The Return and Murder of Agamemnon

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Agamemnon let the first wave of “returns” go. He stayed behind to offer sacrifices to Athena in order to appease her wrath caused by the ungodliness of Ajax the Lesser who tried to take Cassandra by force, or even to rape her. Then, as he was getting ready for the departure, the shadow of Achilles tried to dissuade his crews from going to sea, predicting great misfortune. But he set sail anyway, with Cassandra as his captive.

The fleet made a first stop in Tenedos, then suffered a storm near the Gyrean rocks where Ajax the Lesser perished (as we have seen above).

As Agamemnon approached Cape Maleas, a gust of wind drove him out to sea again.

Then, when a safe possibility was in sight, he returned home with his men. But Aegisthus, who was already Clytemnestra’s lover, was watching for his arrival and invited him treacherously to dinner. As soon as the meal was over, Aegisthus’ men killed him. (Some sources indicate a more direct involvement of Aegisthus or even Clytemnestra in the murder). During the battle, all of Agamemnon’s companions perished, along with the 20 soldiers of Aegisthus who ambushed him. The ambush could only have taken place “because of the treachery of an accursed woman”.

(From the Tragedies, Clytemnestra is more involved in the murder of her husband, and is often seen carrying an axe. In the play of Aeschylus, she persuaded Agamemnon to trample on the purple garments she had laid down on her way to the palace, supposedly to honor him, but in fact to make him guilty in the eyes of the gods. Then she killed him as he came out of the bath and was entangled in his clothes).

Cassandra also perished during the massacre, killed by Clytemnestra.

In the case of most of the perpetrators, Orestes – Agamemnon’s youngest son, who was then a young man or even a teenager because he was born just before the Trojan War – was saved by his nurse (or by his sister Electra, who entrusted him to Strophius of Phocis to be raised with his own son Pylades).

Then Aegisthus ascended the throne of Mycenae and reigned for seven years.

During the great reversal, the seeker made one last attempt to force the contact with the heights of the “visionary spirit” through what was left of his ego (Ajax the Lesser tried to take Cassandra, the one who “sees” the future, away, or even to rape her). The ego still wants to know its destiny instead of relying on the Divine. He escaped destruction for a first time under the cover of his yoga (Ajax took refuge near an altar of Athena in spite of the wrath of the goddess).

The seeker is warned, however, by that which has worked for the achievement of liberation and the reversal of yoga, that this remnant of ego will be the cause of great disturbances (the shadow of Achilles warns the crews of the coming storms). But he is still far from rejecting his capacities of perception-vision coming from the mind, although he no longer takes them as his goal (Agamemnon took Cassandra as a captive on his boat). Later, the capacities of perception-vision must indeed come from the body (Cassandra will only die on her return to Mycenae).

The overmind force having power over the subconscious (Poseidon) allows one last time this “little self” to continue before destroying it during an internal storm, in the very place where the turning movements that are at the origin of this ego materialize (Ajax perishes near the Gyrean rocks “the turning coagulations”).

Then the seeker, in his aspiration for an even more total consecration, is forced to be patient (Agamemnon is sent back to the high seas by a gust of wind).

The murder of Agamemnon by Aegisthus, who then reigned over Mycenae, shows two different modalities of aspiration, both of which are directed towards a desire for union in the spirit (Agamemnon and Aegisthus, in the lineage of Tantalus, both unite with Clytemnestra, sister of Helen and the Dioscuri). Agamemnon would express a powerful transforming will, while his cousin Aegisthus, son of Thyestes “the perfumer”, would symbolize a more contemplative mystical path of union. This episode would relate the experiences linked to the theory outlined in the previous chapter. In a first movement, it is the realization of “equality” through endurance that, in practice, gradually leads away from action (while Agamemnon fights against the Trojans, Aegisthus, who remains in Mycenae, takes Clytemnestra as his lover). Then after a long passive period, it is the return to active yoga, this time in the body (Orestes avenges his father). It is this general line of interpretation that we will follow. As indicated in the note at the end of the previous chapter: the state of endurance which doesn’t allow itself to be upset by anything becomes a very difficult obstacle to overcome after having, however, constituted an indispensable stage; because one must first accept everything with perfect equality before being able to transform it.

When the root of the ego has been extirpated (with the death of Ajax the Lesser) and the true mastery of the vital has been accomplished (the accomplishment of the union of Pelops and Hippodamia), when a perfect mastery of the external being and a powerful equality has been established (Atreus “who does not tremble, who is immobile”, and his sisters Nicippe “the vital victory” and Astydamia “mastery of the personality”), that is to say, when psychic realization is effective, finally when the Trojan error has been eradicated by a transformative yoga, there is a period of ecstatic immobility that imposes itself on the being (while he is about to reach the goal, Agamemnon is killed by Aegisthus “a force turned upwards“).

This movement of contemplation or absolute surrender in the hands of the Divine in total passivity lasts for a long time (Aegisthus will remain on the throne of Argolida for more than seven years). He had already begun to establish himself during the great reversal (Aegisthus was already Clytemnestra’s lover). It will continue until the transforming aspiration or will, having generated a call for “the right evolution of sincerity” (in the body), is strengthened in the new direction of yoga (until Agamemnon’s son Orestes has matured enough to kill Aegisthus).

The active participation of Aegisthus or even Clytemnestra in the murder of Agamemnon as well as the actions of Clytemnestra indicated by Aeschylus seems to be of interest only for the staging of the tragedies.

The ability to see from the heights of the spirit which was at the service of ancient spirituality also disappears (Cassandra is killed by Clytemnestra, at the same time as Agamemnon). In Homer, Cassandra is called Alexandra “who repels man”: she was therefore the only realization able to “see” the conditions for the maintaining of a spirituality that rejects life (she always tried in vain to prevent the catastrophes that threatened the Trojans).

Some say that Cassandra refused herself to Apollo after the latter, in love with her, taught her the art of prophecy. To punish her, the god would have withdrawn from her the gift of inspiring confidence during her predictions: although the capacities of “vision” – obtained in the search of union with the Divine in the mind – were given to her by the psychic light, the seeker refuses, as long as he is on this path, to rely definitively on the psychic light. This leads to useless “visions” which remain in the background of consciousness without response.

During this phase of mystical union (the period of the reign of Aegisthus united with Clytemnestra), the right orientation of the new yoga does not yet emerge.

The movement which aspires for the ‘evolution of sincerity’ undergoes a period of maturation in connection with what works for union (in the body) (Orestes was entrusted to Strophius of Phocis to be brought up with his own son Pylades). This quest for deep sincerity or transparency in the body (Orestes) must be clarified and strengthened during this period of transition or rather of transformation (the Phocis) by repetitive movements that we can assimilate, for example, to the repetition of mantras. Pylades “the door of union” being the son of Strophius “who moves while turning”, it is in fact this repetition that helps to cross the door. Let us recall that the great discovery or rediscovery of Mother was the recourse to the repetition of mantras to transform the mind of the cells (replacing their defeatist obsessions with trust in the Absolute).

Next : Orestes’ revenge and Clytemnestra’s murder >>

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