The Argonauts at the Dolions

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This myth deals with inner insincerities which lead to deceptive paths

During the night the heroes finished crossing the Hellespont and advanced into the Propontis. Then they reached a peninsula known as “Mount of Bears” which had two successive harbours and moored their ships in the first cove. The hills of this peninsula were inhabited by wild and ferocious beings, the Sons of the Earth, each of which had six arms. The Doliones occupied the plains and were protected from the giants by Poseidon because they were the descendants of this god.

The Argonauts built an altar to Apollo the “God of Disembarkation”, and developed their friendship with the Doliones. Their king invited them to advance with their ships to the second cove.

The next morning at dawn they climbed to the top of the Mountain Dindymum “to be acquinted with the sea routes”. The giants began hurling rocks to obstruct the channel through which the ships would exit but were slain by the arrows of the Argonauts.

The latter set sail but overnight the adverse winds brought them back to the island without their knowledge. In the darkness the Doliones, believing that they were faced with hostile people attacked the Argonauts who slew a large number of them and realised their mistake only the next morning. The king of the Doliones Cyzicus perished in the battle.

 There were then twelve stormy days and twelve stormy nights which prevented them from setting sail again. Warned by the flight of the Halcyon, the seer Mopsus advised Jason to offer a sacrifice to Rhea and the goddess responded “through the manifestation of clear signs”.

 The Argonauts then set sail again, travelling past the cape of Poseidon and heading toward new lands.

The advance of the Argonauts across the Aegean, Hellespont, Propontis, the Bosphorus, and the Euxinus Pontus seas describes the progression of increasingly deeper purification of the vital being.

In the first place the Aegean Sea relates to seekers who embark on the journey but stay “on the edge” of purifying their vital being.

Then comes the first strait Hellespont which gets its name from Helle. She was the sister of Phrixus and the two children when tortured by their stepmother fled on the back of a ram with the Golden Fleece sent by Zeus. It is the myth already studied which recounts the first experience of luminous sensitivity. This experience usually opens much later the doors to a deeper involvement in the quest. The Hellespont is also the final limit in the individuation process (Helle). Hellespont is also known as the strait of the Dardanelles with reference to Dardanus, the son of the Pleiad Electra, who marks the first experience of the illumined mind.

The seeker then progresses deeper into the purification of his vital being (in the Propontis which is pro+Pontos, i.e. more deeper in the vital) up to the place that opens the passage to the luminous mind or illuminations. This is the Bosphorus “which carries the cow”, the cow being symbol of illumination.

Finally the seeker penetrates the deep waters of the vital being, the Euxinus Pontus (the Black Sea) or the “strange, inhospitable vital being” with its shores inhabited by wild tribes including the Amazons. As per our interpretation, the meaning usually attached to the Pontus – “the hospitable sea” – is thus quite erroneous.

Therefore the first episode in the quest for the Fleece relates to the beginning of the spiritual journey as “the beard had hardly grown on Jason’s face“. It is a warning against the “insincerities” which create illusions and operate from the subconscient, the word Dolione signifying “deceitful, cunning and deceptive”. The Doliones are sons of Poseidon. The seeker does not identify them as such because they appear to be going in the direction of the quest: in fact the king provided wine for the Argonauts and sheep for their sacrifice to Apollo.

This distances the seeker from his psychic perception of truth although he believes he is on the journey to the light of Truth or convinces himself that he is. That is why sacrifice is offered to Apollo, “God of Disembarkation”: the seeker has left the right path. When we persist in insincerities and are deaf to the inner voice, the latter falls silent, often for a long time until we return to the right path which sometimes happens only after harsh confrontations. There can be several reasons for this deafness: impatience, fascination with powers, desire to stand out from the crowd, automatic self-justification, or anything that benefits the ego pride.

The seeker then sinks deeper into the illusory path without suspecting it and it threatens to imprison him in a kind of a trap (The Argonauts push their ship into the second creek that the giants attempt to obstruct).

The monstrous giants with six arms can be seen as hostile forces with an extended power of action that hides within the heights of aspiration (the mountains). These powers of the subtle world can only act if we open the doors to them.

Here the error stems from the fact that the seeker is not conscious of the forces opposing the journey, forces which are born in the inconscient he came from and which hide behind his spiritual aspiration: the giants, sons of Earth, rush from behind the mountain. These forces attempt to imprison the seeker, “to obstruct the narrow channel”.

Seeming welcoming and of easy access, that which leads to error has every appearance of the truth but arises from the subconscious (Poseidon).This conceals what the highest consciousness nurtures as an obstacle or a test to evolution (Hera feeds the giants): the obstacles appear on the journey to help the seeker in his purification. This is a law of evolution which the seeker must always keep in mind.

In the first confrontation with the opposing forces the seeker is sufficiently purified to avoid total imprisonment, thus destroying the hostile forces without too much difficulty: the Argonauts slay the six-armed giants.

However what the seeker does not realise initially is that it is his “insincerities” or “illusions” which have led him to this situation. Although he thinks that he can continue on his journey he is led back toward them by force. He is not yet advanced enough for the struggle against his shortcomings and weaknesses to take place fully consciously: the “cleansing” thus takes place in the inconscient, in obscurity. The seeker can assess what he has conquered only after his victory. This episode helps him understand that at this stage the journey is an alliance between personal will and divine action working behind a veil.

Therefore what is described here is a trap laid by deceptive forms of spirituality and opening the way to destructive forces. Their mode of operation is to seduce and lure the seeker by playing on his weaknesses, and then to draw him deep into their scheme and trap him by “blocking all exits”. To come out of this type of mistake one must get rid of the false spirituality that one has adhered to and above all become aware of the aspects of one’s nature that allowed such a loss of direction. Some examples of these weaknesses are given with the names of the Doliones who were killed: the search for power, the aspiration for glory, etc. The names of Dolions given by Apollonius seem to indicate that the seeker does not only remove in himself egoistic goals such as the desire for glory, but also partly gives up some enthusiasm that has made him begin on the journey.

The first poem/canto thus describes the two major pitfalls which await the debutant seeker and which sometimes can block him for years or lives.

The end of this stage is marked by a long period of emotional disturbances that cannot hurt the seeker but put the journey on pause, “twelve stormy days and twelve stormy nights which prevent them from setting sail “. But life signals are given to the seeker that he is on the right path as Rhea responds “through the appearance of clear signs “.

It is at the end of the first poem which we can finally consider as the preparatory period for the quest that Apollonius has Heracles disembark: in fact, as soon as there is a conscious entry into the quest there can no longer be any correlation between the theoretical myths (in this case, the labours of Heracles) and the experiences.

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