The murder of Apsyrtus by Jason

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Filled with rage Aeetes demanded that his people the Colchians bring back his daughter Medea without further delay. A large army set out in pursuit of the Argonauts under the leadership of Apsyrtus the son of Aeetes. The latter bade him take a shortcut through the place known as “The Fair Mouth” and cut off the Argonauts’ retreat. The heroes would have succumbed to the sheer number of their opponents if under the threat of death they had not agreed on a peace treaty with Apsyrtus. This treaty stipulated that they could keep the Fleece that Jason had acquired through his feat but that Medea would be entrusted to Artemis till a decision would be taken by the kings of justice.

Learning of this pact Medea felt betrayed because Jason had promised her marriage. But assuring her that this was just a trick, Jason invited Medea to set up a trap for Apsyrtus in order to kill him. When in the darkness of the night Apsyrtus came to their rendezvous alone and confident, Jason pierced him with his sword. Deprived of a leader the team on Apsyrtus’ ship was annihilated by the Argonauts.

The rest of the army of Apsyrtus, not daring to present themselves before Aeetes without Medea, settled down permanently in the region.

However Zeus was infuriated by the murder of Apsyrtus.

The Argonauts subsequently reached the island of Electra and then again were brought back by opposing winds after a long journey. There they heard in astonishment the “speaking beam” which had been placed on the ship by Athena during its construction ordering them in the name of Zeus to purify themselves of the murder of Apsyrtus by the Goddess Circe, without which they would not escape the dangers of the sea.

The original legend is slightly different from that of Apollonius: Apsyrtus was still a child when Medea seized him from his bed on Jason’s orders and carried him away on the ship. In this version the chase had barely begun when the couple killed the child and threw his remains into the river.

Apsyrtus, a grandson of the sun, represents “what is right” (thought, feeling, and action) realised by the “carrying out of purification”. He is a son of Aeetes and Asterodia, “the path of the stars”, the manifestation of the first light of truth.

However in his highest consciousness the seeker is not convinced that he is ready for the completion of his task (Aeetes sent his people to bring Medea back).

If he had sincerely agreed to purify his consciousness further, that is to say to release it from all disruption caused by pride and ignorance, it would have made way for a better evolution (as per the agreement Medea was to be entrusted to Artemis till a decision would be taken by the kings of justice). Then he would have been capable “of speaking the Truth” which would have avoided him many subsequent detours. Apsyrtus had in fact shown the way going through the shortcut “The Fair Mouth” and had thus been able to advance faster.

But the seeker is extremely impatient to reify the intention of the soul with his receptivity as it is (Medea is impatient to be united in marriage with Jason). Thinking that it is not necessary to purify his task, he cuts himself off from the potential reception of the luminous flashes of truth or the “right movement of that which does not lie”, which of course vexes the superconscient watching over his evolution (Apsyrtus’ murder vexes Zeus).

The seeker must therefore “know” if he had another choice or if his actions were carried out with the awareness that it was the best that he could do, in which case the criminal couple would be purified of the murder.

His inner voice guides the seeker to proceed to a test of conscience that does not make any concessions, probing into the hidden nooks and corners of his nature: the “speaking beam” orders them to seek purification from Circe, the goddess who provides a truthful vision down to the smallest details.

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