Do you feel on track with your visions and inner sense of purpose, your life’s greatest aims? Even the most powerful creator gods got thrown off when pursuing theirs.
‘Fire’ is a metaphor for ingenuity, creative focus and action. When Prometheus, a powerful god, took fire from Zeus and gave it to humans before they were ready, he was chained to a rock for eons as punishment. Each day he suffered the agony of his liver being pecked out by an eagle, while each night it regenerated only to be pecked out again the next day.
Chained to a Rock
When you put yourself out there with your life aims, what happens? What kind of feedback does your clan, culture, family, group give you? Does your liver feel pecked out or nourished? Are there social expectations which feel life-destroying, such as heavy drinking; or life-enhancing, such as helpful mentoring? Do you have personal time to find ways to soar like an eagle with your plans or does someone keep an eagle-eye on you to make sure you don’t get above your station with your success?
Zeus in Roman times was called Jupiter, and is associated with everything large, overseeing and to do with the rules of the kingdom. So the archetype of Jupiter is associated with the liver (the largest organ in the body) and the eagle, but also the expectations of the cultures and networks we belong to.
Under these pressures and stresses, it’s no wonder there are times of being caught in a bind like Prometheus chained to the rock.
How to Stay on Track?
According to many teachings, the fire energy – i.e. vision, creativity, passion – which is unique and individual, stems from a core source within. How can you be sure you are honestly following this? Personal fire energy often gets side-tracked into dramas, competing, rushing or thinking desire is only about pleasure. These are a few modern-day versions of being imprisoned on a rock.
Zeus had proclaimed that Prometheus could only be freed by another god who would willingly choose to suffer in his place. Eventually Chiron, known as the ‘wounded healer’ decided to do just that. He had developed many successful remedies in his long life but never a cure for the deeper soul poisons that wound us all, including the fire energy gone wrong.
Chiron Frees Prometheus
Chiron in his quest to cure suffering bravely gave up his god powers and died like a human after taking Prometheus’s place on the rock. When we ‘take the place of’ – i.e. ‘sit in the shoes of’ or ‘fully be with’ – the suffering of others, we deeply contact the heart pain of multitudinous individual perspectives within the all. Crucified, Chiron was down in the underworld for three days and three nights.
Chiron felt Prometheus’s suffering, and Zeus’s suffering, and the suffering of the all. When we truly connect to another’s suffering we would never hurt their fire, their heart core. Each person’s is so precious to the most inspired future of all life. This understanding connects us to a respect for all beings, often felt by monks and hermits who spend hours meditating on interconnectedness.
Hercules Frees Chiron
Just as Chiron helped free Prometheus, now Hercules helps free Chiron, when he himself deeply connects with the suffering of Chiron, his old teacher, whose newfound healing wisdom cannot be shared if he’s dead in the underworld.
You might know Hercules as the victorious hero of the 12 labours. Some say each labour is representative of a sign of the zodiac, showing Hercules must gain the wisdom of all energies and experiences to truly be a hero. At the point in this myth when we meet Hercules, he displays this wisdom, but earlier in the myth he wasn’t so wise.
Humility and Grace
Hercules is connected with the Mars energy, which is about asserting and protecting personal desire. When our Mars/Hercules energy is healthy we are brave warriors who respond with care to situations by identifying correct actions, yet when our Mars energy is not yet mature or out of balance we get blindsided by misdirected fire (naivety, reactivity, anger etc).
Earlier, when less mature, Hercules seriously wounded Chiron with a toxic poison arrow. But now in the myth, Hercules feels gutted over Chiron’s pain and courageously goes down on his knees to Zeus and begs for Chiron to be raised from the dead.
The Heart of the Matter
Hercules displays the humility of the heart in such an act. Similar to Chiron, he understands something about ‘the all’ and in begging to free Chiron, he is begging for the freedom for each person to live their fire core. He has to face that Zeus might strike him down or chain him to the rock in Chiron’s place and has enough true strength to trust he will find a way out if Zeus is unrelenting.
But good news! Hercules’ plea inspires Zeus/Jupiter to resurrect Chiron from the dead. A huge celebration unfolds and Chiron has his powers returned and a constellation, Centaurus, is created in his honour to remind humans of right use of fire/yang energy.
Surviving the Initiation
Prometheus, Chiron and Hercules were strong powerful beings – gods and humans – whose personal loss connected them to the consequences of everyone’s loss – mortals and immortals – when something goes wrong with the fire energy. The myths seem to indicate that ‘going down’, or downturns, at stages in our growth are all part of the essential initiation into wise use of fire and important to learn from and integrate.
The Fire Journey in Your Own Chart
To find this cast of characters in your own birth chart, look for the following:
Zeus = Jupiter
Prometheus = Uranus
Chiron = Chiron
Hercules = Mars
© Michelle Proctor, www.radiantliving.com.au