The Greek Classics are an eternal source of meaning. The stories in Homer's Iliad are veritable parables. The outward facts of the story contain an inner, unspoken truth. In The Heart Aroused David Whyte draws attention to the story of Cassandra in order to hold up the task of integrating the parts of ourself in order to become an authentic person. The outline of the story takes place during the Trojan War. The Greeks and the Trojans are involved in a ten year struggle. Priam is the king of Troy and Cassandra is his daughter.
Cassandra has the gift of prophesy and seeks to warn the Trojans of the plight that awaits them. She has been given this gift by the god Apollo in exchange for her love. Cassandra, however, refuses to give herself to Apollo and the god in return decrees that all of her prophesies, while spoken, will never be believed. And so Cassandra is fated to make emotional cries which others regard as the ravings of a hysterical woman. Whyte is astute in describing the psychological rift within Cassandra. Apollo represents the light of reason and clarity, and by rejecting the god, Cassandra fails to join her intuitive wisdom with discriminating intellect. In order to become whole she needs to effect an inner marriage between thought and feeling.
As the story unfolds, Troy is sacked as Cassandra has predicted. Agamemnon, the king of Greeks, takes Cassandra home as a prisoner. She warns the king of impending disaster, but according to script, Agamemnon does not heed her warning. Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter in order to secure favorable winds for the Greek voyage to Troy. His wife, Clytemnestra, has never forgotten this sacrifice. As he is taking a bath, his wife throws a net over his body and murders the king. Agamemnon represents another inner, psychological split. His masculine dominance has resigned his inner feminine to the shadows of his self. In essence, his journey toward wholeness is the opposite of that of Cassandra. Agamemnon needed to recover his intuitive wisdom while Cassandra needed to balance her insight with discrimination.
Mark Nepo in The Endless Practice describes "a world where tragedy is broadcast every hour; where situation comedies are rerun nightly; where confusions and betrayals replay themselves; where dark histories repeat themselves." He says that "we have no real choice but to meet our own experience until, moving through us, it makes our song knowable." He says that "we can dare to effort our way into harmony."
We come upon this harmony, this integration of self, when we make the inner journey of the soul. What are the voices within you that cry our for reconciliation? What marriage needs to take place within the inner sanctum of your self? Doing this inner work produces that light within which we can then shine on the world.