- March 20, 2017
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Excerpts from Medea's Version of the Orpheus Myth
Long ago Hecate lived separately as three women: the maiden Euridice, the matron Medea and the Crone whose name had been forgotten. One day, Euridice went among the living to gather flowers and fell in love with Orpheus. Orpheus’ music was joyful and gay, for he was in love with Euridice, the sweet young maiden of Hecate, and she loved him in return. He proposed to marry her and his songs swelled out, filled with happiness as Euridice danced on light feet through the meadow. Suddenly, Medea reached out of the ground and pulled Euridice down to the underworld. Wise Medea gently explained that marriage to Orpheus would bring only sorrow. No more songs came from Orpheus’ throat. No more tunes rang out from his lyre. All joy had gone out of his life. He had to have his Euridce back…
[Orpheus travels to the underworld]
…Hades, the pitiless king of the dead, sat on his black marble throne with Queen Persephone at his side. He was so moved by Orpheus’ music that tears rolled down his cheeks. Persephone sobbed as well. She turned to her husband and begged him to let Euridice go back to the sunny world above. Hades gave his consent, but only under certain conditions. Euridice, Medea and the Crone would be joined together and become Hecate, the great and powerful triple-goddess of magic, so that no one would dare object to Orpheus’ bride and cause undue strife. Also, Orpheus was forbidden to look at Hecate before they reached the realm of the living. She would walk behind him, but if he turned, and looked at her, she would have to return to the underworld.
Overcome with joy, Orpheus started up the dark path, and as his music faded into the distance, gloom again descended over the underworld. The way was long, and as Orpheus walked on and on, doubt began to creep into his mind. Had Hades deceived him? Were Euridice’s footsteps really among the sounds he heard behind him? He would have turned to see if she was really there, but wise Medea had poisoned him with a draught that kept him from turning and compelled him to keep walking…
[Medea bends Orpheus, Euridice and the Crone to her will]
…and at last Orpheus fell in love not just with Euridice, but with Medea and the Crone as well. He lived dotingly alongside the triple-goddess Hecate as her consort as she spread his music of the underworld among the living.