Eunoe (Greek: Εὐνοη) is a feature of Dante‘s Divine Comedy created by Dante as the fifth river of the dead (taking into consideration that Cocytus was described as a lake rather than a river). In the Purgatorio, the second cantica of Dante’s poem, penitents reaching the Garden of Eden at the top of Mount Purgatory are first washed in the waters of the river Lethe in order to forget the memories of their mortal sins. They then pass through Eunoe to have the memories of their good deeds in life strengthened.

Upon completing his or her sentence in Purgatory, a soul is washed in the rivers Lethe and Eunoe (in that order) by Matilda. It is unclear who Matilda was in real life, but, nonetheless, her function is to cause the penitent to forget his or her sins (now that these sins have been purged) and then sip from the waters of Eunoe so that the soul may enter heaven full of the strength of his or her life’s good deeds.

Are you a friend of Dante? Many focus on the Inferno, the first of three phases of his poem, The Divine Comedy. Though it be frightening even in today’s standards, the whole excursion is called a “Comedy” because it brings us to a good place in the end. Journeying through the darkness is sometimes necessary to understand the light.

On this Existential Soul-journ we wish to take an abbreviated bird’s eye view of what is involved in the travelers quest. This Soul-journ is to chart that course to Eunoe, the river whose waters will remind you of all your good deeds.


The ultimate destination is Eunoe. Our destination in this Soul-journ however are the stops along the way, gathering supplies and clues to lead us there.


Open your mind to see clearly in back of you and ahead of you. Open your heart to courage to perceive many angles of the same truth. Open your spirit to remember all of you, all your aspects of your being, and to remember who you really are. Read one of the following philosophers

Zoe Weil’s Above All Be Kind

Erich Fromm‘s (especially personality development theory)


Kahlil Gibran

What to Bring

  • notebook and something to write with
  • images of rivers, or a favorite photo of a river you know and wish to associate with this journey
  • two glasses of water
  • a mat or pillow to lie or sit on

Ports of Calling

The first time you remember getting in trouble,

the first time you were forgiven,

the first time you forgave another.

If this Existential Soul-journ speaks to you, write

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