THE LINEAGE OF TANTALUS: PELOPS, ATREUS AND AGAMEMNON

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The lineages involved in the Trojan War include: the Tantalum lineage, the Trojan royal lineage, the Spartan lineage, the Maia lineage, the Deion lineage and the Asopos lineage.The lineage of Tantalus studied here embodies the aspiration of the seeker. It includes in particular Pelops, Atreus and Thyestes, Agamemnon and Menelaus.

Agamemnon with the priest Chryses attempting to ransom his daughter Chryseis - Louvre museum

Agamemnon with the priest Chryses attempting to ransom his daughter Chryseis – 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.

The origins of Tantalus

See Family tree 15

In the genealogical diagrams used in this work, the lineage of Tantalus has been described in relation to the descendants of the Pleiad Sterope, although Apollodorus and Hyginus were the only one amongst the initiates of ancient Greece to have identified her as the mother or spouse of Oenomaus, father of Hippodamia.
However, if Tantalus is taken to be a primary symbol of aspiration, of a will for progress and/or of a need for evolution, his lineage can be placed neither within the path of the ascension of the planes of consciousness nor within that of purification and liberation. Aspiration, or the need for evolution, is in fact the motor force of all that lives with the purpose of uniting with the Source. In man in can express itself through action, through the heart or through the mind. But this is a need of the soul, and is therefore situated beyond the five categories of primary needs defined by Maslow: physiological or vital needs, needs for security, for love and belonging, for self-esteem, and for realisation or personal accomplishment, since it is a need of the soul.

Aspiration can lead to a variety of experiences of union with the Absolute, but both the liberation into spirit – the end of desire and ego – which is the result of a process of purification – and to an even greater extent the liberation of nature, remain tied to a progression within the mind till a certain point. Expressed by the fundamental movement of yoga of ascension and integration, this link constitutes quite a complex problem. In fact the seeker can progress quite far in a specific area even while leaving behind other parts of the being, which will eventually force him to turn back. In mythology this link is marked by unions between heroes and heroines of different lineages, by the participation of the heroes of these lineages in Panhellenic adventures or by ‘visits’ and gifts exchanged by characters from different lineages. The number of generations within each lineage adds an element of complexity to this problem.

Pindar describes Tantalus as one who is on familiar terms with the gods and even as an immortal, reflecting a seeker who is familiar with the powers of the overmind and who has possibly even attained a state of non-duality in the spirit. Marking the origin of the lineage, this accomplishment therefore presupposes a very advanced stage of mental progression.
However, the sacrifice of his only son offered to the gods shows that the researcher, although very dedicated, think to have reached the end of yoga since no more yoga work would be necessary (the death of the only son). There is then the need to go back to achieve a more complete mastery; it will be the union of Pelops and Hippodamia.

This is why the order of descendance described by Apollodorus and Hyginus, which is apparently drawn from ancient sources, seems coherent. It associates this remarkable aspiration to a great development of the higher mind, represented by the Pleiad Sterope, ‘a vision in lightening flashes’. Hence the mention of Hippodamia, ‘the mastery of vital force’, as a daughter of Oenomaus and Sterope or granddaughter of the god Ares and Sterope.
We can understand therefore that the seeker has to come down from the higher planes of the mind to complete purification which would then be started from the higher mind.
Sterope, a symbol of the higher mind plane, quite logically sets in place the Atrides in relation to the royal Trojan lineage, which according to a number of Greek authors originated from Zeus and the Pleiad Electra, the illumined mind. In fact the Trojans, a people of the East, represent a part of the being that is more advanced in the ascension process than that symbolised by the Achaean coalition.
Tantalus represents the culmination of an aspiration that put the seeker on the path, symbolised by Deucalion “the one who calls the union”, son of Prometheus.
Since the link with the higher mind is only through a maternal ancestry, the Tantalus lineage is therefore considered in this work separately from the two main paths of ascension and purification, while keeping in consideration the parallels and links drawn by the initiates of ancient Greece between this lineage and the two main paths.

When associating Hippodamia with the mastery of the vital, one must remember the distinction between on the one hand the ‘control’ imposed by the ego, and on the other the principle of mastery, the responsibility of which must be progressively transferred from the personal will to the psychic being as the ego progressively disappears. In this case, ‘mastery’ comes to signify ‘liberation’, and it is the progressive quest for a ‘true mastery’ which Hippodamia represents. This is the reason for the infamous punishment of Tantalus in Hades, which expresses an aspiration which has ‘descended’ into the body, the corporeal inconscient, or an ‘aspiration of the cells’. In other words, the symbol of Hippodamia’s union with Pelops, son of Tantalus, is that of the beginning of a quest for the power of transformation.
While a great mastery of the vital and mental planes leads to a state of ‘liberated’ seeker – a liberation from desire, ego and suffering linked to the mind and the vital – this stage must be transcended to allow a progression to the next stage of yoga. This reversal is illustrated by the story of Pelops the son of Tantalus, and then by the Trojan War led by the Atrides.

The significance of the name Tantalus is difficult to ascertain. Through its structuring characters it could be a symbol of the evolution of aspiration towards the Absolute in the heights of the spirit. If considering only the single word root ‘Tal’, endurance, then this aspiration would be linked to the principle of endurance.
This character’s origins are obscure. Some relatively weakly supported sources (Diodorus and Pausanias) describe him as a son of Zeus and Pluto, ‘wealth’, sometimes considered to be a daughter of Atlas or a nymph of Mount Sipylus, ‘the doorway’ or ‘frontier of the human’.
As a son of Zeus he symbolises an impulse of the supraconscient aiming at a major realisation to be carried out through his descendants, Agamemnon and Menelaus.
As Pluto’s son, Tantalus was famous for his wealth, obtained through a very advanced degree of spiritual evolution. This is why he was said to be on familiar terms with the gods, which is to say that he represented a seeker who had attained the level of the overmind, at least up to a certain extent.
In her representation as a nymph of Mount Sipylus ‘the door out of human consciousness’, Pluto is the symbol of a spiritual force at the height of the process of personal yoga, before the latter is transferred to the Divine.

Several names are given to the wife of Tantalus. These are Euryanassa, (‘a vast mastery’), Eurythemis, (‘obedience to the supreme law’ and daughter of the river Xanthos, ‘golden yellow’, symbol of the accomplishment of detachment and inner development, current of consciousness/energy linked to liberation from dualities), Klytia (‘she of great renown’, daughter of Amphidamas, ‘everything which concerns mastery’), or Dione, (‘the evolution of union in consciousness’ and daughter of Atlas).
All of these names express the aspiration and the work of the seeker in view of a vast mastery which has no constraint, rejection nor denial.

The punishment of Tantalus

Tantalus is most well known for the punishment that he underwent in the kingdom of Hades. To thoroughly understand this story, one must go back to those who endured other forms of punishment in the underworld, namely Tityus, Sisyphus and Tantalus. All three of these characters represent elements which have been useful in evolution, but which are still at work in the body, and must be vanquished there or must achieve their accomplishment during the last stage of yogic progress (See Volume 1 Chapter 4 of this work).

The first character, Tityus, is a son of Gaia, and therefore represents a process generated at the source by the principle of Existence. He symbolises the fundamental distancing of man from his divine origin, or the sense or awareness of separateness.
In Hades his body was spread over a distance of about fifty acres, and vultures devoured his liver. He had been slain by Apollo and Artemis for his attempted abuse of their mother Leto.
This awareness of separateness must be vanquished, not only in the mind, but also within the vital and finally within the body down to the level of the cells. It must be noted that the power of union brought forth by the psychic is incompatible with separation but not with differentiation.
It is therefore necessary for the belief of separation symbolised by the liver to progressively disappear at the corporeal level as well. In the Caduceus the liver can be attributed to the Sephiroth Netzach, centre of consciousness in which one can also situate the liver, while reason rests on Hod, the other pillar. The liver of Tityus thus symbolises the belief in separation.

The second character to be punished in the underworld was Sisyphus, father of Bellerophon the conqueror of the Chimera. It therefore seems apparent that he had served his role in evolution. But when all illusions have been vanquished in the mind and in the vital it is still necessary for the body to abandon its illusions as well, which are linked to millions of years of evolution and the evolutionary logic of which form an impregnable bastion. It is then a matter of transforming the paradigms linked to the past, going against the sense of logic, through a total abandonment to what is Real and to the supramental action. The illusions of the body are those which seem like ‘impossible’ to us. But already at the cellular level – without even considering the molecular and corpuscular levels, the first paradigms of which science is just beginning to discover – these impossibilities can begin to be banished.
Within the deep subconscient or the inconscient, the personal effort sustained by the mind and represented by Sisyphus can no longer bear fruits; everything is to be ceaselessly begun again, for no