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HOMER’s ODYSSEY, Ch. XX- SCORPIO II

Posted on November 7th, 2018 by Don Cerow

      Scorpio is one of the most powerful and passionate signs of the zodiac. Eleven signs of the Zodiac focus on the ins-and-outs of life.

Scorpio deals with death, checkmating life in its tracks.

Sex and death are said to be Scorpio’s keywords. It is a fixed WATER sign, signaling deep seated emotions and passions. You feel like you want to murder somebody. Ruled by Pluto (Hades to the Greeks), Scorpio finds Venus in its detriment and the Moon in its Fall. It is not appropriate to hang onto those who have passed over for too long. After a while it becomes morbid.

If we scan for death in this chapter we spot line 229, speaking of Odysseus,

If he’s dead already, lost in the House of Death . . .

That would be Scorpio. But this realm is not always found to be below ground. One of his servants, longing for the return of Odysseus, has this to say,

“Ah, but isn’t it worse                        (line 244)
to hold out here, tending the herds for upstarts
not their owners– suffering all the pains of hell?

If we expand on this central essence a little, Scorpio can be adultery, rape, murder, revenge, pornography, prostitution, whoring, sodomy, incest, XXX, blindfolds, chains and all the Marquis de Sade imagined.  It is a rage so strong that Scorpios will sometimes lie in silence, an emotional knot rising within them, afraid that if they begin to open the channel they will either be swept away in it’s current, or that what is revealed may be turned against them.

No reply. The wily one just shook his head,                        (line 201)
silent, his mind churning with thoughts of bloody work.

This is not normal anger. This anger cuts to the core.

But Athena had no mind to let the brazen suitors             (line 316)
            hold back now from their heart-rending insults-
she meant to make the anguish cut still deeper
into the core of Laertes’ son Odysseus.

The son of Odysseus, Telemachus, has just crossed the threshold of manhood, and he is becoming aware of all the debauchery that is going on all around him and is tired of it. He is even aware that the suitors are plotting his own death and tells them to bring it on.

“Ctesippus, you can thank your lucky stars                       (line 340)
            you missed our guest– he ducked your blow, by god!
Else I would have planted my sharp spear in your bowels–
your father would have been busy with your funeral,
not your wedding here.
Enough!
Don’t let me see more offenses in my house,
not from anyone! I’m alive to it all, now,
the good and the bad– the boy you knew is gone.
But I still must bear with this, the lovely sight . . .
sheep flocks butchered, wine swilled, food squandered–
how can a man fight off so many single-handed?
But no more of your crimes against me, please!
Unless you are bent in cutting me down, now,
and I’d rather die, yes, better that by far
than have to look on at your outrage day by day:
guests treated to blows, men dragging the serving-women
through our noble house, exploiting them all, no shame!”
Dead quiet.
The suitors all fell silent, hushed. 

Under Scorpio and it’s ruler Pluto (the God who abducted, raped, and murdered his queen), we have here the greatest fear that any of us must face, the fear of our own death. This was why Medusa’s head was embossed upon warriors’ shields, so that your enemy might be frozen in the response to confrontation and be more easily eliminated. Any that gazed upon the head of Medusa were frozen in stone.

      Here is a singular example of how Homer weaves this sentiment into his work. It is succinct and to the point and comes right at the beginning of the chapter.

      Hang onto your root chakra.
 
And there Odysseus lay . . .                                 (line 6)
            plotting within himself the suitors’ death—
awake, alert, as the women slipped from the house
the maids who whored in the suitors’ beds each night,

            tittering, linking arms and frisking as before.
The master’s anger rose in his chest
torn in thought, debating, head and heart—
should he up and rush them, kill them one and all-
or let them rut with their lovers one last time?

            The heart inside him growled low with rage,
            as a bitch mounting over her weak, defenseless puppies 
            growls, facing a stranger, bristling for a showdown—
            so he growled from his depths, hackles rising at their outrage.
            But he struck his chest and curbed his fighting heart:
            “Bear up, old heart! You’ve born worse, far worse,’
            that day when the Cyclops, man-mountain, bolted
your hardy comrades down. But you held fast—
Nobody but your cunning pulled you through
the monster’s cave you thought would be your death.”

Later in this chapter, it is Penelope who wishes for her own death, life being too painful to bear. The mythological Greeks believed that the rays of Apollo (the Sun) cut down men at death, while the rays of Moon light (Artemis) dispatched women.

When the queen had wept to her heart’s content                     (line 65)
she prayed to the Huntress, Artemis, first of all:
“Artemis- goddess, noble daughter of Zeus, if only
you’d whip an arrow through my breast and tear my life out,
now, at once! Or let some whirlwind pluck me up
and sweep me away along those murky paths and
fling me down where the Ocean River running
round the world rolls back on itself.

She then goes on to tell the myth of Pandareus’ daughters, girls kissed by death. 

Quick                                        (line 73)
            as the whirlwind swept away Pandareus’ daughters–
years ago, when the gods destroyed their parents,
leaving the young girls orphans in their house.
But radiant Aphrodite nursed them well
on cheese and luscious honey and heady wine,
and Hera gave them beauty and sound good sense,
more than all other women– virgin Artemis made them tall
and Athena honed their skills to fashion lovely work.
But then, when Aphrodite approached Olympus’ peaks
to ask for the girls their crowning day as brides
from Zeus who loves the lightning– Zeus who knows all,
all that’s fated, all not fated, for mortal man–
then the storm spirits snatched them away
and passed them on to the hateful Furies,
yes, for all their loving care.

Just so                               (line 87)
            may the gods who rule Olympus blot me out!
Artemis with your glossy braids, come shoot me dead–
so I can plunge beneath  this loathsome earth
with the image of Odysseus vivid in my mind.
Never let me warm the heart of a weaker man!

This chapter is, as a WATER sign, also laced with omens and portents. Signs are being given throughout the work, the one listed here as happening just before the massacre sets in. How many themes of death and the dying are implied within these lines?

So he vowed                      (line 385)
            and Athena set off uncontrollable laughter in the suitors,
crazed them out of their minds– mad, hysterical laughter
seemed to break from the jaws of strangers, not their own,
and the meat they were eating oozed red with blood–
tears flooded their eyes, hearts possessed by grief.
The inspired seer Theoclymenus wailed out in their midst,
“Poor men, what terror is this that overwhelms you so?
Night shrouds your heads, your faces, down to your knees–
cries of mourning are bursting into fire– cheeks rivering tears–
the walls and the handsome crossbeams dripping dank with blood!
Ghosts, look, thronging the entrance, thronging the court,
go trooping down to the realm of death and darkness!
The sun is blotted out of the sky– look there–
a lethal mist spreads all across the earth!”

What a great Halloween costume these lines would make, huh?



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