Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Flowers of the Underworld

The dead approach him in swarms, unable to speak unless animated by the blood of the animals he slays. Without blood they are witless, without activity, without pleasure and without future. Only the ghost of the semi divine Teiresias is permitted by Persephone to retain the power to think independently, the rest "flit like shadows". The spirit of the hunter Orion herds together the spirits of his prey “through the Asphodel meadow”, and the spirits of the slaughtered suitors arrive, squeaking like bats in a cave. All residents drink from the river Lethe before entering the fields, thus losing their identities.

Asphodel of these fields are not exactly like the Asphodel of our world but are presumably strange, pallid, ghostly flowers. The Underworld itself is either at the outer bounds of the ocean or beneath the depths or ends of the earth. It is the dark counterpart to the brightness of Mount Olympus, the kingdom of the dead corresponding with the kingdom of the gods. In the midst of all this, an Elm can be seen where false dreams cling under every leaf…


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