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The Labors of Hercules - Labor IX
Three Constellations

There are three constellations connected with this sign, the three most beautiful. Lyra, the seven-stringed harp. The aspirant learns to play upon the harp and he makes music with his life.

Ara, the altar, because the aspirant places all upon the altar, not in the spirit of sad renunciation, bracing himself to be perfectly miserable, but in the spirit of "there is nothing else to [167] do. I am detaching myself from these things in order that I may more perfectly and fully serve".

Draco, the serpent. We met the hydra, the serpent, in Gemini; now we meet Draco, the serpent of wisdom.

Music in the life of harmony, sacrifices in the personality reactions and desires, and wisdom.
And hovering over two other constellations: Aquila, spirit; and Cygnus, the soul.
Do you see why I am so thrilled over Sagittarius? It is such a beautiful sign and there is so much to say about it. I have omitted so much.

Details of the Story

We read that the marshes of Acadia were filled with man-eating birds, pictured in ancient books as ferocious storks, the birds of Stymphalus. They were three in number; three major birds, but there were many small ones. They were wasting the land, but they could not be seen; they were hidden in the brush, in the undergrowth, doing damage, but they could not be located.

As usual, Hercules rushes to the land of Acadia and determines to rid the land of these man-eating birds. We are told he was very clever in the way he did it. He had freed himself from illusion and Athena had given him some cymbals which he clashed so loudly that the birds arose out of the marsh into the air and tried to fly away; then he mounted on his winged horse and shot them with his arrows. It is a wonderful story.

Marshes are a symbol of the mind plus emotion, Hercules discovers that although he may be an aspirant and he may have triumphed in Scorpio, he still possesses an emotional nature, and he finds that the birds of Stymphalus, especially three of them, are of a man-eating kind and that he must do something about it.

Picture his reaction, the conqueror discovering that he is a devastating force; that by his words and thoughts he is doing [168] harm. Remember this, the further on you go along the path of return, and the more you function as a spiritual entity, the more potent you become and the more harm you can do. You are forceful, you are wielding power, you are probably the center of your group. If you are an aspirant, if you are a disciple, the thought and speech activity is your main enterprise. You weigh your thoughts because there is potency back of your thought, and when you think wrongly the harm you do is much more potent than the harm that a less evolved person does.

We must get the birds out of the marshes and into the clear air where we can see them and conquer them.

The birds that did the most harm were three in number. In one book they are enumerated: cruel gossip; talk of the self, selfish talk; and casting of pearls before swine. What does that mean?

It has been said that gossip is "spiritual murder". Do I need to discuss cruel gossip, how lives have been wrecked by it? There is an unbroken law, if you gossip you will be gossiped about. We get what we give. If you give service you will get service; kindness, kindness; love, love. If humanity is mistreating you, search yourself and find out where you are at fault. An ancient scripture says, to him who is harmless all enmity ceases. I know that when I achieve harmlessness in thought, word and deed, then I will have no problems. The fact that we have problems presupposes our harmfulness.

Talking about oneself, we are always occupied with our own problems, our own affairs. Casting pearls before swine: talking about the occult troubles for which the hearers are not ready. If you are a disciple you will know to what I refer.

The problem is clear: I am a Sagittarian and so are you. We are living with the emblem of Sagittarius in front of us all the time. We are trying to bring harmony into our lives, trying to lead the "altar" life, seeking to contact the serpent of wisdom. Begin with thought and speech, and begin today. [169]

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