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Picture of Islands in the Sky

Islands in the Sky

The Four-Dimensional Journey of Odysseus through Space and Time

Author(s): Rose Hammond

Book Description

Homer provides an enormous challenge to the student; the potentialities of these lengthy texts are legion and the scholarship vast. The author has relied upon her knowledge of symbolic discourse to make a fresh study of the Odyssey, prioritising early neighbouring religions, their mythology, and shamanic practice. The latter has yielded particularly rich material concerning the axis of the world (axis mundi) as a route to the stars and the world of the gods. Man’s shared experience of the night skies has also provided some remarkably consistent patterns for the geography of an Otherworld in the skies and the means to reach the gods residing there. By applying world-wide motifs of the soul journey, the initiatory process and established points of transformation along a solar path, it has been possible to recast the hero’s sea voyage in cosmic terms and give a celestial homeland to the many islands visited by Odysseus and his companions.

The result gives a surprising twist to the meaning of the epic and reveals Homer the poet as both philosopher and student of the cosmos. The ‘wine-dark sea’ is revealed as none other than the night sky which serves as backdrop to the hero’s adventures among the stars, and Ithaka itself with its many conflicts finds a place at the very centre of the known universe of Bronze Age Greece.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-4018-7
ISBN-10: 1-4438-4018-1
Date of Publication: 01/08/2012
Pages / Size: 395 / A5
Price: £49.99


Rose Hammond has always found the unravelling of symbols in art and literature a valuable tool for the interpreting of an artist’s inner preoccupations. With a foundation in modern languages, she transferred to mediaeval studies in Christian iconography which involved deciphering layered texts and images and establishing concordances between them. After retirement from a teaching career, classical studies initially became a hobby but later developed into a more serious undertaking as it became clear that the same processes could help to decipher an inner text to the epics of Homer.