Orestes’ revenge and Clytemnestra’s murder

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Homer never mentions Orestes’ murder of Clytemnestra, only that of Aegisthus.

Let us recall that Orestes, the youngest son of Agamemnon, was born shortly before the Trojan War. He was therefore an adolescent or young man at the end of the war. Pindar even claims that when Agamemnon was killed, Orestes was saved by his nurse, which indicates his young age.

Aegisthus ruled seven or eight years after Agamemnon’s murder.

Then Orestes came from Athens (or Phocis) accompanied by his friend Pylades to avenge the death of his father. According to some, he returned to reclaim his kingdom, and when the heroes passed through Delphi, Apollo gave him the order to kill. According to others, the god favored his project or gave him the means to defend himself against the Erinyes.

So he killed Aegisthus and his own mother Clytemnestra, and on the very day he offered the funeral meal to the people of Argos, Menelaus returned from Egypt.

In early myths, Clytemnestra does not appear to have been killed by Orestes.

According to Aeschylus, it was Apollo who instructed him to kill Aegisthus and Clytemnestra and then asked him to return to him to be purified.

On his return, Orestes clashed with the Erinyes who challenged Apollo. Apollo sent both parties back to Athena, but Athena refused to arbitrate and sent them back to the decision of an Athenian court. The parties having obtained the same number of votes, Athena decided in favor of Orestes and calmed the fury of the Erinyes by assuring them that they would, in the new order, be guarantors of the punishment decreed by the State.

According to Sophocles two daughters of Agamemnon intervene, the first Chrysothemis having the role of valorising her sister Electra.

Apollodorus tells that Orestes married Hermione and had a son, Tisamenos.

According to Pausanias, Erigone (the daughter of Aegisthus and Clytemnestra) gave him another son, a bastard named Penthilus.

Orestes’ revenge took place in the eighth year of the reign of Aegisthus, the day before Menelaus’ return or a few days before. This episode precedes the return of Odysseus (Ulysses) to Ithaca. (The chronology is uncertain, as the time between the returns of the two heroes can be as long as two years according to some authors).

Then, the “evolution of sincerity” movement, the result of the “tension” for transformation, takes over the reins of yoga by ending the period of mystical union (Orestes, son of Agamemnon, killed Aegisthus and his own mother Clytemnestra).

The forces of the overmind support this new orientation (the gods approved the vengeance, especially Apollo “the psychic light”).

When mentioned, the death of Clytemnestra, who is, like her sister Helen, a figure in the lineage of the intuitive mind, would therefore mark the entry into the overmind and thus a greater achievement in non-duality than that marked by the death of Castor and the Apharetides, Idas and Lynkeus. The only survivors among Tyndareus’ children (or Tyndareus and Zeus’ children) are then Helen “the pursuit of liberation” and Pollux “the utterly gentle”.

On the other hand, the matricide being a rejection by a specific yoga, of the realisation that generated it, it would indicate here that “the highest wisdom” (Clytemnestra) can no longer be the goal of the new yoga.

The movement of “evolution of sincerity” develops in parallel with what is working at the passage of a new door towards union (Orestes is raised with his friend Pylades).

This discovery of the orientation of the new path corresponds to the exact moment when, after a long ‘wandering’, the seeker has delved in the depths of the vital subconscious in the memories of evolution (According to Proteus, Menelaus returns from Egypt with an ancient knowledge which he acquired on the banks of the river Aegyptus) (see below).

Blood crimes in the immediate family, indicating a deviation from the right path, imply the intervention of the Erinyes, those who set people back on the right path (Ρ+Ν). At this turning point in yoga, when it is necessary to leave the known paths, it is therefore necessarily a blood crime that must receive the approval of the gods. The story of Aeschylus, if we admit that the latter was an initiate despite what he said, suggests that certain powers of the overmind are no longer competent to give such an approval (neither Apollo nor Athena, that is to say neither the psychic light nor the inner master, can or will endorse this action – “purify” the hero).

The seeker must therefore proceed according to his own perceptions of the Truth. This means an almost permanent groping in this new yoga of the body. The force that watches over evolution on the path is, however, active in sanctioning or arbitrating as a last resort in favor of the right movement, which is equivalent to “purification” (Athena ruled in favor of Orestes).

The Erinyes were born from the blood of Ouranos (they are from the essence of the Spirit) and remain in Erebus (in the movement of incarnation in Truth). They are therefore symbols of the “exact consciousness”, of the means of action of the highest Truth. They will henceforth be the guarantors of the necessary adjustments decreed by the body of the seeker himself in the new path of divinization of matter (Athena calmed the fury of the Erinyes by assuring them that in the new order, they would be the guarantors of the punishment decreed by the State).

In his plays, Sophocles insists on the role of the “golden” laws governing matter (the true laws of the body) to help light the way, to the detriment of the laws that habit has made us consider as absolute for millennia (Chrysothemis valorises Electra).

Only late sources (Apollonius and Pausanias) give indications about the children of Orestes “evolution of integrity or sincerity” and Hermione “right evolution of consecration”:

– Tisamenos “who pays what he owes” or “fulfils an obligation”. This character refers to the task that the soul has set itself in this incarnation or to a karmic resolution. It would then, at this stage of yoga, be the collective human karma and not the individual one that has been finally solved with the end of the ego.

– Penthilus “freedom through suffering”. He is a bastard son of Orestes “evolution of integrity or sincerity” and of Erigone “what is born with force” that makes us understand that the yoga of the body implies the crossing of suffering. Not a suffering sought in view of liberation (that of Pentheus “the pain” which refused the call of Dionysus “the sunny path”), but the suffering undergone by the need for transformation of the body.

Let us also mention a text by Hyginus which gives Aegisthus a son named Aletes killed by Orestes. The latter would also have murdered his sister Erigone if Artemis had not kidnapped her to make her a priestess in Athens.

Aletes “the wanderer” underlines the period of indecision on the path during the reign of Aegisthus. It is “the right evolution of integrity” that puts an end to this wandering, while “that which is born with strength” becomes the intermediary with the spirit in the pursuit of the quest.

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