Sunday, October 24, 2010
Apples in Myth - Discovery of Hercules
Painting: Hercules and the Many Headed Hydra - Antonio Pollaiolo
I was searching for connections and symbols in myth around the apple....and I happened upon (again) the legend of Hercules. Now most people know Hercules in the Disney story and the idea of strength surround the name.
What people don't know is that Hercules' adventures were as penance for killing his children in a fit of madness. Yes....indeed.....our hero killed numerous children in a fit of madness....how horrendous. The ultimate evil...to kill children.
Hercules was given twelve tasks as penance for this evil deed. But myths are wrapped in symbols which bring lessons to us as we read them...the only problem is that we have forgotten the symbols.
We look at myths at face value, we look at the heroes at face value and do not see the hidden stories behind the myth. Myths have all the lessons life has to teach.....anyway back to Hercules.
Hercules in the Garden of Hesperides - Robert Knight Ryland (1910)
After reading the legend where Hercules sends Atlas to get the golden apples, I realized for that myth, the Apple was a symbol of immortality.......
But the Hercules myth keep nagging at my brain. What is the wider story behind Hercules....he killed these children.......so I started digging for what children symbolize.
In Tarot cards, ( one of the best sources for uncovering pictoral symbols) children are the Ultimate Knowers of Truth, because they are seen as being closest to their Creator. They have not yet lived a full earthly life to be blind to seeing spiritually- children are closest to the Source of Life. Children contain the freshness of Higher Spiritual Knowledge.
Hercules killed his spirituality. The tasks he was sent to do as penance....well, were they meant to restore his spiritual side? The apple then, was a symbol also of a TOOL to find spirit. It was the Nail, the Key that opens the door to Spirit, the Philosopher's Stone if you will, which transforms the rough mercury into gold.
Looking at the other symbols in the tales of Hercules, well...there might be something to the idea. Conquering a lion, wrestling a many headed-hydra, taming a bull, all have symbolic connections to the weaker side of humanity, which we need to conquer to reach our higher spiritual selves.
Is the Hercules Collection a myth meant to portray man's inner spiritual growth?
Hmmmm...I shall explore further......