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" Seek the truth and run from

those who claim to have found it "

after André Gide

The Imagination of Romantic Love: a commentary on Orpheus and Eurydice

May 8th, 2017

Embrace by Anna Shukeylo

We are now in the beautiful season of Beltane here in the Northern Hemisphere. Beltane is a festival that honours love of all kinds; it reminds us that when we open to relationship with self, others and nature, we open ourselves on a deep level to the power of transformation and change. We all know that this can be a profoundly joyful experience but it can also lead to some of our toughest challenges and our greatest lessons. Here is a thought-provoking exploration of the transformative power of love by Andreas Kornevall:

In this world there is a mystery that pervades all of our relationships and all of our actions: romantic love; it is an arrow that appears from the blue sky and shakes our lives to our innermost.  This love-arrow is shot from the bow of Eros and all Gods fear it.  The Greek world had many names for other aspects of love, names such as: Philia (kinship and family) or Ludus (being amongst friends), or Pragma (maturing love), and Agape, (unconditional love), or Philautia (self-love).  Self-love was crucial as without it you were unable of loving someone else.

Many of our major religious traditions speak of transforming the power of Eros and focussing instead on the other aspects of love as mentioned above, this is not an easy proposition as the love that is mostly highlighted in our society is the obsidian-arrow point of romantic love, the one that includes a sexual partner and all the foolish and uncontrollable liveliness that is brings out in us; the meetings in empty alleyways, the bottles of wine drunk on a Tuesday at lunch time, the crumpled picnic blankets under the willow tree (when you are supposed to study for exams or be at work).  All this activity is a primal energy that makes up most of our art and music and I suspect it has been the case since we first gazed upon the sun.  Eros was not a minor deity in the ancient world, he was the one who brought the very life force of the cosmos: procreation.  In the Orphic tradition he was a primal being born from the world-egg: a first born miracle without a parent.  Eros and Creation are one and the same, as the dance of procreation is everywhere, simply put: our world is erotic. Eros is in every blade of grass and behind every motion.

Mainly due to their prickly nature, the arrows of Eros can hurt: a family can be displaced, a community torn apart and a Kingdom reduced to ashes.  The irresistible force of romantic love is a dangerous energy to the structures of society and has always been concealed and locked up within cultural taboos. We do not “rise” into this kind of love, when we are shot by Eros, we “fall” into love, when struck, treacherous waters are stirred.  When Orpheus falls in love, he takes the first steps towards the trembling veil between this world and another, first in elation and then in anguish.  His journey stands in the opposite direction to Iracus, his is a downward journey, the journey of soul (descent) as opposed to spirit (ascent).

However, the tragic loss of his Eurydice spurs Orpheus on to bestow romantic love a full redemption, making it the crown in the created cosmos, and through his music and endeavours, he raises romantic love above the cold hand of death.  His actions alert us that this love, when felt deeply enough, can lead us to the undying lands, the blessed isles, but only if we are prepared to go through the high-risk paths that love confers to us…To read the entire article click here. 

Anna Shukeylo’s website