I have been settling into the energy of Herakles as we draw closer to the start of SMF Rehearsals. I have begun to fashion the club that will be my sidearm as I face the challenges of my year. As I have sat and meditated with the wood, I am spending each hour of sanding opening myself up as the empty vessel, and allowing my Godform to speak to me. One of his core mysteries surrounds completing seemingly insurmountable labors. As I sanded the rough edges off of the vine twisted club, my mind began to envelop the concepts hidden within these stories.
I thought about his fight with the Nemean Lion. His cleaning of the Augean Stables. His slaying of the Lernean Hydra.
In the fight with the Nemean Lion, Herakles was faced with a beast that no blade could seem to cut. All the other heroes had attempted to hack and shoot it to death. Herakles only gave that tactic a once over before realizing it would not work. Instead he grappled the lion, and strangled the air out of it. No amount of impervious hide could save the beasts airway from collapsing.
When Herakles was faced with the cleaning of the Augean Stables, he found himself in hundreds upon hundreds of yards of horse manure, hay, and stable mess stacked as high as a man. The amount of digging and cleaning was so great that moving the earth it took to divert the local river was less work. Once he broke through the last bit, the waters rushed through the stables and scrubbed them clean in the flowing torrents.
He vanquished the Lernean Hydra: A beast that would grow two heads for every one that a hero may cut off. Additionally, the blood of the Hydra was a nasty toxin. Herakles only cut off the first set of heads before deciding the effort was fruitless. Working with his friend Iolaus, Herakles began removing each head while Iolaus grabbed a torch and began cauterizing the poisonous, oozing, necks of the monster! The Hydra could not regenerate past the burned scar tissue. Eventually it fell to the Mighty Heroes’ assault.
As I chewed on these stories I became hollow. A space opened inside of me that became fertile and ready to grow insight within it. My mind opened and I was lost within the energies of the Godform and his stories. I heard the first words flow through my head, in a voice that was not at all my own:
“I am not the most powerful because I am the strongest. I am the most powerful because I am a master of maximizing my gains while minimizing my losses”
In every story he had found a way to only use as much energy as needed. Very few stories speak of him using some other earthly strength, but all of them include him outsmarting his task, and defeating it.
And so as I move through this sacred charge of holding an energy that is literally emblazoned in the stars, I hold this first lesson within my heart, within my muscles, within my mind. And as I take the first steps upon the path of learning the sacred mysteries of this sacred son of Zeus, I hope to be able to proudly one day say:
“People of Eleusis: I will be your champion!”