The reign of the Titans corresponds to the childhood of humanity, to its golden age before the mind takes over when Zeus rose 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.
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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 re