The Sophia circle met again last night. We left leisure behind and turned our attention to the post-Trojan war homecoming of Odysseus, the hero of that war, in Homer's The Odyssey. I think this is one of those books that people are supposed to have read before they qualify to be called an educated person but somehow a number of us around the table last night--including me--slipped through lo those many years ago. We're taking it in three chunks so I didn't finish reading it and we certainly didn't finish discussing it. Thanks to our skillful facilitator more came off the page than I had thought possible.
Allow me to call your attention to a part I really liked. In Book I (think chapter one), "the grey-eyed goddess" Athena visits Telémakhos, the son of Odysseus, and inspires him to set sail and go find his father, who has been missing since the war ended about 9 years prior.
Their encounter ends with these lines:
With this Athena left him
as a bird rustles upward, off and gone
But as she went she put a new spirit in him,
a new dream of his father, clearer now,
so that he marvelled to himself
divining that a god had been his guest.
Then godlike in his turn he joined the suitors.
In Book II Telémakhos prepares for his journey, which includes standing up to those who want to hold him down. The title of the chapter is–and this is what I really like–"A Hero's Son Awakens." That is a great title! That title alone is so inspiring. It conveys heritage, destiny, possibility. Everything is different once the son realizes his identity as a "hero's son," awakens to what he is called to do, and moves to do it with the new spirit that is in him. No matter the official hero-status of our own geneology, we could all put our names in the story at this point and imagine what might happen were we to really awaken.