The children of the Titan Iapetus include Atlas who is the father of the Pleiades and symbolizes the necessary ascent of the planes of consciousness, as well as the descendants of Prometheus who illustrates the corresponding experiences and achievements.
Atlas holding the sky on his shoulders standing in front of Prometheus – Vatican Museums
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Almost all of the heroic adventures and the great epics of Greek mythology are organised around the descendance of two Titan couples, that of Iapetus and Clymene and that of Oceanus and Tethys. Exceptions to this are the kings of Athens, the genealogical lineage of Tantalus and the royal lineage of Arcadia.
It is therefore of paramount importance to correctly understand how these two couples stand in relation to each other.
To undergo a process of evolution in the direction of a ‘Divine Life’ upon the earth rather that in a faraway paradise, man must engage with two distinct processes.
An ‘ascension of the planes of consciousness’ till the fulfillment of a Unity with the Divine. Following the phase of vital growth already since long completed, humankind must progress through the planes of the mind to emerge into the consciousness of Truth, the Supramental. This is what was developed in Iapetus’ lineage.
An ‘integration ‘, which consists of lifting the whole being in all its constituent parts onto the next level through a progressive purification and liberation when a new stage of consciousness is reached on the path of ascension. This is what was developed in Oceanus’ lineage.
Let us however note that it is possible, without having progressed through all of the rungs of consciousness, to fuse into the Supreme through a process of annihilation, which does not require that the inner being be individualised or that the purification and liberation of the lower planes be achieved. This constitutes ways of accessing states of ‘Nirvana’ which can be attained on different planes, opening the way to different kinds of voids. In many spiritual paths however, particularly in Buddhism, this was considered to be the only way of escaping suffering. But this too meant a negation of creation.
The path of ascension and integration, which neither excludes nor requires such experiences, demands an expression of the Supreme within a being who has been rendered perfect, on all the planes and in the totality of his capacities through a progression of stages.
In addition, although all the paths leading to the summit were open since a long time, those of descent required in the processes of purification and liberation had till recently remained closed at the levels of the physical mind and from the planes of the lower vital till that of the material mind. Certain transformations seemed in fact impossible to initiates of ancient times (let us take care not to confuse the physical mind, the first layer of the human mind, with the corporeal mind of the body, which is situated at the animal level, or still lower with the cellular mind located at the point of the birth of life in matter).
Of course this process does not occur in a single motion, but rather in innumerable movements of ascension and integration of greater or lesser length and importance and having a wide variety of modalities. Some can take a whole lifetime to be carried out, others only a few seconds. Some pass unperceived while others completely reorient one’s life, but do not necessarily bear more fruits than the former. Every widening or rendering more flexible of consciousness and every purification and liberation from attachment constitutes one of its innumerable levels.
Many of the areas of darkness and deformation in the vital and in the body cannot be addressed if sufficient force has not been accumulated in the higher planes. The more the being advances, the more it is armed for engaging with the depths of the origins of evolution.
A number of ancient spiritual teachings came up against obstacles which were at that time insurmountable, and consequently abandoned the path of integration. They privileged a direct access to the vast, silent and empty worlds, oriented themselves towards the well-defined paths of the powers of nature, fled far from the contingencies of this world so as to win a future ‘paradise’ or sought to liberate the energy lodged at the root of the spinal column, known as kundalini to facilitate the access towards the Self, the impersonal Divine. Aside from a few allusions these other paths did not seem to be developed in Greek mythology, which considers man firstly as a mental being and chooses to give precedence to this plane as a tool for working on the path of realisation.
There is of course a correlation between the level attained in the process of ascension and the possibilities of purification present in the lower nature. This is the reason for the unions or various exchanges between the heroes of either branch.
However, one must be careful not to use the classification of the planes of consciousness and their experiences to judge or position anybody within them, for there is really only one single continuum of consciousness and experiences are specific to each individual and lived in different orders and degrees of intensity. We must also avoid falling into the tendency of ascribing ‘gradations’ or ‘levels’, an error common to many esoteric and spiritual teachings.
In each of the two main branches myths are divided into different sub-branches depending on whether they concern teachings or anecdotes of experiences, and whether they are meant for more ordinary seekers or for adventurers of consciousness.
Certain historical elements (aside from, of course, details of daily life and the misfortunes and customs of the civilisation in which these stories take place) are sometimes integrated, but their objective is limited to the transmission of spirituality through the dominant civilisations. There is nothing which confirms, for instance, the existence of the city of Troy other than as a symbol, or the reality of the Dorian invasion, which in the frame of this study simply describes a sudden irruption of ‘gifts’ (δωρα) or ‘new capabilities’ in the seeker who finds his place in the plane of the higher mind.
The name Iapetus is built around the characters Ι+Π+Τ: the aspiration (Τ) for establishing the link (Π) in consciousness (Ι).
The plane founded by this Titan forges the link between all the others. In the current manifestation it remains incomplete, for it is that corresponding to future Man. Not current man centered on his external personality distorted by the ego, who believes himself to be and lives as a ‘separate’ principle, but Man established on the plane of the overmind on his path towards the supramental, who will have put his external being at the disposition of and at the service of the psychic being.
Because of this incompleteness Iapetus is united with an Oceanid rather than a Titanide. Her name is Clymene, which means ‘what is acquired by understanding, what is integrated’, as well a ‘of great renown, celebrated’. Their descendants include all the heroes and heroines on the way to surpass the different degrees of realisation.
When the quest will have been completed, Iapetus would most logically unite with the Titanide Mnemosyne, for Man will have found again the ‘memory’ of his origins. In the meantime and during the period of the governance of the mind, Mnemosyne forms a tie with Zeus.
Let us briefly recall the story of Iapetus and his children detailed in the preceding chapter. At the time of the victory of the gods over the Titans, the forces of life which dominated human evolution ceded their place to the forces of mental consciousness. The Titans henceforth ceased to express themselves freely in man. Under the orders of Zeus, Iapetus and his brothers were relegated into the depths of Tartarus, and there is no further mention of him in mythology.
Before his exile, his wife had borne him four children, Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus and Epimetheus, who were themselves at the origin of several great lineages:
The children of Atlas represent an inventory of the planes of consciousness.
The descendance of Prometheus and Epimetheus through the lineages of Hellen and Protogenia describe the experiences and the dangers encountered during the ascension of these planes for both the ordinary seekers and the ‘adventurers of consciousness’ who ‘walk at the forefront’.
The genealogical branch of Hellen (which leads towards an ‘awakening’ suggested by the name of his wife, Orseis) and his son Aeolus (‘he who is always in movement’, united with Enarete, ‘that through which we excel’), includes the great heroes who in their epic adventures pursue the path of the quest of Truth. These include Phrixus, Bellerophon, Jason and Ulysses. Iapetus represents the movement which forges a bridge till the summit of consciousness.
That of Protogenia describes ‘what is born ahead’. She exposes the nature of all the last great spiritual conquests of the ‘adventurers’ of ancient Greece, which will be addressed at the end of this work with a study of the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Let us remember that Atlas symbolises the link between Spirit and Matter, for with his feet resting on the earth he holds the vast sky on his head and his tireless arms.
In Homer’s version, it is not he who carries the sky, but rather ‘He (Atlas) knows the depths of all the oceans and alone watches over the high columns which separate the sky from the earth’. As the process of separation of Matter and Spirit intervening from the beginnings of metalized life, he knows the depths of the sea. (Some authors confirm this by describing his with his feet in the water). He is in some ways the one to guarantee this separation, for as long as humankind has not traversed the totality of the stages represented by his children.