The manuscripts of the Odyssey date from the Middle Ages and we know little about the transmission of texts since Homeric times, except that there was most likely a very long period of oral transmission.
However, to the extent that these texts reflect experiences of spiritual progression on which all great mystics agree, regardless of their religious or cultural affiliation, we may consider them valid from the point we are interested in as long as the experiences overlap. Studies on the origin of the text and controversies about the author (or authors) are therefore foreign to us. Similarly, we will leave aside discussions about the last chapter of the Odyssey, “the Second Nekuia”, which some linguists believe has been added to the original text.
(The interpretation of the Odyssey has been done with French translations of the Greek text and the present document is only its translation from French into English. The following paragraph therefore only applies to the original French interpretation.
As for the Iliad, multiple translations were used, mainly the one of Médéric Dufour and Jeanne Raison (Garnier-Flammarion) as well as that of Victor Bérard (Les Belles Lettres), selecting in each of them what seemed to be the more accurate to us. On rare occasions, we used our own translation when the ones we had did not correspond in any way to the spiritual experience evoked.)
We will approach the study according to the progression on the spiritual path and not according to the structure of the text which follows rules of dramaturgy. However, whenever this is not incompatible, we will keep the division into Books, as we did for the Iliad.
Although the Odyssey describes a very advanced phase of yoga, this poem can probably be just as useful to everyone, no matter how far s/he is on the path. We have said that many myths should be seen as processes and not as steps to be taken once and for all, even if they relate to the final phase of a particular process.
For example, this is the case with the myth of Perseus, which symbolizes victory over fear and which, according to the ancients, was taking place before the labours of Heracles. Of course, fear cannot be overcome at once. The seeker has to overcome it first in the mind, then in the vital and finally in the depth of his body. It is this final step that is described when the seeker has to learn from the daughters of Phorcys, the three Graeae, symbols of first elements of memories and consciousness at the origin of life. But the tools given by the Nymphs and Hermes, that is, withdrawal or non-identification, quiet mind, change of habits, etc. can be useful to all.
This is also the case with illusion and the many obstacles that stand in the way, both guardians and helpers of evolution.
Crossing the boundaries of each of the planes leads the seeker to obstacles of a similar nature in their form and yet very different in their intensity, hence an apparent identity of processes and experiences. This is why reading the Mother’s Agenda seems both understandable to the seeker who has already had similar experiences in the mind, and totally incomprehensible because Mother lives and describes them at the level of the body.
Similarly, the Odyssey can be seen as a spiralling process that the seeker will undergo on many levels. Thus, the mental trials will be met later at the vital level and finally in the body.
This is why Apollonius of Rhodes has taken up, as we have seen, many of the episodes of the Odyssey, reducing their intensity, because the quest for the Golden Fleece is at the beginning of the path. Thus, Jason only passed by at a reasonable distance from Charybdis and Scylla while Odysseus (Ulysses) almost lost his life there.
Finally, we must not forget that if life and its difficulties are the best possible masters, many trials must be overcome internally without the need for external confrontation. Diving into the depths means being able to face the “shadow” without any need for externalization.