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The Labors of Hercules - Journey through the Signs
Journey through the Signs

(As a back-drop to the drama enacted in each Sign this brief summary seems to integrate the Hercules Series)

The progress of Hercules from the mental plane, through the emotional or desire plane and out into physical manifestation, and then his journey through the twelve signs, and by means of the twelve labors, to the point where he becomes an inspired Initiate, can be outlined for us briefly in the following statement:

In Aries (March 21 - April 20, the Ram), (The dates given are approximate, they vary according to different authorities.) through the capture of the Man-Eating Mares, we see him make his start, react to thought impulse, and learn something of mind control. As the intelligent disciple, he starts out upon his career, beginning with an undefined spiritual urge to righteousness and ending as the world savior.

In Taurus (April 21 - May 20, the Bull), he has to learn the nature of desire, to transmute it into aspiration, to dominate sex, and use it rightly, and thus capture the Cretan Bull. This strong urge, and the potency of attraction, is that, as we shall see, which produces the great illusion, but which can, eventually, become the cause of illumination.

Passing on into the sign Gemini (May 21 - June 20, the Twins), the progress of the disciple, hitherto subjective and characterized by thought and desire, works out into expression on the physical plane. In this sign he arrives at knowledge of himself as a personality and gathers the golden apples of knowledge, subordinating to his enterprise the three aspects of the personal lower self, the physical body, the desire-feeling nature and the mind.

In Cancer (June 21 - July 21, the Crab), the higher faculty of the intuition is brought into play, and this is symbolized for us [226] in the capture of the elusive Doe, or Hind, sensitive and difficult to find. In his previous cycles of life experience, he has transmuted instinct into intellect, but now as the disciple, he must transmute intellect into intuition. The higher correspondences of all the lower powers have to be developed and utilized.

Thus equipped, in Leo (July 22 - August 21, the Lion), he undertakes the best known of his labors, the killing of the Nemean Lion. He demonstrates in this test the power to do two things and proves to his watching master, Eurystheus, that his refocused and coordinated personality is characterized by that determined courage which is the gift of people born in this sign, and he testifies through this labor also that the lower can be subordinated to the higher. Through the service rendered and the sanity of his procedure he gives a guarantee of the strength of his purpose.

We might regard these five labors in Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and Leo, as covering the entire period of the Path of Probation, and the killing of the Nemean Lion is the climax of that part of the struggle. Now he is ready to tread the Path of Discipleship, in which the indwelling Christ is gradually revealed, matter is steadily subordinated to the uses of the soul, and the form aspect comes to be regarded simply as the mother of the Christ Child. This progressive knowledge begins in Virgo, the sixth sign, the sign of the manger, and is consummated in Capricorn, the tenth sign, the birth sign of all the sun gods. On the Path of Discipleship, he has, secondly, to demonstrate that he has overcome illusion, that the magical glamor that matter imposes upon spirit no longer deludes. This is dramatically shown in the labor performed in Scorpio, the killing of the Nine-Headed Hydra. After Capricorn, he becomes a server of humanity, consecrated to the work of the Hierarchy, and this spiritual dedication to service finds its expression in the two last signs of the zodiacal round, those of Aquarius and Pisces. [227]

In Virgo (August 22 - September 21, the Virgin), therefore, the first of the disciple signs, he performs his sixth labor, and seizes the girdle of Hippolyte, the Queen of the Amazons. It is interesting to note that the first labor on the probationary path started with a partial failure, in Aries, and the first labor on the Path of Discipleship in Virgo is also "done, but badly done". The disciple must never be off his guard, for there is always the danger of error and of mistake. His very virtues can become his problem and we are told that it is possible even for a high initiate son of God to drop back from the Path of Attainment. His failure is, however, only temporary. Fresh opportunities occur. The consequence of his mistake has been delay, but the day of restoration and of renewal inevitably recurs. In Virgo we have depicted the preparation for the first initiation, the birth of the Christ, called in Christianity the birth of the Christ in the heart. This is a physical plane happening as well as a transcendental one, as we find when we study the signs of Virgo and of Capricorn.

In Libra (September 22 - October 21, the Balance), Hercules captures the Boar and, through the performance of this labor, demonstrates his fitness to take the second initiation, which concerns the emotional body. He balances the pairs of opposites and demonstrates it in an amusing and symbolic manner. He proves that poise and equilibrium are now achieved characteristics and that he is fit to undertake the tremendous task provided for him in the next sign.

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