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Tartarus: The cycle of deep hell and divine dreams

According to Greek mythology, there is a place that is deeper than hell, and it’s called Tartarus. That’s where the Titans dwell, apparently, serving their sentence of torment. But don’t be fooled, this is not the end for them.

The Titans are here, present in the story, at two specific times.

The very beginning. And the very end.

Let’s start at the very beginning. It is said that after losing their great battle for the rule over the world against the Olympian Gods, the Titans were imprisoned in Tartarus.

It’s a place as far beneath Hades, the Underworld, as heaven is above Earth.

Our friend Sisyphus also dwells there, forever attempting to roll his boulder up the hill, only to have it roll back down again for the humiliating process to repeat itself, eternally.

But is this punishment really eternal?

I’d suggest it’s not. For everything is cyclic in nature.

If we are to deny that, then we are to deny the very fabric of life itself.

And probably, by doing this, we cement in ourselves a fear of “death”.

Every creation story speaks to a myth that begins in chaos, just like the one about the Titans and the Gods of Mount Olympus. And buried inside of that chaos, is order. It’s just that we can’t see it because our perspective is too close. The same reason we can’t see the cycles of the mythology–because we’re stuck in a smaller story that’s playing out.

Our personal mythology.

There are myths happening all the time. There are layers, and stories running into one another. Think both of one big meta-myth, and the personal mythology that plays out for each individual on a grand stage that is the collective myth.

Joseph Campbell, one of the great mythologists of recent times, defined a myth as “...something that has never happened, but is happening all the time.”

I like to say that a myth is a collection of lies that tells the truth.

Maybe the Titans didn’t battle at Thessaly.

But there are battles of titans happening in every moment. “Good” and “evil”. Power. Dominance. Force. Conflict. Overcoming.

The energy-dilutive judgement we make is in seeing these things in isolation, as ends. Because really they are only parts of the story, and it can be very distracting and emotionally consuming to get all caught up in that.

Let’s zoom out to the meta-myth for a moment, and consider what might be playing out there.

The thing no one wants to look at or talk about.

It seems the Titans, on the grander scale, are back. Which can only mean one thing: we’re at an ending.

I urge you not to worry. Take a deep breath.

It's my personal view, and one shared by many others, that we're receiving a collective invitation to up-level.

As such, it is really quite okay that the Titans are here, in the meta-myth, because we know that existence is cyclic. We know that endings lead into beginnings. And we cannot have new beginnings without first meeting the Titans.

That’s just how these stories work.

And up-leveling requires a new beginning.

The mythology gives us all an opportunity to look into the unconscious aspects of ourselves and to meet what lives there. Our own personal Tartarus if you like.

And Tartarus, according to the mythology, is the birthplace of the biggest dreams and the most expansive potential that there is.

I’ve not confronted this idea in my research on Tartarus, but I wonder if perhaps this place is the most powerful source of entelechy that exists. Entelechy is the force inside a seed that allows one meagre acorn to become an oak tree. And remember, the acorn must completely lose its identity, it must make a willing surrender of everything that it is in order to catalyse that force of entelechy and allow the tree to emerge.

If an acorn had a psyche (and who knows, maybe it does...), could you imagine how dark that experience would be?

I believe understanding the richness of these stories gives us every reason to release our fear of death, actually, metaphorically and mythologically. And with that, allow for the most incredible rebirth imaginable.

The key is in rather than judging the story, to follow it and allow what it is revealing in us, as individuals and collectively. Calling us forward to step into the characters that we came here to play out. This most powerful way to navigate this, I would assert, is revealed when one is able to integrate both the outside world and the inside one.


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