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  • Eight labor - Mares of Diomedes submitted by Arch

    • Saturn Celeste
    • By Saturn Celeste


    Eight labor - Mares of Diomedes:





    After the Cretan Bull Hercules is sent to bring back the Mares of Diomedes.

    Diomedes is another son of a God, namely the God of war Ares.

    Famous for feeding his guests to his Mares, which then have gotten a taste for human flesh.


    Hercules avoids a direct confrontation, and rather sneaks in to steal the Mares with his companions.

    He kills the guards, and drives the Mares out of the stables, towards the sea.


    Diomedes gets word that Hercules has stolen his Mares, and takes up pursuit with his army.

    When they come to the sea Diomedes catches up with them.

    Hercules leaves the Mares in the care of his friend and lover Abderus.


    Herclues faces the army routes Diomedes men, and gets into a struggle with Diomedes himself.

    Being a half-god like Hercules, means that the fight is an equal one.

    But in the end Hercules gets the upper hand, and throw Diomedes to his own horses.

    Only to discover that in the process of trying to to control the horses,

    his friend and lover Abderus has been eaten also.


    The horses have calmed down after eating Diomedes, and have lost their bloodlust.

    So it is a simple task for Hercules to bring the Mares back to Eurystheus.

    The Mares from then on spawn a mighty bloodline with many famous horses linked to them in legend.




    Let us look at this symbolically.


    The horses often symbolize our life energy, and is aptly depicted in the Chariot card.

    These four horses symbolize our energy tainted by evil.

    Infected by the same curse that has spawned all the monsters so far.

    Diomedes is also the son of destruction deified, making him also a product of this,

    and a quite central one, since it is he that keeps the diet of the Mares to be human flesh.


    The mares being four, can symbolize the very structure of our evil shadow.

    It is the wholeness of darkness in a way that Hercules is setting out to deal with here.

    He hence avoids dealing with Diomedes and tries to sneak him-self to victory.

    Yet Diomedes will have none of it and tracks him down to face him and punish him.


    So who is Diomedes in relation to the Tarot?

    What exactly is it Hercules is up against here?


    We find a clue on Diomedes shield, it has the mark of a Boar.

    So he is yet again linked to the shadow world and evil.

    In a way we could perhaps say, that he is the shadow and its evils personified.


    The fact that Hercules deals with the shadow by letting it fight itself,

    point back to the first battle with the Nemian lion,

    where its own claws are turned against it.


    When the shadow has dealt with itself in this way, it is satisfied,

    but not only because it overpowered itself, but because it got something in return.

    Hercules was forced to give a sacrifice in the form of his friend and lover.

    A hard and painful prize to pay.

    So important is this, that Hercules founds a city there in Abderus memory.

    And from the side of sacrifice, we will of course symbolically have touched upon the Hanged man.




    Symbolically Abderus was sent to the underworld, as payment to bring the Mares out.

    If we think about where we where in the last labor in terms of numbers.

    It was at the point of nine, if we add that to the Hanged man,

    we get 9 + 12 = 21, or the World.




    The world is all about appearances, and by bringing the dark Mares up into the light,

    while at the same time sacrificing something of great value, appearances is forced to change.

    They may never really reflect what is actually going on, but they usually approximate things well enough.


    To move from 9 to 10 we get 19, and hence we have the Sun.

    Hercules have brought an end to the underworld, and it is now day.

    Yet of course the underworld isn't empty, as the content has just been switched out.

    And its new occupants will set the stage for a new cycle later.




    In essence Hercules have made the journey that so many aspire to do.

    He has conquered the underworld, and would by most standards be viewed as enlightened.

    So it is curious that he has more labors to come.

    I think it will become clear in those labors, why exactly the journey isn't done here.


    Regardless, this new world is one of a new plenty never seen before.

    Which is symbolically seen in the 10's, with the Wheel of fortune, and the excesses of the four suits of tens.

    Which can mean a new capacity to deal with more goods and troubles.




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