The Labours of Hercules

March -The Mares of Diomedes

The Mythos:

Eurystheus bids Hercules capture the uncontrollable mares belonging to Diomedes, a Thracian King, who fed them upon the human flesh of adventurous strangers visiting the land of Thrace.

Hercules captures the mares, leads them away, and leaves them in the keeping of his companion Abderus, while he goes forth to slay Diomedes, but during his absence the mares devour Abderus.

Hercules kills Diomedes and gives his body to the mares, who upon eating the flesh of their former master, immediately become tame.

Hercules takes the mares to Eurystheus, and they are sacrificed to Zeus on Mount Olympus.

The Clavis:

Zeus or Jove, is the Cosmic Deity who presides over the initial production and manifestation of mundane forms.

Diomedes means "Jove-counselled"; he was the son of Mars, the Astrological Lord of Aries.

The Mares, or Hippai (Greek), are generally regarded as symbolical of the feminine aspect of the mind which gives birth to opinions, theories, and concepts. In the Mythos they are stimulated unnaturally by the passion for human flesh, with all its unrestrained desires and inordinate tendencies.

Thrace means rugged, rough, and unformed. It is an appropriate symbol of the rudimentary, although logical, thoughts of the lower mind. The Mares are typically Thracian.

Abderus means folly, laughter, and stupidity.

Aries is "the Ram", the Zodiacal Sign of initial creative activity. Some of the perverted and undesirable Arietian propensities to be overcome by the Soul are tendencies such as the doxastic or opinionative, the uncontrollable, the unscrupulous, the self-willed, the headstrong, the officious, the roving, the fanatical, the self-deceptive, and the egotistic phases of the human will, mind, and heart.

The pure Arietian volition is impulsive, elective and purposive, but when not in conformity with the Jovian Will, it tends to become animalized, uncontrolled, blind, and purposeless.

The Exegesis:

The activity or conduct of man in the mundane realms of form and sense is to a large extent, an outward expression of his innate opinions, beliefs, and concepts of life. Hence, in so far as his views are erroneous, so his resultant conduct tends to become wrong. But the Soul, in its true self, is Jove-counselled; therefore when experience demonstrates that certain modes of life are unwise and inordinate, the Soul, unless prevented by the self-deception and fixed opinions of the lower mind, naturally endeavours to rectify them. Thus, each Labour of Hercules may be interpreted as a task which every Soul, at some period of existence, receives the inner prompting to accomplish.

The conduct-moulding principle of Aries in the Soul (Diomedes), when unbridled and dominated by impulse (Mars), gives birth to false opinions and unrestrained lower mental activities (the Mares), which verge to fleshly sense-life. But this same principle, when controlled by divine counsel (Zeus) is formative of elevative habits and of useful creative modes of life, which bring culture and beauty to that which is rugged and unformed (Thrace).

The divine Impulses of Aries produce the pioneers of new forms of manifestation (the strangers in uncultured Thrace), but egotism and the fanatical self-will (Diomedes), dominated by impulse, destroys these pioneers by the very intellectual faculties (the Mares) through which he should have co-operated with them.

But when Hercules, who is the Pioneer Soul dominated by the Will of God (Zeus), enters the domain of the Arietian King Diomedes, he quickly gains control of the Mares (the opinions of the lower mind), although he is danger of losing this control through the folly of his companion Abderus, who denotes short-lived enthusiasm and excessive mirth, - characteristic Arietian traits.

The slaying of Diomedes by Hercules and the giving of his flesh to the Mares, symbolizes the power of the heroic Soul to turn the counsel of Jove to its lawful and proper use, and thus the opinionative or doxastic principles of the Soul are no longer wild, roving, and ineffective, but are dedicated to their true purpose on the Sacred Mountain of God.

 

Home Up

 

from Sacred Mythoi of Demigods and Heroes The Shrine of Wisdom 1999