4/2/12

Goddess of the Week: Eurydice

Orpheus & Eurydice by Cervelli
Orpheus & Eurydice by Cervelli (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Altadena Hiker doesn't want a goddess.  She wants a story.  In particular, she wants the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.   We are nothing if not flexible in Finneganland, so a story it is.

Eurydice was a nymph, meaning she was a minor nature goddess.  She was the beloved wife of Orpheus, who was the Frank Sinatra/Elvis Presley/Paul McCartney/Bono/Justin Bieber of his day.  When he sang, even the  flowers swooned.  

Alas, even fame and abundant hair products cannot stave off the touch of death.  A snake bit Eurydice and she died.  Grief stricken, Orpheus wallowed and slipped into such bitter sadness that he thought he would die.  When he didn't die he decided he would do the next best thing.  He would bring back the dead.

He found his way to the underworld.  He sang to the boatman who carried the souls of the departed across the River Styx, and the boatman was so moved he agreed to let Orpheus join him.  Then he sang to the three-headed dog who guarded the entrance, and three-headed dog was so moved that it let him pass.  Even Hades couldn't resist Orpheus's song.  He was so moved that he agreed to let Orpheus lead Eurydice back to the world of the living.

"Fair warning," said Hades.  "There are rules here that even I can't break.  You can guide Eurydice back, but you can't look at her until you are home.  If you look at even the shadow of the dead,  then dead they shall remain."

Overjoyed, Orpheus took Eurydice's hand.  He led her past the dog.  He led her across the Styx.  They were almost back, and then Orpheus couldn't resist.  He looked.  It was just a little look, a brief glance in the shadowy light. But it was enough.  Eurydice melted into the ground, and he lost her forever.

It's a sad story, isn't it?  Orpheus and Eurydice remind us that endings are inevitable.  Nothing last forever.
You don't mend a broken heart by searching for the past.  You mend it by moving to the light.

Altadena Hiker would also like you to know about this award-winning version of Orpheus and Eurydice, which was filmed in Brazil.  Did someone say Bossa Nova?

Need a goddess?  I got goddesses!  Post a comment explaining what you need or want a goddess for.  Then check back in a week or two and see what you got.  It's fun!  It's free!  It's Bossa Nova time!
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12 comments:

Olga said...

Oh, no! Not even abundant hair products?

altadenahiker said...

And to think all I gave you for Christmas was a toaster.

Petrea Burchard said...

I keep going to watch the clip and I keep getting interrupted. Who needs it? I have this story now.

Margaret said...

Olga: Not even mousse.

AH: Don't compare. I'm just so giving.

Petrea: At least try the mustic link.

Daisy said...

So many theatres were named "Orpheus" - I wonder if it's because of his voice?

Sad story...poor kids.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

"You don't mend a broken heart by searching for the past" <-----

Actually, thats how I start the process. The light comes much later - when I'm sick of being sick.

TheChieftess said...

Ohhhh...a tear jerker this one...

Susan Campisi said...

Very sad story told with your signature wit and wisdom, Margaret. I think Hiker should take a trip to Brazil. Can you imagine the stories she'd pen after such an adventure?

Desiree said...

Somehow I think Bono would resist looking back---
but that's just me

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

I loved reading this story, and was going to mention our local Orpheum theater, like Daisy did.

Fun read with your nice twist of sage advice at the end. ;o)

claire said...

Orfeo Negro was the Brazilian movie. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053146/

Just shows my age :-)))

The story of Eurydice and Orpheus warns me never to look back before all is done...

Jean Spitzer said...

Love your story. And the movie is a long-time favorite.