Category: Volume 1

OCEANOS AND HIS CHILDREN: RIVER-GODS AND OCEANIDES

While the descendants of Iapetus and Clymene represent the efforts in the ‘ascension of the planes of consciousness’, those of Oceanos and Thetys describe an evolution through incarnation in accordance to nature. They imply both a ‘purification’ of the lower planes from the distortions originating from ignorance and the mixing of functions, and a ‘liberation’ from the elements necessary for their construction, including attachments, desires and ego, which must be progressively eliminated. This is why Oceanos ‘flows towards his origin’; the process of purification and liberation must be carried out till the origins of evolution.

The initiates of ancient times have therefore included here the currents of energy-consciousness which supports this evolution.
These are:
The Oceanides, forces supporting an evolution in accordance with nature and infinite modalities of the manifestation of the Absolute in creation. According to Hesiod they number three thousand, which is the figure of the Absolute (three) at the highest level (thousand).
Along with the rivers and with Apollo, they help raise young people. They are therefore aids or supporting forces for the seekers who have engaged themselves on the path.
Depicted as beautiful young women, they were erroneously associated with the Nymphs, spirits of nature including the Dryads, Naiads and Oreads, although neither Homer nor Hesiod had placed them in this category originally.

The ‘rivers and streams’, which describe the main directions of the tasks to be carried out. Through their descendants are exposed the teachings and experiences accompanying the different paths of evolution that are in accordance with nature. Amongst the most important are:
In the descendance of the river Inachos, ‘the progression of concentration’, known to be the most ancient river of Argolide and the origin of the lineage of the Inachides, are found the processes of purification and liberation, necessary preambles to any future evolution.
Amongst the descendants of the rivers Peneios and Asopos, origins of the Lapithian and Asopid lineages, are found the experiences of the most experienced of seekers.

According to Hesiod, there as many rivers as there are Oceanids, which is to say as many paths towards the Absolute as there are human beings.

The name Oceanos (Κ+Ν) represents ‘an expansion of consciousness in accordance to the evolutionary process of nature’. The character omega at the beginning of the word implies that the phases of this evolution always begin in the body.
His partner, the Titanide Tethys (Τ+Θ), seems to indicate an evolution in the depths of the being, while as a couple Iapetus and Clymene strive towards the heights. (Tethys must not be confused with Thetis (Θ+Τ), the daughter of Nereus and the mother of Achilles.)

Hesiod describes Oceanus as encircling ‘the limits of the all-nurturing earth’, thus forming an ethereal double of the body, and being the source of all the streams, salty or non-salty (Iliad 14.198). Just as the currents are divided into an unlimited number of rivers and streams, so the body is filled with innumerable currents of energy.
In several passages of the Iliad (Iliad 14.200; 14.244 ; 14.300), Oceanos is said to be the origin of all the other gods, and therefore of the currents of energy-consciousness which all originate in the same source. (Let us remember that he is not to be confused with Pontus, who symbolises phases of growth in the vital plane.)

The rivers appear in the heroic stories depending on the necessities of evolution. Issued directly from the generation of the Titans, they share the same rank as the gods.

The Oceanides

There is a multitude of female Oceanides, ‘a holy company of daughters who with the lord Apollo and the Rivers have youths in their keeping (…)For there are three thousand neat-ankled daughters of Ocean who are dispersed far and wide, and in every place alike serve the earth and the deep waters, children who are glorious among goddesses ‘ (Theogony 346-368).
Their names signify ‘they who are covered or veiled’; they are the forces which act in all places (on the earth and in the oceans, in the vital and in the mind), but without man’s awareness.
As goddesses of the same rank as the Olympian gods they are immortal, and hence exist in non-duality. They act on humankind with extreme suppleness and delicacy (they are neat-ankled); the Divine works in each individual at each moment with the best interests for his evolution and with the greatest precautions.
The Oceanides are the ones to direct the movements of yoga (the youths) till they reach maturity, or till the seeker is able to follow his own method of yoga.

Hesiod mentions forty-one Oceanides, but the Homeric hymn to Demeter only includes twenty-one of them. Certain authors, insisting on a particular aid being necessary at specific moments of the quest, added several others.

The river gods

If the Oceanides are the forces sustaining evolution, then the innumerable swirling currents represent evolutionary processes or conscious moments of learning, swirling movements which already exist in nature. Aside from image of centres of energy, we can perhaps see in the swirling currents the fact that difficulties present themselves again and again till their resolution is complete.

Only a few of the river gods are of major importance, the rest only rarely intervening in the heroic stories. The two major ones, Inachus and Asopos, include in their descendance almost all the myths classified here as illustrating the process of purification and liberation. They are mentioned neither by Hesiod nor by Homer, but appear from the middle of the 5th century BCE in the works of Aeschylus and Pindar.

Inachus

The river god Inachus (Ν+Χ) is the symbol of ‘the evolution of the gathering of consciousness’, the ‘evolution of concentration’ or ‘the evolution towards emptiness and the abolition of the ego’ depending on the meaning given to the character Khi. It can also be the image of a ‘suffering (εν+αχος)’ which is often the element instigating the quest.
It is the great river of Argolis, the land of ‘the luminous’ and therefore of ‘the seekers of truth’.
His descendance gathers together what is essential of the teachings and experiences on this path of incarnation. The very first generations also evoke the spiritual realisations of earlier civilisations.

According to certain authors, he is either the father of Io ‘the opening of consciousness in incarnation’, or one of her ancestors. The generations intercalated in the latter version had the objective of either introducing the people of Argolis and of facilitating understanding (Phoroneus, ‘he who is carries evolution’, Niobe, ‘the incarnation of consciousness’ known as ‘the mother of all living beings’ for she incarnates one of the first experience of the seeker that “this is real”, and Argos, ‘the luminous’), or of bringing coherence to a number of generations of this lineage, which was a real puzzle for many of the mythologists of ancient times.
Beginning from the time of Io, different authors enter into agreement. We encounter in succession her son Epaphus, ‘the touch of the Absolute’ and the first contact of the seeker with his psychic being, followed by the twins Agenor and Belus, whose descendance describes the theoretical and practical teachings of ‘purification’ and ‘liberation’.

The genealogical branch of Agenor, purification, is divided in its turn into two sub-branches. That of Cadmus opens the royal lineage of Thebes, the object of which is to be the path of the regaining of divine harmony and of the universalisation of the centres of energy. In Crete, the genealogical branch of Europa relates to the opening of consciousness and the evolution of discernment, and addresses the associated risks of closing upon oneself into mental structures following major experiences, as is illustrated by the legend of the Minotaur.

The genealogical branch of Belos illustrates the theoretical teachings in view of ‘purification’ and ‘liberation’, notably in the victory over fear (Perseus) and in the Labours of Heracles.

The Peneus

His name evokes a stabilisation of evolution, which implies a path of incarnation (suggested by the name of his wife, Creusa). His lineage illustrates a lack of purification of the deep vital (the Centaurs), as well as different forms of spiritual pride (Ixion, the Molionidai and the Aloades) which can occur when the seeker believes that he has attained the highest level of the overmind.
In this lineage also appears Pirithous the companion of Theseus, ‘he who experiments swiftly’, an expression of the seeker who swiftly integrates the experiences of life without needing them to be renewed, and without lingering on situations which do not elicit evolution.

The Asopus
With him, the seeker leaves behind the familiar landscapes of the quest and ventures into the quagmire of vital and physical memories. This river is the ancestor of the great Ajax, ‘superior consciousness’, and of Achilles the king of the Myrmidons (the king of the ants), who takes care of the truly small details to which we ordinarily give no importance and to the purification up to the bones. Without his intervention, the Trojan War would have never been won by the Greeks.

Achelous
He was the eldest of the sons of Oceanos, and therefore represents the most ancient process of evolutionary learning. He is also ‘the largest river in Greece’, which is to say the most wide-spread asceticism. He created the Echinades, a group of islands representing the origin of ‘concentration’. This river of silver currents flows in Aetolia, where is located the city of Calydon; it is therefore associated with the battle for the mastery over the archaic vital energies.
Heracles had to challenge him to combat, for he also aspired to enter into a union with Deianeira, ‘detachment’. To engage in this struggle he had taken the form of a bull, ‘the power of realisation in the luminous mind’. This is therefore a current of consciousness which can manifest itself under different aspects.
Achelous is the father of the Sirens (borne by Sterope, homonymous to the plane of the higher mind), symbols of the different mental rungs of rapture which the seeker can attain over the course of the quest, and from which he must flee as swiftly as possible if he wishes to continue on the path (the Sirens of Greek mythology are birds with women’s heads).
He is therefore the symbol of an asceticism aiming at ‘detachment’, of a liberation on the vital plane.

The divine Scamander 
This was the major river flowing through the Trojan plain, named Scamander, ‘partially receptive man’, by mortals and Xanthus, ‘golden yellow’, by the gods; mortals considered it from the mental plane, while the gods ‘saw’ it according to the colour of its vibration, the colour of the illumined mind. From him flowed two currents, the one warm and the other cold; it represents the non-dual from which emerges duality (at the solar level of Tiphereth in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life). It flows through the plain of Troy, the heroes of which belong to the illumined mind, the plane of mental non-duality, but in which the ego is maintained in the deepest layers. It is only in the overmind, the plane of all possibilities, that the ego entirely disappears. The Scamander flows from its source on Mount Ida, the mountain of union.

CRONOS AND HIS CHILDREN: THE OLYMPIAN GODS AND HADES

This Titan couple was responsible for the birth of the six main gods who govern human consciousness: Hestia, Hera, Demeter, Hades, Poseidon and Zeus. If one adds the six Olympian gods children of Zeus with other goddesses, then we obtain the twelve Olympian gods.
Let us remember that this consciousness identifies itself with mental consciousness when Zeus, the supraconscient, swallowed Metis, ‘intelligence turned towards discernment’, thus imposing the dominance of the mind on the vital.
Rhea, the wife of Cronos, was the object of a cult centered on Mount Thaumasion, a name formed from the base of the name of Pontos’ second son, Thaumas, a symbol of the plane of the ‘true vital’. This confirms the name given to the rule of Cronos, ‘the Golden Age’, during which the reflecting mind which brings distortions and limitations to life was not yet dominant.

We have already discussed here five of these six gods – eleven among the twelve -, those who are considered the Olympian gods. Over the course of his evolution man must integrate the forces which they represent so as to become their equal. The heroes of the Trojan war witnessed this, for they were able to inflict injuries on the combating gods. Once he has reached this stage of evolution, man is no longer submitted to the mental forces which scour the world in cyclical waves. He has then attained the plane of the Overmind of the Pleiad Maia, the mother of Hermes, and the corresponding realisations with the sixth son of Aeolus, Perieres, ‘he who acts in a just manner’, or ‘he who has moved beyond cycles’.

We must still discuss the sixth child of Cronos and Rhea, Hades, who has till now been set aside for he was not amongst the Olympian gods, at least not in the Homeric period. (We will discuss Dionysus later on because he holds a place apart, not being given the rank of a god and being barely mentioned in Homer’s works. This initiate probably considered the Dionysian path to be one of the several ways possible, but chose not to give it importance due to the potential mixing with vital energies.)

HADES

Let us remember that at the time of the victory over the Titans, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades divided the world amongst themselves, Hades being granted power over the underworld, the kingdom of the invisible (invisible to man).

The name Hades, Αιδης, has as structuring characters ΙΔ. It is therefore a place of reunification (Δ) of consciousness (Ι), the last stage of which is carried out in the body (once union has been realized in the mind and in the vital). The initiates of ancient times considered Hades to be ‘α-ίδε(ιν), he who is not visible’, and his kingdom is a place in which human ordinary consciousness cannot penetrate, where union is carried out in the inconscient. To reach it one must triumph over Cerberus, and not only as Heracles had done in bringing him into the conscious realm. Then one must cross over the Styx, a feat which no hero ever accomplished. When the Styx will have been crossed, when the work of Persephone will have been completed, then Man will touch upon the ‘eternal’ world (Αιδιος) of total unity. (As is commonly done, we will maintain here the masculine gender for Styx, an Oceanid assimilated into the river of Hades’ world.)

Hades’ domain is that which we refer to here as the ‘inconscient’ in keeping with Sri Aurobindo’s definition, a domain which therefore pertains to the body and its silencing of the records and memories of evolution. It is also here that dwell the ‘shades’, symbols of experiences which have fulfilled their role.
This ‘inconscient’ is in no way equivalent to that of modern psychology; the latter refers to the more superficial layers which we refer to here as the subconscious, the domain of Poseidon in which is accumulated every sensation as well as all the distortions resulting from emotional trauma. When the right time comes these distortions are awakened by Poseidon, generating gusts of wind or tumultuous storms which jostle the seeker. The causes of these can be recalled into consciousness without too much difficulty.
One must therefore never reduce the great heroes’ incursions into the kingdom of Hades to the level of the discoveries made by ordinary men in the contents of their subconscious, no matter what their means of investigation may be.

According to Homer, the only heroes to have consciously descended into Hades during their lifetime were Heracles and Ulysses. As Heracles belongs to the theoretical description of the path, only Ulysses represents an experience which borders on the yoga of the body. Later authors added Theseus and his friend Pirithoos, or cite dead heroes such as Sisyphus or Alcestis who return for longer or shorter periods to the domain of the living (the legend of Orpheus is a particular one, for it is recounted in a variety of versions which will be discussed later on). By allowing imperfectly purified and liberated heroes to access Hades, these authors either erroneously extended the kingdom of Hades to the regions of the deep subconscious, or seemed to consider the possibility of a work on the body before ‘liberation’ was wholly established. The myth in which Sisyphus, having deliberately chosen not to be buried in the way ascribed by tradition, was allowed to reemerge from the underworld can be understood in this way; as long as the vital is not completely purified, the efforts of the intellect must serve the cause of discernment even if a work on the body has already begun.

Let us also remember that the opposite of consciousness is Nescience, symbolised by Tartarus, rather than by Hades even if some later authors included the first within the second. Hades is a place of reunion, not of negation, and it is Thanatos and not Hades who is associated with the death of the physical body.

Living alternatively with her mother Demeter and her husband Hades, Persephone demonstrates that the realisation towards the highest union incarnated by Demeter -who belongs in the greatest heights of human consciousness, the overmind, for she is the sister of Zeus – is carried out by recurring journeys between the conscious and the inconscient. She ‘informs’ the body of the evolutions of consciousness, and vice versa. But at least in Homer’s times, the body is not a place for humankind’s evolution, and Hades is therefore never manifested in the life of mortals and does not dwell on Mount Olympus amongst the other gods. This is why Achilles claims that ‘I should choose, so I might live on earth, to serve as the hireling of another, of some portionless man whose livelihood was but small, rather than to be lord over all the dead that have perished ‘ (Odyssey 11.467-468).
(If the body witnesses the unity of matter, the apparent immobility of Hades paired with the comings and goings of Persephone could also indicate that a seeker’s step forward spreads throughout humankind by its resonance.)

Even if the myths allude to ‘deaths’, the kingdom of Hades is therefore in no case the place of what is beyond life, but rather a world of material consciousness where past experiences are integrated and kept and where certain processes follow their work, having either reached completion in the ordinary conscious and subconscious layers or having been banished from these planes.

The fact that Homer describes evolutionary experiences as ‘shades’ or ‘psychae Ψυχαι’ (through the structuring characters signifying ‘that which penetrates into the center’), it is because they contribute to the growth of the inner being. This term does not designate any of the human faculties, which are expressed by words such as Phrenes (spirit), Thymos (the vital being, the principle of will) and Noos (the mental being, thought). It more closely refers to what in this work we call the psychic being, the body forming around the soul understood as the divine spark within each individual, and being constituted of the same nature. These ‘shades’ therefore contribute to the growth of the psychic being by adhering to the pre-existing seed or core. However, a ‘shadow’ cannot be assimilated into the psychic being if the hero has not been buried in the world of the living according to the prescribed rites, which is to say that the ‘task’ in question, whether it seems beneficent or maleficent to human eyes, has not completed its role in the realm of active consciousness. This is what allows Sisyphus, who represents ‘effort’ in the mind, to return to the world above ground.
An evolutionary process which has completed its task no longer has any reason for staying in the realm of consciousness. Logically, the dog Cerberus also impedes the ‘shades’ from returning to the realm of light, allowing only a few select heroes who have found their evolutionary past and that of humankind, and can contemplate all its elements as an absolutely coherent whole, to make the crossing again.

This concept of Hades is not common to all the mythological texts, for there occurred a gradual shift of meaning and the ‘underworld’ which originally described a particular area of consciousness eventually came to designate the destination of the dead instead.
But this is neither ‘paradise’, ‘purgatory’ nor ‘hell’, and was initially not attributed with any of the characteristics that were added later on. If certain authors make a differentiation between the regions, it is probably to be able to distinguish between the experiences which are carried on from one lifetime to the other (the Island of the Blissful) and are therefore linked to the psychic being, and those which are linked to the current existence being lived (the fields of Asphodel).

It is there that the work of the adventurers of consciousness is carried out with the aim of one day allowing humankind as a whole to cross over the Styx, which is to say to achieve a union within the physical body. Although Hades himself is not hostile, the guardians of the ultimate frontier, Cerberus and Styx, ‘freeze with terror’, for with them the seeker encounters the powerful forces at the beginnings of evolution at a point in which he is no longer protected by the presence of the ego.

Hades is known by different epithets, including ‘the wealthy’ (he who fulfills all lack and need), ‘the other Zeus’, or ‘Zeus Katachtonios’ (καταχθονιος ΧΘ), which is to say the supraconscient of the depths or ‘the supraconscient which concentrates towards the inner core of matter’.
As the deity of the underworld he is also the deity of mines and of the potentials buried in matter and in the body.

His special object is the helmet of invisibility, designating the domain which man cannot be conscious of. This helmet is perhaps also the symbol of mental silence, which must be established in those seekers who begin the descent into the body. He is often depicted holding a key and a horn of plenty; he holds the ‘key’ of life and of the rediscovery of union, offering all that is imaginable.

Although the underworld is generally located ‘below’, Homer also describes it as being in the furthest reaches of the west, for the access to the deepest inconscient memories demands a long journey into the evolutionary past. Thus, the souls of the dead gathered and came forth to meet Ulysses, the most advanced of the seekers in the process of union, after he had navigated up the currents of the river Oceanos, akin to the evolutionary currents.

So as to clearly mark both the stages of progression and the possibilities of consciousness in the underworld, Homer mentions several different rivers: the Acheron and its ferryman Charon (mentioned from the sixth century BCE by other authors as well), the Cocytus, the Periphlegethon and of course the Styx. Charon carried the shades over the river in his ferry in exchange for tribute, and was described as a brutal and tyrannical genius. The name Charon is built from the same symbolic characters (Χ+Ρ) as the river Acheron and as Chara, ‘joy’. He is therefore also the symbol of the ‘right movement of the gathering of the being’.
These rivers outline several regions, described differently depending on the authors. They include the fields of Asphodel and the Elysian fields, also known as the Islands of the Blissful, to which Pausanias added the White Islands meant specifically for the heroes of the Trojan War.
These different regions have been used to illustrate the concepts of hell, purgatory and paradise of Christian tradition.
Some have described the fields of Asphodel as a bleak and desolate land, a notion which does not seem to be shared by Homer, who most notably made them into Orion’s hunting grounds. There, the latter is said to be ‘driving together over the field of asphodel wild beasts which he himself had slain on the lonely hills’ (Odyssey 11.572-573); for a habit or behaviour driven away from the conscious plane must subsequently be chased out of the subconscious (for instance in dreams), and finally in the body’s last entrenchments; it can also be considered as a reconciliation of opposites (driving together).
The Fields of Asphodel, far from being a bleak and unpleasing river as it is most commonly described in commentaries on mythology, is in Mediterranean countries a plant with large groups of blossoms ending in a cluster of large, white, star-shaped flowers.

While the kingdom of Hades is an inexorable world in the sense that the law of Unity does not undergo a distortion of falsity there, it is in no way a place of punishment or of compensation. Those who endure punishments to be set as examples are therefore only representative of indispensable elements for evolution which prolong their ‘work’ in the inconscient before being definitively destroyed, or rather ‘exhausted’. They therefore have strictly nothing to do with moral standards of behaviour.
For instance, in the Odyssey (Odyssey 24.10-18) the souls of Penelope’s suitors, described as sinister characters, are said to be brought to the Fields of Asphodel. Although in the world of the living they represented serious obstacles on the path, they are led to the kingdom of Hades by Hermes, which is better understood if we consider that they represent what is best in the old, wisdom and sanctity. In mythology, what appears to be ‘good’ and what appears to be ‘evil’ are both aspects of evolution.
Following this train of thought, the fact that children or descendants can be punished for the crimes committed by the parents or ancestors only signifies that the corresponding elements must be redressed at a different stage of the path. This is not incompatible with the notion of a karmic law spanning generations, as seems to be confirmed by modern sciences such as psychology and genetics which are discovering that children must integrate or resolve what has not been resolved by previous generations.

The concepts of reincarnation or metempsychosis do not appear in Homer and Hesiod’s texts. These seem to have been introduced at the turning point between the archaic and classical periods between the 6thand 5th century BCE, which was marked by the tragic authors Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, the Pythagoreans, Plato and the first Orphics. It is from that period that began the confusion between the ‘afterlife’ and the life of the inconscient, the kingdom of Hades. This confusion can however be understood if we keep in mind that the afterlife was, and still is, a kingdom of the inconscient.

By describing the realm of Hades as the place in which ‘into Acheron flow Periphlegethon and Cocytus which is a branch of the water of the Styx (Odyssey 10.508-509), Homer specifies the relationship between the currents of consciousness active in that region. Eschatological texts interpret these names, ascribing to them meanings like ‘panic’ ‘lamentations’ and ‘burning flames’, but their true meaning will be better understood through their structuring characters.

The Styx, the river which ‘horrifies and freezes with fear’ or ‘which is hateful’, is the symbol of the ultimate barrier to be surmounted to fulfill a union with the divine within the body. It is the current of the most ancient energy-consciousness, for the Styx is the eldest daughter of Oceanos, father of all rivers and streams.
The name Styx means what ‘redresses all in accordance with Truth (ΣΤ+Ξ), or ‘rectitude or integrity on all planes of the being’. This absolute bringing into order is a fundamental necessity for one who ventures into the yoga of the body at the cellular level.
The waters of the Styx feed the Periphlegethon, ‘the fire which burns within’, and the Cocytus, ΚΩ+Κ+Τ, a ‘widening of consciousness towards spirit and matter’.
These two rivers flow in their turn into the Acheron, ‘the right movement at the core of matter (Χ+Ρ), which represents the foundation. These two rivers which ‘flow in opposite directions’ relate to the two currents of the Caduceus. They reunite before the ‘rock of black basal’’ at the very depths of consciousness, also described by the Vedas, Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Satprem, which renders inaccessible to man the formidable divine powers nestling in the core of matter.
The adventurer of consciousness must descend into the nauseating marsh in which meet the two currents which nourish the evolutionary process, the one of the burning fire of union and the one of icy separation.

(Let us note that the Mother speaks of something similar to the wings at the top of the Caduceus at several points in the Agenda. In Volumes 9 for instance, in the entry from the 6th of January 1968 describing the destruction of the physical ego, she mentions this great vibration by making a gesture ‘like two great wings beating in the infinite’.)

According to Hesiod, the Styx is made up of a tenth of the river Oceanos, while he describes as follows the nine other parts; ‘With nine silver-swirling streams he winds about the earth and the sea’s wide back, and then falls into the main’ (Homer and H.G. Evelyn-White, Theogony 775). This description confirms that it is a current of consciousness in immediate contact with the body. The Styx corresponds to the energies flowing through the tenth Sephiroth, that of the densest energies in the Tree of Life (Malkut). They are the ones to feed corporeal matter.
As the first born of Oceanos, it witnesses the fact that the interruption of the ‘true movement’ was the first perturbing element to manifest itself in evolution, and the Styx therefore constitutes the last barrier on the path of return, allowing the ‘liberation’ of the body following that of the mind and the vital.

It is therefore by the waters of the Styx that the gods pronounce their most solemn oaths, for it does not allow the slightest falsehood, ‘For whoever of the deathless gods that hold the peaks of snowy Olympus pours a libation of her water is forsworn, lies breathless until a full year is completed, and never comes near to taste ambrosia and nectar, but lies spiritless and voiceless on a strewn bed: and a heavy trance overshadows him. But when he has spent a long year in his sickness, another penance and a harder follows after the first. For nine years he is cut off from the eternal gods and never joins their councils of their feasts, nine full years.’ (Theogony 784-785). The gods cannot take an oath on an element beyond the Styx, for they are not able to access the supramental world. The perjury of a god, and therefore of a representative of a world neighbouring that of Truth, the Supramental, seems to be an impossible thing unless we consider the gods to be still-developing forces. Their ‘perjuries’ therefore correspond to the highest or deepest orders of our being which have not been consequently followed. The consequence of this is a suspension of action of the corresponding force during a long period, a year of the gods. One this phase has been fulfilled, the seeker will still have great difficulty in reintegrating this force into his quest in a coordinated way, and this will take the time of a symbolic period of gestation, nine years. For instance, if the seeker does not ‘sever’ something at the moment in which he knows he must do so (a function represented by the god Ares), he will not only not have the opportunity of doing so for a long time to come, but will also find it difficult to do so in the right way. The ‘awakened ones’ describes as those who never stop are also those who follow with precision the orders coming from within, and consequently evolve swiftly.

This warning about the consequences of neglecting the orders that come from within seems to say that these are the only truly grave errors that can be made on the path, punished by the Erinyes, ‘the guardians of the right movement’. They are the ones to punish crimes committed within the family, the worst of which are considered to be those committed between parents and their children, of which the murder of the parents indicates a severing of the divine source, and the murder of the children an impediment of evolutionary progress.
This negligence can lead till the refusal of the task which the soul has set for itself for its current incarnation, a task which implies a deep Will rather than the will of the ego. Betraying this commitment is the only ‘fault’ which man can truly reproach himself for, as long as he has become conscious of the fact.
Zeus and the other Olympian Gods are therefore under the obligation of obeying the Erinyes. Born of the blood of Ouranos, they have roughly the same rank as the Titans, if not a superior rank. They are the guardians of the highest divine order at the origin of manifestation, one beyond even creation.

It must be noted that the Lethea, ‘forgetting and oblivion’, was mentioned much later on as one of the rivers of the kingdom of Hades in an eschatological texts in which it probably represents human consciousness oblivious of its origin. By crossing the Lethea, the seeker accessing the inconscient would find his ‘memory’ again. In Hesiod’s texts, Lethea is only a daughter of Eris, ‘discord’ (a meaning obtained by the inversed significance of the character Rho, and therefore a symbol of the movement of separation), who was herself a daughter of Night. It is the separation from the origin which causes oblivion.
Through the structuring characters Λ+Θ, this river represents the current of energy consciousness which ‘disconnect from inner consciousness’.

Stationed at the entrance of the kingdom of Hades, Cerberus is one of the four monstrous children of Echidna, ‘the cessation of evolution within unity’, and Typhon, ‘ignorance’. He watches over the illusion of separation, and his brother is Orthros, ‘falsehood’. Hesiod is the first to mention his name and his origin, while Homer only mentions that he is a dog.
The moment of the appearance of the four monsters in the process of evolution is a topic of controversy in mythology. According to Hesiod, ignorance, Typhon, originates from the original Nescience, Tartarus, and therefore precedes creation. But according to Homer it is a consequence of the beginning of the formation of human consciousness, for Typhon was according to this author a son of Hera, the wife of Zeus.
Meanwhile Apollodorus described Echidna as a daughter of Tartarus, placing the fundamental perversion, the cessation of evolution in unity, at the origins of manifestation. On the other hand, Hesiod describes her as a daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, the third level of life, and so according to his account she would have only appeared at the time of the emergence of the animal self with the formation of the limbic brain.
Whichever the case, the action of Cerberus is situated, or rather used to be situated, in the archaic layers at the limits of the possibilities of investigation by human consciousness. And in fact he impedes an exchange between the material conscious and the inconscient, and is the guardian of the true knowledge of the phenomenon which we know as death.
Cerberus is endowed with fifty heads (or only three according to some authors), indicating a process that is well established in its forms, and with a serpent’s tail, symbolising his participation in the evolutionary process.
He represents a barrier which the initiates of ancient times considered to be insurmountable, but which is beginning to crumble in the current period. Having brought Cerberus before his uncle, Heracles had to lead him back to Hades; if we consider that a feat carried out in a mythical setting could be carried out in reality as well, the most advanced seeker could bring to his consciousness (into the light of day) the true nature of the obstacle impeding the achievement of a perfect union, including one in the body, but he could not yet enter into combat with it.
As a dog, Cerberus also represents the sense of smell, the subtle intuition which can undoubtedly be associated with the consciousness of the cells necessary to begin a work of yoga in the body.

If the underworld is in fact only a reservoir of the memories of evolution, it cannot include a place for the damned. According to later tradition three judges – Aeacus, Minos and Rhadamanthys – took their place in the underworld to steer the shades in one direction or the other depending on their merits. But according to Homer, ‘Rhadamanthys dwelled in a place where life was sweet and easy for men, and Minos meted out justice to the shades who asked him for it’, thus only continuing to pursue the task initiated in the conscious realm, which is to say a work of intuitive discernment aiming at an integration of experiences.
Moving away from the vision of an evolution reserved to the initiates of the mystery schools, the priests of official religious cults in the classical period probably considered it necessary to introduce an eschatology meant for the common people, the concept of the presence of justice in death ensuring more or less exemplary behaviour during life. The fear of punishment was to serve as a guard to humanity still in the stages of infancy and susceptible to unleashed impulses and behaviours.

Exemplary punishments in Hades

In Homer’s accounts only three characters are subjected to punishments in the kingdom of Hades: the giant Tityus, Tantalus and Sisyphus.
According to what has been proposed in the above text, they probably express fundamental attitudes or modes of functioning which have completed their work, or have been rejected from the mind and the vital but must still work or else disappear in the plane of the corporeal inconscient.

-Tityus

Tityus was a giant and a son of Gaia. He lay on the floor of the underworld and his body was covering nine acres. Two vultures on his flanks were ripping out his liver, which he did not keep away by the use of his hands. He was slain by Apollo and Artemis soon after their birth, for he had tried to violate their mother Leto, the glorious consort of Zeus, while she was on the road to Pytho (Delphi) through Panope, the city of the beautiful choirs.

Like all the giants borne by Gaia, the principle of Existence-Consciousness, Tityus represents an evolutionary need which must be vanquished at several levels.
He symbolises the fundamental distancing of man from his divine source, the feeling or the awareness of being separate or of the consciousness of ego. This ‘awareness of separation’ must be vanquished, not only in the mind through the union in Spirit, but also in the vital and in the heart through a psychic realisation, and in the body all the way down to the cellular level.
Before having been slain by Apollo he had attempted to rape Leto, thus fighting the power of union brought by the psychic. He is therefore first eliminated in the mental-vital personality when the psychic being appears, for the psychic being is incompatible with separation (although not with differentiation). Then, through an ‘enlarged consciousness which sees all’ (Pan-opeus Παν+οψ), a progressive harmony is established in the being, represented by the beautiful choirs.
But he maintains his hold at the level of the body, largely ‘covering’ it and thus blocking the access to a transformation of it.

The etymology of his name remains unclear. It has the same structure as the word Titans, which means ‘reaching forward with effort’ as well as ‘extended, reclining’, but in this discussion we have retained the meaning of the character Τ, in this case doubled (or associated to the root Τυ, ‘to be fat’), which is in other words the expression of a strong separation. Even if the union has been realised on the planes of the mind and the vital and the seeker has become a ‘liberated’ being, he must still vanquish this belief in the separation of the body.
If he do not impede the vultures from ripping out his liver, it is because this power of separation accepts at the level of the body that which founds it, the belief of its permanence or indestructibility, is destroyed little by little. In other words, the resolution of a ‘separation’ in the body, even if it seems long and laborious, is wholly accepted.

Another interpretation of Tityus could be the ‘tension’ which opposes a letting go and relaxation, and maintains itself till the level of the cells, which are certain that this tension is necessary. This tension is equally incompatible with the psychic being.

-Tantalus

The second of these ‘damned’ characters is Tantalus, the great-grandfather of Agamemnon and Menelaus.
Homer gives no explanation of his genealogy, nor any reason for his condemnation.
He represents ‘aspiration’, and Homer describes his most well-known descendant, Agamemnon, as ‘the most greedy of Greek men’.
According to the historian Pausanias, Tantalus was a son of Zeus and Plouto, ‘wealth and abundance’, and according to others a king of Lydia, ‘the place of individuation and union’. He was said to rule at the foothills of Mount Sipylus, ‘the doorway of the human mind’, representing by this a seeker who has reached the highest summits of the mental plane. This is why he was known for his wealth, which was obtained by a vast and powerful mind.
‘Some claim that presumption was the cause of his punishment. While he was in the gods’ favour he was invited to their table, and they promised to satisfy his greatest desire. He then asked to enjoy the same life as they did. Annoyed, Zeus granted his request, but only in a formal manner, making him witness the most excellent of things but not being able to partake of them while in the kingdom of Hades.
Others say that he had stolen the nectar of ambrosia to share it amongst mortal friends.
Still others claim that he has presented the gods with a feast made up of pieces of the body of his son Pelops. But discovering the nature of this feast, the gods abstained from tasting in, except for Demeter, who was distracted by her grief over the disappearance of her daughter Persephone. The gods then brought Pelops back to life, and Demeter (or Hermes according to some versions), made him an ivory shoulder to replace the one eaten by Demeter. Even more handsome than he had been (for he had been handsome at the beginning of the story as well, being true), Pelops wed Hippodamia.’
Whatever the reason, the punishment endured by Tantalus in the kingdom of Hades was thus described by Homer:
‘Tantalus in violent torment, standing in a pool, and the water came nigh unto his chin. He seemed as one athirst, but could not take and drink; for as often as that old man stooped down, eager to drink, so often would the water be swallowed up and vanish away, and at his feet the black earth would appear, for some god made all dry. And trees, high and leafy, let stream their fruits above his head, pears, and pomegranates, and apple trees with their bright fruit, and sweet figs, and luxuriant olives. But as often as that old man would reach out toward these, to clutch them with his hands, the wind would toss them to the shadowy clouds. ‘(Odyssey 10.582-592)

Different versions confirm that the seeker has reached the highest summits of human consciousness and is at the ‘higher door’, for he shares the meals of the gods.
In the version in which he is permitted to taste the nectar and the ambrosia, he partakes of the experience of immortality (non-duality), having attained an ‘awakening’ or ‘liberation’ in the spirit. But this consciousness of immortality has not penetrated into the body.

The story of the sacrifice of his son Pelops, ‘the vision of darkness’ offered as a feast to the gods, is a legend contested by both Pindar and Euripides. There is nothing surprising here, for the gods only nourish themselves with nectar and ambrosia. However, the unknown author of this version probably sought to express that the seeker had reached a level at which he could ‘offer darkness to the Divine’. He may have believed to have reached the level of the gods and have dispensed with vanquishing this shadow, which is to say exercising a complete surrender of the vital. It is only after having been made whole again by the gods that Pelops will be able to wed Hippodamia, ‘she who tames horses’, at which point the seeker can carry out this work of complete mastery. Let us remember that the work of yoga follows a process of ascension and integration, and that the more consciousness is widened and illuminated, the better it can perceive the extent of darkness. But to perceive is not to master.
The offering of darkness does not suffice to overcome the barrier of the overmind, and the gods refused to partake of the meal being offered to them. This perfect offering of oneself through the sacrifice of one’s own descendant, an extension of oneself, allows a partial access to the world of the gods however. For Demeter, ‘the power striving for union’, offers a shoulder of ivory, of a finer nature than bone and a symbol of a partial crossing (a single shoulder) of the barrier separating the plane of the gods. The shoulder or clavicle, ‘the little key’, corresponds to the ‘veil’ of the Tree of Life known as ‘the doorway of the gods’ in Kabbalistic tradition. According to some it was Hermes, the god working for the growth of the overmind, who offered the clavicle.
This power working towards union therefore continues giving its help without worrying about the demands of the seeker, going so far as to favour a certain level of union even if the purification of the vital being is not necessarily complete. Even for very advanced seekers, the ‘demands’ or claims made to the Absolute, including demands for certain experiences, still indicate the presence of the ego.

The punishment inflicted on Tantalus in Hades again demonstrates that aspiration alone is not sufficient for accessing realisations when one is undertaking a yoga of the body. Even if the adventurer of consciousness ‘sees’ the good things within his reach, they remain inaccessible to him. He finds consolation neither in the realm of spirit (the shadowy clouds) nor within existence (the black earth).

-Sisyphus

The last hero whose punishment was witnessed by Ulysses in the kingdom of Hades was Sisyphus.
He was one of the sons of Aeolus, and therefore a grandson of Hellen. He represents one of the tasks of yoga working on the mind through effort.
He united with the Pleiad Merope, ‘that which is human (in the sense dual or mortal)’, ‘a partial vision’ or ‘stable thought’, which represents the plane of the intellect.
We will study this character in greater detail further on for he is the grandfather of another of the great heroes, Bellerophon, who vanquished the Chimera, a symbol of illusion.

Homer describes his fate thus: ‘Sisyphus in violent torment, seeking to raise a monstrous stone with both his hands. Verily he would brace himself with hands and feet, and thrust the stone toward the crest of a hill, but as often as he was about to heave it over the top, the weight would turn it back, and then down again to the plain would come rolling the ruthless stone. ‘(Odyssey 10.593-596)
Neither Homer nor any other author specified the nature of his crime.
Since Sisyphus, ‘intellectual ability’, was one of the sons of Aeolus, we have every reason to believe that he had accomplished his task before his descent into Hades, or in other words ‘effort’ had been fruitful during the very long period preceding the yoga of the body at the cellular level.

However, by following Sri Aurobindo’s teachings we can also see in this the effort of the intellect, struggling to build up theories which collapse under their own weight as they strive to reach a truth which they can never attain. The intellect is the tool which contributes to discernment through the capacities for selection, for putting in order and distancing. It is not destined to dominate the mind however, but must only execute what is perceived by intuition. It cannot access the kingdom of Truth. Whatever it does, and irrespective of any improvements which it can imagine, it must ceaselessly begin over again. It is a tool which by its nature cannot possess a complete vision. If it is to be a tool of the soul, it is only in its capacity of execution.
But when the intellect has completed its work and all illusions in the mind and the vital have been vanquished and the seeker descends into the deep inconscient, he realises that the results are never fully acquired, and that he must indefinitely begin all over again this exhausting work. He must therefore have an endurance which is capable of undergoing any test. Sri Aurobindo presented this as one of the foundations of yoga: ‘Endure and you shall conquer’

Later authors added other characters who endured torments in the kingdom of darkness, including Ixion, who through his pride believed himself to be the equal of Hera, and also the Danaids, who we will be discussing later on. But in these two cases it is no longer a matter of the same process of consciousness, and we will therefore stay with the primitive versions;
Rather than being in the underworld, Ixion is subjected to turning eternally in the skies, tied to a winged wheel; we are told that spiritual pretensions are often ‘punished’ by a spirit which shuts itself in for an indeterminate period in mental processes that turn upon themselves.
The Danaids on their side were said to have been purified of the act of murder by Athena and Hermes, and were each married to a young athlete.

To end this description of the kingdom of Hades let us note that it is Hermes, the representative of the highest mental plane and a master of yoga of knowledge, who is best equipped to descend deeply into the subconscious and till the threshold of the inconscient. Hence his role as psychopomp, as a guide who leads towards the kingdoms of the corporeal inconscient.

IAPETUS AND HIS CHILDREN ATLAS, PROMETHEUS AND EPIMETHEUS

Almost all of the heroic adventures and the great epics of Greek mythology are organised around the descendance of two Titan couples, that of Iapetus and Clymene and that of Oceanus and Tethys. Exceptions to this are the kings of Athens, the genealogical lineage of Tantalus and the royal lineage of Arcadia.
It is therefore of paramount importance to correctly understand how these two couples stand in relation to each other.

To undergo a process of evolution in the direction of a ‘Divine Life’ upon the earth rather that in a faraway paradise, man must engage with two distinct processes.
An ‘ascension of the planes of consciousness’ till the fulfillment of a Unity with the Divine. Following the phase of vital growth already since long completed, humankind must progress through the planes of the mind to emerge into the consciousness of Truth, the Supramental. This is what was developed in Iapetus’ lineage.
An ‘integration ‘, which consists of lifting the whole being in all its constituent parts onto the next level through a progressive purification and liberation when a new stage of consciousness is reached on the path of ascension. This is what was developed in Oceanus’ lineage.

Let us however note that it is possible, without having progressed through all of the rungs of consciousness, to fuse into the Supreme through a process of annihilation, which does not require that the inner being be individualised or that the purification and liberation of the lower planes be achieved. This constitutes ways of accessing states of ‘Nirvana’ which can be attained on different planes, opening the way to different kinds of voids. In many spiritual paths however, particularly in Buddhism, this was considered to be the only way of escaping suffering. But this too meant a negation of creation.
The path of ascension and integration, which neither excludes nor requires such experiences, demands an expression of the Supreme within a being who has been rendered perfect, on all the planes and in the totality of his capacities through a progression of stages.
In addition, although all the paths leading to the summit were open since a long time, those of descent required in the processes of purification and liberation had till recently remained closed at the levels of the physical mind and from the planes of the lower vital till that of the material mind. Certain transformations seemed in fact impossible to initiates of ancient times (let us take care not to confuse the physical mind, the first layer of the human mind, with the corporeal mind of the body, which is situated at the animal level, or still lower with the cellular mind located at the point of the birth of life in matter).

Of course this process does not occur in a single motion, but rather in innumerable movements of ascension and integration of greater or lesser length and importance and having a wide variety of modalities. Some can take a whole lifetime to be carried out, others only a few seconds. Some pass unperceived while others completely reorient one’s life, but do not necessarily bear more fruits than the former. Every widening or rendering more flexible of consciousness and every purification and liberation from attachment constitutes one of its innumerable levels.

Many of the areas of darkness and deformation in the vital and in the body cannot be addressed if sufficient force has not been accumulated in the higher planes. The more the being advances, the more it is armed for engaging with the depths of the origins of evolution.

A number of ancient spiritual teachings came up against obstacles which were at that time insurmountable, and consequently abandoned the path of integration. They privileged a direct access to the vast, silent and empty worlds, oriented themselves towards the well-defined paths of the powers of nature, fled far from the contingencies of this world so as to win a future ‘paradise’ or sought to liberate the energy lodged at the root of the spinal column, known as kundalini to facilitate the access towards the Self, the impersonal Divine. Aside from a few allusions these other paths did not seem to be developed in Greek mythology, which considers man firstly as a mental being and chooses to give precedence to this plane as a tool for working on the path of realisation.

There is of course a correlation between the level attained in the process of ascension and the possibilities of purification present in the lower nature. This is the reason for the unions or various exchanges between the heroes of either branch.
However, one must be careful not to use the classification of the planes of consciousness and their experiences to judge or position anybody within them, for there is really only one single continuum of consciousness and experiences are specific to each individual and lived in different orders and degrees of intensity. We must also avoid falling into the tendency of ascribing ‘gradations’ or ‘levels’, an error common to many esoteric and spiritual teachings.

In each of the two main branches myths are divided into different sub-branches depending on whether they concern teachings or anecdotes of experiences, and whether they are meant for more ordinary seekers or for adventurers of consciousness.
Certain historical elements (aside from, of course, details of daily life and the misfortunes and customs of the civilisation in which these stories take place) are sometimes integrated, but their objective is limited to the transmission of spirituality through the dominant civilisations. There is nothing which confirms, for instance, the existence of the city of Troy other than as a symbol, or the reality of the Dorian invasion, which in the frame of this study simply describes a sudden irruption of ‘gifts’ (δωρα) or ‘new capabilities’ in the seeker who finds his place in the plane of the higher mind.

The name Iapetus is built around the characters Ι+Π+Τ: the aspiration (Τ) for establishing the link (Π) in consciousness (Ι).
The plane founded by this Titan forges the link between all the others. In the current manifestation it remains incomplete, for it is that corresponding to future Man. Not current man centered on his external personality distorted by the ego, who believes himself to be and lives as a ‘separate’ principle, but Man established on the plane of the overmind on his path towards the supramental, who will have put his external being at the disposition of and at the service of the psychic being.
Because of this incompleteness Iapetus is united with an Oceanid rather than a Titanide. Her name is Clymene, which means ‘what is acquired by understanding, what is integrated’, as well a ‘of great renown, celebrated’. Their descendants include all the heroes and heroines on the way to surpass the different degrees of realisation.
When the quest will have been completed, Iapetus would most logically unite with the Titanide Mnemosyne, for Man will have found again the ‘memory’ of his origins. In the meantime and during the period of the governance of the mind, Mnemosyne forms a tie with Zeus.

Let us briefly recall the story of Iapetus and his children detailed in the preceding chapter. At the time of the victory of the gods over the Titans, the forces of life which dominated human evolution ceded their place to the forces of mental consciousness. The Titans henceforth ceased to express themselves freely in man. Under the orders of Zeus, Iapetus and his brothers were relegated into the depths of Tartarus, and there is no further mention of him in mythology.
Before his exile, his wife had borne him four children, Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus and Epimetheus, who were themselves at the origin of several great lineages:
The children of Atlas represent an inventory of the planes of consciousness.
The descendance of Prometheus and Epimetheus through the lineages of Hellen and Protogenia describe the experiences and the dangers encountered during the ascension of these planes for both the ordinary seekers and the ‘adventurers of consciousness’ who ‘walk at the forefront’.
The genealogical branch of Hellen (which leads towards an ‘awakening’ suggested by the name of his wife, Orseis) and his son Aeolus (‘he who is always in movement’, united with Enarete, ‘that through which we excel’), includes the great heroes who in their epic adventures pursue the path of the quest of Truth. These include Phrixus, Bellerophon, Jason and Ulysses. Iapetus represents the movement which forges a bridge till the summit of consciousness.

That of Protogenia describes ‘what is born ahead’. She exposes the nature of all the last great spiritual conquests of the ‘adventurers’ of ancient Greece, which will be addressed at the end of this work with a study of the Iliad and the Odyssey.

ATLAS

Let us remember that Atlas symbolises the link between Spirit and Matter, for with his feet resting on the earth he holds the vast sky on his head and his tireless arms.
In Homer’s version, it is not he who carries the sky, but rather ‘He (Atlas) knows the depths of all the oceans and alone watches over the high columns which separate the sky from the earth’. As the process of separation of Matter and Spirit intervening from the beginnings of metalized life, he knows the depths of the sea. (Some authors confirm this by describing his with his feet in the water). He is in some ways the one to guarantee this separation, for as long as humankind has not traversed the totality of the stages represented by his children.
Certain authors described Atlas as a son of Ouranos and therefore a brother of the Titans, thus expressing the concomitance of the separation between spirit and matter and the emergence of the forces of creation.
Others justified what could seem to be a burdensome punishment by affirming that Atlas had taken the side of the Titans during the war between them and the gods. As a punishment, Zeus would have condemned him to hold up the dome of the heavens. In this version, separation only intervenes when human consciousness takes the direction of evolution.

If Atlas is the one to hold Spirit and Matter away from each other, he is also the power which forges the link between these two poles, and more precisely between the summit of vital evolution and the Supramental world. The initiates of ancient times therefore considered his companion to be Pleione, an Oceanid whose name signifies ‘that which fills (with consciousness)’.
Through the structuring characters of his name, Atlas represents ‘the freedom at the heights of the spirit’ (ΤΛ).

His children the Pleiades represent an emptiness yet to be filled, the rungs of mental consciousness to be climbed to find the lost unity again. Their presence in the different genealogical branches is therefore a very important clue about the stage of the path being referred to.
They are at the origin of the great lineages which we will study later on.
In the myths that touch upon astronomy they were transformed into stars, the Pleiad constellation, which is to say that they became mental landmarks (for they are in the sky) to guide the seeker.

Hyas and the Hyades

Certain authors probably sought to insist on the fact that the separation had not only taken place on the human mental plane, but had emerged at the roots of life with the appearance of the first nervous systems which supported mentalisation. A number of sisters, the Hyades, were therefore also given to the Pleiades, as well as a brother, Hyas. Together, they seem to indicate an evolutionary series. However, the sources left by Ovid and Hyginus which give information about them lack clarity, and do not give enough material for an interpretation. Let us add that in contrast with the Pleiades, the Hyades do not symbolise the planes of consciousness of the vital which are described by the children of Pontos, and seem to difficult to integrate coherently into the body of mythology. We will however mention in passing some essential points in their regards.
One day, when Hyas was hunting in Libya, he was killed by the venom of a snake (or it is sometimes said by a lion or a boar). The Hyades died of grief at his death and were transformed into stars. Some claim that they had been the nurses of Dionysus during his infancy.
Hyas is most probably associated with matter, and the Hyades with the vital. The myth could then be understood in the following way:
The death of Hyas (Υας, with the Y as a structuring character representing ‘the receptivity of matter, or its plasticity’) under the influence of evolution, of the ego, of an excess or a demobilisation of the primitive vital nature (he was bitten by a snake or killed by a lion or boar, and his sisters died of grief at his death), or of the process of incarnation (Libya +), could indicate that matter responded to a greater degree to the influences of the Spirit at the beginning of evolution (or synonymously, to the movements of the currents of energy-consciousness). But it would have lost this receptivity and capacity for adaptation during the millions of years of vital evolution because of the accumulation of innumerable memories of protection, inward folding retraction, fear and defeatism.
The destiny of the Hyades, the ‘plasticity in the vital’ which expresses the divinity of life, were not any brighter. Exiled from the earth, they became but distant stars, minuscule points of light which man dreams of eventually making his one day: Ambrosia, ‘peace, purity and immortality’ (ambrosia is the nectar of the gods), Eudora of the ‘beautiful gifts’, Coronis ‘the crowning’ and Polyxo, ‘she who receives numerous gifts from above’. The fact that the Hyades are sometimes said to be the nurses of Dionysus is probably because a purified and harmonious vital appropriately prepares a state of divine intoxication.

The Pleiades

We have already referred to them briefly in the second chapter during the study of Hermes.
They make up the ladder of the mental levels through which man must progress during his evolution. And they are in fact indirectly present in most of mythology, either through alliances or through homonymous names. An understanding of their symbolism, associated with that of the children of Eolus, is therefore essential for the interpretation of mythology.
The initiates of ancient times did not record their order of succession. They have therefore been classified here on the one hand in regards to their unions with Poseidon, Sisyphus, Ares and Zeus (from the subconscious till the higher levels of the mind and passing through the intellect), and on the other hand in regards to the heroes who appear among their descendants. The myths in which they appear confirm the order of the progression from the ‘physical mind’ to the ‘overmind’.
In this work we use the terms given by Sri Aurobindo to differentiate them. He had himself taken up the classification of the initiates of ancient times (resting on the symbolism of the Caduceus, well before the Greek period), and had returned to the original sense of the word. Thus the term ‘psychic being’ given to the body which forms around the divine spark (soul) corresponds to the Greek term Psyche (Ψυχη), which is used in our everyday language in a very different sense to designate psychological activities.
Although this differentiation can seem at first to be arbitrary, these planes can correspond to precise experiences, and their identification can therefore be carried out without too much difficulty over the centuries.

Before discussing these planes in greater detail we must define the structure of consciousness as it appears to the seekers of truth and as it is found again in Greek mythology, as well as in the records left by the initiates if the parallels are appropriately drawn.

To begin with, creation can be brought back to three elementary principles: matter, life and mind.
As nothing can emerge from nothingness, one must hazard that life and the mind were incipiently present in matter, from which they emerged over the course of millions of years of evolution. Life first produced the plant kingdom. Then came the emergence of the mind with the appearance of nerve cells and the progressive development of an animal brain, which allows the elaboration of an animal ‘ego’. On this foundation were superimposed the capacities rightful to man (language, capacity for reflection, etc), bringing a progressive domination of the mind over the vital.
This development over millions of years rests on a vast progression of planes of consciousness not accessible to us in their totality, from the most obscure, lying in close proximity to the primordial inconscience, to the most luminous at the heights of the Spirit.

Just as with the planes of consciousness, it seems wise to again make some specifications about the division of consciousness into the four categories defined by Sri Aurobindo. These can be applied to mythology with great precision.
The first concerns that which is ‘inconscient’, deeply buried in matter and which in our evolutionary period cannot yet be brought back to consciousness (this acceptance of the term ‘inconscient’ therefore differs from modern psychology).
The second category is that of the ‘subconscient’, which roughly corresponds to our current inconscient but is much more extended, for it encompasses all our impressions, sensations and feelings, as insignificant as these may seem to our waking consciousness. What they register is an amalgam of vibratory qualities rather than a specific form or image. This is why certain elements emerging in our dreams take on bizarre and often incomprehensible appearances which are particular to each individual.
There is nothing organised or coherent in the subconscious; it is but a vast reservoir used by evolution as a foundation for its activities. From there are constantly surging elements such as inertia, currents of depression, weakness, fears, desires, angers and dark appetites which invade the vital and the mind, and even influences which transform into illnesses. It extends from the inconscient to the supraconscient, and includes an individual aspect as well as a universal one.
Finally, above the conscious area, which is more or less vast depending on the individual, we find the supraconscient.
These definitions imply that these areas vary depending on each individual.
Although we may think differently, most of our behaviour is dictated by the subconscient.

While there is within consciousness a vertical progression of planes – verticality is an image so strongly anchored in our visual imagery that it is difficult to abstract from it – there is also a progression into depth, where on all the planes the personal merges progressively with the universal in a subconscious way (‘Depth’ is used here in the same three-dimensional sense as it is used both in drawing and photography).
Thus man is a part of a larger unity in all dimensions. Each plane (mental, vital, physical) can thus be considered both in its verticality and in its depth, in its vibratory intensity and in its personal or universal (impersonal) aspect. This description explains the insistence of spiritual teachings on an indefinite ‘widening’ of consciousness in every direction.

What we perceive in one plane or in the other depending on our level of consciousness is only a more or less superficial aspect deformed by the ego, as well as by the rigidities and distortions inherited from collective and personal evolution. Behind this stands a vast, non-distorted plane which must establish itself as evolution progresses. Sri Aurobindo refers to this true plane as the ‘subliminal’. And as he explains it, it is in relation with the corresponding cosmic plane, which lies outside of time-space and contains all possibilities. Thus there exists a ‘true corporeal matter’ that is in solidarity with all the other bodies and is infinitely more supple and powerful than we can imagine. There is as well a ‘true vital’ not distorted by desires and fears, and which can draw incalculable energies from the cosmic vital. While the surface vital is narrows, limited, ignorant, filled with appetites, revolt, exaltations and depressions, the true vital is strong, vast, firm, unshakable and joyous and not submitted to multiple external influences. Finally there is the ‘true mind’, not limited by opinions, prejudices, preferences or by our egos. When the separative logical aspect falls silent or is limited to its only function of execution, and when it is fully a matter of intuition and of union with the Truth, this true mind is capable of receiving all necessary knowledge from the universal mind. However, the logical mind which participates in the process of discernment in the ordinary human mind cannot be put aside as long as the intuitive discernment has not been established. It therefore remains an indispensable tool for a long time, particularly in the struggle against illusion.

We must also note corresponding characteristics between the sub-planes, which are sometimes rather difficult to differentiate. This mixing comes from the superimposition of successive layers during the build-up of the nervous system, particularly the brain, with each new layer developing on the basis of pre-existing functions. For example, the ‘vital mental’ or ‘Vital on the way of mentalisation’ (Refer to Pontos’s children), a sub-plane of the vital at animal level, is sometimes difficult to distinguish from the ‘mental vital’, a sub-plane of the human mental. In the first case it is a question of the mentalisation of vital matter working towards the construction of an ‘animal self’ that is instinctive and driven by impulses, but is not yet able to engage in reflective thought. In the second case, the mind supports itself or justifies its ego-based ‘dreams’ (dreams of greatness, etc.) and vital expressions (emotions, feelings, desires, etc.) in view of a course of action. The difference is even more difficult to distinguish between the mental-physical proper to man and the layers of the material and cellular mind common to all forms of life.
The higher the layer, the more active it is in evolution. Hence there appears to be a lightning-fast acceleration of evolution during the last two million years, while earlier evolutionary time seemed to be almost at a standstill.

In this work, what we call the ‘material’ is in fact corporeal matter, including the organs and systems of the body with all its automatic processes submitted to its biological clocks, functioning through repetitive and mechanical movements up to the cells levels.

The ‘vital’ is an amalgam of planes in which are manifested in a preponderant way the more or less mentalised energies of life. At its base is a force of will, growth, realisation and action. Within man it is made up of passions, emotions, energies of action and realisation, as well as of the game of the instincts of possession and of what they engender: anger, avidity, greed, etc. The force which animates it is still visible in the plant kingdom as a tension and an aspiration for growth. In animals this becomes need, and in man it turns into desire. Hence the movements of appropriation of what favours growth, particularly that of the ego when the time of individuation has come.
As in the planes of consciousness till those of the overmind everything is based on a double aspect, the vital manifests itself by dual movements which are each the two inverse aspects of a single vibration: love and hate, attraction and repulsion, etc. The vital loves and feeds on drama and suffering as much as pleasure, which is not the case for the body or the mind.
But the vital is the motor force and can therefore not be repressed or annihilated, but must be purified.
We have studied the classification of the five levels of vital consciousness linked to the animal kingdom in the preceding chapter with the children of Pontos: the vital-physical (Nereia), the true vital or thinking senses (Thaumas and his children, Iris and the Harpies), the emotional vital (Phorcys), the vital mental (Ceto), and the greater vital (Eurybia).

We now concern ourselves with the seven planes of mental consciousness proper to man and illustrated by the seven Pleiades, planes which we have already touched upon succinctly with the study of Hermes in the chapter about the gods.
They range from the ‘mental physical’, oriented towards the manipulation of matter and the satisfaction of bodily needs, to the most elevated level known as the ‘overmind’, the plane of the gods. This division into planes and sub-planes is not rigid, and Sri Aurobindo always refused to give overly precise definitions of them so as to allow each individual to come to his own personal and intuitive understanding according to his own experience. The reader will be able to find slightly different denominations and descriptions in other works.
When through their alliances the Pleiades intervene in mythology, it is to express the particular dynamic of a given plane or process.

The two lower planes, the ‘mental physical’ and the ‘mental vital’, are represented by Alcyone and Celaeno, both of whom united with Poseidon. They are therefore representative of subconscious functions. The third Pleiade, Merope, associated with the logical mind or the ‘intellect’, is united with the mortal Sisyphus, the first of the children of Aeolus.
These first three planes are narrowly linked to the planes of the vital, the human mind superimposing itself on the existing planes. They are therefore a combination of what originates from the vital planes (the children of Pontos), and what has been brought by later developments.

For ordinary man, the following planes are at a supraconscient level. That of Sterope, united with Ares the son of Zeus, represents the ‘higher mind’. Man only accesses it at a rather advanced stage of his evolution, and can at the beginning only make briefs incursions into it.
The three last Pleiades, Electra, Taygete and Maia, united with Zeus himself and represent the planes of the ‘illumined mind’, the ‘intuitive mind’ and the ‘overmind’. The last level, that of Maia, which corresponds to the overmind, is the furthest limit of the possibilities of realisation of humankind at its current stage, for it is the plane of the gods. And Hermes, the son of Maia, is in fact a god himself. Even if the action of the supramental begins to make itself felt in humanity, the conscious work of transformation towards the supramental being can only be carried out through a very limited number of individuals.

In this study, the meaning given to the term ‘superman’ corresponds to that used by Satprem in his book ‘On the Way to Supermanhood’, and by which is defined man infused with the ‘new consciousness’ which appeared on the earth (it may perhaps be that which the Mother speaks about in detail in the Agenda of 1969). He refers neither to the seeker having attained the plane of the overmind, nor to the superman of Nietzche, who was to be but a better version of man as he exists today. This new consciousness would be a first manifestation of the supramental so as to prepare humanity for the corresponding transformation.
In the Agenda (Volume1 p160, entry of May 10th 1958), the Mother also describes this ‘superman’ as an intermediary between man and a supramental being.

Most of the specifications about the planes of consciousness given below come from the works of Sri Aurobindo, especially The Life Divine. Volumes 21 and 22 (The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department: 2005)

The mental physical (sensory)

The ‘mental-physical’ is the interface between the physical activities and the human mind. It intervenes in our relationship with the objective world by ‘mentalising’ the way in which to satisfy our ‘needs’ beyond purely instinctive activities and the reflexes of the animal, but without searching for a reason for them. At its lowest level it is a ‘mechanical’ aspect of the mind which records the reflex habits of material consciousness and simply repeats them.

It ensures in the best way possible that the essential needs are met (or at least those which we consider to be essential), including the well-being of the body and the satisfaction of its basic needs for food, sleep, security, reproduction, etc. Through mental inertia, the dulling originating from the worlds of ignorance and the lack of dynamism of thought, it supports certain functions of the vital and the physical planes (habits, excitement, inconstancy, etc.), and defends them through arguments that lack any depth. It is a mental aspect which shies away from effort, is inept at concentration and disdains intellectual work. It sustains the vital and loves suffering and strong sensations. It develops, for instance, arguments which reason to defend the dissemination of various violent or sordid facts under the pretext of a right to information. Focusing on catastrophes and disasters, it therefore attracts them. Deprived of the light of consciousness by millions of years of evolution, it is a defeatist and incredulous aspect of the mind linked to physical suffering (See Mother’s Agenda Volume 2, January 10 1961, p.5).

The pure type of the man who functions on this plane is the ‘physical man’, solely guided by his senses and only preoccupied with satisfying his instincts, sensual desires and the needs of his body. He is obsessed by security. He abhors change, and fears the unknown. His expression, his truth, is synonymous to that of the ‘clan’, even if he considers it to be original and his very own. Whoever thinks differently from him is obviously in the wrong. He readily delegates the task of judgment and discernment to the ‘experts’. Great metaphysical questions bore him. To govern him he would choose one who would promise the greater well-being and an easy life. His mode of being is that of ‘taking’, and money is his god. The affirmation of his forming ego is his first preoccupation.
He requires shock and strong sensations to awaken his torpid nature. To awaken his sensibility he needs strong shocks which generate a suffering to which he is very attached, although he believes to be fleeing from it.
He dreams neither of freedom nor of greatness. Generation after generation, he is satisfied by an immutable repetition, and only holds as truth that which is perceived by his senses. His relationships with others only exist in the modality of dominated or dominant. His gaze never moves beyond his narrow circle of interest or his blood ties. Insensible to the world of ideals, he is always ready to serve new masters depending on the circumstances, and if life accords him small measures of power he becomes a more or less tyrannical master. To soothe the rare emergence of his slumbering consciousness, he uses his mental capacities to justify his egoism and his mean and petty behaviour. He allows the expression of his passions without any concern for understanding or mastering them, but only in reference to external constraints. The law imposed on him is his only limit, for he has not yet set in place an inner law. He both fears and adores expressions of brute force, and to live and to affirm his lesser self are his only goals.
The tribe or clan, whether it is one based on family, social grouping, sport, or so on, becomes his rampart against the world. He is identified with his habits, his customs and his laws.
He has no aspiration for ascending towards the world of the spirit. Out of fear, he respects manifestations of power which he does not comprehend. Without further questioning, he adores the gods which his culture proposes, carries on the rites which have been established by priests and honours the dead as a sole concession to the worlds beyond.

Amongst the Pleiades this physical mind is represented by Alcyone, whose name indicates a ‘force’ in evolution. It is a homonym of Alcyone, who we have discussed previously, a daughter of Aeolus who had married Ceyx, the son of the morning Star Eosphorus or Lucifer, and had then been turned into the Halcyon, a bird nesting amongst the waves. It is therefore a beginning of the human mentalisation of the animal mind, a beginning of discernment which pulls itself out of the subconscious (Poseidon).
Alcyone bore three children by Poseidon; a daughter, Aethousa, and two twin sons, Hyperenor (or Hyperes) and Hyrieus, symbols of the two great opposing attitudes of the emerging mind, ‘arrogance’ on the one hand and ‘right evolution’ on the other. The latter united with Clonia, ‘acceleration or precipitation’, and fathered two children, Nycteus and Lykus, ‘night’ and ‘glow’, which we will find again in the myth of Oedipus.
Aethousa, ‘she who is lighted up or inflamed’, united with Apollo and bore Eleuther, ‘he who is free’, a symbol of a liberation of the corporeal mental rendered supple and receptive under the effect of the psychic light.

The Mental vital (also called vital mind)

The second plane, represented by the Pleiad Celaeno, is ‘a mind of dynamic (not rationalising) will, action, desire – occupied with force and achievement and satisfaction and possession, enjoyment and suffering, giving and taking, growth, expansion, success and failure, good fortune and ill fortune etc.’ (Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, Volume I, Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department, 2012 p. 191).
This vital mind uses reason for its own ends, supporting the existence of passions, desires and emotions and justifying them with different pretexts and excuses. It manifests itself either through action or through the imaginary with vivid dreams of grandeur and heroism.
It is an undisciplined and arrogant aspect of the mind which, like the physical mind, remains devoid of any great strength and valour. It cherishes experiences of power, passions, adventures and the enjoyment of action.
For this aspect in man, Truth is mixed with what he hopes for, and therefore with his beliefs.
He has a tendency for manichaenism, functioning on the basis of likes and dislikes, good and evil, etc. He enjoys posing as the defender of virtue against vice, even while knowing that he has not appropriately resolved anything within himself.
He admires the refinement of feelings and the expression of passion in the arts.

The pure prototype of the vital man places at the forefront the satisfaction of the needs and desires of his vital nature, especially his emotional ones, including his passions, sentiments, aesthetic desires, etc. To ensure their coherence and legitimacy, he builds around them ramparts of belief which he supports with religion and moral laws. He has the type of arrogance brought by ignorance and the feeling of belonging to a dominant group, as well as a natural contempt for the solitary thinker and the seeker of truth. He supports himself on the past and on the group to which his natural tendencies tie themselves, and adopts their ideas to support and justify his own behaviour. Virtue is his ideal, especially that which he expects of others. Although he may strive to bring a wider gaze upon the world, everything which he sees is distorted by the lens of his attachments and desires. Straining with difficulty to pull his mind out of emotional waters, he very slowly forges his own thoughts in the midst of a biased amalgam of ready-made prejudices and opinions or of ideas inherited from his family or social environment. Above all else, he is attached to his opinions and beliefs, and considers his own clan, religion or party to be the only holders of truth, and can without flinching kill in the name of love or of what he believes to be right. His natural tendency is that of dividing the world between good and evil, and he has no appreciation for those who are outside the box or aspire for vaster horizons. Or, after having denigrated and often hated them, he waits for them to be recognised by the majority of his clan to begin adoring them. He brings down those who have expressed the greatest refinement in sentiment and art. In a life of intense feelings, passions and unending agitation and with a will not always able to lift itself above the others, he is under the impression that life is not worth living. And if it momentarily stops supporting him, he blames people or the heavens for his suffering. His questions rarely surpass the problems brought by human relationships, and he is imprisoned in beliefs which he refuses to deepen, having banished from his mind the great fundamental questions. Capable of enthusiasm, which is a sign of the vital, he can sometimes become inflamed for humanitarian causes but is rarely able to give them the support of his mind and will to transform them into an efficient and lasting action. His aim is what we call love, but a love which demands to be loved in return and seeks to impose its own law.

According to the Greeks, this aspect of the mind was one still very full of darkness. They therefore named the corresponding Pleiad Celaeno (Kelaino), which signifies ‘black or dark’, a word used by Homer when he speaks of the night of consciousness.
Like Alcyone, Celaeno united with Poseidon, thus signaling the strong influence of the subconscious on this aspect of the mind. According to Apollodorus, she bore him a son, Lykos, ‘the glow of dawn’, which his father rendered immortal and settled on the Island of the Blissful; all the markings of understanding remain deeply marked.
No other legend that mentions Celaeno has survived.

The Intellect or logical mind

The third plane of the human mind is referred to as the intellect. It is the reasoning or logical mind and is represented by Merope, who signifies both ‘mortal’ (in contrast to the immortal gods, and therefore signifying ‘dual’), as well as ‘human’, ‘partial vision’ and ‘stable thought’.
United with Sisyphus, the founder of the royal lineage of Corinth, she is also the only Pleiade to have united with a mortal. As we will see, Sisyphus symbolises the realisations of the intellect, and Merope therefore represents the mental level of humankind in its current state, which claims to function essentially on the plane of the logical mind, reason, and acting towards discernment.
The intellect, just like Sisyphus who is to incessantly roll his rock towards the summit of the mountain, is incessantly and laboriously striving to build half-truths which collapse as soon as they have been completed. In fact, the myth of Sisyphus only concerns the yoga of the body, for his punishment is carried out in the kingdom of Hades. It illustrates the fact that the law of effort supported by the mind becomes inoperative in the yoga of the transformation of the body. It is therefore an extrapolation which is made here following what Sri Aurobindo has stated about this myth.
This aspect of the mind searches for causes, desires to understand the aim, partitions and then synthesises before separating once again, repeating this process again and again.
In ordinary man this plane is disturbed by all kinds of feelings, emotions and sensations, by the effects of outer vibrations, inner memories, the state of the body and a million other things yet. Most of the time it struggles to emerge from the layers of the emotional mind and even of the physical mind, which constantly replays and chews upon the petty ideas originating from daily life.
It is at its highest in the thinkers and wise men who have managed to purify and organise it, and have given it a great vastness.

The role of the intellect is to classify and organise perceptions and ideas, and to put each thing in its rightful place. It must first and foremost allow one to discern illusions. Purifying and perfecting this layer of the mind is one of the first tasks to be carried out on the path of knowledge, and entails rejecting ready-made opinions, useless encumbrances of thought and impurities mixed in from the vital, as well as to develop a capacity for concentration and the ability to think for oneself.
In its essence, the intellect is a tool of execution of what is perceived by intuition, but it should not be cast into the role of master.

The man representative of this plane is one who gives thought primary importance. (Here, thought is identified with the logical separative mind, the mind of reason which supports itself on memory). He uses reason to tame and domesticate the world.
He is propelled by a thirst for knowledge, which at its beginnings reaps no other results than an accumulation of information, for it rarely comes with a perfecting of the tool itself.
In his quest for truth he proceeds forward in stumbles and errors, and indefinitely renews his progression through thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Considering and admitting the existence of opposing truths is contrary to his nature.
Although he may succeed in pulling himself to the summits of the intellect, he often loses the ability of playing with the energies of life, and consequently either ignores or represses them.
Since it relies on the separation forces, questioning or rejecting his intuition, doubt is always at his side.
He glorifies the great philosophers who open thought to vaster spaces. Freedom is his claim. He is guided by still ill-defined ideals, and his aim is to acquire knowledge. But he rarely explores the nature of his sense of self, in which he does not sense any discontinuity. He still considers himself to be the creator of his own thoughts, being rarely attentive to that which is thinking within him.
The best among this kind are guided by an ideal, and are resolved to bring their ideas and lives into agreement. For this aim he labours to revise his beliefs, to submit his feelings and actions to the scrutiny of his reason and to place them under its control.

Amongst the descendants of Merope and Sisyphus are included Bellerophon, the hero who vanquishes illusions (Chimera), the great healer Asclepius (Asklepios), and the Minyades.
It is probably necessary to specify that the spiritual path described by mythology recommends the development of each plane of one’s being to its full potential. As the intellect is an indispensable tool for discernment, failing to perfect it seems to be a grave error.

The Higher Mind

The plane above the intellect is that of the ‘higher mind’, and is represented by the Pleiad Sterope. Her name means ‘lightning, refulgent glow’ as well as ‘extended vision’ while the intellect, Merope, is ‘half-vision’.
Many myths refer to this, for the essential stages of the path occur on this plane.
It is accessed both by a widening of thought, in which can be included what would appear to be completely incompatible points of view in the world of ordinary reason without however being able to include them within a single perception, and by the development of intuition.
With reason alone it is possible to justify all points of view, but not to include them as one. With the higher mind the seeker strives to find a point in which all opposites can be transcended. For instance, from a certain point of view it could be said that war is useless for it only brings suffering. From another point of view it could be said that war is necessary, for it allows the destruction of outdated forms, thus giving place to new ones, discharging and regulating energies which have accumulated in an abnormal way, and allowing the expression in some individuals of qualities which would otherwise have no other occasion for expression.
In the Agenda of April 1954, the Mother remarks on this subject that ‘With the same accuracy, one can say that all is divine or that nothing is divine. ‘Everything depends upon the angle from which one looks at the problem. Likewise, it can be said that the divine is a perpetual becoming and yet also, that it is immutable for all eternity.
To deny or affirm God’s existence is equally true, but each is only partially true. It is by rising above both affirmation and negation that one may draw nearer the truth.’
(Mother’s Agenda Volume I, April 1954, p 12.)
The higher mind intervenes in the two directions of the seeker’s work, in the ascension of the planes of consciousness (Sterope is found amongst the ancestors of Theseus and the Atrides), and in the path of purification and liberation. But no homonymous Sterope appears in the second path and neither do any of her sisters, for the initiates of ancient times carefully avoided drawing parallels between the planes of consciousness and a progression on the path of purification and liberation. However Europa, whose name  ‘-’ means ‘an extended gaze, wide vision’ , marks the entry into the higher mind, and through the adventures of her son Minos linked to the Minotaur also signals the risk of losing one’s way which comes along with it.

Different traditions diverge when it comes to the unions of Sterope; she is sometimes said to have united with Ares, the god of the destruction of forms, and at other times with Oinomaos, ‘he who strongly desires (divine) intoxication’. This Pleiad is said to be the great grandmother of Menelaus and Agamemnon; as such, she places the heroes at the minimum on the plane of the higher mind, and expresses the influence which will lead the Greek army to their victory against the Trojans. In fact, both camps are fighting for the access to the intuitive mind, and we could therefore conclude that heroes of both camps are on the level of the illumined mind.

The Illumined Mind

After the higher mind come the three higher states of mental consciousness, which according to Sri Aurobindo bring about at each level a general transmutation of the being as well as a new light, power or capacity.
The three corresponding Pleiades were all lovers of Zeus; these states can only manifest and maintain themselves under the growing influence of the supraconscient.

The ‘illumined mind’ is represented by the Pleiade Electra, ‘yellow amber’, which designates a fossilised resin used in the creation of ornamental objects. This word was also used to refer to a metal made up of four fifths of gold and a fifth of silver. It would therefore be a plane close to the supramental which color is mainly pure gold, but still somewhat mixed.
At this level, the Truth penetrates into the mind in an influx of continuous and stable light rather than in single sporadic flashes. From here emerges a power of direct knowledge of Truth resulting from a more perfect union with what is Real. It is no longer a question of ‘thought’, but rather of the ‘light’ of the spirit which can be associated with vision. And in fact, the wise men of ancient times were also known to be seers, and the concept of vision is widely used in esoteric literature.
The first experience of this plane is most often described in spiritual literature as an ‘illumination’. It will be described further on in the myth of the quest of the Golden Fleece with the study of Jason and the Argonauts.
Electra is the mother of Dardanos, the founder of Troy. She is at the origin of the Trojan lineage, which includes Laomedon, Ganymedes, Priam, Hector, Paris and Aeneas amongst others.

The Intuitive Mind

Then come the higher regions of the ‘intuitive mind’. They are symbolised by the Pleiad Taygete, who shares her name with one of the high mountains of Laconia. Taygete is at the origin of the royal lineage of Sparta in which appears Gorgophone, ‘the victory over fear’, and the grandchildren of the latter: Penelope, the Dioscuri Castor and Pollux, Helen and Clytemnestra.
On this plane, the activities of the mind move under the direction of the intuition, and can operate in four different ways which Sri Aurobindo describes as ‘A power of revelatory truth seeing, a power of inspiration or truth-hearing, a power of truth-touch or immediate seizing of significance, which is akin to the ordinary nature of its intervention in our mental intelligence, a power of true and automatic discrimination of the orderly and exact relation of truth to truth’.

The Overmind

This is the last and highest level of the mind. This plane widens into a vast universality, and the true individual, One in his essence with the supreme Self, takes a definitive step over the movement of centralisation of the ego and the illusion of the separate self.
The Pleiad Maia is the representation of this plane. She bore a single son through her union with Zeus. This was the god Hermes, the highest level of knowledge of the mental plane, who has been associated with the Egyptian god Thot, ‘he who understands all and knows all’. This is why for some the worship of Hermes represents the highest sacred science.
Maia expresses the intervention of the overmind through the intermediary of the links between her son Hermes and the women belonging to the lineage of Jason and Ulysses. She also appears in the ancestry of some of the other heroes, such as the Argonauts Eurytus, Cephalus or Abderos the companion of Heracles.

The Overmind is the plane of Zeus and the rest of the gods. In humanity it is that of the ‘divine messengers’, amongst them the founders of religions.

But while it is the highest plane of the mind and can merge with the individual mind and the cosmic mind and engrave upon nature a universality of action, the Overmind can however not lead the mind beyond itself. (But let us remember that Hermes in his youth always attempts to rival Apollo, the god of psychic light, for it is difficult for the mind to recognise a functioning higher than his own, particularly that of the psychic being.)
To truly attain the power of creation on the plane of Truth, man must lift himself till the plane of the Supramental, which does not belong to the created world but contains it. Participating from the One, it carries its attributes: the delight of Existence, the delight of Consciousness and the delight of Power or Will. It is the still unoccupied plane of creation, the missing step and the plane of future Man.
Within the frame of this chapter it does not seem necessary to describe the Supramental plane at any greater length, but we will discuss it further at the end of this work in the description of the ‘mind of the cells’ (We will find more complete information about this in the works of Sri Aurobindo, particularly in The Life Divine).

In closing this description, we must remember that evolution is a fact of nature of which no step can be avoided. Each must be developed to its full potential, and each movement into a higher level implies the integration of the preceding plane in the energy and incipient consciousness of the next plane. The general process of this evolution is therefore a succession of movements of ascension and integration.

Plouto and Calypso

Two more of Atlas’ children deserve to be mentioned here.

One of them is Plouto, ‘wealth’, who was according to Pausanias the mother of Tantalus by her union with Zeus (Pausanias 2.22.4). The overmind (Zeus), striving to fill lack by identifying with Plouto, generated to begin with an aspiration, an insatiable ‘thirst’.

Calypso ‘Καλυψω, ‘she who hides and envelops’ was according to Homer the daughter of Atlas. Having fallen in love with Ulysses, she had him remain on her island for seven long years. This story refers to the long periods of maturation occurring along the path. We will be encountering Calypso again in the study of Odysseus.

PROMETHEUS AND THE DEUCALIONIDS (The lineage of DEUCALION, son of PROMETHEUS)

Two great lineages are initiated by Deucalion, one through Hellen and the other through Protogenia.
The first, beginning with a male character, illustrates a progression in which the personality actively strives to attain an awakening. Originating with a female character, the second is more expressive of the complete submission of the adventurers of consciousness to what is Real.

The children of Hellen

Aeolus (Aiolos)

In primitive mythology, Hellen was said to have had only one child, Aeolus, borne by the nymph Orseis. This Aeolus must not be confused with the king of the winds, who we will see further on.
Hellen represents those seekers who strive for a ‘liberation’ so as to achieve an ‘awakening’ (Orseis), as well as those who are just beginning to awaken. The name Hellen in fact signifies ‘an evolution towards a great truth, ΛΛ+Ν’. While in Homer’s texts this name is only used to designate seekers, it was later on used to designate the ancient Greek people as a whole.
He ruled over Thessaly and Magnesia in the provinces of the ‘inner quest’ and of ‘aspiration’.

Aeolus means ‘he who is always in movement’, which is the best definition for a seeker of truth or an initiate. According to the structuring characters of his name, he is also ‘he who walks towards freedom or the unity of consciousness’.
He is united with Enarete, orienting the path towards ‘that by which we excel’ or towards ‘the qualities of the body, the soul or the intelligence’. Enarete is the daughter of Deimachus, he who ‘slays combat’, which can be understood as he who ceases to give priority to the struggle against his imperfections. This description of Enarete corresponds to one of the great recommendations of the spiritual path, one that insists on the strengthening of what is best in oneself rather than on fighting against the darkness of what we consider to be our faults. This work is carried out by giving particular emphasis to one of the three planes depending on one’s nature, and therefore focusing on one of the directions of yoga: the yoga of work, of devotion or of knowledge.

Aeolus and Enarete bore seven sons and five daughters whose descendants are markers of the experiences occurring along the right path. They are described in the next chapters. At this point we will only list them briefly and give a short indication of the work corresponding to them.
As given by Apollodorus, the seven sons are cited here in the most probable order of succession (we will examine the uncertainties concerning this listing in another chapter).
Sisyphus: the path of effort and struggle against illusions (victory is won by his grandson Bellerophon).
Athamas: the first moments of contact with the psychic being in evolution towards rectitude or integrity.
Magnes: aspiration, the necessary preamble to a victory over fear.
Salmoneus: a phase during which the ego leads into an impasse of spiritual pride.
Cretheus: the results of an inner work and the first great spiritual experience.
Perieres: the right movement.
Deion: united consciousness.
Representing the ‘goals’ towards which the seeker must strive, the five daughters do not seem to alternate with the sons, even if this organisation would be appealing, but are instead situated at the end of the path. However, we possess very few details that would allow us to situate them with any certainty.
We mentioned Alcyone earlier in the chapter because of her union with Ceyx, the son of Eosphorus.
Canace: she is the mother of the Aloades, who fought against Zeus in one of the advanced periods of the quest.
Pisidice: she who is convinced of the right movement and orients the quest towards ‘the little things’.
Perimele: everything that concerns knowledge.
Calyce: budding flower, that which is at an incipient stage in the most advanced aspects of humanity.

There are two or three other homonymous characters by the name of Aeolus, and some of the ancient writers tended to confuse them. In this work we will only study the myth of the one cited by Homer in the Odyssey (Homer and A.T. Murray, Odyssey 10.2-3);
Ulysses reaches the shores of his island, which was ‘a drifting island, and all around it a wall of unbreakable bronze’. Zeus had entrusted him with watching over the bellowing winds, which he appeased or excited as he pleased. He had fathered six sons and six daughters who he had presented to his sons as brides, and their lives were a continual celebration in a state of compete harmony, abundance and purity.’
Aeolus is, in the myth being discussed, the son of Hippotes, ‘the master of the vital’ or ‘power over the forces of life’. He therefore symbolises the ‘vital liberation’ which brings mastery over the energies of life. It is in this role that he is the master of the winds or the ‘powerful gusts’. It is Aeolus’ environment which furnishes us with the key; married to each other, his twelve children in fact evoke the Chinese Chi, similar to the Prana of ancient Indian tradition and perhaps also to the Greek animus.
In fact, in Chinese tradition the ‘breaths’ or ‘winds’ circulate through twelve meridians, six of which are of the ying polarity and six of which are yang, and which function in pairs (lungs and large intestine, etc.), similarly as do the children of Aeolus, ‘the master of the winds’. Additionally, it is said that the Chi is preexistent to duality, which is why ‘Aeolus is dear to the immortal gods’. The art of the mastery of the winds, breaths or currents is the Dao Yin or Qi Gong.
The seat of the control over these vital currents is situated in a ‘structure’ at the boundary lines of the vital and not anchored to the body (a drifting island). Mastery over these currents is therefore accessible through a work at the root of the vital. In reaching the island of Aeolus, Ulysses therefore symbolically reached the point in which he can obtain power over these fundamental energies of life.

Diodorus described a genealogical link between the two Aeolus: the one who is the son of Hippotes is the grandson of Mimas, himself the son of the other Aeolus. However, he ascribed as his mother Melanippe, ‘a black vital energy’, an association which seems to be ignorant of the meaning given by Homer, who points in another direction.
Diodorus and Hyginus mention a third Aeolus, grandson of the second by Arne and Poseidon. This couple symbolises ‘an inconscient refusal of evolution’. This Aeolus is the king of the Tyrrhenian islands, ‘knots or blockages exerting a sovereign power’.

Other children of Hellen (the Dorians, Achaeans and Ionians)

It would seem that the four main Hellenic peoples mentioned in the Iliad, namely the Aeolians, the Dorians, the Achaeans and the Ionians, were only ascribed as descendants of Hellen at the beginning of the present era. The characters who represent them do not therefore have their own particular stories.
According to current understanding, in Homer’s texts these groups characterised the Greeks as a whole in their battle against the Trojans. However, in the interpretation given here their names are not entirely equivalent, and designate whichever aspect of the quest is to be prioritised depending on the point in the myth at which they appear.
For practical reasons, in the presentation of the genealogical lineages the active descendants, from the mythological point of view, have been grouped under the single name Aeolus, ‘he who is always in movement’ or ‘he who advances towards liberation’ (See diagram 7).
The three other peoples – Dorians, Achaeans and Ionians – have been organised into two branches.
On one side we find Doros, ‘the gift of oneself’ or ‘the right movement towards union (with the character omega turning towards incarnation)’. He fathered a son named Aegimius, ‘the highest level of devotion or consecration (which the personality can attain)’, a hero who intervened in all of Heracles’ later Labours. (Historians have hypothesized that there was a Dorian invasion of the Peloponnese. On the symbolic plane this episode refers either to a flowering of gifts at the time of entry into the higher mind, or to a new determination to strengthen the ‘gift of oneself’.)
On the other side we find Xouthus, ‘golden-yellow, clear’, or through the symbolism of the structuring characters of his name, ‘he who descends into himself’. He unites with Creusa (Creousa), ‘incarnation’, daughter of the king of Athens Erechtheus, who marks the definitive entry into the quest and the moment in which the seeker is no longer dominated by fear in his relationship with the Divine (Erechtheus’ father is Pandion, ‘he who gives all to union’, and his mother is Zeuxippe, ‘the horse-god’ or the strength-god). Creusa bore two sons by Xouthus, Achaios and Ion.

Euripides proposes a remarkable story about Creusa in which she was raped by Apollo in a cave just preceding her marriage with Xouthus. The god asked her to keep their meeting a secret. Certain that the child resulting from this rape would die, Creusa abandoned the infant at its birth. But he was rescued by Hermes without her knowledge and by the request of Apollo. He was brought up in Delphi, and became a servant at the temple of this god.
Much later on, Xouthus, unable to have children, visited the temple at Delphi, where the oracle instructed him to consider the servant as his son. Xouthus and Creusa believed that Xouthus had fathered him during the Dionysian festivities just before their wedding. Prompted by jealousy, Creusa plotted for his death, but Ion was warned by a bad omen and avoided drinking the poison. He wished to avenge himself, but the truth was revealed by a priestess of Apollo and Ion henceforth lived with his mother and his human adoptive father, Athena having cast a spell on the latter so that he would always believe himself to be Ion’s father. Xouthus and Creusa then parented two other children, Doros and Achaios.
This story describes a seeker well anchored in life and having progressed in the process of purification who ‘undergoes’ a sudden spiritual experience but believes that it cannot last and therefore no longer takes care of it, the rape by Apollo being a manifestation of the psychic light in mental consciousness. The experience continues to bear fruits nonetheless thanks to the highest level of the mind. The seeker then manages to integrate this in his life after having rejected it in a variety of different ways.

Achaios, ‘concentration’ or ‘the path towards emptiness’, expresses a gathering of consciousness or an evolution towards inner stillness and emptiness, while Ion represents ‘an evolution of consciousness’, which with the character omega in his name is an opening towards matter and incarnation. He also fathered a daughter, Diomede, ‘she whose purpose is the Divine’, who united with her cousin Deion, the ancestor of Ulysses.
The four first Athenian clans were named after the four sons: Geleon (clear or light), Aigikores (goatherd, or he who nourishes the spirituality of the personality), Argades (brilliant) and Hoples (he who protects himself).
Much later on, after the return of the Heraclides, the Ionians migrated towards the western lands of Asia Minor, where they founded twelve cities. The evolution of consciousness therefore took a new direction at that moment, establishing a future spirituality on twelve aspects (to be compared to the description of New Jerusalem in the Apocalypse (21.14) and may be to the twelve qualities given by the Mother.

The children of Protogenia

While the line of descent of Hellen relates the experiences available to ‘ordinary’ seekers, that of Protogenia illustrates the experiences of ‘those who walk at the forefront’, the most advanced of the initiates who have reached the stage of Aeolus’ youngest child, Deion, a symbol of ‘those who have realised union’ in the spirit.
This genealogical branch begins with a seeker animated by a powerful ‘inner fire’ (Aethlius) and striving for a future humanity; his wife is Calyce, the ‘(psychic) flower bud’, and this movement is carried on till Oeneus, ‘divine intoxication’ and Deianeira, ‘complete detachment’.
Here we will also encounter Leda, the mother of Helen, Clytemnestra, Castor and Pollux, Meleager (he who succeeds in mastering the most archaic of energies by the wild boar hunt of Calydon), and Diomede, one of the great Trojan heroes.

Other children of Deucalion of lesser importance

According to the Catalogue of Women, Deucalion fathered several other children, who we could tentatively interpret in the following ways:
A daughter, Pandora, ‘the gift of self’. Through her union with Zeus she became the mother of Graecus, ‘the ancient openings of consciousness’, and the ancestor of all “Greek people”. This denomination of the inhabitants of ancient Greece became used later on, being mentioned for the first time by Aristotle in the fourth century BCE. This story summarises the process of the seeker setting out on his path: the aspiration of he who calls for union in oneself and with the divine (Deucalion) – engaging the seeker in a thorough emotional purification (Deucalion’s deluge) -, turned towards the fire of the spirit (Pyrrha), opens upon a ‘gift of self’ which, in its contact with the overmind, awakens and nourishes the memories of the spiritual experiences of the past. In other words, the quest is a process which continues beyond the course of lifetimes.
A daughter, Theia ‘the divine’ or Thuia, ‘inner consciousness’, who became one of Zeus’ lovers and bore him a son named Magnes, or ‘aspiration’. This legend confirms that of her sister outlined below.
A son, Amphictyon, ‘that which concerns the foundations’ or ‘all that attracts towards the opening of the higher worlds’ or towards ‘the widening of consciousness’. He is the founder of the religious lineage amphictyonie, which had as its sanctuary Apollo’s temple at Delphi and that of Demeter at Anthela; the ‘bases’ of the path had to be assimilated at this stage for those who wished to engage in the quest for freedom, the stages of which were illustrated in the descendance of his brother Hellen. This would imply a work of self-knowledge in association with Demeter, and a search for a contact with the psychic being in association with Apollo.

CRIUS (KRIOS), THE GREAT WINDS BOREAS, NOTUS, ZEPHYRUS, EURUS, AND THE GODDESS HECATE

This couple is an expression of the forces which support the divine movement of return towards the origin (ΚΡ+Ι). Here the spouse of the Titan is not one of his sisters, a Titanide, but rather a daughter of Pontos (Life) named Eurybia, ‘a vast force’ representing the highest plane of the vital’. There are therefore grounds to conclude that this union is temporary and works towards the dynamisation of the movement of return. When these forces, charged with the task of reconnecting the totality of our being to its divine source will have achieved their goal successively through the planes of the mind and the vital, Crius will find his legitimate spouse, probably the Titanide Themis, ‘Divine law’.

This couple bore three sons, Astraeus, Perses and Pallas (see diagram 6).

The first, Astraeus the ‘starry’, was, through his union with the goddess Eos “who brings the New”, at the origin of the ‘divine lights’, or awakenings of consciousness which are the ‘stars’, and the ‘divine aids’ symbolized by the four great winds to help the return journey towards Unity.
The second, Pallas, evokes through his union with Styx the powers which will become available to man when the union of body and spirit will have come into effect.
Through his union with Asteria, Perses describes the multitude of transformations required to perfect this evolution, allowing for the progressive influence of the goddess Hecate, the deity who is to rule over the future of mankind.

Astraeos (Astraios) and Eos

Uniting with Eos the goddess of the dawn, Astraeos represents the action of a multitude of luminous states of consciousness (starry consciousness, points of light-matter) which through the maturation of the psychic being lead towards the eternally New, Eos. Their children are therefore the ‘spiritual aids’ which allow the growth of the former. Initiates of ancient times classified them into two categories, ‘the stars’ and the ‘the winds’. They are the passive and active aids of the Absolute respectively; the ‘stars’ guide man in his aspiration and the winds support or jostle him, depending on what is needed for his evolution. The latter were rapidly anthropomorphised by the Christian Church still steeped in Greek culture. Theologians named them ‘angels’ from the Greek αγγελος, a word which means ‘messenger’, but they sometimes maintained the Greek image of the winds to describe its forces (Hebrews 1.7 ‘ He makes His angels winds’ and Psalm 104.4 ‘ He makes the winds His messengers’).

The four great winds

These are the winds originating in the four symbolic cardinal points: Boreas the North Wind, Notos the South Wind, Eurus the East Wind and Zephyrus the West Wind.
Although these names also designate the winds which actually blow in Greece, one must not attempt to liken their physical characteristics to those attributed to them in mythology. Hesiod only lists three, omitting Eurus. The reason for this omission remains a mystery.
They each have a specific task corresponding to their symbolic direction, frequently intervening in the quest of the Golden Fleece, the Trojan War (Iliad) and the Ulysses return (Odyssey), to help, stimulate or when necessary hinder the progress of the heroes. They indicate specific ‘tendencies’ of the corresponding phase, aids which the seeker receives or obstacles which he must surmount.
As their task is both to support and to redress errors, their tumultuous manifestations can seem harsh to the seeker. Most often it will be Poseidon, the god of the subconscious, who will in his role as the activator of emotional knots unleash these winds against the hero in storms or squalls.
One must not confuse them with the multitude of lesser, redoubtable and noxious winds unleashed by Typhon, ignorance, which bring peril to sailors and destroy crops (see the section on Typhon in chapter 3). These noxious winds are surface manifestations that Typhon, vanquished by Zeus, unleashes from his dwelling in Tartarus. These manhandle unconscious man according to the whims of the forces of nature and pull him downwards.
There is therefore a battle between the four great winds sought after by the soul and those which oppose evolution with all their strength, keeping the greater part of humankind in their hold.

It is not easy to precisely determine the characteristics of these great winds, for the initiates of ancient times seem to have described them each according to their own experience. In this study we will adhere most closely to Homer’s texts, which depending on the intensity of the stages of the path made their intensity vary from gentle breezes to storms so as to give a general ‘impression’ of the difficulty of the passage being considered. But it must be taken into account that the force applied by the Absolute is proportional to the amount of resistance. In addition, the perception that each individual can have of it varies depending on the nature of his progression in a particular domain.

Boreas

Boreas is the North Wind, cold and dry, and the season which characterises him is winter.
It is the wind of spiritual asceticism. Its land is Thrace, the northernmost province of Greece considered to be the land of cold par excellence. Through the structuring characters of his name, Β+Ρ, he represents the force which accompanies the process of incarnation (Β) in accordance with the divine movement (Ρ).
As the wind of asceticism, it is for a long time that of effort, an effort which can become excessive and mislead the seeker. And in fact, we find in Thrace the deviations of an inappropriately conducted or overly violent asceticism, for example in Diomedes of Thrace, ‘he whose thought is turned towards the Divine’, who fed his horses with human flesh and who Heracles faced during his eighth Labour.

But a well-conducted spiritual effort can generate extraordinary results, particularly by elevating the vibrations of the vital; according to Homer, Boreas, transformed into a blue-maned horse, mated with the mares of Erichthonius, who consequently bore eight fillies. They would gallop over wheaten fields without bending a single ear of grain, and would travel over the broad back of the sea over the tops of waves.
Erichthonius was one of the first kings of Athens, and therefore governs the beginnings of the quest. During this period, the seeker is led to appease his emotional reactions so as to reduce their somatic repercussions to a minimum.
Giving from the most elevated and purified part of his mind (the blue mane), he neither damages the fruits of his work nor allows himself to be troubled by emotional and vital turmoil.

In a passage by Pausanias, Boreas is described as having snakes in the place of feet, which expresses his contribution to the evolution of matter in incarnation.

Boreas united with Orithyia, ‘she who leaps impetuously onto the mountain’, a daughter of Erechteus, a king of Athens. (The mountain is a symbol of the spiritual path.) This union brought to the practice of asceticism an ardour of elevation and aspiration.
As we will see, the kings of Athens ‘direct’ the construction of the inner being, the psychic. Erichthonius is the seventh king, a son of Pandion, ‘he who has given himself completely to Truth or to union in consciousness (Pan+ΔΙ)’, which is to say that he represents a seeker who is relatively well-advanced on the path.
From his union with Orithyia were born two children, Calais, ‘the aspiration” (from the root καλ calling + I)’, and Zetes, ‘he who searches and strives (word originating from Ζητεω)’. They are called the Boreads from their father’s name. They represent the foundations of the quest, one issued from the psychic and the other being more will-based. We will encounter these characters again on several occasions – they are especially well known for having pursued the Harpies over great distances during the quest of the Golden Fleece.

Orithyia also bore Boreas two daughters, Chione, ‘of the whiteness of snow’ or ‘the evolution of the concentration of consciousness’, and Cleopatra, ‘famous ancestors or past realisations’.
Chione bore Poseidon a son named Eumolpus, ‘a song which rings true’, which is to say ‘a harmonious mode of being’. As soon as she had given birth, Chione flung the infant into the sea for she feared the anger of her father Boreas, but Poseidon rescued and took in the child; thus, when the quest is well underway and is already bearing fruits, there appears to consciousness the possibility of a ‘sunlit path’, Eumolpus, ‘a harmonious mode of being’ resulting from a purification obtained by the gathering consciousness allied to the subconscious forces represented by Poseidon. But the seeker, still too tense on his personal effort, cannot yet integrate into his ascetic progress the release that this represents. This path of just equilibrium must wait in the subconscious to be able to establish itself later on.
It will therefore not be a surprise to notice that in many traditions Eumolpus was linked to the mysteries of Eleusisi, to which he initiated Heracles after having purified him from his murder of the Centaurs.

Some say that Apollo would spend the winter in Hyperborea, which is to say the land ‘beyond asceticism’; it is the moment in which effort is no longer necessary, for the process of yoga is then taken in hand by the psychic being or the Divine. We have seen that in this land ‘eternal spring rules, and nothing casts a shadow’ – it is the place of the eternally New which lies outside of duality.
The incarnation and aspiration characteristic of Boreas can seem paradoxical or contradictory. But opposition only manifests itself on the path which rejects the possibility of the transformation of the lower planes, the Trojan path, or that of a materialism which completely negates the existence of the worlds of the spirit.

Notus

Notus is the South Wind, and is said to be unhealthy. In the Iliad it is stated that ‘the South Wind sheddeth a mist over the peaks of a mountain, a mist that the shepherd loveth not, but that to the robber is better than night ‘ (Iliad 3.10-12). It is equally dangerous for sailors.
It therefore represents a force which cloaks both the aim and the path itself, and favours the presence of obstacles so that the seeker can gain his liberty. His domain of action extends from the plane of the vital till the highest levels of the spiritualised mind, which is to say from the beginning to the end of the quest. It is the symbol of a certain confusion, but one that is necessary and healthy, for Notus is a son of Eos and Astraeus.

According to the structuring characters of his name, Ν+Τ, he demonstrates a power of aspiration which in excess can lead towards an exaggerated propensity for disincarnation and bring mental confusion. He is both the opposite of and complementary to Boreas.

Eurus

Eurus, otherwise known as Euros, is the East Wind. He is symbolically the carrier of the forces of renewal; the symbolism of the East is in fact linked to the rising sun and to the beginning of a new day.
His name carries the same structuring character Rho as that or Eros, Rhea and Hera, ‘she of the right movement’. His name signifies ‘he who flows well’.
Homer writes that he melts the snow which Zephyrus has gathered’, thus announcing the spring. He often also associates Eurus with Notus whether their breaths are united or opposing each other. In this case it is a matter of a struggle between confusion, Notus, and that which propels forward towards what is new, Eurus.
As it blows towards the west it also obliges the seeker to examine his past and his psychological blockages.

Zephyrus

Zephyrus is the West Wind. Homer describes him as unleashing the violence of autumn storms which causes the fall of dead leaves and branches. But according to Hesiod, he lightens the sky. (His name could mean ‘watering down from the top to the bottom’. It is therefore a force of purification acting as a partner of Eurus by ‘cleansing’ the past. Let us however note that he is also sometimes described as ‘the gentlest of winds’
He united with the Harpy Podarge who gave birth to the famous horses of Achilles, Xanthos and Balios, who were immortal and gifted with the ability of speech.
Let us remember that the Harpyes (the children of Thaumas, himself the second son of Pontos, Life), were known to be extremely swift. They are symbols of processes of homeostasis, or at the opposite, of the reversals of equilibrium at the roots of life in the beginnings of its mentalisation (for the harpies are winged beings, but not birds). These variations of states are so swift that consciousness can only take them into account with great difficulty. The Harpy Podarge, ‘the clear-footed’, represents what is luminous in those movements in accordance with the truth in matter (a return to the true cellular movement).
Therefore, the union of a spiritual power of purification, Zephyrus, and of the right movement at the root of the vital, Podarge, transforms vital energy to its depths, rendering it ‘golden yellow’ (Xanthos) and ‘swift and free’ (Balios).
The fact that these horses are immortal indicates that once it has been acquired, this realisation belonging to the world of non-duality can no longer disappear.
Their being gifted with the power of speech demonstrates that the seeker is conscious of all the movements of his vital till its deepest levels. This leap of consciousness is the logical development of the work which he must accomplish to be aware of everything happening within himself, beginning with the superficial levels of thought, emotions and feelings. The more refined becomes the work, the more it deals with the swift archaic processes of life and matter. We easily imagine that its accomplishments belong to very advanced phases of yoga; not only must one be capable of detecting these extremely fleeting transformations, for they are incomparably more rapid that what we are ordinarily conscious of, but one must also be capable of acting upon them and mastering them. At the cellular level, the Mother speaks of an almost infinite speed within a complete immobility.

As an illustration of the action of the winds, let us mention the story of Achilles praying to Zephyrus and Boreas to blow on Patroclus’ funerary pyre, which would not catch on fire; the seeker is forced to seek the help of these winds (divine aids or angels), to free himself of all traces of the grip of these past realisations (Patroclus), even when the latter are no longer consciously adhered to by the seeker (for the soul of Patroclus is already with Hades). It is therefore a purification which the seeker cannot carry out through his own forces alone.

Eosphorus

To the four winds generated by the couple Astraeus and Eos Hesiod adds ‘the glittering stars’. They are the guides and points of reference, fleeting moments of absolute presence with an intense, light and joyful sensation that everything is perfectly in its right place. Satprem describes these moments as ones in which ‘it exists’.
Hesiod reserves a special place for the most remarkable of these stars, Eosphorus, ‘the messenger of dawn’ (also known as Phosphoros, ‘the bearer of the light’, and Lucifer amongst the Latins), for he precedes the rising of the sun. His presence announces the contact with the soul, hence his preeminence over the other stars. This announcing herald-like role has elicited an exaggerated association of Eosphorus with Venus, ‘the morning star’ when she precedes the sun’s rising and ‘the evening star’ when she follows his setting.

An erroneous interpretation by Christian theologians transformed Eosphorus ‘the bringer of light’ into Lucifer, a force of darkness. And in fact, since the beginnings of time every bringer of divine light was progressively identified with Satan or the devil, a fallen angel who by his rebellion against God became the Prince of Darkness.
A very lengthy exegesis would be necessary to bring to light the successive shifts of meaning and interpretation occurring from the book of Isaiah, in which is exclaimed, ‘How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn!’, and from that of Ezekiel, (Isaiah 14.12 and Ezekiel 28.11-19), in which the epithet Cherubin is given to the king of Tyr. Here we will restrict ourselves to suggesting a few clues which could allow these to be understood.
In mythology the winds and the stars are known as ‘messengers’, αγγελος (Εἰ γὰρ ὁ θεὸς ἀγγέλων ἁμαρτησάντων οὐκ ἐφείσατο: “if God has not spared the angels who have sinned”, Second Epistle of Peter, 2.4). But as we have just seen these messengers included both the stars and the divine winds but not the evil winds, children of Typhon, ignorance. It would appear that this distinction between the winds was progressively lost and Eosphorus, one of the great αγγελος, was either through error or intentionally associated with the evil winds.
Probably to give support to this alteration of meaning from the original myths, theologians created the myth of the revolt of the angels, an account which was permanently added to Christian dogma in the Middle Ages. Lucifer (the bringer of light), the Dragon or Serpent (evolutionary force) and Satan (the power of incarnation) became a single being, the devil (from dia-bolein, that which divides) at the origin of all evil.

Eosphorus had a son Ceyx, an expression of ‘the new light’.
Ceyx united with Alcyone, one of the daughters of Aeolus. They were in the habit of calling each other Zeus and Hera, and this angered the king of the gods who transformed them into two birds, Alcyone into Halcyon and Ceyx into an ocean bird, the Ceyx.
The name Ceyx (Κηυξ, Κ+Ξ) could mean ‘a consciousness which opens towards the equivalence of Spirit and Matter’. It represents an advanced stage of the quest in proximity to the overmind. Zeus allowed these processes of consciousness on the boundary line of the vital and the body to be mentalised (transformed into birds).

Ovid and Hyginus attributed to Eosphorus another son, Daedalion (Δαιδαλιων). This name is almost identical to that of Daedalus (Δαιδαλος), the famous architect and inventor who built the labyrinth for the Minotaur. His name also carries the meaning ‘he who works skillfully’.
In the myth of the Minotaur Daedalus was an architect of great renown and a brilliant inventor, but as we will see later on he was only a creator of ‘images’ of reality, of forms empty of real meaning resulting from the union of mental intelligence and a strong vital.
But in the myth being discussed, Daedalion is not in any way invested of a negative connotation of this kind. Ovid and subsequently Hyginus, who seems to have drawn inspiration from the text of the former, make him a symbol of a creator of new forms with an opening in the direction of matter. And in fact, his name carries the character omega at the very end of it. His daughter Chione, the evolution of the gathering of consciousness, united with Hermes and bore Autolykus, ‘he who is his own light or self-awareness’, the most cunning of men and the grandfather of Ulysses. She also united with Apollo and by him bore the great musician Philammon, a poet and soothsayer of great beauty who established Demeter’s Lernaean mysteries.

Pallas – Styx

Pallas, the second son of the Titan Crius, united with Styx, the eldest daughter of the Titan Oceanus.
Pallas and Styx bore Zelos, Nike, Kratos and Bia. When the war between the gods and Titans broke out, Oceanus asked his eldest daughter, Styx, to bring her children to Zeus’ side to offer him their support. Henceforth, none of them would be able to manifest or move outside of Zeus’ presence.
While the children of Astraeus are the ‘divine aids’, those of Pallas represent the aim of souls, the union of the Psychic Being and the purified and liberated personality once the former has completed its process of growth. When this union will have been accomplished – when Styx, the river skirting the boundaries of the underworld, will have been ‘integrated’ – then having united the physical inconscient and the conscious, man will have at his disposal the ‘qualities and divine powers’, amongst them:
Zelos: the jealous zeal of one who is exclusively devoted to the Divine, as well as ardour and enthusiasm (divine transport).
Nike: divine victory in incarnation (for the goddess who carries this name is known to have beautiful feet).
Kratus: power originating from the Soul.
Bia: the strength or force (of the consciousness of the Absolute within incarnation).
In his current manifestation man lives in the lower planes of the mind, and his divine powers and qualities are therefore very greatly attenuated, for they do not find any point of support to express themselves other than through the conscious mind. Man can only reach them from the level of the overmind, for ‘none of them could manifest or bring themselves outside the presence of Zeus’.

Perses – Asteria, and their daughter Hecate

Perses, the third son of Crius, united with Asteria, the sister of Leto. The Perses discussed here must not be confused with his eponym, the brother of Aietes (or Aeetes) the king of Colchis, who was himself the son of Helios and Perse the Oceanid.
The relationship between the three brothers Astraeus, Pallas and Perses, can be conceived of in the following way: with the support of the ‘divine aids’, the great winds given by Astraeus, Perses offers the means of achieving the restitution of union announced by Pallas, namely the process of destruction and transformation which has as its aim an infinity of luminous leaps of consciousness, ‘Asteria’. His name, Perses, seems to originate from the root ‘περθω, to destroy’, which we find again in Persephone, ‘she who destroys death’, and in Perseus, ‘he who destroys fear’.

Perses and Asteria gave birth to the very mysterious Hecate, the most honoured of goddesses; she was granted by Zeus greater honour and privilege than any of the other gods. Her authority, we are told by Hesiod, extended over the earth and the fruitless sea and even to the starry skies, originally attributed to her during the rule of the Titans. She granted wealth, glory, support and aid to whomsoever implored it of her, but could also deprive others from glimpsed gifts if so was her wish. With Hermes she multiplied the number of herds, but could also diminish them as she pleased. Zeus had entrusted her with the protection of young men who had due to her intervention witnessed the light of dawn, which holds a million elements within its gaze.
Hecate therefore symbolises a force of transformation originating from transformation (Perses) and acting towards the aim of establishing the light of Truth, Asteria. She especially watches over the seekers (young men) who have had a first experience of this light, a first glimpse of the Unity of all things.

For the vast majority of humanity, she remains a deity of the future. Her action is in fact subordinated to the movement which considers all the events of life in light of the will of holistically perfecting oneself (the dawn which holds a million elements within its gaze).
This force acts on all the planes of the being, in the body, the vital and the mind of man up to the overmind (her authority extended over the earth and the fruitless sea, and even over the starry skies), while generally the other gods each act within a particular domain. In addition, she was present at the time of the Titans even prior to reflective human consciousness taking form., and therefore acts in all planes of consciousness.

She is the emissary of the (supramental) Consciousness of Truth, and the seeker becomes aware of her action gradually as its progress advances.
With Hermes, the power of aspiration and knowledge of the overmind, she works to accrue spiritual gifts (with Hermes she multiplied the herds), but she can also deprive the seeker of them if it is necessary for his evolution (…but she could also diminish them if she so pleased).
Addressing oneself to Hecate is wishing to ‘progress in Truth’, and the soul automatically receives a reply which is however not always in agreement with the will of the ego: she answered the prayers addressed to her and granted what was asked for in accordance to her wisdom.

Her name can have multiple meanings depending on the roots being considered. It can mean either ‘she who strikes far’ (in time or on a more elevated plane), which is to say a far-off realisation, or ‘she who lies outside error and the blindness of the mind’, or in addition her name can have the same meaning as the figure ‘hundred’, symbol of a completion in unity.

Helios ‘Panoptes’, he who sees all, witnessed Persephone being abducted by Hades, but only Hecate heard her cries, which is to say that while only the consciousness of Truth ‘which is conscious of the totality’ (Helios) records the first movements of the work in the corporeal inconscient, only ‘the will of transformation’, Hecate, perceives the panic or the agitation of the seeker (Persephone’s cries).
The fact that Hecate’s following is constituted of the ‘shades’ of those who have suffered violent or premature deaths or were not given burial rites (she is ‘the queen of ghosts’ ) reflects that her presence within the consciousness of the seeker attracts the knots buried in the inconscient, which are to be addressed. In other words, when the seeker draws near to Hecate, all past ‘knots’, which include those inherited through the evolutionary process, emerge automatically in the seeker’s life or consciousness, seeking to be appeased and dissolved. Essential to the work of unification, she works in the wake of Demeter’s passage (See the Homeric Hymn to Demeter 24-25, 52-59 and 438-440). She therefore naturally became a companion of Persephone, preceding and following her in her recurrent journeys, for the work on the inconscient cannot bear fruits unless the nature of the seeker is ‘transformed into truth’ in both the work of investigation and that of the ascent to consciousness of past experiences and of their understanding. It is not here a matter of a ‘complete’ vision obtained from far above, as is the case for Helios, but of a consciousness of all the possibilities opening themselves at every instant.
She is depicted as a woman with three heads and three bodies, perhaps representing her action in the three periods of past, present and future, or her action on the three planes of the mind, vital and body in accordance to the spheres of influence allocated to her.
She is also known as Ennodia, ‘the goddess of paths’, or as Trioditis, ‘she of the three paths or journeys’; it is she who would guide the seeker on his spiritual quest and govern the three spiritual paths, namely the yogas of knowledge, devotion and work.
She was also the goddess of crossroads (the places in which it is difficult for the soul to identify the direction which it must take), the goddess who protected travelers on steep paths (the challenges of the path), and who presides over the paths of night’, guiding the soul through darkness.
She also went by many other names and epithets, including Chthonia, ‘she who rules over the subterranean world (or over the body)’, and Propylaia, ‘she who stands before the door’, which is to say, in the idiom of initiates, ‘the guardian of the threshold’.

As in Antiquity the precise symbolism of Hecate was only perceived by a small number, she was sometimes identified as Artemis or attributed characteristics of Demeter and Athena, and was in time associated with the dark side of the moon goddess when her ‘magical’ aspect became preponderant.
For this reason, she became in later periods the deity of paranormal manifestation, magic and enchantment, and hence associated with the children of Helios, all of whom were great sorcerers. This gradual change of her attributes and characteristics originates from the fact that the transformations and the light of the Consciousness of Truth, Hecate’s answers to her worshipers, are not in keeping with the human laws which seek to understand the world, and can therefore seem miraculous. As Hecate also intervenes in the planes of the vital and of the body, her actions can be perceived as ‘sacred magic’. For the powers of the world of Truth, which are the powers which the individual soul can access when it has reached the required stage of evolution, still seem akin to magic to ordinary man.
A last alteration of meaning made Hecate the goddess of witchcraft and black magic.

Themis

We will include Themis in the study of Crius, for we suppose that when man will have overcome his ego this Titanide will be able to take her legitimate place as the partner of Crius. It seems in fact logical to match the other Titanide to remain single, Mnemosyne, ‘complete memory’, to the Titan Iapetus, who is specifically charged with the return towards the Origin through the ascension of the planes of consciousness.
Themis represents ‘divine law and order’ and presides over all things. She is well versed in the art of prophecy (absolute prophecy), which has access to knowledge in truth. In this role she presided over the ancient oracles, including the Delphic oracle, and taught Apollo the art of soothsaying, which serves as a kind of preparation to the revelation of divine law (for we must not forget that Apollo represents a developing capacity in man).

Her name, built around the characters Θ and Μ, expresses the principles of ‘what is at the center’, of receptivity and balance.

She is one of the few Titanides to live alongside the gods on Olympus, holding a place by Zeus’ side as his advisor. (Although the Titans were banished to Tartarus, the Titanides seem to have been spared this exile, and in fact we may observe that although the forces of creation are no longer perceptible to consciousness, their aims are.)
She followed Metis as the second spouse of Zeus, who fathered her children the Horae – equality, precision in action and purity -, as well as the Moirai. These deities have been examined within the study of the descendants of Zeus.
It is also said that she bore by Zeus the nymphs of Eridan, ‘the currents of consciousness which strive powerfully for Union (Ερι+Δ)’.

COEUS (KOIOS) AND HIS DAUGHTERS LETO, MOTHER OF APOLLON AND ARTEMIS, AND ASTERIA, MOTHER OF HECATE

The structuring characters of the name Koios (Κ+Ι) express a projection and opening of consciousness, and the meaning of the name Phoebe is ‘radiating splendour’.
This couple had two daughters, Leto and Asteria. The first united with Zeus and bore the two great gods Apollo and Artemis. The second united with Perseus, son of the Titan Crios, and bore the mysterious goddess Hecate.

Leto is the symbol of ‘the highest individuation, Λ+Τ’ (the points conscious of themselves), which in keeping with Sri Aurobindo’s terminology we refer to as ‘the psychic being’, the body gradually aggregating around the divine spark that is the soul. This term derives from the appropriate use of the Greek word psyche, ΨυΧη, usually translated as ‘breath, soul or spirit’, but which through its structuring characters more nearly signifies ‘the consciousness which descends and gathers itself at the center of the being’.
The summit of the supraconscient in the overmind plane working towards the highest individuation (the union of Zeus and Leto) generates an illuminating force, Apollo, and a will for realisation, Artemis, which is not a will of the ego which leads to stiffening but a straining of the soul towards its aim.
Aside from the episode of the birth of her children, the ‘divine’ Leto is not directly involved in mythology, and we will only witness her children coming to her defense. The latter massacred the children of Niobe, the daughter of Tantalus, who had numerous children and had hence claimed to be superior to Leto, who had only borne two. We will deal with this episode which establishes the preeminence of the psychic being when we discuss the ancestors of Oedipus. Apollo and Artemis also slew the giant Tityos who had tried to rape their mother (see the study on Hades).

The couple’s second child, Asteria, symbolises innumerable flashes of light generated by Perseus, destructions or transformations (see diagram 5).
Their daughter the goddess Hecate will be discussed in the section about the next Titan couple, Crius and Eurybia.

HYPERION AND HIS CHILDREN HELIOS, SELENE AND EOS

Their name itself situates them at the highest level of the world of the Titans. Hyperion is ‘Hyper+IΩ, the highest consciousness’. In addition, the character omega ‘opens’ this consciousness in the direction of matter for a transformation into new states of being.
His partner is Theia, ‘the Divine one’. Her name, structured around the character theta, Θ, translates a movement from ‘within’ through which Hyperion is expressed.
At this level it is very difficult to draw a parallel between the concepts of mythology and those described by Sri Aurobindo or by Hindu tradition.
As the Titans are situated in a level above the gods, they must all be individualised expressions of the supramental. But there seem to exist differences of levels however, for we explain ourselves badly in the opposite case why naming Hyperion ‘the highest consciousness’.

We have attributed to the Titan Koios the principle of generation and growth of the psychic being, which develops around the divine spark in incarnation. In fact, his daughter the divine Leto indicates, through the structuring characters of her name, an individuation at the summit of consciousness. And the psychic being evolves through the growth of consciousness illustrated by her children Apollo and Artemis. The latter then become expressions of the psychic destined to come to the forefront of the being, and ‘to be greater gods than the children of Hera’.
The psychic being stands ‘behind’ the surface personality and is a central part of the being to which we relate Hyperion, who holds himself ‘above’ and who has a representative in each of the lower planes. His children Helios, Selene and Eos therefore belong to the domain of the Being, known by some as the true Self, and no longer to that of Becoming. They are respectively expressions of the Light of Truth, the True non-separated self which in the created worlds takes the initial evolutionary form of the ‘lesser self’ – the personality of the body, life and mind destined to cede its place to the real self – and the animating principle, the breath which goes from one to the other and is the link of the Eternal New.
They could also represent:
An illuminating principle, the sun Helios in resonance with the Spirit.
A principle of action which is also a perfect receptivity to the illuminating principle – the moon, Selene, in resonance with the principle of Matter.
A principle linking the preceding gods, the divine game renewing itself ceaselessly through an ‘eternal newness’: Eos, the ‘rosy fingered’ goddess of dawn, is in resonance with the principle of divine Joy, Ananda or Eros.

These three characters are relatively but little present in mythology, for they belong to very elevated levels of consciousness. During his tenth labour, in which appear the herds of Geryon, we see Heracles borrowing the boat of the sun Helios and some time later threatening the sun with his arrows when he finds himself overwhelmed by its heat. This easy familiarity with Helios indicates that the seeker has reached the proximity of the supramental, from where he can explore the roots of evolution by using the tools with which the soul, having attained a perfect state of receptivity in the boat of the sun, ‘knows’.

Helios and his son Phaethon

Helios the sun is therefore the symbol of the illuminating principle of the supramental Consciousness of Truth.

In later periods he was often confused with Apollo, but it is of paramount importance to distinguish between the two. Apollo and Artemis – respectively representing the light and power of will in the process of purification, as well as a determination striving towards its goal – are both on the plane of human consciousness (which is temporarily identified with intelligence) the expressions of the psychic being or psychic personality for they are the children of Zeus and Leto, which is to say the individualised divine aspect within each being which develops through recurrent lifetimes.
On the other hand, Helios represents the light of the supramental Truth, eternal and one with the Absolute.
His name is formed around the two characters Ι and Λ, which express a principle of widening and ‘total consciousness’ in vastness; Helios is he ‘who sees all’, and is also a symbol of the individuation of consciousness, and therefore of an absolute freedom within the depths.

Helios, ‘he who sees all’ (Panoptes), is able to discern perjury of every kind.
He was absent when the gods divided amongst themselves the kingdoms of consciousness, and was therefore presented with a new and very fertile island, Rhodes, which had just emerged from the sea. He dried it out, for its lands were marshy, and rendered it so fertile that it yielded seven boys and one girl.
Depicted as a young man of great beauty, Helios was like Apollo an archer of remarkable skill.
He possessed seven herds of bovines and seven of sheep, each of which had fifty heads and never procreated or died. Phaethousa and Lampetia, his daughters borne by Neaira (Neaera), were their guardians.

Helios is ‘he who sees all’, and therefore ‘he who knows all’, for ‘the one who sees’, the seer, is also ‘the man of knowledge’. As he knows the truth of all things he can descry the least falsity, including that of the gods. For the gods, belonging to the overmind rather than to the supramental, can only access those truths which are partial; ‘Truth’ in its entirety is accessible only to the supramental. It is for the same reason that the children of Leto, Apollo and Artemis, expressions of the psychic being in the process of building itself around the soul, will become greater gods than the children of Zeus and Hera whose influence is limited to mental forms.
As Helios belongs to the Plane of Truth he is therefore, in consequence of the association of beauty and truth, a god of great beauty. He is a remarkable archer, for in this plane the soul ‘knows’ perfectly its distant goal, existing in a domain beyond what we call time.
All-seeing, omniscient and omnipresent, Helios witnesses Hades’ abduction of Cora/Persephone, and informs Hephaestus of the adulterous love between his wife Aphrodite and Ares.

When reflective human consciousness appeared and Zeus, Poseidon and Hades divided the three kingdoms between themselves, Helios was absent; in fact, the soul was not yet sufficiently present to impose itself, for his delegate in the realm of incarnation, the psychic being centered around the soul, was at the time of the Vedas ‘no bigger than a thumbnail’. According to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, the psychic is present in everything that lives, although it is not individuated in plants and animals, in which it is also less covered over by the mind. For sensitive human beings, a more direct contact with these kingdoms is therefore facilitated.

Just as the organs of the body are in resonance with particular forces, the gods were associated with names of symbolic geographical locations, and Rhodes was thus attributed to Helios. Rhodos, ‘the rose’, was for the ancient Greeks a representation of the soul, a symbol of an integral love for what is Real, pure, total and irrevocable – an obvious symbol of the soul, which is a spark of the divine not separated from the Absolute. (The reason for the attribution of a symbolic name to a precise physical location is unknown to us. For instance, the organization of the provinces and towns in relation to myths must be further understood. In the case of Rhodes, it is perhaps its location furthest to the east which makes it closest to the New).

The integral love for what is Real represents a very good basis for the action of the supramental within the body, for Rhodes is a ‘very fertile’ island. However, it is necessary to first disengage this love from its mixing with the vital: Helios dried the island, for its lands were marshy.
The symbolic union of the sun with an island, or with a nymph of the same name, is therefore the union of the light of Truth and of matter, and this reestablishes the primordial union of Gaia and Ouranos. The supramental must in fact realise the union of the two principles – which have become separated through the combined effects of Tartarus, Typhon and Echidna -, in view of the transformation of man into supramental Man and through a new body. This island is ‘new’ because it refers to the new kind of matter with which must be fulfilled the junction (the rose seems to have also been a symbol of regeneration; for some, the rose is also the flower of Aphrodite, love being then identified with a principle of regeneration).
The tools of transformation are the fingers or Eos, the ‘rosy-fingered goddess’ who represents what is eternally new and who opens the doors of the sky to the sun each morning, allowing the illumination of human consciousness.
(According to the historian Diodorus of Sicily, Rhode, the nymph who bears the name of this island and who is, according to Apollodorus, the daughter of Poseidon, bore the daughter and seven sons of Helios, the Heliades, a name also attributed to the daughters of Helios and Clymene which we will discuss later on. According to Diodorus, Rhodes was covered with wet clay before it was appropriated and dried by Helios. From this one must probably understand that the soul is placed at the highest point of the physical-vital nature irrespective of its level of purity.)

The herds of Helios are the ‘wealth or the boons of the Llight of Truth’. They are of the same nature as the latter, which is to say that they are eternal and outside time, and complete since their origin as they do not procreate. They can however not be utilised outside of the luminous consciousness of the supramental. The seeker is initially warned by ‘surprising’ signs which indicate that he is venturing into dangerous areas, and if he does not listen to these warnings parts of his being will subsequently undergo a severe destruction (See the voyage of Ulysses). They are therefore under the guard of Phaethousa, ‘she who shines within’, and Lampetia, ‘she who shines on the plane of the spirit’. According to Homer they are the daughters of Neaira, ‘that which has emerged through the quest’, the luminous consciousness of discernment acquired on the path both in the plane of the spirit and in the heart, which ensures that these gifts will not be wrongly used. These herds are kept on the island of Thrinacia, the symbolism of which remains obscure. Perhaps this name, which signifies ‘three-pronged fork’, must be compared to the Sephiroth Yesod or Tiphereth, also situated at the center of forks, at crossroads.

After Eos the Dawn traversed the sky, Helios would follow her closely in a chariot of fire drawn by two or four winged horses. In the evening he would reach the ocean at the furthest reaches of the west, in which he would bathe with his horses. After taking rest he would settle into his boat, a great cup-shaped vessel which sailing over Oceanos would bring him back to the eastern lands of the Orient every night.
The boat of the sun sails over Oceanos, ‘the ocean which encircles the world’, rather than over Pontos, Thalassa or Als, which is to say that it sails on the currents of energy-consciousness rather than on the forces of Life or the real physical ocean.

This text seems to illustrate a geocentric conception of the solar system. But from a symbolic point of view, the journey of the sun describes an alternation of periods of rest and wakefulness, and of light and darkness. They can be assimilated either in the periods of proximity and of distance between the seeker and his soul, or, if we ascribe to the theory of reincarnation, in the phases of incarnation and integration during which the soul folds back on itself into its ‘shell’ and then gets in touch with the Absolute again.
The myths say nothing of the fate of the winged horses once they reach the far east, but in accordance with this last concept we can logically suppose that Helios leads a new team of horses each morning, for the vital, mental and bodily personality which ‘draws’ the soul forward during its incarnation disintegrates in death.
The boat of the sun does not appear in the accounts of any of the ancient Greek authors. Only certain fragments by the poet Mimnermus, retold by Athenaeus, seem to confirm its existence. The latter states that after his nightly crossing and from the moment in which Dawn begins its ascent, Helios ‘is drawn by a new team of horses’.

Aside from Rhode, his symbolic spouse, Helios had numerous other ties, the most ‘official’ of which was with the Oceanid Perseis or Perse. The exact meaning of the name Perseis/Perse still remains uncertain, but it probably contains the concept of ‘transformation’.
In the most ancient legends she bore Helios two children: the sorceress Circe or Kirke, the power of vision or of discernment of Truth, ‘the penetrating vision that sees all the details”, and Aietes the king of Colchis, ‘he of impetuous breath’, the higher consciousness ‘which sees the totality’, perceives every consequences of an action and holds in his hands the power of realisation in the mind, for he holds mastery over the most indomitable of bulls.
Circe obliges us to see what we are and to make hidden elements rise up to the surface. She puts pressure on us so that everything which causes resistance in our natures can come to the surface and manifest itself (Ref to Mother’s Agenda, entry from 23rd August 1969).
Circe ‘knows’ what heals and reinstates harmony and truth – the initiates of ancient times therefore made her into a sorceress able to utilise the powers of nature, especially those of plants. And one who ‘sees’ is also one who ‘can’.

When the myth of Daedalus was developed later on, initiates added to the children of Helios Pasiphae, ‘the power of radiating light’. She became the wife of Minos, who appears in the myth of the Minotaur.
(Diodorus of Sicily added Perses, “destruction or the power of transformation”, for the authors whose words he repeated probably wished to give Hecate an ancestry related to the sun Helios rather than that given by Hesiod who describes her as a daughter of another Perseus, son of the Titan Crios. Here we will only be discussing Hesiod’s version. We will also not be considering Aloeus – not the same as the father of the giants the Aloadae -, who is only mentioned as a son of Helios by Pausanias.)
These characters will appear again repeatedly as will the daughter of Aietes, the famous Medea.
(According to Diodorus, Circe is the daughter of Aietes and Hecate rather than the sister of the latter. In his accounts, Aietes and Hecate only had three children: Circe, Medea and Aegialeus, “the elements of the future”.)

In addition to the preceding unions, Helios took part in several other liaisons in lesser-known legends and is associated with unusual accounts of genealogical relatedness, which is comprehensible. For example, Pausanias includes amongst his descendants the Charites, the graces Euphrosyne, Thalia and Aglaea, who respectively represent joy, plenitude and splendour, describing them as the daughters of Helios rather than of Zeus. In this study we will only be studying the principal versions of these myths.

With the daughter of Oceanos, Clymene, whose name signifies ‘what is acquired through accord, what is integrated’, Helios had a number of daughters (generally said to be five), also known as the Heliades like their brothers (the sons of Rhode), and a son, Phaeton, who was mourned by the Heliades.

Phaethon

Phaethon is he who ‘shines within’. The most complete version of this myth has been recounted by Ovid.
(Hesiod mentions a synonymous Phaethon, son of either Eos or Hemera and Cephalus, who Aphrodite made into the guardian of her altar since the hero’s young age: an inner light originating from the ‘awakening’ of the mind – result of the union of Eos with Cephalus – is the surest guardian of love’s evolution. This Phaethon is much further advanced on the path than the one described by Ovid, for ‘he is just like the gods’, and being the grandson of Hermes is an expression of the overmind being born.)

Phaeton was raised away from his father by his mother, the Oceanid Clymene. His contemporary Epaphos put into question his descendance from the sun. When Phaethon asked his mother to confirm the fact, she advised him to go to his father and hear the truth from his own lips, which Phaethon did.
Having recognised him, Helios offered him to fulfill his greatest desire. When Phaeton expressed his wish of driving his chariot from the morrow, his father strove to dissuade him, stating that even Zeus could never do so, and describing the many challenges of the journey; a steep road at the beginning, a vertiginous abyss in the midst of the sky, and a rapid descent during which one risked to be precipitated into the sea at any moment. He warned him against fantasising about the beautiful landscapes inhabited by the gods, warned Phaethon of the difficulty of mastering the horses and of the many traps and wild beasts which he would encounter on his path regardless of his abilities.
As Phaethon insisted he hesitantly agreed, but warned him not to lose his way or wonder too high where he would run the risk of burning the dwellings of heaven, nor too low where he would run the risk of setting the earth on fire, nor too far to the right where he would risk encountering a serpent’s knots, nor too far to the left for fear of losing his way in the lower regions.
As soon as he climbed into the chariot, Phaeton, who was too light in weight, found that he could not master the four horses of Helios. He lost his way, and near the icy pole let go of the reins and awoke the Serpent, disturbing its sleep. Fearful figures of monstrous animals made him tremble with horror. The earth broke out into flames, cities and mountains burned, and everywhere the earth became ridden by cracks and crevasses through which the light penetrated into Tartarus, filling the god of the underworld and his spouse with terror.
Summoned by Gaia, Zeus made the other gods witness the risk of destruction suffered by the earth, and struck Phaethon down with a flash of lightning.
King Cycnos and his sisters the Heliades mourned him.

This myth is a relatively late one; there is no mention of it before our era.
Several elements allow us to situate the action described in this myth in one of the first phases of the path. To begin with, Ovid describes Phaethon as the contemporary of Epaphus, ‘ the one touched’, a son of Io and one of the very first characters in the line of descent of the Inachides, which depicts the process of the gathering of consciousness. Then Hyginus described his human father to be Merops, who symbolises the plane of the intellect (Merope is the name of the wife of Sisyphus). And finally, in the myth itself the path is described to the seeker, including its steep beginnings and the warnings given against holding an idyllic vision of the spiritual path.
It is therefore addressed to seekers already capable of following an inner ‘guidance’, but animated by a vital enthusiasm and ardour which needs to be curbed. As he is not certain that his first experiences (represented by Epaphus) originate from the domain of the soul, Phaethon asks for evidence of this from the intellect, his mother, who is not able to give him the confirmation which he seeks. He then turns towards the “highest light”, a Light of Truth which he is able to connect with at that moment, but he neither wishes to nor is able to listen to its warnings.

He is however warned of the hardships of the path: a steep beginning, an ascension towards the kingdoms of the spirit where one comes closer and closer to the abyss (vertiginous abysses in the midst of the skies), and the end of the path descending into the depths of the vital and the body in which one risks death at every moment (a descent in which one is in danger of being precipitated into the ocean at any moment). In addition, one must all along this path face vital forces which are very difficult to control (the difficulty of mastering the horses), debunk illusions of the paradises which present themselves(daydreams of beautiful landscapes inhabited by the gods), and surmount visions of horror of the depths (traps and fearful images of wild beasts).
He is told that even the highest force of the overmind cannot direct the soul (Zeus cannot drive the chariot of the sun), for even the overmind cannot access Truth in its totality. Certain directions are therefore given to him: if he strives to elevate himself too high he will run the risk of ‘burning’ his mind in some psychic accident, and if he descends too far down into the subconscious his body will become prey to grave illnesses (he must not lose his way and err too high, running the risk of burning the celestial dwellings, or too low for fear of setting the earth on fire).
He must avoid awakening evolutionary memories (the knots of the Serpent) and playing with the powers of nature (the lower regions, which are consecrated to the great healer Chiron).

But the seeker persists in his will of deciding his own route, aided of course by all the ‘certainties’ given to him by reason. Dominated by desire and ego, he believes that he is serving his soul (he pays homage to his father), while in fact he is only feeding his greatest illusion. He really only heeds ‘signs’ which he can interpret in his own favour, and does not take into account any of the warnings given to him by his inner being. He lacks ‘weight’, incarnation which brings discernment.
It is the body, Gaia, which calls him back to order with a collapse of natural defenses (the earth becomes ridden with cracks) coupled with a serious blow of psychic power (he is struck down by the lightning of Zeus).

Even the mountains burn; the basis of his spiritual experience is destroyed. The psychic being, symbolised by the swan, is grieved by this disastrous outcome; Cyknos ‘the swan king’, weeps, as do Phaethon’s sisters the Heliades, who represent some developments within the seeker of the Light of Truth.

The awakening of the ‘sleeping Serpent’ is a reference to the awakening of the Kundalini, which held an important place in ancient initiations during which the paths of nature were more accessible than those of ascension and integration. We will only discuss it briefly here as a side note, as it does not seem to play a role in Greek mythology.
Especially in the east, many spiritual teachings aim to access the ‘Chi’, the ocean of life, to awaken the kundalini, the ‘serpent of fire’ resting at the base of the vertebral column, the energy hidden within matter, and to make it burst upwards through the crown of the head and thus bring about a union with the Self, the impersonal Divine.
The energies thus liberated through the assistance of particular exercises, mainly using the breath to ascend through the body, provoke an explosion of consciousness in the higher planes during the course of an ecstatic experience. Some of the initiates of ancient times considered this to be the only possible path for the realisation of a union with the Divine within Matter and with the Divine in the Spirit. When this link has not been forged there can be numerous experiences in matter, the vital or the planes of the spirit such as ubiquity, healing, shamanic powers, etc., but there will be no possibility of a real transformation in man, at least not at a collective level. In fact only few beings, withdrawn from life and practicing intensely constraining feats of asceticism, have in the past been successful in achieving individual realisations.
The flow of energy, which can take years to cross through the different centers, provokes a variety of awakenings as it passes through them. But this activation of energy from the lower depths is known to be dangerous, either because it is likely to be redirected through a lateral channels (Ida or Pingala), thus creating a deep imbalance in the energy centers, or because of the numerous risks of deviation which result from its irruption in the lower centers, particularly in the sexual center. This can cause great spiritual falls, not to mention the dangers that this poses for the mind and the body. For this energy awakens the center in which are hidden the evolutionary forces of the past and where are located the opposing powers of the world, ruled by vital entities of every kind. This undertaking therefore requires as a necessary preamble a very great purification of the vital and the mind, and a strict guidance by masters who are themselves awakened. This experience is described in detail by Gopi Krishna in his book Kundalini, Autobiography of an Awakening (it must be noted that this author still believes that this is the only possible path).
However, this ‘path of the lower depths’ leaves the physical body and the world unchanged. This is why those who followed it gave so little importance to their transformation and only aimed at halting the cycle of transmigrations or rebirth.
Sri Aurobindo strongly discourages seekers from embarking upon this path, assuring that the junction with the supramental, only recently accessible on earth, opens the possibility of transforming the lower planes without running any danger. This new ‘yoga’ allows the divine energies to work from the top of the head and to progressively descent into the body in proportion to its receptivity, going forward towards an encounter with the Divine evolving within the cells of the body. He requires no specific technique other than a great sincerity, a work of purification and liberation and an active surrender to the Divine, which is to say a complete dedication or ‘giving of oneself’. From a certain stage on this path it is the Divine which brings about the transformation, and the seeker never receives more energy than he is capable of withstanding. The records of Satprem, his Carnets d’une Apocalypse, clearly illustrate this process.

We may be tempted to compare the myths of Phaethon and Icarius, but they in fact illustrate different experiences in the spiritual search: Daedalus and Icarius never attempted to take the direction of the soul, but only of extracting themselves from a destructive mental construction without any visible exit.

Selene

Selene, the Moon, is a beautiful young woman who rides through the sky on a silver chariot drawn by two horses.
She is the symbol of a light reflected on the planes of the spirit, a greater self and a receptive and executive state of consciousness which is a symbol of the feminine and appears when the ego, the lesser self, is effaced and consequently reflects the supramental light of Helios the sun. The moon is ‘of silver’ and symbolises a pure and intense light, while the sun, which incarnates the supramental, is of gold.
As very few beings have been able to completely abolish the ego, Selene rarely appears in mythology. The plane of the Titan Hyperion is in fact representative of the plane of perfection, and his daughter represents a completely transmuted personality, which is that of man when he has realised a state of Freedom on all the mental, vital and physical planes synonymous to the transfer of governance from the lower planes of the ego to the Divine. In other words, she is the symbol of the incarnated self of supramental man, a symbol of complete dedication and of a perfect giving of oneself. This is what Sri Aurobindo calls ‘complete surrender’, a complete giving of oneself which ‘is not a matter of giving what is small to something greater nor of losing one’s will in the divine will; it is a matter of ANNULLING one’s will in something that is of another nature’. (Mother’s Agenda Volume 1, entry from the 7th October 1956.)
Therefore in the Homeric hymn to Selene the daughter that she had from Zeus is named Pandeia, ‘Παν (all)+Δ+Ι, she in whom consciousness is completely united with what is Real; when the highest level of the mind attains the perfection of consecration, the union with what is Real is complete.
The construction of the name Selene remains obscure. It may mean ‘the evolution of a glow’. Or, through the characters Σ+Λ+Ν, it could signify ‘human energy (Σ) in evolution (Ν) towards freedom (Λ).
The poets often gave her the name Menea, a word originating it seems from the verb ‘μενω’, which carries the multiple meanings of desiring, wanting, dwelling and waiting (aspiring). Under this terminology she therefore designates both the lesser self, the personality of desire, and the greater self which remains stable in a state of receptivity.

Mythology has only left us with a single story about Selene, one concerning her love with Endymion.
Endymion was a handsome young man, the son of Zeus and Calyce. He succeeded his human father Aethlius on the throne of Elis. Selene fell in love with him; some say that she was so enamored of him that she would contemplate her beloved while he slept.
Then Endymion fell into an eternal sleep, and was thus spared the ravages of age.
According to Apollodorus it was Endymion himself who asked Zeus for this favour, the god having promised Selene to grant her lover’s every wish.
In another version, Zeus had simply offered him the possibility of choosing the place and the time at which he would fall into this eternal sleep.

While Selene represents the perfection of the greater self, Endymion constitutes one of the partial degrees of it. He symbolises an advanced realisation on the path. It is therefore amongst the descendants of Protogenia, ‘that which is born ahead’, that he is to be found, and is in fact a grandson of Zeus and Protogenia. His mother is Calycia, the ‘budding (just opening)’ soul, herself one of the daughters of Aeolus. His human father is Aethlius, ‘the warrior’, and his divine father is Zeus.
As king of Elis, Endymion is at the head of the path of Liberation (Λ). According to Apollodorus, he led the Aeolian searchers of truth from Thessaly to Elis, from the search for inner contact (Thessaly), to a work in view of a permanent union (Elis). His name, Endymion, could signify ‘filled with consecrated/devoted consciousness’. He founded the genealogical line of the great heroes: Oeneus, ‘divine intoxication’, Meleager, ‘who achieved a submission of the vital to yogic work’, Diomedes, ‘who strives for union in the overmind’, Deianira, ‘the accomplishment of a perfect detachment’, and finally Leda, ‘the realisation of a state of compassion’ (see diagrams 9 and 10).
At this stage the growth of the lesser self has long since been completed, and it is then a matter of a transfer of the planes constituting the personality from the governance of the ego to that of the inner divine. The eternal sleep of Endymion refers to a completely receptive state which is progressively won so as to become complete (according to Pausanias, Selene bore Endymion fifty daughters, a number which confirms a totality in the world of forms.) As the sleep is ‘eternal’, what is acquired is so as well.
The fact that he is spared the ravages of age means that crystallisation no longer operates at this stage, at least not in the body and the vital: the seeker is at every moment ‘new’, completely available and virginal before the present moment.
The combination of sleep and eternal youth are an offering of the dissolution of the ego.
The manner in which Endymion reaches this complete consecration and the disappearance of the ego can occur in different ways with a greater or lesser intervention of the personal will, which explains its variations. The dissolution of the ego is experienced either as a ‘surprise’ or as the result of a decision.

Eos (Ηως)

Eos, the goddess of the Dawn, is the symbol of the Eternally New, and sets the relationship between Helios and Selene, between the soul and the true Self. Attending to her requires a constant adaptability, a complete suppleness and malleability and an unending capacity for wonder before the miracle of creation in perpetual evolution. Everything which is submitted to the power of inertia (Tamas), which is troubled or murky, which fixes and rigidifies, and especially everything which becomes attached or seeks to seize, delays or precipitates, desires for its own self (including beliefs, opinions, desires, preferences, habits, etc.), in one way or another resists the advent of the New and creates obstacles to an inner encounter.
Eos therefore renders herself perceptible through the action of her children the stars and winds, the flashes of light guiding us and the breaths of the Supreme Consciousness which either support or shake us. We will study them later in this chapter along with Astraeus, the husband of Eos and the son of the Titan Crios.
Homer refers to Eos as ‘the rosy-fingered goddess’ who through regeneration strives towards the aims of perfection and love. The rose is the sacred flower of Aphrodite, and seems to hold at least in part a similar meaning as the lotus of the East. But first and foremost, this expression indicates the intense ‘divine delicacy’ and subtleness expressed in the evolutionary process.
Perhaps this appellation of Eos also refers to the ability of the New to act in creation with both the power of Love and a great delicacy which neither rushes nor roughens. If it was not perfectly dosed at each moment, we would be incapable of withstanding the pressure of Divine Love, especially in the body. Thus, each individual is at each instant in the best possible conditions for his evolution, and when a form borrowed by the soul, a physical, vital or mental entity, has become too fixed, it is recast in the great crucible of the generation of forms. This is the process which we call death.

In Greek, the name ‘Ηως’ does not contain any consonants. The two vowels Η (heta) and Ω (omega) can thus be considered to be structuring characters. The character heta (Η) designates future man, and omega (Ω) the opening of consciousness towards matter in the body. Eos therefore evokes what is ‘New’ and acts to lead humankind towards the stage of future man through an opening of consciousness in matter (Ω) rather than towards the heights of the spirit. The New must therefore be searched for within the heart of the tribulations of this earth rather than outside it; the seeker cannot free himself from his participation in the world, his meanderings and vicissitudes.

As the New is ceaselessly knocking at our door under different forms, this is a goddess who is constantly falling in love, and thus soliciting evolution.
Amongst her lovers figures Ares, ‘the god of the destruction of forms’, which of course greatly displeased Aphrodite, the rightful lover of this god. This love is legitimate if we consider that the New cannot appear in forms which are not sufficiently supple; overly rigid forms must be shattered to be able to transform. From this perspective we can consider evolution as a progressive plasticisation of forms and a process of fusion and fission on the plane of matter, birth and death on the plane of life, and memory and forgetting on the plane of the mind, all requirements for transformation. With this end, biological cycles, those which govern the mind and most probably many other forces and cycles unknown to us, allow an acceleration of the process of renewal, often without us being aware of it. The spiritual path, which is a progressive and indefinite widening of consciousness, must therefore allow the different planes to become plastic so as to render them receptive to the divine action. Rendering the mind plastic means widening it and rendering it more supple: widening it by allowing it, through the purification and the mastery of thought, to consider all perspectives, and rendering it more supple by removing the rigidities which are rooted in opinions or preferences, which result from mixtures with the emotions and the imaginary, or which are indirectly generated by fear. Rendering the vital plastic means giving it back its capacity for immediate adaptation to situations through victory over fear, an abandoning of the desires of the ego and of all attachments – it is learning to go through every experience with neither disgust nor displeasure through a fortification and purification of nervous reactions, and to achieve emotional detachment and equanimity in which the inner world remains immobile irrespective of the external situation. Rendering the body plastic means suppressing all its fears at their roots and making its defeatism and cellular trepidation cease so as to render it unwavering, completely receptive, supple and endurant so that it can support the descent of the divine energy in itself (the Mother describes a crushing energy so strong that it would cause an unprepared body to explode).

Eos’ second lover was the great hunter Orion, the most handsome of mortals and able to walk on water, which is symbolic of a very advanced seeker who masters the vital but has not yet completed a purification of the depths. The gods, who disapproved of unions between goddesses and mortals – for at the level of the overmind there cannot be a fertilisation of the pure by the impure – did not permit this love to carry on, and Artemis, the goddess of purification, was quick to slay Orion with her arrows. The latter would henceforth carry on with his task of hunting wild beasts in the kingdom of Hades, in the physical body.

But Eos’ most famous lover was Tithonus, the son of Laomedon the king of Troy, and therefore the brother of Priam. Eos asked Zeus to grant him immortality, but forgot to ask him to grant him eternal youth as well.
As long as Tithonus remained young they lived happily at the frontiers of the earth, at the shores of the currents of the Ocean.
Eos bore two children, Memnon and Emathion. The first became the king of the Ethiopians, and fought as an ally of the Trojans, and the second was slain by Heracles.
Then as time passed the ravages of age gradually reduced Tithonus into a larva, which Eos shut into a closed room in which he prattles eternally ever since.

Although this legend belongs to the Trojan cycle, we mention it here because it displays great similarities with that of Endymion, the lover of Selene who obtained immortality and eternal youth.
Tithonus was a Trojan hero, and therefore represents quite an advanced realisation in the conquest of the planes of the Spirit, associated with a refusal of transformation of the lower planes. This conforms to his name, (Τ+Θ+Ν), which indicates an evolution (Ν) of inner growth (Θ) on the plane of the spirit (Τ). But it is a realisation which ignores and sometimes even rejects matter.
Homer tells us that often dawn rises from the bed of Tithonus to bring day to gods and mortals, which is to say that the aspiration for what is new is oriented towards the planes of the spirit. What is ‘most advanced’ on the earth lies on the Trojan side, the side of this son of Laomedon, the brother of Priam.
Their two children Memnon and Emathion respectively represent ‘the memory of the Absolute’ or ‘aspiration’, and ‘a consciousness which stands within’.
Memnon was later killed by Achilles during the Trojan War, but Eos obtained for him immortality as she did for his father. Memnon is most probably the symbol of a receptive mind. It is quite common – and justified, for these two spiritual undertakings are equivalent in some ways – to find very similar names on the two opposing sides of the Trojan War (for example Memnon and Aga-Memnon; on one side ‘a memory of the Divine’, and on the other ‘he who brings a strong impulse of the same state at the head of armies”, the memory or recalling of the Divine leading the process of the future evolution, of the yoga in the matter). It is therefore natural for Memnon to obtain immortality, for the corresponding realisation is permanently acquired.
Eos obtained from Zeus immortality for Tithonus, which is to say that the level of realisation of non-duality attained on the higher planes was permanently acquired by him. But she ‘forgot’ to ask that he maintain his eternal youth, which is to say the capacity for ‘the adaptation to the movement of becoming’. Like the rest of the Trojans, Tithonus rejected the possibility that what was impossible to realise at a certain period of human evolution could later on become possible – especially in regards to the possibility of transforming the inferior planes, including the physical and the lower vital. Such a rejection causes an irremediable shrinking of consciousness and a closing in, and in fact Tithonus remained forevermore cloistered and gradually reduced to the state of a larva.

THE STRUCTURE OF MYTHOLOGY: THE TITANS AND THEIR DESCENDANTS

‘It is a great error to suppose that spirituality
flourishes best in an impoverished soil with the life half-killed
and the intellect discouraged and intimidated. The spirituality that so flourishes is something morbid, hectic and exposed to perilous reactions.’
Sri Aurobindo, India’s Rebirth

The structure of mythology is a major key to the decoding process, and is mostly made up of the information given in genealogical trees. Some of the genealogical branches have already been examined in the preceding chapter on the origin and development of life. This chapter therefore only discusses the descendants of the Titans, with the exception of a few sub-branches which remain unlinked either because the initiates of ancient times did not give any indications, or because they developed transversally to the main branches.

This structure includes a number of complexities and difficulties which must be taken into account during the decoding process.
The most common challenge results from the differences between the various versions handed down to us. This was and still is the main argument of those who deny that there are hidden meanings encoded in mythology. As we have said, the ancient poets are the most trustworthy sources in this domain. For in the domain of written texts, poetry received at the heights of the mind through inspiration has always been the privileged mode of expression of initiates. Approaches concerning other aspects of mythology, such as the historical, sociological, archaeological, literary or artistic, fall outside the frame of this study. However, the variations handed down by historians and mythologists, which are often compilations of lost texts offering contrasting points of view, must not be too hastily put aside. Over the course of centuries, with the growth of humanism and especially since the great tragedians, there was an increased interest in psychological movements with a concern for moral edification. Then as the wish for entertainment came to the forefront, odes and rhapsodies ceased to hold eternal truths.
Only a familiarity with primary texts can allow seekers to progressively discern which ones carry a truth resulting from experience.

The genealogies given by Homer and Hesiod, those in the ‘Catalogue of Women’ attributed to the latter and those given by other poets such as Pindar and Moschus best describe the most advanced stages of the quest. For myths recorded later on which complete the teachings meant for less advanced seekers, such as the myth of the Minotaur, we have principally retained the Library of Apollodorus as well as the excellent compilations of Robin Hard and Timothy Grantz.

To establish coherence between the genealogical trees and in order to avoid confusion between the teachings or experiences related by the different branches, homonymous heroes must be carefully differentiated: although their symbolism is similar, they represent different degrees of intensity.
For the ease of this reading we have however not differentiated them here, for instance through numbering, neither in the lexicon of interpretations of proper names nor within the text. But a familiarity with primary mythological texts allows one to easily identify them. (On this subject see Carlos Parada’s book Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology , Jonsered: Paul Astroms Forlag, 1993).

The birth order of children from the same family is not always made explicit in mythology, especially in the children of Aeolus and those of Atlas, the Pleiades, who are key elements in the yogic progression. Different indications have been used to situate them in relation to each other, including the provinces and cities in which they dwell, the rivers associated with them and their descendants, etc.
The latter elements also allow one to link certain heroes or fragments of genealogical branches to precise stages of the quest, for instance in the case of Orpheus, the king of Thrace who initiated the Argonauts to the mysteries of Samothrace.

It is also necessary to note that many myths address extended periods of time if not the totality of the quest, a myth illustrating the final realisation of a particular progression. For instance, the victory over fear extending till the depths of the vital, illustrated by the myth of Perseus, can only be partly addressed to seekers at the beginning of the quest, although this hero was the great grandfather of Heracles, situating his famous Labours to a much later time. One must therefore consider that the work on the fears continue through the successive Labours, the fears having to be progressively eliminated from the mind, from the vital and finally from the body.

Genealogical lineages are always established according to the patriarchal order. When a god plays a role in the conception of a child as a ‘divine father’, there is often also a ‘human father’ who allows us to link the corresponding work with the aim illustrated by the heroine. In the opposite case, which occurs only rarely, the genealogical tree remains nonetheless uninterrupted and the line of descent is carried out through the women over a generation.
Mythological heroines will therefore be studied at the same time as the male characters with which they united. They generally represent the direction of the work to be carried out, the task to be accomplished or that has been already partly accomplished, and at times the evolutionary means for this.
Let us remember too the complexity of the concepts of masculine and feminine, which in the manner in which they are to be understood in this study depend on the plane being considered. Depending on her rank, a female character can represent either a force which counteracts the masculine in a dynamic way, a limiting power, a state or a perfection to be attained, or a power of realisation which for its perfected fulfillment requires a quality of receptivity.

The number of generations within each genealogical branch constitutes a complex problem for mythologists. By adding intermediary characters, they sometimes strove to give a temporary coherence to events linking different branches, while the structure used by initiates was most importantly meant to describe a spiritual progression independent of time. In fact, openings can occur in consciousness without eliciting specific experiences, and vice versa. We have therefore purposefully ignored this complex problem in this work.

As we have seen only few sources of information about the Titans exist, and except for those in the principal lineages many names vary depending on the authors. By following the organisation into couples given by Hesiod and applying the order obtained through their structuring characters, we have described in the preceding chapter the order of succession detailed in diagram 3. Although the names of Titans are sometimes spelled with a C instead of a K in this study, we will sometimes use the spelling closest to the original Greek so that the movements of energy illustrated by the characters remain visible.
Hyperion and Theia – diagram 4.
Koios/Coeus (Κ+Ι) and Phoebe- diagram 5.
Krios (ΚΡ+Ι/ Crius and Eurybia, daughter of Pontos – diagram 6.
Iapetus and Clymene – diagrams 7 to 16: genealogical branches of Atlas (the Pleiades) and of Deucalion (the Hellenes and the descendants of Protogenia).
Kronos (ΚΡ+Ν) / Cronus and Rhea- diagrams 17 and 18.
Okeanos/Oceanus (Κ+Ν) and Tethys- diagrams 19 to 25, genealogical branches of the Oceanides, the Inachides and the Asopides, as well as of several minor branches.

The descendants of the two Titanides Mnemosyne and Themis, who both united with Zeus, have already been examined during the study of this god.
We have also seen that the Titans Iapetus and Krios were associated with goddesses of lesser rank, for in all likelihood the initiates of ancient time were striving to express that the ‘true’ unions, which would logically be Iapetus with Mnemosyne and Krios with Themis, could not exist as long as humankind had not completed the preliminary stages represented by these temporary unions.
The children of Pontos are considered to be gods and goddesses, for they belong to the third divine generation.

Like the gods, the Titans represent forces with are simultaneously within and outside of us depending on the point of view which we adopt.
They are not gods but rather currents of consciousness-force, and belong to the Formless realm. On the other hand, the gods can manifest themselves under any form they wish.
The Titans belong to a world in which forces are polarised but not yet dual, and in which opposites are complementary rather than mutually exclusive. The masculine/feminine polarity as we understand it only appears at a much denser plane in the levels of consciousness. At the level of the Titans, the state of consciousness corresponding to each member of the couple are the expressions one of the other or represent the same force in two states, one at rest and the other in action.
For the Titans to be liberated from Tartarus where they were imprisoned by Zeus, a significant portion of humanity must have completed the progress through the mental planes and have attained the plane of the overmind, when Zeus will be deposed by his second child borne by Metis. This second child will have to ensure the transition from the overmind to the supramental. The ‘supramental’ will be able to contain all the Titans and Titanides, for it is the intermediary world between the Absolute and Creation, including the planes of the mind, life and matter.
The descendance of each Titan or Titanide will be discussed here over a few generations only, and will be explored in more detail in the following chapters.

THE RULE OF THE TITANS AND ZEUS’ RISE TO POWER

During the growth of life, the twelve Titans and Titanides ruled over the vital evolution of mankind and the gestation of mind: it was a period governed by the Titan Cronos. The initiated of ancient times have described this time as the “golden age” based on their observation of the early period of childhood: “And they lived like gods without sorrow of heart (…) When they died, it was as though they were overcome with sleep” (Works and Days, verse 109). It was the garden of Eden, paradise, the childhood of humanity in the period of life’s growth before it reached the age of reason when control was taken over by the mind.

Symbolism of the Titans

Le symbolism of the Titans and Titanides is not explicitly explained in mythology, and we can only propose certain hypotheses concerning their organisation based on their genealogy.
They represent the great forces or principles which preside over creation and stem from the union of Matter (Gaia, the densified principle of Existence) and Spirit (Ouranos, the starry sky). They unfolded freely before mental consciousness became a dominant force in man, at the time when the Olympians took power. In Greek mythology, the Titans do not seem to have the role of Asuric powers which Sri Aurobindo attributes to some of them.

While the forces associated with the gods can be brought closer and understood by means of the mental faculties as a “psychological” manifestation of the Absolute, it is not the case for the world of the Titans; in the latter, forces and their interrelations are strangers to common mental consciousness and can only be connected with by way of inner experiences, intuitions, illuminations and revelations issued from the superior planes of the spirit.
The ancient Greeks left few clues concerning this world of the Titans, and the contradictions between different sources are difficult to comprehend. The abstemiousness of details about this is probably because knowledge about this plane is not indispensable for progression on the spiritual path. The fact that the Titans do not appear in the hero myths confirms this. And for a good reason! At the end of the war between gods and Titans, they were banished to Tartarus by the gods.
There is a reason for this eviction from the world of gods and men: the forces which they represent were not to evolve freely in man as long as the process of mental maturation was underway. What could be expressed freely in the infancy of humanity, when it was under the domination of the vital, and still leaves traces in present-day childhood, was submitted to many constraints from the moment in which intervened intuition and reason, the two mental movements of identification and separation. Coming to the forefront at different times, these two movements shape the development of the mind.

Understanding the world was therefore only useful for the initiated, who designed or made use of the myths in their teachings or encountered these forces in their exploration of consciousness. And in fact, they did not ascribe personal histories to the Titans before their exile into Tartarus. Consequently they can only be addressed by a discussion of their descendants.

Two Titan couples held a privileged role, for almost all the great myths and epics unfolds within their lineage.

The lineage of Iapetus and Clymene outlines all the stages to be crossed in the mental plane to breach the gulf between Matter and Spirit (a separation maintained by the Titan Atlas) so as to experience Reality by an evolution in consciousness. It depicts in detail the experiences of those who cross the seven planes of the mind embodied by the seven Pleiades, both the ordinary seekers, the Hellenes, descendants of the hero by the same name, and the adventurers of consciousness following Protogenia. This is the process of “ascent “.

The lineage of Oceanos and Tethys describes, in the line of descent of the river-gods (the currents of energy-consciousness), the progress towards Reality supporting itself on past human evolution and the ways of Nature. Two orientations hold a privileged place: concentration, Inachos, and equality, Peneus. It is the process of “integration” or the path of purification, liberation and the fulfillment of equality.
With a third lineage, that of the river Asopos, a new prospect of evolution opens up for mankind. It is in this lineage that appears Achilles, the supreme hero without whose participation the Trojan War could have never been won by the Greeks,

While the lineages originating with Iapetus answer the call of what beckons from above, those originating with Oceanos follow the movement of Nature with an insistence on a purification of our nature from the impurities and slag of evolution, liberating it from ancient evolutionary forces which are no longer necessary.
Combining these two processes of ascent and integration in accordance with the path that is fitting for each constitutes the “spiritual path” for those who wish to accelerate the movement of evolution.

The other Titans and Titanides are representative of other planes and forces at play in Reality.
Hyperion and Theia: the highest level of the world of creation which we call “supramental”, in the sense that it includes everything beyond the mental plane, or “world of Truth”. This couple had three children:
Helius, ” the force of illumination in Truth”.
Selene, the recipient, “the Moon” or “an evolving glow”, evocative of the true personality which remains after the disappearance of the ego. (Refer to Mother’s Agenda 1/10/1958 about “the divine Person beyond the Impersonal”.)
And the principle of their relation, Eos, the eternal Newness.
Crius and Eurybia: the movements through which the Absolute acts in manifestation, and amongst them the four great winds or divine aids, Eurus, Notus, Zephyrus and Boreas.
Coeos (Coios) and Phoebe: souls, psychic beings and their manifestations in human mental consciousness (Apollo and Artemis).
Themis: the divine laws.
Mnemosyne: complete or eternal memory.
Cronus and Rhea: the highest forces in the world of forms. This couple brought to life the gods principally in charge of the growth of human consciousness. As formative forces, they belong to the overmind.

Some theories regarding the organisation of the Titans and the formation of the Titan couples.

Taking into consideration the close relationship between the structure of mythology and the caduceus of Hermes – and the Tree of Life which is associated with the latter – a parallel can be drawn between the Titans and the seven planes of manifestation. The number of elements given below are a result of the intuition and reflection of the author; whether they are confirmed or not later on should not put in question the validity of the rest of the interpretation.

Hesiod named six Titans and six Titanides, to which Apollodorus added Dione who he described as Aphrodite’s mother. Homer also mentions this ancestry, without however specifying whether Dione is a Titanide.
Here we will keep Hesiod’s classification, that of the initiated whose efforts for coherence in the discussion of the structure of mythology left the strongest mark on later literature.

In the Tree of Life (the tree of the Sephiroth), three is the number associated with the divine world, or the world of emanations. The number of the world of creation is seven, that of the world of forms is five and that which governs the terrestrial world or the world of matter is ten( or zero as symbol of all numbers). (These interpretations are conclusions of the author.)
The Titans and Titanides, who can be identified as the forces of the world of creation as they intervene directly following the castration of Ouranos and precede the plane of the gods, should consequently be presented as seven pairs of forces, polarised but not dual. On their plane, opposites are not mutually exclusive but rather complementary, for they still belong to the world of unity. Contradictions or what we perceive as contradictions only appear at a much later and denser stage on the ladder of consciousness. The two states of consciousness which correspond to the two individuals in these couples are expressions of each other, manifesting a single force in two different ways, “concentrated rest” and “action”.

Yet Hesiod names only twelve Titans and Titanides. In music, the note Do creates the six other notes by the successive division of the length of a vibrating string while being itself included in the seven-note scale. If this principle of generation is applied to the Titans, the parental couple Ouranos and Gaia make up the seventh couple and can be seen as the generating base, the plinth on which rest the six other couples. It is also possible that the initiates of ancient times linked the number six to the world of the Titans (or twelve if the two complimentary aspects are included) in reference to a “new creation” to which the Mother attributes this number (cf. Mother’s Agenda, Volume 8).

Another astonishing fact is that amongst the Titans and Titanides, only eight would come together as couples. Two of the Titans, Iapetus and Crius, united with goddesses outside their own kind. The two Titanides Themis and Mnemosyne remain solitary, if we do not take into account their brief affairs with Zeus.
There are therefore misalliances which suggest a partial action of the forces they embody.

The first Titan of this kind is Crius, united with Eurybia, “a great strength”, the last daughter of Pontos, the highest plane of life. She belongs to the second divine generation, therefore of same rank as the Titans. Crius and Eurybia therefore act as non-dual forces: the highest forces of life working on the process of individuation.
Logically the fitting partner to Crius would be Themis, the goddess of divine laws. His temporary union with Eurybia is thus explained by what we call, in accordance with Sri Aurobindo’s words, the “Fall of Life” which takes place at the time of the appearance of the mind and was the cause of great “perversion”: Orthros, Cerberus, Chimera and the Lernaean Hydra.

Another ill-matched couple is Iapetus and Clymene, which is explained by the fact that “Man”, who is to take his place in the world of Truth, does not yet exist. Modern man, whose existence is dominated by ego, still belongs to the animal world governed by the gods, children of Cronos.
Iapetus is the father of Atlas, who establishes the connection between earth and sky, between Spirit and Matter (he carries the sky on his shoulders). He is the ancestor of many great heroes including Heracles and Ulysses. He is the symbol of humanity in progress. He will completely fulfill his role when man finds and integrates his original memory, Mnemosyne, “she who remembers everything at the same time”, a complete memory outside time which will restore man’s rightful place and function in the eternal present within creation. In the meantime he is united with Clymene, daughter of Oceanos. The lineage of this couple reveals the hierarchy of the planes of consciousness which must be ascended to fill the gap as well as the corresponding realisations, on one hand for the seekers of truth (the Hellenes) and on the other for the adventurers of consciousness (Protogenia).

In this theory of the organisation of the seven levels, each Titan couple can be associated with one of the seven planes of the Tree of Life (the tree of Sephiroth or the Caduceus). According to Kabbalah, this tree is constituted of four worlds and seven planes. The four worlds are: the divine world or the world of emanations, the world of creation, the world of formation and the world of action or terrestrial existence. The seven planes are distributed in these four worlds and express a progressive densification of consciousness.
Towards the bottom are the three created planes (mineral/inorganic, plant and animal) which modern man has not yet pushed himself past, and towards the top are the three creator planes. In between, there is a vacant plane, that of future or Supramental Man. The concepts of high and low and top and bottom are only used here to allow us to situate these planes in an intelligible way.
This way of delineating the seven planes is not only specific to Kabbalah. We also find it in the Vedas, which describe the three superior planes Sat-Chit-Ananda, a median world, “Svar”, the plane of solar illumination (supramental), and then “Dyaus”, the sky or the mental world, Antariksha, the world of vital consciousness and Prithivi, the world of physical consciousness. (Sri Aurobindo. The Secret of the Veda)

Although in theory they belong to the second world of creation, each Titan couple resonates specifically with one of the seven planes.
As in this world nothing is separate, the seven forces are One and yet many as the colours of the rainbow, each vibrating in harmony with a specific plane and at the same time united to others to form the white light which illuminates the whole.
As in the image of the seven-branched candelabra, the couples correspond to each other in pairs, one of the individuals of the couple belonging to the created planes and the other to the creator planes. (cf. Diagram 3). The couple in the middle forms the link between the six others.
The three inferior planes correspond to the progressive combinations of elements appearing successively in creation: matter, life and mind. The vegetal plane has as a support matter and life. The animal plane adds mind to this, with the nervous system as a physical support. At the summit of the animal world, modern mental man is set apart from it by a superior capacity for consciousness, for the treatment of information and conscious action resulting from a distancing process (the reflective mind). He experiences the first faltering steps of a still largely unconscious force of creation dominated by an unpolished and arrogant ego.

The Ouranos-Gaia couple at the base of the world of the Titans is thus situated at the level of matter.
The couple which echoes them in the creator worlds is that of Hyperion and Theia, for Hyperion ” Υπερ + Ι “, symbolises consciousness at its highest level. Theia, “the Divine”, is the principle of inviolate consciousness (Θ+Ι).The couple’s children are Helius the sun, Selene the moon and Eos the dawn, respectively symbolising the illuminating principle of the supramental, the receptive principle of execution (the true personality or “the divine Person beyond the Impersonal”) and the element linking the two: the “divine game” renewing itself constantly by an “eternal newness”. The “soul” or “divine spark”, also known as the psychic principle or the psychic entity, progressively elaborates through successive lives the “psychic personality” or the “psychic being” represented by Leto in the lineage of the Titan Coeus.
The couple situated between the creator planes and the created planes is easy to determine by their descendants. It is that of Iapetus and Clymene, whose lineage represents (Cf. Diagram 7).
in the children of Atlas, all the levels to be crossed to breach the gap between Matter and Spirit, levels which we refer to as “planes of consciousness”.
through the grandchildren of Helen (the children of Aeolus), the experiences which we encounter during the ascension of these planes till union is realised.
and by the lineage of Protogenia, the most advanced realisation on the path, those of the adventurers of consciousness.
It is the plane of the future Man, when he will have established himself in the Supramental in a definite way. It is a plane which establishes the link and belongs both to the creator worlds and to the created worlds; this signifies that man is a potential creator with unsuspected possibilities.
For the time being this plane lies vacant, for man has not yet regained his “memory” of belonging to Unity despite the efforts of the Muses, daughters of Mnemosyne.
The masters of wisdom used this plane to describe the stages of ascension in consciousness and “spiritual realisation”. Here are depicted the great heroes which symbolise the efforts of humanity to raise itself towards the supramental plane: Jason, Oeneus, Meleagros, Deianira, Ulysses, etc.

Following the same reasoning, the four other couples, Coeus (Κοιος)-Phoebe, Crius (Κριος)-Eurybia, Cronos (Κρονος)-Rhea and Oceanos (Οκεανος)-Thetis must be ordered around the Iapetus-Clymene couple.
In examining the character structures of the male names in the couples, ΚΡΙ, Κ+Ι, ΚΡ+Ν, Κ+Ν, we see that the first two, Crius and Coeus, resonate with the creator worlds and the last two, Cronos and Oceanos, with the world created in evolution according to Nature or Becoming.

Amongst their descendants we find:
In Crius lineage, the principles and the forces which support evolution, particularly the four great “winds”.
In Coeus lineage, the progressive make-up of the psychic being, symbolised by Leto and her children Apollo and Artemis.
In Cronos lineage, the highest forces in the world of forms, the twelve great gods who share amongst themselves the domain of human consciousness.
In Oceanos lineage, the currents of forces and the evolutionary principles which rule over creation. By analogy, his children are the rivers. (The name Oceanos must not lead to confusion, for in primitive mythology it was never connected with the “ocean”). He symbolises the totality of the currents of energy-consciousness supporting evolution according to the ways of Nature. The initiates of ancient times have gathered in this grouping stories of heroes which illustrate the processes of purification, liberation and transformation such as Perseus, Heracles and Oedipus.

From this we will must essentially keep in mind that the heroes in Oceanos’ line of descent – Perseus, Heracles, Dionysus, Oedipus, Achilles, Orpheus, Europe, Minos – belong to the “process of integration” which implies “purification” and “liberation” (liberation from the processes of the past which contribute to evolution: ego, desire, attachments, etc.), while the descendants of Iapetus – Jason, Bellerophon, Ulysses, etc. – represent experiences in the ascension of planes of consciousness. Let us note however that the parentage of Ulysses, the most advanced of all the seekers, has never been clearly established aside from his maternal ancestry which links him to the overmind.

Zeus’ birth and rise to power: the gestation and growth of human mental consciousness till the level of the overmind.

Cronos, having become “master of the universe”, married his sister Rhea who bore his six children: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon and Zeus.
Forewarned by his own parents Gaia and Ouranos that one of his own children would dethrone him, he swallowed his children one after the other the moment they were born, causing unending torment to his wife Rhea. When she was close to giving birth to another child, Zeus, her parents advised her to go to Lyctos in Crete and bear her child there secretly. Gaia reclaimed the newborn child to raise him, and Cronos swallowed a stone swaddled in a piece of cloth in place of the baby.
Zeus grew rapidly, and following a plan suggested by Gaia he made his father vomit so that his siblings were liberated, in the inverse order in which they had been swallowed.
Then, predicting the confrontation with the Titans, Zeus liberated the Cyclopes from the underground in which Ouranos had confined them. As a sign of gratitude they forged for him thunder and the burning lightning.
As the war between the gods and the Titans lasted for ten long years of the gods, Zeus decided to follow the advice of Gaia and also liberate the Hundred-Handed Giants or Hecatoncheires, Briareus, Cottus and Gyges, who had also been confined into the depths of the earth by Cronus.
The battle between the two sides raged on. The entire universe resonated with the fury of combat. But the Titans could not resist the combined forces of the gods and the Hundred-Handed Giants. Zeus in particular could not curb his ardour, handling the thunder and burning lightning flashes. The Hundred-Handed giants would hurl three hundred rocks at a time and their shadow finally engulfed the Titans.
Vanquished, the latter were relegated to Tartarus and enchained in painful bonds behind the bronze doors put in place by Poseidon. This is also where dwell the Hundred-Handed giants, Zeus’ trusty guardians.

For the interpretation of this myth we can find it useful to draw a parallel between the development of prehistoric humanity and that of a child.

The first period in which man is completely subjected to primal impulses and emotions forms the link with the last phase of vital growth (represented by the children of Pontos). Reflective human consciousness develops: it is Zeus’ phase of “gestation”.
According to Hesiod, Zeus was the youngest of his siblings. The movements which his brothers and sisters represent are therefore at work in the shadows of humanity: well before the domination by the conscious reflective mind began, under the influence of the overmind, the movement towards union (Demeter), the aspiration towards what is higher which at first brought with it the vertical standing position of man (Hestia), and the right evolutionary movement (Hera). These events were imprinted as memories within the inconscient and subconscient, whose activity, although important, remained unknown to consciousness.

During the second stage, Zeus was the only one amongst the children of Cronus to grow outside the paternal body in which his siblings continued to develop, or at any rate endured a period of latency. In other words, the supraconscient overmind began its growth before the other movements became objectively perceptible, as they were still immersed in supraconscience.
In most traditions, the birth of Zeus occurred on Mount Ida, “the aspiration towards unity” or “consciousness that is one” (ΙΔ).
According to Hesiod, Rhea gave birth in Lyktos in Crete (Lukos +Τ, the glow which precedes dawn towards the plane of the spirit) and then entrusted Zeus to his grandmother Gaia. The latter hid him in a gigantic cavern in Mount Aegaeon (“goat”), a place which is expressive of the power of aspiration issuing from the highest vital plane, symbol of the plane from which human mental evolution started.
The childhood of Zeus was not marked by any particular event. She seems to correspond roughly to the period between birth and the ninth month, in which the child is so intimately tied to his mother that momentary separations do not in principle create any difficulty. He does not suffer from physical estrangement in the same way that man, in the corresponding evolutionary period, is not yet separated from his divine source. It is the time of Cronos, the time in the Garden of Eden before the fall.

Upon reaching adulthood, Zeus liberated his brothers and sisters from inside the body of Cronos, which for man represents the gaining of awareness of the different forces acting within him. He then freed the Cyclopes imprisoned in Tartarus, and in return they gifted him with the lightning bolt: this was the time in the growth of mankind in which the conscious mind had become capable of receiving “dazzling” flashes from the spiritual plane which he also perceived as “all powerful” expressions. As gifts of the Cyclopes, thunder and lightning come from the supramental plane (actually the gift was a bundle of flaming darts which symbolise the power of lightning, its dazzling light and instantaneous rapidity).

The duration of the war “ten long years in the time of the gods “, indicates a complete period of maturation which can be likened to the period in which the child integrates the reality of physical separation. After this he engages for over a year in “titanic” battles to acquire the ultimate stage, cleanliness and speech. He fully utilizes his capacity for knowledge but the sense of “I” is not yet present. For this to occur, Zeus must symbolically liberate the Hundred-Handed Giants, which is to say that the integration of the individual elements surrounding a reflective center of consciousness is to be put into operation.
While the personality is born, the seed of the ego is forming and the mind is becoming apt at controlling the natural impulses of life, then Typhon, “the force of ignorance”, rises up against and opposes “knowledge”. This is surprisingly reminiscent of the phase of “opposition” in the child.

Then, once acquired the victory of the conscious mind, the Titans were imprisoned within Tartarus under the guard of the Hundred-Handed giants: the natural and spontaneous forces of life are at this point relegated into the deep inconscient and their actions become inaccessible to consciousness. Only their effects, often diminished by the dominance of the mind, will be perceptible to their descendants. The banishment of the Titans into Tartarus most probably also illustrates the disappearance of many “instinctive” faculties and “powers” which man had to abandon during the course of his evolution.

Their guardians the Hundred-Handed giants, symbols of an ability for action in all directions simultaneously and at the time, also lie beyond human consciousness although they are free. They are great powers capable of restraining the forces of life and thus allowing mental consciousness to emerge victorious. Henceforth they restrain these forces of nature and keep them within the darkness of the kingdom of Nescience till the time when the mind will in turn surrender its place.
In fact, if man is permitted to draw near to supreme Knowledge (by way of the Cyclopes), Omnipotence cannot be granted to him as long as the traversing of the mental plane is underway.

Let us note that the Titans fought from Mount Othrys in Southern Thessaly, and the gods from Mount Olympus on the northern frontier of this province, which is to say at the two extremities of “the quest led by the mind” (the highest peaks in the periods of evolution of the mind and the vital).
Mount Orthrys could also be an indication of an inversion of the movement of internalization (ΘΡ): the Titans would hinder the evolutionary movement born within. (In fact, we have already come across a word constructed in a similar way; Orthros, the monstruous son of Typhon and Echidna, by inversion of the word Orthos, rightness, straightness).

The moment Zeus took control of the universe, “huge Earth bare her youngest child Typhon of the love of Tartarus, by the aid of golden Aphrodite” (Theogony, verse 820).
Typhon is a powerful god whose limbs are tireless. He had a hundred dragon heads with tongues of darkness and a hundred glittering eyes of fire. His many heads emitted a variety of sounds, some of which resembled the cries of animals (of bulls, lions, or even of a whelp), some of which were like hissings and others which seemed to address the gods. He united with Echidna, and she bare him four terrible monsters; the dog Orthros, Cerberus, the Lernaean Hydra and Chimera.

If Zeus had not caught sight of him in time, Typhon would have become lord and master of the mortals and immortals alike. The battle between them was terrible. The earth, the ocean, the tides, the sky and Tartarus resounded with an appalling din. Typhon would spit out flaming blasts while Zeus filled the sky with lightning, and the ground boiled from the heat. The earth trembled and groaned, and enormous waves heaved in the oceans. Then an uncontrollable tremor began.
Even Hades and the Titans chained under Tartarus trembled before the fierceness of this battle.
Finally Typhon collapsed, while the great Earth moaned. But before being banished into Tartarus he succeeded in setting the earth to fire, and she began melting.

It is from Typhon that came forth the evil winds (which must not be confused with the children of Astraeos, the divine winds Boreas, Eurus, Zephyrus and Notos).

From the moment that is manifested the influence of the supraconscious overmind for the establishment of a reflective human consciousness capable of mastering the instinctive forces, there will simultaneously appear an equally powerful force of “ignorance” to oppose it.
Actually, the principle of the simultaneous appearance of an element and of its opposite was already at work at the time when Tartarus came to be: Tartarus represents Nescience, the principle opposing Existence-Consciousness.

Here, this dual principle in the acquisition of Knowledge seems to be a sine qua non condition of the evolution of Love, for the event occurred “by the grace of golden Aphrodite”.
To introduce the fact that everything within manifestation, from the heights of Spirit to the depths of Matter, is dual and rediscovers its unity only at its limits (the highest point of Spirit is identical to the deepest point of Matter), Hesiod gives a long description symmetrical in every point of the negative worlds and the superior worlds of the Tree of life. (The latter is a static depiction of the energy centers in man and the universe, while the Caduceus of Hermes represents them dynamically).
At the superior center enveloped by the triple veil of “negative Existence”, he draws on the parallel with Tartarus, as far from Earth as Earth is from the Heavens, “For a brazen anvil falling down from heaven nine nights and days would reach the earth upon the tenth: and again, a brazen anvil falling from earth nine nights and days would reach Tartarus upon the tenth. “(Theogony, verse 713). These periods correspond to the centers of consciousness to be gone through (the Sephiroth). Tartarus is surrounded by a wall of bronze. Night spreads in triple line all about it like a neck-circlet, just as in Kabbalah “nothingness, that without limits and the light without limits” (Ain, Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur) envelop the most elevated divine center. The ability to access the realms of Tartarus stems from an extremely advanced yoga of the body, for “It is a great gulf, and if once a man were within the gates, he would not reach the floor until a whole year had reached its end, but cruel blast upon blast would carry him this way and that”.
This description by Hesiod shows that the path which leads to these “frontiers” or outer limits is terrifying. But at the deepest level, the One manifests itself in a place in which the extreme limits of matter (gloomy earth), life (unfruitful sea), spirit (starry heaven) and Nescience (Tartarus) join, for “there, all in their order, are the sources and ends of gloomy earth and misty Tartarus and the unfruitful sea and starry heaven ” (Theogony, verse 736). In fact, none can descend into the greatest depths if he has not yet conquered the corresponding summits of spiritual light.
And the way of reaching these is to climb the rungs of consciousness symbolised by the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas, for “In front of it the son of Iapetus stands immovably upholding the wide heaven upon his head and unwearying hands “. But for man, this journey is subjected to alternating periods of separation and fusion in the mind, for where “Night and Day draw near and greet one another as they pass the great threshold of bronze: and while the one is about to go down into the house, the other comes out at the door.” (Theogony, verse 744). Hesiod confirms this alternation in the second part of his account in Works and Days with the myth of Prometheus.

For Hesiod, Typhon is a consequence of the involution of the Absolute in matter (a result of the union of Tartarus, Nescience, with Gaia, Becoming), which appears from the moment in which human mental consciousness start to take control of evolution: it is therefore a force of opposition necessary for this evolutionary process. In one of the Homeric hymns he is the son of Hera, the principle which “limits” or “checks” the expansion of consciousness (Zeus) so that everything may progress forward at the same pace and nothing be left behind in the evolutionary process. Humanity must either progress as a whole, or it must perish.
His name (Τυφων Τ+Φ), with the characters that construct it, could indicate either penetration of Spirit into Matter, or a break in this movement. His name means “whirling winds”. Also associated with him are characteristics such as “smokiness, blindness, stupor and sleep inducing”, while Hesiod also associates him with “trepidation”. Actually it is these microscopic movements of consciousness constituted of trepidations and inward coiling which provoke in the whole being a state of oblivion bordering on stupor, which is the “fundamental ignorance”.
According to Hesiod’s text, this force came forth from Tartarus, fundamental Nescience, and therefore it exists independently from man. On the other hand Homer suggests that this force intervenes in the realm of manifestation to check the progress of evolution only once reflective human consciousness has emerged. It is in fact the “falling back into sleep” which seekers striving to conquer the inertia of nature and to accelerate the evolutionary process are warned against by the great initiates calling for an “awakening”.
Following the parentage described by Hesiod in the exploration of the deep layers of consciousness, mechanisms of the same order (such as mantras) could overcome this trepidating ignorance in matter which repeats itself tirelessly. The Mother also mentions the “taste for drama” of this deep cellular consciousness.

Typhon, with his hundred dragon heads “with dark, flickering tongues”, could express himself in multiple ways, from the most fascinating and terrifying to the most deceiving, simulating even the language of the gods: ignorance can conceal itself anywhere, even in what seems the most trustworthy and reliable. Thus spiritual teachings recommend that seekers must not to rely on anything but the Divine.

Typhon disrupts all the planes: the body, the vital being and the mind (earth, ocean and sky). Hesiod writes that Typhon set fire to the earth before being banished into Tartarus. He may be alluding to the childhood illnesses which cause strong fevers, and which some esoteric teachings explain as reminiscences of ancient evolutionary phases of humanity. In fact, the word Typhus is used to describe different types of fevers causing extreme stupor.
Zeus cannot destroy the influence of Typhon beyond the reaches of his domain of the overmind for the latter belongs to the race of immortals, but he can throw him out of the kingdoms of consciousness and into the Nescience of Tartarus. It is from here that Typhon then exerts his power, in the same way as the Titans and without the awareness of consciousness, and lifts the evil winds with their humid breath (not included in this category of course are the four winds of divine lineage, the children of Astraeus- Eurus, Notus, Boreas and Zephyrus- who are objectively helpful aides on the path even though they powerfully shake the ego).
These evil winds swell into storms, “varying with the season they blow, scattering ships and destroying sailors. Others again over the boundless, flowering earth spoil the fair fields of men who dwell below, filling them with dust and cruel uproar. ”
(…) And men who meet these upon the sea have no help against the mischief.” (Hesiod, Theogony, trans. H.G Evelyn-White verse 869): these are forces which disturb the seeker endlessly and against which he is powerless when they manifest themselves in the vital and in the body. They arise from this ignorant and inconscient “stupor”, do not seem to be in any way useful to the path, destroying what progress has been achieved. Certain Greek writers after Hesiod give a much more detailed account of the conclusion of the conflict between Zeus and Typhon. This is especially done to draw a parallel between the Greek and the Egyptian gods. In fact it is said that being seized by fear as they beheld the fierce battle, all the gods fled from Greece and hid themselves in Egypt under the guise of different animals.

In Hesiod’s version, Typhon (Ignorance, stupor, non-awakening), thus emerges when appear the first rudiments of reflective consciousness, the formation of the human sense of self, as a necessary force for the development of the latter introduced by the grace of Love (“by the grace of golden Aphrodite”).
In the history of humankind summarised in the stages of childhood, consciousness had to labour for millennia before becoming imperative in the face of ignorance.

Another version recounted by Apollodorus places this conflict closer to the end of the path since it follows the war against the giants. He considered the participation of Heracles necessary for victory well after the completion of his twelve labours.
The first version sets out the incompatibility of the overmind and ignorance, while Apollodorus’ account focuses on the moment in which the seeker comes to the end of this struggle.
The battle is then fought in the deep layers of consciousness and the seeker must at this point mobilise more extended resources which do not only belong to mental consciousness. The struggle undergoes a phase in which the supraconscient is immobilised, incapable of fighting back or even feeling (Zeus has his nerves or his tendons severed). It is the highest occult knowledge and surrender (Hermes) and the aspiration towards the highest aspect of the vital (Aegipan, or Pan as he is more commonly known) that help the seeker out of this difficult situation.
Actually the two versions complement each other and show us that the struggle against “ignorance, inertia and lack of consciousness” is a constant on the path, becoming more and more relentless and intervening at all the levels of the mental plane, the vital and then the body.

THE CHILDREN OF TYPHON AND ECHIDNA

Typhon united with Echidna “the viper”, the perverted force of evolution. (When the evolutionary force is “right or just”, the myths describe a snake rather than specifically a viper.)
Hesiod identifies Echidna as a daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, which pinpoints the origin of this deviance at the time of the formation of the animal sense of self, animal ego. But she really only becomes a “perverse” force in man when she is united with Typhon, which is to say when the reflective mind of man is forming. According to Apollodorus she is a daughter of Tartarus and as such she is like Typhon an outcome of Nescience. However this account of parentage does not indicate the moment in which the opposing forces come into conflict.
We have already come across the children of this terrible couple which brought about the Fall of Life when we discussed the children of Phorcys and Ceto: the dog Orthros, Cerberus, the Lernaean Hydra and the Chimera. They are shown to be increasingly formidable obstacles as the seeker advances on his path.
In the Questions and Answers from the 9th of January 1957, The Mother explained that the arrest of evolution within a state of union is an accident of evolution: “If Delight had remained Delight, conceived as Delight, and everything had come about in Delight and Union instead of in division, there would never have been any need for the divine Consciousness to plunge into the inconscient as Love.”

Orthros

It is the two-headed dog of Geryon. The latter is the son of Chrysaor, “the man of the double-edged golden sword” who appeared, like the horse Pegasus, when Perseus severed the head of the Gorgon Medusa. Geryon is therefore a symbol of the wealth of the “true vital” liberated by the victory over fear. This is why “the cattle of his flocks were crimson”: they are representative of the divine powers of life.
Scribes have made corrections in the manuscripts, interchanging the names Orthros and Orthos so that it is now quite difficult to ascertain which name was originally used by each author.
If we keep the less likely spelling “Orthos”, the name means “upright, not deviated, straight”, which can then mean “truth” (otherwise his murder would evidently not be necessary), but in any case it would only point to a transitory truth which must be surpassed at the right time. In that case this monster stands for the “established truths” which seem unreal or even false to the adventurers of consciousness, particularly the physical laws such as that of the senses, of illness or even of death.
If we consider the other much more probable spelling, Orthros, (with the Rho P used in its inverted sense), this name can mean, according to dictionary definitions, “he who is present since dawn”, or “the opposite of truth; falsehood, fundamental insincerity”, which is to say everything which distances from a unity with Reality.
At a very advanced stage of yoga however, the adventurer realises that a minuscule movement of consciousness is sufficient to take him from the world of Truth to its opposite, which explains the closeness of use of these two names, Orthos and Orthros, as well as perhaps the depiction of Orthros as having two heads.
We will encounter Geryon in the study of the tenth labour of Heracles. He is a monster with three heads and three bodies, one of which is winged, and who can be associated to the three modes of nature or guna. Transcending them was traditionally considered to be impossible. In fact, according to the initiates of ancient times, all action belonged to their play and their state of perfect equilibrium automatically pulled the seeker into immobility and the arrest of action. A quietist liberation could be obtained by imposing an enlightened inertia, or tamas, on the external nature.
This is why Heracles raised the famous “Pillars” which mark to the west the borders of the inhabited earth at the outermost limits of Lybia and Europe, even before having reached the den of Geryon. According to the ancient Greek initiates it was an extreme limit beyond which no seeker could aspire to go.
The tenth labour was therefore only a prediction of the future progress of yoga.
Before vanquishing Orthros, Heracles had to immobilise Nereus: in other words he had to master the most archaic movements at the root of life.
Orthros can therefore be considered to be a fundamental perversion introduced by ignorance and separative consciousness at the root of life.

Orthros begot two more monsters with his own mother Echidna, consequences of this perversion, and they can also explain the two heads of Orthros. In Hesiod’s text, the two monsters are sons of Chimera and of the dog Orthros, which amounts to the same thing.  
Phix, or the Sphinge, which Oedipus will have to confront, symbol of perverted wisdom and of falsehood disguised as truth. His name indicates a receptivity misshapen by the mind. The Greeks knew of the Egyptian sphinx, symbol of true wisdom, as the androsphinx/ ανδροσφιγξ.
The Nemean Lion, symbol of the egotistical pride which remains present even into the state of saintliness – Nemea, where the lion dwells, can in fact be understood as the consecration into surrender N+M – which prevents integral consecration, the extermination of which will be the aim of the first labour of Heracles.

Cerberus

This is the frightful dog with multiple heads (two, three, or, according to some, fifty or even a hundred), which welcomes the “shadows” when they enter the underground world, the kingdom of Hades, and stops them from leaving it again. On his back are raised a multitude of serpent’s heads and his tail is also that of a snake.

The role of Cerberus is therefore to block the continuity of consciousness through the veil which we call death. He conceals the true reality of death so that it appears to be a negation of life and a proof of its supposed failure.
He is therefore the first guardian of “immortality”, the secret sought by the ancient initiates, which is integral non-duality, not only in the spirit but also in the vital and in the body (a victory over death not signifying an eternal body but rather a state of matter submitted to consciousness).
His name could signify “the principle of incarnation of death”, or, through its character structure, “the opening of consciousness to the exact process of incarnation (+) “.
Man is called to overcome this negation of life not only by fulfilling the continuity of consciousness beyond birth and death, but also by transforming the rigidity of corporeal matter to render it sufficiently flexible so that it may one day be ready to be shaped by supramental consciousness.
This is not a new idea, but it finds a beginning to its fulfillment with the discovery of the possibility for the transformation of cellular consciousness.
Heracles will descend into Hades in search of Cerberus, not with the intention of killing him as he is not permitted to do so, but to raise him towards the light (consciousness), which is to say to understand the exact process and meaning of death and of unity within the realm of matter.
His fifty heads indicate that he is fully active in the world of forms, and stands guard over all its exits.
He does not allow the soul to exit from Hades, because anything that has reached essential unity in the realm of matter cannot fall into duality again.
Only Persephone, Hades’ wife, can travel between the two worlds as she is the one who has accomplished “the murder of destruction”.

The Lernaean Hydra

This monster inhabits the marshes, and so operates from the lowest vital plane. It is endowed with a number of heads which grow back as soon as they are severed, and from their mouths comes forth a lethal breath.
It symbolises desire or lust and the attachment resulting from the illusion of separation, as well as the suffering that this causes.
The moment we satisfy a desire, another one arises to fill its place. The moment we have ended a suffering caused by lack, another reason for suffering arises.
Hydra is therefore the negation of joy.
In the second labour of Heracles she is assisted by a giant crab, symbol of “seizing” or of “the primordial movement of capture” that wishes to catch hold of what it does not think it possesses.

Chimera

The fourth child of Typhon in Chimera, symbol of the illusion resulting from separation. She has the upper body of a lion, the abdomen of a goat and the lower body of a snake, and one head of each of these animals. She therefore symbolises what is highest in vital aspiration, full of goodwill and sensitivity to evolution but with an orientation twisted by the ego (lion).
Her name most commonly designates a young goat, but its meaning must instead be interpreted from the character khi (Χ), namely “the arrest of instinct/intuition”.
The most serious of all illusions is probably the one which rages in the field of spiritual search. To defeat it a purified vital (the horse Pegasus) and a powerful discerning mind (the hero Bellerophon) are needed.
Homer reminds us that through her parentage she is “of divine race”, which is to say that she represents an inescapable evolutionary process.

Thus, falsehood insidiously substitutes Truth, Life is covered up by the mask of death, desire and suffering annihilated Joy and nascent consciousness is perverted by illusion.
Zeus, identified with Metis and victorious over the Titans, imposed mental consciousness on humanity. Although defeated, Typhon is not any less active even though he is no longer “visible” to consciousness: his children, stemming from ignorance, will act for him henceforth.

THE RULE OF ZEUS AND THE PUNISHMENT OF PROMETHEUS

The reign of Zeus

Then,”when the blessed gods had finished their toil, and settled by force their struggle for honours with the Titans, they pressed far-seeing Olympian Zeus to reign and to rule over them, by Earth’s prompting. So he divided their dignities amongst them.” (Hesiod. Theogony, trans. H.G Evelyn-White, Verse 881)
After having asserted their intention of mastering and moving away the primitive forces which had allowed the vital growth of humankind, the forces of the overmind submitted to the leadership of the highest amongst them “to reign and to rule over them”. Zeus was “far-seeing”, possessing the most extended consciousness: none can surpass him on this plane.

Hesiod then defines the frame of “human evolution” – that of “spiritual progression” for it does not seem that the ancient masters of wisdom differentiated between the two – by giving successively seven wives to Zeus which we have analysed in the preceding chapter. Here we will bring up only Metis and Hera.

Having achieved dominance over the forces in charge of vital development and then over Typhon, the force of ignorance (disorder, incoherence, and the whirlwinds of the emerging mind), Zeus, the consciousness of the overmind, was ready to join with Metis (the goddess of wisdom, daughter of Oceanos, a current of energy-consciousness). This marked the entry into the process of the acquisition of exact Knowledge or Discernment. Then, when Zeus swallowed the goddess, which is to say when the overmind devoted itself completely to the fulfillment of the cosmic intelligence by identification, the time was ripe for the birth of Athena. For from within Zeus, Metis “might devise for him both good and evil.” (Theogony), and their combined action led to “self knowledge”. Henceforth Metis would be present within the consciousness during all of Zeus’ other unions with mortals and goddesses alike: discernment or intelligence is therefore the keystone of the whole. Only Hera united with Zeus well before Metis, even without the knowledge of their parents (Iliad, XIV,295), for her limiting action in the mind intervenes well before the entry into the process of discernment.
The duration of this integration concerns the totality of Greek mythology which developed under the aegis of Athena, “equal to her father in strength and in wise understanding”, for the second child of Zeus and Metis never appears in mythology, “a son of overbearing spirit, king of gods and men” (Theogony verse 886). The latter would seize his father’s throne, ending definitively the reign of mental consciousness.
The other threat menacing the kingship of Zeus over the supremacy of mental consciousness was avoided by the forced marriage of the goddess Thetis with the mortal Peleus, for a prophesy had predicted that her son would be more powerful than his father. Therefore Zeus had to avoid entering into this union at all costs. Thetis and Peleus had a son of wide renown, Achilles, who led the Greeks to victory during the Trojan War.

Finally came the time for Zeus’ definitive marriage with Hera, “the right movement” of limitation. Their children would facilitate the evolution of human consciousness in incarnation through the movement of the renewal of forms (Ares and Hephaestus). Hera was always considered to be the great goddess of Argos, that of the labourers of “brilliance”, “swiftness”, and “non-action”.

Prometheus and Epimetheus

Simultaneously to the establishment of the reign of the mind, a phenomena occurred in human consciousness which was symbolically translated in all mythological traditions by the image of the Fall.
As long as man remains predominantly under the control of his vital (impulses, emotions, feelings), the two fundamental forces of the universe, fusion and separation, are at play with each other in a non-dissociated way as they do in the animal kingdom. There is no moral judgement, error or shame. But there is also no possibility for individuation: according to occult traditions, the animal kingdom is principally constituted of “group souls” governing evolution.
When man enters into the reflective mind plane, the aim of which is to achieve individuation, there begins a process of discernment which implies both a distancing from the object and a knowledge through identity. The movement of separation is carried out by the logical mind or the reasoning mind and that of identification through intuition.
At the end of the process, the truth of action must be perceived by intuition and realised by reason, which leads to the right action. But as we have seen this evolution has been rendered false since the first manifestations of the mental nervous force by an opposing power perverting the natural foundations of life. The initiates of ancient times named this Echidna, “the viper” who introduces the sense of separate existence. For everything in this created world seems to be subjected to opposed forces for the realisation of a higher perfection.

In pursuit of the necessary construction of an individualised centre of consciousness, nature has used the force of separation with all its deviations, mixtures and impurities for the elaboration of an “ego” or a personality which serves as a mask. Under the double influence of fundamental ignorance, Typhon, and of this perversion, Echidna, reason had the pretension of alone accessing Truth rather than serving intuition, which lost itself in the various processes of active divination and lost all contact with Reality. For the fall is actually nothing other than the loss of the inner contact which every child replays at some point before reaching the age of reason (Except for the beings born free and without ego).
However, this process had to be modulated by a fundamental vibratory or undulatory principle of the universe, source of the cycles governing both life and mind. The eagle sent by Zeus, who during the day devours the liver of Prometheus regenerating itself at night, represents the action of this principle in the mind: the alternating influence of the forces of fusion and separation, of intellect and intuition essential for the acquisition of “discernment”.
Although the symbolism of the two can sometimes seem unrelated, the parallel study of the myths of Prometheus and Genesis seems to be an imperative.

The war between the gods and the Titans closed an idyllic period (the “Golden Age” under the rule of the Titan Cronos, or in the Bible the time in which man lived his days in happiness in the Garden of Eden under the benevolent care of Yahweh) and assures a transition under the predominance of the mind.
The story of the ascension of the planes of consciousness in the mind is carried out entirely in the lineage of Iapetus. The name of this Titan, constructed around the characters Ι+Π+Τ, expresses the concept of a link (Π) in consciousness (Ι) with the highest levels of the Spirit (Τ). The name of his wife Clymene, “the Famous or Celebrated”, implies that this is a question of the “victories” of man in this ascension. The initiates of ancient times named this lineage the “Deucalionides” after their grandson Deucalion.

The Iapetus-Clymene couple had four children; Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus and Epimetheus.

With the children of Atlas, the masters of wisdom have listed the stages to be crossed in the mental plane to regain the lost state of unity, man gaining his “individuality” or “freedom” during this progression.
Atlas “through hard constraint upholds the wide heaven with unwearying head and arms “(Theogony verse 507). Although he thus separates earth and sky he is also the path of their reuniting: when all the stages represented by his children the Pleiades will have been surpassed, the lost unity will be regained. For this to occur his son Prometheus will have to be “released” from the pillar to which Zeus had bound him. (The corresponding account attributed to Aeschylus, Prometheus unbound, has been lost, but it seems evident that Prometheus cannot be set free by Zeus, but rather by the second child that Metis will bear with Zeus.)

Menoetius does not appear in any myth. Hesiod tells us that “Menoetius was outrageous, and far-seeing Zeus struck him with a lurid thunderbolt and sent him down to Erebus because of his mad presumption and exceeding pride”. His name probably means “an insolent mind”.
The long evolutionary period corresponding to this character covers the first two stages of mental growth, that of the physical mind and the vital mind where both arrogance and a semblance of courage dominate, close to the inconscient and born of impulses for flight or aggression. As long as this mental arrogance dominates, the quest cannot really begin.

Through the union of their respective children Deukalion and Pyrrha, the two brothers Prometheus and Epimetheus open the two lineages to seekers who follow an ascension of the planes of consciousness in the mind through Hellen and Protogenia.
The lineage of Hellen, and therefore of the Hellenes, the Greeks, “they who seek a liberation in the spirit”. (Not included here are those who are not yet truly engaged on the spiritual path, generally known as the Pelasgians, they who are “near the beginning” and who are the most ancient people of the Peloponnese pushed out of Thessaly by the Lapiths. Some claim that the impiety and arrogance of the Pelasgians brought about the deluge of Deucalion.)
The lineage of Protogenia, the “avant-garde” of the adventurers of consciousness.

The names Prometheus and Epimetheus are usually translated as “he who thinks first” and “he who thinks after action”, based on the interpretation of the parallel between μηθευς and “μανθανω, to understand”. Thus Prometheus would be able to predict the consequences of actions while his brother who only understand the surface reality would be unable to go against the natural evolutionary current.
This is why the warning given by Prometheus did not prevent his brother from accepting Pandora: the intuitive capacity of man cannot avoid the development of an unavoidable process of distancing.

An interpretation of the character structure supports this first approach. Prometheus – Pro + M + Θ (eus) – would by this analysis be “he who puts at the forefront his submission to what is born and expressed inwardly”, while his brother Epimetheus would be “he who remains at the surface of this submission”, in other words at the level of appearances. This is the primary meaning of Epi: on top, at the surface of.
As the inner being is in touch with Reality, he perceives actions and their consequences simultaneously. On the other hand the personality, the being of appearance, can only correct mistakes after they have occurred.
The nature of the two brothers describe the two aspects of man which come in contact with the mind: an inner being still connected with the Absolute, Prometheus, and a surface personality, Epimetheus, which cannot resist seizing “the fruit of knowledge” symbolised here by Pandora, the woman fashioned for him by the gods.
He therefore represents two aspects of the seeker who embarks on the quest: his inner being and an inferior nature emerging from the evolutionary process and still very identified with illusion, ignorance and external appearance.
It is with this dual nature that he must go forward, not rejecting either one or the other but supporting himself on both. The personality must be progressively liberated from the centralising and capturing movement of the ego put in place by nature for the sake of evolution. A purification followed by a progressive liberation must lead to the doors of transformation. In this book, the “ego” is used to signify the centralising movement coming forth from ignorance by which nature fulfills the process of individuation in a progressive acquiring of self-awareness. The ego, which implies an identification of our existence with our external self, must be firstly developed to then be widened and dissolved into a true personality. Sri Aurobindo, in The Life Divine, (Chapter: Progress to Knowledge), states that “man has to assert himself in ignorance before he can perfect himself in knowledge”.
The centralising movement contributes in the first place to the formation of the ego or the animal self, allowing for a separation from the group soul of the herd. Then when the being becomes sensitive to the mental changes which bring about the acquisition of “discernment”, The Fall is brought about. The process of centralisation which feeds the ego therefore exists before the feeling of “separateness” comes to the forefront in the mental space.
The ego exists only through its limits and perishes when these limits are lost. It is a formation (or deformation) of the mind, the vital and the physical body at the same time. There is therefore a successive liberation of the ego in the mind, in the vital and finally in the physical body.

The myth begins with the story of the partaking of Mekone, when the differences between gods and men were settled, and they separate from one another and stopped sharing their meals, which is to say when the first signs of division appeared.
Prometheus, carving up a large ox, prepared a first appetizing-looking portion by burying the bones in the fat, and then putting the best bits into the stomach of the sacrificed animal he prepared a second portion which looked repulsive. Zeus, not fooled by this trickery and foreseeing the troubles that mortals had in store chose the first portion, though he was filled with rage. He avenged himself on men by depriving them of lightning, which was the source of the fire lighted at the top of the ash trees where men came to seek it.
But Prometheus stole fire and hid it in a hollow fennel stem to give it to men again.
The story begins with the first separation of consciousness seeping into a state of nature close to Reality: the unity of childhood. An inner movement, the centralising sense of the ego through which man becomes inveigled, appears: gods and men cease sharing their meals. The evolutionary impulse manifests itself through Prometheus as through the snake of Genesis. (Some authors write of Proneia, “she who brings evolution forward”, as Prometheus’ wife.) The highest aspect of human consciousness which we can associate with the masters of wisdom is aware that this movement will cause great hardship, but also that it is inevitable, for Zeus is not fooled by the trickery.
The setting for this event is Mekone, “the plane of opium”, which is to say a falling asleep or inconscience: all this happens outside of man’s awareness. In the story of Genesis,”Yahweh caused a deep sleep to fall upon man”, and the first awareness of duality was manifested: Yahweh created woman from one of Adam’s ribs (actually, from a pillar (rib) of the Tree of Life). Actually, in the original text, it is not yet Eve, but only Isha, wife of Ish. It is the acquisition of the awareness of polarity, but without separation. Adam (Ish) and his wife (Isha) were both naked, and they felt no shame : there is neither shame not guilt yet.
(If woman is said to have been created from man, it is only because of the primacy of Being over the Power of Realisation.)

This first stage of the Fall makes man lose his natural proximity to Reality, to what is Divine in nature and with its highest manifestations which man was accustomed to seek at the summits of his vital nature. In fact, before this time Zeus would set alight the tops of the ash trees (the trees most often struck by thunder in ancient Greece), where men would come for fire. This means that the connection with the Absolute used to be established at the heights of the emotional vital being, in a simple and spontaneous way which can be observed in children. The intrusion of the mind with its accomplice doubt into human functioning rendered this direct contact impossible. God no longer strolled in Paradise. It seemed that a dense veil had slipped into the consciousness between Reality and mankind, creating a rupture which was in fact necessary for individuation to occur.
But the link was not completely broken. For without the knowledge of Zeus, Prometheus gave men the seed of fire which he had stolen, “sperma puros”. Hesiod does not specify the origin of fire. In other writings it comes either from Helius the sun or from the forge of Hephaestus: the connection with the Divine will henceforth be established by a direct contact with the soul, the supramental Helius, or by a mental fire (reduced by the phenomenon of alternation for Hephaestus is a lame blacksmith).
It is no longer a lightening fire, but rather a fire which smolders and consumes itself slowly as in a fennel stem: like the fire of the forge this inner fire must be constantly watched over and maintained.
The initiates of ancient time therefore considered Prometheus to be a benefactor of humanity, for he reminds man of his divine origin.
For many, he is also a source of inspiration for the arts, new inventions and for everything which elevates man and distances him from his animal nature.

(In the vital being, the expression of the Absolute can be considered to be the highest level of natural magic, of which some manifestations still live on in shamanic practices in the widest definition of the term. However many of the abilities, such as the intuitive knowledge of the healing powers of plants and crystals, seem to have disappeared.)

The Fall

The myth continues in this way:
Zeus thought of casting a source of misfortune on men which they would at first cherish and be delighted by. He ordered Hephaestus to create a being made of earth and water, a virgin in the image of the immortal goddesses. Athena taught her the art of weaving and adorned her with ornaments, Aphrodite conferred upon her grace and painful desire, and Hermes gave her speech and instilled her with the spirit of a deceitful bitch.
When the creation was complete, Zeus named her Pandora. He then presented her to Epimetheus, who accepted the gift even though his brother had warned him to refuse any present from Zeus. Till this time, men had lived free from all afflictions.
But nearby was a carefully sealed jar filled with all the ills. When Pandora opened the jar they spilled out over the earth, with the assent of Zeus. By the will of the god only hope remained there in an unbreakable home within the rim of the great jar.
Then the earth and the oceans were filled with troubles, and illnesses were “deprived of the power of speech”.

Pandora carries the same symbolism as the apple of Genesis, the “fruit” of Knowledge: a “gift of the gods” accessible to man when he enters into the mind, but with which he must not identify. For these gifts (or possible realisations) are neither linked to the soul nor to the psychic being, being only attributes granted by the summits of mental consciousness to an entity emerging from matter and life (made of earth and water), an imitation of reality. This is therefore only a passing entity which vanishes with death. It is the personality closely associated with the body with which almost all human beings are identified. It is the symbol of the potentialities of the mind, of the knowledge emerging from below from matter rather than from the Spirit which only Prometheus can access. In a similar way, the tree of Knowledge is anchored in the earth rather than in the sky.
When the part of man which remains on the surface and occupies itself with the outer world identifies itself with Pandora and seizes knowledge for himself, all the ills which spill out of the jar automatically appear: attachment and desire and the suffering which they bring. Thus man will act according to his own law, not that of the Divine. But Prometheus, he who is capable of tying the bond again, as thin as it may be, with the inner fire given to men within the fennel stem, knows that the identification with the surface being dominated by the centralising movement of the ego brings with it a separation from Reality which can only be a source of suffering.
Also, Prometheus had specified that if was to accept a gift from Zeus, he must return it immediately. But Epimetheus “took the gift, and afterwards, when the evil thing was already his, he understood. ” (Works and Days, verse 83).
Even if the inner being, Prometheus, knows that he is being misled, the identification seems inescapable. For his voice is too weak in the face of the control of the mind on consciousness represented by Zeus. Since he defeated the Titans and swallowed Metis, the latter had in fact become the guide of this stage of evolution. Humanity will need to work long and hard to put an end to this identification with the external personality.

Zeus uses the same “trickery” as the snake in Genesis (the ultimate symbol of evolution): seduction.
For man (Epimetheus), the “gifts” with which Pandora was adorned represent the sparkle of what is gained through knowledge. While they represent only images of Reality, they are indispensable intermediaries in the quest for Knowledge which man aspires to: what is “new” (virgin beauty), the capacity to exceed oneself (similar to an immortal goddess), and the variety of paths leading to the Absolute (the woven cloths of innumerable colors given by Athena). But he is also subjected to the counterpart of this: love is submitted to the tyranny of desires and anxieties as well as to suffering (gifts of Aphrodite), a mendacious “sincere will” to submit to Reality, characterising the hypocritical aspect in every man (the deceitful bitch) which puts the satisfaction of its own desires first rather than submitting to the inner being.
Finally Hermès bestowed Pandora with the gift of a voice: the voice is a symbol of true expression, of what “names” in accordance to the Truth of things. In this case however, Hermes “contrived within her lies and crafty words and a deceitful nature at the will of loud thundering Zeus ” likely to seduce Epimetheus. (Ref. “Works and Days”, Hesiod, trans. H.G. Evelyn-White, verse 69).

Thus the cause for the Fall is not Pandora herself, but rather the will of Epimetheus to take ownership of her, just as it is not the tree of knowledge of good and evil which creates a problem but rather the eating of its fruits and keeping them for oneself. This will of appropriation perverts the process of the construction of the ego, which in its time is indispensable to build up individuality, to extract man from his coating of ignorance, free him from the collective “herd” and develop his potential.

The opening of the jar is the automatic counterpart to the identification with the surface personality and the body. It unleashes obstacles necessary for evolution, “countless plagues “. Before this time, mankind instinctively knew “their message”, but when the jar was opened Zeus “took away speech from them”: illnesses, sufferings and death could no longer integrate into the right evolutionary process, for man could no longer understand the meaning behind them. Instead he analyses them from the heights of his mind, and his spontaneous reactions become false. As he progresses into the separative part of the cycle, his perception of Reality becomes blunter. In the end, he accepts falsehood as Truth in all good faith.

In accordance to the will of Zeus, Hope, founded on the knowledge of the participation with Unity, “remained within its unbreakable home within the rim of the great jar” (Works and Days, verse 90). Here what is spoken about is not expectation, a mental projection, but rather Hope, which is of the order of faith and is therefore the inner certainty which in the preceding stage was still instinctive. This knowledge of “Unity” thus remains hidden from man till he can find it again in himself. The lack of hope becomes an evolutionary spur. If Hope had been given along with the rest, ills would not have been deprived of the ability to communicate, and man would have been able to understand the reasons for his suffering. He would then not have been in a position to undergo what is known in Genesis as “the test of liberty” through which he becomes aware of duality, which is to say the operation of a widening of consciousness indissociable with the “liberation” of desires, ego and attachments.
In fact, the myth specifies that Hope remains “within the rim of the great jar”, or in other words accessible to whomever gives himself the means of reestablishing contact with it. At every moment, man is capable of using the obstacle, of “understanding” the meaning of what happens to him. He must simply be able to take a step backwards and not identify himself with his personality and his body: he must transgress the order of Zeus. And this requires a conscious work on the “little things” which, deepened by Achilles, will grant the Greeks victory during the Trojan war. During this endeavor, the seeker is warned of possible false starts by a feeling of inner unease.

A bringing to light similar to this period of evolution is spoken about in Genesis, with an insistence on certain particular points which do not appear in Greek mythology.
In both accounts man lived in paradise-like conditions, in an Eden or Golden Age which was lost to him. He then clashed with an all-powerful god, perhaps an even cruel or sadistic one.
Both myths insistently put forth the notion of “discernment “, ascribing the responsibility for the unleashing of all ills on the desire to possess the “fruits of wisdom” (the apple and Pandora): these are the effects of the first tremors of the mind striving for “understanding” and associated with the separative ego.
At the beginning of this narrative humanity is still in its infancy, in a golden age still unconscious of duality. This time corresponds to the developmental stage observed in children between the ages of 4 and 5, who, although already sexual, display only a spontaneous and natural curiosity for alterity. It is the time of paradise, of the garden of Eden, where Yahweh would stroll about freely. Everything went perfectly in this paradise. Yahweh then placed in this world Adam, whom he built from the dust of the earth (adama). Eve is not yet mentioned. The name of the woman given by Yahweh to man so that he would not be alone was Isha, created from a “rib” or “pillar” of the tree of life and not from a “rib” of Adam as was wrongly interpreted later on. Each of its sides, ribs or “pillars” is attributed to one of the two opposing forces, fusion and separation, and the currents of energy weave themselves around them in an alternating pattern to form the Caduceus. Here duality is a potential, but has not yet come into being. Man is still at the developmental stage of his vital emotional nature.
His relationship with the environment is still of a fusionary and instinctive nature. His thoughts are turned towards the present moment, and are only preoccupied with vital necessities. He reacts to external demands in a more or less impulsive way, and has not yet acquired a capacity for discernment (the movement of stepping back and of separation necessary for a shift in consciousness has not yet occurred). His relationship with the Absolute establishes itself in the highest part of his vital emotional being and therefore through nature, the strongest and purest expression of this as symbolised by the garden and its fruits. In the Greek myths men would seek fire, their point of contact with Reality, at the summits of ash trees. (Melia means “ash tree”. She is the wife of Inachos, “he who is not yet human”, himself son of the Titan Oceanos who begins the lineage of the “evolutionary process in accordance with nature”). This is why in Genesis as well as in Greek mythology men were known to be vegetarians.
But at the heart of this harmony something causes intrigue, a tree the fruits of which man must not eat. Actually there are two trees in this garden: the tree of life and the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil” with its “forbidden fruit”. The first represents the evolutionary process within the consciousness of Unity, and the second represents growth within the process of individuation based on discernment. This tree must not be confused with the symbol of “the tree of life” which we have spoken about previously and which is itself made up of two trees.

Then appeared the snake, a symbol of evolution within the cycles. It is through woman, the intuitive polarity and therefore the first to become aware of the transformation to come, that begins the mutation, the entry into the separative movement aimed at the acquisition of discernment, for “your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good from evil”: There was therefore in man a strong inner impulse of divine nature for evolution.
From this moment only Ish and Isha become Adam and Eve, the individualised couple. Man shouts out the name of his wife, “Eve” (Living-Hava), “mother of all life”. And Yahweh symbolically protects with the flames of a burning sword the access to the tree of life, for it seems that Adam and Eve had no wish to touch it: the vast majority of humankind, dominated by the process of separation necessary for the formation of the ego, does not in fact worry about finding the path of lost unity again. Similarly, Hope remains within the jar in accordance with the will of Zeus.

There is however a noteworthy difference between these two myths: in the Greek myth it was not men who were responsible for the fall but the Titan Prometheus, who payed dearly for his aid to mortals.
Ascribing the original sin to the gods, the Greeks thus liberated themselves from the concept of guilt which still weighs heavily on the western Christian world. In Genesis on the other hand, shame and guilt coincide with the appropriation of knowledge:
Ish et Isha were naked but did not feel shame. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realised that they were naked”: shame.
Then they heard the voice of Yahweh in the garden and hid themselves: guilt.
These two feelings seem to be compensations for the experience of separation. Shame is linked to self image, and allows one to maintain a sense of integrity of this image. Meanwhile guilt is linked to the group and seeks to maintain its cohesion, but without putting in question one’s self image. It is interesting to note that in the East, where the sense of group predominates, much importance has been ascribed to shame, as if in any case the primacy of the group could not be shaken. On the other hand the West is more individualistic, and gave greater importance to guilt as the sense of personal independence could not be put into question. This point should be studied in conjunction with the study of the differences of functioning between the East and the West in accordance with the prevalence of one or the other of the “two brains”.
Shame and guilt appear from the moment when the consciousness of the dividing rupture manifests itself. Actually they seem to be the automatic compensations to the process of discernment when the child (or man) cuts himself apart from his inner being, which is not in fact “separate”. They disappear from the moment in which man regains his sense of unity, whatever the path may be (admitting fault and forgiveness, becoming aware of error and rectifying accordingly, purification and liberation, etc.).
As a centralizing movement, the ego itself cannot reestablish the ruptured connection which it suffers from and makes use of at the same time, and can therefore not free itself from guilt. For this the being must surrender to something wider than himself.
Guilt can seep in when actions deviate even slightly from the sense of inner rightness, but it is especially linked to the presence of the ego. When there is in fact a deviation, it must evolve towards the sole perception “of something jarring within oneself” and towards the immediate will to readjust.

The punishment of Prometheus

Zeus had Prometheus chained to a pillar in the faraway north and send an eagle to torment him. During the day, the eagle fed on Prometheus’ liver, which would regenerate during the night.
The reason for this punishment was not only the theft of fire, but also the numerous instances in which Prometheus “the benefactor” had provided help to mortals in all areas of life.
The account of the punishment given here is that of Aeschylus. It does not appear in Hesiod’s version. According to Apollodorus, the eagle was a son of Typhon and Echidna and therefore the combined result of the ignorance and perversion of evolution. He therefore suggests that it is the identification of Epimetheus with Pandora which brings about the loss of the inner contact.
During his last labour, (or in the before-last labour according to some versions), Heracles killed the eagle in accordance with the will of Zeus.

This myth takes us back to the cycles of the mind which we have already described, marked by the alternating forces of separation and fusion. At the highest level, this is the projection of the Absolute outside Himself followed by his return to Himself symbolised by the character Rho. Expansion/contraction on the material plane and growth/absorption of the life plane. (Cf. the study of the god Hephaestus in the chapter about the Olympian gods.)
As the duration of a cycle is very long compared to the vestiges that we keep of the human evolution, the awareness of the phenomenon by the initiates most probably only occurred at the beginning of a phase of separation. Indeed, if the the writing appeared during a period of fusion, it would not have been necessary to elaborate encrypted myth only in order to keep obvious ideas for all. It was the entry into a period necessary for individuation, and therefore moving away from nature in its essence and from the sacred, which justified the secret preservation of the knowledge of the process.

The cycles in the mind actually do not influence humankind as long as the latter is still in the world of childhood, not because they do not exist but rather because they do not find any resonance in man who lives essentially in his world of feelings and images. There is no resonance.
But the more thought and reflection take their place and the more sensitivity is sharpened and mental consciousness is forged, the more man despite himself lives increasingly under the influence of these forces and their alternation.
Therefore the initiates of ancient times considered that during childhood energy circulates freely between spirit and matter in an harmonious functioning akin to the forces of fusion and separation. For on the vital plane instinct oversees both the perception of what needs to be done and its execution. This is why the symbol which applies itself to this period is the character S “the upright serpent ” of Genesis.
When entering the mental plane on the other hand, the circulation of energy oscillates between the two functions of the mind, reason and intuition, in accordance with the symbol of the serpent which crawls upon its belly, which symbol is the character N. Henceforth evolution does not follow the right movement of the Absolute, but rather develops in accordance with nature. (Ref. Genesis 3.14.) If the “upright serpent” can also be associated with the infinity symbol, vertically depicted as the figure 8, then the “laying down serpent” can be associated with the symbol and the beginning of this movement symbolised by the unfinished symbol alpha . The Bible describes some specific points about the relation between man and evolution in this new phase of progressing in the mental plane as Yahweh tells the snake “I shall put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; it will bruise your head and you will strike its heel.” (Genesis 3.15): while the human mind will act to slow down evolution, the latter will make humankind “limp” just as Hephaestus does, for it still functions only according to one of the poles.

But man was not meant to leave this period of fusion without a deep sense of nostalgia. This ultimate resistance to entering into the separative mental period is recounted in the story of the tower of Babel. Contrary to many interpretations, men in fact chose to remain united and were punished for this. Yahweh came down to earth to see what went on there and concluded that: “they are all a single people with a single language! This is only the start of their undertakings! Now nothing they plan to do will be beyond them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they cannot understand one another” (Gen. 11. 6-7). In fact, it was no longer the time for the group to be of primary importance. It was absolutely necessary for man to become individualised, to remove himself from the hold of the clan and to accept the process of individuation. This is why the Fall was also known as the trial of man’s Freedom.

The punishment of Prometheus is therefore linked to the alternation of forces in the mental plane. The day symbolises periods of distancing and drawing away from, of separation during which the link to Reality becomes distended (the liver diminishes), while the night favors closeness with the Absolute (the liver regenerates itself)

For the seeker, the submission to the cycles of the mind and therefore, during the separative period, the suffering of losing faith (inflicted by the eagle) carry on as long as the intellect has not established its right place as a tool of execution which does not interfere with intuition, which is to say as long as mental silence has not been firmly established. As this realisation is often a progressive and gradual one, it is difficult to situate the liberation of the hero from the influence of those cycles within the Labours of Heracles. In fact, the seeker can realise that he has freed himself from the cycles in certain domains well before he enters a state of union with the Absolute.

The slaying of the eagle by Heracles occurs during one of his last Labours, which is to say when the seeker discovers the secrets which “guard immortality” (the dog Cerberus) or when he becomes “one who knows” (the apples of the Hesperides).
Later on, Aeschylus wrote a version of “Prometheus unbound ” which we know nothing of, but later tradition ascribes the account of the liberation of the Titan to Heracles. Apollodorus mentions an exchange of the boon of immortality between Chiron and Prometheus, but this version is not unanimously agreement upon. This episode will be examined during the third Labour of Heracles.

Deucalion and Pyrrha: the myth of the great flood

Prometheus fathered a son, Deucalion, whose mother is sometimes known as Pronoia, “she who thinks ahead”, or “providence, she who saves”. In other version his mother is Hesione, “human mind”.
Deucalion married his cousin Pyrrha, “the red-headed one”, daughter of Epimetheus. This union indicates a will to realise spiritual union through a development in the highest levels of the mind. (The filiation of Epimetheus is only mentioned by Apollodorus.)
Pyrrha is the first mortal to have been born of a natural union, and thus represents the possibility of a purely human realisation.
The etymology of the name Deucalion remains obscure. It may originate from the words Δευω “wetting” or “not succeeding”, and καλια, “hut or cabin” in relation to the deluge. It could also be interpreted though Δ+καλ : ” he who calls for union”. It would seem that his identification as Noah in the biblical account occurred later on. This myth was first recounted by Apollodorus, a compiler of myths who lived in the first or second century of our era.
Zeus wanted to destroy the brazen race when he witnessed its violence and vice. Following the instruction of Prometheus, Deucalion made a “chest” which he filled with provisions and set sail with his spouse Pyrrha. Zeus then sent forth a deluge which wiped away all men except those who had sought refuge in the high mountains.
Deucalion and Pyrrha then wandered on the waters for nine days and nine nights before reaching the coast of Thessaly.
(In Genesis the calculation of the duration of the flood is much more complex as it includes 40 days of rain, 150 days of floods and the different stages of the receding of the floods; this account therefore calls for a particular decryption.)
Zeus sent his herald Hermes to offer them the realisation of a single wish. Deucalion chose to bring forth a new human race. Following the instructions of Zeus, Deucalion and Pyrrha hurled stones over their heads, thus creating beings of their own gender.
According to exegetes and climatologists, this myth preserves the memory of exceptional floods in Mesopotamia in the third millennium, or more improbably climatic anomalies which marked the entry into the Neolithic 11,000 years ago and caused massive inundations in Egypt of more than eight or nine meters above sea level. (Cf. Midant-Reynes, Beatrix Prehistory of Egypt. Trans. Ian Shaw. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2000.)
Deucalion and Pyrrha had several children, amongst whom Hellen and Protogenia who were at the origin of the two great lineages of this branch.
On the spiritual plane, the flood or deluge symbolises a deep cleansing of beliefs and formations inherited from the past, of which only some essential elements must be kept.
According to Apollodorus it occurred during the evolutionary phase which Hesiod identifies as “the brazen race”, corresponding to the third stage of mental evolution associated with the development of the intellect. (cf. below). When man realises that the latter cannot answer his most essential queries he is faced with an important calling into question.
But the Absolute does not leave the seeker stranded in a desert: it offers him new bases for the nascent spiritual path in accordance with his nature and through his highest capacities (Hermes). It will be the ancient memories of humankind (stones) which will serve as ferment for this emergence. In Ovid’s recounting the stones are associated with “the grandmother’s bones” and carry the same symbolism of physical memory.
The nine days and nine nights of wandering are symbolic of the gestation which leads the seeker to the beginning of the path on the coasts of Thessaly, province of the first spiritual realisations.
The children of Deukalion and Pyrrha, Hellen and Protogenia, open the two main lineages of development in the superior planes of consciousness. The lineage of Hellen includes the ascension through the planes of consciousness outlined by the list of Pleiades, daughters of Atlas. On the other hand, the lineage of Protogenia makes explicit the realisations of the “adventurers of consciousness”, the guides of humanity.

The five “races” of humanity according to Hesiod.

Before proceeding with what could seem to be moral considerations, Hesiod concludes his description of human evolution by defining five stages of mental growth and development.
But while describing the progressive fall by which humankind is gradually distanced from Truth, he highlights by contrast the ascension of a human elite striving for spiritual heights. While reading his description one must therefore keep in mind the image of the play of the ying and yang polarities (as in the symbol of Tao), in which the seed of light grows while at the same time darkness continues expanding unceasingly as well.
As humankind submits increasingly to the forces of individuation and experiences the loss of true direction brought about in the majority of cases by a still all-powerful ego, a dwindling minority keeps feeding their inner fire and strives to pierce towards the summits present beyond the mind. Although Hesiod perceives signs of this in the first stages he seems to have given up all hope in the Iron Age in which he lived.
“Thereafter, would that I were not among the men of the fifth generation, but either had died before or been born afterwards. For now truly is a race of iron, and men never rest from labour and sorrow by day, and from perishing by night; and the gods shall lay sore trouble upon them. But, notwithstanding, even these shall have some good mingled with their evils. And Zeus will destroy this race of mortal men also when they come to have grey hair on the temples at their birth. The father will not agree with his children, nor the children with their father, nor guest with his host, nor comrade with comrade; nor will brother be dear to brother as aforetime. Men will dishonour their parents as they grow quickly old, and will carp at them, chiding them with bitter words, hard-hearted they, not knowing the fear of the gods. They will not repay their aged parents the cost their nurture, for might shall be their right: and one man will sack another’s city. There will be no favour for the man who keeps his oath or for the just or for the good; but rather men will praise the evil-doer and his violent dealing. Strength will be right and reverence will cease to be; and the wicked will hurt the worthy man, speaking false words against him, and will swear an oath upon them. Envy, foul-mouthed, delighting in evil, with scowling face, will go along with wretched men one and all. And then Aidos and Nemesis [shame of wrongdoing and indignation against the wrongdoer], with their sweet forms wrapped in white robes, will go from the wide-pathed earth and forsake mankind to join the company of the deathless gods: and bitter sorrows will be left for mortal men, and there will be no help against evil.”

Such were Hesiod’s complaints 2700 years ago, predicting the sad future of this iron race, ” when they will come to have grey hair on the temples at their birth”, which is to say when they become old before their time and are flooded by fears, when the intellect, naturally tending towards fixity, will have become an all-powerful master on the point of making all life disappear. For this reasoning mind originating from the movement of separation, the only ultimate expression possible is a frozen desert in which each being is fixed in his solitude, cut out from the warmth of life.
Since this myth was recorded, more than three thousand years have passed. Even if there have been brief periods known as “the Middle Ages”, it would require a very attentive observer to descry signs that humankind has truly inversed this movement by a return to what is sacred.
According to the theory of cycles discussed in the previous chapter and considering the succession of generations in the lineage of the Titan Oceanos, we can situate the entry into the process of “rebirth/renaissance” of the great cycle at the end of the Neolithic period, at the time of the first civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. This was approximately six thousand five hundred years ago, at the beginning of the era of Taurus and a thousand years before the first pictographs.
That would place the present day at the very end of the period of separation, at the time of the reversal of energies. In homothety with the secondary cycles of two thousand one hundred and sixty years, we would be on the point of embarking upon a period similar to that of the slow disintegration of the Roman Empire, a new period of six thousand five hundred years which would lead us into the fusionary part of the cycle.

But we must look at the very beginning, at the golden race created by the gods when Cronus ruled over the sky, described thus in verse 109 of Hesiod’s Works and Days:
“They lived like gods without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief: miserable age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never failing they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all evils. When they died, it was as though they were overcome with sleep. After their deaths, Zeus made of them divine forces, guardians of mortal men.”
This description can be likened to that of paradise, the garden of Eden which we have compared to the state of early childhood. There men lived in complete harmony with the forces of nature, without any mental intervention. They were not conscious of time, and death was not associated with any mental panic. Some say that Athena was still a very young girl at this time, which is to say that the inner quest had just barely begun.
From this period of harmony humankind seems to have retained an inner knowledge, a “sense of lack” which motivates seekers to search for the original state of joy after having acquired individuation (freedom) by a progression through the mental plane.
The Fall came to disturb this harmony, for being called to wider horizons humanity had only attained a provisory summit.
As barbarous as our era may seem however, it must not cause a sense of nostalgia for this golden race, for at that time sensitivity and individuality were but beginning to develop. Man lived in an “animal” harmony, in a mass consciousness of the “herd” with very little mastery over his emotions and impulses.

The second race is that of silver. While the golden race is associated with the physical mind, the silver race can be associated with the development of the vital mind.
According to Hesiod, the silver race was markedly inferior to the first. For a hundred years, the child grew without intelligence and in complete submission to his mother. But having attained adolescence, he did not have much longer to live, being a victim of his foolishness. Abandoning themselves to violence amongst themselves, men refused to honour the gods. However, since their race was buried under earth, mortals named them the “pure spirits dwelling in the earth” (Works and Days, verse 140) and their memory is respected.
These were men governed by their senses, lacking individualisation and still not able to regulate their desires and impulses. As long as he is dependent on his mother, he remains within the innocence of harmony. From the moment that the first steps of individuation occur, he succumbs to the conflicts of the ego.
All the same, as the mind was only beginning to develop the men of this period remained largely under the influence of the forces of nature, which is why they were named the pure but inconscient (“pure spirits dwelling in the earth”)

The third race is the brazen race.
Their only interest was in fighting, and they ate no bread. Their tools and weapons were made of bronze, and “their strength was great and their hearts terrifying and hard as steel. They destroyed each other and went into the vast domain of Hades deprived of glory. As fearsome as they were, death carried them away and they deserted the shining light of the sun.” (Works and Days, verse 140)
In this race is described a deepening of the mind but lacking a refinement of the vital (they did not use flour) Men were not yet very sensitive (hearts hard as steel), but showed a strong vitality. Led by an ego-controlled intellect which always wanted to be right, they were very querulous.
They stopped accepting death as a simple passage and became conscious of duality, losing the inner contact (the light of Helius).

The fourth race also seemed to be a brazen one, although Hesiod dos not specify this. However it was ” nobler and more righteous, a god-like race of hero-men who are called demi-gods, the race before our own, throughout the boundless earth. Grim war and dread battle destroyed a part of them, some in the land of Cadmus at seven-gated Thebe when they fought for the flocks of Oedipus, and some, when war had brought them in ships over the great sea gulf to Troy for rich-haired Helen’s sake: there death’s end enshrouded a part of them. But to the others father Zeus, the son of Cronos, gave a living and an abode apart from men, and made them dwell at the ends of earth. And they live untouched by sorrow in the islands of the blessed.” (Works and Days, verse 156)

This fourth race describes a period of high spiritual realisation, some of which disappeared in time while some aspects remained definitively, the harmony of the first golden race of the time of Cronos having been regained but this time sustained by consciousness. This apparent “abnormality” in the Fall corresponding to the process of individuation can also be put in relation with the Greek Middle Ages (or Dark Ages) extending from 1200 to 800 years before our era. This was a period of closeness with the sacred, the decline of which Hesiod may have observed. He may have thus confused the rhythm of the great cycle with the before-last period of the lesser cycle. This seems to be confirmed by Ovid’s view, as he describes the four ages (gold, silver, brazen and iron), but does not at any point mention an age of heroes.

They were however only “demi-gods”, not having accomplished the totality of the progress through the mental plane.

Then came the iron race, to which, like Hesiod, we belong. This race submerges itself in the night of matter so as to bring consciousness to it, manipulating it in every possible way, sometimes savagely. It must allow some conquerors of Truth to accomplish the miracle awaited for millions of years, that of the joining of spirit and matter so as to open the way for a “divine materialism”.

This succession of races facilitates a condensed illustration of the double movement already discussed: as humankind evolves, sensitivity is refined as well as the ability to investigate the inconscient. But for the past thirteen thousand years and till the present day, humankind has at the same time sunk more and more into darkness under the combined effect of the cycles of the mind and of the ego. It would also be possible to interpret the myth of the five races according to the five successive periods of yoga, which bring the seeker into and increasingly deep exploration of evolutionary memories.