Escaping the witch’s cycle

After death, souls go to the island of Aiaia and wander disoriented and wail, no longer even knowing where the sun that lights mortal men goes beneath the earth.

Most will be rewrapped in an alien tunic of flesh because the urge for pleasure makes them long for their accustomed way of life. They fall back into the witch’s brew of genesis.

Homer sings of the witch Circe, feeding her tempting brew to the lost crew of Odysseus to turn them into beasts. In it, Porphyry hears lost souls, ill disciplined, destined for bad rebirth. Read this Homer carefully, the philosopher warns. It is not a myth or a poem but about truth and the description of things as they are.

How to escape Circe’s cycle? How to escape rebirth?

There are three divisions of the soul, the rational, the passionate, and the appetitive. This is why Homer speaks of the meeting of the three roads. You can only take the rational if you keep all base emotion from the soul, put all painful desire to sleep, and keep as far from the mind as possible all jealousy, ill will, and anger, as you leave the body. For this, you need the virtue that comes only through education and philosophy.

Remember how Odysseus escapes the fate of his crew? He follows Hermes with his golden staff - in reality, reason.

But still there is struggle. This isn’t Plato’s Myth of Er with the decisive, philosophical soul cooly picking release or a good next life. Every soul is disoriented, needs great good fortune and self-restraint lest they follow and give in to their worst parts and emotions. The cravings are always there. Home at last, Odysseus still wonders, Tell me the truth now, have I really reached the land I love? Philosophy brings awareness, not peace, the ability to suppress but not to snuff out. Yes, you can be liberated but until you are, you struggle.

And what of judgement? The divine Judge? God-within is not a judge. He’s a destination.

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