Preparation of Telemachus’ Journey (Book II)

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The next morning, Telemachus convened the assembly of Achaeans with long hair. As some asked why, Telemachus addressed the nobles present in the assembly. He complained that their sons were ruining his house and harassing his mother for almost four years to marry her, instead of letting her return to her father, who was the sole authority to decide on her new husband.

In turn, Antinoos spoke, accusing Penelope of deceit. She pretended to weave a huge veil that would be the shroud of Laertes but she undid her work of the day at night. The suitors had caught her in the act because one of her maids had leaked the cunning. On their behalf, Antinoos assured that they accepted she would marry whomever she wished, but that they would continue to enjoy her assets until the remarriage was celebrated.

Telemachus replied that he was not sure his father was already dead and asked the suitors to leave his home.

Then two eagles sent by Zeus flew over the assembly, scratching their faces and necks with their claws, and all wondered the meaning of this terrible omen.

Halitherses, Mastor’s son, skilled at deciphering the flight of birds, announced the return of Odysseus (Ulysses) and the disaster that would ensue to the suitors and other people of Ithaca. He had once predicted to the hero that he would return in the twentieth year after his departure for Troy. But Eurymachos accused him of making pro-Odysseus (Ulysses) remarks.

Then Telemachus asked the suitors to prepare a boat for him to go to Nestor and then Menelaus, a request they refused, and then the assembly dispersed. Athena, having taken on the appearance of Mentor, restored his confidence and told him that she would arrange for the boat and men while he would take care of the food.

Telemachus returned to the mansion and announced to Antinoos that he would do anything to destroy the suitors. He secretly prepared food for his expedition, aided by his nurse Euryclia. He was compelled to reassure her because she feared that the suitors would kill him: he confessed to her the help of the gods, and asked her not to say a word of the journey to Penelope for eleven or twelve days.

Athena, who had taken on the appearance of Telemachus, was loaned a boat by Noemon, son of Phronius, and gathered the sailors needed for the voyage. Then she put the suitors to sleep, and having taken over Mentor’s features, led Telemachus to the boat. They went to get the food and then embarked. Athena-Mentor boarded, sat down beside Telemachus, and blew a strong Zephyr.

Again, this is an internal debate. The seeker informs “everything in his being concerned with a just widening of consciousness” of his desire to end his dependence on ancient forms of yoga (Telemachus convenes the assembly of Ithaca and complains about the actions of the suitors for the past four years). But his “superior wisdom,” which no longer believes that “transparency” can be achieved, refuses their exclusion from the future yoga until one of the ancient paths of yoga has been chosen by what has “the vision of the weft (of complete freedom)” (vision obtained from the highest spiritual consciousness, for Penelope is the daughter of Icarios) (Antinoos, on behalf of the suitors who no longer believe in Odysseus (Ulysses)’ return, refuses to withdraw until Penelope, guilty of cunning towards them, has chosen a new husband).

This “vision” requires the development of patience and endurance and must find an inner “ruse” so that one of the old forms of yoga does not impose it as the main means of future evolution (Penelope, enduring the arrogance and plunder of the suitors, uses cunning to save time and prevent a suitor from marrying her).

The seeker is then warned by an intuition coming from the highest planes of the mind that the overmind will soon no longer be the dominant plane, which heralds the disappearance of ancient realisations and overmind’s creations (two eagles tear their face and collar with their claws, which is interpreted as the demise of the suitors). The tearing of one’s face and neck is interpreted here as a lament related to the disappearance.

The adventurer had anticipated this outcome from the beginning of the great yoga reversal (the soothsayer Halitherses “who burns for freedom”, son of Mastor “from the search directed towards the incarnation”, had foreseen the return of Odysseus (Ulysses) in the 20th year after his departure for Troy).

The symbolic twenty years correspond to two phases of yoga: ten years to operate the reversal after the end of the personal yoga and ten more to achieve transparency or perfect equality.

What prepares the future yoga seeks then to use the same means as those of the ancient yogas, but the latter cannot conceive that the same means can serve another purpose (Telemachus tries to obtain a boat from the suitors but they refuse). The inner master, in the guise of “spirit” (Mentor), announces that he will provide the means to take stock of the progress, the adventurer of the future yoga having on his side to worry about collecting what will provide sufficient energies for the journey (Athena will provide the boat and men while Telemachus will take care of the food).

On the other hand, the seeker must not risk confronting his impulses for the new yoga with the goal he apprehends (the Euryclia nanny “who shares” must not tell anything to Penelope for twelve days). Mother says that in the new yoga contrary to the old, one must first act under the impulse of the psychic being and that understanding comes after.

It is “common sense” issued from “experience” that finally gives the means to carry out the balance (the boat is loaned by Noemon, son of Phronius). The inner master renders past realisations momentarily inoperative and offers purifying help (Athena put the suitors to sleep and raises a lively Zephyr).

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