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Temptation's Story

Leaving the island of Calypso on a bed of temptation, Odysseus prays for strength to resist the song of the seven sirens.

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Temptation

A tale of Temptation; the Seven Sirens of Anthemoassa

Oh sweet temptation! How you lure thee. The pervasiveness of desire runs through my veins. What was once forbidden now sings with allure. The hymn of enticement draws me in as my desires run wild. Sometimes man must be brought to the end of his wits to truly feel alive.

Deep in the Mediterranean Sea lies seven sirens with songs so soothing they lure any sailor in their breadth. Their charm is so alluring no man has been said to return to their families upon hearing their song. Only once mortal is known to have heard the cries of the sirens and lived to tell the tale. But be warned - the triumph of Odyssey must not set inspiration to push indulgence.

Many have told the story. Ten years past the great fall of Troy, the king of Ithaca, Odysseus, had yet to return home. He had been imprisoned by Calypso, the beautiful nymph of Ogygia, who wished to make Odysseus her immortal husband enchanting him through her mystic songs. While she succeed for seven years, the Gods finally intervened to free Odysseus, where he began his journey back to Ithaca.

Odysseus, now a free man, now faced a long and enduring journey back to his kingdom. After facing near shipwreck in a prodigious storm sent by Poseidon, Odysseus arrived upon Aeaea, where he first encountered Circe, the goddess of magic and sorceress of the land. While their first encounter began maliciously as Odysseus drew his sword to save his men from Circe’s dark spells, this encounter soon sparked an adoration for each other, which led to a prolonged stay at the palace of the sorceress. As Odysseus and his men prepared to continue their journey, Circe warned the men of the seven sirens of Anthemoassa, who pray upon seaman who passes their island; singing songs a song so sweet any sailor who passes by cannot resist their lure and ventures towards their land, only to perish by shipwreck on their rocky coast.

Odysseus thanked Circe for her words of caution and wished his mystical suitress a final fairwell. He then gathered his men to return to their journey, but not before passing on all the details of Circe’s warning of the seven sirens. He instructed the crew to plug their ears with wax to resist the temptation of the sirens. Odysseus then had his men bound him head to foot, against the ships mast. Only then could Odysseus listen to the irresistible shouts of the sirens without succumbing to temptation.

As Odysseus and his comrades approached the island of sirens, the wind which carried their swift pace suddenly dropped. A serene calm took over, leaving the shipmates to furl their sails and begin whitening the water with their polished pinewood oars. The sirens became visible on the rugged shores of Anthemoassa, who anticipated the arrival of the king. As Odysseus lay his eyes on the dangerous, yet inordinately beautiful creatures, they began their shrill songs:

“Look in here on your way, famed Odysseus, the Achaian’s pride: put in your ship, and hear we seven sing. Never yet has any man rowed on past us in his black ship till he’s heard the honey-sweet music that issues from our mouths, and he voyages on rejoicing, his knowledge increased, for we know all the toil and suffering that in the wide land of Troy Argives and Trojans endured through the will of the gods: Indeed, we know all things that happen on the nurturing earth.”

Odysseus was possessed by the sirens seduction and begged his men to release him from captivity. Eurylochos and Perimedes, two of Odysseus best men, refused the desperate cries of their leader and instead bound him further with more lashings, much tighter than before. Odysseus cursed his men for their disloyalty, knowing not that he had become bewitched by the sorcery of the seven sirens. Before long, the voyagers had past earshot of the sirens, and could take a sign of relief as they removed the wax from their ears and unbound their fearless leader, now free from the spell of the sirens.

The sirens may have done their best to lure Odysseus, but thanks to the cunning plans of Odysseus and the strong will of his men, no ships were wrecked off the coast of Anthemoassa that day. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life.