The Return of Telemachus (Book XV)

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While these events were taking place in Ithaca, Athena went at night to Telemachus who was in Sparta at Menelaus with Pisistratus, Nestor’s son. She urged him to return, informing him that Penelope’s father and brothers were urging her to marry Eurymachos. She informed him of the ambush, told him to go offshore, and go to Eumaeus as soon as he lands at Ithaca.

Telemachus, having warned Menelaus of his departure, gave him a rare cup that Phaedimus, king of Sidon, had given him. It had been crafted by Hephaestus. Helen, for her part, presented him with a splendid veil.

Then they shared a farewell meal. Menelaus’ son, Megapenthes, served them wine while Eteoneus gave them meat.

As Telemachus and Pisistratus rode the horses back to Nestor’s house, an eagle holding a tamed white goose flew off to their right and passed to the right of the horses. This omen brought joy to the hearts. Helen interpreted it as the imminent return of Odysseus (Ulysses) who was going to take revenge on the suitors.

As during the outward journey, Telemachus and Pisistratus stopped in Pheres where Diocles offered them hospitality. Then, as they arrived at Pylos, Telemachus urged Pisistratus, in the name of their friendship, to take him to the boat while he would go alone to Nestor’s house.

Theoclymenos, a soothsayer of the blood of Melampus who killed a man in Argolid, asked Telemachus to come on board to escape his pursuers. (Here Homer details the complete progeny of Melampus, which includes two branches: that of Antiphates and that of Mantius, of which Theoclymenos is the grandson by Polyphides “the best soothsayer after Amphiaraos.”)

As Helios disappeared, all paths became dark. And the vessel passed Phea and the divine Elis controlled by the Epeians, and entered the rocky islands while Telemachus wondered whether he would avoid death or be held captive.

Meanwhile, Odysseus (Ulysses) wanted to test the swineherd again, pretending he wanted to go begging among the suitors, but Eumaeus dissuaded him.

As Odysseus (Ulysses) questioned him about his parents, the swineherd told him of the despair of Laertes caused by the death of his wife Anticlia. He also mentioned Odysseus (Ulysses)’ sister, Ctimene, raised with him and who had been his playmate before being married to someone from Same.

At the request of Odysseus (Ulysses), who knew he had been abandoned as a child, Eumaeus told the story of his life. He was a son of Ctesius, himself the son of Ormenos, who ruled the island of Syros above Ortygia. The island was rich and had two cities, but Apollo shot their inhabitants with his arrows when they reached old age. Then, as a child, he was abducted by a Phaeacian woman and was then bought by Laertes with his own money.

As Dawn appeared, Telemachus approached Ithaca. He asked his men to go to the village by sea while he himself would visit his estate. He advised Theoclymenos to go to Eurymachos, son of the wise Polybus, the best of the suitors whom the people honoured as a god.

As he spoke, a falcon, Apollo’s fast messenger, flew off to his right. He held a dove in his claws and tore off its feathers that were spreading on the ground between the boat and Telemachus. Theoclymenos took Odysseus (Ulysses)’ son aside and interpreted this omen sent by a god, telling him that the kingship of Ithaca would always remain in his lineage. Changing his mind, Telemachus entrusted the soothsayer to the care of his faithful companion, Piraeus the Clytide, asking him to treat him well, and then set out for the enclosure of Eumaeus pigs.

We saw that the inner master began to mobilize “the future yoga”, knowing that this first movement would be unsuccessful (Athena sent Telemachus to seek news of her father). This mobilization, however, allows the realisations of ancient yogas to be clearly seen as obstacles. In fact, “wisdom” tries to destroy the emergence of “this future yoga” by surprise while “holiness” pretends to be the only real evolutionary path for the future (Antinoos set a trap while Eurymachos is pressed by his father and brothers to marry Penelope). We should remember that Eurymachos, “with the face of God”, is “the most accomplished warrior”, the “holy”, and therefore represents the “best of ancient yoga”: he can therefore lead the yoga and provide the best “guarantees”, more than any other realisation (he can offer more dowry than any other suitor).

While from the perspective of the future yoga, the seeker wonders how much transparency is achieved, the inner master, who now manifests himself without a mask, makes him understand that if he is not careful, the old realisations will again take over (Telemachus thinks of his father and Athena warns him). It allows him to avoid a last outburst of the mind that wants to maintain his privileged position (Athena tells Telemachus how to avoid the trap set by Antinoos). He lets him know that his first movement must be to reconnect with that which has nurtured, consecrated, and organized the basic vital (Telemachus must go to Eumaeus).

The new yoga inherits a great capacity for joy (the cup forged by Hephaestus and offered by Menelaus) and liberation in spirit (the veil offered by Helen).

But the state reached by the seeker corresponds also to an increase in sensitivity, a source of greater suffering that is nothing but compassion for the consequences of unconsciousness. This suffering is inseparable from divine drunkenness (Megapenthes served the wine).

It would seem that the omen of the eagle holding in its claws a tame white goose indicates the transition of the ancient realisations, those of the “holy” and the “wise”, who were under the sign of “cautious intelligence”, to an intermediate phase governed by the Overmind, that of the superman, who must precede the Supramental. (See Satprem’s book : On the way to supermanhood.)

Once again, the seeker must show stamina (Telemachus makes a stopover in Pheres).

Homer then introduces the descendants of the soothsayer Melampus “the man with black feet.” If we consider that this soothsayer belongs to the progeny of Aeolus in the lineage of Iapetus, that of the ascension of the planes of consciousness, we must understand it as a symbol of an intuition turned towards spirit (black feet being the sign of an intuition far removed from matter).

His first son, Antiphates, expresses “what cannot be said” and his lineage continues with Oicles “a renowned consciousness”, Amphiaraos “just perception” and his two sons Alcmaeon “a powerful consecration in the spirit” and Amphilocus “extended vigilance.”

The second son of Melampus, Mantius, symbolizes “what can be said” and thus “prophetic faculties.” His two sons express, firstly, the famous prophecies (Kleitos), and secondly “those revealed with measure” (Polyphides). These superior intuitions can no doubt be linked with the gifts of “inspiration” and “revelation.” In regard to the degree of exactness, they come just after “the perception of the righteous” (Polyphides is the best soothsayer after Amphiaraos).

From Polyphides came Theoclymenos “an unmistakable (divine) truth” who asks Telemachus to embark: this “intuition” of Truth had to put an end to beliefs that the seeker had difficulty giving up, but it is in accordance with the future yoga (those of Argos were pursuing Theoclymenos for the murder of one of their own). We use the term “intuition” and not “perception” because Theoclymenos belongs to the lineage of Iapetus, that of the ascension of planes of consciousness, unrelated to the psychic being.

While Odysseus (Ulysses)’ return to Ithaca required a trance, the return of his son after a brief escapade went smoothly, although the supramental “hid” itself and the adventurer had to make his way into the unknown where the potential dangers are huge (As Helios disappeared, all paths became dark. The boat entered between the rocky islands, Telemachus wondering if he would avoid death or be held captive).

Telemachus “future battles” having made only a very short stay outside Ithaca, and his return requiring no trance – no passage by the Phaeacians – it might be understood that this story is a warning to future adventurers: even a short distancing from the Truth leads to great uncertainties and dangers to return to the original position of consciousness.

Then Homer indicates the origins of the swineherd Eumaeus, “the one who renders sacred, maintains and organizes the basic vital body.” They are quite complex to decipher but seem to be related to the maturation of the psychic being (Eumaeus was born on the island of Syros located in front of the island of Ortygia where Apollo was born. There was abundance, but Apollo killed the inhabitants with his arrows as soon as they reached the end of adulthood).

The seeker of the “new yoga” plans first of all to integrate his new “intuitions of Truth” with the best of the ancient yoga, with the “sainthood” that has fought all spiritual battles in the incarnation and is recognized as such by all parts of the being (For his safety, Telemachus wants to send Theoclymenos to the suitor Eurymachos, son of Polybus, whom the people honour like a god).

But the psychic being manifests itself and its message can be easily interpreted by this new “intuition of Truth”: if the seeker tries to mix the old truths with the new ones, they will be destroyed by the highest mind that still belongs to duality (which is therefore predatory) (Apollo has sent a falcon holding in its claws a dove, and this omen is interpreted by Theoclymenos).

The seeker of the “new yoga” puts then this new “intuition of Truth” in relation to what wants to “experiment” (Telemachus sends Theoclymenos to Piraeus).

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