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The third Canto deals with karmic memories.
Jason convinced the Argonauts to send just a small delegation to Aeetes. Only the sons of Phrixus along with Telamon and Augeias accompanied him.
Aeetes was angry at first, accusing them of wanting to seize the throne but then agreeing to let them go in search of the fleece on the condition that Jason should pass a certain test. The hero had to yoke two dreadful bulls with feet of bronze and exhaling fire as the king was used to doing. Then he had to plow four acres of the fallow land of Ares with the bulls to then sow in it the dragon’s teeth. From this sowing fierce armed warriors would spring up whom the hero would have to kill before they killed him.
(The dragon had been killed by Cadmus at the time of the founding of Thebes to free the access to the spring of Ares; Apollonius thus establishes a link with the purification-liberation process.)
The goddesses Hera and Athena who were closely watching over the expedition feared that the heroes would not be able to seize the fleece when confronted by the terrible Aeetes. They asked Aphrodite to send her son Eros so that with one of his arrows he would ignite Medea’s heart with a violent love for Jason. She was the second daughter of Aeetes, the first one, Chalciope, being married to Phrixus. The help of this sorceress and priestess of Hecate seemed indispensable to the two goddesses in order to save the heroes from disaster. Therefore a carefully masked Eros shot an arrow at Medea who was immediately enamoured of Jason.
On the suggestion of Argus, one of the sons of Phrixus, a meeting was secretly organised between Medea and Jason with the involvement of Chalciope who was worried about the inheritance of her children, for Aeetes in fact believed that the Argonauts had come to seize the throne.
During the meeting Jason could not resist the love that Aphrodite had kindled in Medea. He promised to take her with him after his trial and marry her. Medea gave him an ointment that would make him invincible to the bronze weapons and to fire which he had to spread on his arms and body. The ointment had been prepared with a “plant that had grown for the first time when the carnivorous eagle of Zeus let the divine blood of the unfortunate Prometheus flow to the earth on the foothills of the Caucasian mountain”. Medea also assured him that the protection would last throughout the day without fail and recommended that he must never refuse to fight but when the warriors would spring up from the ground he must throw a heavy stone in their midst without being seen because then they would fight among themselves to seize it.
Just before the test Telamon and Aethalides went to collect the teeth which had to be sown while Jason prepared himself and offered a sacrifice to Hecate.
King Aeetes, the people of Colchis and the Argonauts assembled in the plain of Ares, “the Killer of Men”, to attend the trial.
Jason stood firm and waited for the dreadful flame spitting bulls and overpowered them one after another. Once he had yoked the bulls he ploughed the land and sowed the teeth.
Then across the field rose like stems of grain the fully armed “Sons of Earth”. Remembering Medea’s advice Jason seized an enormous stone and flung it in their midst. As expected “they who had been sown” killed each other to seize it. The hero then hurried cutting down those who were still half-embedded and the latecomers who were entering the battle. Soon the ground was red with the blood of the warriors and not a single one remained alive.
Dismayed Aeetes returned to his palace to consider a nefarious plan for dealing with the heroes.
It must be recalled that Aeetes the king of Colchis, “the consciousness of the whole”, is a son of Helios the sun “that sees everything” (Panoptes) and is thus an expression of the radiance of the supermind consciousness of Truth (Hyperion).
(The character structure of the name Colchis could be understood as the place of “the opening of consciousness and essential liberty”. Let us make note that in the Balkans Colchis is a yellow flower which appears at the end of winter.)
According to the most ancient legend Helios only had two children: Circe the magician, “the power of detailed vision” or “discernment of Truth” and King Aeetes of Colchis, “the high global consciousness”. (Κιρκος is a bird of prey, “the spiraling one” who discerns things from a long distance.)
The other manifestations of the supermind, Perses and Pasiphae, were added later on.
Aeetes is in fact “olophronos”, he who “envelops totality”. His capital is Aia, a symbol of the “development and organisation of existence-consciousness across all planes”.
The nymph Asterodia, “the path of a star” or “the path at the beginnings of light”, bore him his son Apsyrtus.
His legitimate wife Idyia, “she who sees”, bore him two children one of which is the magician Medea, “intention” – in this case it is the intention of the soul rather than of the ego as she is a granddaughter of the sun and Hecate’s priestess – and Chalciope the “inflexibility of vision-willpower”.
The name Μηδεια has the same root as the word μηδος which means at the same time “intention” and “the genitals of man”. The latter meaning is it seems often used by Homer and would associate Medea to the concept of a force of creation.
Another interpretation of Medea can be given based on the word μηδεις which signifies “none, nobody” evoking a giving up of ego with the passage into the first place of the psychic being.
Since at this level the manifestations of the forces are transformational powers of the supermind, the characters that represent them are magicians, notably Medea and Circe.
Medea is in addition a priestess of Hecate, “she who strikes from afar” which is to say “she who has long-term goals”. Hecate is a daughter of Perses “the transformation” (son of the Titan Crius).
It therefore seems obvious that those who opposed Aeetes the most strongly were the Sauromatians (or Sauromatae), “the vain lizards” simultaneously symbolising inertia, lack of commitment and one who has no path and thus no love.
The delegation led by Jason to meet Aeetes specifically includes heroes who represent the first luminous experience of the soul. These are Augeas, “flashes of light” and the children of Phrixus “the shiver”, the only ones able to “recognise” through similarity the nature of the experience which should now be powerfully manifested. We have come across Augeas in the fifth labour of Heracles, in which the hero had to clean his stables (some authors consider him to be a son of Helios and thus a brother of Aeetes). The seeker is also already fairly advanced in his knowledge of the structure of consciousness (Jason is carrying the caduceus of Hermes).
The last ambassador is Telamon, a son of Aeacus and father of the great Ajax, a symbol of “the highest consciousness” both on the plane of the spirit and the plane of matter. He is an uncle of Achilles and in this respect he is concerned by the yoga dealing with the purification of the depths of the vital. His name seems to simultaneously mean “mastery”, “endurance” and “self-giving” or “dedication”.
Apollonius then again resumes the description, almost in full, of the trial of Cadmus, an ancestor of Oedipus, during the founding of Thebes. The first half of the dragon’s teeth was sown by Cadmus after he had tried in vain to find his sister Europa.
It must be recalled that the Theban wars describe the purification of the centers of consciousness materialised in the body as the chakras. Therefore the trial of Cadmus illustrates the principle of purification of memories inscribed in the subconscious and corporeal inconscient.
Jason’s trial is also the description of a process of the cleansing of memories which is not only a particular test on the journey but must be carried out consciously from this point onward.
Through the test wherein Jason had to yoke the bulls and then use them to plough the land and sow the teeth of the dragon, the seeker must demonstrate on the one hand that he is capable of holding the energy that originates from the higher planes in order to use them in the field of duality (the spring of Ares). If the cow is a symbol of illumination then it follows that the bull is a symbol of the power of realisation of the luminous mind. Indirectly originating in the supermind and expressed through the overmind or coming directly from the overmind, this energy is so strong that a few drops of it are sufficient to raise vital storms in a seeker who is inadequately prepared.
Such an uprising can be observed in the years 1967- 1969 when according to numerous seekers some drops of the power of the higher planes brought about both a phenomenal aspiration for innovation and very strong vital reactions due to which the essential was lost from sight.
The bronze hoofs of the bulls indicate a power of incarnation that we can sometimes feel even at the physical level.
On the other hand the seeker must demonstrate that he is now adequately armed to confront certain memories embedded in his being which will emerge on this occasion.
This section of the myth not only refers to inner contradictions like those that the seeker encountered earlier in the episode of the Cyanean rocks but also to memories of evolution which can prove to be very destructive. Through their reference to the dragon’s teeth the Ancient ones have established a link here with the lineage of the Titan Oceanus to indicate that this trial perceptibly occurs in the same period as the beginning of the purification-liberation process of the founding of Thebes by Cadmus and at the time of entering a process of expansion of the consciousness (Europa).
In fact the first half of the teeth was sown by Cadmus after he attempted in vain to find his sister Europa. (Cf. story of the foundation of Thebes in the following chapter.)
It was Telamon “the endurant” and Aethalides, “sparks of flame, ashes”, who went to collect the dragon’s teeth from Aeetes. A son of Hermes, Aethalides was famous for his particularly faithful memory and his skills as an archer (a will resolutely turned toward the goal). His mother was Eupolemeia, “she who fights well in the mind”. We can therefore understand him as a strong capacity for illumination and purification by the highest mind which allows the light to emerge.
Without this capability combined with great endurance the seeker cannot hope to escape unharmed from confrontations with his deep knots.
“Ploughing the field” is a metaphor often used to designate “work on oneself” and the teeth symbolise the “knots” which have not been dissolved and have left marks on the inconscient.
Their reemergence makes it necessary for them to be confronted once again, but with new assistance. From this point onward the seeker is in fact in an “amorous” relationship with his soul’s project which is incarnated in Medea as “the intention of the soul”.
Additionally there must be an alliance between the intention of the soul and an inflexible determination (the two sisters, Medea and Chalciope, are in agreement about the strategy).
But that too cannot be done without a renewed protection from the supermind comprised of an unwavering faith for the completion of the task. This protection is represented by the ointment provided by Medea. It had been prepared with a plant that started growing at the time when Pometheus’ agony began, that is when man entered in the separative consciousness (in the process of the alternation of the cycles of the mind). Therefore “faith” is the remedy which compensates for the entry into the period of individuation “necessary for acquiring discernment” and acts as a balancing factor against the gradual distancing from the Absolute. This is what is described as the Test of Freedom in Genesis.
The only real protection for the seeker on the journey is an unwavering faith in the victory of Truth. This faith protects him from destruction, whether it is from men (through reactivated memories) or from the power of realisation of the luminous mind which can be destructive for the one who wields it.
If the “knots” are given the opportunity to be confronted to the most material reality (the stone) several problems resolve themselves without the intervention of the seeker by nullifying each other (to vanquish the warriors who had emerged from the ground Jason had flung a stone in their midst and they killed each other to seize it).
Internally as well as externally the knots nullify each other on the condition that the seeker is engaged in life and does not yield to a lack of commitment (Medea advises him to never refuse to fight).
When the moment came for the warriors the stone came to symbolise the opportunity to dissolve knots and associated sufferings. The latter provide greater protection as long as the knots are not called upon.
In addition it must be noted that it is not the seeker who activates the knots but that he only prepares the ground for them to be dissolved.
In this way this myth marks the moment when for the first time the seeker comes in contact with the spiritual energies that could help him in his task (Medea).
In a similar myth about the path of purification-liberation we will see that when Cadmus sowed the teeth five warriors survived and became the origin of the military castes of Thebes. Thus out of the memories that emerge there are some which would come up to the conscious level and serve as the basis for the process of the incarnated manifestation of the inner being. Others who had been “sown” would not have killed each other to seize the stone but because they would think they were being attacked by one of their fellows: it would then be the case of knots which can be eliminated by a work of consciousness without needing to be confronted to reality.
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