The Odyssey - Manual of Secret Teachings?

Re: The Odyssey - Manual of Secret Teachings?

Myrddin Awyr said:
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).

I was thinking about the "absences" of Athena and there also has been absences of Poseidon (in Book II, X, XIV, XV - XXII) by appearance or by name-reference. And, I was also wondering about Zeus, who turned out to have no absences throughout the Odyssey, by appearance and/or reference.

So, I just finished reading J. Marks' Zeus in the Odyssey (2008), from some quotes that I'd like to share/add here to this pot.

First, there appear to be differences between Zeus in Iliad and Zeus in Odyssey:

page 1 - 3 said:
In some ancient Greek epics, a Dios boulē "plan of Zeus" helps to motivate and explain the plot. This theme is best known from its appearance at the beginning of the Iliad:

μῆνιν ἄειδε θεά, Πηληιάδεω Ἀχιλῆος,
οὐλομένην ἣ μυρί’ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε’ ἔθηκεν,
πολλὰς δ’ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς ᾌδι προίαψεν
ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν
οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι, Διὸς δ’ ἐτελείετο βουλή,
ἐξ οὗ δὴ τὰ πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε,
Ἀτρείδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.

Wrath: sing it, goddess, wrath of Peleus’ son Achilleus,
destructive, which myriad woes on Achaians placed,
and many strong souls to Hades did send,
heroes’ souls, and the men themselves made plunder for dogs
and for birds a banquet, and a plan of Zeus was reaching fulfillment
from when first they stood apart caught up in strife,
the son of Atreus ruler of men and godly Achilleus.

Iliad 1.1-7

The association of Zeus' plan with the main plot line here in the proem is, unsurprisingly, predictive: as the Iliad proceeds, the god engineers and maintains the momentum of the Trojan offensive that gives force to Achilleus' wrath, decides the fates of the major characters, and resolves conflicts that impede dramatic closure.

The Odyssean Zeus, on the other hand, seems reactive rather than proactive, unwilling or unable to control subordinate deities, and generally more remote from the action when measured against his Iliadic counterpart. At the same time, the two seem to differ in what might be termed leadership style. For the Odyssean Zeus acts and speaks in a manner that appears to be, if not more humane, at least less malevolent than that of the Zeus who repeatedly threatens violence against his fellow gods and gleefully pits them against each other in the Iliad. Some rough statistics can help to quantify these impressions. In the main narrative of the Iliad, Zeus has a speaking role in more than a dozen scenes, in which he maintains overall control of events by inducing divine characters to act or to refrain from action, and by sending some dozen omens to mortal characters; at one point, he even lends a hand in battle (Iliad 15.694-695). In all, Zeus' actions and words make up around 1000 of the Iliad's approximately 15,000 lines (>6%). In the Odyssey, by contrast, Zeus appears four times in the main narrative; he neither incites nor impedes divine characters, at least overtly; and his direct involvement with mortal affairs is limited to four omens. All told, Zeus' actions and words make up around 250 of the Odyssey's approximately 12,000 lines (<2%).

In terms of sheer presence, then, Zeus is less prominent in the Odyssey than in the Iliad. It seems but a small and uncomplicated step to conclude that this quantitative difference reflects a qualitative one, that Zeus is relatively unimportant to the plot of the Odyssey. This has in fact long been and remains the dominant interpretation of the role of the gods in Homeric epic: the Odyssean Olympos is less hierarchical than the Iliadic one, and the Odyssean plot in general depends less on divine guidance.

According to the arguments offered in this book, the significance of the differences between the Iliadic and Odyssean "divine apparatus" have been over-emphasized and misunderstood. The specific locution Dios boulē may not appear in the proem of the Odyssey, but I hope to demonstrate that Zeus' appearances at crucial points help to define the overall structure of the narrative, while the actions of subordinate deities, whether or not they so intend, reaffirm Zeus' own stated goals. Further, regarding leadership style, the harsher side of Zeus is not unknown to the Odyssey; thus for instance Hermes at one point warns Kalypso to beware the supreme god's wrath (Διὸς μῆνις, Odyssey 5.146). Conversely, the Iliadic Zeus resembles his Odyssean counter-part in that he never, for all his bluster, has recourse to brute force within the bounds of the narrative.

Viewed from this perspective, the difference between the Iliadic and Odyssean visions of Zeus is not qualitative after all, but a difference of emphasis. Rather than offering mutually exclusive versions of Olympos, the epics each focalize the gods through the lens of the main hero. The Odyssean Zeus is assimilated to the heroics of Odysseus, which favor stratagems and covert action, while the Iliadic Zeus is assimilated to the heroics of Achilleus, which favor direct and forceful action. In other words, the epics offer mutually reinforcing visions of the same Olympos, one that motivates the plot in accordance with Zeus' wishes. In like manner, Achilleus and Odysseus are not so much opposed as complementary heroes. In neither epic is the former stupid, or the latter cowardly; and in the end Achilleus uses nonviolent means to settle his conflict with Agamemnon, while Odysseus kills roughly as many suitors in the Odyssey as Achilleus does Trojans in the Iliad.

Marks is pointing out that Zeus is the one that started the narrative of the Odyssey when he recalled the story of Agamemnon, Klytemnestra, and Orestes, and then Athena proposed the release of Odysseus. It was mentioned earlier in this thread that suggests Athena being the one who was directing the plot.

page 17-24 said:
Throughout the Odyssey, the story of Agamemnon, Klytaimnestre, and Orestes is paradigmatic for that of Odysseus, Penelope, and Telemachos. The Odyssean "Oresteia," as the story will be referred to here, provides examples of the kinds of perils that could await Odysseus, and of the resources on which he can rely. A number of characters describe or refer to the death of Agamemnon, the treachery of Klytaimnestre and her consort Aigisthos, and the heroism of Orestes, the first being Zeus, whose speech on the subject opens the main narrative.

Much critical attention has been paid to the manner in which Zeus' Oresteia frames the theological, philosophical, and moral implications of Odysseus' return. Less attention, however, has been paid to the narrative implications of Zeus' opening speech. Comparison with other versions in the Odyssey, and with non-Homeric versions, makes clear that his Oresteia is no bland recitation of the "facts," but a polemical casting of the tale in Homeric terms. One facet of this polemic, I suggest, is a programmatic assertion of the god's own role in the Odyssey. Just as Orestes, who acts with Zeus' approval, suffers no retribution for killing Aigisthos, so Zeus will intervene at the end of the Odyssey to ensure that Odysseus will not suffer for killing the suitors.

Zeus' Oresteia begins a divine council scene that is functionally equivalent to the scenes with Zeus and Thetis, then Zeus and Here, in Book 1 of the Iliad (493-611). In both cases, Zeus and a subordinate goddess forge, or reestablish, a connection with the hero of the epic that foreshadows the special favor the hero will receive in the course of the story. In the Iliad, Zeus begins at once to enact the plan that emerges from the initial Olympian scenes (2.3-5), and eventually describes it in some detail (e.g. 15.59-77).

I shall be arguing that the Odyssey shares this structural conceit, but that Zeus enacts his plan by transmitting it as it were subliminally to Athene. For although the plan for the hero's return that the gods enact at the beginning of the narrative will be called Athene's, its basic outline derives from Zeus' Oresteia. Further, the very distinctiveness of Zeus' account raises the specter of other versions of the well-known and ancient story, in which themes such as remorse and retribution complicate the hero's revenge. I begin by
exploring character-equivalencies that link Zeus' Oresteia and Athene's plan for Odysseus and Telemachos.


It is in response to Zeus' speech that Athene first raises the subject of Odysseus (1.48-62). She proposes that he be sent home from Kalypso's island, and that his son Telemachos be sent in search of news about him:

Ἑρμείαν μὲν ἔπειτα, διάκτορον Ἀργειφόντην,
νῆσον ἐς Ὠγυγίην ὀτρύνομεν, ὄφρα τάχιστα
νύμφηι ἐυπλοκάμωι εἴπηι νημερτέα βουλήν,
νόστον Ὀδυσσῆος ταλασίφρονος, ὥς κε νέηται.
αύτὰρ ἐγὼν Ἰθάκηνδ᾿ ἐσελεύσομαι, ὄφρα οἱ υἱὸν
μᾶλλον ἐποτρύνω καί οἱ μένος ἐν φρεσὶ θείω,
εἰς ἀγορὴν καλέσαντα κάρη κομόωντας Ἀχαιοὺς
πᾶσι μνηστήρεσσιν ἀπειπέμεν, οἵ τέ οἱ αἰεὶ
μῆλ᾿ ἀδινὰ σφάζουσι καὶ εἰλίποδας ἕλικας βοῦς.
πέμψω δ᾿ ἐς Σπάρτην τε καὶ ἐς Πύλον ἠμαθόεντα
νόστον πευσόμενον πατρὸς φίλου, ἤν που ἀκούσηι,
ἠδ᾿ ἵνα μιν κλέος ἐσθλὸν ἐν ἀνθρώποισιν ἔχηισιν.

Then let us send Hermes the runner, Argeiphontes,
to the island of Ogygie, in order that quick as possible
he may tell to the fair-tressed nymph our unerring plan,
the homecoming of firm-minded Odysseus, so that he may return.
But I myself will go to Ithake, so that his son
I may the more urge on and put might in his heart,
to call to assembly the long-haired Achaians
and denounce all the suitors, who always
slaughter his rich flocks and shambling crook-horned cattle.
And I will send him to Sparta and to sandy Pylos
to learn of his own father’s return, if he may somehow hear,
and in order that he may have good repute among people.

Odyssey 1.84-95

And so it happens. Athene departs for Ithake at once, and Books 2 through 4 narrate Telemachos' public denunciation of the suitors and his quest for word of his father. Odysseus' story is taken up in Book 5, when the gods dispatch Hermes to Ogygie.

Athene's speech here in Book 1 serves a number of practical functions. It provides a table of contents, informing or reminding the audience of the overall outlines of the tale, and perhaps helps the performer to organize his subject matter. At the same time, the speech supplies what is, by the conventions of ancient Greek epic, the requisite motivation for the events to follow, since it is the gods who explain and make coherent the series of coincidences and fantastic occurrences that attend Odysseus' return. Further, Athene's
mention of Telemachos and the suitors foreshadows the conflict that is the main theme of the second half of the narrative, so that her initial speech helps to establish the dramatic unity of the three main sequences of the Odyssey, the Telemachia, Nostos, and Mnesterophonia.

The motivation behind the narrative of the Odyssey has generally been understood as a fairly straightforward process: the chain of causality in the Odyssean narrative begins with Athene. And as the above quote shows, the plan for Books 1 through 13 is indeed articulated by the goddess. Yet Athene speaks up only in response to Zeus' account of the Oresteia, which I now quote in full:

ὢ πόποι, οἷον δή νυ θεοὺς βροτοὶ αἰτιόωνται.
ἐξ ἡμέων γάρ φασὶ κάκ᾿ ἔμμεναι· οἰ δὲ καὶ αὐτοὶ
σφῆισιν ἀτασθαλίηισιν ὑπὲρ μόρον ἄλγε᾿ ἔχουσιν,
ὡς καὶ νῦν Αἴγισθος ὑπὲρ μόρον Ἀτρείδαο
γῆμ᾿ ἄλοχον μνηστήν, τὸν δ᾿ ἔκτανε νοστήσαντα,
εἰδὼς αἰπὺν ὄλεθρον, ἐπεὶ πρὸ οἱ εἴπομεν ἡμεῖς
Ἑμρείαν πέμψαντες ἐύσκοπον Ἀργειφόντην,
μήτ᾿ αὐτὸν κτείνειν μήτε μνάασθαι ἄκοιτιν·
ἐκ γὰρ Ὀρέσταο τίσις ἔσσεται Ἀτρείδαο
ὁππότ᾿ ἂν ἡβήσηι τε καὶ ἧς ἱμείρεται αἴης.
ὣς ἔφαθ᾿ Ἑρμείας, ἀλλ᾿ οὐ φρένας Αἰγίσθοιο
πεῖθ᾿ ἀγαθὰ φρονέων· νῦν δ᾿ ἀθρόα πάντ᾿ἀπέτισε.

Alas, how indeed now men find fault with the gods.
For evils are from us they say; but they themselves
by their own reckless acts have sufferings beyond
their portion.
So even now Aigisthos beyond his portion
courted the wedded wife of Atreus’ son, and killed him
when he returned,
although he knew it was sheer destruction, since we
ourselves told him,
having sent Hermes, keen-sighted Argeiphontes,
to tell him neither to kill the man nor court his wife;
for from Orestes there would be payback for Atreus' son
whenever he came of age and longed for his land.
Thus spoke Hermes; but he did not persuade the mind of
for all his good intent; and now he has paid back all at once.

Odyssey 1.32-43

The broad thematic correspondences between this story and the main narrative of the Odyssey are well documented. Zeus' Aigisthos, for example, is comparable to the Kyklops, Odysseus' crew, the Phaiakes, and the suitors, all of whom suffer after failing to heed divine admonition. The heedless Aigisthos picks up the theme of the heedless crew in the proem, which theme Athene will transfer to the heedless suitors. The thematic opposition between Aigisthos and Orestes will be recreated in that between the suitors and Telemachos when the setting moves to Ithake (cf. 1.114-117). Thus the view of divine justice with which Zeus frames his Oresteia can be seen to inform the narrative as a whole....

Again, I draw attention to the fact that Zeus' speech does not simply prefigure the narrative, but is the first event within it. As such, it occurs at a critical juncture in the Odyssey's chronology. First, Zeus' speech prompts Athene to raise the subject of Odysseus at a time when Poseidon, his divine antagonist, is absent from the assembly of the gods. As a result, the divine plan for Odysseus' return can be elaborated without the kind of rancor that often occurs when the gods disagree on the fate of a mortal, as for example when Here and Apollo clash over the treatment of Hektor in Iliad 24. Second, Zeus' timing is equally significant on the terrestrial plane, in that he initiates the discussion that will issue in a plan for Odysseus' return at what the narrative constructs as the last possible moment. For Odysseus leaves Ogygie at the very end of the sailing season, and returns to Ithake as the suitors are about to devour completely his resources; most importantly, his wife is ready to remarry, according to his own instructions (18.269-270). Postponement of his voyage to the next sailing season would result in a hollow and pointless return.

Nevertheless, as noted, previous scholarship has tended to view the relationship between Zeus' Oresteia and the main narrative of the Odyssey as rather prefatory than essential to the plot. In these terms, it would represent one of any number of possible devices that could motivate Athene. However, even allowing for the artificiality of epic conventions, this interpretation renders the scene almost comic upon examination. Athene sits around the Olympian agora, waiting until Zeus offers her a pretext to announce a plan for Odysseus and Telemachos. As the clock ticks toward the last possible moment any such plan could be successful, Zeus happens launch into a story that happens to contain a sweeping generalization about divine justice to which Odysseus is a glaring exception, and that, to anticipate my analysis below, happens to contain the seeds of the narrative itself.

Of course, epic always borders on melodrama, and such a scenario may have been conjured up in the minds of Homeric audiences. But the question of dramatic tone aside, the broader implications of an Athene-centric Odyssey are profound. Not only does the Odyssey thus conceived commence with a series of labored coincidences, but its divine apparatus also suffers from a kind of power vacuum compared to the hierarchical Olympos of the Iliad. Most critics conclude that Athene fills this vacuum, but over the course of her further interactions with Zeus the goddess will prove unequal to the task.

A minority of scholars has advanced a different interpretation of Zeus' speech. Alfred Heubeck suggested in passing that Zeus intends to provoke Athene to react as she does; and Marilyn Katz has argued that references to the Oresteia generally represent "a dynamic force that gives direction to [the Odyssey's] plot." Pressing such insights further, I suggest that the Odyssey subtly but purposefully traces causation for the events in the main narrative to the machinations of Zeus, in the first instance by having him prompt Athene to propose the plan that she does for Odysseus' return, and to do so at a specific dramatic moment. This interaction between the two gods is then paradigmatic for their further conferences in the Odyssey.

I note that no canonical account of the Oresteia attained the kind of authority that the Odyssey did over Odysseus' story. Through the Archaic and Classical periods, poets from Stesichoros to Pindar and the Athenian tragedians produced Oresteias that differed not only in regard to the motivation and valorization of the characters, but even in dramatic setting. The Odyssey, then, likely took shape and circulated against the backdrop of a divergent body of stories about Agamemnon and his son, any number of which may have been familiar to Homeric audiences.

In any case, the reciprocal relationship between the sets of characters in Zeus' Oresteia and Athene's proposal for Odysseus and Telemachos is unmistakable. Zeus mentions Aigisthos (by name, 1.35, 42), Agamemnon (by patronymic, 35, 40), Klytaimnestre (as Agamemnon's wife, 36, 39), "we gods" (37), Hermes (by name, 38, 42), and Orestes (by name and patronymic, 40). Athene's proposal specifies Odysseus (by name, 83), Hermes (by name, 84), "we gods" (82 with 85), Kalypso (the "fair-haired nymph," 86), Telemachos (as Odysseus' son, 88), and the suitors (91), who by their very designation as "suitors" imply the object of their suit, Penelope. Two of the characters named by Athene, Hermes and "we gods," are explicit in Zeus' Oresteia; the rest have close parallels with it. Agamemnon corresponds to Odysseus as the threatened Trojan War hero, and Aigisthos to the suitors (and to Kalypso as a threat to the hero's marriage); Klytaimnestre corresponds to the implied Penelope as the hero's wife, and Orestes to Telemachos as the hero's son (and to Odysseus as suitor-slayer).

The generative logic that links Zeus' Oresteia and Athene's proposal can thus be described as a series of equivalencies between similar character-types, for each of which Zeus supplies the predicate:

Character-type Zeus' Oresteia Athene's proposal
returning Trojan War hero Agamemnon Odysseus
hero's wife Klytaimnestre [Penelope]
hero's faithful son Orestes Telemachos
seducer of hero's wife Aigisthos (of Klytaimnestre) suitors (of Penelope)/Kalypso (of Odysseus)
power opposing seducer "we gods" "we gods"
voice of opposing power Hermes Hermes

Athene thus responds to Zeus' cues in order to formulate a plan for Odysseus that embodies her own desires for her favorite.

I was wondering why would Athena wait so long to release Odysseus after seven years of being a prisoner on Ogygia, and from above quote, it has to do with specific timing and Poseidon needed to be absent at that moment for the "plan" to be initiated.
Yesterday at the local university's library, I have just read Chet A. van Duzer's Duality and Structure in the Iliad and Odyssey (a library copy), which is an interesting reading. The first chapter has a fascinating look at divine names, saving devices, and dual structures, where I will bring one of the excerpts here.

In my previous post back in 15 Dec (this current post is sort of an addendum to the previous post - more data, so to speak), I have addressed the question of the appearance of Leukothea and who she was in the Odyssey because my thinking was that she only made one very short appearance in the Book V to help Odysseus and it was as if she suddenly appeared and suddenly disappeared, so the question in my mind was why was even she there at all, why was she even an important being in the Odyssey. Van Duzer also took a look at Leukothea's role from the perspective of a "divinity helping a mortal" motif:

(Note: I was typing from the book itself at the library, so I could not reproduce the Greek letters, which have been replaced by the parentheses in the below quote; and, I also included the footnotes as relevant)

pages 7-11 said:
Another passage which, as it involves a divinity helping a mortal, seems likely to fit the paradigm we are investigating is the Leucothea passage in Od. 5.333+. Odysseus is being battered by the storm Poseidon roused, and Leucothea appears, pities Odysseus, and then, like Hermes in Od. 10 and Eidothea in Od. 4, offers Odysseus the information and the physical, magical means he needs to be safe and successful in the enterprise ahead of him, namely getting to shore.

She gives him her magic veil, which she says will protect him: (Greek line), "here, take this veil and tie it beneath your chest; it is immortal, so have no fear about getting hurt or dying" (5.346-7). The veil is (Greek word), "immortal," but Leucothea does not give Odysseus any mortal or earthy complement to the veil, which our findings thus far would lead us to expect.20 Yet there is a coincidence of mortal and divine in the immediate vicinity, in Leucothea herself (333-5):

(passage in Greek)

But fair-ankled Ino, the daughter of Cadmus, saw him,
she who is also known as Leucothea: once she had been mortal,
but now in the open sea she has a share of honor from the gods.

The mortal/divine duality between Leucothea's two states of existence is emphasized by her possession of different names in these different states, "Ino" when she was mortal, and "Leucothea" now that she is a goddess;21 this duality of mortal and divine names is very similar to that in the divine naming passages in the Iliad. Thus the Leucothea material does indeed conform to the pattern we are investigating, albeit somewhat obliquely in that the duality has shifted from the saving device to the deliverer of the device.22

But there is a broader perspective from which this passage needs to be considered: there is a larger-scale duality between Leucothea and Poseidon in Od. 5. In 5.282+ Poseidon sees Odysseus sailing smoothly towards his destination, is angry that Odysseus is having such an easy time of it, and rouses a host of natural forces against him, clouds, night, winds, 23 and waves; then in 5.333+ Leucothea sees Odysseus having great difficulty in his sailing, pities him, and gives him the supernatural means whereby to escape his troubles.24 There is duality between the storm sent by Poseidon, which is natural, and which almost kills Odysseus; and the veil given by Leucothea, which is divine, and which is supposed to save Odysseus' life.25 The contrast between the pictures of Odysseus just before the appearances of Poseidon and Leucothea is particularly clear. In 268-77, just before the appearance of Poseidon, Odysseus sails smoothly on this way, taking his course from the constellations shining overhead:

(passage in Greek)

...and Calypso sent him a gentle, warm wind.
Splendid Odysseus gladly spread his sail to the wind,
and skillfully guided the raft with the steering-oar
as he sat there; nor did sleep fall upon his eyelids
as he watched the Pleiades and late-setting Bootes,
and the Bear, which they also call the Wagon,
which turns about in place, warily eyeing Orion,
and it alone has no share of the baths of Okeanos:
for this was the star beautiful Calypso had told him
to keep on his left hand as he sailed over the sea.

In 326-32, on the other hand, just before Leucothea's appearance, his raft is being tossed in every direction, and he is not far from death:

(passage in Greek)

...and he sat down in the middle, avoiding the doom of death.
A great wave tossed the raft this way and that along the current.
As when in autumn the North Wind drives thistledown
over the plain, and it all hangs closely together,
so the winds tossed the raft this way and that over the sea.
Now the South Wind would cast it to the North wind to drive,
and now again the East Wind would yield it to the West wind.

The lowly, tumbling brambles stand in sharp contrast to the stately and essentially divine constellations.

There are many other indications of the duality between Leucothea and Poseidon. When Leucothea appears we hear about her dual names, and just before Poseidon appears we heard about another set of dual names, those of the constellation by which Odysseus was sailing,26 (Greek line), "the Bear, which they also call the Wagon" (273). Moreover while the constellation (Greek line), "alone has no share of the baths of Okeanos" (275), Leucothea (Greek line), "now in the open sea has a share of honor from the gods" (335): the constellation is (Greek word), "without share," and never touches the ocean, while Leucothea is (Greek word), "has a share," and lives in the sea. Further, the transformation of the mortal Ino into the immortal goddess Leucothea would seem to be paralleled in the constellation Arktos' exemption from sinking into Okeanos. Nagy has analyzed the mythology of Okeanos in archaic Greek poetry, and with regard to the constellation in question here, concludes, "Since the theme of plunging into the Okeanos conveys the process of follows that the exemption of Arktos from ever having to set into the Okeanos conveys her immortality." Thus the idea of being made immortal is another element of the parallel between these two double naming passages.

As we might expect of the members of a duality, Poseidon and Leucothea seem to cancel each other out: as soon as Odysseus dons Leucothea's veil in 373+, Poseidon disappears in 375+, and the storm is immediately abated by Athene. Also there is a simile of sorts associated with the appearance of both Poseidon and Leucothea: just before Poseidon appears the Phaeacians' land looks to Odysseus like a shield (Greek line, 281), and when Leucothea appears she resembles a sea bird (Greek line, 337). Finally and most importantly, the events that follow Poseidon's and Leucothea's appearances are closely parallel: in 297-312 and 356-64 Odysseus speaks a monologue, in the former wishing for death, and in the latter plotting how to survive; in 313-23 and 365-70 Odysseus' raft is hit by a wave, the clothes Calypso gave him are mentioned, and the raft is likened to thistle down and chaff (327-30, 368-70); then in 324-32 Odysseus regains the raft, and in 370-5 he mounts temporarily on a timber from the raft.

This involvement of a saving device (the veil) in a surrounding structural duality (between the storm and veil passages, and between the appearances of Poseidon and Leucothea), is typical.


20 Leucothea does not give Odysseus any complement to the veil, but there is duality between the veil she gives him and the raft she tells him to abandon (343-5) before putting on the veil. The veil is immortal, while the raft was built by Odysseus from available natural materials (228-61); and Odysseus must put on the veil, and abandon the raft. Thus the veil is in fact involved in a mortal/divine duality.

21 The name "Ino" is connected with her existence as Cadmus' daughter, i.e. as a mortal, while the name "Leucothea" means "White Goddess," and is clearly connected with her existence as a goddess. This is certainly how later mythographers saw the matter: see W. Burkert, Homo Necans, trans. P. Bing (Berkeley, 1983), p. 178-9; and R. Graves, The Greek Myths (Mt. Kisco, NY, 1988), 70h (p. 227).

22 There is also some color duality in the Leucothea scene: the name (Greek letter) means "White Goddess," and at the end of the scene she dives back into the sea, (Greek line), "and the black wave covered her" (Od. 5.353). This juxtaposition of white and black recalls that in the moly.

23 The winds appear as animate divinities in the Iliad (e.g. Iliad 23.192+), but never in the Odyssey: in the Aeolus episode, for instance, it is certainly the winds themselves, and not the gods of the winds, that are put in a leather bag for Odysseus so that he can sail in safety (Od. 10.1+). Thus we are safe in considering the winds natural agents in this passage.

24 There is also duality between the ease with which Odysseus was sailing when Poseidon sees him and the difficulty with which he was sailing when Leucothea sees him; and this ease/difficulty duality is familiar from the moly.

25 This duality recalls the trouble/relief duality between the sealskins and the ambrosia in the Eidothea episode.

26 As the star is guiding Odysseus on his way, it plays a minor saving device role. Later we will see that exclusiveness, or being the only one to do something, is a saving device motif; this constellation reflects the motif in that it is the only constellation that does not sink into the sea (275). Of course exclusiveness is closely related to duality: when only one person is able to do something, there is duality between the one who is able, and the many who are unable.

Regarding both Poseidon and Leukothea, I was wondering why didn't Poseidon ask or complain to Leukothea about her actions in contradiction to his own wish or why didn't they interact with each other? This is a consideration to the fact that they both are "of the sea" - Poseidon being the God of the Sea and Leukothea being the sea nymph (they should have been aware of each other but of course, this is just an assumption). They didn't acknowledge each other - both of them were just focusing on Odysseus and on him only.

So, it was interesting to read Van Duzer's analysis of these two "sea gods" in reference to Poseidon being the one who is "'without share,' and never touches the ocean," while Leucothea being the one who "'has a share,' and lives in the sea." This brings to mind that Poseidon is "without connection" (or the one who doesn't share) and Leukothea is "with connection" (or the one who share).

"Sharing" implies a contribution to something or with someone, and Leukothea shared with Odysseus the information and her veil (she didn't "give" the veil in a context of "giving gift" since Odysseus returned the veil back to her because it kinda served a purpose for him at that moment and no reason for him to keep it). And, Poseidon didn't "share" anything except hindering Odysseus from going ashore.
I have read The Odyssey for the first time, and found it, together with the information in this thread, interesting indeed. I agree with statements earlier in the thread that the poem seems to be multilayered in meaning.

Laura said:
{My thought on this "lack of respect" is that it includes a denial of existence and lack of care in observing reality and interacting with it as it is. Other ideas, anyone?}

The Odyssey is mentioned in the Wikipedia entry on hubris:
Hubris, also hybris, means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.[...]
In the Odyssey, the behaviour of Penelope's suitors is called hubris by Homer, possibly still in a broader meaning than was later applied. The blinding and mocking of Polyphemos called down the nemesis of Poseidon upon Odysseus; Poseidon already bore Odysseus a grudge for not giving him a sacrifice when Poseidon prevented the Greeks from being discovered inside the Trojan Horse. Specifically, Odysseus' telling Polyphemos his true name after having already escaped was an act of hubris.[...]
Aristotle defined hubris as shaming the victim, not because anything happened to you or might happen to you, but merely for your own gratification. Hubris is not the requital of past injuries—that is revenge. As for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this: men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater.
(Source: _

Odyssevs reminds me to some degree of Odin from norse mythology. Not only because of the names: Odin was a lot «out travelling». Both are described as clever, using strategies, disguises, and different names.
Odin is also associated with trickery, cunning, and deception. Most sagas have tales of Odin using his cunning to overcome adversaries and achieve his goals, such as swindling the blood of Kvasir from the dwarves.
(Source: _

Odin was maybe (under the name Odr) married to Freya, who cried «tears of gold» in his absence, resembling Penelope.
The chapter adds that not only was Freyja very clever, but that she and her husband Óðr had two immensely beautiful daughters, Gersemi and Hnoss, "who gave their names to our most precious possessions." [...] Odin was said to have learned the mysteries of seid from the Vanic goddess and völva Freyja, despite the unwarriorly connotations of using magic.
(Source: _

There's also these parallelisms:
The "windy tree" from which the victim hangs is often identified with the world tree Yggdrasil by commentators. The entire scene, the sacrifice of a god to himself, the execution method by hanging the victim on a tree, and the wound inflicted on the victim by a spear, is often compared to the crucifixion of Christ as narrated in the gospels. The parallelism of Odin and Christ during the period of open co-existence of Christianity and Norse paganism in Scandinavia (the 9th to 12th centuries, corresponding with the assumed horizon of the poem's composition) is also evident from other sources. To what extent this parallelism is an incidental similarity of the mode of human sacrifice offered to Odin and the crucifixion, and to what extent Christianity exerted direct influence on the mythology associated with Odin, is a complex question on which scholarly opinions vary."
(Source: _

The citation above states that there's two possibilities, either influence from christianity on the norse mythology, or that the similarity is a coincidence. As mentioned in this thread, and elsewhere on this site, the influence might have been in the opposite way, from shamanism to christianity.

The myths of the Vanir-Aesir war also show some resemblances with the Trojan war: In the central poem Voluspa from the ancient collection Poetic Edda, the war is initiated by a Vanir woman that is introduced among the Aesir. The war was long, and «the defense wall was broken of the Aesir's stronghold».

In the first of the two stanzas, the völva says that she remembers the first war in the world, when Gullveig was stabbed with spears and then burnt three times in one of Óðinn's halls, yet that Gullveig was reborn three times. In the later stanza, the völva says that they called Gullveig Heiðr (Meaning "Bright One or potentially "Gleaming" or "Honor") whenever she came to houses, that she was a wise völva, and that she cast spells. Heiðr performed seiðr where she could, did so in a trance, and was "always the favorite of wicked women."
«Odin shot a spear, hurled it over the host;
that was still the first war in the world,
the defense wall was broken of the Æsir's stronghold;
the Vanir, indomitable, were trampling the plain.
These stanzas are unclear, particularly the second half of stanza 23, but the battle appears to have been precipitated by the entry of Gullveig/Heiðr among the Æsir.
(Source: _

«Trojaborg» is also mentioned in the old norse myths, and similarly to the parallelisms between Odin/shamanism and christianity, scholars mean that it is due to late influences.

The spinning females in the Odyssevs might symbolise seid (which is regarded as a norse variant of shamanism, mainly performed by females).
The etymology of seiðr is unclear, but related words in Old High German and Old English are related to "cord, string," or "snare, cord, halter," and there is a line in verse 15 of the skaldic poem Ragnarsdrápa that uses seiðr in that sense. However, it is not clear how this derivation relates to the practice of seiðr. It has been suggested that the use of a cord in attraction may be related to seiðr, where attraction is one element of the practice of seiðr magic described in Norse literature and with witchcraft in Scandinavian folklore. However, if seiðr involved "spinning charms," that would explain the distaff, a tool used in spinning wool, that appears to be associated with seiðr practice.
(Source: _

bngenoh said:
Laura said:
December 10, 1994
Frank, Laura, Terry and Jan.
Q: (L) Was the DNA change that we are experiencing programmed into us so that after so many generations these changes would just sort of kick in?
A: Close.
Q: (L) So, we all selected certain bodies before we incarnated that would be prime for this programming?
A: Are you ready to be hermaphrodites?
Q: (L) Is that what we are going to be?
A: Wait and see.

This quote got me think of seid again, as some persons that probably were practisioners of seid were buried with items that normally belonged to the opposite sex. Similar practices is also found in shamanism elsewhere:
Shamans may exhibit a two-spirit identity, assuming the dress, attributes, role or function of the opposite sex, gender fluidity and/or same-sex sexual orientation. This practice is common, and found among the Chukchi, Sea Dayak, Patagonians, Araucanians, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Navajo, Pawnee, Lakota, and Ute, as well as many other Native American tribes. Indeed, these two-spirited shamans were so widespread as to suggest a very ancient origin of the practice.
(Source: _

According to norse mythology, Odin learned seid from Freya, which ruled along with her brother Frey. There's also this, from the Wave-series, about hermaphrodites and old religion:
The divinity in the old religion was not a female or a male figure, but was both male and female. This does not mean that the ancient peoples were hermaphrodites, but rather it symbolized the balanced right- and left-brain function state prior to the Fall.

The fact that women were on an equal footing with men, in terms of honor and respect, makes it seem to the modern patriarchal mind that it was a female dominated society. But these were not peoples who were ruled by women. They were cultures in which men and women were in harmony and in which the brain functions were balanced so that they were enabled to “transduce” the cosmic energies into their reality for the purpose of active creation.

The Vanir seemed to be such a matriarchal people, with a pair of siblings as rulers, one male and one female. The Aesir seemed to be patriarchal. This «first war in the world» from the myth of a war between these people, could it symbolise the split between the female and male parts? (And is the female in the myths about the war, the same as Helen in Troy, and as Laura have pointed of, thus the same as Sarah in the bible?)

Some shcolars that write about norse mythology, means that Gullveig in this war myth is another name of Freya, the greatest goddess among the Vanir, and the most cunning in their form of magic. Freya owned a golden necklace which was a great treasure. (More: _ Laura tells about a meditation with a vision of receiving an unusual necklace in her autobiography (, that reminded me of this mythological necklace. Laura described hers as «made up of a series of balls of gold that were graduated like a strand of pearls.» That structure parallels to some degree the structure of the Odyssey, too.

Laura has mentioned in this thread that Wilkens, the author of Where Troy Once Stood, means that The Odyssey is about an initiation process. Mircea Eliade (Shamanism) also mentions Odyssevs, and compare his story to other initiations.

Odysseus probably believed that he had merely 'assisted' the gods in spreading the plague in the Trojan camp, whereas in reality he had set a trap for the Immortals for which he would be severely punished. As we all know, he had to wander for ten years over the seas suffering terrible woes. This was imposed upon him by Poseidon, not in his function as god of the ocean, but in his quality as lord of the subconscious. The initiates among Homer's public would certainly have interpreted the Odyssey from a different perspective than the profane. The purification of the soul through harsh trials has always been a prerequisite for initiation into the Mysteries, and for Odysseus the way to become an initiate or, as Homer calls it, 'god-like', was long and painful indeed.
(Source: _

«The God Poseidon» might have been representing some part of Odyssevs: Maybe he set out on the journey caused by some kind of self-punishment, like remorse for things he did in the Trojan War? He cried for what he had done afterwards. There's a possibility that the water, the sea, the adversaries of the ocean represent emotional aspects (after the war, and during the initiation / journey home).

Then there's the tree theme: The olive planted inside the house of Odyssevs and Penelope.

Mircea Eliade writes this about election among the Buryat and the Teleut (page 75):
The tree that is used in the initiation, and that also resembles the one put in the house of a newly married couple, represent [...] the life of the celestial wife; and the cord that connects this tree (planted in the yurt) with the shaman's tree (in the courtyard) is the emblem of the nuptial union between the shaman and his spirit wife.
(Men were shamans among these people.)

From the Viking age in Scandinavia there's found a lot of «gullgubber» depicting a couple looking at each other, often holding a branch from a tree between them. (Some information here: _

There's also the mountain theme. The Phaecians are hidden in a ring of mountains, and Mircea Eliade mentions a «cosmic mountain» reaching the pole star as a common theme among people with shamans.

Some has proposed that the island Trenyken is portraited as Thrinacia in the Odyssevs. This doesn't fit with Wilkens theory (or rather, not with all of it, it still fit with a lot of it). I read this on the web when I started on the Odyssevs thread, but the information seems to have been deleted.

However, in a search this book appeared: _, stating that:
Homer’s legendary Island of Thrinacia, and Trenyken in outer Lofoten, Norway, are one and the same. [...] For starters, this reconstruction of the whereabouts of the ancient World of Homer implies that there must have been an advanced culture in the high north thousands of years ago. This lends credit to what is until today told about such a culture, through an ancient storytelling tradition from Finland. Told from generation to generation in unbroken line since Pagan times, the Bock Saga tells the story of a Lost Civilization we until now only have been getting glimpses of through legends, conjecture and fairy tales. This also brings light onto the shadowy forces which eventually destroyed this most ancient culture. But long before that final destruction another catastrophe, and a more hostile climate, forced many from this lost Norse Civilization to migrate southwards. Eventually they became well known in the Mediterranean, not only as the Sea Peoples, including the Philistines of the Bible, but also as the Hyperboreans and Plato’s people from Atlantis.
I haven't read it, the excerpts are from the book description. The book is from 2011. The author also states that Wilkens' work was among his main inspirations.

The Trenyken island seems to be interesting:
On the rock- and bird-island Trenyken, which belongs to Røst, 50 metres above sea level, lies Helvete, one of altogether four caves on the Lofoten, in which mysterious wall paintings were discovered. In the middle part of the altogether 100 metre long cave, at the dividing line between darkness and light, one found six red paintings that show about 30 cm big, dancing human beings with spread legs. Further down the cave there are three other illustrations that, according to the scientists, probably symbolize gods of the Stone Age man. They show figures of different sizes: one is about 70 cm high with two horns instead of a head, stretched out arms and nine fingers on the right and four fingers on the left side. The second figure is about 30 cm big and positioned in the middle between the first and a third one, the latter being only partly preserved and probably looking like the first one. The drawings of the fingers were puzzling, since usually cave paintings do not show figures with four fingers on one hand and five on the other. But then again the same was discovered in paintings of gods in Borg, on the Lofoten island Vestvågøya, as well as in Nascasletta in Peru.
(Source: _
Fascinating, Stellaria_graminea! Thank you very much for that. It's the outline of a book that you could write!
[quote author=Meager]
As the small size and poverty of the islands bore no relation to the huge dimensions of their shrines, it is tempting to regard them as having been a kind of ancient Mediterranean Delphi - a forerunner of the original Delphi dedicated, not to the cult of Apollo, but to a female, subterranean power, that of the great snake Delphine, whose name conceals an archaic word for the womb. The god of light did not prevail at Delphi until he had slain the serpent with his arrows. No such transition from an ancient tellurian to a uranian religion took place on Malta and Gozo.
But oracles are generally closely associated with subterranean powers, and the oracle of Delphi was older than Apollo; the consultation of oracles seems to have been a feature of the ancient Maltese cult.

There are also indications that the sick and infirm went to the shrines to be healed and that, as in classical times, people used to sleep in them in order to enter into communion in dream with the powers of the underworld and to obtain counsel, predictions about the future, or relief from suffering."

Have been reviewing a little on Oracles and in particular the Delphian Oracle from Hall's book, STOAA. In it he discusses the prevailing stories and then puts forth what he considers as being more to the point - here is an example:

The story of the original discovery of the oracle is somewhat as follows: Shepherds tending their flocks on the side of Mount Parnassus were amazed at the peculiar antics of goats that wandered close to a great chasm on its southwestern spur. The animals jumped about as though trying to dance, and emitted strange cries unlike anything before heard. At last one of the shepherds, curious to learn the cause of the phenomenon, approached the vent, from which were rising noxious fumes. Immediately he was seized with a prophetic ecstasy; he danced with wild abandon, sang, jabbered inarticulate sounds, and foretold future events. Others went close to the fissure, with the same result. The fame of the place spread, and many came to learn of the future by inhaling the mephitic fumes, which exhilarated to the verge of delirium.

Some of those who came, being unable to control themselves, and having temporarily the strength of madmen, tore themselves from those seeking to restrain them, and, jumping into the vent, perished. In order to prevent others from doing likewise, a wall was erected around the fissure and a prophetess was appointed to act as mediator between the oracle and those who came to question it. According to later authorities, a tripod of gold, ornamented with carvings of Apollo in the form of Python, the great serpent, was placed over the cleft, and on this was arranged a specially prepared seat, so constructed that a person would have difficulty in falling off while under the influence of the oracular fumes. just before this time, a story had been circulated that the fumes of the oracle arose from the decaying body of Python. It is possible that the oracle revealed its own origin.

This continues for a few pages and recounts the rhythmic hexameter, also used in Homers Iliad and Odyssey. Further along, what got my attention was the following:

It is generally admitted that the effect of the Delphian oracle upon Greek culture was profoundly constructive. James Gardner sums up its influence in the following words: "It responses revealed many a tyrant and foretold his fate. Through its means many an unhappy being was saved from destruction and many a perplexed mortal guided in the right way. It encouraged useful institutions, and promoted the progress of useful discoveries. Its moral influence was on the side of virtue, and its political influence in favor of the advancement of civil liberty." (See The Faiths of The World.)

It goes on to discuss different oracles (trees, kettles and such). There was a whole lot of communicating going on and it seems that some became clear channel influences, pointing out, if correctly stated, tyrants, virtue, political influence and civil liberty. These things stated waned for the most part since of course, but it seems that something, similar to what the C's are saying, if people want too hear and measure these very things - what is, what we are, what possibilities lie ahead. In our general society, unlike times passed, we care not to listen and are quick to dismiss all that does not conform.

Is it any wonder the priests suppressed these things, perhaps for the very fear of being pathologically pointed out once things changed.
Since The Kalevala was mentioned in the description of the book in my previous post in this thread, I finally checked it out. (The Kalevala is available at _

There's a lot of similarities between The Odyssey and The Kalevala: Many suitors and beautiful maidens, building magical vessels for transportation over the sea, fighting in water, an refugee island that reminds me somewhat of Calypsos island, and there's also an evil female in a rock in the same river as a deadly whirlpool similar to Scylla and Charybdis. The heroes in the Kalevala are islanders, like Odyssevs. There's also trees and a mountain (copper mountain). Parts of The Kalevala seems very similar to shamanism, for example when the hero Lemminkainen is cut in pieces and later sewn together.

In the preface to The Kalevala on web, (_, it is postulated that the poem is very old, maybe 3000 years or older. However, the poem consist of many parts, and these parts are collected over some time from different sources. The parts might be of different age.

The water theme seems profound. The Kalevala starts with Ilmarinen, a «daughter of the ether», that struggles with water and gives birth to our world, through the delivery of eggs. (Tolkien has said he was inspired by the Kalevala, in The Silmarillion he tells about a male creator, named Iluvatar. Seemingly, the name is from Kalevala, just a little bit altered, and no more female.)

Odyssevs have to struggle with water, like the «dather of the ether» Ilmarinen, as well as the male heroes of The Kalevala. I think this struggle with water is important.

There's a person in Kalevala who does not struggle with water, Kullerwoinen (_ and onwards). (He seems clearly to be the inspiration of another Tolkien character, Turin Turambar, parts of Silmarillion is almost equal to the Kalevala at this point.)

Kullerwoinen is a failed hero. He is prone to follow the first suggestion that appear in his head (just like following what Kahneman names «system 1» in Thinking, Fast and Slow, with no control altogether by «system 2», no critical thinking). This is disastrous both for him and his surroundings.

Kullerwoinen is kidnapped as a little child, and the kidnappers tried to kill him. First by putting him in a basket of willow in the water. (Sounds familiar?)

Then the heroes well considered,
And the women gave their counsel,
How to kill the magic infant,
That their tribe may live in safety.
It appeared the boy would prosper;
Finally, they all consenting,
He was placed within a basket,
And with willows firmly fastened,
Taken to the reeds and rushes,
Lowered to the deepest waters,
In his basket there to perish.

Kullerwoinen survives. Then the kidnappers tries to burn him, he survives. Then he is crucified in an oak tree. Still, survives. The kidnappers stop to try to kill him, but then Kullwerwoinen kills a baby and do a lot of other bad things. How Kullwerwoinen follows the first suggestion that pops up in his head is described in connection to his evil deeds. He end up with seducing his own sister, who kills herself (like Nienor in Tolkiens Silmarillion). After that, he kills himself with a sword.

The story of a baby in a basket on water reminds of Moses, of course. In the Kalevala, this story is connected to the failed hero, doing evil deeds. I wondered a bit about the symbolism in the basket floating on the water: As the other, more succesful heroes, all have to fight with the water, not just float on it. The story might represent a failure to struggle with water, being hindered from doing that.

The Kalevala formulates a warning after the story about Kullerwoinen:

"O, ye many unborn nations,
Never evil nurse your children,
Never give them out to strangers,
Never trust them to the foolish!
If the child is not well nurtured,
Is not rocked and led uprightly,
Though he grow to years of manhood,
Bear a strong and shapely body,
He will never know discretion,
Never eat. the bread of honor,
Never drink the cup of wisdom."

Well, it's not only Kullerwoinen that has been raised badly!

There's a saying in my country that it is important to «keep head above water» to have control, when things are stressful and problematic, to do the right decisions, and not the emotionally lead and hasty ones. Maybe «being islanders» symbolises something similar. Odyssevs is an islander, and so are Wainamoinen and the other «real heroes» in the Kalevala. Maybe it symbolises firm ground/attachment in the struggle with water, or that a part of the mind is above water – that «system 2» has control with the water.

Then there's this:
And, I don’t think it is taking the analogy too far to say that a ligand is the cellular equivalent of a phallus. Ligand comes from the Latin ligare, or that which binds. The same word is also the root of religion. Curious, yes? But we will leave speculation on that matter to a later time, also.

In norse mythology, there's stories about a kind of magic that can manipulate other people (seidr, _ There's an old word connected to seid, to hurt and manipulate people by sending spirits, or sending something into people. This word has been discussed etymologically, and connected to both staff and phallus. What is this word? Gand.

Although there's only fragments of information left about this kind of magic, the descriptions of it might fit into this:
And it is in this idea that we find a key. If it is true that our physiological state can be manipulated, causing a change in our mental and emotional state, then what we must do is learn to control the emotional and physiological state by conscious will.

More frightening than that is the fact that higher-level negative beings can most definitely control our emotions by controlling our chemistry, as described. This means they can cause us to feel love or hate or aversion or attraction based on their agenda, not our own.

(Learning IS fun!)

In The Kalevala, it is stated that "magic is the child of sea-foam", this might symbolise the same.

To build a magic vessel for a safe voyage in the sea is, of course, relevant in our days as well as in The Kalevala and The Odyssey. I find for example this very relevant in connection to both epics:

In 1990, scientist Howard Hall demonstrated that the immune system could be controlled. He instructed his subjects in cyber-physiologic strategies. The word cyber comes from the Greek kybernetes (kubernetes), which means to steer or the navigator. It is interesting that one of the names for the goddess Isis is “the navigator.” And the process of unveiling Isis is that of acquiring knowledge.

Identifying, releasing and expressing emotion that has been suppressed is a significant step in the direction of taking charge of your ship and learning to navigate it. But at the same time it is essential to learn to transform emotions.

In both cases, the object is to train the consciousness to achieve higher states of mind in the face of the cold, hard facts of life in the material world; to gain mastery over the physical, programmed emotions; to become the navigator.

It is in this sense that the Cassiopaeans teach us that knowledge protects. To have a full field of awareness is to be in control of your ship no matter what may erupt into your life. Information is the bridge between consciousness and matter and without this bridge, matter and its programs – the Predator’s mind – will dominate.

The Tree theme is as mentioned above also present in The Kalevala. First, a big oak is destroyed, and parts is scattered in all directions. Later on, a healing balsam is made, that works for both trees and humans. It is made from herbs and a lot of other things gathered over a large area. This might mean knowledge, and the tree might be our neuronal network, as discussed in chapter 69 of The Wave.

In The Kalevala, there's also Mariatta (_, a story that resembles Maria and Jesus. She is a virgin who gets pregnant with a mountain-berry, and give birth to a child in a stable. After some trouble, this child is blessed, given royal heirship, and said to become a mighty ruler. The old religion is then waning, and the hero Wainamoinen leaves the country in his magic copper vessel.
In The Silmarillion, Tolkien seems to have combined aspects of Kullerwoinen from The Kalevala and Sigurd who killed the dragon Fafnir in norse mythology (_ I wondered why and ended up with checking the myths about Sigurd again.

There were some similarities. Just like Kullerwoinen (and Moses), there exist a myth in which Sigurd was put in a vessel in a stream as a baby. Laura has also mentioned that a baby in a vessel is present in an european myth earlier in this thread. Maybe Moses had a lot of company on his river trip?

Moses, Kullerwoinen and Sigurd were also raised among other people than their parents.

Here's from the myth about Sigurd (_
The Old Norse Þiðrekssaga (chapters 152-168) relates a slightly different tale, with Regin as the dragon and Mimir as Regin's brother and foster-father to Sigurd. In this version, King Sigmund returns home from travel and hears that his wife Sisibe has been accused of illicit relations with a thrall. Although the accusation is a lie told by two of his noblemen whose lustful advances Sisibe rejected, Sigmund believes it and orders the noblemen to take her into the forest and kill her. One is moved by pity for her, and the two fight. As they fight, Sisibe gives birth to a child (Sigmund's) and places it in a crystal vessel, which is kicked into a river and travels downstream. Sisibe dies; the vessel is found by a doe, which nurses the infant. Later, the young child is found by a wise smith of the forest, Mimir who names him Sigurd (although a few times the saga calls him Sigfred) and takes him as his own. When the child grows large and willful, Mimir asks his brother, Regin, a dragon, to kill Sigurd. But Sigurd slays the dragon and then kills his disloyal foster-father.

I do wonder what the origin of the baby in a vessel in a river stream is. Finns has a language derived from the same root as the Hungarians language. Some scholars have put forward that the myths about Sigurd came to Europe with goths returning to northern Europe from areas around the Black Sea. The goths were invaded and dominated by Huns after they traveled southwards (_ Then there's the myth that some evil women among the Goths were expelled on the travel from Scandinavia to these southern areas, and gave rise to the Huns. Also, there's Lauras writings about the Return of the Mongols and Ashkhenazi Jews, also present in the area around the Black Sea ( Some myths might very well have been exchanged in this area.

The Odyssey is said to be written by the blind Homer. In norse mythology, there's a blind god Hodr «Höðr (often anglicized as Hod, Hoder, or Hodur), _öðr», who is one of the sons of Odin. Since Odyssevs reminds me of Odin, I found this similarity in name curious. Might be just accidentally, of course.

I was also thinking about the tree in the house of Odyssevs and Penelope. It reminds me of a well developed brain, with branches (dendrites, the receiving apparatus) stretching out in all directions. With Odyssevs and Penelope, the male and female principle, in a perfectly balanced union inside. With a firm attachment to the ground (which might mean good connection to reality?).

I also wondered why Atlantis was an «island empire» and worldwide at the same time. Maybe the islands of Atlantis symbolize the same as the islands in the old myths of The Odyssey and The Kalevala?

The combination of the principles «three balancing meanings» and «as above, so below» gives six, as the metre in The Odyssey.

Then there's Wilkens who connects The Odyssey to the Celts, for example (,5788.0.html):
Plato had doubts about the Greek origins of Homer’s work because not only do the physical descriptions in his poems not correspond to the Greek world, but also the Homeric philosophy is very different from the mainstream Greek philosophy we know about today.
According to Homer, the philosophy of the ancient world was that there was a third element that linked opposing elements. Between the body and the soul, there is the spirit. Between life and death there is the transformation that is possible to the individual, between father and mother there is the child who takes the characteristics of both father and mother, and between good and evil there is the SPECIFIC SITUATION that determines which is which and what ought to be done.
Aristotle considered Gaul to be the «teacher» of Greece and the Druids to be the «inventors of philosophy.» The Greeks also considered the Druids to be the world’s greatest scholars, and whose mathematical knowledge was the source of Pythagoras‘ information.
What we can discern from Wilken's work is that there was an ancient and noble civilization associated with the Megaliths that no longer exists and even its high knowledge and nuanced philosophy has been forgotten - except for the Iliad and Odyssey.

There's a lot of similarities between celtic and norse mythology, maybe both contain their traces of something forgotten for a long time.

As mentioned earlier, there's a distinction in norse mythology between two groups of gods, the Aesir and Vanir. The Vanir, along with Odin, were much more attacked by the church than the rest of the old mythologies.

According to wikipedia, «The Vanir are only attested in these Old Norse sources, unlike the Æsir, who are attested widely among all tribes of the Germanic peoples.» «Scholars have [...] asked whether the Vanir originally represented pre-Indo-European deities or Indo-European fertility gods» (_ They are clearly different from the rest of the gods, among others they practiced sibling marriage among their ruling class, like the egyptian royals. (Or maybe they just talked about the importance of having both the male and female principle in charge, and was misunderstood.)

In the poem Alvismol (_, a lot of «kennings» are listed up for the different kinds of gods, humans, dwarves, elves and so on. A «kenning» is a poetic circumlocution. The «kennings» probably refer to myths and poems, known by the audience, but now lost.

I find some of the «kennings» mentioned as used among the Vanir curious. They are (I included all mentioned in the poem): «The Ways, The Weaver of Winds, Kites of the Wind, The Hush of the Winds, The Wave, Wildfire, The Wand, The Foaming». That's just words, of course, but they might refer to something lost, important enough to be used as a «kenning» in a poem. (The poem is here: _

If The Odyssey refers to a struggle inside, a struggle to be in charge of his emotions and unconscious, there's more that comes to mind. Castaneda writes that «they gave us their mind». In norse mythology, there are three gods that gave the humans different parts. The three gods Odin, Hoenir and Lodurr encountered lifeless human bodies.

Odin gave spirit or breath, or both (spirit and breath is the very same word in old norse, which is of course interesting in relation to the EE program). Hoenir gave reason, according to _, or spirit or sense, according to _óðurr. Lodurr gave film of flesh and comely hues, or blood and goodly colour. (What Lodurr gave is discussed, because the meaning isn't straightforward. «The word lá is obscure and the translations "film of flesh" and "blood" are just two of the many possibilities that have been suggested. The phrase "litu góða" is somewhat less difficult and traditionally interpreted as "good colours", "good shape" or even "good looks".» There might be a possibility that the myth originally refers to a distinction between «body mind» and reasoning, maybe even parts of the brain of different origin. Or maybe corresponding to intellectual center, emotional center and moving center.)

«As above, so below», a war between «gods» might refer to a struggle between parts of the body/brain to attain harmony, and that might apply to The Odyssey.

The island Trenyken, mentioned in reply 482, lies in an area named Hålogaland, which literally means «holy land». A "holy land" to the far north, with caves with paintings (although more primitive than the more famous ones), rich animal life and hunting grounds, known for it's "magic", and beautiful mountains coming straight up from the sea. I do not know why it was regarded a holy land.
voyageur said:
Have been reviewing a little on Oracles and in particular the Delphian Oracle from Hall's book, STOAA. <snip>

This continues for a few pages and recounts the rhythmic hexameter, also used in Homers Iliad and Odyssey. Further along, what got my attention was the following:

It is generally admitted that the effect of the Delphian oracle upon Greek culture was profoundly constructive. James Gardner sums up its influence in the following words: "It responses revealed many a tyrant and foretold his fate. Through its means many an unhappy being was saved from destruction and many a perplexed mortal guided in the right way. It encouraged useful institutions, and promoted the progress of useful discoveries. Its moral influence was on the side of virtue, and its political influence in favor of the advancement of civil liberty." (See The Faiths of The World.)

It goes on to discuss different oracles (trees, kettles and such). There was a whole lot of communicating going on and it seems that some became clear channel influences, pointing out, if correctly stated, tyrants, virtue, political influence and civil liberty. These things stated waned for the most part since of course, but it seems that something, similar to what the C's are saying, if people want too hear and measure these very things - what is, what we are, what possibilities lie ahead. In our general society, unlike times passed, we care not to listen and are quick to dismiss all that does not conform.

Is it any wonder the priests suppressed these things, perhaps for the very fear of being pathologically pointed out once things changed.

That catches my attention to. One can thereby evaluate an "oracle" by their approach to politics, current events, general social issues, etc. An oracle that considers all that to be "beneath" consideration or which lies about obvious political issues/situations, and does NOT have a positive moral influence on people in their daily lives, has to be bogus, IMO.
I'm bumping this topic because I think it should be read and re-read now and again. :perfect: :lkj:
mglsmn said:
Today I have met this thread and it is a fascinating and incredible work.
Thanks to everybody

:welcome: to the forum mglsmn.

Since this is your first post on the forum, we would appreciate it if you could post a brief intro about yourself in the Newbies section, telling us how you found this forum, how long you've been reading it and/or the SOTT page, whether or not you've read any of Laura's books yet, etc.
I read an prose version / renarration of the Odyssey when I was about 12 years old. I liked the tale then and will read it again.
Khalsa said:
I came across this article a couple days ago. I can't explain it, but something about it seemed important. I bookmarked it and moved I've stumbled across this thread, and I can't help but think maybe this is a piece of the puzzle?

I know it's rather short, but it may contain something useful. Hope it helps. :)

Cited as being 1700 years old. Note sure what to make of this:

For instance, The text referring to "The Odyssey" tells a legendary story of ancient drug use: Helen of Troy, for whom the Trojan War had been fought, gives her guests a drug (possibly opium) that "takes away grief and anger, and brings forgetfulness of every ill," the text reads. "Whoever should drink this down when it is mixed in the bowl would not let fall a tear down his cheek in the course of that day at least. Imitate." The word "imitate" appears to indicate the students should copy the passage in some way. Ancient records say that some people believed this passage had a magical quality to it that could calm young people.

Which reminded me again of this Pythagoras paragraph:

The favorite method of healing among the Pythagoreans was by the aid of poultices. These people also knew the magic properties of vast numbers of plants. Pythagoras highly esteemed the medicinal properties of the sea onion, and he is said to have written an entire volume on the subject. Such a work, however, is not known at the present time. Pythagoras discovered that music had great therapeutic power and he prepared special harmonies for various diseases. He apparently experimented also with color, attaining considerable success. One of his unique curative processes resulted from his discovery of the healing value of certain verses from the Odyssey and the Iliad of Homer. These he caused to be read to persons suffering from certain ailments…

Be interesting to read the whole text.
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