The Lotus Eaters: Renunciation of Spiritual “Sweetness” (Book IX)

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After this first step, Odysseus (Ulysses) thought he could return to Ithaca. But as he crossed Cape Malea (a peninsula south-east of the Peloponnese), the swell and the Boreas wind closed the strait and then the port of Cythera. He navigated aimlessly on the sea for nine days and on the tenth, approached the Lotophages, a people who fed only on Lotus (flower or fruit). The natives offered some to the emissaries sent by Odysseus (Ulysses). From then on, they refused to return and even to give news. For anyone who tastes these fruits, sweet like honey, has no other desire other than to remain with these people and to postpone forever the date of their return.

Odysseus (Ulysses) had to forcibly bring back his weeping men, and he put them in the dock. Then, to prevent others from succumbing too, he ordered the departure.

The seeker having done this first step towards liberation and consecration (the end of hard work), the movements of the vital and the forces that lead the asceticism do not allow him to find a haven of peace in Love, in the “right movement of psychic openness” (beyond Cape Malea, the port of Cythera – name also known as Aphrodite – is closed to the hero).

After a long period of uncertainty, he must solve the problem of spiritual “sweetness”. Those who revel in these mystical experiences, whatever the means used (trances, meditations, etc.), are prisoners of them, unable to detach themselves from the joys they provide.

These experiences must be distinguished from the paradises of the mind that will be examined with the Sirens (Sirens are not to be confused with the Mermaids : Sirens are half-woman half-bird creatures while Mermaids are half-woman half-fish creatures that live in seas).

This risk is amply described in the spiritual writings, so that it is not to be dwelled on. However, these are mostly warnings for beginners or even for more advanced students of yoga. Saint John of the Cross refers to it as “spiritual gluttony.”

It seems also that, for the seeker, all escapes outside the incarnation, including outside the body, are no longer allowed. Even the possibility of trance which Mother used to abstract from physical suffering was taken away from her. The adventurer of consciousness must directly confront all that obstructs the Truth of matter.

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