The children of the Titan Iapetus include Atlas who is the father of the Pleiades and symbolizes the necessary ascent of the planes of consciousness, as well as the descendants of Prometheus who illustrates the corresponding experiences and achievements.
See Family tree 7 and Family tree 8
Atlas holding the sky on his shoulders standing in front of Prometheus – Vatican Museums
To fully understand this web page, it is recommended to follow the progression given in the tab Greek myths interpretation. This progression follows the spiritual journey.
The method to navigate in the site is given in the Home tab.
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.
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.
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’.
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
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.