Yeats, W B - Collected poems - A Needle's Eye
Type of Spiritual Experience
Coma Berenices is a traditional pattern of stars which is not an official constellation. It is located near Leo, to which it formerly belonged and accommodates the Pole Star. ‘The needle’s eye’.
Its name means "Berenice's Hair", and refers to Queen Berenice II of Egypt.
Queen Berenice II of Egypt was the wife of Ptolemy III Euergetes (fl. 246 BC–221 BC), the king under whom Alexandria became an important cultural center.
“In 243 BC, Ptolemy, in the Third Syrian War, undertook a dangerous expedition against the Seleucids who had murdered his sister. His newlywed bride, Berenice, swore to the goddess Aphrodite to sacrifice her long, blonde hair, of which she was extremely proud, if her husband returned safely. He did, and she had her hair cut and placed it in the goddess' temple. By the next morning the hair had disappeared. To appease the furious king and queen (and save the lives of the temple priests), the court astronomer, Conon, announced that the offering had so pleased the goddess, that she had placed it in the sky. He indicated a cluster of stars that have since been called Berenice's Hair”.
A description of the experience
A Needle's Eye - W B Yeats
All the stream that’s roaring by
Came out of a needle’s eye;
Things unborn, things that are gone
From needle’s eye still goad it on
The Heavenly circuit; Berenice’s hair
Tent-pole of Eden; the Tent’s drapery
Symbolic glory of the earth and air
The Father and His Angelic hierarchy
That made the magnitude and glory there
Stood in the circuit of a needle’s eye.
The source of the experienceYeats, W B
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
W B Yeats – Collected Poems