In the suites Orpheus One and Linead One, Adi Da Samraj has created a visual world and storyline that resonates with the ancient mythical archetypes of Orpheus and Eurydice. Just as the Greek myth has been recast in widely differing forms by Plato, Virgil, Ovid, Rilke, Cocteau, and many other ancient and modern writers and artists, Adi Da radically re-imagines the fundamental shape and import of the story.
Adi Da describes his suites as “abstract narratives.” Thus, the individual images do not tell a story in any conventional sense. Rather, they generate a field of intuitively felt meaning that coincides with the essential meaning of the myth, as re-imagined by Adi Da.
Adi Da acknowledged that it is important for viewers of his Orpheus One and Linead One suites to have a basic familiarity with the Greek myth:
Familiarity with the Orpheus myth (or narrative) should be part of what informs people’s understanding of what exactly these suites are about, or how the suites can be felt, or how they can be felt to mean. People will bring all kinds of information, personal characteristics, modes of participation, and so forth—and all of that is part of what the images mean, as well as anything that I myself have verbally commented on or visually encoded into the images themselves. 
Adi Da summarizes the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in its most commonly known form, in his own telling of the story:
The fundamental story of the ancient Greek myth portrays Orpheus as a poet, singer, and musician. He marries Eurydice, and immediately she is bitten by a snake and falls into the after-death world, the underworld (or Hades).
Orpheus descends into Hades (or what could also be understood as the dark space of the natural world) to find Eurydice and bring her back to the life-world. Using his musical and poetic powers, Orpheus establishes an agreement whereby Eurydice can follow him back to the life-world. However, Orpheus is told that he must not look back as they move out of Hades—he must simply return to the life-world, and they will be united there.
They leave to return to the life-world, but, just as he is about to reenter that world, Orpheus forgets or disregards the instruction, and looks back to check that Eurydice is behind him. Because he violated this curious instruction, she falls back into the afterlife-world, and he is forced to return to the world of the living without Eurydice.
After that, Orpheus suffers Eurydice’s absence, and seeks for her, and goes through all kinds of torment about losing her. He spends the rest of his life in mourning, in a kind of mystical impulse toward union, but without a physical other to relate to. Eventually, in all of his struggling, he is, in effect, sacrificed.
Orpheus goes to hell to save his beloved, which he ultimately fails to do. He ruins himself, but it is his effort that is laudable. 
Thus, the original myth is deeply tragic, ending with the failure of Orpheus’ valiant efforts to bring Eurydice back from the underworld to the world of the living. However, Adi Da points out that, despite its tragic outcome, the myth defines an archetype of the ascent from darkness to light—and, on this basis, Adi Da refashions the myth to portray Orpheus as a liberator, who enables Eurydice to ascend to the light, or what Adi Da calls the “Divine Domain,” the blissful realm beyond any trace of ego.
At the core of the myth of Orpheus is a Spiritual descent from the world of light into the natural domain, and a subsequent ascent (or escape) from that domain. The red-and-black space in some of the images of Orpheus One is the realm of difficulty and suffering in which human beings live. However, the evidence in the images of Orpheus One, like the evidence in the myth of Orpheus, suggests a possibility other than merely remaining in the realm of suffering—namely, ascent beyond the hell of the natural world, to a domain free of the darkness that is made by egoity. That ascent is a flight provoked (or made possible) by the descent of the Spiritual hero, who enables a liberating passage beyond egoity—out of the realm of hell, and (ultimately) into the Divine Domain. 
Thus, the “story” of Adi Da’s Orpheus One and Linead One, echoing but reframing the story of the Greek myth, is of a heroic being from the world of light descending into the world of darkness—in order to bring his beloved back to the light (rather than merely to the domain of the living). In this story, the world into which Orpheus descends is the world as we commonly know it—a world which is (even unwittingly) made dark by the human collective of unillumined beings (or egos), who live and act on the presumption that the ego (or the sense of, and identity with, a separate “I”) is what is of supreme value in life. In Adi Da’s retelling, Orpheus succeeds in bringing his beloved back to the light. Orpheus must still undertake the ordeal portrayed in the classical myth in order to save his beloved, but, altogether, the story revealed in the Orpheus and Linead suites is one of victorious ascent.
The fundamental significance of this story is expressed in the poetry of the subtitles:
Both of these subtitles refer to the “descent” or “fall” of the “bicycle.” And, indeed, both suites are characterized by the figurative imagery of bicycles and bicycle wheels, often represented in abstract form as simple circles and lines. Adi Da uses the wheel/circle and the bird in flight as visual metaphors for the means by which Eurydice (or any being) can be enabled to ascend, from the darkness (or the human world that is characterized by self-caused suffering, mythologically portrayed as the dark underworld of the dead) into the light (or the transcendent domain of Truth and Reality, mythologically portrayed as the sunlit world of the living).
In the subtitle to Orpheus One, Adi Da characterizes the descent of the bicycle (a symbol for Orpheus as liberator) as a spiritual event. Thus, Adi Da’s Orpheus is not merely involved in a romantic attempt to resurrect his lost beloved. Rather, Orpheus here succeeds in liberating Eurydice from darkness (or from being trapped in an ego-based life). And this spiritual descent enables “the second-birth of flight”—the “flight” upwards from darkness to light. In other words, the spiritual descent of Orpheus makes it possible for Eurydice to “fly” out of the darkness into the light, and thus be reborn as a spiritually liberated being.
In the subtitle to Linead One, Adi Da intriguingly describes the world of darkness (or the world of ordinary human experience) in the visual-artistic terms of “primary color and point of view.” He uses “primary color” (playing on the obvious perceptual differences between red, yellow, and blue) to point to the universal presumption that all beings and things are inherently different from each other—and, in turn, irreducibly separate from one another. Thus, Adi Da is relating to the primary colors as prismatic “slices” of white (or undifferentiated) light. In this subtitle, Adi Da uses “point of view” to indicate the fundamental presumption that “I” exist as a separate “point” of awareness, in the midst of a “world” full of other separate “points” (or separate beings and things).
In this subtitle, Adi Da reveals that the apparent “fall” is “illusory.” Thus, in Adi Da’s radical recasting of the myth, not only is Eurydice liberated, but she is liberated from what is actually an illusory fate—the fate of confinement to the “Hades” of ego-based existence.
- Adi Da Samraj, June 14, 2007.
- Adi Da Samraj, August 9, 2007; June 29, 2007; June 14, 2007.
- Adi Da Samraj, July 23, 2007.