A Visit to the Underworld

word and silence

Below are excerpts from three of my favorite Underworld journeys from mythology, which also informed my own Underground scene in To the House of the Sun:

  • Book Six of Virgil’s Aeneid, where Aeneas comes upon the shade of his father, who is amazed to see his son, still alive, visiting the land of the dead;
  • Tablet Seven of Gilgamesh, where Enkidu, near death, recounts the dream of the Underworld he just woke from;
  • A TachiOrpheus myth from central California; beyond the story itself, its placement within the named landscape of California seems close to the Dindsenchas stories of Celtic myth

from THE AENEID, BOOK 6

But in the deep of a green valley, father
Anchises, lost in thought, was studying
the souls of all his sons to come—though now
imprisoned, destined for the upper light.
And as it happened, he was telling over
the multitude…

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