Third labor - Ceryneian hind submitted by Arch
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Third labor - Ceryneian hind:
Now Hercules moves over to a new challenge, yet this one is pretty different.
It doesn't attack and engage Hercules in the realm that he is used to.
The Hind is a graceful creature, with golden antlers.
Making it female, with male attributes.
It can run faster than an arrow, even the goddess of the Hunt Artemis,
was unable to catch it, so she valued it a lot.
Right off the bat, it is clear that the very difference of this task,
seem to demand that Hercules evolve another side of himself.
The Hind seem to be associated with air and intuition, in that it is fast and move about a lot.
Of course as I mentioned in the last article, with a different elemental association,
that would make it represented by the wands and not swords.
Sure one can make the case of the antlers being phallic and sword-like,
and I guess that would to some extent be right,
it depends on whether one thinks Hercules learned the lesson of the swords in the last labor.
Else this is a final encounter to integrate the swords, while at the same time getting a taste of the wands.
Putting this in context of the larger Emperor/Empress conflict,
it is clear that Hercules that only has access to the earth and fire, (i.e pentacles and swords)
now gets challenged on a new inner level that links up with the feminine repressed principles.
Generally when the earthly world is mixed with cold reason, we get the archetype of the warrior.
Hercules embody that archetype in his journey so far.
This is made more obvious since Athena, although she is a woman is still a goddess of war.
Hence we could say that even Hercules feminine side, is slanted towards the warrior side.
The opposite of this would be air and water, which is feelings and intuition.
This is the King archetype, that might as well be the Queen in this case,
as it is really a pointer towards Hercules repressed femininity,
and thus the ongoing conflict between the Emperor and the Empress.
Femininity and masculinity are two very complex and elusive phenomena,
always being shaped by the spirit of our time,
and hence always being troublesome for anyone to tangle with.
They usually crystallize in certain archetypes expressed certain ways in that time.
The Warrior is the masculine version, that has its counterpart in the Amazons.
Because every expression of every archetype always have a male and female version.
Yet that is a rabbit-hole that goes way too deep for this article.
Anyway Hercules sets out to hunt the Hind.
He knew Artemis held it dear, he couldn't kill it or even hurt it.
Also because of it's speed, he had to chase it for a whole year before it finally gets tired far north in Hyperborea.
Hercules then started the journey back, but was confronted by Artemis who was not very pleased.
Although when Hercules explained why he had to do it, and promised to let the deer go afterwards,
she forgave him and let him go back to Eurystheus.
Eurystheus wanted the Hind for himself, yet Hercules fooled him by telling him,
he had to take the deer from his hands, and then just before Eurystheus could grab it,
Hercules let go of it and it ran away swift like the wind.
Eurystheus got mad, but Hercules told him he was too slow.
In this little story so far, a lot of things have happened.
Firstly the way Hercules caught the Hind, was going all over the world.
Basically having a lot of earthly experiences, experiences that combined slowly tired the Hind.
The earth and the air, seem very different, but they are linked in that the air roams all the world,
yet someone who roams the world and lives earthly a lot, will start to take on the qualities of air.
They have taken the same path, and hence the intuitive qualities are activated.
He takes the spot of the page/princess of wands that also is a wanderer with his/her walking stick.
Another wanderer is the Fool of course, and once Hercules crosses the boundary over to the feminine side,
he is definitely getting closer to this idealized position of someone starting out on a new adventure.
It is a journey into his shadow, and hence it will touch on a lot of dark themes, from a feminine perspective.
A perspective that is alien to Hercules coming from a Warrior frame of mind, a frame that men historically has claimed.
The goddess Artemis is the guardian of the feminine realm being also the goddess of maidens.
She confronts Hercules over his intrusion into this territory, and his defilement of the Hind.
After all by catching it he broke one of its horns.
This is a rather interesting point, since the Hind represent masculinity mixed with femininity.
Hercules breaking the horn, namely the symbol of masculinity on the Hind,
suggests that although he has captured the Hind, his mastery of it is tentative,
and it will not support a full masculine identity.
In other words, he has gotten a taste of femininity,
but hardly enough to support a mature masculine existence.
Artemis letting him go, is in my eyes a symbol of her recognizing that he is on the right path.
That he will not use this venture into the other territory for the wrong reasons.
In other words let Eurystheus (the ego symbol I pointed out earlier), have his way with it.
Eurystheus must grab it with his own hands, which he cannot, because he is too weak for even a taste of wholeness.
Eurystheus as the ego is trapped between Hera and what we can call the Hierophant, with the number five being very central.
In many ways reminiscent of the Freudian ego negotiating between Id and Superego.
Remember how in the last article the five of cups was the one symbolizing the manifestation of the Hydra,
through repressed emotions.
What the Hierophant symbolizes connects this principle to fiveness in particular, total blindness to everything.
Being caught up in the appearances of ones culture and whatever the spirit of ones time is chanting.
That world order is all there is, and whatever does not fit in is denied, to the peril of all.
Yet despite this, it likes to collect and trap all the things that are alive, sending out hunters to collect it all.
Then declaring it under its control, and hence being pacified and dealt with.
Just like Eurystheus wanted to do with the Hind, cage it for display.
Look at me who not only deny this feminine principle, but I even has it on display in a cage!
That is often how I view the keys the Hierophant has,
the keys to all the wisdom locked away, hidden and forbidden!
In this way we can see that the femininity Hera is representing has become a twisted femininity,
and nothing like the free and innocent femininity Artemis is set to protect.
Both masculinity and femininity can be poisoned by life's trials,
and the keeper of this twisted status quo, if the culture is really twisted, is always the Hierophant.
Of course a healthy mature culture would also be held by the Hierophant,
so we see that once again the symbol is accessible to both good and evil.