Athena's Web Weekly Column

Week of March 26th - April 1st,  2004

Chapter XII

Homer's Dreams

Columns Archive



  Over the last couple of week's we've been examining some of the themes of Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac. This has been called the placement of karmic leftovers, self-undoing, and the cosmic dustpan. Issues which have not been resolved through the previous 11 signs, or concerns which have not been taken care of through the previous year, must come out in the 'wash' (Pisces is a water sign) for a final flushing or cleansing before beginning on a new cycle with the new year and the Sun's entry into Spring. Biblically, this was the time of Lent, when the Messiah journeyed into the wilderness to fast and pray, and to reconnect with the divine before the upcoming ordeal of the crucifixion.

  In the Chapter XII of Homer's Iliad, these same themes are brought into focus. As we stated last week, "The subconscious is the repository for sleep, dreams and the imagination. It's what's behind the scenes, what's below (sub) our awareness (consciousness). It is what we can't see, don't know, are at a loss for, don't understand, can't find, nowhere, nothing, nobody, nil, nada, nix, nope, nevermore and the null set; at least on the material level, which is where most of us tend to look for answers." Things disappear under Pisces, forcing us to look within for answers, because they can't be found on the material plane. Homer crafts this very theme beautifully, using Poseidon as chief influence at work, the Greek alias to Neptune, ruler of Pisces.

Dreams and imagination

...leveling all by the blue running sea...

Because the Greeks build a wall surrounding their ships without paying homage to (connecting with) the gods before doing so, the wall is to be washed away (disappears). From the opening of Chapter 12:

  "To the gods
they gave no hekatombs than might have won them
to guard the wall as shield for the deepsea craft
and plunder that it ringed. The immortal gods
had never willed it, and its time was brief..."

  "...then Poseidon and Apollo joined to work
erosion of the wall by fury of rivers
borne in flood against it, all that flow
seaward from Ida (and here he names the rivers)."

  "These rivers were diverted at their mouths
and blent into one river by Apollo,
who sent that flood nine days against the rampart.
Zeus let his rain fall without pause, to bring
the wall more quickly under inshore water;
as for the god who shakes the islands, he
in person with his trident in his hands
led on the assault. Foundation logs and stones
the Akhaians toiled to lay he shunted seaward,
leveling all by the blue running sea.
In sand again he hid the long seashore
when he had washed the wall down, and he turned
the river to their old, fair watercourses.
Thus before Poseidon and Apollo
settled this earthwork."

  Without the inner light, without the divine connection, all the efforts of mankind are brought to nought. This, at least, is the lesson of Pisces. Earthworks are about as 'material plane' as one can get. Other themes which play out in the chapter are use of fate and intuition, of learning to go within and decipher the will of the gods, as Poulydamas tries to convince Hektor through augury (messages from the gods) that this is not the time to storm the ships.