The death of Pelias and the games given in his honour

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Pelias, who had stopped believing in the return of the Argonauts, had wanted to put to death Jason’s father Aeson but the latter had asked for the right to bring about his own death. Jason’s mother Polymede then hanged herself, leaving behind her young son Promachos who Pelias killed.


We have said that the Aeson-Polymede couple represents the seeker whose powerful individualised mind directs the quest according to his own thought and will, and with some dispersion. Even before the advent of enlightenment he goes through a phase in which “ignorance about his own path” – that leads to the desire to do good, which is as well a resistance to the right evolution (Pelias) – compels him to remove the direction of the quest from his mind (illustrated by the suicide of both partners). It is this letting go including the abandonment of the last “bastions” developed by brilliant mental work (the murder of Promachos “the last line of defense”) which actually allows the experience of enlightenment to take place.


It was to take revenge for the wrongs suffered during the quest and the death of his parents and his young brother Promachos that Jason with the help of Medea plotted for the death of Pelias.

Medea convinced the daughters of Pelias that they could rejuvenate their father (or perhaps only three daughters, Pisidice, Pelopia and Hippothoe, since some authors claim that Alcestis refused to lay a hand on him). For this purpose she cut up an old ram, boiled pieces of its flesh with herbs and potions and then brought it back to life as a young lamb. Very impressed the three princesses dismembered their father and put the pieces in a cauldron, but Medea voluntarily omitted to add the necessary herbs.

After this murder Jason gave the kingdom to Acastus (son of Pelias) who had exiled his own sisters after the death of their father.


For Pherecydes the quest of the Golden Fleece was undertaken at the instigation of Hera who knew that the hero being accompanied by Medea on his return, would inevitably result in the death of Pelias. The intervention of the supraconscious (Hera like Zeus belongs to the overmind and thus to the supraconscious) is in fact structured so that the first major spiritual experience automatically ends the ignorant wandering of the seeker (who has not yet found his path or his mission) and those commitments guided only by an “ignorant goodwill” which actually prevent the right movement of evolution (the death of Pelias).

The daughters of Pelias, Pisidice “she who tries to persuade or convince about the right way of doing things”, Pelopia “she with a partial vision” and Hippothoe “she who has an active vital” are resistances derived from this ignorance and seek to keep it active. The seeker is in fact still attached to his old patterns and actions despite the strong inner experience which has just taken place.

Only Alcestis “a strong rectitude (sincerity)” urges that this ignorance must disappear.

When Jason is united to Medea, “the intention of the soul”, ignorance about the life goal disappears and the seeker can look back and see that nothing in his quest was useless. He takes note of the journey travelled and the help given by the subconscious (Pelias is son of Poseidon).

That is why the Games in honour of Pelias were organised by his son Acastus “he who is very sincere”. But the old patterns of behaviour must first leave the centre of the stage, which is why he begins by exiling his sisters.

Only Hyginus preserved a list of the winners who with only a few exceptions are the companions of Jason mentioned at the beginning of this chapter: Calais and Zetes, the Dioscuri Castor and Pollux, etc.

Among the participants it is important to mention a namesake of Glaucus: defeated by Iolaus he was eaten at the end of the games by his team of horses: since he had habituated them to eating human flesh in order to make them more aggressive in battle, when this food was no longer available during the games they devoured him.

The name Glaucus refers to “brightness”. And since this character is usually identified with the son of Sisyphus it makes him the symbol of a “bright intellect” sure of himself up to the point of presumption which supports and enhances the expression of the vital (before the death of Pelias, Glaucus feeds his horses with human flesh to make them more aggressive). But after the first experience of inner contact, this “presumption” must give way to the “voice of consciousness”, Iolaus.

The Elders did not include these celebrations among the great Panhellenic Games probably to prevent the seekers from having the temptation of giving too much importance to the first experience of contact.

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