Ah, weary traveler! Let me pose a riddle that I may judge you worthy to pass. Who defeats me with a riddle when Oedipus guessed one posed by my kind?1
You don’t remember the riddle? Oh, come, come! You heard it or read it: “What with one voice has four legs in the morning then two at noon then three in the evening?” Oedipus knew it to be man who at first crawls on all fours, then stands upright, and in old age with a cane.2 That’s not what I ask now.
I ask as one atop the Wheel of Fortune opposite Apophis and the cynocephalus in your divinations.3 I ask this time as one who wonders and who has only an answer in part, not the whole.
Your scholars heard the story of Oedipus and applied it to a psychological complex after which Oedipus murders his father and marries his mother, describing hidden sexual attachments that naturally compel a man to leave his father and project the image of his mother upon his wife.4 But never in all my days did I understand one who projected the image of his mother upon himself and perhaps marries the similitude of his father. You, friend, being what you call a “transsexual woman” seem unnatural in that context, yet I must let you pass because you have always existed a mystery from antiquity as did I and are more genuinely a natural creature than me. I wonder at your kind and because of that you defeat me without thought.
Look at how Egypt depicted me: a guardian of the Mysteries, of wisdom, and of power. These have always been within humankind if they understand them yet somehow needs an image to awaken them, one with the capacity to swallow them whole if they refuse. That’s life, after all.
I’m depicted with eyes that search and penetrate, as one ever in control. Humankind comes to my place with trembling, but it’s the truth before which they tremble, not my face. Truth is all that really matters to me and you will be amazed at how many lies a man tells and lives.
Yet you face truth before you come to me: a dark truth only your people comprehend. When you come to terms with it you travel much farther than most whose path I block.
Do you see? It’s in the riddle I posed to Oedipus. It’s the riddle of life itself. Man is born in the morning of his life with four feet, he suffers and labors in the height of his day with two feet, and he dies with his staff in his hand at the end of his evening of life. Happy is the man who embraces his death as his own and understands. You did that in your transition, knowing the immensity of that sacrifice. You accept with joy that from which most of humankind shrinks. How many understand such a riddle? I assure you a sphinx does not.
The “complex” of which your psychologists speak also fails when many of you begin as girls becoming men or declare yourselves independent of either sex. Or if women favor women, men favor men, transwomen favor transwomen, transmen favor transmen, and the intersex love with complete fluidity (if you pardon the expression), the pattern of Oedipus has been defied.
Indeed, you defeat me as a riddle.
You’re a riddle because you care more to bring forth children of mind than children of body. In that I look for your wisest in great anticipation, all who tapped into the holiness they discover in their enhanced awareness, even if they had not been permitted by humankind to complete their studies or to carry out an occupation without violence and sabotage.
You survive against incredible odds. You should not exist. But you do.
You should take my nemyss that covers the citadel of thought with a tent against the toilsome heat and strengthen your paradigm as with lion’s paws and cunning like my serpent tail. You won’t find strength in armaments but in the strength of practical vision. In your struggle to exist your vision of what you can actualize is the only thing that limits you.
Cultivate it in the spirit of a truth seeker and it will adorn you. Maintain your honesty and I will walk alongside you as a companion. Embrace a pernicious spirit and I will swallow you like I have swallowed kings and kingdoms. But the sphinx loves the one who seeks wisdom and who has a servant heart, knowing that they who suffer patiently commit no sin.
Then in readiness for a greater vision, you people cannot burden yourselves with the past. I do not care to take your burdens. There’s another who does that.
So gather your earliest memories, those with which you delighted and those that made you weep. Lay them down at the gate where the gatekeeper watches. Lay them down… at the gate of the sphinx.
Gather the sorrows that taught you like the whip of a cruel taskmaster. Gather those desires for revenge upon those who hate you. Gather the shouts of anger, rage, and insanity. Gather the voices that haunt you, the taunts that seek to entrap you in accusations of crime. Gather the chests, purses and vials emptied by the robber. You no longer need any of them to hinder you. Lay them down… at the gate of the sphinx.
Gather the victories that assured you of your path for they may turn to hinder you. You have much more to learn along the way. Lay them down… at the gate of the sphinx.
Gather the illusions imposed upon you for they will enslave you and your expectations for they will embitter you. Life honors neither, imposing its own challenges. Lay them down… at the gate of the sphinx.
For you must pass this gate as an empty vessel to be filled, taking in only the sweet air. As you must be quiet before a surgeon, so must you be quiet as you pass through these gates. You can take nothing else beyond if you will prevail. Lay them down… at the gate of the sphinx.
As you pass, what does the sweet air teach you? What awakens within you as a seeker of truth? What might you bring as a gift to the world? Will you nourish the hungry? Will you raise up others above their suffering? Will you fashion a school for the downtrodden? Will you set free those who had been enslaved? Who knows what will become of your vessel? Neither you nor I know any such matter; neither does passing through this gate immediately ready you to actualize what may come.
For the way beyond is rocky and slippery ending at a Light beyond, and if one falls back inside, perhaps some of these things may be; and if so, then they will become much better because of your realization as one who has returned, like the synapses of a thought reverse and return to bring to mind a profound dream. Your wise men know of such things. 5
But true vision has its birth in quietness and emptiness for Silence is the mother of Truth. Wisdom is like a herm, ever willing to cast his seed as a father when the caduceus takes flight, meeting Silence in the House of Dreams.6
For some this remains a profound riddle. What better to guard the gates of such a riddle than a riddler? The lesser riddle leads to the greater, but the realization thereof belongs only to those who walk beyond these gates, the threshold that belongs to you alone. It’s a gate that makes the Mysteries mystery which, when uncovered, awaken.
So, weary traveler, wash with water and be refreshed. Let the fire of consecration warm you and fill you with resolve. The journey is a holy one, for empty vessels where Light mingles with the air, blowing which way it wishes, understanding the enigma of riddles like you far more than I do.
Welcome, weary traveler.
- Oedipus is the main character of some of the plays of Sophocles including Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone.
- The actual Sphinx episode does not appear in the Oedipus plays but survives in related myth. For a discussion see Carr, Karen. Oedipus Rex (January 2017) Web: Quatr: http://quatr.us/greeks/literature/oedipus.htm . Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- From the archetypes of the Tarot, the destroyer Apophis appears in the Ryder-Waite deck as a serpent and the cynocephalus as a demonic figure. In other decks the cynocephalus appears alone as a negative searcher.
- Dolloff, Lauren. The Oedipus Complex (November 16, 2006) Web: UVM: http://www.uvm.edu/~jbailly/courses/tragedy/student%20second%20documents/Oedipus%20Complex.html . Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- A similitude to regression. See Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams (1899, 1913-English) Web: e-book version: http://books.eserver.org/nonfiction/dreams/chap07b.html . Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- Herms can be found all over Greece. The usual components are a bearded head, a priapic phallus, and a caduceus. The caduceus is not the symbol of the medical profession. Their symbol is the rod of Aesculapius. The caduceus is emblematic of kundalini as a vehicle of transcendence, the serpents pertaining to the nadis Ida and Pingala and the central shaft as shushuma. Kundalini is an energy centered at the coccygeal body, which when activated, “uncoils” and moves up the spinal column. Once the energy reaches the brainstem, the results can be life changing. But this is best approached in meditation and diligent care. For a discussion on the herms, see Jung, Carl. G.; von Franz, M. L.; Henderson, Josphh L., Jacobi; and Jolande, Jaffe, Aniela. Man and His Symbols (September 1968) Laurel, Dell Publishing, New York City. ISBN: 0-440-35183-9, pp. 155. The association of the caduceus with kundalini is an oral tradition known to the writer and pragmatically accepted as true.