralizes in ways that the suspicious Phaeacians can appreciate; they too have experienced a gigantic violence (bie) in the form of their brutish cousins, the cyclopes (6.4-10).

A' II

Two trios end the catalogue. In the first (11.321–25), the mention of Phaedra and Procris suggests erotic madness, but it is the story of Ariadne that cruelly reinforces the theme of erotic delusion:

with the indictment of Dionysus, Artemis killed (Ariadne) in sea-girt Dia before Theseus could bring her home to the hill of sacred Athens and get any profit (aponeto) from her. (11.322–25)

A' III The second trio (11.326–32) closes the catalogue by recalling the whole: Amphiaraus is descended from Tyro; Maera is one of the Proetides cured of madness by Melampus; Clymene is the wife of Phylacus, mother of Iphiclus who is cured of impotence by Melampus. The last-mentioned heroine is another Theban, Eriphyle. She betrays her husband, the prophet Amphiaraus who is the great- grandson of the prophet, Melampus. In other words, all the heroines in this trio recall Melampus, but, suffering in their sexuality, they stand in sharp contrast with him.

APPENDIX 2: THE RETURN TO THE THEME

In book 15.222–57, Homer retells the story of 'Pero won by Melampus' in the genealogy of Theoclymenus who turns out to be a descendant of Melampus. Theoclymenus meets Telemachus just as he is about to return home -- and the suitors' ambush awaits him at sea. Among the ancestors, Polymeides, the best seer after Amphiaraus, 'was angry at his father' (15.254); this mention of a son angry at his father suggests what Telemachus, vulnerable to feeling abandoned, might naturally, though, as we would say, subconsciously, feels. He would not want to express such sentiments at the present moment of his journey.

Likewise, the inclusion of erotic madness in this later retelling of the story of Pero and Melampus may suggest the passion that Odysseus, in disguise at the palace, does not allow himself to express, warned, as he has been, to avoid the kind of homecoming Agamemnon walked into blindly. In the catalogue of heroines in book 11, Melampus is a dutiful and, therefore, successful suitor. Individual passions conform to demands of social reproduction. But in book 15, eros is darker, a grievous ate (15.233), sent by Erinys. Here Melampus seems to love Pero, and madly.23

The love and the quest to Phylace are both delusion, as the zeugma of 15.233 suggests. Indeed, zeugma characterizes this episode (cf. 15.238–39) where contrary passions are yoked together.

Melampus suffered terrible miseries (krater' algea) for the sake of Neleus' girl and the sake of a grievous madness (heineka Neleos koures ates te bareies) sent into his mind by the goddess, home-smiting Erinys.

The name of the imprisoning ruler varies in the two versions. In the Nekuian catalogue, it is Iphiclus; whereas at 15.231, it is Phylacus who rules. This variation in name emphasizes a difference in meaning. Iphiclus evokes the theme of impotence, germane to the comic sexuality of Pero and Melampus. Phylacus -- the name 'Keeper' being synonymous with Phylace, the place of imprisonment -- threatens a possible oblivion in a savage enclosure.

Thus Melampus is again like Odysseus: hidden, with heroic kleos at risk. Yet they both overcome death and oblivion by (re)courting and (re)marrying -- thus reestablishing the proper order of generations. In 'Homer,' however, we must resist the temptation to make two stories add up to one. As the stories that Helen and Menelaus tell in book 4.235-89 supplement each other, so the two versions of the Pero-Melampus story function like a montage, with similar but conflicting images creating an idea not evident in the parts.24

Pero's story is right in the middle of or in between heroines who have been involved with or related to the gods. Her story is a contrast to the rest of the heroine plus since Chloris' sons are mentioned but only her daughter being placed under an important focus.

From above, we can see that Pero is similar to Penelope whom men are "wooing for" and she was "released" from a bad situation by a "seer" who escaped from a long "confinement" in uncivilized places. Sounds like what Odysseus is going through and what he will do (releasing Penelope from an abnormal situation) and in a sense, Odysseus is a "seer" (at this time, he doesn't know about the suitors "eating up" his house and wooing Penelope until Athena told him in Book XIII), making the "center" of the catalogue of heroines a "prophecy" of sorts. That he may have been seeing what's coming or what is to come?

It is also interesting to note that Athena has only been "referenced" twice in Book XI: as a "judge" and as a "guide" but no appearance, and she has a complete absence in Book X and Book XII, either by appearance or by reference (these are the only two books in the entire Odyssey that the appearances and/or references of Athena were absent). This made me think, on some level, of Odysseus' mother being in the place of Athena's as a "guide" for Book XI, paving a way towards the seeing of the Catalogue of Heroines?

Just some thoughts...
 

Zadius Sky

The Living Force
Re: The Odyssey - Manual of Secret Teachings?

Myrddin Awyr said:
- Leukothea and Athena: two goddesses who help Odysseus on his stormy "approach" to Skheria (directly/indirectly).

While going through Odyssey on finding more of the groups of "two's" or duality (there are lots), I keep noticing that wherever there is two (similarity), there appears to be a third aspect that acts as a contrast or cancellation to the two (For an example, Athena and Leukothea helped Odysseus on his stormy "approach" to Skheria, a storm sent by Poseidon, who is the third).

And, I keep thinking about Leukothea who helped Odysseus. Very much like Kalypso, the only appearance of Leukothea in Odyssey is Book V (Again, that's two but I'm still working on finding the third of this group as a contrast).

Since we know so much about Kalypso, how little do we know about Leukothea:

The daughter of Kadmos, sweet-stepping Ino called Leukothea,
saw him. She had once been one who spoke as a mortal,
but now in the gulfs of the sea she holds degree as a goddess.
She took pity on Odysseus as he drifted and suffered hardship,
and likening herself to a winged gannet she came up
out of the water and perched on the raft and spoke a word to him:
'Poor man, why is Poseidon the shaker of the earth so bitterly
cankered against you, to give you such a harvest of evils?
And yet he will not do away with you, for all his anger.
But do as I say, since you seem to me not lacking in good sense.
Take off these clothes, and leave the raft to drift at the wind's will,
and then strike out and swim with your hands and make for a landfill
on the Phaiakian country, where your escape is destined.
And here, take his veil, it is immortal, and fasten it under
your chest; and there is no need for you to die, nor to suffer.
But when with both your hands you have taken hold of the mainland,
untie the veil and throw it out in the wine-blue water
far from the land; and turn your face away as you do so.'

So spoke the goddess and handed him the veil, then herself
in the likeness of a gannet slipped back into the heaving
sea, and the dark and tossing water closed above her.

So, we know when she was a mortal, she was known by "Ino," a daughter of Kadmos, and she was turned into a "white" goddess of the sea called Leukothea. Basically, she represents a two states of existence: mortal/divinity duality. I was wondering why would this goddess of all the goddesses be making her appearance to help Odysseus? Then, I noticed the way Odysseus travel on the sea:

It was the fourth day and all his work was finished. Then on
the fifth day shining Kalypso saw him off from the island
when she had bathed him and put fragrant clothing upon him,
and the other, the big one, filled with water, and put on provisions
in a bag, and stored there many good things to keep a man's strength up,
and sent a following wind to carry him, warm and easy.
Glorious Odysseus, happy with the wind, spread sails
and taking his seat artfully with the steering oar he held her
on her course, nor did sleep ever descend on his eyelids
as he kept his eye on the Pleiades and late-setting Boötes,
and the Bear, to whom men give also the name of the Wagon,
who turns about in a fixed place and looks at Orion,
and she alone is never plunged in the wash of the Ocean.
For so Kalypso, bright among goddesses, had told him
to make his way over the sea, keeping the Bear on his left hand.

Then, Poseidon sees him and becomes angry. So, he sent the storm...

A several lines later:

But he did not forget about his raft, for all his trouble,
but turned and swam back through the waves, and laid hold of it,
and huddled down in the middle of it, avoiding death's end.
Then the waves tossed her about the current now here, now there;
as the North Wind in autumn tumbles and tosses thistledown
along the plain, and the bunches hold fast one on another,
so the winds tossed her on the great sea, now here, now there,
and now it would be South Wind and North that pushed her between them,
and then again East Wind and West would burst in and follow.

Then, Leukothea appears to help him. When she has given Odysseus a veil (κρήδεμνον) to wear, Poseidon then "disappears" from the scene (as if she was "cancelling out" Poseidon). It is almost like there's a contrast between the views of Odysseus' travel just before the appearances of Poseidon and Leukothea. So, the white goddess had a role to play.

What's the deal with the veil? A "veil" means "to cover/hide" or "to sail" (according to wiki). When the storm is enraging and tossing Odysseus about, the storm represent a "nature" aspect while a veil given by Leukothea for protection may represent a "divine" aspect. In this context, a veil worn by Odysseus to hide himself from the dangers of the "natural" storm, hiding himself from the "nature?" Making himself immune to its dangers? Making himself "invisible?"

Of course, he had to abandon his clothes and the raft before tying the veil to himself. A raft, by the way, was built by Odysseus using the materials on Ogygia and the clothes were given by Kalypso (which were drowning him). So, he could not bring anything from Ogygia and must swim naked/exposed to Skheria (per Leukothea's instruction). And, when he arrived in Skheria, he threw the veil back into the sea.

Also, Odysseus made a "monologue" following Poseidon's appearance...

The knees of Odysseus gave away for fear, and the heart inside him,
and deeply troubled he spoke to his own great-hearted spirit:
'Ah me unhappy, what in the long outcome will befall me?
I fear the goddess might have spoken the truth in all ways
when she said that on the sea and before I came to my country
I would go through hardships; now all this is being accomplished,
such clouds are these, with which Zeus is cramming the wide sky
and has staggered the sea, and stormblasts of winds from every
direction are crowding in. My sheer destruction is certain.
Three times and four times happy those Danaans were who died then
in wide Troy land, bringing favor to the sons of Atreus,
as I wish I too had died at the time and met my destiny
on the day when the greatest number of Trojans threw their bronze-headed
weapons upon me, over the body of perished Achilleus,
and I would have had my rites and the Achaians given me glory.
Now it is by a dismal death that I must be taken.'

...and Leukothea's appearance:

Now long-suffering great Odysseus pondered two courses,
and troubled he spoke then to his own great-hearted spirit:
'Ah me, which of the immortals is weaving deception
against me, and tells me to put off from the raft? But no,
I will not do it yet, since I have seen with my own eyes
that the shore, where she said I could escape, is still far from me.
But here is what I will do, and this seems to me the best way.
As long as the timbers hold together and the construction
remains, I will stay with it and endure though suffering hardships;
but once the heaving sea has shaken my raft to pieces,
then I will swim. There is nothing better that I can think of.'

After Poseidon's appearance, Odysseus was talking about meeting his death while after Leukothea's appearance, he was talking about surviving. I was just thinking here about how our "up-and-down" emotions are similar to Odysseus's "stormy" approach (just thinking out loud here).

Thirdly, Leukothea "took pity on Odysseus as he drifted and suffered hardship" (V, line: 336). There is another goddess who took "pity" on a mortal, Menelaos, as revealed in Book IV (again that's two).

And now the food would all have been gone, and the men's strength with it,
if one of the gods had not been sorry for me, and shown mercy,
Eidothea, daughter to mightly Proteus, the Old Man
of the Sea, for it was her heart that I moved mostly
when she met me wandering by myself without my companions.

I'm just not sure what's being addressed here or I'm going off-track a bit. I was just thinking about "pity those who pity" as the Cs once said and just not sure how that being applied here or why the minor goddesses would take pity on the heroes and to help them if the agenda was not the power of the "descent into STS?"

Anyway, just wanted to share my thoughts here...

ADDED LATER:

I just wanted to point out that Book V is the only direct confrontation between Poseidon and Odysseus, and Leukothea was his ally during this confrontation. So, I was wondering about her importance/purpose in Odyssey and what role she had to fill with Odysseus. Thus, my mindset for writing the above.
 
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