His name itself situates Hyperion at the highest level of the world of the Titans. Hyperion is ‘Hyper+IΩ, the highest consciousness’. In addition, the character omega ‘opens’ this consciousness in the direction of matter for a transformation into new states of being. His partner is Theia, ‘the Divine one’. Her name, structured around the character theta, Θ, translates a movement from ‘within’ through which Hyperion is expressed. Their children are Helios (father of Phaethon) , Selene and Eos.
See Family tree 4
Helios – Pergamon Museum
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At this level it is very difficult to draw a parallel between the concepts of mythology and those described by Sri Aurobindo or by Hindu tradition.
As the Titans are situated in a level above the gods, they must all be individualised expressions of the supramental. But there seem to exist differences of levels however, for we explain ourselves badly in the opposite case why naming Hyperion ‘the highest consciousness’.
We have attributed to the Titan Koios the principle of generation and growth of the psychic being, which develops around the divine spark in incarnation. In fact, his daughter the divine Leto indicates, through the structuring characters of her name, an individuation at the summit of consciousness. And the psychic being evolves through the growth of consciousness illustrated by her children Apollo and Artemis. The latter then become expressions of the psychic destined to come to the forefront of the being, and ‘to be greater gods than the children of Hera’.
The psychic being stands ‘behind’ the surface personality and is a central part of the being to which we relate Hyperion, who holds himself ‘above’ and who has a representative in each of the lower planes. His children Helios, Selene and Eos therefore belong to the domain of the Being, known by some as the true Self, and no longer to that of Becoming. They are respectively expressions of the Light of Truth, the True non-separated self which in the created worlds takes the initial evolutionary form of the ‘lesser self’ – the personality of the body, life and mind destined to cede its place to the real self – and the animating principle, the breath which goes from one to the other and is the link of the Eternal New.
They could also represent:
An illuminating principle, the sun Helios in resonance with the Spirit.
A principle of action which is also a perfect receptivity to the illuminating principle – the moon, Selene, in resonance with the principle of Matter.
A principle linking the preceding gods, the divine game renewing itself ceaselessly through an ‘eternal newness’: Eos, the ‘rosy fingered’ goddess of dawn, is in resonance with the principle of divine Joy, Ananda or Eros.
These three characters are relatively but little present in mythology, for they belong to very elevated levels of consciousness. During his tenth labour, in which appear the herds of Geryon, we see Heracles borrowing the boat of the sun Helios and some time later threatening the sun with his arrows when he finds himself overwhelmed by its heat. This easy familiarity with Helios indicates that the seeker has reached the proximity of the supramental, from where he can explore the roots of evolution by using the tools with which the soul, having attained a perfect state of receptivity in the boat of the sun, ‘knows’.
Helios and his son Phaethon
Helios the sun is therefore the symbol of the illuminating principle of the supramental Consciousness of Truth.
In later periods he was often confused with Apollo, but it is of paramount importance to distinguish between the two. Apollo and Artemis – respectively representing the light and power of will in the process of purification, as well as a determination striving towards its goal – are both on the plane of human consciousness (which is temporarily identified with intelligence) the expressions of the psychic being or psychic personality for they are the children of Zeus and Leto, which is to say the individualised divine aspect within each being which develops through recurrent lifetimes.
On the other hand, Helios represents the light of the supramental Truth, eternal and one with the Absolute.
His name is formed around the two characters Ι and Λ, which express a principle of widening and ‘total consciousness’ in vastness; Helios is he ‘who sees all’, and is also a symbol of the individuation of consciousness, and therefore of an absolute freedom within the depths.
Helios, ‘he who sees all’ (Panoptes), is able to discern perjury of every kind.
He was absent when the gods divided amongst themselves the kingdoms of consciousness, and was therefore presented with a new and very fertile island, Rhodes, which had just emerged from the sea. He dried it out, for its lands were marshy, and rendered it so fertile that it yielded seven boys and one girl.
Depicted as a young man of great beauty, Helios was like Apollo an archer of remarkable skill.
He possessed seven herds of bovines and seven of sheep, each of which had fifty heads and never procreated or died. Phaethousa and Lampetia, his daughters borne by Neaira (Neaera), were their guardians.
Helios is ‘he who sees all’, and therefore ‘he who knows all’, for ‘the one who sees’, the seer, is also ‘the man of knowledge’. As he knows the truth of all things he can descry the least falsity, including that of the gods. For the gods, belonging to the overmind rather than to the supramental, can only access those truths which are partial; ‘Truth’ in its entirety is accessible only to the supramental. It is for the same reason that the children of Leto, Apollo and Artemis, expressions of the psychic being in the process of building itself around the soul, will become greater gods than the children of Zeus and Hera whose influence is limited to mental forms.
As Helios belongs to the Plane of Truth he is therefore, in consequence of the association of beauty and truth, a god of great beauty. He is a remarkable archer, for in this plane the soul ‘knows’ perfectly its distant goal, existing in a domain beyond what we call time.
All-seeing, omniscient and omnipresent, Helios witnesses Hades’ abduction of Cora/Persephone, and informs Hephaestus of the adulterous love between his wife Aphrodite and Ares.
When reflective human consciousness appeared and Zeus, Poseidon and Hades divided the three kingdoms between themselves, Helios was absent; in fact, the soul was not yet sufficiently present to impose itself, for his delegate in the realm of incarnation, the psychic being centered around the soul, was at the time of the Vedas ‘no bigger than a thumbnail’. According to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, the psychic is present in everything that lives, although it is not individuated in plants and animals, in which it is also less covered over by the mind. For sensitive human beings, a more direct contact with these kingdoms is therefore facilitated.
Just as the organs of the body are in resonance with particular forces, the gods were associated with names of symbolic geographical locations, and Rhodes was thus attributed to Helios. Rhodos, ‘the rose’, was for the ancient Greeks a representation of the soul, a symbol of an integral love for what is Real, pure, total and irrevocable – an obvious symbol of the soul, which is a spark of the divine not separated from the Absolute. (The reason for the attribution of a symbolic name to a precise physical location is unknown to us. For instance, the organization of the provinces and towns in relation to myths must be further understood. In the case of Rhodes, it is perhaps its location furthest to the east which makes it closest to the New).
The integral love for what is Real represents a very good basis for the action of the supramental within the body, for Rhodes is a ‘very fertile’ island. However, it is necessary to first disengage this love from its mixing with the vital: Helios dried the island, for its lands were marshy.
The symbolic union of the sun with an island, or with a nymph of the same name, is therefore the union of the light of Truth and of matter, and this reestablishes the primordial union of Gaia and Ouranos. The supramental must in fact realise the union of the two principles – which have become separated through the combined effects of Tartarus, Typhon and Echidna -, in view of the transformation of man into supramental Man and through a new body. This island is ‘new’ because it refers to the new kind of matter with which must be fulfilled the junction (the rose seems to have also been a symbol of regeneration; for some, the rose is also the flower of Aphrodite, love being then identified with a principle of regeneration).
The tools of transformation are the fingers or Eos, the ‘rosy-fingered goddess’ who represents what is eternally new and who opens the doors of the sky to the sun each morning, allowing the illumination of human consciousness.
(According to the historian Diodorus of Sicily, Rhode, the nymph who bears the name of this island and who is, according to Apollodorus, the daughter of Poseidon, bore the daughter and seven sons of Helios, the Heliades, a name also attributed to the daughters of Helios and Clymene which we will discuss later on. According to Diodorus, Rhodes was covered with wet clay before it was appropriated and dried by Helios. From this one must probably understand that the soul is placed at the highest point of the physical-vital nature irrespective of its level of purity.)
The herds of Helios are the ‘wealth or the boons of the Llight of Truth’. They are of the same nature as the latter, which is to say that they are eternal and outside time, and complete since their origin as they do not procreate. They can however not be utilised outside of the luminous consciousness of the supramental. The seeker is initially warned by ‘surprising’ signs which indicate that he is venturing into dangerous areas, and if he does not listen to these warnings parts of his being will subsequently undergo a severe destruction (See the voyage of Ulysses). They are therefore under the guard of Phaethousa, ‘she who shines within’, and Lampetia, ‘she who shines on the plane of the spirit’. According to Homer they are the daughters of Neaira, ‘that which has emerged through the quest’, the luminous consciousness of discernment acquired on the path both in the plane of the spirit and in the heart, which ensures that these gifts will not be wrongly used. These herds are kept on the island of Thrinacia, the symbolism of which remains obscure. Perhaps this name, which signifies ‘three-pronged fork’, must be compared to the Sephiroth Yesod or Tiphereth, also situated at the center of forks, at crossroads.
After Eos the Dawn traversed the sky, Helios would follow her closely in a chariot of fire drawn by two or four winged horses. In the evening he would reach the ocean at the furthest reaches of the west, in which he would bathe with his horses. After taking rest he would settle into his boat, a great cup-shaped vessel which sailing over Oceanos would bring him back to the eastern lands of the Orient every night.
The boat of the sun sails over Oceanos, ‘the ocean which encircles the world’, rather than over Pontos, Thalassa or Als, which is to say that it sails on the currents of energy-consciousness rather than on the forces of Life or the real physical ocean.
This text seems to illustrate a geocentric conception of the solar system. But from a symbolic point of view, the journey of the sun describes an alternation of periods of rest and wakefulness, and of light and darkness. They can be assimilated either in the periods of proximity and of distance between the seeker and his soul, or, if we ascribe to the theory of reincarnation, in the phases of incarnation and integration during which the soul folds back on itself into its ‘shell’ and then gets in touch with the Absolute again.
The myths say nothing of the fate of the winged horses once they reach the far east, but in accordance with this last concept we can logically suppose that Helios leads a new team of horses each morning, for the vital, mental and bodily personality which ‘draws’ the soul forward during its incarnation disintegrates in death.
The boat of the sun does not appear in the accounts of any of the ancient Greek authors. Only certain fragments by the poet Mimnermus, retold by Athenaeus, seem to confirm its existence. The latter states that after his nightly crossing and from the moment in which Dawn begins its ascent, Helios ‘is drawn by a new team of horses’.
Aside from Rhode, his symbolic spouse, Helios had numerous other ties, the most ‘official’ of which was with the Oceanid Perseis or Perse. The exact meaning of the name Perseis/Perse still remains uncertain, but it probably contains the concept of ‘transformation’.
In the most ancient legends she bore Helios two children: the sorceress Circe or Kirke, the power of vision or of discernment of Truth, ‘the penetrating vision that sees all the details”, and Aietes the king of Colchis, ‘he of impetuous breath’, the higher consciousness ‘which sees the totality’, perceives every consequences of an action and holds in his hands the power of realisation in the mind, for he holds mastery over the most indomitable of bulls.
Circe obliges us to see what we are and to make hidden elements rise up to the surface. She puts pressure on us so that everything which causes resistance in our natures can come to the surface and manifest itself (Ref to Mother’s Agenda, entry from 23rd August 1969).
Circe ‘knows’ what heals and reinstates harmony and truth – the initiates of ancient times therefore made her into a sorceress able to utilise the powers of nature, especially those of plants. And one who ‘sees’ is also one who ‘can’.
When the myth of Daedalus was developed later on, initiates added to the children of Helios Pasiphae, ‘the power of radiating light’. She became the wife of Minos, who appears in the myth of the Minotaur.
(Diodorus of Sicily added Perses, “destruction or the power of transformation”, for the authors whose words he repeated probably wished to give Hecate an ancestry related to the sun Helios rather than that given by Hesiod who describes her as a daughter of another Perseus, son of the Titan Crios. Here we will only be discussing Hesiod’s version. We will also not be considering Aloeus – not the same as the father of the giants the Aloadae -, who is only mentioned as a son of Helios by Pausanias.)
These characters will appear again repeatedly as will the daughter of Aietes, the famous Medea.
(According to Diodorus, Circe is the daughter of Aietes and Hecate rather than the sister of the latter. In his accounts, Aietes and Hecate only had three children: Circe, Medea and Aegialeus, “the elements of the future”.)
In addition to the preceding unions, Helios took part in several other liaisons in lesser-known legends and is associated with unusual accounts of genealogical relatedness, which is comprehensible. For example, Pausanias includes amongst his descendants the Charites, the graces Euphrosyne, Thalia and Aglaea, who respectively represent joy, plenitude and splendour, describing them as the daughters of Helios rather than of Zeus. In this study we will only be studying the principal versions of these myths.
With the daughter of Oceanos, Clymene, whose name signifies ‘what is acquired through accord, what is integrated’, Helios had a number of daughters (generally said to be five), also known as the Heliades like their brothers (the sons of Rhode), and a son, Phaeton, who was mourned by the Heliades.
Phaethon is he who ‘shines within’. The most complete version of this myth has been recounted by Ovid.
(Hesiod mentions a synonymous Phaethon, son of either Eos or Hemera and Cephalus, who Aphrodite made into the guardian of her altar since the hero’s young age: an inner light originating from the ‘awakening’ of the mind – result of the union of Eos with Cephalus – is the surest guardian of love’s evolution. This Phaethon is much further advanced on the path than the one described by Ovid, for ‘he is just like the gods’, and being the grandson of Hermes is an expression of the overmind being born.)
Phaeton was raised away from his father by his mother, the Oceanid Clymene. His contemporary Epaphos put into question his descendance from the sun. When Phaethon asked his mother to confirm the fact, she advised him to go to his father and hear the truth from his own lips, which Phaethon did.
Having recognised him, Helios offered him to fulfill his greatest desire. When Phaeton expressed his wish of driving his chariot from the morrow, his father strove to dissuade him, stating that even Zeus could never do so, and describing the many challenges of the journey; a steep road at the beginning, a vertiginous abyss in the midst of the sky, and a rapid descent during which one risked to be precipitated into the sea at any moment. He warned him against fantasising about the beautiful landscapes inhabited by the gods, warned Phaethon of the difficulty of mastering the horses and of the many traps and wild beasts which he would encounter on his path regardless of his abilities.
As Phaethon insisted he hesitantly agreed, but warned him not to lose his way or wonder too high where he would run the risk of burning the dwellings of heaven, nor too low where he would run the risk of setting the earth on fire, nor too far to the right where he would risk encountering a serpent’s knots, nor too far to the left for fear of losing his way in the lower regions.
As soon as he climbed into the chariot, Phaeton, who was too light in weight, found that he could not master the four horses of Helios. He lost his way, and near the icy pole let go of the reins and awoke the Serpent, disturbing its sleep. Fearful figures of monstrous animals made him tremble with horror. The earth broke out into flames, cities and mountains burned, and everywhere the earth became ridden by cracks and crevasses through which the light penetrated into Tartarus, filling the god of the underworld and his spouse with terror.
Summoned by Gaia, Zeus made the other gods witness the risk of destruction suffered by the earth, and struck Phaethon down with a flash of lightning.
King Cycnos and his sisters the Heliades mourned him.
This myth is a relatively late one; there is no mention of it before our era.
Several elements allow us to situate the action described in this myth in one of the first phases of the path. To begin with, Ovid describes Phaethon as the contemporary of Epaphus, ‘ the one touched’, a son of Io and one of the very first characters in the line of descent of the Inachides, which depicts the process of the gathering of consciousness. Then Hyginus described his human father to be Merops, who symbolises the plane of the intellect (Merope is the name of the wife of Sisyphus). And finally, in the myth itself the path is described to the seeker, including its steep beginnings and the warnings given against holding an idyllic vision of the spiritual path.
It is therefore addressed to seekers already capable of following an inner ‘guidance’, but animated by a vital enthusiasm and ardour which needs to be curbed. As he is not certain that his first experiences (represented by Epaphus) originate from the domain of the soul, Phaethon asks for evidence of this from the intellect, his mother, who is not able to give him the confirmation which he seeks. He then turns towards the “highest light”, a Light of Truth which he is able to connect with at that moment, but he neither wishes to nor is able to listen to its warnings.
He is however warned of the hardships of the path: a steep beginning, an ascension towards the kingdoms of the spirit where one comes closer and closer to the abyss (vertiginous abysses in the midst of the skies), and the end of the path descending into the depths of the vital and the body in which one risks death at every moment (a descent in which one is in danger of being precipitated into the ocean at any moment). In addition, one must all along this path face vital forces which are very difficult to control (the difficulty of mastering the horses), debunk illusions of the paradises which present themselves(daydreams of beautiful landscapes inhabited by the gods), and surmount visions of horror of the depths (traps and fearful images of wild beasts).
He is told that even the highest force of the overmind cannot direct the soul (Zeus cannot drive the chariot of the sun), for even the overmind cannot access Truth in its totality. Certain directions are therefore given to him: if he strives to elevate himself too high he will run the risk of ‘burning’ his mind in some psychic accident, and if he descends too far down into the subconscious his body will become prey to grave illnesses (he must not lose his way and err too high, running the risk of burning the celestial dwellings, or too low for fear of setting the earth on fire).
He must avoid awakening evolutionary memories (the knots of the Serpent) and playing with the powers of nature (the lower regions, which are consecrated to the great healer Chiron).
But the seeker persists in his will of deciding his own route, aided of course by all the ‘certainties’ given to him by reason. Dominated by desire and ego, he believes that he is serving his soul (he pays homage to his father), while in fact he is only feeding his greatest illusion. He really only heeds ‘signs’ which he can interpret in his own favour, and does not take into account any of the warnings given to him by his inner being. He lacks ‘weight’, incarnation which brings discernment.
It is the body, Gaia, which calls him back to order with a collapse of natural defenses (the earth becomes ridden with cracks) coupled with a serious blow of psychic power (he is struck down by the lightning of Zeus).
Even the mountains burn; the basis of his spiritual experience is destroyed. The psychic being, symbolised by the swan, is grieved by this disastrous outcome; Cyknos ‘the swan king’, weeps, as do Phaethon’s sisters the Heliades, who represent some developments within the seeker of the Light of Truth.
The awakening of the ‘sleeping Serpent’ is a reference to the awakening of the Kundalini, which held an important place in ancient initiations during which the paths of nature were more accessible than those of ascension and integration. We will only discuss it briefly here as a side note, as it does not seem to play a role in Greek mythology.
Especially in the east, many spiritual teachings aim to access the ‘Chi’, the ocean of life, to awaken the kundalini, the ‘serpent of fire’ resting at the base of the vertebral column, the energy hidden within matter, and to make it burst upwards through the crown of the head and thus bring about a union with the Self, the impersonal Divine.
The energies thus liberated through the assistance of particular exercises, mainly using the breath to ascend through the body, provoke an explosion of consciousness in the higher planes during the course of an ecstatic experience. Some of the initiates of ancient times considered this to be the only possible path for the realisation of a union with the Divine within Matter and with the Divine in the Spirit. When this link has not been forged there can be numerous experiences in matter, the vital or the planes of the spirit such as ubiquity, healing, shamanic powers, etc., but there will be no possibility of a real transformation in man, at least not at a collective level. In fact only few beings, withdrawn from life and practicing intensely constraining feats of asceticism, have in the past been successful in achieving individual realisations.
The flow of energy, which can take years to cross through the different centers, provokes a variety of awakenings as it passes through them. But this activation of energy from the lower depths is known to be dangerous, either because it is likely to be redirected through a lateral channels (Ida or Pingala), thus creating a deep imbalance in the energy centers, or because of the numerous risks of deviation which result from its irruption in the lower centers, particularly in the sexual center. This can cause great spiritual falls, not to mention the dangers that this poses for the mind and the body. For this energy awakens the center in which are hidden the evolutionary forces of the past and where are located the opposing powers of the world, ruled by vital entities of every kind. This undertaking therefore requires as a necessary preamble a very great purification of the vital and the mind, and a strict guidance by masters who are themselves awakened. This experience is described in detail by Gopi Krishna in his book Kundalini, Autobiography of an Awakening (it must be noted that this author still believes that this is the only possible path).
However, this ‘path of the lower depths’ leaves the physical body and the world unchanged. This is why those who followed it gave so little importance to their transformation and only aimed at halting the cycle of transmigrations or rebirth.
Sri Aurobindo strongly discourages seekers from embarking upon this path, assuring that the junction with the supramental, only recently accessible on earth, opens the possibility of transforming the lower planes without running any danger. This new ‘yoga’ allows the divine energies to work from the top of the head and to progressively descent into the body in proportion to its receptivity, going forward towards an encounter with the Divine evolving within the cells of the body. He requires no specific technique other than a great sincerity, a work of purification and liberation and an active surrender to the Divine, which is to say a complete dedication or ‘giving of oneself’. From a certain stage on this path it is the Divine which brings about the transformation, and the seeker never receives more energy than he is capable of withstanding. The records of Satprem, his Carnets d’une Apocalypse, clearly illustrate this process.
We may be tempted to compare the myths of Phaethon and Icarius, but they in fact illustrate different experiences in the spiritual search: Daedalus and Icarius never attempted to take the direction of the soul, but only of extracting themselves from a destructive mental construction without any visible exit.
Selene, the Moon, is a beautiful young woman who rides through the sky on a silver chariot drawn by two horses.
She is the symbol of a light reflected on the planes of the spirit, a greater self and a receptive and executive state of consciousness which is a symbol of the feminine and appears when the ego, the lesser self, is effaced and consequently reflects the supramental light of Helios the sun. The moon is ‘of silver’ and symbolises a pure and intense light, while the sun, which incarnates the supramental, is of gold.
As very few beings have been able to completely abolish the ego, Selene rarely appears in mythology. The plane of the Titan Hyperion is in fact representative of the plane of perfection, and his daughter represents a completely transmuted personality, which is that of man when he has realised a state of Freedom on all the mental, vital and physical planes synonymous to the transfer of governance from the lower planes of the ego to the Divine. In other words, she is the symbol of the incarnated self of supramental man, a symbol of complete dedication and of a perfect giving of oneself. This is what Sri Aurobindo calls ‘complete surrender’, a complete giving of oneself which ‘is not a matter of giving what is small to something greater nor of losing one’s will in the divine will; it is a matter of ANNULLING one’s will in something that is of another nature’. (Mother’s Agenda Volume 1, entry from the 7th October 1956.)
Therefore in the Homeric hymn to Selene the daughter that she had from Zeus is named Pandeia, ‘Παν (all)+Δ+Ι, she in whom consciousness is completely united with what is Real; when the highest level of the mind attains the perfection of consecration, the union with what is Real is complete.
The construction of the name Selene remains obscure. It may mean ‘the evolution of a glow’. Or, through the characters Σ+Λ+Ν, it could signify ‘human energy (Σ) in evolution (Ν) towards freedom (Λ).
The poets often gave her the name Menea, a word originating it seems from the verb ‘μενω’, which carries the multiple meanings of desiring, wanting, dwelling and waiting (aspiring). Under this terminology she therefore designates both the lesser self, the personality of desire, and the greater self which remains stable in a state of receptivity.
Mythology has only left us with a single story about Selene, one concerning her love with Endymion.
Endymion was a handsome young man, the son of Zeus and Calyce. He succeeded his human father Aethlius on the throne of Elis. Selene fell in love with him; some say that she was so enamored of him that she would contemplate her beloved while he slept.
Then Endymion fell into an eternal sleep, and was thus spared the ravages of age.
According to Apollodorus it was Endymion himself who asked Zeus for this favour, the god having promised Selene to grant her lover’s every wish.
In another version, Zeus had simply offered him the possibility of choosing the place and the time at which he would fall into this eternal sleep.
While Selene represents the perfection of the greater self, Endymion constitutes one of the partial degrees of it. He symbolises an advanced realisation on the path. It is therefore amongst the descendants of Protogenia, ‘that which is born ahead’, that he is to be found, and is in fact a grandson of Zeus and Protogenia. His mother is Calycia, the ‘budding (just opening)’ soul, herself one of the daughters of Aeolus. His human father is Aethlius, ‘the warrior’, and his divine father is Zeus.
As king of Elis, Endymion is at the head of the path of Liberation (Λ). According to Apollodorus, he led the Aeolian searchers of truth from Thessaly to Elis, from the search for inner contact (Thessaly), to a work in view of a permanent union (Elis). His name, Endymion, could signify ‘filled with consecrated/devoted consciousness’. He founded the genealogical line of the great heroes: Oeneus, ‘divine intoxication’, Meleager, ‘who achieved a submission of the vital to yogic work’, Diomedes, ‘who strives for union in the overmind’, Deianira, ‘the accomplishment of a perfect detachment’, and finally Leda, ‘the realisation of a state of compassion’ (see diagrams 9 and 10).
At this stage the growth of the lesser self has long since been completed, and it is then a matter of a transfer of the planes constituting the personality from the governance of the ego to that of the inner divine. The eternal sleep of Endymion refers to a completely receptive state which is progressively won so as to become complete (according to Pausanias, Selene bore Endymion fifty daughters, a number which confirms a totality in the world of forms.) As the sleep is ‘eternal’, what is acquired is so as well.
The fact that he is spared the ravages of age means that crystallisation no longer operates at this stage, at least not in the body and the vital: the seeker is at every moment ‘new’, completely available and virginal before the present moment.
The combination of sleep and eternal youth are an offering of the dissolution of the ego.
The manner in which Endymion reaches this complete consecration and the disappearance of the ego can occur in different ways with a greater or lesser intervention of the personal will, which explains its variations. The dissolution of the ego is experienced either as a ‘surprise’ or as the result of a decision.
Eos – Staatliche Antikensammlungen
Eos, the goddess of the Dawn, is the symbol of the Eternally New, and sets the relationship between Helios and Selene, between the soul and the true Self. Attending to her requires a constant adaptability, a complete suppleness and malleability and an unending capacity for wonder before the miracle of creation in perpetual evolution. Everything which is submitted to the power of inertia (Tamas), which is troubled or murky, which fixes and rigidifies, and especially everything which becomes attached or seeks to seize, delays or precipitates, desires for its own self (including beliefs, opinions, desires, preferences, habits, etc.), in one way or another resists the advent of the New and creates obstacles to an inner encounter.
Eos therefore renders herself perceptible through the action of her children the stars and winds, the flashes of light guiding us and the breaths of the Supreme Consciousness which either support or shake us. We will study them later in this chapter along with Astraeus, the husband of Eos and the son of the Titan Crios.
Homer refers to Eos as ‘the rosy-fingered goddess’ who through regeneration strives towards the aims of perfection and love. The rose is the sacred flower of Aphrodite, and seems to hold at least in part a similar meaning as the lotus of the East. But first and foremost, this expression indicates the intense ‘divine delicacy’ and subtleness expressed in the evolutionary process.
Perhaps this appellation of Eos also refers to the ability of the New to act in creation with both the power of Love and a great delicacy which neither rushes nor roughens. If it was not perfectly dosed at each moment, we would be incapable of withstanding the pressure of Divine Love, especially in the body. Thus, each individual is at each instant in the best possible conditions for his evolution, and when a form borrowed by the soul, a physical, vital or mental entity, has become too fixed, it is recast in the great crucible of the generation of forms. This is the process which we call death.
In Greek, the name ‘Ηως’ does not contain any consonants. The two vowels Η (heta) and Ω (omega) can thus be considered to be structuring characters. The character heta (Η) designates future man, and omega (Ω) the opening of consciousness towards matter in the body. Eos therefore evokes what is ‘New’ and acts to lead humankind towards the stage of future man through an opening of consciousness in matter (Ω) rather than towards the heights of the spirit. The New must therefore be searched for within the heart of the tribulations of this earth rather than outside it; the seeker cannot free himself from his participation in the world, his meanderings and vicissitudes.
As the New is ceaselessly knocking at our door under different forms, this is a goddess who is constantly falling in love, and thus soliciting evolution.
Amongst her lovers figures Ares, ‘the god of the destruction of forms’, which of course greatly displeased Aphrodite, the rightful lover of this god. This love is legitimate if we consider that the New cannot appear in forms which are not sufficiently supple; overly rigid forms must be shattered to be able to transform. From this perspective we can consider evolution as a progressive plasticisation of forms and a process of fusion and fission on the plane of matter, birth and death on the plane of life, and memory and forgetting on the plane of the mind, all requirements for transformation. With this end, biological cycles, those which govern the mind and most probably many other forces and cycles unknown to us, allow an acceleration of the process of renewal, often without us being aware of it. The spiritual path, which is a progressive and indefinite widening of consciousness, must therefore allow the different planes to become plastic so as to render them receptive to the divine action. Rendering the mind plastic means widening it and rendering it more supple: widening it by allowing it, through the purification and the mastery of thought, to consider all perspectives, and rendering it more supple by removing the rigidities which are rooted in opinions or preferences, which result from mixtures with the emotions and the imaginary, or which are indirectly generated by fear. Rendering the vital plastic means giving it back its capacity for immediate adaptation to situations through victory over fear, an abandoning of the desires of the ego and of all attachments – it is learning to go through every experience with neither disgust nor displeasure through a fortification and purification of nervous reactions, and to achieve emotional detachment and equanimity in which the inner world remains immobile irrespective of the external situation. Rendering the body plastic means suppressing all its fears at their roots and making its defeatism and cellular trepidation cease so as to render it unwavering, completely receptive, supple and endurant so that it can support the descent of the divine energy in itself (the Mother describes a crushing energy so strong that it would cause an unprepared body to explode).
Eos’ second lover was the great hunter Orion, the most handsome of mortals and able to walk on water, which is symbolic of a very advanced seeker who masters the vital but has not yet completed a purification of the depths. The gods, who disapproved of unions between goddesses and mortals – for at the level of the overmind there cannot be a fertilisation of the pure by the impure – did not permit this love to carry on, and Artemis, the goddess of purification, was quick to slay Orion with her arrows. The latter would henceforth carry on with his task of hunting wild beasts in the kingdom of Hades, in the physical body.
But Eos’ most famous lover was Tithonus, the son of Laomedon the king of Troy, and therefore the brother of Priam. Eos asked Zeus to grant him immortality, but forgot to ask him to grant him eternal youth as well.
As long as Tithonus remained young they lived happily at the frontiers of the earth, at the shores of the currents of the Ocean.
Eos bore two children, Memnon and Emathion. The first became the king of the Ethiopians, and fought as an ally of the Trojans, and the second was slain by Heracles.
Then as time passed the ravages of age gradually reduced Tithonus into a larva, which Eos shut into a closed room in which he prattles eternally ever since.
Although this legend belongs to the Trojan cycle, we mention it here because it displays great similarities with that of Endymion, the lover of Selene who obtained immortality and eternal youth.
Tithonus was a Trojan hero, and therefore represents quite an advanced realisation in the conquest of the planes of the Spirit, associated with a refusal of transformation of the lower planes. This conforms to his name, (Τ+Θ+Ν), which indicates an evolution (Ν) of inner growth (Θ) on the plane of the spirit (Τ). But it is a realisation which ignores and sometimes even rejects matter.
Homer tells us that often dawn rises from the bed of Tithonus to bring day to gods and mortals, which is to say that the aspiration for what is new is oriented towards the planes of the spirit. What is ‘most advanced’ on the earth lies on the Trojan side, the side of this son of Laomedon, the brother of Priam.
Their two children Memnon and Emathion respectively represent ‘the memory of the Absolute’ or ‘aspiration’, and ‘a consciousness which stands within’.
Memnon was later killed by Achilles during the Trojan War, but Eos obtained for him immortality as she did for his father. Memnon is most probably the symbol of a receptive mind. It is quite common – and justified, for these two spiritual undertakings are equivalent in some ways – to find very similar names on the two opposing sides of the Trojan War (for example Memnon and Aga-Memnon; on one side ‘a memory of the Divine’, and on the other ‘he who brings a strong impulse of the same state at the head of armies”, the memory or recalling of the Divine leading the process of the future evolution, of the yoga in the matter). It is therefore natural for Memnon to obtain immortality, for the corresponding realisation is permanently acquired.
Eos obtained from Zeus immortality for Tithonus, which is to say that the level of realisation of non-duality attained on the higher planes was permanently acquired by him. But she ‘forgot’ to ask that he maintain his eternal youth, which is to say the capacity for ‘the adaptation to the movement of becoming’. Like the rest of the Trojans, Tithonus rejected the possibility that what was impossible to realise at a certain period of human evolution could later on become possible – especially in regards to the possibility of transforming the inferior planes, including the physical and the lower vital. Such a rejection causes an irremediable shrinking of consciousness and a closing in, and in fact Tithonus remained forevermore cloistered and gradually reduced to the state of a larva.