Labour V:

The Slaying of the Nemean Lion

July 22 - August 21

Extracts from The Labours of Hercules An Astrologoical Interpretaton by Alice A. Bailey
on are reproduced with the permission of Lucis Trust, copyrightholder


The great Presiding One sat within the Council Chamber of the Lord and there discussed the plan of God for all the sons of men, who are the sons of God. The Teacher stood at his right hand and listened to his words. And Hercules rested from his labours.

And the great Presiding One, within the Council Chamber of the Lord, watched the tired warrior rest and watched his thoughts. He said then to the Teacher who stood close to his hand within the Council Chamber of the Lord: "The time for a dread labour now draws near. This man, who is a son of man and yet a son of God, must be prepared. Let him look well unto the weapons that he owns and let him burnish bright his shield, and dip his arrows in a lethal brew, for dire and dread is the labour just ahead. Let him prepare."

But Hercules, resting from his labours, wot not the trial which lay just ahead. He felt his courage strong. He rested from his labours, and time and time again, past the fourth Gate he chased the sacred doe clear to the temple of the Lord. Time came wherein the timid hind knew well the hunter who pursued her, and gently came at his command. Thus time and time again, he placed the doe upon his heart and sought the temple of the Lord. Thus rested he.

Before the fifth great Gate stood Hercules, armed to the teeth with all the gifts of war and warriors, and as he stood the watching gods marked his firm step, his eager eye, his ready hand. But deep within his heart was questioning.

"What do I here?" he said. "What is the test and wherefore do I seek to pass this Gate?" and speaking thus he waited, listening for a voice. "What do I here, O Teacher of my life, armed, as you see, with the full panoply of war? What do I here?"

"A call has sounded forth, O Hercules, a call of deep distress. Your outer ears have not responded to that call, and yet the inner ear knows well the need, for it hath heard a voice, aye, many voices, telling you of need and urging you to venture forth. The people of Nemea seek your aid. They are in deep distress. Word of your prowess has gone forth. They seek that you should kill the lion that devastates their land, taking its toll of men."

"Is that the savage sound I hear?" asked Hercules. "Is it the roaring of a lion I hear, upon the evening air?" The Teacher said: "Go, seek the lion which ravages the land lying upon the further side of the fifth Gate. The people of this ravaged land live silently behind locked doors. Forth to their tasks they venture not, nor till their land, nor sow. From north to south, from east to west the lion prowls and prowling seizes all who cross his path. His shocking roar is heard throughout the night and all are trembling behind locked doors. What will you do, O Hercules? What will you do?"

And Hercules, with listening ear, responded to the need. Upon the nearer side of the great Gate which guarded firm the country of Nemea, he dropped the panoply of war, retaining for his use the club, cut by his hands from a young and springing tree. "What do you now, O son of man, who are likewise a son of God? Where are your arms and where your strong defence?" "This fine array of arms but loads me down, retards my speed and hinders my departure on the Way. I shall require naught but my stalwart club, and with this club and my stout heart, I go upon my way to seek the lion. Send word unto the people of Nemea that I go upon the Way, and bid them cast out fear."

From place to place passed Hercules, seeking the lion. He found the people of Nemea, hiding behind locked doors, save but a few who ventured forth because of need or desperation. They trod the highway in the light of day, yet full of fear. They greeted Hercules with joy at first, with questioning later, as they saw the manner of his travel; no arms, small knowledge of the ways of lions, and naught save a frail wooden club. "Where are your arms, O Hercules? Have you not fear? Why seek the lion without defence? Go find your weapons and your shield. The lion is fierce and strong, and numbers vast he has devoured. Why take this chance? Go seek your arms and panoply of strength." But silently, without response, the son of man, who was the son of God, went forth upon the Way, seeking the footstep of the lion and following its voice.

"The lion is where?" asked Hercules. "The lion is here," came the reply. "No, there," enjoined a voice of fear. "Not so," replied a third, "I heard its roar about the mountain wild this week." "And I, likewise, within this valley where we stand." And yet another said: "I saw its tracks upon a path I trod, so, Hercules, list to my voice and track him to his lair."

Thus Hercules pursued his way, afraid yet unafraid; alone, yet not alone, for on the trail he followed others stood, and followed him with hope and fearful tremblings. For days and several nights he searched the Way and listened for the lion's roar whilst the people of Nemea crouched down behind closed doors.

Suddenly he saw the lion. Upon the edge of a deep thicket of young trees it stood. Seeing an enemy draw near and one who seemed quite unafraid, the lion roared, and with his roar the young trees shook, the Nemeans fled and Hercules stood still. Hercules grasped his bow and sheath of arrows and with sure hand and eye of skill planted an arrow in the shoulder of the lion. Straight to the mark it flew. Upon the ground the arrow fell and failed to pierce the shoulder of the lion. Again and yet again, he shot the lion until there rested not an arrow in his quiver. Then towards him came the lion, untouched, unscathed and fierce with rage, quite unafraid. Throwing his bow upon the ground, the son of man, who is a son of God, rushed with wild shouting towards the lion who stood upon the Way, blocking his path, amazed at prowess hitherto unmet. For Hercules came on. Suddenly the lion turned and rushed ahead of Hercules into a thicket on the rocky sides of the sharp mountain way.

And so the two went on. And suddenly, as he travelled on the Way, the lion disappeared and was no more seen or heard.

Hercules paused upon the Way and silent stood. He searched on every hand, grasping his trusty club, the weapon he himself had made, the gift that to himself he had bequeathed in days long past, his trusty club. On every hand he sought; on every way he passed, travelling from point to point upon the narrow way that ran athwart the mountain side. Suddenly, upon a cave he came and from the cave there came a lusty roar, a rumbling savage voice which seemed to bid him stay or lose his life. And Hercules stood still, shouting unto the people of the land: "The lion is here. Await the deed that I shall do." And Hercules, who is a son of man and yet a son of God, entered that cave and passed throughout its darkened length into the light of day and found no lion, only another opening in the cave that led into the light of day. And as he stood, he heard the lion behind him, not before.

"What shall I do?" said Hercules unto himself, "this cave has openings twain and as I enter one the lion passes out and enters by the one I left behind. What shall I do? Weapons avail me not. How kill this lion and save the people from its teeth? What shall I do?"

And as he cast about for things to do and listened to the roaring of the lion, he saw some piles of wood and sticks lying in great profusion near his hand. Pulling them towards him, dragging with his might, he placed the piles of sticks and bundles of small twigs within the opening near at hand and piled them there, blocking the way into the light of day, both in and out, and shutting both himself and the fierce lion within the cave. Then turned and faced the lion.

With his two hands he grasped the lion, holding it close and choking it. Near was its breath and blasting in his face. Yet still he held its throat and choked the lion. Feebler and feebler grew the roars of hate and fear; weaker and weaker grew the enemy of man; lower and lower sank the lion, yet Hercules held on. And thus he killed the lion with his two hands, without his arms and through his own great strength.

He killed the lion and stripped its skin, shewing it to the people, without the entrance of the cave. "The lion is dead," they cried, "the lion is dead. We now can live and till our lands and sow the needed seeds and walk in peace together. The lion is dead and great is our deliverer, the son of man, who is a son of God, named Hercules."


*  *  *


Thus Hercules returned in triumph to the One Who sent him forth to test his strength, to serve and meet the need of those in dire distress. He laid the lion's skin beneath the feet of him who was the Teacher of his life, and gained permission to wear the skin in place of that already worn and used.

"The deed is done. The people now stand free. There is no fear. The lion is dead. With my own hands I strangled thus the lion and slaughtered it."

"Again, O Hercules, you slew a lion. Again you strangled him. The lion and serpents must be slain again and once again. Well done, my son, go rest in peace with those you have released from fear. Labour the fifth is over and I go to tell the great Presiding One, who sitteth waiting in the Council Chamber of the Lord. Rest thou in peace."

And from the Council Chamber came the voice: I KNOW.

- The Tibetan


The Number Five

In the fifth sign, Leo, Hercules performs that one of his labours which is the best known historically, for the slaying of the Nemean lion has always been associated with Hercules, though it is interesting to note that this famous labour has no relation to the lion's skin which Hercules always wore. That was the skin of the lion that he slew before he undertook his labours and which was his first act of service. Through that act he demonstrated that he was ready for testing and training.

This is one of the most interesting labours numerically, and in order to understand it thoroughly and grasp its true significance, we must take account of the number five which distinguishes it. From the standpoint of the esotericist, five is the number of man, because man is a divine son of God, plus the quaternary which consists of the lower fourfold nature, the mental body, emotional body, vital body and physical sheath. In the language of the psychologists, man is a self, a continuation of mental and emotional states, vitality, and the response apparatus of the physical body. These four we have seen brought into relation to the involving soul, in the four preceding signs.

In Aries, the soul took to itself that type of matter which would enable it to be in relation to the world of ideas. It clothed itself in a mental sheath. It added to individuality, those combinations of mental substance through which it could best express itself. And man became a thinking soul. In Taurus the desire world was contacted and a similar procedure pursued. The means of sentiently contacting the world of feeling and emotion were developed and man became a sentient soul. In Gemini, a new and vital energy body was constructed by the bringing together of the energies of soul and matter, and man became a living soul, for the two poles were en rapport, and the vital or etheric body came into being. In Cancer, which is the sign of physical birth and of the identification of the unit with the mass, the work of incarnation was completed and the fourfold nature was manifested. Man became a living actor on the physical plane. But it is in Leo that man becomes what is occultly called the five-pointed star, for that star stands as the symbol of individualization, of humanity, of the human being who knows himself to be an individual and becomes aware of himself as the Self. It is in this sign that we begin to use the words, "I" and "my", and "mine".

The Ageless Wisdom of the east tells us that the number five is the most occult and the most deeply significant of the numbers. It claims that the group of celestial and spiritual beings, who took incarnation on earth, manifested through the quaternary, and thus brought into existence the human family, were the fifth group of divine lives and that they combined within themselves, therefore, the dual attributes of the universe, the spiritual and physical. They unified in themselves the two poles. They were exoteric and esoteric; they were objective and subjective. Thus we have the number ten, which is regarded as the number of human perfection and of completion, the number of a perfectly developed and unfolded human being, and of the balance achieved between spirit and matter. But it is the number wherein spirit does not dominate matter; it is the number of the aspirant whose objective it is to subordinate matter to the uses of spirit and, therefore, upset the balance of the number ten.

The ancient scriptures of the east use some interesting phrases to express the nature of these celestial beings who are the men of our time, who are ourselves, who are the sons of God in incarnation. They are called Lords of Knowledge and of Wisdom, Lords of Will and of Sacrifice, Lords of Boundless Devotion, and these terms, characterizing the spiritual entity dwelling in every human form, merit the closest consideration of those who seek to tread the round of the zodiac as conscious individuals with a spiritual goal. Through our own will and in full knowledge we are here. In order to raise matter into heaven, we have come into manifested existence. In essence and in reality, man is not what he appears to be. He is essentially what he will demonstrate in Aquarius, the opposite sign to Leo. He will then be the man with a universal consciousness, in contradistinction to the self-assertive individuality of the Leo type. The individual in Leo becomes the initiate in Capricorn, and demonstrates as the complete man in Aquarius, and this has only been possible because of the boundless devotion to a dimly sensed objective that has carried him round and round the zodiac until full self-consciousness has been achieved.

The appropriateness and the relation of the fifth Commandment to the fifth labour and the fifth sign thus becomes apparent. "Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee," for in Leo, Father-spirit and Mother-matter meet in the individual and their union produces that conscious entity which we call the soul or the Self. Just, however, as this is the sign wherein man recognizes himself as the individual and begins the cycle of experience wherein he acquires knowledge, so it is the sign wherein the self-conscious man begins his training for initiation. It is in this sign that we have the last of the tests on the probationary path. When the labour of this sign ends, definite training for initiation in Capricorn is begun. Some measure of control of thought has been gained in Aries, and some power to transmute desire has been achieved in Taurus. The apples of wisdom have been gathered in Gemini and the distinction between wisdom and knowledge has been somewhat learned, whilst the necessity of transmuting instinct and intellect into intuition and the carrying of them both into the Temple of the Lord has been grasped in Cancer.


The Story of the Myth

After a relatively simple labour in Cancer and one that was quite free from danger and peril, Eurystheus imposes upon Hercules the tremendous task of slaying the Nemean lion, which was devastating the countryside. For a long period the lion had been a destructive force and people were unable to do anything about it. Hercules found that the only way in which he could achieve his object was to chase the lion in ever-narrowing circles until he had cornered it in a cave. This he proceeded to do and eventually tracked it to its lair.

Having succeeded in this preliminary stage, he then made the unpleasant discovery that the cave had two openings and that as fast as he chased the lion in at one it emerged at the other. There was nothing for it, therefore, but to stop the chase and to block one of the openings to the cave, and this Hercules did. Then he chased the lion into the cave through the unblocked opening and, leaving all weapons behind, even the club which he had himself made, he entered the cave and with his two hands choked the lion to death. That was an encounter that took place unseen by anybody; Hercules and the lion in the dark and the gloom of the cave taking part, both of them, in a struggle which had to be to the death.


The Field of the Labour

The sign Leo is one of the four arms of the fixed cross in the heavens, the cross on which the Cosmic Christ and the individual Christ are ever crucified. Perhaps the word "crucified" would have a true significance if we substituted for it the word "sacrificed", for in the unfoldment of the Christ consciousness in the form, stage by stage, various aspects of the divine nature are seen as being sacrificed.

In Taurus, the symbol of creative force expressing itself through desire, we see the lower aspect of the divine creative force, sexual desire, transmuted into, or sacrificed to, its higher aspect. It had to be raised up into heaven.

In Leo, we see cosmic mind working out in the individual as the lower reasoning mind, and this lower aspect has likewise to be sacrificed and the little mind of man must be subordinated to the universal mind. In Scorpio, which is the third arm of the fixed cross, we find cosmic love or cosmic attraction. There it is shown in its lower aspect, and this we call the great Illusion; and in Scorpio we see the aspirant upon the cross, sacrificing illusion to reality. In Aquarius, we have the light of the universal consciousness irradiating the human being and bringing about the sacrifice of the individual life and its merging in the universal whole. This is the true crucifixion: the sacrifice of the reflection to the reality, of the lower aspect to the higher, and of the individual unit to the great sum total. It was these characteristics that the Christ so marvellously demonstrated. He showed himself as the Creator. He showed himself as functioning under the influence of the illuminated mind; he personified in himself the love of God, and he announced himself as the Light of the World. The problem before Hercules, therefore, was the problem of the sign; the crucifixion of the lower self and the conquering of individual self-assertion.

Originally the zodiac consisted only of ten constellations and, at some date practically unknown, the two constellations, Leo and Virgo, were one symbol. Perhaps the mystery of the sphinx is connected with this, for in the sphinx we have the lion with a woman's head, Leo with Virgo, the symbol of the lion or kingly soul, and its relation to the matter or Mother aspect. It may, therefore, signify the two polarities, masculine and feminine, positive and negative.

In this constellation is the exceedingly bright star, which is one of the four royal stars of the heavens. It is called Regulus the Ruler, the Lawgiver, holding in its significance the thought that man can now be a law unto himself, for he has that within him which is the king or the ruler. Hidden in the constellation is also a vivid group of stars, called "the sickle". To the ancient initiates, who saw all the external constellations as personifications of forces and as symbols of an unfolding drama vaster than even they could understand, the constellation conveyed three major thoughts: first, that man was the ruler, the king, God incarnate, an individual son of God; second, the man was governed by law, the law of nature, the law that he makes for himself, and the spiritual law to which he will eventually subordinate himself; third, that the work of an individual is to apply the sickle and to cut out, or cut down, that which hinders the application of the spiritual law and so hinders the flowering forth of the soul.

The constellation Leo has in it ninety-five stars, two of them of the first magnitude. Its Egyptian name, we are told, meant "a pouring out", the Nile giving its fullest irrigation at that season. This has also an interesting esoteric significance for, according to the teaching of the Ageless Wisdom, the human family came into existence through what is technically called "the third outpouring", which was the term given to the coming-in of a great tide of souls into the animal bodies and, therefore, the formation of the human family composed of individual units. Another technical term for this third outpouring is "individualization", becoming an individual with self-awareness, thus linking it up with the great happenings in the sign, Leo.

The ninety-five stars in this constellation also have numerical significance for we have there 9 x 10 + 5. Nine is the number of initiation, ten is the number of human perfection, five is the number of man, and thus in this grouping of stars we have the story of man, of the personality, the initiate and his ultimate spiritual achievement.


The Three Symbolic Constellations

There is an immense constellation called Hydra, the serpent, associated with the sign Leo. We find also Crater, the cup, and Corvus, the raven. All three sum up in their significance the problem of the man who is seeking initiation. They picture to him distinctly and clearly the work that he has to do. As Leo, the king, the soul, starts upon his work, he realizes that he has the cup of suffering and of experience to drink, the serpent of illusion to overcome, and the bird of prey to eliminate Hydra, the serpent, in the ancient pictures is portrayed as a female serpent. It covers more than a hundred degrees and lies beneath the three constellations, Cancer, Leo and Virgo.

In Scorpio, this serpent of matter or of illusion, with which the soul has identified itself for so long, is finally overcome. It y has in it sixty stars, and again we come in touch with a significant number, for six is the number of mind, of the creative work of the universal Mind, and of the six days of creation. In the sixth sign, Virgo, we have the completed form. We are told in the Book of Revelations that the mark of the Beast is 666, and Hydra, the serpent, lies under three constellations and its number 6 is, therefore, three times potent. Ten is the number of completion. Six expresses, therefore, the limitations of the body nature working through form and the utilization of the personality; it symbolizes God in nature, whether cosmically or individually. Hydra the serpent, represents the matter aspect, as it veils and hides the soul.

The Crater, or the cup, has in it thirteen stars of ordinary magnitude and about ninety small stars, though some books of astronomy say three brilliant stars and ninety small. So we have again the number of matter, or of form-taking, and the number of what is called "apostasy" , and of "the turning of the back", as Judas Iscariot did, upon the soul or Christ aspect. This cup forms really part of the body of the Hydra, for the stars at the foot of the cup form part of the body of the Serpent , and both constellations claim them. It is the cup that every human being has to drink, full of that which he has distilled out of his experience in matter. It is the cup of obligation certain of the ancient Masonic rituals, and symbolizes the drinking of that which we have ourselves brewed. In other words, the same truth can be expressed in the words of Christian Bible, "As a man soweth, so shall he also reap."

Then we have, thirdly, Corvus, the raven, that stands upon Hydra, the serpent, and pecks at it. It has nine stars, again the number of initiation. The Old Testament started with a raven, the New Testament starts with a dove. Experience starts with the bird of matter and ends with the bird of spirit. It is interesting to note that in Aquarius, the consummating sign to Leo, we find Cygnus, the swan, the symbol of the bird of spirit. In The Voice of the Silence we read: "And then thou canst repose between the wings of the great bird. Aye, sweet to rest between the wings of that which is not born, nor dies, but is the Aum throughout eternal ages". And in a footnote H.P.B., referring to the bird or swan, quotes: "Says the Rig-Veda ... The syllable A is considered to be the bird Hamsa's right wing, U its left, and M its tail..." (The Chakras by C. W. Leadbeater)

In the zodiac of Denderah, Leo and the three attendant constellations are pictured as forming one great sign, for the lion is seen treading on the serpent. Corvus, the raven, is perched upon the lion's shoulder, while below is a plumed female figure (again, the symbol of matter) holding out two cups, for there is ever the cup which symbolizes the cup of experience, the cup of penalty. The cup is the cup which is offered to the initiate, to which Christ referred in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he pleaded that the cup be taken away from him, but which he ended by drinking.

So Hercules, the aspirant, expressing himself in Leo, visions the great battle that lies ahead of him, knows that his past must work out to fulfilment in the future, knows that before he can climb the mountain in Capricorn he must slay the Hydra, and knows that he must no longer be the raven, but must manifest as Aquila, the eagle of Scorpio, and as Cygnus, the swan, in Aquarius. This he must begin to do in Leo, by demonstrating the power to dare, by facing the terrific struggle that lies ahead of him in the next three signs and by the slaying of the lion of his own nature (king of beasts) alone and unaided, and so earn. the power to overcome the Hydra, in Scorpio.

The Lesson of the Labour

Two thoughts, taken out of the Christian Bible, summarize the lesson of this labour. In St. Peter's Epistle we find these words: "Your adversary, the devil, like a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour," and in Revelations 5:5, we find the words, "Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."

Hercules, the aspirant, the soul, symbolized the lion, the prince, the king, the ruler, and because of this he symbolically wore the lion's skin. The Nemean lion stands essentially for the coordinated, dominant personality, for the aspirant has always to be a highly evolved individual.

With the triple aspects of the lower personal self fused and blended and, therefore, potent beyond the average, the aspirant often becomes a somewhat trying and difficult person. He has a mind and he is using it. His emotions are controlled, or else are so blended with his mental reactions that they are unusually powerful; hence, he is exceedingly individual, often very aggressive, self-confident and self-satisfied, and his personality is, therefore, a devastating force in the family group, society, organization with which he may be affiliated. Therefore, the aspirant, the lion of Judah, has to slay the lion of his personality. Having emerged out of the mass, and developed individuality, he then has to slay that which he has created; he has to render helpless that which has been the great protecting up to the present time. Selfishness, the self-protecting instinct, has to give place to unselfishness, which is literally the subordination of the self to the whole.

Therefore, the Nemean lion symbolizes the powerful personality running wild and menacing the peace of the countryside. What is the lesson intended to be learned by the fact that Hercules tracked the lion to a cave that had two openings? Why did he stop up one opening and enter in through the other? And what is the spiritual teaching underlying the tradition that he there slew the lion with his bare hands?

Many of these old stories have held the true significance of their meaning unfathomed for thousands of years, and it is only in this day and generation that the true esoteric meaning can possibly emerge. The interesting fact about the period in which we now live is that it marks a unique development in racial unfoldment. There have always been manifestations of the sun gods, and this labour of Hercules has again and again been enacted by a few here and a few there. Every nation has produced highly evolved aspirants who track the lion of the personality down into the cave and there master it. But, relatively, in relation to the myriads of human units, they have constituted a very small minority. Now we have a world full of aspirants; the coming generation in all nations will produce its thousands of disciples and already tens of thousands are seeking the Way. People are now very individual, the world is full of personalities, and the time has come when the lion of the tribe of Judah must prevail over the lion of the personal self. We are not alone in our struggle, as Hercules was, but we form part of a great group of sun gods, who are struggling with the tests preparatory to initiation, and with the problems that will draw out the full powers of the soul.

In Capricorn we shall climb the mountain-top, and entering now, as we are, the Aquarian cycle, the aspirants of the race are in a position to begin to learn the lesson of service and universal consciousness. When, in two thousand years' time, we begin to enter Capricorn, there will then be a tremendous gathering-in of initiates, and the scaling of the mount of initiation and the mount of transfiguration by many hundreds of disciples. In the meantime, the lion of the personality has to be dealt with and the cave entered.

In the symbolism of the scriptures of the world, the most momentous happenings are enacted in one of two places: in the cave or on the mountain. The Christ is born in the cave; the personality is overcome in the cave; the voice of the Lord is heard in the cave, the Christ consciousness is nurtured in the cave of the heart, but after the cave experiences the mountain of transfiguration is climbed, the mount of crucifixion is achieved, to be succeeded finally by the mountain of ascension.

I would like here to give the technical, perhaps more scientific, interpretation of this cave which Hercules entered. The Aryan race, to which we belong, is one of keen mental development, and the consciousness of people everywhere is shifting steadily out of the emotional nature, and so out of the solar plexus center, into the mental body and, therefore, into the head. There is in the head a little cave, a small bony structure which shields and guards one of the most important glands in the body, the pituitary. When this gland is in full and proper functioning activity, we shall have a personality rounded-out and active, self-controlled, with pronounced mental activity and endurance.

This pituitary body is dual in its configuration: in one of its lobes, the frontal or ante-pituitary, is to be found the scat of the reasoning mind, intellectuality, and in the other, the post-pituitary, is the scat of the emotional, imaginative nature. It is also said that this gland coordinates the others, controls growth and is essential to life. It is interesting that Berman defines intellectuality as the "capacity of the mind to control its environment by concepts and abstract ideas". Where there is a lack of development of this gland you may find both emotional and mental deficiency. Many endocrinologists and psychologists have expressed themselves along similar lines. [The Soul and Its Mechanism by Alice A. Bailey, Lucis Publishing Company] It is in this cave that the lion of the developed personality or individuality has its lair, and it is here that the sun god, Hercules, must conquer.

For centuries the Egyptians, and especially the Hindus, have known of the chakras or force-centers in the etheric body. The discovery of the endocrine system shows corresponding physical glands in the same locations. One of these, the pituitary body, with its two lobes, symbolizes the cave with two openings, one of which Hercules had to close before he could control the personality by the higher mind. For it was only when he had blocked the opening of the personal emotions (post-pituitary), thrown away even his trusty club, refused symbolically to lead any longer a personal, selfish life, that he could, entering by the opening represented by the ante-pituitary, subdue the lion of the personality in the cave. These correlations are so exact that they present in little and in large an awesome testimony to the unflawed integrity of the Plan. "As above so below." A striking correlation between biological and spiritual truths.

- The Labours of Hercules An Astrologoical Interpretaton, Alice A. Bailey p. 95–111


It is interesting to note that during the time we say the Sun is in Virgo, annually from August 22 to September 21, due to the precession of the equinoxes, and from the Earth's perspective, the Sun is actually traversing the zodiacal constellation Leo. With this consideration, we invite you to review the materials on Leo freshly, from this perspective.


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The Labours of Hercules is from the collected writings of Alice A. Bailey;
© Lucis Publishing Co., 120 Wall St., 24th Floor, New York, NY 10005

Graphics: (Top) Hercules wears the lion skin,
Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. H. L. Pierce Fund
(Mid-page) Hercules wrestles the Nemean Lion
Photo by Maria Daniels, courtesy Univ. of Pennsylvania Museum