A well-known passage from Plato’s Republic describes how a group of people, chained to the wall of a deep cavern, spend their entire lives looking at the shadows dancing on the cave wall in front of them. The captives are oblivious to the source of divine light behind them. The shadows are synonymous with illusory objects spun by the goddess Maia, as the Hindu would probably say, while the light symbolizes the true and real world of eternal forms. In Plato’s universe, what we take for real are mere shadows. The allegory of the cave was also popular with Neoplatonists, notably with Porphyry, author of the treatise “On the Cave of the Nymphs.” When Odysseus, the “complicated” (polytropos) man who wandered and was lost, finally arrives in Ithaca, the first place he visits is the Cave of the Nymphs. For Porphyry, “a cave is a symbol of the sensible world because caverns are dark, stony, and humid.” Here the Naiades are busy clothing the incarnating souls into bodily forms. It would seem that for Plato the cave was a place one ought to seek freedom from whereas for Porphyry it was a reservoir of gigantic generative powers as well as a place of initiation. In his Science and Religion in Archaic Greece, Roger Sworder also says that in Homer ”this Ithacan cave is symbolically transformed into the whole earth.” In the Odyssey, as Sworder elaborates “the southward path leads to mortal death, the northward path to immortality.” Thus, Odysseus’ and Athena’s passage through the southern entrance of the cave brings his spiritual rebirth. Although Plato and Porphyry claim it is necessary to seek flight from the cave, it seems that the generative Earth-born energies of caves are affirmed by Porphyry.
Posted by Neil Hague - memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 8 July 2023
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