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Observations placeholder

Ovid - Metamorphoses - The Transformation of Ino and Melicerta to Sea-Gods 2



Type of Spiritual Experience


Hate is symbolically represented in a number of ways, but snakes often seem to crop up a lot in their venomous form.  Snake symbolism can be complex, when you see a snake it does not always mean that they are representing hellish actions, but if you see a snake with fangs, angry, venomous, destructive then it symbolises hate.  Ovid shows this wonderfully well.

Ovid gained from friendship and companionship which is under the generic heading of reducing threats.



A description of the experience

Ovid Metamorphoses - The Transformation of Ino and Melicerta to Sea-Gods

What caused her hate, the Goddess thus confessed,
What caused her journey now was more than guest.
That hate, relentless, its revenge did want,
And that revenge the Furies soon could grant:
They could the glory of proud Thebes efface,
And hide in ruin the Cadmean race.
For this she largely promises, entreats,
And to entreaties adds imperial threats.
Then fell Tisiphone with rage was stung,
And from her mouth the untwisted serpents flung.
‘To gain this trifling boon, there is no need’
(She cried) ‘in formal speeches to proceed.
Whatever thou command’st to do, is done;
Believe it finished, tho' not yet begun.
The faithful Fury, guiltless of delays,
With cruel haste the dire command obeys.
Girt in a bloody gown, a torch she shakes,
And round her neck twines speckled wreaths of snakes.
Fear, and dismay, and agonizing pain,
With frantic rage, complete her loveless train.
To Thebes her flight she sped, and Hell forsook;
At her approach the Theban turrets shook:
The sun shrunk back, thick clouds the day o'er-cast,
And springing greens were withered as she passed.
She wide extended her unfriendly arms,
And all the Fury lavished all her harms.
Part of her tresses loudly hiss, and part
Spread poison, as their forky tongues they dart.
Then from her middle locks two snakes she drew,
Whose merit from superior mischief grew:
Th' envenom'd ruin, thrown with spiteful care,
Clung to the bosoms of the hapless pair.
The hapless pair soon with wild thoughts were fired,
And madness, by a thousand ways inspired.
'Tis true, th' unwounded body still was sound,
But 'twas the soul which felt the deadly wound.
Nor did th' unsated monster here give o'er,
But dealt of plagues a fresh, unnumbered store.
Each baneful juice too well she understood,
Foam, churned by Cerberus, and Hydra's blood.
Hot hemlock, and cold aconite she chose,
Delighted in variety of woes.
Whatever can untune th' harmonious soul,
And its mild, reasoning faculties control,
Give false ideas, raise desires profane,
And whirl in eddies the tumultuous brain,
Mixed with cursed art, she direfully around
Thro' all their nerves diffused the sad compound.
Then tossed her torch in circles still the same,
Improved their rage, and added flame to flame.
The grinning Fury her own conquest spied,
And to her rueful shades returned with pride,
And threw th' exhausted, useless snakes aside. 

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items





Science Items

Activities and commonsteps