JE NE SAIS QUOI Vol. III — The Pneuma of Eurydice
2023.11.07 - 2023.12.02
In Greek mythology, Orpheus was endowed with exceptional musical talent. One day, his wife Eurydice suffered an unfortunate death by snakebite. The grief-stricken musician descended into the land of the dead in an attempt to recover his lost wife. Singing and playing the lyre, he charmed the guardians of River Styx to make an exception and let him cross. Even Hades, king of the underworld, was moved and allowed him to take Eurydice back under one condition: Orpheus must not look back, or else she would be condemned to the underworld forever. Orpheus could not stand the test and turned around at the last moment. Because of this glance, Eurydice slipped away almost immediately. In the end, Orpheus, who lost his wife twice, was killed by frenzied female followers of Dionysos. Perhaps Orpheus was willing to be killed because he wanted to see what the underworld looks like together with Eurydice, sacrificing his life as a gift.
However, no one has ever wondered what’s in Eurydice's mind - is she suffering, in the underworld, as much as Orpheus does, or has she already decided to let go of her beloved? Perhaps what Eurydice hopes for is a reunion with Orpheus, a chance to share with him what she sees and hears in the underground, and to give him a warm hug. To Eurydice, the underworld is not a terrifying place; it is heaven as long as she is with Orpheus.
There are five rivers in the underworld. They reflect emotions associated with death, as well as the five stages of grief (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance); only crossing the rivers can the soul be liberated and revived. The duality behind the rivers is just as the cake served to Cerberus/There are two sides to the rivers, just as the cake served to Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the gates of the underworld. This piece of cake can be a distraction to the hound from Orpheus on this way, meanwhile, it is also a gift of hope to Eurydice.
“If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell.” —— Virgil “Aeneid”