By Prof. Antonio Mercurio
Homer narrated the Calypso taught Ulysses the rules on nocyurnal navigation while on the High seas.
BOOK V – from verse 270 to 280
270 And so he sat and skillfully held the tiller steady:
his eyes never dropped with sleep,
he held them steady on the Pleiades, steady on Bootes that sets late,
and on the UIrsa, that they also call the Dipper, (italics are mine)
and that goes round watched fearfully by Orion,
the only one not a part of Ocean’s waters;
this is, in fact, what Calypso the shining goddess had told him, (italics are mine)
to keep to his left while crossing the sea.
For seventeen days he sailed across the abyss,
on the eighteenth day the shadowy mountains appeared
of the land of the Phaeacians: it was very close […]
Seventeen days without ever sleeping either by day or by night is a very long time, and yet Ulysses, who wants to reach Ithaca at any cost, crosses the sea this way, skillfully holding the tiller.
Sometimes the Ulysseans will also have to cross the abysses of life, and for this reason, they must learn the art of nocturnal navigation on the high seas.
I have prepared some rules to follow while doing so, which I consider of the utmost importance.
Choose your destination
It makes no sense to set sail if you do not know where you are going.
Ulysses’ destination was Ithaca. We Ulysseans have the same goal, but we call it “secondary beauty”, and with it, we want to enter into immortality so we can travel from one universe to another, forever.
We cannot leave Calypso and Ogygia, the island of our daily certainties, and travel towards infinity, unless we are deeply convinced that the goal we have chosen is the right one for us.
It is thus necessary to take all the time we need to choose our destination on both a conscious level and on a deep one, renewing often the decision we have made on a choral group level.
Set your course
We cannot see our destination until we have actually arrived there.
Nevertheless, since we know what direction we must take to reach our goal, we can set our course, and use, as Ulysses did, the stars found in the Big Dipper.
Those who learned to navigate in ancient times looked at the sky for a long time while they were still on land, and they discovered the connection between the North Star and the destination they wanted to reach.
We can choose to make our SELF our north star. But we must learn to listen to it for a long time so we can understand what the connection is between it and our goal, and then know how to confidently establish our route.
Four stars other than the North Star comprise the “cup” of the Big Dipper, and unless we look at them as well, we cannot know where the North Star lies.
Therefore, when we are establishing our destination we need a more complete knowledge of the four stars that make up the “cup” of the Big Dipper.
We can decide that they represent the four fundamental values that guide us along our Cosmoartistic path: Love, Freedom, Truth and Beauty (both the lost beauty of life that we must reacquire and secondary beauty, which does not yet exist and must be created). We must also take into account the seven stars found in the Pleiades, which show us the value of choral group work.
Correct your route every day.
What is it that makes us stray from the route we have established?
In the sea, the marine currents and winds can take us off our course.
And during our voyage?
The drive to dominate, the drive for power and the homicidal and suicidal drives are some of the main reasons we can get off course.
Prideful arrogant demands and the drive for revenge, which we never overcome completely, sometimes cover our sky with thick clouds, to the point that we can no longer see the North Star, our SELF.
We must thus strip ourselves of our demands, and this is the same thing as the decision to kill the Suitors dwelling in our hearts.
When we do so, the star reappears.
Set your cardinal directions.
We cannot set the route if we do not also set the four cardinal directions.
Our cardinal directions are the values we mentioned earlier, when we were talking about the stars found in the Big Dipper: Love, freedom, truth and beauty. Like stars, they are grouped together, and as cardinal directions they are set in four different areas of space: North, South, East and West.
Truth is like the North, cold and pungent.
Love is like the East, luminous and warm like the sun in the Orient.
Freedom is like the West, that the sun runs towards every day.
Beauty is like the South at midday, which is always radiant and full of splendor.
Love is the result of a decision that we must renew every day to love ourselves and love others.
Freedom is the art of the courage of wanting to become free, at whatever cost.
Truth is the result of a decision to look directly at our masks and our lies, and it is also the result of the knowledge we gain through experience.
Beauty is a unified field of energy, and it is the result of an inner transformation that happens when we go from hatred to love, from slavery to freedom, from knee-jerk reactions to creativity. It is also the result of our ability to make a synthesis between love and freedom, love and hatred, love and truth, pain and creativity, life and death. These are all couples of energies that are completely opposite to each other.
The I Person, the Psychological I, the Corporeal I and the SELF are all fields of energy that are opposite to each other, just as the I and the You, the I and the We, the I and the Universe are.
Secondary beauty is the result of artistic action that is able to unify these opposite fields of energy. It is also capable of creating a single unified and unifying energy field out of the many disjointed fields we are made up of. This field goes beyond time and space, beyond every time and every space.
Determine your position.
Where are you now? And where does your conscious I want to go?
North, South, East, West, or nowhere?
If we want to travel towards secondary beauty, we cannot travel in a straight line. We travel, instead, following an ascending spiral. There are actually two spirals; one goes towards the depths above, and the other goes towards the depths below.
Imagine two cones of light that have the same vertex, and each cone represents a spiral in which light moves in all four directions, East, West, North and South, at the same time.
The two cones of light are in two opposite dimensions.
The higher cardinal points are opposite the lower ones.
Hatred is opposite love, the desire to remain slaves is opposite freedom, lies are opposite truth, and ugliness is opposite beauty.
Now imagine a ray of light that first explores these opposites, and then unifies them.
The Art of Sophia-Art and Cosmo-Art consists of the ability to make a synthesis of opposites and we have many opposites to unify. Even our values oppose each other and we must learn how to unify them.
The higher world and the lower one oppose each other and we must learn how to unify them like Ulysses did. Some other opposites we must learn to unify are male-female, intrauterine and intracosmic life, the I and Others or the I and the Universe. Unless we manage to fuse them, we cannot create secondary beauty.
Where are you now, and were do you want to go?
Accept the dark night.
Accept the darkness and turn your gaze to the bright spots that appear in the sky. Do not say that you cannot do it. Be artists, not victims. You will see things with new eyes.
Feel the life of the universe pulsating within you.
You are not alone and you are not travelling only for yourself.
You must feel that you are part of the universe; otherwise, you will never become travelers of the universe or artists of the life of the universe, as Cosmo-Art describes.
Grab on to the handle of the organismic principle.
This is our tiller.
The universe knows what you need and every day it will give you what you need for that day.
Decide to transform your heart.
The homicidal and suicidal drives not only darken the sky but they also often stir up frightening storms.
This happens because we have a heart of stone.
When you are in the midst of a storm, this is the moment you must decide to have a heart that loves instead of a heart that hates, rejects and destroys.
It isn’t easy to do this, but do whatever you can to make the impossible possible.
Learn to eliminate your guilty feelings.
Guilty feelings do not create storms, but they are like dogs that bark and bite, or like huge waves that can suddenly strike the side of a ship, trying to sink it.
Learn how to sail over them with a firm grip on the tiller, and do the right thing without letting them pull you off course.
Help yourself by listening to Louise Hay’s “You can heal your body”.
Ask for help from your Personal SELF and from the Choral Group SELF so you can understand what is right.
Don’t allow your Super Ego or your Ideal I to dominate you.
They are bad teachers.
The deepest causes of hatred towards ourselves, towards life and towards others lie in the ideal of absolute moral perfection and the ideal of sainthood.
The roots of our guilty feelings lie in our hatred inside of us.
The origins of this hatred lie in our expectations of absolute perfection that we have been carrying around inside of us for millennia.
Serve the tyrant and force him to kill himself with his own hands.
Neptune is always lurking somewhere, which is our intrauterine tyrant or our intrauterine incest, and he does not want you to leave his universe and fly off into another one.
This is the most difficult trial: to leave what we know to go towards what we don’t know, to leave the prison we live in and are familiar with, to sail towards secondary beauty, which is a universe that is unfamiliar to us.
This is the moment when we must transform our utopia must into a hope that is certain, desired and determined.
Dante has Ulysses drown so he can affirm that he alone is the only one who knows how to fly.
This is untrue. Homer tells us the complete opposite.
You choose who you want to follow.
Accept the sea.
Accept pain, when it is healthy and is not masochistic, or the result of hatred towards yourself. Transform it into energy you can use to create and to travel.
Life doesn’t always go the way we want it to, and there is always another new identity waiting for us that we don’t yet know about.
Open yourself to the inexhaustible complexity and richness of life that can appear at any time, in the most unpredictable ways.
Open yourself to Life’s goal to create immortality and secondary beauty with you.
Assimilate these rules by going over them in your mind repeatedly, until they have become flesh of your flesh and blood of your blood.
Now you can set sail. And if you should end up shipwrecked, don’t worry too much: there is Nausicaa and there are the Phaeacians who are ready to welcome you and fill you with wonderful gifts.
- Here we are referring not to the I of the author, but to anyone’s I.