PERSEUS AND THE GORGON MEDUSA; INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST SIX LABOURS OF HERACLES

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This page offers an interpretation of the myth of the Danaides, that of Perseus and the Gorgon Medusa as well as the birth and youth of Heracles.

Danae fertilised by Zeus changed into golden rain

Danae fertilised by Zeus changed into golden rain – 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.
The method to navigate in the site is given in the Home tab.

See Family tree 21 and Family tree 24 

The two great heroes, Perseus and his great-grand-son Heracles, are the descendants of the Titan Oceanos who symbolises the opening of consciousness in evolution (Κ+ Ν) by seeking contact with the inner reality (Tethys). (For this chapter, refer to the genealogical boards 21 and 24).
More precisely, they are located in the branch of the river Inachos which represents “the evolution of the gathering of consciousness” or “evolution of concentration” or “transformation towards the abolition of the ego” according to the value given in Khi.
It must be noted that this lineage refers mainly to the “psychisation” of the being by perfecting and purifying the processes of Nature.

Inachos is the great river of Argolis, the homeland of the “shining”, “pure (Argives)” and thus, the “truth seekers”.
According to the authors, he is either the father of Io, “(the opening of) consciousness (in incarnation)”, or one of her ancestors. In the latter case, generations were interspersed, either to introduce the Argives and facilitate understanding (Phoroneus “the one who brought forth evolution”, Niobe “the incarnation of consciousness” and Argos “shining”) or to bring consistency to the number of generations in the lineages, that proved to be a real challenge for many ancient mythologists.
From Io, the sources tend to converge. We first notice this in her succession by her son Epaphus “touched”, that is to say, “the one who has experienced the touch of the Absolute”, or “the first contact of the seeker with his inner being”, and the twins Belos and Agenor whose progeny respectively describe the theoretical and practical teachings of “purification” and “liberation”.

The branch of Agenor (purification) is in turn divided into two sub-branches: Cadmus opens the royal lineage of Thebes whose ultimate goal is the re-harmonisation and transformation of the energy centres, and that of Europe initiates the one of Crete which is related to the opening of consciousness and consecration, as well as issues of “self-confinement” in some mental structures (the Minotaur) when this consecration fails.

The branch of Belos exposes the teachings for the liberation, especially through victory over the deformations of life energy including those resulting from fear (Perseus), and through the Labours of Heracles.
The exploits of Perseus, far from being the only victories of the beginning of the way, extend to levels of consciousness that bring the seeker to the origins of life on Earth, because man retains the memory of his evolution through processes whose functionings still elude us in greater part.

The common ancestors of Perseus, Heracles, Oedipus and Europe

Perseus was an ancestor of Heracles, therefore, the “project” or “ambience” of the famous “Labours” is illustrated by his victory over the Gorgon Medusa, i.e. over the alteration of the life energy.

The son of Inachos, Phoroneus “the one who brought forth evolution” is renowned for gathering the first inhabitants of the future Argos, confirming the momentum initiated by his father Inachos “the evolution of consciousness, of concentration”. This represents a preparation for the quest – the future Argos being the city of seekers – and opens the way to those who want to accelerate the pace of their evolution in themselves.

The early seeker must recognise that he is the theatre of impulses and conflicting desires, a disorder of thoughts and mixed emotions and inaccurate operations generated by the “nodes” of evolution.
Moreover, he can observe that each of the parts of his being pushes towards its own benefits. In general, the mental and the vital beings impose their wills on the body that has no alternative but to fall ill to express its disagreement. And the vital being, always hungry for sensations, mocks the ideals pursued by the mental being; or, if it is repressed, it expresses its dissatisfaction through various symptoms, such as depression.

For the elders, a man who has not really started “to bring together (the different parts of his being for a common task)” is similar to Inachos, who according to the legend “is not yet human”. He is not sensitive to any inner call towards something greater. He has no experience yet of the “awakening”, of something that “really exists”. He is merely a puppet, subjected to the multiple influences he experiences, even if the habit of responding to some of these influences, always the same, gives him a sense of continuity which he calls “me”.
His spirituality is still strongly related to the vital being, as indicated by the name of the wife of Inachos, Melia, a nymph whose name means “ash tree”. Melian nymphs existed before the birth of Zeus and their father was Uranus. But Melia is classified as Oceanid and therefore, as sister of Inachos.
In fact, Hesiod states that in the time of Cronus, men went to fetch “fire from heaven” from the summit of ash trees, before Zeus took it away from them to take revenge on Prometheus: the connection with the Absolute is thus activated by the highest level of the vital being (trances, aesthetic emotions, etc.). (Ref. Hesiod, Theogony, verse 562)
Man described here thus usually lives in his external personality and his spirituality is experienced as the peak of feeling. He has not yet returned to his inner world.

By following the progeny of Inachos, we first find his son Phoroneus “the one who leads (or carries forward) the evolution” (“root Φορ to bear +N evolution”). He was the first ruler of Argos, deemed to “have established the first elements of civilisation” (seeker starts to set the personality in order) “and instituted major cults” (contacts with the spiritual plans through intermediates, various faiths). The inhabitants of Argos even claimed that it was Phoroneus and not Prometheus who brought to men “the fire from above”: according to this statement, the inner fire, Agni, which is also the enlightened will, can therefore arise either from the path of the ascension of the planes of consciousness (Prometheus, son of Iapetus) or by opening to the Inner Divine through purification-liberation (Phoroneus) towards the psychisation of the being.

Phoroneus was appointed as arbitrator in the feud between Hera and Poseidon for supremacy over Argos, the symbolic city of seekers. He favoured Hera after consulting with his father Inachos and two other rivers gods Cephisus “stable intellect” and Asterion “flashes of light”. The novice seeker wonders if he should let himself be guided by his subconscious (Poseidon) or follow the framework of a just asceticism (Hera). In fact, it is not the expansion of consciousness (Zeus) which opposes Poseidon but its counterpart (Hera, the one who limits and structures).
Poseidon was so angry that he dried up many rivers of Argos, which was thenceforth called “the thirsty Argos”: the seeker who enters the path therefore recognises a “lack” generated and maintained by the subconscious, an insatiable thirst that fires his “aspiration”.

Some authors give him a brother, Aegialeus “Αιγιαλευς the edge of the sea, the shore” a name which gives the image of emergence from the world of emotional life. (The structure of the name Αιγι+, also indicates a spiritual impulse towards freedom.)
Some say he was the first “mortal”, that is to say, the first one to enter duality, and to live as “separated”. This awareness is the entrance into the reflective world of judgment illustrated in Genesis by the warning of Yahweh: “You shall not touch the tree in the middle of the garden, or you shall then die”.

It is also said that Phoroneus was the father of mortal men and gathered the first inhabitants of Argos without looking in to their origin: i.e. this phase, for the future seeker, was a moment when he started to “bring together (the parts of his being)” without trying to draw good from bad. Until then, his aspirations were disparate, often a result of a flayed sensibility. He was referring to the notions of virtue and vice, good and evil. While disagreeing with the world, and waiting for something else, he had not yet marshalled and focused his energies in a specific direction, still unable to discern the elements of his life that he must hold on to or reject.

Aegialeus did not have any offspring.
Phoroneus married a nymph named Teledice “the right way to act in the future”, which expresses the aspiration of the seeker to know what to do, in which direction to go. He gave her a son Apis, who does not have any particular legend – Apis is perhaps related to the Egyptian bull god of the same name. He could here be a symbol of the power of realization – and a daughter Niobe who must not be confused with another namesake who was daughter of Tantalus.

Niobe “the incarnation of consciousness in evolution” was called the first woman, the mother of all living beings because she was the first mortal woman to bear a child of Zeus, Argos. (There are several eponymous Argos’ whose stories must not be mixed.) This is the first influence, for the seeker, of higher planes (the Overmind) in a “separated” form, the first experience that “it exists”, that there is a “true, joyful, light, simple and illuminated” state which gives the impression that everything else is dead or asleep. It is possible to equate this with the text of Genesis (3:20) “man called his wife Eve (Havah) because she was the mother of all living beings.
Niobe had two sons, Argos and Pelasgos, the “bright” and the “dark”.

Pelasgos

Before continuing with the main lineage of Argos, we must look at the offspring of Pelasgos, first king of Pelasgians. He is the symbol of the part of the seeker “who progresses in the dark” (the root Πελ means “dark”) in the mixed world of the emotional vital and of the mental, and undoubtedly the symbol of humanity who simply follows the slow pace of evolution according to nature.
In the Arcadian legends, these Pelasgians are called “pre-Selenians” (Selene is the goddess of the moon) and “lived in their rudimentary houses even before the moon rose for the first time in the sky”: they represent humanity which has not yet become aware of the existence of a True Self. They were “natives”, i.e., “born of the soil”, and for spiritual evolution “the early men”.
Argos and Pelasgos are, in the branch of Oceanos, the equivalents of Prometheus and Epimetheus (or Deucalion) in the branch of Iapetus, or of the first Cecrops in that of the Athenian kings.

The term Pelasgians may have several origins, e