The Riddle of the Sphinx …

Today my mind wanders towards the land of myths and dreams. I am thinking of the Sphinx meaning Strangler, a mythic creature with the haunches of a lion, the wings of a bird and the face of a woman.

Ancient Greek Mythology depicts the Sphinx as being treacherous and merciless, a dark untempered feminine force. She lurked outside Thebes, in Ancient Greece – so the story goes, and demanded travellers who passed by answer a riddle under threat of death. If they could not answer – they were killed and eaten by the Sphinx.

What was the riddle?

It was,

“Which creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?”

Freud’s friend Oedipus nailed it and answered correctly saying, “A man crawls on all fours as a baby, walks on two feet as an adult, and walks with a cane in old age.”

There is talk of a second riddle also, more obscure and esoteric still. “There are two sisters: one gives birth to the other and she, in turn, gives birth to the first. Who are the two sisters?” The answer is “day and night”.

Oedipus, by answering correctly, in manner similar to Shiva laying his body across the destructive path of Kali – stopped the dark feminine from devouring further. The Sphinx either threw herself on to the rocks or devoured herself depending on the telling.

But this is not what I was thinking about today. I was remembering a different story – the Neverending Story. I must have seen it a thousand times on video – VHS – when I was a kid. Today my mind wandered to the Sphinxes and thanks to youtube – here they are …

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