Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rescuing Hades

Had a brainwave on the train today, I was thinking about G and I realized something. He's living (or needs to live) the myth of Hades and Sisyphus:
Zeus was enamored with the daughter of a river god and was romancing her in a wooded valley when her father started looking for her and ran into King Sisyphus who told him that Zeus had fallen in love with his daughter and was in the process of abducting her. The enraged father found them walking in the woods and, brandishing a large club, raced toward the unarmed Zeus (who had hung his thunderbolts in a nearby tree while he courted). The startled Zeus quickly turned himself into a rock, confusing the father, and this allowed Zeus time to retrieve his weapons and "shoot" him in the leg with a thunderbolt.

Even though he’d escaped, Zeus felt humiliated and was furious with the king and his big mouth! Zeus ordered Hades to capture and imprison the king and to administer the severest of punishments possible.

So Hades went to fetch Sisyphus. The king not only refused to go quietly but also tricked Hades into handcuffing himself, then kept Hades in captivity for over a month, walking him around the palace on a leash and making fun of him. Needless to say, the somber and dignified Hades was not at all amused!

Ares, the god of war, currently bored with the endless petty wars of the Greeks decided to rescue Hades and came to his assistance, threatening to decapitate Sisyphus if he didn’t release him and turn himself in as Hades’ prisoner.

The rescue was successful, but the wily Sisyphus had another trick up his sleeve. Once they had arrived in the Underworld, Sisyphus pleaded his case in front of the Queen, arguing that he could not be retain in the Underworld because he was not yet dead, nor had he ever paid the ferryman. Persephone allowed him to leave, but with instructions to return the next day, suitably dead and with a coin under his tongue to start his sentence.

Sisyphus laughed all the way home, thinking that there was no way that he would go back . . . but the next day Hermes showed up on his doorstep announcing that Fates had decreed that it was his time to die….and Hermes escorted him into the Underworld to face his fate.

Once they reached the Underworld, Hades’ Judges of the Dead pronounced his sentence -to push a heavy rock over the top of the mountain in Tartarus and each time the rocks rolls back (which it always did, of course) to start all over again. Hades added an extra touch and had the rock shaped just like the one Zeus had transformed himself into, just in case Sisyphus missed the point!

He's so stuck in his isolated world, only doing what he can do "perfectly," which means that he never does anything at all! But, even though this Capricorn/Saturn/Hades is an important part of him - and has, I'm sure, done a lot to help him - he's completely unbalanced. I know he also has an Ares/Aries side, which his Hades side keeps pushed down. One of the signs of this is the kind of women he's attracted to, like derby girl Suzy Hotrod - tough, passionate, lives loud and takes no prisoners. She's basically a female version of Ares, the part of himself that he runs away from (and whenver I try to talk to him about this he literally runs away.)

Ares part of the myth goes like this:
Ares, rarely went out of his way to come to the aid of his fellow Olympians. But once, bored with the endless petty wars of the Greeks, he decided to rescue Hades who was being held captive by King Sisyphus. Ares came to his assistance, threatening to decapitate Sisyphus if he didn’t release him and turn himself in as Hades’ prisoner. Trembling with fear, Sisyphus surrendered to Hades.

His Ares side has to rescue his Hades side. Maybe because it's bored? I don't know, but I do know that he's living this myth out.


Yesterday I read about Marie-Louise von Franz's relationship with physicist Wolfgang Pauli. She tried so hard to help him live the life his soul was directing him to but he ran away, too. In the end, he died that way. As she put it, "If you want me to sum up the relationship: I tried to pull him out and didn't succeed." It's sobering to see that it's possible to love someone and desperately try to help them and fail - it's possible to be as brilliant and strong as von Franz and fail - if the person you care for is too scared to go down the road that's calling him.

In the documentary The Way of the Dream von Franz talks about how women will sometimes try to protect themselves from the pain of relationships by not letting themselves fall in love. Well, that's what I'm getting to experience right now. It's hard enough to have to suffer for your own sake, but the grinding frustration of caring for someone but being completely helpless is almost intolerable! But we have to remember, as she said in the interview about Pauli, that to really love someone is the most healing thing you can do for them:
In a love relationship... you risk everything. You put yourself on a table, you stop the power game and the trying to dominate or conquer the other person. If you succeed in really loving the other person, if you really relate, then all sorts of miracles happen.


Hopefully, by staying with this, a miracle might happen.



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