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The Labors of Hercules - Labor II

LABOR II

The Capture of the Cretan Bull
(Taurus, April 21st - May 20th)

The Myth

The presiding One spoke to the Teacher of the man whose light shone forth among the sons of men, who are the sons of God.
"Where is the man who stood with power before the Gods, received their gifts and entered through the first wide open Gate to labor at his task?"
"He rests, Oh, great presiding One, and ponders on his failure, and mourns for Abderis, and seeks for help within himself."
"It is well. The gifts of failure guarantee success, when rightly understood. Let him proceed to labor once again, enter the second Gate, returning with dispatch."
The second Gate stood open wide and, from the light which veiled the distant scene, a voice emerged and said:
"Pass through the Gate. Proceed upon thy way. Perform thy labor and return to me, reporting on the deed."

Alone and sad, conscious of need and worn with deep distress, Hercules slowly passed between the pillars of the Gate into the light which shines where stands the sacred bull. On the horizon rose the island fair where dwelt the bull, and where adventurous men could enter that vast maze which lured them to bewilderment, the maze of Minos, King of Crete, the keeper of the bull.

Crossing the ocean to the sunlit isle (though how we are not told) Hercules entered on his task to seek and find the bull, and lead it to the Holy Place where dwell the one-eyed men. From place to place he chased the bull, led by the gleaming [40] star which shone upon the forehead of the bull, a bright lamp in a dark place. This light, moving as moved the bull, led him. from place to place. Alone, he sought the bull; alone he chased it to its lair; alone he captured it and mounted on its back. Around him stood the Sisters seven, urging him on his way and, in the shining light, he rode the bull across the glimmering water to the isle of Crete unto the land where dwelt the Cyclops three.

These three great sons of God awaited his return, watching his progress through the waves. He rode the bull as if it were a horse, and with the Sisters singing as he went, drew near unto the land.
"He comes with strength", said Brontes, and went to meet him on the shore.
"He rides in light," said Steropes, "his inner light will brighter be," then fanned the light to sudden flame.
"He comes with speed," said Arges, "he is riding through the waves."

Hercules nearer drew, urging the sacred bull upon the Way, throwing the light upon the trail which led from Crete unto the Temple of the Lord, within the city of the one-eyed men. Upon the mainland, at the water's edge, these three men stood and grasped the bull, taking it thus away from Hercules.
"What hast thou here?" said Brontes, arresting Hercules upon the Way.
"The sacred bull, Oh, Holy One."
"Who art thou? Tell us now thy name," said Steropes.
"I am the son of Hera, a son of man and yet a son of God. I have performed my task. Take now the bull into the Holy Place and save it from due death. Minos desired its sacrifice."
"Who told you thus to seek and save the bull?" said Arges, moving towards the Holy Place.
"Within myself I felt the urge and sought my Teacher. Told by the great Presiding One, He sent me on the Way, and with long search and many pains, I found the bull. Helped by its [41] holy light, I rode it through the separating sea unto this Holy Place.
"Depart in peace, my son, your task is done."

The Teacher saw him coming and went forth to meet him oil the Way. Across the waters came the voices of the Sisters seven, singing around the bull, and nearer still the chanting of the one-eyed men within the Temple of the Lord, high in the Holy Place.
"You came with empty hands, oh, Hercules," the Teacher said.
"I have these empty hands, because I have fulfiled the task to which I was assigned. The sacred bull is rescued, securely with the Three. What next?"
"Within the light shall you see light; walk in that light and there see light. Your light must brighter shine. The bull is in the Holy Place."

And Hercules reposed upon the grass and rested from his labor. Later the Teacher turned to Hercules and said: "Labor the second is performed, and easy was the task. Learn from this task the lesson of proportion. Strength to perform the arduous task; a willingness to do the task which taxes not your powers; such are two lessons learnt. Rise soon and seek the country, guarded by Gate the third, and find the golden apples. Bring them here.

The Tibetan (Djwhal Khul)

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