Succeeding with your Passion, Ancient Tips for Today
Do you feel on track with your visions and passion, your life’s greatest aims? Even the ancient creator gods got thrown off when pursuing theirs.
‘Fire’ is a metaphor for ingenuity, creative fervour and action. When Prometheus, a powerful ancient 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!
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.
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?
Under these pressures and stresses, it’s no wonder we feel caught in a bind like Prometheus did when chained to the rock.
Inner Fire – What is that?
According to many teachings, the fire energy – i.e. vision, creativity, passion – stems from a core source within, which is unique and individual. How can you be sure you are honestly following this? Jupiter-type cultural conditioning can lead to suppressing true fire and substituting it with what’s expected. Often cultural messages beam out that personal fire is somehow selfish, taboo, wrong or too powerful to face. But is it really?
Chiron frees Prometheus
Zeus had proclaimed that Prometheus could only be freed by another god who would willingly choose to suffer in his place on the rock, and one day Chiron decided to do just that. Chiron was known as the ‘wounded healer’. He developed great successful remedies but never found the ultimate cure for the deeper soul poisons that wound us all.
Chiron after long personal suffering gave up his god status and died after taking Prometheus’s place on the rock, crucified. He was down in the Underworld for three days and three nights. When we ‘take the place of’ – i.e. ‘fully be with’ – the suffering of ourselves and others, we deeply contact the ‘heart pain of the all’. As we hold and allow this, we find deepest healing.
Chiron felt Prometheus’s suffering, and Zeus’s suffering, and the suffering of all those in the Underworld. When we truly connect to another’s suffering we would never hurt their fire, their heart core. Each person’s inner fire is so precious and sacred to their own life journey and the wellbeing of all life. This understanding connects us to a love for all beings, often felt by monks and hermits who spend hours meditating linked to the heart of the all.
Hercules frees Chiron
But we can feel and understand this all we like, yet we are still in the Underworld, not in the outer world sharing the gift of our personalised inner fire. How do we get out? 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 while 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 experiences. 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 Hercules 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 hideously toxic poison arrow, leading to Chiron’s most agonised suffering. 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. This is like the President of Earth going down on his knees to the President of the Galaxy.
The Heart of the Matter
Hercules displays the humility of the heart in such an act. He has love for Chiron, sadness for his past contributions to Chiron’s suffering, and the courage to face that Zeus might strike him down or chain him to the rock in Chiron’s place. Plus Hercules has the integrated confidence of the 12 Labours to trust he will find a way out if Zeus is unrelenting.
But good news! Zeus is inspired to resurrect Chiron from the dead. A huge celebration unfolds and Chiron is invited to join the gods, who create a constellation in his honour. Hercules, one of the most powerful humans, demonstrated to the gods that humanity now was mature enough to use fire with wisdom, with heart. For what good would compassion and leniency have been if Zeus released Chiron but great damage still happened through wrong use of fire?
Surviving the Initiation
Prometheus, Chiron and Hercules were strong powerful beings whose personal loss connected them to the consequences of everyone’s loss when something goes wrong with the fire energy. The myths seem to indicate that an initiation into right use of the fire energy often involves ‘going down’, or downturns, at certain stages in our growth until we have the maturity to use fire properly. Then the gods let us ‘come up’, at which point they celebrate as we join them as creators; creators who are mindful toward self, others and ‘the all’ when following life aims.
The Fire Gods 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
How do they get on with each other? Do they square, oppose, trine etc each other? How do your Sun, Moon and Rising Sign get on with them?
© Michelle Proctor, www.radiantliving.com.au