The story continues: Hercules has an adversary, Eurystheus, who is the current king and holds regnum over Hercules’ territory. Now, in the esoteric Christian tradition, Satan is not our “enemy”, but our “adversary” – there is a subtle, but distinct difference (Alain Benoist has come to the conclusion that the USA is an adversary, but not an enemy of Europe – I’ll let you draw your own conclusions). The adversary wishes to joust with Hercules, & so he assigns him twelve labors. Hercules, having conquered his passions and mastered his thoughts, now becomes a serious contender. He, further, draws the ire of Hera, that champion of the eternal Feminine, who will test all men, & who fashions the Hydra specifically to destroy the Hero. The adversaries are many of the spiritual combatant. Demons will lay specific traps, not for men in general, but for YOU specifically. They know your weaknesses, perhaps better than yourself. This is why the first adversary is the man’s Ego or mind – detaching himself from his “stream of consciousness”, he begins to examine thoughts. Who am I, really? I am not Me.
Hercules will be tempted to play to his Alpha strength – sheer power. The power of the man, the virile, masculine, war-making instinct, which levies eternal defiance to heaven and earth, if need be. As that old Scottish reaver told Queen Elizabeth, “What is there, that a man will not dare?” Indeed, the power of man is great: witness the captive English hero who was invited to duel to the death in front of the Spanish court. Hercules, like the Englishmen amid his foes, will have to choose wisely: Peeke ended up killing one Spaniard, gravely wounding a third, and driving his rapier-wielding Alpha foes from the ring. He was set free, with honors. Or, as Robert Jordan wrote:
Hammar moved to stand beside Galad, still groaning on the ground and trying to push himself up. The warder raised his voice to shout, “Who was the greatest blademaster of all time?’ From the throats of dozens of students came a massed bellow. “Jearom, Gaidin!” “Yes!” Hammar shouted, turning to make sure all heard. “During his lifetime, Jearom fought over ten thousand times, in battle and single combat. He was defeated once. By a farmer with a quarterstaff! Remember that. Remember what you just saw. During his lifetime, the greatest blademaster fought over ten thousand times, in battle and single combat. He was defeated once. By a farmer with a quarterstaff! Remember that.”
In this combat, Satan can be viewed as an honorable but cunning adversary – the test can be passed, if wisdom is added to power. Since Hercules will need wisdom, his kinsman Ioalus will provide it (or the gods themselves).
Hercules covers his mouth and nose, symbolically giving precedence to the eyes. He is no one-eyed monster who cannot distinguish good versus evil, but watchful and alert. He approaches the den of the Hydra, and awakens it with flaming arrows, which show that the hero is aware that he will need to draw the beast forth, rather than climbing down into its hole, like Beowulf, after the dragon.
Like a true man, he begins combat, but finds that for every head of the Hydra he severs, two grow back. This shows that fasting, prayer, and mortification of any kind are inferior to watchfulness. They only awaken the passions: they draw it forth. A man who has fasted learns that he is made of carbon, water, and other base materials. If he relies solely upon his own strength, his combat will fail.
His kinsman has the idea of supporting his combat by burning the heads. The aid of other men in spiritual combat is great, indeed. While Hercules concentrates on destroying each head, Ioalus sears the stumps. In an alternate telling, Hercules uses the blood of the Hydra to sear the stumps. This is why the innocent who refuse to undertake combat are inferior to the man who fights – only he who fights can take the blood of demons and use them to cauterize the wounds of the monster. Additionally, further “shocks” are necessary than individual effort – by the law of Three (discussed in Gurdjieff/Ousepensky’s systems), man requires the aid of group and cultural effort to sustain him over the natural gaps in his own line of spiritual effort. They fill in the critical gap (see Psalm 73), allowing the awe and wonder of external comradeship carry a man over the desert of his own failure, which is innate. Even Hercules requires this help. Even Hercules has to have a town to defend, or ruined temples to haunt, or just assistance. Lone voices only attract wolves, unless a man is born in the mystery of the just, in which case, he will find himself constituting both a Church, a Culture, and a State. This is not a self-elected position – others will confirm this for you. Until that time, it’s safe to assume otherwise (if you’re wrong, angels will show up to reason with your modesty).
After his hard-won victory over the multitude of the Passions (Satan’s deputies to handle his petty work), Hercules buries the head of the Hydra in a sacred place on the royal road, dedicated to Zeus. The victorious soldier gives credit to St. Michael & the host (or whatever name they assume in your mythology). This is additionally a good idea, because this enemy is not the last that Hercules will undertake – it always helps to have the odds and the gods on your side, or better, that you are on theirs.
The assault on hell (and the storming of heaven) is not the work of a moment, nor that of the drifting cowboy. It also entails the risk of making enemies which may succeed in turning you into a martyr: if you are constitutionally opposed to self-sacrifice in all instants, then you are not ready to be recruited for the Legion, & it will be difficult to rise (although it does sometimes happen). Even outsiders have to have a “meteoric rise” if they come in & eclipse the “regulars”. In this sense, the Christian path is not “one path of many”, but indeed the only way such things could happen, in any case. How else can God overturn Hell, but from the inside out? Will there not be casualties? Dangers? Risks? Of course there must be. Christ came as a lamb, because He knew this was the way to become the Lion.
At the level of the Church, the Hydra is heresy and error, which leads to apostasy. At the level of Society, the Hydra is ideology or ersatz religion, which always threatens to whelm organic growth. One might say, the “anti-State”, in our day. The Hydra is a cancer, and it devours all that it feasts upon. Passions, heresy (Hyper-Calvinism tweaked), the mega-State…..they offer us, at first, escape from our individuality and personhood, our discipline. They offer to initiate us in the multiplicity of delusion.
“Almost as a postscript to the heavenly warning issued at Fatima in 1917, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, two years later, reviewed the three Great Evils of the latter times, noting: “In 1517, the Protestants rebelled against the Church; in 1717, the Freemasons rebelled against Christ; and, in 1917, the Communists rebelled against God.” In a single sentence the Polish martyr had exposed common origin and natural succession of each of these Apocalyptic nightmares.”
There is a story about Clement Maria Hofbauer, how he went into a bar to beg for money for his orphans, & a clientele spit into his face. He said to all there, “That was for me. Now what about for my boys?” Needless to say, a man like this leaves the bar with the money he came to find. I doubt if he spoke with any fear, lack of dignity, or craven Semitic bearing. And somewhere, in heaven, his angels slew several legions of demons, in honor of his conduct. Is this really degenerate spirituality? You want that man heading the Church, or someone very much like him.
Now I would ask those who are consciously “not-Christian” (many for very sound reasons) to please consider this appeal carefully. Obviously, you cannot acquiesce in what is without honor, that is true. So the appeal is to honor – where is the assault falling today? Even if Christianity is the “vehicle” for the Kali Yuga, & destined to be transformed into something else, the rear guard is where the fighting is at: over the fallen altars, at the throne. Sure, martyrdom is a possibility, physical or otherwise, yet, isn’t this what the path of honor smiles upon? The new age will be determined by the blood spilled at the crux of combat: regardless of Christianity, it is spiritual blood that will seed the future. Sacrifice is a Christian-Semitic principle only in the sense that it was given high-articulation within those vehicles. The Ideal is true. It may need altering, or qualification, or balancing, but Christianity apprehended something in Tradition that was true, regardless.
When the Franks where whelmed at the mountain passes, Roland was given the honor of leading the stubborn & doomed rear-guard action. Today, the clueless conservatives are leading an ineffectual rear-guard action, and there is no intellectual order. What else do we need today other than the men who are not welcome in the Church to insist upon being in it? It is not only an option to request service in the rear-guard, but is in fact a high honor, almost a duty to request a post there (even if denied). Chivalry, Western high culture, was merely the high and strong and noble apprehension of Truth, accentuated by the vehicles used to attain it, colored by the nationalities and souls involved, articulated in the languages and thoughts of those who served.
It is this Truth that we serve, all of it, no one part at the expense of the other, and I cannot forget what happened in the deserts of Thebaid, when the passions were tamed by the wild monastic fathers, & the fruit was grown and reaped in the great “Romance” that swept over the barbarian tribes.