Victor MacGill Chaos and Complexity
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When the Dragon Stirs

Healing our Wounded Lives through Fairy Stories, Myths and Legends

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Gonna Lay Down my Sword
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A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from our Violent Past to a Compassionate Future

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My first book..

When the Dragon Stirs

Healing our Wounded Lives through Fairy Stories, myths and Legends

When the Dragon Stirs Book Cover

The Dragon

Line

My next book...
Gonna Lay Down my Sword
and Shield

A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from our Violent Past to a Compassionate Future

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Articles by Victor

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My next book...
Gonna Lay Down my Sword
and Shield

A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from our Violent Past to a Compassionate Future

Mandelbrot Set

Articles by Victor

Mandelbrot Set   Fairy Stories
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Mandelbrot Set  Complexity
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Mandelbrot Set  Spirituality
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Short previews
of all talks

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My first book..

When the Dragon Stirs

Healing our Wounded Lives through Fairy Stories, myths and Legends

When the Dragon Stirs Book Cover

The Dragon

Line

My next book...
Gonna Lay Down my Sword
and Shield

A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from our Violent Past to a Compassionate Future

Mandelbrot Set

Articles by Victor

Mandelbrot Set   Fairy Stories
Line

Mandelbrot Set  Complexity
Line

Mandelbrot Set  Spirituality
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Short previews
of all talks

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Other pages on my site.....

Line

Theosophical Soc logo

The Dunedin Theosophical Society

Line

Evolve logo

The Evolve Holistic Development Trust


Line

My next book...
Gonna Lay Down my Sword
and Shield

A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from our Violent Past to a Compassionate Future

Mandelbrot Set

Articles by Victor

Mandelbrot Set   Fairy Stories
Line

Mandelbrot Set  Complexity
Line

Mandelbrot Set  Spirituality
Line

Short previews
of all talks

Line

My first book..

When the Dragon Stirs

Healing our Wounded Lives through Fairy Stories, myths and Legends

When the Dragon Stirs Book Cover

The Dragon

Line

My next book...
Gonna Lay Down my Sword
and Shield

A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from our Violent Past to a Compassionate Future

Mandelbrot Set

Articles by Victor

Mandelbrot Set   Fairy Stories
Line
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Perseus

This story from Greek mythology (1) contains very deep, but simply stated, wisdom on the interactions of male and female energy. The hero of the story is Perseus a young male, so the story talks of the development of the male psyche towards wholeness.

Abas, King of Argolis, had two sons, Proetus and Acrisius. After Abas died the kingdom was left for the two sons to rule alternately. At the end of his term, Acrisius refused to give up his throne. Bloody battles ensued and eventually the kingdom was divided in two. Already we see the world divided into complimentary opposites.

Acrisius, now King of Argos, married Aganippe and had a daughter, Danae, but no son to succeed him. Acrisius went to an oracle to find how he could get a male heir. To his surprise and anger, he is told that he will have no son but die by the hand of a grandson. Other versions say that this is because of his quarrelling with his brother (2). King Acrisius represents the old male energy in the world that lives by old traditional patterns. He is told by an oracle, his inner wisdom, that his old patterns of expressing the male archetype will come to an end, to be killed by a newer expression of maleness. 

The old male energy is fearful of anything that threatens its perceived power. Its only sense of identity is in its perceived power and so it will fight to the death to maintain control. It believes that by controlling people its position can be maintained. The old male energy will commit any deed to hold on to power. Any expression of power that does not come from him is seen as a threat to his existence.

The King is not able to see the flow of life and death, that old things die to allow the birth of the new. He fights destiny to live beyond his time and leads a vampire like, death in life existence. 

King Acrisius arranges to have his daughter, Danae, locked in a cell of bronze, guarded by two savage dogs. She must remain there until she can no longer have any children. This way he seeks to avoid the birth of a grandchild, who might kill him, fulfilling the prophesy. 

This is a typical reaction of the old male energy. He does not understand the female archetype and can only see it as a threat to be controlled. He thinks he can lock the problem away, but we cannot lock things away for ever in our unconscious world, just as the King could not keep Sleeping Beauty away from the spindle forever. Whatever is unnaturally controlled and suppressed will always find a way to reappear. 

And so it is. Zeus, father of the gods, cames down in a shower of gold dust into Danae’s bronze cell and she bears a son, whom she names Perseus. Zeus, being a god, represents inner wisdom. He brings new life and hope into a world of confinement and despair. We could compare this to a daughter, who has been suppressed and controlled by her father. She reacts by rebelling and goes out to find a companion. She is not yet developed for this encounter to become a full long lasting relationship,. but nonetheless it leads to a new understanding and perspective of the world. The encounter will be idealised, the companion will be made to be godlike. It would not be an unexpected occurrence for the young woman to become pregnant. Danae’s encounter with Zeus is not just a rape, or it would just be a continuation of past oppression of Acrisius and would leave Danae without hope for the future. Zeus sees life from a wider perspective than Acrisius. Acrisius is bronze, Zeus is gold. Fight as we may, our inner wisdom will have its way sooner or later and will direct our lives for its fulfilment rather than that of our ego. 

From this mixing of the divine male archetype or higher male archetype with the female archetype comes the new male. New hope is born for male and female to come together. It is significant that Perseus’s father is a god. Perseus has a god aspect in him which points to his greater destiny in integrating the male and female archetypes. 

As we would expect, King Acrisius is furious when he hears of the birth. He reacts in the typical old male way of destruction and denial. Danae and Perseus are put into a wooden box, which is to be thrown into the sea. In Acrisius’s action, however, we see a hint of inner knowing within himself. He knows Perseus must grow to manhood and he must die. He could have had them both killed and ended our story there, but he chose not to. They are placed into the box, a prison, and yet also a fertile womb. The box is thrown into the sea just as a seed is planted into fertile soil to germinate. A spark of life is sent out through the unconscious world of the collective unconscious to float in the expanse of our minds. The box is made of wood, an organic material from nature. It floated on the sea, a symbol of the unconscious mind, from which conscious thought and action springs. We can compare this to the story of Maui tiki tiki a Taranga, of Maori mythology, who was thrown into the sea wrapped in the top-knot of his mother’s hair shortly after his birth. We also see connections to the birth of Moses, the floating coffin of Osiris and Noah’s Ark. 

The story so far is, in a way, a prelude to the rest of the story. It is a background to the birth which occurs when the box is washed up on shore. As such it describes our deeper story. It describes our genetic, cultural and our spiritual heritage. It describes those deeper parts of ourselves that Carl Jung called the Collective Unconscious. When we go deep inside ourselves we find we are joined to all other people. A part of our mind is shared with others. The birth on to a new shore is therefore our birth as an individual. This picture of cultural heritage is of course the heritage of the people of Ancient Greece but if you look at the interplay of male and female energy, we can see it still very valid today. 

On another level the story so far could describe a marriage breakdown, where mother and child leave the chaos of a marriage to a man of the old world, and go out into a world of uncertainty rather than remain in a life destroying relationship. At the beginning of the story the female archetype is still undeveloped and lives in a ‘victim’ role until the strength and the insight allows a more active role. 

The story symbolises a male child coming into the world. His background conditioning means the old male archetypical energy is a part of him. A male child will tend to show signs of aggressiveness and defensiveness, guarding what is his against all who might pose a threat to him. He also has a gentler, but undeveloped male side and a female side which is largely only in a potential state. 

The wooden box is washed upon the shores of the island of Seriphos. An island is a limited piece of land within a greater ocean. Indeed, birth also is an arrival into a place where life is limited. Coming out of the limitless collective unconscious the soul moves into a limited conscious life. There are boundaries to physical life that do not exist in more spiritual realms. 

The box is found by Dictys, a friendly fisherman. He is a simple man, who does not know the complexities of life, just as it is for a baby just born. Dictys, however, has a brother, Polydectes, who is the King of Seriphos. King Polydectes represents the old male energy in our individual life in contrast to Acrisius who is the old male energy in our collective life. 

Since the old male energy is out of balance and in a state of denial in the land of Argos ( that is in the unconscious level), there will be a seeking for healing of the old male energy through the physical plane. Experiences will be set up through the individual old male energy (Polydectes) to provide a way to learn to transform the old male energy and make it new. There must be a bad King on the physical level, if there is a bad King on deeper levels. Here is the opportunity for learning. How else can Perseus transmute the old male energy if he does not meet, interact and transform it in this earthly level of existence. Danae and Perseus are taken into Polydectes’ care and Perseus is brought up by him. (Some versions say it was Dictys who brought them up) 

King Polydectes wants to marry Danae, Perseus’ mother. It is far too early for a marriage of male and female energy. There is still too much fear and denial in the male energy that would result in continued violence and abuse of power. Danae’s capacity for growth would die. The old King lives for lust, allowing his lower instincts to rule his being. 

Perseus stands to defend his mother. He does not yet understand female energy, but knows enough to know that a marriage would be disastrous. He is also finding his own male power and using it correctly to stand against the King. 

For the old male, anything that seems to threaten his power must be destroyed or controlled. He replies with anger and cunning. Old energy, ego energy, when under threat will do anything to maintain control as losing control means death. Any lies, trickery coercion or deception is seen as justifiable. We need only look at how easily we lie to ourselves to justify excessive alcohol, drugs, violence, eating chocolate or whatever addiction we might have. We can always come up with a logical reason for our addiction. If our addiction is, for example, smoking, we actually know it is harmful to our health. Maybe we deny that smoking really is bad for us, or just a few cigarettes is okay, or we need it to relax or we’ll be lucky and get away without health problems. The truth is that we know it endangers our health and we choose to continue. 

Polydectes is also angry because he sees his own youth in Perseus. He once was the innocent youth with dreams and ideals of what his life could be like. He too once tried to stand up for what was right, but sooner or later he was worn away by the demands of the world and he conformed. How often do we see people with zest and vigour and new ideas go forward, only to be worn down by the old ways of doing things, playing it safe. He gets worn down by the need to make mortgage payments, to pay for the house and pay for the children’s expenses. Next we need a new car, video, a holiday home and a boat. Before we know it all the old dreams have drifted away and we come to accept life as the same drudgery we see all around us. All to often we become a part of the system we so vehemently opposed. Poor Polydectes has become pushed down to the point that there is nothing else to his life. His Kingship is his whole identity, his whole being, his whole reason to be. 

Polydectes pretends that he wants to marry Hippodameia, the daughter of King Oenomaus of Pisa but in fact it is only a plan to get Danae for himself. Polydectes demanded horses from all the islanders as gifts for Hippodameia. Horses as animals represent our animal instincts. Horses are strong and powerful. Polydectes tries to use his forceful, animal, lower self to gain power over the female. He knows no other way to interact with female energy. 

Perseus has no horses, that is, he was not led by his animal instincts, but since he sees this taking Polydectes’ attention away from his mother he offers to help in other ways, even by procuring the head of the Gorgon, Medusa. Other versions of the story say it is Polydectes’ idea to send Perseus to the Gorgons as he is sure Perseus could not succeed. 

The Gorgons are hideous old women with serpents in their hair and tusks, whose mere look turns men to stone. Of the three Gorgons only Medusa is mortal, so it is she whom Perseus must kill. Medusa had previously been a very beautiful woman, living in a temple dedicated to Athene. Athene and Poseidon, god of the sea had an argument which resulted in Poseidon seducing Medusa as revenge on Athene. Athene in her rage turned Medusa into a hideous Gorgon. We see here how a woman, or the female side of a man, begins with a natural beauty, but through jealousy and envy, she becomes embittered and hardened. She loses her beautiful shape and becomes hideous and unapproachable. We see the same witchiness as a consequence of vanity and envy in the story of Snow White. 

The Gorgons represent the old female archetype, worn and distorted. Perseus knows his trial is achievable, even though he knows Polydectes sees no likelihood of him succeeding. Indeed for Polydectes, there has been no man who can approach the old female. All men before have approached her from within the framework of the old male and have always succumbed to her powers. 

Perseus, however, is not afraid. Had he feared her he would have been defeated as old energy lives off fear, not love. Our fear is the dragon’s lifeblood. The more we are afraid, darker forces grow stronger. The more we are not afraid, but filled with love, the less power the old archetypical energy has over us. 

Perseus has committed himself to his adventure. He has taken a step he cannot take back. He will never be the same again. At this point a magical thing happens. Athene has heard all that has happened and comes to help him. She is partly motivated by her dislike of Medusa. At the point where Perseus is prepared to put a foot forward into the unknown, the gods come to his aid. It is the same for us. Once a commitment is made to growth and change in our lives, we contact our wise person within, who provides us with special insights and resources we would not normally have access to. We require for our journey just as Perseus needs them. 

PerseusAthene is the goddess who is the protector of heroes. She also plays a major role in helping Odysseus in his wanderings. She tells Perseus where to go for his quest. First, he is sent to the city of Deicterion, where images of the Gorgons are kept. Thus he will know which of the three Gorgons is Medusa when the time comes. Perseus is warned not to look at the Gorgons directly, but only at her reflection. He is presented with a shield, polished so as to act as a mirror. Hermes helps Perseus by giving him an adamanite sickle with which to sever the head of the Gorgon. Perseus required even more gifts to help him in his quest and so he was sent to find the Stygian Nymphs where he receives a pair of winged sandals, a magic wallet to contain the severed head and a helmet of invisibility belonging to Hades. 

PersesuOnly the three Graeae know the whereabouts of the Stygian Nymphs. They are old hags to be found on their thrones at the foot of Mt Atlas ( other versions say in a cave in Libya). They are sisters to the Gorgons. 

The three Graeae had only one eye and one tooth between them. Their energy had withering away. They had lost almost all true perception of reality and so had only one eye. They had lost almost all true speech and so have only one tooth. When Perseus arrives they refuse to help him. This was a test. They feel old and worn out and threatened. They really want to be healed, but they have to test Perseus to see whether this manifestation of the male archetype was developed enough to carry out the task of healing. Would he be like the others and react with the violence, wimpishly accept their refusal or would he rather succeed in their test. 

Perseus grabs the eye and tooth as they are being passed from one Gorgon to another. He realises the core of their problem. The lack of vision and insight. He threatens to throw the eye and tooth into the sea unless they helped him. He acts strongly using the male attribute of direct action without resorting to the old violent ways. Neither coward nor a tyrant, the Graeae grant him what he asks for. Perseus has had his first adventure exploring female energy and succeeded in understanding his lessons. Because he understands more about the female energy, he also understand more about himself. Just as Gretel finds the jewels of the old witch after she has overcome her, Perseus gains the gifts due for succeeding in the first part of his adventure when he met the Stygian Nymphs. 

After receiving his gifts, Perseus embarks on his journey flying to the west, the direction of the setting sun, to death, darkness and decay. He arrives in the land of the Hyperboreans, where the Gorgons live. There he finds the petrified images of men and wild beasts. It is men and their animal nature which is drawn to the old female energy and bewitched by it. They had been turned to stone by looking at the Gorgons. When under threat old female energy is critical, callous, manipulating and fierce. If the male side does not have sufficient strength and discernment he will come under her spell. A male without courage will withdraw under the threat of a critical woman. He will become increasingly tense and withdrawn hoping to avoid further criticism. To avoid the hurt, he will deny his life force becoming more and more tense until he turns to stone. Perseus however represents new male energy and has courage. He also has wisdom and the help of his higher self. He knows not to look at the Gorgons. 

Rather than having hair on their heads, the Gorgons have a seething mass of serpents. This harkens back to the myths connecting a female Goddess and a serpent, whom she marries which we will look at in more depth in Chapters 6 and 7. Beyond its frightening shape, the serpent has positive characteristics. The serpent is a symbol of rebirth.Within it is new life and regeneration just as we see in the female symbol of the moon and the females ability to give birth. This creativity must be released from its outer frightening form. 

We note that there are three sisters. Three sisters are a very common motif as you will see for example in paintings of Edvard Munch. The first is the virgin. She is the new moon growing towards fullness. She is birth, the beginning of things. Next is the pregnant mother, the full moon, the reaping of the harvest, the fullness of life and the third is death, endings and dissolution, the waning moon, the old crone, the lady of the night. We can compare this to the New Zealand Maori traditions with Hine Titama (The Dawn Maiden), Hine Tauira ( The pattern Maiden) and Hine nui te Po ( The great lady of the night.) Hine Titama finds she has unknowingly committed incest. In shame she retires to the underworld to become Hine Nui te Po. This reflects the female attribute of flowing with the natural patterns of nature; of life and death and the capacity for rebirth. 

The Gorgons are asleep when Perseus arrives; that is spiritually asleep. The live deep within a cave. Perseus must enter the dark unknown of the symbolically female cave to meet the female energy. Perseus uses his magical gift of the polished shield and does not fall under their spell. He retains his integrity in the face of manipulation. The manipulation of a Medusa can being very impelling. It will seem quite logical and trustworthy, but to let this deception into one’s self invites disaster. An impassionate objective approach is vital. Emotions must not be relied upon in this time, they will lead you astray. A distance must be maintained and action must be clear and definite. Perseus severs the head of Medusa with a single blow. This blow is struck with loving aggression. He is courageous decisive, avoiding acting out of rage, revenge, or heartlessness. This is tough love. This is having the courage to do the difficult thing. This is better for the other partner in the long term. A partner in an abusive relationship, who denies its abusiveness and never speaks up, may keep the relationship alive in the short term. However, they signal its death knell in the long term. Eventually, it will lead to the disintegration of the relationship. True courage is having the strength to stand up and risk a relationship, stating the truth as it is so a true healing can take place. Had Perseus cut the head without being balanced he would have merely given the Gorgons more strength. To face the old female energy with unbalanced rage returns our consciousness to our emotional self, which the old female is most adept at manipulating to continue the cycle of destructive behaviours. 

Indeed true healing rises from Perseus’ deed. As the blood of Medusa falls to the ground, Pegasus, the white winged horse, rises from the blood to fly. This is the birth of the new female energy. Past negative behaviour of the old female has been halted by the courage to stand up to her, without resorting to her own tactics. We can now look behind the negative aspects of femininity and see her in her new form. 

Pegasus is generally seen as male, which I find somewhat puzzling. Alix Pirani in her book, The Absent Father, says there is no reason why we should not see Pegasus as androgynous rather than male. However we see this, Pegasus symbolises new beginnings and great energy and strength. There is also a strong connection to freed sexual energy and expression. 

The shedding of blood within the cave of the Gorgons is a symbol of menstruation (3). Blood is shed, but it is a life giving flow of blood. It is a flow of blood, flowing with the rhythms of life and if there is fertilization, gives birth to a new creation conjoining male and female. 

Perseus swiftly flies away using his winged sandals before Stheno and Euryale, the other two immortal Gorgons, can catch him. The newly born female energy is just born. If the new male does not quickly move away he will be caught in the backlash of the old female archetype. 

At sunset, Perseus stops in the land of the Hesperides to the Titan, Atlas. He is now beyond the human realm as the newly found integration within him allows him to see new worlds that were previously beyond his gaze. 

In a garden in the land of Hesperides are the magic apples of Hera, wife of Zeus. They are guarded by Atlas, a great giant. Perseus asks to rest there over night, but this is refused. In the argument and struggle that ensues, Perseus draws the head of Medusa from his bag turning Atlas into stone; Mount Atlas in Morocco as we know it today. Perseus, with his new integrated self, has grown powerful. Atlas was male. He saw the true shape of the old female energy and was not spiritually evolved enough to incorporate the experience within himself and so was turned to stone, as the great multitudes before had been turned to stone. One version of the story says the Atlas begged to look upon the Gorgon’s gaze so he could be turned to stone and end his eternal task of holding the heavens and earth apart.(4) 

Perseus flies on making his way back to Seriphos. It is too early for him to return, however, as the new born female energy like any newborn is very vulnerable. There needs to be more growth before the new male and female energy are ready to face the task of facing the old energy directly. Perseus flies to Chemmis in Egypt and then on to Joppa in Philistia, which is on the coast of what is now Israel. Here he spies a young, beautiful, naked girl chained to a rock at the sea’s edge. Her name is Andromeda. He immediately falls in live with her. She is a representation of the new female energy. She is young, beautiful and innocent. She is able to be naked without feeling shame. She is able to show herself as she really is. Perseus is also able to see her as she is and accept her. Other suitors would withdraw at seeing such nakedness. She is also naked because she has not yet been clothed by the experiences of this world. She is like the tender shoot struggling to grow and survive. This is a truly vulnerable time, and thus a time most open to attack. 

Her father, the Ethiopian King of Joppa and his wife, Queen Cassiopeia, are standing on a cliff. Cassiopeia had vainly boasted that she and her daughter were prettier than the Nereids. The old female energy, because of her inherent imbalance cannot express herself in a balanced way. She boasted from her own ego. This set up consequences. The Nereids complained to Poseidon, the sea god, who sent a flood and a female sea monster to ravage their coastline. This is the manifestation of the old energy which sees the new as a threat and sets out to destroy it. The monster comes out of the sea, unseen, suddenly rearing up to cause havoc and destruction. 

After sacrifices prove unsuccessful, Cepheus enquires of an oracle to find what to do. He finds the monster will only leave them alone if Andromeda is sacrificed to it. If he does not the monster will terrorise and devour all the inhabitants of the land.. Here we see the negative backlash. The old energy wants things to remain as they are. It pretends that if things were just like the old days again, things would be all right. This energy wants to devour new life while it is still small, fragile and vulnerable. It tries to use fear to stop the new growth, before it becomes unstoppable. Perseus asks for, and is offered, the hand of Andromeda in marriage if he kills the sea monster. 

King Cepheus has not tried to stop his daughter being killed. He thinks he has no choice since he is a part of the negative complimentary relationship with the old energy. The citizens call for Andromeda to die so they will be saved. The citizens are the basis of Cepheus’ power and maintaining his power is more important than the life of his daughter. Every time the new energy rears its head it is sacrificed, for fear of its threat to the existing order of things. Cepheus bows to the pressure of his people and gives up his own daughter. 

Perseus is of the new male energy. He has true courage and wisdom. This monster must be faced up to before the new male and new female can fully merge. If they try to merge, or marry, at this point, they would be forced apart again by the old negative energy. Their relationship would break down. Andromeda would become the monster of the relationship. Perseus therefore goes forth flying above the monster tricking it. Perseus is new energy and flying is something totally unexpected by the monster. The monster attacks Perseus’s shadow, thrashing and writhing about as anyone does in senseless rage. Then Perseus struck at the monster with his sickle and cut off its head.. He had the Gorgon’s head ready in case it was needed, and in fact in some versions Perseus uses the Gorgon’s head to defeat the sea monster. Andromeda is safely returned to her parents, who are naturally overjoyed. Perseus makes offerings to the gods to give thanks for their help to him, just as it is right for us to be grateful for the higher energy we have used to help us through difficulties. 

King Cepheus had not expected Perseus to succeed and so his promise of Andromeda’s hand in marriage was somewhat rashly given. Andromeda had already been promised as a wife to Agenor. (others say it was to Phineus, a brother to Cepheus). Agenor is the male part of us that strives to gain the perfect prize, before he has grown enough for a union to be lasting. The rejection brings up feelings of jealousy. Perseus fought valiantly but he was outnumbered by far. He is still small and frail really; still vulnerable to attack. Perseus must use the head of Medusa to petrify all those who seek to kill him. 

Cepheus and Cassiopeia were set among the heavens as constellations. As a punishment for her treachery, Cassiopeia was placed in a basket, that at certain times of the year is tipped upside down. 

Perseus and Andromeda were married, the union of new male and new female. This is the mystic marriage of heaven and earth. At last the compliments come together. At last they are ready for the marriage. 

Perseus and Andromeda return to Seriphos. In the same way as a therapist takes us back to our childhood to re-examine our youth from an adults perspective, Perseus must return. First he must return to Seriphos and King Polydectes and then to Argos and King Acrisius. 

Arriving on the island of Seriphos, they find King Polydectes still pursuing his mother, Danae. She and Dictys were hiding in a temple. While Perseus and Andromeda were away having their adventures, Danae and Dictys were back on Seriphos undergoing their own learning. Danae and Dictys entered a temple, a sacred space, for they too have brought their male and female energy together in a positive growing way. 

The old male energy of King Polydectes knows nothing other than violence, lust and greed. Any relationship he would have would be based on those qualities and could never be fulfilling. Perseus leaves Danae and Andromeda with Dictys and goes to the royal court to deliver his gift to the king. The gift of course is the head of Medusa. Perseus does precisely what King Polydectes asked of him and shows him the head of Medusa. As soon as the King sees the reality of the old female energy, his dancing partner, he, and those around him, are filled with fear and turned to stone. Those stones still stand on the island of Seriphos. Perseus puts Dictys on the throne of the island of Seriphos. A good king has arrived. Now good wisdom and authority spread over the island. 

Hermes and Athene visit Perseus and he returns their gifts. The cap, sandals and bag will be returned to the Stygian Nymphs by Hermes. Athene took the head of Medusa which she fixed on to her shield. We cannot remain in our higher self permanently. We cannot be forever meditating or having mystical experiences. Life is about learning to live on earth with its restrictions. Now that the gifts of the gods are no longer required, they are returned. The head of Medusa now becomes a part of Athene. The ability to stand up to the old female energy becomes a part of our higher self we can all link into. 

Now it is time to go back to Argos. Dictys remains on the island but Perseus, Andromeda, Danae and a party of Cyclopes go on to Argos. Perseus cannot rely on the gifts of the gods for his final task. In the end we must take responsibility for our situations and face them as humans. 

Perseus has developed his nature through his adventures. He no longer needs to seek revenge. He returns to Argos prepared to forgive King Acrisius for his past behaviour. Everyone else the King knew would have chased after him seeking revenge. He also feared the old prophesy that he would die by the hand of a grandson. He could not conceive of anyone reacting any way other than revenge, so he fled to King Teutamides. He had an inner knowing that his energy was becoming rigid and inappropriate and would be superseded. He knew he would die sooner or later, and a young warrior would replace him as king. 

Perseus is invited to Larisa for funeral games that King Teutamides holds in honour of his dead father. Being funeral games we get a sense of endings. This is the final challenge for Perseus. This is the final stand of the old male. Indeed the old king archetype in this story is on the verge of death. 

One of the games in the competitions is the discus. The discus is reminiscent of his polished shield. When Perseus throws the discuss it is guided by destiny and fate (some versions say guided by Zeus). It is picked up by the wind in mid air. It veers off to the side, striking Acrisius on the foot, killing him. The old prophesy is fulfilled. Although Perseus has compassion for Acrisius and no thought of revenge, as the new male energy grows in strength, the old energy must to disappear and die. Perseus can not be the King, ruling with new male energy, while the old lives. As Perseus grows in strength and spirit Acrisius must grow weak. Perseus feels sad, but there can be no other outcome. 

This is why Jesus tells the man who would follow him but wished to first bury his father, that he must leave with him and let the dead bury the dead. Leave the old energy to itself. It is most likely that to bury his father actually meant looking after him until he died. If there is any of the old energy still live as a shadow for Perseus, he would manifest it later in his life. 

Perseus buries his grandfather in the temple of Athene. Perseus is ashamed to return and rule in Argos, having himself killed the old king . He went to Tiryns were Proetus, brother of Acrisius had been king. It is now ruled by Proetus’s son, Megapenthes. The two agreed to exchange kingdoms and Perseus becomes the king of Tiryns. Now that he had found the new male energy within himself, he had to make a new start. Had he just gone back to Argos to be king he would have probably eventually turned into a king of the old energy, but by exchanging lands and making a totally new start he ensures his kingdom remained strong. He was to build great cities and ruled wisely. 

Perseus and Andromeda had children. Their daughter Gorgophone grows up with the new male and female energy around her. This gives her the strength in her life to defy the then age old custom in male based societies of the wife going to her death on the funeral pyre of her husband. The story is now complete. 

At this point it is worthwhile to look at the overall travels of Perseus through the story. We start on the land of Argos on the mainland of Greece. We then move southward onto the small island of Seriphos. From there we move to Samos on the coast of Turkey and then fly on the long journey past mount Atlas in Morocco and to the land of the hyperborean, far to the north. Then Perseus returned to Africa, to Mount Atlas, over Libya to Chemmis in Egypt. From there to Joppa in Israel, but we have the connection to Ethiopia through King Cepheus. Perseus is now returning. From Samos back to Seriphos and back to Argos. From there he moves north to Larissa and back to his new home in Tiryns. 

She shape of the land mass around the Mediterranean has been compared to the shape of the brain, with earlier civilizations springing up in the more ‘primitive’ regions of the brain. First of all Perseus must go south. He must go down into the more primitive regions to find his dragons so they can be healed. The location of the land of the Hyperboreans is not definitely known, but because the word hyperborean means ‘far north’ in Greek, it is assumed the lands are in the north. It would seem more logical to be further south as it is in those lands, where Perseus meets the Gorgons, where Perseus is in his ‘darkest night’. Perseus returns via Egypt. The bible uses the same imagery of going down south into Egypt as a symbol of the descend into more primitive parts of the psyche. The Hebrew people are imprisoned in Egypt, from where they are redeemed by Moses. Returning, Perseus has gone past the turning point in his adventure. He is gaining strength and power. He moves closer to home. As we explore our inner worlds we go deeper into our unconscious self. We go deeper into our child hood. Now that he has the key to his healing he goes first to heal his male side at the personal level on Seriphos. When the old male is transformed at that level he goes deeper to the level of the collective unconscious on Argos and cures that. His final healing is even further north in Larissa. With the healing completed he can return to become King of Tiryns. 

FOOTNOTES 

  1. There are many versions of this story. This version is taken from Greek Myths, by Robert Graves. P 237. The Absent Father by Alix Pirani was an important source of inspiration for this analysis. 
  2. see The Gorgon’s Head by Ian Serrallier.
  3. See The Absent Father by Alix Pirani p60 
  4. Golden tales of Greece. Perseus. retold by Compton MacKenzie.

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