The Unicorn and the Lake

The Unicorn and the Lake by Marianna Mayer is a fantastic book about  a unicorn pitted against a serpent. Symbolically, it can be said that  the Unicorn is God and the Serpent is the Devil.

A unicorn roams the lands until chased away into the mountains by man’s greed to possess his magical horn.  He stays hidden many years and as a result a drought dries up the land.  The other animals are weakened and are no longer able to defend themselves against the serpent.  The animals call out and the unicorn hears them.  The unicorn causes rain to fall, filling the once-dry lakes and ponds.

The serpent, furious, poisons the newly-formed waters.  The animals again call out and this time the unicorn answers in person.  He ventures down the mountain, only to meet the Serpent who attacks him.  The ensuing fight ends in the Serpent slithering away, spared, the unicorn purifying the water and returning back to his home in the mountains.

Great picture of God, isn’t it?  God answers when we cry out as we are being thwarted by the devil and in the end vanquishes and restores.  Lovely.

Lessons from Gilgamesh

I’ve been hesitant to give up homeschool and now I think I know the underlying reason–I have and am learning as much or more than my kids in the process.  I get to study what I want to study for once, investigate things and people I want to know about, and spend as much time as I wish.  This is probably one of the greatest benefits of homeschool and one of the strongest reasons to homeschool i.e. letting the child investigate what speaks to their heart and not what speaks to the State’s heart.

I grabbed a kids’ book on Gilgamesh more for me than my kids.  So I’m reading it and the afterward by a Professor Cyrus Gordon from my alma mater, Brandeis University (I wonder if he’s still around since this book is from the 1960’s).  It relates the historical significance/importance of this ancient Mesopotamian tale as it predates the Ancient Greeks and the Bible.  Particularly, it mentions the sacking of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BC (previously thought to have been the first known dates of Mesopotamian cuneiform)–the very subject I am reading about in the Bible in Jeremiah, Lamentations, and now Ezekiel.  This is all stuff I never learned in school and so visiting it a second time has been…wondrous.

So, the tale of Gilgamesh is the tale of a man who became experienced and wise in his travels; and learned what all of us must learn in order to be wise (despite having failed in his mission to obtain eternal life):  to make the most of our earthly lives without chasing rainbows that are beyond our grasp.

I agree and disagree with this.  I agree with making the most of your life, but I see nothing wrong with chasing rainbows.  Dreams are what give us life and my writing career is definitely obtainable.  In terms of little kids, that’s all my kids do–is chase rainbows, unicorns, Pegasus, dragons, princesses, princes, castles, and fairy tales.

It breathes life into them and that’s all that matters in this world.

I can still learn right along with my kids while they are in school.  I don’t have to stop learning (and neither do they) as long as I choose not to.  They receive the benefits of being with their peers at a regular school and I can still learn whatever I want whenever I want.