Sixth labor - Stymphalian birds submitted by Arch
- By Saturn Celeste
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Sixth labor - Stymphalian birds:
We now move over to a new creature Hercules must defeat.
This one is interesting because it starts out in a marsh.
In that sense it is much like the Hydra that it is generated from stagnant water.
It is in other words just another symptom that takes on a new form.
The Stymphalian birds are metal creatures, making them elementally akin to swords and hence fire.
Yet this is created out of the evil shadow, so it is fire out of control, or thinking out of control.
In the last labor we noticed that the 7 was a natural number to progress from,
and in this labor it isn't wrong to bring in number 8.
After the ego crash in the Chariot, where everything is too much for the ego to handle.
We find the need for the card of Strength and patience to gather ourselves for a new battle.
I find this card interesting, pointing to the boar that Hercules had to let go.
Because the root of this is still the Boar and its destructiveness, and that takes patience.
The Birds are just an aspect of the Boar, the imprint the water has on its opposite element.
Just like the fire can manipulate the element of water, so can water manipulate fire.
This manifests in all sorts of destructive thoughts, like a swarm of birds.
The main gist of this story is that Hercules arrives to take on the Birds, but he cannot get to them,
because the marsh is too treacherous, and when he fires his arrows, they are quickly used up,
as there are just too many birds.
Athena arrives while Hercules ponders what to do.
She has some metal rattles for Hercules, something she has forged in fire for him.
We see here that thought stand against thought, the result of negative fire, against positive fire.
The rattles scare the birds to take flight and they leave the marsh.
So what happened here?
Hercules having spent all his energy, is down in the low of the eight.
Specifically he has encountered the eight of swords in the birds.
The birds being symbolic messengers, and now they are haunting messengers of evil.
He is trapped by his own self inflicted blindness.
Having been inflated and then humiliated in failing the last labor.
He couldn't reach the sky, because he hadn't really defeated the Hydra,
and capturing the Boar, who was just another symptom of the swamp,
really didn't help matters a lot, it just scared Eurystheus to death.
Now facing down a new and adapted foe, he once again need help of Athena,
and once again, they cure the symptom, this time with thought against thought.
Scaring away the negative energy with a good energy to replace it.
In the east one speaks of the Monkey mind, and the chanting of positive mantras to silence it.
By interrupting it with positivity, it will eventually give up and leave.
Although the swamp still lies below hidden, waiting to unleash new monsters.
I think it is time to take a closer look at the journey so far, since we are half way through.
The story of this seemingly start with Hercules, yet that is not so.
It started with the first gods of the Greeks, Namely Aether and Gaia.
They gave birth to Uranus the god of the sky, who with his mother fathered the Titans.
The youngest of the Titans Chronos overthrew his father, and was eventually overthrown by his son Zeus.
Aether I think would represent the principle beyond this world,
while Uranus takes the position of Kether from the Kabbalah,
in other words the top of heaven, with Gaia being Malkuth (earth).
Who actually gets to be the magician can be disputed, but I think Chronos is a likely pick.
Then Chronos wife Rhea would be the high priestess, being the mother of the gods,
and then we get Zeus and Hera as the Emperor and Empress.
Pointing to the suppressing power of structure, and how that brings us directly into conflict with Nemian Lions.
To establish and protect the realm, any realm, one needs to fight for it, and one needs to win.
Then follow a period of orthodoxy with the Hierophant, which will spawn monsters from repressed elements.
Before we have a direct clash with all the destructiveness held down, in the Lovers,
where we hopefully find a way to bridge the divide.
Having found a bridge, we get overconfident and inflated in the seven, where we identify with the sky.
Which leads us to a fall, and humiliation.
The only way out of this condition is through Strength, which can lead us through its patience to a better place.
A place where we once again start dealing with the monsters at hand,
even though we are still only dealing with symptoms.
We can see from this how the Tarot so far, has provided us with signposts.
They show the way through our own spiritual maze.
The specific details and arrangement of our own maze will not be like anyone else's,
but the signposts we all share.
To end this article I'd like to point out a simple Tarot truth here.
7 + 8 is 15, which stands for the Devil, and the Devil is just the force that tempts us with inner negativity.
Pulling us away from our victory and setting us up for the fall of the tower.
Hercules has fallen and it is obvious.
In the Jungian tarot we see symbols that illuminate this issue.
In the lovers we see a white fish in the mandala, symbolizing a pure unconscious,
in a cross symbolizing the the four elements combined into one.
While in the devil the fish is swimming the opposite way and has a sickly color,
it is in an black inverted pentacle, pointing to the divide, and the corrupted number five.
The unconscious has turned evil, and the war is on,
with the Devil whispering destructive words of temptation.
I haven't covered all the cards that would come into play in this journey so far,
as covering every angle and every card, would just bloat up the articles,
and hide the message that each labor is supposed to give.