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The Labors of Hercules - Labor I

The Capture of the Man-eating Mares
(Aries, March 21st - April 20th)

The Myth

The first great Gate stood open wide. A voice came through that portal: "Hercules, my son, go forth. Pass through the Gate and enter on the Way. Perform thy labor and return to me, reporting on the deed."

With shouts of triumph Hercules rushed forth, running between the pillars of the Gate with over-weening confidence and surety of power. And thus the Labor started and the first great act of service was begun. The story that they tell carries instruction for the sons of men, who are the sons of God.

The son of Mars, Diomedes of fiery fame, ruled in the land beyond the Gate, and there he raised the horses and the mares of war, upon the marshes of his land. Wild were these horses and fierce the mares and all men trembled at their sound, for they ravaged up and down the land, wreaking great damage, killing all the sons of men who crossed their path, and breeding steadily most wild and evil horses.

"Capture these mares, and stop these evil deeds," was the command which fell upon the ears of Hercules. "Go, rescue this far land and those who live upon it."
"Abderis," cried Hercules, "come forth and aid me with this task," calling the friend he greatly loved and who ever followed in his steps as he went from place to place. And Abderis came forth and took his stand beside his friend and with him faced the task. Laying all plans with care, these two followed the horses as they ranged the meadows and the marshes of that land. Finally, he cornered these wild mares within a field [28] wherein there was no further place to move, and there he caught and tethered them. He yelled with joy at the success achieved.

So great was his delight in the prowess thus displayed that he deemed it 'neath his dignity to hold the mares or drive them on the Way to Diomedes. He called his friend, saying: "Abderis, come hither and drive these horses through the Gate".

And then he turned his back and pridefully marched forward. But Abderis was weak and feared the task. He could not hold the mares, or harness them or drive them through the Gate in the footsteps of his friend. They turned on him; they rent and trod him underfoot; they killed him and escaped into the wilder lands of Diomedes.

Wiser, grief-stricken, humble and discouraged, Hercules returned unto his task. He sought the mares again from place to place, leaving his friend, dying upon the ground. Again he caught the horses, and drove them through the Gate himself. But Abderis lay dead.

The Teacher looked him o'er with care and sent the horses to the place of peace, there to he tamed and broken to their tasks. The people of that land, released from fear, welcomed the deliverer, acclaiming Hercules as savior of the land. But Abderis lay dead.The Teacher turned to Hercules and said: "Labor the first is ended; the task is done, but badly done. Learn the true lesson of this task and then pass on to further service to your fellowmen. Go forth into the country guarded by the second Gate and find and take the sacred Bull into the Holy Place."

The Tibetan (Djwhal Khul)

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