Some Cases of Burial Mounds (Part 2 of 3)

After being imprisoned in the cave of Polyphemus, Odysseus states that his name is “Nobody”: this or because the children that faced the initiation/rebirth ritual didn’t had a real, defined identity, didn’t had a real name and were not yet seen as true human beings, or because his previous self/identity was dead after the entry in the burial mound (Polyphemus’s cave); or for both reasons. The wine offering to the Cyclops – with the intention to soothe him, calm him down – can be compared both with the mistletoe given to the priestess inside the mound and the honey brought to the she-bear in its cave, all having a similar function.

Some of the companions of Odysseus are killed by Polyphemus while others managed to escape from the cave: those who survived are the embryos that the she-bear decided to develop and give birth to, i.e. the children who have passed the initiation. After the escape from the cave Odysseus feels the need to affirm and make known to the Cyclops his true identity and name, that is the new identity that he has obtained after the initiation ritual, reborn in one of his honourable ancestors: he is no longer “Nobody” but Odysseus son of Laertes.

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***

One of the various tales about the birth of Zeus tells that he was brought up by Melissa (“bee”) and Amalthea, inside a cave. Amalthea had hung the cradle of Zeus (in a way, the clothes [in this case life-force] of an infant are his cradle) up a tree (the sacrificial tree) so that it was neither in heaven, nor on earth, nor in the sea (that is among the dead, as the child inside the burial mound).

With time the sorceress/priestess took the place of the she-bear inside the cave/burial mound, however the child continued to have the task of bringing honey as a gift and this is the reason why the child who faced the initiation was seen as a bee: that’s why the sorceress/priestess inside the burial mound was also considered a bee, and it makes sense when we know that according to another tale the suckler of Zeus were sacred bees. The Homeric Hymn to Apollo describes the three prophetess that teached the art of divination to Apollo as if they were bees and the Pythia – the priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi – was called “Delphic Bee”.

Maybe (I make a guess) our ancestors identified the sorceress/priestess as a bee because they no longer understood or remembered the symbolism/role of the she-bear (the child brought honey to the she-bear to feed her and be chosen, being symbolically one of her embryos: as such he also had to eat some of that honey, similarly to the embryos that are nourished by what the she-bear eats; he is like a fetus inside the womb/cave/burial mound and he must be reborn): at that point, who else could have been the recipient of that sweet gift if not adult bees? And if this was the case, maybe they saw the burial mound as a sort of symbolic beehive where the child/bee had to go with his honey?  Melissa (“bee”) nourished Zeus with honey, that is the same honey that the child who faced the initiation brought as a gift to her.

Cave of Zeus, Mount Ida (Crete):
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Part 1: Some Cases of Burial Mounds (Part 1 of 3)
Part 3: Some Cases of Burial Mounds (Part 3 of 3)

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7 thoughts on “Some Cases of Burial Mounds (Part 2 of 3)

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