IXION AND THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE LAPITHS AND THE CENTAURS

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Ixion and the War of the Lapiths against the Centaurs symbolize on the one hand spiritual pride, on the other hand a deep purification of the vital.

The war of the Lapiths againts the Centaurs - Louvre Museum

The War of the Lapiths against the Centaurs – Louvre Museum

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.
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To begin with, it must be said that sincerity is progressive. To be perfectly sincere it is indispensable not to have any preference, any desire, any attraction, any dislike, any sympathy or antipathy, any attachment, any repulsion. One must have a total, integral vision of things, in which everything is in its place and one has the same attitude towards all things: the attitude of true vision.

One must have a total, integral vision of things, in which everything is in its place and one has the same attitude towards all things: the attitude of true vision.

The Mother, Questions and Answers 1956

The Lapiths dwelt in northern Thessaly, the region of the most advanced ‘ordinary’ seekers, as demonstrated by the study of the heroes Ixion and Pirithoos, the latter described by Homer as a friend of Theseus and a Lapith.
Some say that this group displaced that of the Pelasgians, the first inhabitants of the Peloponnese, pointing to an emergence from common ignorance and an entry into the path. Contingents of Lapiths still appear in the Trojan War. Their presence is therefore lastingly maintained in myths and probably explains why the initiates of ancient times did not clearly establish their genealogy, which includes more than seventy characters of often imprecise ancestry.

See Family tree 20

We have already encountered in Volume 2, Chapter 2, one of the Lapithian families in the study of Coronis, the mother of Asclepius. It is the genealogical branch of Antion and of his son Ixion which is of interest to this analysis.
The historian Diodorus of Sicily links these characters to the Titan Oceanus through one of his sons, the river god Peneus, representative of the current of evolution of consciousness that leads to mastery. In this he is in agreement with the poet Pindar, who mentions Hypseus, ‘he who is elevated or above’, as a son of Peneus and a Lapithian king (Pythian Odes 9.12). This is the genealogical relationship which we have indicated on the diagrams and that we will detail below.
The error displayed by Ixion – spiritual pride and ingratitude towards the Divine – apply to seekers who have had advanced experiences and realisations, for he is one of the few heroes who is permitted to dine with the gods, to nourish himself with the nectar of immortality and even to be transported by Zeus to the heights of Spirit (Ouranos). Whichever may be the origin of this error, it is to be imperatively redressed on the path of purification and liberation (Oceanos), as it constitutes a major deviation of yoga.

Ixion

According to the genealogy given by Diodorus, Ixion appears on the genealogical branch of the river Peneus, son of Oceanos. According to Homer, this is a river with “silver swirls”, symbols of relatively pure movements of consciousness. Through its structuring characters, the name Peneus signifies ‘the evolution of the right balance and equality (Π+Ν)’. Peneus united with Creusa, whose name signifies ‘flesh’, indicating a path of incarnation turned towards what is Real.
The progression of the work of consciousness in incarnation brings about a psychic opening; his two daughters, Daphne and Stilbe, both became lovers of Apollo, as did his granddaughter Cyrene, the daughter of Hypseus.

We have already mentioned in Volume 2, Chapter 5, Hypseus, ‘he who is elevated or above’ as well as Cyrene, ‘sovereign authority’, in the study on Autonoe, which refers to the deviances of the too-perfect seeker. In fact, Cyrene bore Apollo a son named Aristaeus, ‘he who holds the first place’, who was himself joined in marriage to Autonoe.

Daphne, the laurel, is only considered to be a descendant of Peneus by Ovid. She initially belonged to the royal lineage of Sparta in the descendance of Taygete, the sixth Pleiad, who also corresponds to the stage of the intuitive mind preceding the overmind. She is therefore placed in the path of the ascension of the planes of consciousness.
Daphne was one of Artemis’ followers. Leucippus, ‘a purified vital energy’, pursued her with assiduous attention, disguising himself as a girl to be able to approach her. But Apollo, who was in love with her as well, incited in her a desire to go for a bath. To avoid being discovered, Leucippus refused to follow her to her bath, and was consequently found out and torn to pieces by the followers of the goddess.
In the hymn to Apollo, it is said that the god fought with Leucippus for the love of his future wife, who we assume to be Daphne. A historian of the second century BCE specified that she begged Zeus to turn her into a laurel so as to escape the advances of Apollo. Zeus carried out her wish, and from then on Apollo would not be parted from the laurel tree. It is this version which was recounted by Ovid.
In the original genealogy, Daphne represents the purity to which the seeker aspires on the path of ascension. It is prey to an internal struggle between the vital purification striven for by the mind (Leucippus), and that which is to bring psychic light (Apollo). But there is not yet a readiness to recognise the need for an integral submission to the psychic.
Through its structuring characters, the name Daphne signifies ‘the evolution of the penetration of higher consciousness in the being, aimed at realising union’. The laurel crown given to the winners of the Pythian games is a sign of a victory on the path of rendering the being psychic. These games were celebrated to commemorate the victory of Apollo over Python, symbolising a victory of the psychic light over the process of decomposition. From that point onwards, it becomes possible for the seeker to contact his psychic being and to progressively allow it to lead the rest of the being.

The second daughter of Peneus is Stilbe, ‘she who is resplendent’. She united with Apollo and bore two of his children, Centaurus and Lapithus, the Lapith people being named after the latter.
The name Lapith signifies one who is boastful. It carries the seed of spiritual pride, which is also indicated by the name of his brother, Centaurus.
Lapithus fathered several children, who are all at the origin of important spiritual deviations. They include:
Periphas, whose son Antion fathered Ixion. (Another account of Ixion’s genealogy describes him as the grandson of Triopas, son of Canace and Periphas, ‘he who shines all around’.)
Phorbas, who according to some accounts was the forefather of the Molionids, who include the giants Eurytus and Cteatus that Heracles will face at the end of his labours.
Triopas, who, through his daughter Iphimedeia who united with Aloeus, became the grandfather of the Aloades, Otos and Ephialtes, symbolising the seekers who set out on the path of the ascension of the spirit through personal force and the “piling up” of realisations.

Ixion was born of the union between Antion and Perimele, daughter of Amythaon. As he hoped to wed Dia, the daughter of King Eioneus (who was himself the son of Magnes and the grandson of Aeolus), Ixion had promised to present a large number of gifts to his future father-in-law. When the wedding was completed, Eioneus went to Ixion to collect the gifts that had been promised to him. But Ixion set a trap for him, and Eioneus was burned alive in a hidden pit filled with burning coals.
Thus, Ixion became guilty not only of perjury, but also of a horrendous act against a member of his family. Some sources state that none before him had ever dared to commit such a deed, and no god or man was willing to cleanse him of his crime.
Finally, Zeus took pity on Ixion and cleansed him. Pindar even adds that ‘he received a sweet life among the gracious children of Cronus’. But Ixion ‘did not abide his prosperity for long, when in his madness of spirit he desired Hera, who was allotted to the joyful bed of Zeus’. (Ref. Pindar, Pythian 2.25)
Hera complained about this to her husband, who created a thick cloud in Hera’s image with which Ixion united. (According to some sources, Zeus also sought to verify by this if Ixion would truly fulfill his pretentious desire.)
From this union was born a son, Centaurus. It is he who united with the wild mares of Magnesia and thus became the father of the Centaurs.
To punish Ixion’s treachery, Zeus tied him to a winged wheel, which he flung into the skies, his limbs forever held within inescapable bonds. According to later scholars, it was a burning wheel and was flung into Tartarus. As Ixion had partaken of the nectar of immortality, he found himself eternally whirling through the sky on his winged wheel, incessantly admonishing mortals to treat benefactors with gratitude and to never desire what lay beyond their feeble nature.

Through his parents, Ixion represents both ‘that which wishes to equal’ (here, the highest of the spirit, the gods) as well as a quest for knowledge originating from the realisation of a certain mental silence, for he is a son of Antion and Perimele, the daughter of Amythaon the Aeolian. Even if we put aside the genealogy given by Diodorus, he still marks a very advanced stage of the quest on the path of ascension, for he received a sweet life among the gracious children of Cronus. He therefore represents a seeker who has realised a certain kind of non-duality in the spirit through closeness with the overmind.
While he strives for a complete union in consciousness (for he wishes to marry Dia), his first error is that of refusing to appropriately honour the evolution of consciousness of which this union is the right consequence, as he believes himself to have already reached the summit of evolution (he refuses to give Eioneus, ‘the evolution of consciousness towards future Man’ and the father of Dia, the gifts promised to him). He goes so far as to willfully end this evolution through an inner insincerity (he slays Eioneus through trickery).
This refusal of evolution had never before taken place on the path, for none before Ixion had ever dared to commit such a crime. In other words, the seeker reaches a state of union which removes all incentive to involve himself in the process of incarnation.
This is a state which can characterise seekers who have reached the Self, the union of spirit, but who have not completely purified their external nature or do not strive to do so (see the section on the experiences on the path of Self in the introduction of the second volume of this work).
Except for the highest level of consciousness, no power of the overmind or any plane of the mind is able to excuse or caution such an attitude; no god or man could absolve Ixion of his crime except for Zeus, who represents the supraconscient. But divine grace always gives occasions for redressing oneself, for it is through trial and error that