Thursday, December 29, 2011

sixteenth night

it's a cold night outside. why don't we tell a story to warm us up.
well known is the tale of orpheus and eurydice, how she was taken from him by a snake bite and how he traveled to the underworld to find her and bring her back. but there are other tales that are trips to the underworld -- in greek, this is called "katabasis" or "descent." a hero travels to the underworld (or some other dystopic place) and returns. 
there are many examples of trips to the underworld, of heroes rescuing lost lovers, allegories of winter and summer, the sun and the moon, love and hate, life and death. 
but, while the hero sometimes does not achieve their goal - orpheus fails to rescue eurydice, after all - they do all return from the underworld. they return changed. they have had a manifestation, an epiphany. the realization of a great truth. 
there have been epiphanies in the real world, too. great ones. it was an apple that fell on newton's head that led him to discover gravity. it was a bath and spilled water that led archimedes to yell "eureka." and einstein -- well, allegedly, einstein realized that there was some unseen force in space when he was given something during his childhood. 
he was given a compass.

descent. on the twelfth night, before the feast of epiphany, i will descend. all because of a compass.


1 comment:

  1. where is this compass, and where does it lead you?