The Myth of Orestes and the Furies (or You and your Critical Voice)

Orestes was a grandson of Atreus
Atreus had attempted to prove himself more powerful than the Gods.  Because of this crime against the Gods, the Gods punished Atreus by casting a curse upon his descendants.  As part of this curse, Oreste’s mother, Clytemnestra, murdered her husband Agamemnon.

This crime put Orestes in a difficult situation. The Greek code of honor obliged him, as the son of his slayed father, to slay his father’s murderer.

Yet the greatest sin a Greek could commit was the sin of matricide (killing your mother).

Orestes agonised over his dilemma.  Finally, he did what he seemingly had to do and killed his mother.

For this sin, the Gods then punished Orestes by visiting uponhim the Furies, three ghastly harpies who could be seen and heard only by him and who tormented him night and day with their cackling criticism and frightening appearance.

Pursued wherever he went by the Furies, Orestes wandered about the land seeking to atone for his crime. 

After many years of lonely reflection and self-abrogation, Orestes requested the gods to relieve him of the curse on the House of Atreus and it’s visitations upon him through the Furies, stating his belief that he had succeeded in atoning for the murder of his mother.
A trial was held by the gods.

Speaking in Oreste’s defence, Apollo argued that he had engineered the whole situation that had placed Orestes in the position in which he had no choice but to kill his mother, and therefore Orestes could not be held responsible.

At this point, Orestes jumped up and contradicted his own defender, stating: “It was I, not Apollo that murdered my mother!”
The gods were amazed.

Never before had a member of the House of Atreus assumed such total responsibility for themselves and not blamed the gods.

Eventually, the gods decided the trial in Orestes favor and not only took the curse off the House of Atreus, but also transformed the Furies into the Eumenides; loving spirits who through their wise counsel, enabled Orestes to obtain continuing good fortune.

The meaning of this myth is not obscure.

The constantly berating Critical Voice, that can only be heard by Orestes is represented by the Furies.

It’s only when Orestes takes full responsibility for his situation, that the Critical voice transforms into the helpful Eumenides (otherwise known as: “The bearers of Grace”), who help with advice and warning of dangers to enhance Oreste’s continuing good fortune.

So many times I see the Critical Voice transform from the over-protective mother strategy to the wise and helpful sage to aid your journey.   

There is a process to go through to get to this stage and it is hard work but it's certainly worth it.

Are you up for it?

This is only the beginning. Get to know clarity. Email me, Mike Kennedy...

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