A good friend once told this writer that the Iliad and the Odyssey are the story of the phases of the Soul.
The Iliad tells of the descent of the Soul into matter.
This becomes quite clear when we look carefully at the Odyssey and how the story is constructed. The confirmation comes particularly with certain stages of the story, as when Odysseus arrives without clothes to be found (and dressed) by Nausicaa on the Kingdom of Scheria (Phaeacia); early in the story the blinding of Polyphemus is also indicative as we shall see.
But the story does not start with Odysseus, it starts with the Goddess of Wisdom Athena, and the search for Odysseus, lost since he set sail for Troy. His son, Telemachus, is encouraged to search for him. His home is in disarray, as suitors vie for Penelope's hand. There is not a moment to lose.
The story is set on the 'wine dark sea' of the Mediterranean, But Odysseus' journey cannot really be made to fit to any real geography, especially when some of the places he visits are so clearly states of being, rather than actual islands.
Our map, as we work through the key stages of the return to Ithaca, is more of a hierarchy of consciousness.
As with the story of Herakles, there are twelve testing places before Odysseus returns to his home and wife, Penelope.
Odysseus on his return, must deal with each of these twelve challenges. he is never really alone, although towards the end he feels as though he is. In the first part of the story, his son Telemachus (which means "he who fights for ends") seeks news of his father.
Telemachus represents the spiritual soul, the true soul purpose. This is why, in his seeking, Telemachus is always accompanied by Athena, or Divine Wisdom. However far the individual soul strays from its true purpose, there is always that part that has never left its true home or its connection with Divine Wisdom, and will search. This is why the story starts here with the son, before we meet Odysseus, for there has to be a stirring of spiritual yearning for the soul to move at all. And, as we shall see, Odysseus makes plenty of errors before he gets anywhere near Ithaca.
Murray Morison is a novelist living in Crete
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When a teenage priestess, living 5,000 years ago in Ancient Egypt, connects with Rhory, an English schoolboy visiting the British Museum, she puts herself and him in grave danger.
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