Friday, July 18, 2014
The mythology behind the Judgment of Paris
The Garden of the Hesperides by Frederic Leighton, exhibited in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, part of the National Museums of Liverpool. A rock band from Liverpool later adopted the apple as the name of its record company.
During Monday's online Illuminatus! discussion, I went into considerable detail about the Judgment of Paris. It looks like I may not have had the full scoop.
In The Greek Myths by Robert Graves, the author has an Introduction in which he discusses the Great Goddess, which is represented as the the three phases of the Moon: "The moon's three phases of new, full, and old recalled the matriarch's three phases of maiden, nymph (nubile woman) and crone."
I mention this because it relates to Graves' explanation of the "real story" behind Paris, the three goddesses, etc. Later in the Introduction, Graves mentions the Judgment of Paris as an example of "iconotropy," in which an earlier myth has been "accidentally or deliberately" misinterpreted. Graves then writes,
"Again, the so-called 'Judgment of Paris,' where a hero is called upon to decide between the rival charms of three goddesses and awards his apple to the fairest, records an ancient ritual situation, outgrown by the time of Homer and Hesiod. These three goddesses are one goddess in triad: Athene and maiden, Aphrodite the nymph, and Hera the crone — and Aphrodite is presenting Paris with the apple, rather than receiving it from him. This apple, symbolizing her love bought at the price of his life, will be Paris's passport to the Elysian Fields, the apple orchards of the west, to which only the souls of heroes are admitted. A similar gift is frequently made in Irish and Welsh myth; as well as by the Three Hesperides, to Heracles; and by Eve, 'the Mother of All Living,' to Adam. Thus Nemesis, goddess of the sacred grove who, in late myth, became the symbol of divine vengeance on proud kings, carries an apple-hung branch, her gift to heroes. All neolithic and Bronze Age were orchard-islands; paradise itself means 'orchard'."
Could the ceremony of Stellar Maris with George Dorn be a re-enactment of that old myth, or an allusion to it? Compare Graves, with the apple of Aphrodite, "her love, bought at the price of his life," with Hagbard Celine's explanation of the ritual to George, which I quoted Monday: "If there were no death, there would be no sex. If there were no sex, there would be no death. And without sex, there would be no evolution toward intelligence, no human race. Therefore, death is necessary. Death is the price of orgasm."