“On Mount Cyllene in the Peloponnese, as Tiresias came upon a pair of copulating snakes, he hit the pair with his stick. Hera was displeased, and she punished Tiresias by transforming him into a woman. As a woman, Tiresias became a priestess of Hera, married and had children, including Manto, who also possessed the gift of prophecy. After seven years as a woman, Tiresias again found mating snakes and she made sure to leave the snakes alone this time. As a result, Tiresias was released from his sentence and permitted to regain his masculinity.”
After being humbled with the lesson of respecting sexuality as essentially sacred, Tireseas strikes the Cadaceus third eye (the lunar and solar currents) with illumination. Only then does Tiresias transcend sexuality, integrate opposites and resolves all duality. Spiritually androgynous, he is more man than men, and more fully woman than women. The lower gods curse him with blindness in their jealousy, yet he still sees. He is only blind to their shadowplay in the burning vision of divine light.
With the awakening of the kundalini to the Cadaceus, the sexual desire retires without effort to suppress it. A celibate psychologically incarnates both man and woman in their essential, pure forms. The physical eyes, forgetting earthly forms, may go blind if one remains in the inner light too long or too often. Perhaps one may never return. Past and future are understood as time is dissolved in eternity. Here one grasps true Form even in blindness.
And of course there were the tales of the misadventures of Tireseas. Desirous of his graceful femininity or jealous of his manliness, they misjudged him from their lower minds and created stories about him being a sexual deviant. Those stories were propagated by the people tied up inside of Plato’s cave, enjoying the shadowplay with their popular myths and distortions, the ancient Greek version of Facebook.
Euridice died and went to the underworld. Orpheus descended and asked the gods to give her life again. They refused until he moved their souls with his beautiful melodies. They said he could return with her to life above if and only if he never looked back to see if she was following him. He consented but when he finally reached the light he looked back in joy but Euridice, who was not yet above, disappeared from his sight.
Aspects of the Orpheus myth were changed or given different interpretations by many Greeks throughout the ages. Sometimes it was interpreted that Orpheus had failed the test of the gods because he looked back. In other interpretations it is emphasized that Euridice was never following him; her presence and hope for her return was the punishment of the gods because he disobeyed the gods by not accepting death. I like the story because the central lesson is so applicable to other aspects of life: if the gods give you grace and the go ahead for a new life, then go straight forward and don’t look back or astray.
I know nothing of the artist who painted this portrait but it seems to suggest Orpheus; perhaps the artists own portrayal of the Orpheus myth, of what Orpheus truly sought in his journey, or perhaps of what he desired to put back into alignment. I love what is expressed about the alignment of the family, of the masculine and the feminine, their reproduction, and the harmony of art and spirituality. Here, the juxtaposition of a black and African Orpheus instead of a white Greek figure expresses how these fundamental archetypal structures about gender, family, art, and spirituality are similar across cultures.
The “Dance Of The Blessed Spirits” is a part of Orpheus’ journey in the underworld. Gluck’s musical depiction of this episode is one of my favorite pieces of music.