Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Odysseus and Ithaca

 I am a sucker for mythology, esp. Greek/Roman Mythology and this last weekend I watched the modern movie "Clash of the Titans" with Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, oh...wrong movie, I mean, Hades. Ever since I heard Neeson as Zeus saying "Release the Kraken!" in this really rich, low-tonal voice, I've been walking around my house saying that over and over  just because I love how he said it. My cats run under the bed every time I'm play acting Zeus. And yes, I know about hubris and how the Gods don't like our egos to get too narcissistic or else we're doomed to all sorts of trouble. Please know, I'm addressing the archetypal Gods/Goddesses here.

I know a lot of people scoff at mythology and say they have as much substance as a fairy-tale or nursery rhyme does, but they're missing the point. Fairy tales and myths teach us about who we are, where we came from and where we may possibly end up. The whole spiel from the bible about how God created "man" in "his" likeness, well, in the Greek mythical realm, it's really the opposite. The Greek Gods and Goddesses don't  have the untouchable, holier than thou  quality that many major religions seem to be stuck on. Their issues are OUR issues that we each play out as actors on a stage as Shakespeare said, (thinking of you, Jeff!).

I'm just talking about the Greek realm in this post as every polytheistic culture has different deities and myths.

Please know, I'm also not trying to make fun of or demean any Christian belief system. We all know Jesus was a pagan anyway, whooops!

 Back to "Clash of the Titans"; the movie, well, I wasn't expecting a lot so I ended actually being entertained. "We were amused" as one English Queen was known for saying.  Hades, poor Hades, he always gets a bad wrap because he's king of the Underworld and happened to abduct a young virginal maiden, Persephone to be his woman. Give the guy a break already.

What draws me to the deities is not their literal meaning or presence in the world but the historical facts and symbolism that has been attached to them. It's fascinating! The History Channel has a really well-done series about various gods/goddesses', creatures, places, etc...and on one show Odysseus; the famous or rather infamous hero from Homer's "Odyssey" and "The Iliad" was the subject. The show brought forth a lot of evidence from respected sources showing that the magical island of Ithaca where Odysseus ruled to be an actual place. One of my eWitch sisters mentioned she might perhaps post about her desire to go to Greece and I hope she does; because I love to hear what archetypal, mythological and historical places people are drawn to.

 Anyway, you might have noticed I like to share certain poems I stumble upon. I can't write poetry very well, but when I come across a poem that really moves me, I just want to share it with everyone I know. The poem I'll be ending the post with is very old and beloved. Whenever I reread it, I get it on a deeper level. It's a very meaningful poem to me and I hope you receive something out of it as well. What inspired this post  really comes from a certain goddess-witch I know named "Debra" over at "She Who Seeks". She's posting about her experiences with Standing Stones in the U.K. and I love hearing about the stories, myths, and her own personal experiences she's had along the way. With Debra and the Olympians in mind, here is the poem I so love;

When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.

At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy -
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.

Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don't in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn't anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn't deceived you.

So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you'll have understood what these Ithakas mean.

~Constantine P Cavafy~


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Thanks for the shout out, Wendy! And love that poem too.

Self Sagacity said...

I love mythology- I too wanted to watch the clash of the titans, but was afraid it will be cheesy like the ones I have seen in the past. Though the actors have made it more enticing, and now that I read your post, I will give it a try.

Gattina said...

I found the Greek methology also very interesting, but was very disappointed when I visited these places in Greece, there are only a couple of stones left, lol !
Unfortunately it doesn't contain any cat stories either !

Layla Morgan Wilde said...

I enjoyed this and there are more of us mythology buffs out there than you know ;-)

Autumn Belle @ KDP said...

This is interesting!

Wendy said...

Debra, you absolutely deserve "shout-out's! I am really inspired by your blog :)

Self Sagacity, I'd be interested to know if you watch the movie what you thought of it. I never said it wasn't a "little" bit cheesy, because it was. It's hard not too if mythology is supposed to be entertaining and not a greek tragedy ;)

Gattina, I agree with you about the lack of "cat" mythology in Greek/Roman culture which is why I embrace the Egyptian pantheon because of Bastet as well as the Scandinavian lore with Frejya and her cats. I think if I went to Greece I'd have to believe I was back in the old days instead of modern reality.

Layla, it doesn't surprise me that there are those who are into mythology out there esp. a certain goddess named "Layla" ;)

Autumn Belle, welcome to eWitch and so glad you found it interesting. Hope you keep coming back.

~Onreeone~ said...

I love Mythology and find it a very appealing. I took a class in college and didn't want it to end.

The movie, in my opinion was done very well. It took me a few moments to realize who was playing Hades.

In some ways Anne Rice wrote a book a long time ago called "Memnoch" and this book has been a fav of mine ever since. It reminded me of her portrayal of the "devil" and his fall from grace.

Nice Blog- thanks for sharing.

Wendy said...

Angie, I also stopped for a minute before I recognized "Hades" but as I kind of mentioned he was a lot like Voldemort in some ways. I'll have to check out the book by Anne Rice you mentioned. Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)


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