“Wild horses,” I said, sitting down with both our coffees and passing his across our small table.
“Wild women horses!” John replied, a glint in his eyes.
“Okay, then, wild women horses, if you must. But you said we were now, in our studies, in Aries, the sign of the ram, surely?” I watched him nod. “So why wild horses?”
“I do not have definitive answers to some of these,” he said. “I often have to go away and study them, too.” He sipped some of his hot coffee, a long-standing veteran of coffee-gone-cold in the intensity of some of our encounters. I waited … “I suspect that rams and horses were both carriers of important things, and therefore somewhat interchangeable.”
“I think I can add something to that,” I said, proudly. “Neptune gifted Heracles horses so that his emotions could take him farther than his thoughts, and …” I halted, for the sheer theatre of it. “… the waves of the sea are said to resemble galloping horses.”
Eventually, he spoke, again, “So, lady horses – mares to be precise; lets just play with it. What do we associate with the female nature, in terms of general capabilities?”
I thought carefully, eager to be leading some of these discussions. John had indicated that, in his mind at least, I had passed some key stage, to which he had referred in our prior meeting as, ‘discipleship’, though the implications of that concept still concerned me.
“Knowing, now, a little of the language of myth, I would imagine that we are looking at women as exemplars of emotion.”
“I would say that’s absolutely right.” He looked pleased. “So what happens in the story for which we can make that fit?”
I gathered my thoughts and sipped my coffee. I wanted to be as exact as possible. “Heracles is fresh into his challenge. The classic freshness and expansiveness of the natural new year – April, the spring – are therefore central to his actions. He rushes into his first task, raw and cocky, and makes a mess of it …”
“Makes a mess?” John raised an eyebrow. “But he rounded up the Mares and saved his home region!”
“Yes, but it cost him the life of a close friend, Abderis.”
“Whose relationship to Heracles was …?”
“We don’t know,” I said, now not so sure.
“Yes we do,” said John. “He was his inferior, someone he treated as beneath him and who he therefore left to finish the job … which he couldn’t, and lost his life, accordingly”
“Okay,” I said, grasping the horns, again. “So, much of this story is about levels.”
“I agree,” John said, cunningly. “Levels of what?”
It was there before, me, spinning and waiting to be grasped. I could feel it. I had been right in my alignment of emotions and wild horses, but they weren’t just horses – the wildness was more due to where they came from. Suddenly, I had the key.
“The higher and lower selves,” I shouted, causing several of the people near to us to turn and study my outburst. “Heracles is striving to act from his higher self. The mares represent untamed thoughts. They emanate from the disciple in the time of Aries because Aries rules the head, as in ‘hot-headed’.”
John was smiling now. “Yes,” he said. “Aries is said to rule the whole of the head, very much as in ‘hot-headed’; which would be a lower level of its possible function. But what of the poor man who was trampled to death?”
Like Heracles in the Aries spring, I was full of energy and passion. Nothing was going to stop me getting this right. “Hercules acted with the blind passion of the new quest, full of energy but badly directed. He delegated the all-important ending of his task to his lesser, who was killed as a result of Heracles’ carelessness.”
John leaned forward to finish his coffee, looking at his watch. “But Heracles did finish his task?”
I started speaking from somewhere within me. The words came tumbling out. “But lived in despair of what his actions had cost his friend, his lower self, his personality.” I could feel the hero’s sadness. “But sometimes such sadness makes us very much wiser … and the Gods smile on those who can grow in sadness.”
John was standing and tapping the side of his jaw again. “Second part of the crown,” he winced. Wish I’d looked after them better, particularly that one.” He paused and gave me the kindest look. “So, when you engage the energy of the spring, at the start of your quest, make sure your thoughts – the mares – are well controlled and pointed in the right direction … in other words, don’t underestimate the powers of discrimination that you’ve spent a lifetime learning!”
The right direction? As he left I continued to wrestle with that one. How could this ‘energy of the spring’ have two directions?
Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee is usually published on Thursdays.
All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.