Odysseus and Calypso (Book VII, 240 sq., Book I and Book V)

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Calypso was the daughter of the Titan Atlas who knew the abysses of the entire sea and watched over the high columns separating the sky from the earth.

Isolated on her ocean island, Calypso, the curly haired goddess with terrible cunning, had no connection with gods or men. She surrounded Odysseus (Ulysses) with care and friendship, nurtured him and promised to make him immortal and young forever. She was burning to take him as her husband, trying to make him forget Ithaca. But deep in his heart, he always refused.

He remained there for seven years, without stopping to shed tears on the immortal clothes that Calypso gave him. He did not taste the charms of the goddess, although he was obliged to spend his nights in bed with her. Then, the eighth year, on the orders of the gods but without the hero’s knowledge, she urged him to leave.

For the gods had held an assembly of which only Poseidon was absent. He had gone to the Ethiopians who, at the end of the world, were divided into two groups, one at dawn, the other at sunset, and he rejoiced in their company.

Zeus told everyone that Aegisthus had just paid for his crimes, for he did not heed the warnings he had given him through Hermes.

Then Athena expressed her grief about Odysseus (Ulysses) and the death threats against Telemachus. She asked Zeus, her father, why he made the hero’s stay with Calypso last so long. He replied that only Poseidon pursued him with his hatred and prevented his return because Odysseus (Ulysses) had blinded his son, the Cyclops Polyphemus. But he decreed in the name of all the gods the return of Odysseus (Ulysses).

Athena suggested then that Zeus send Hermes with this decree to Calypso while she herself would go to Telemachus to stimulate and protect him. Zeus agreed, describing to Hermes the future tribulations of Odysseus (Ulysses): the hero should leave alone on a raft and suffer another twenty days before reaching the land of the Phaeacians, parents of the gods, who would finally take him home.

Hermes flew over the waves, then walking on the purple sea, he reached the remote island of Calypso which was irrigated by four springs pouring their clear water. He expressed to the goddess the reason for his coming, imposed by Zeus, whose words he reported. Calypso complained, comparing her idyll to Eos’ love for Orion, who died under Artemis’ arrows, or to Demeter for Iasion, who was killed by Zeus. But she agreed to let the hero go. She gave him a lot of advice on how to build a raft, made sure to provide him with the necessary food, covered him with immortal clothes and promised him a favourable breeze. Odysseus (Ulysses), knowing that a simple raft was ill-equipped to face the perils of the sea, made her swear that she was not plotting some ill-fated project against him. Having sworn, the goddess could not help but tell him that he was running in the face of great trials, assuring him that he would regret not having stayed with her, becoming a god too. But Odysseus (Ulysses) said that his only desire was to return to his home and find Penelope.

Then Calypso showed him where to cut the trees and provided him with what was needed for the sails. In four days he built a well-designed and solid raft and set sail on the fifth.

Calypso is “the one who hides, who covers,” but also “the one who calls to the heights,” the spiritual power that offers the possibility of withdrawing from the game of incarnation.

As the daughter of Atlas, if we follow the genealogy given by Apollodorus, she contributes, like the Pleiades from whom she takes over, to fill in the mind the chasm created by the consciousness of separation. She symbolizes the last intermediate state between the world of the gods – the plane of the overmind – and that of human duality (Calypso has no relation to the gods or with men).

This state, the result from the definitive abandonment of all personality structures, from the tearing of the ego root, leads to a powerful temptation. In fact, it is not really a temptation, because the seeker no longer has ego and no trace of desire, but only an opportunity of choice between a definitive individual liberation and an unwavering will-aspiration to remain in solidarity with the rest of humanity. Whatever the enjoyments of this prospect of definitive and total liberation, they cannot undermine his aspiration and determination, for the seeker refuses to consider an individual liberation that would leave the rest of the world unchanged. But the means to implement this aspiration are still non-existent (Odysseus (Ulysses) aspires to return home but has no means to leave the island).

This individual liberation presents all aspects of accomplishment, which is why Calypso is “cunning.” Filled with the spiritual graces of total liberation, the seeker cannot enjoy them (Odysseus (Ulysses) does not experience the charms of Calypso). If he settled into this liberation, he would evolve towards a permanent non-duel state in the overmind and live beyond time by an incessant and spontaneous adaptation to the movement of becoming (Calypso promised Odysseus (Ulysses) to make him immortal and young for ever).

As long as the seeker remains a “prisoner” of this state, he participates in the non-duality (he wears the immortal clothes given to him by Calypso), but a non-duality that does not yet express the total unity of the Divine. Indeed, this unity can only be perfectly fulfilled in the body. This is why Odysseus (Ulysses) longs for a “return” to his origin (Odysseus (Ulysses) aspires to return to Ithaca). Indeed, a “return” represents always the infusion in the incarnation of what has been reached in the mind, according to the ascension-integration process of yoga.

Depending on how the seeker feels, this stage seems to last forever. Then another phase opens up, without him realizing which force initiated it: the superconscious stimulates a new impetus to yoga, the master of the subconscious being busy “awakening” the burning depths of his domain where what is to be born by transformation is intimately linked to the archaic processes of evolution, where the top joins the bottom, and the end the beginning (Zeus, in the name of all the gods, decrees the end of the stay at Calypso, although Poseidon is absent and rejoices among Ethiopians (the “vision of fire” or “vision of truth”) which at the end of the world are divided in two, some at dawn, the others at sunset).    

To establish the connection with the other processes that take place in parallel in the consciousness of the seeker, Homer states through the mouth of Zeus that Aegisthus had just been killed. We also know that this episode also corresponds to the return of Menelaus from Egypt “holding an ancient knowledge”.

This is the moment when the period of mystical union that follows the realization of perfect equality gives way to a yoga turned this time towards the body (Orestes avenges his father). On the other hand, and at the same time, the seeker has found in himself the ancient knowledge of the initiates of ancient Egypt who had travelled the path individually (which implies access to the memories of humanity). Even for Homer, the Old and Middle Kingdoms belonged to very ancient times.

In reality, the seeker was unable to find the means to put an end to this passive phase himself, not having a clear awareness of what was immobilizing him: he had to wait for the other yoga processes to come to an end.

This change of direction is also a delicate moment when, if not protected by spiritual forces, “the yoga of the future” would be in danger of being interrupted by the highest realisations of the ancient yogas (Telemachus almost fell into an ambush set up by the suitors).

Homer states through Zeus’ mouth that the superconscious that directs evolution is in no way responsible for the seeker’s tests. If he is roughed up, it is because he had to give up his powers of vision because of a remnant of ego, (Odysseus (Ulysses), wanting to know the presents that the Cyclops Polyphemus would give him, had to blind the giant who had imprisoned him, otherwise he would be dead). It was this same desire to appropriate the fruits of knowledge that caused the “fall” in Genesis and reached its climax today.

Through his access to the overmind, the seeker becomes aware of the trials awaiting him and concentrates on the “protection” of the future yoga (Zeus sent Hermes to Calypso, having informed him beforehand of the hero’s future adventures, while Athena went to Telemachus).

Perhaps the four springs pouring their clear waters on the island of Calypso can be compared to the four aspects of the Divine Mother.

The spiritual power that has contributed to the development of the Overmind “knows” that its mission will end with the new yoga, but can only but transmit the evolutionary impulse (Hermes acts “against his own will” by going to Calypso, but must obey Zeus).

As the seeker must go back into the incarnation, he cannot stay in the passivity induced by equality. But the powers of the mind that protected him during this period of expectation, help him, however, to create an embryo of structure to enable him to proceed on the path (Calypso complained about the loves of other goddesses who were also upset, but advised the hero to build the raft). They also give the necessary strength for the seeker to remain at the highest level of the Spirit while acting in the world, and provide him with spiritual support (Calypso also gave food, divine clothes and a supporting wind).

The seeker, however, needs to be assured that he will not go astray. This is granted to him, not without the confirmation of great trials to come (Odysseus (Ulysses) made Calypso swear that she was not planning some fatal project against him. Calypso having sworn, she could not help but tell him of great difficulties to come.)

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