waterhouse psyche and cupid 2 (Small)THE MYTH OF PSYCHE & EROS AND THE PERILS FOR THE AWAKENING SOUL. By Hilary Bond PhD © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.
Many stories and myths tell of the hero or heroine’s quest to find wholeness. The hero’s journey is the quest of Apollo: our Sun cycle. My last article told of Ariadne’s awakening. The myth of Persephone indicates the death of her maidenhood and her awareness of her mature core self. Astrologers talk about age 28 as our first Saturn Return, where we are supposed to be mature and they say there is another peak of maturation around the age 40 to 42 where we are shocked into an awakening. Bilbo Baggins held his 33rd birthday party before he went off on his long quest. Barbara Hand Clow alludes to our Chiron return around the age of 50 as a spiritual awakening. And of course we have all read Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, which is primarily about women’s quest for wholeness.
If we believe in past lives, some authors claim that we may not mature for many life times. Michael Newton, in his “Destiny of Souls” hypnotherapy series of books, believes it takes many life times of evolutionary soul growth to mature to a stage of humility and maturity where we are balanced, mentally, physically and spiritually strong. In fact in Greek mythology various people are punished and their families are cursed for hubris or lack of appropriate humility to the gods, so family members devolve. The Bible claims a similar process with seven generation being the appropriate time for curses to clear. Roger Woolger says we can mature through a deep process of regressions into past lives too. All of this maturation relates to time and Saturn-Cronos is the God of time, the senex and the deity of maturity, organisation and responsibility. Shamanic Soul Retrievals and Extractions can bring soul pieces back that have fled during trauma in ancestral lives, this life, gestation, and past lives and sometimes in this shamanic process our guides give us gifts so we function better and evolve quickly. For some White Buffalo Calf Woman calls us to cross the Rainbow Bridge with her.
But what about love? Does this mature our soul or are we searching for passion outside ourself. In my conclusion to my last article on Ariadne, I suggest that, “In astrology Ariadne represents abandonment as an archetypal process that strips away the mind’s illusions in order to hear the calling of the true self. Confronted by the painful reality of being left the individual is forced to relinquish their hopes and fantasies in order to awaken to the authentic path of the heart. Ariadne embodies the soul in relationship that must first experience the painful course of the labyrinth before a divine connection can be realized.”
So how does love redeem Psyche? Let’s find out shall we?
In this myth, and psychological journey to awakening, we see the archetype “Eros” as one of the first divinities ever, rather that the more modern version, who was the mischievous god of love, a minion and constant companion of the goddess Aphrodite. The poet Hesiod represents Eros as a cosmic force who emerged self-born at the beginning of time to spur procreation. First, says Hesiod (Theogony, p. 120, &c.) there was Chaos, then came Ge (Gaia), Tartarus, and Eros, the fairest among the gods, who rules over the minds and the council of gods and men. Hesiod sees Eros as one of the fundamental causes in the formation of the world, inasmuch as he was the uniting power of love, which brought order and harmony among the conflicting elements of which Chaos consisted.
THE TERM PSYCHE MEANS “breath” or “the soul.” In later times of antiquity, Psyche becomes a personification of the human soul, and Apuleius (Met. iv. 28 &c.) relates about her the following beautiful allegoric story. Psyche was the goddess of the soul, wife of Eros god of love. She was once a mortal princess whose astonishing beauty earned the indignation and rage of Aphrodite when men foolishly turned their worship from the goddess of love to Psyche. Aphrodite demanded that Eros force Psyche to fall in love with the most hideous of men, but the god himself fell in love with her and carried her away to his secret palace. Eros concealed his true identity, and instructed Psyche to avoid gazing upon his face. However, Psyche was eventually tricked by her jealous sisters into gazing upon the face of god, and he abandoned her. Desperately Psyche searched throughout the world for her lost love, and eventually came into the service of Aphrodite. The goddess commanded her perform a series of seemingly impossible tasks which culminated in a journey to the Underworld. In the end Psyche was reunited with Eros and the couple wed in a ceremony attended by the gods.

TASK ONE Aphrodite (Venus) she flew at Psyche, ripped her dress to shreds, tore her hair, made her brains rattle, and pummelled her severely. She then brought some wheat, barley, millet, poppy seed, chickpeas, lentils and beans. She mingled them together in an indiscriminate heap, and said to Psyche: ‘You are such an ugly maidservant that I think the only way you win your lovers is by devoted attendance, so I’ll see myself how good you are. Separate out this mixed heap of seeds, and arrange the different kinds in their proper piles. Finish the work before tonight, and show it to me to my satisfaction.’ Having set before her this enormous pile of seeds, Venus went off to a wedding-dinner.
Psyche did not lay a finger on this confused heap, which was impossible to separate. She was dismayed by this massive task imposed on her, and stood in stupefied silence. Then the little country-ant heard about Psyche’s great problem. It took pity on the great god’s consort, and cursed the vindictive behaviour of her mother-in-law. Then it scurried about, energetically summoning and assembling a whole army of resident ants. It told them: “Have pity, noble protégées of Terra (Earth), our universal mother; have pity, and with eager haste lend your aid to this refined girl, who is Amor’s [Eros’] wife.’ Wave after wave of the ant tribe swept in; with the utmost enthusiasm each and all divided out the heap grain by grain, and when they had sorted them into their different kinds, they swiftly vanished from sight.
It is Eros who calls an army of ants, symbolic of Psyche’s own mental faculty, to arrive and help her do this. They teach Psyche how, in the middle of confusion, to differentiate, evaluate, select and so, to bring order. The ants are representative of a primitive and a still, inner masculinity, a discriminating quality of sorting seeds, which she had to learn for accomplishing the first task.
TASK TWO : Psyche’s next task is to gather wool from a special herd of golden rams. When Aurora’s [Eos the Dawn’s] chariot appeared, Aphrodite (Venus) called Psyche, and shouted: ‘Do you see that grove next to the river. The river’s banks extend into the distance and its low-lying bushes are next to the stream? There are sheep wandering and grazing unguarded, and their fleece has the glory of pure gold! Go there ate once, and get a tuft of wool from the precious fleece for me!’
Psyche did not want to do this task. She preferred to throw herself off a cliff above the river. But one of the green reeds there which create sweet music was divinely inspired by the gentle sound of a caressing breeze, and uttered this prophecy: ‘Psyche, even though you are depressed by great trials, so do not contaminate my waters by your shameful death. You must not approach the fearsome sheep at this hour of the say, when they tend to be fired by the burning heat of the sun and charge about in ferocious rage; with their sharp horns, their rock-hard heads, and sometimes their poisonous bites. They could kill you. In the afternoon the sun’s heat is less, and the flocks have quieted down under the calming influence of the river-breeze, so you will be able to hide under that very tall plane-tree, which sucks in the river-water. Then, as soon as the sheep relax their fury and they become gentle, you must shake the foliage in the neighbouring grove, and you will find golden wool clinging here and there to the curved stems.” So the kind and open reed told Psyche in her great fear how to gain safety. So Psyche followed out every detail, and the theft was easily accomplished. She gathered the soft substance of yellow gold in her dress, and brought it back to Venus.
The symbolism here is that of the Logos, the power of the spiritual impulse, a characteristic of the masculine consciousness. With the wise counsel of the kind reed Psyche can avoiding direct confrontation with pure masculine aggressive, destructive form. Psyche can now embody masculine power without becoming aggressive (falling prey to fight or flight adrenal overload.) Psyche is gaining an understanding of Eros’ nature, even though he is not there, and to understand him from within, by contacting her inner animus. She is accepting the potential of her inner masculinity, without losing her femininity. This process is now giving her inner strengths, courage, integration and wholeness.
APRODITE’S THIRD TASK FOR PSYCHE: Venus cruelly hissed: ” I shall try you out in earnest, to see if you are indeed endowed with brave spirit and unique circumspection. Do you see that lofty mountain-peak, perched above a dizzily high cliff, from where the livid waters of a dark spring come tumbling down, and when enclosed in the basin of he neighbouring valley, water the marshes of the Styx and feed the hoarse streams of the Cocytus? I want you to hurry and bring me back in this small jug some icy water drawn from the stream’s highest point, where it gushes out from within.”
The river Styx is a symbolically powerful current of psychic energy (the unconscious), cascading down from an incredible height. The waters themselves formed an additional defence, for they had the power of speech, and they shouted and seethed: “Clear off!”, “‘What are you doing stupid! “, or ‘What the hell do you think you are doing ! You’ve failed, you fool!’, or “ Why don’t you give up!” “You’re good at procrastinating because you know you will fail.” “We hate you and so does Eros!” “Everyone hates you. We can hear your family laughing at you!” The hopelessness of the situation turned Psyche to stone. She was physically present, but her senses deserted her. She was weighed down by inescapable danger and she could not even cry. To help her Ganymede, an eagle sacred to Zeus flew in. Zeus’s eagle symbolises elevated spiritual intuition. The eagle a cup of the precious water. Emblematically, Psyche dips only a small amount, just a cup, from the river of libido, and therefore her fragile ego is not shattered. Contacting her unconscious depths through an intuitive vision gave her right of entry to her creativity and a solution. The archetypal raging waters of the river symbolize the unconscious, and Psyche needs to bring just a few drops of the sacred water. That one cup contains the whole and is sufficient. Psyche has now completed three tasks, and has assimilated the masculine traits of discernment, of ordering and sorting, of knowledge and power into her feminine nature.
PSYCHE’S FOURTH AND MOST DIFFICULT TASK: The fourth task is one that she needs to accomplish on her own. In this task she must go to the underworld and bring back a box of magic beauty ointment from Persephone ( the Queen of underworld) for Aphrodite. The beauty ointment represents Psyche’s own struggle with her own sexuality and femininity. An inner voice now guides her and gives precise instructions on how to go to Persephone in underworld and then bring back the box, with the specific caution that she is not to gaze into the box under any condition. Psyche follows the instructions to the letter and she is given the box by Persephone, the queen of underworld and the wife of Hades the god of underworld, but on her way back from underworld, she cannot resist the temptation, to use the ointment on her own face and become even more beautiful in the eyes of Eros. So, Psyche opens the magic box of beauty and falls immediately into an unconscious sleep. Howver, Eros has been watching her, aware of her movements. He leaves his mother to go immediately to Psyche’s side and awakens her. Opening the box with the ointment was a necessary part of her individuation. Returning from the unconsciousness and opening her eyes into love, would let Psyche to see that love has always been with her side and has never abandoned her. Psyche has now accomplished and individuated the four tasks into herself, and has surrendered back into her femininity and humanness.

In the final task we saw that Psyche had to have someone to teach and guide her. Examples of this quest toward becoming more aware or conscious may include yoga, mysticism, shamanic journeys, and therapies that lead to individuation. It is a process with ancient roots, going back to the shaman initiating a disciple into the unconscious or the underworld to open up potentialities and to lead to enlightenment. The process frees us from our illusions about our Self and the world though it is a task requiring colossal energy and all our resources and groundedness. It is a quest that once started, must be completed.
The tasks that Psyche endured and accomplished were done for love of Eros, and because of this act of love, Psyche was accepted. She was brought to the heavens by Hermes and where she was given an immortal place by the side of Eros and made divine. The myth of Psyche and Eros can be perceived as a quest for Soul awakening. On an archetypal level, we see that this awakening occurs as a result of our beloved calling us. The love of Eros for Psyche awakens her to the animus (the male within her soul) as a bridge to the divine. Psyche is transformed from her own mortal and human condition to a transcendental awareness of the immortality of her soul. Strangely, most of the ancient depictions of Psyche have butterfly wings, so the other meaning of Psyche is “butterfly” and butterflies are nothing like their original caterpillar form. They have transformed.
The story of Eros and Psyche illustrates the alchemical process of marrying soul and love so that life can be lived with more joy, meaning, and a tangible sense of divine wisdom. The tale has great psychological value since it reveals the development of the initiate’s relationship with his anima as a result of the initiatory process.
Elements of this tale have come down in fairy tales such as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. In The Uses of Enchantment (1975), Freudian analyst Bruno Bettelheim interprets the “Cupid and Psyche” myth as a story about a the development of mature consciousness, the difficulty of joining wisdom and sexuality. When Psyche breaks the taboo by using the lamp to see Eros in the darkness, Bettelheim understands this as an attempt to expand her consciousness before she is ready for it. The story warns that trying to reach for consciousness before one is mature enough for it or through short-cuts has far reaching consequences; consciousness cannot be gained in one fell swoop.
But myth, its archetypes and symbols can help us understand our developing consciousness. As Jean Shinola Bolen states: “Myths and symbols are in the language of the soul. A myth helps us to take a situation to heart and know what we must do: if it is to see the truth and act upon it, then the image of Psyche with her sword provides a magic perspective. A symbolic object can then be a talisman that helps us to do what we need to do. Like passing a literal torch, these are rituals that empower us by infusing an act with a deeper meaning. To think and act this way is magical, metaphoric thinking that can call forth the qualities we need from within ourselves and may also tap into sources of help that lie beyond us.” (pp.8-9.)
I hope you have enjoyed this and have thought about this myth in relation to your life. I’d love to hear from you after you read this and tell me how this tale effects you. Have a wonderful day ~ Starcounsell.
Ai Gvhai Waya (1992. ) Soul Recovery and Extraction. Cottonwod , Arizona.
Apuleius, (Metamorphoses ). The Golden Ass 4. 28 – 6. 24 (Roman novel C2nd A.D.)
Bolen, J. S. (1989.) Goddesses in Everywoman: Archetypes that shape women’s lives. NY: Quill.
Bruno Bettelheim (1975.) Uses of Enchantment.
Cotterell, A. & Storm, R. (2005.) The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology: An A-Z guide to the myths and legends of the ancient world. London: Heremes House.
Hesiod. The Theogeny of Hesiod. Translated by H. G. Evelyn-White. [1914]. (ll. 1-25)
Ingerman, S. ( 1991.) Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self. New York: Harper.
E.J. Kenney (1990.) , Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Martin Lowenthal (2004.) Alchemy of the Soul: The Eros and Psyche Myth As a Guide to Transformation. Ibis Press: Nicolas Hays.
Michael Newton (2008. ) Destiny of Souls: New Case Studies of Life Between Lives. Minesota: Llewellyn.
Roger Woolger ( 2010.) Healing Your Past Lives : Exploring the Many Lives of the Soul.

THE MINATAUR, ARIADNE, EUROPA AND THEIR MYTHOLOGY by Hilary Bond PhD © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

THE MINATAUR, ARIADNE, EUROPA AND THEIR MYTHOLOGY by Hilary Bond PhD © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

This article covers both a Greek myth, which involves three Greek Gods: Zeus and his son Dionysius and Poseidon and two family dynasties. The family dynasties start with Europa’s family in ancient Phoenicia or modern Lebanon. Theseus’s founded an Athenian dynasty. It is a myth of a family dynasty that made mistakes which soured and destroyed people and kingdoms in all directions, but a myth that can teach us lessons. Both Europa and Ariadne are two asteroids that can be used in a natal chart and psychological astrology.


Lovely Europa , a young woman as startling to look at as Astarte, the Moon goddess, climbed into bed and pulled the covers over her head enough for her nose to peek out. It was a habit that prevented the ever present mosquitoes from biting her beautiful face. A feeling of laziness, of a gentle slipping into sleep spread over the fields as the gentle spring sun slowly dipped below the horizon. Soon Europa was asleep.
A slither of moonlight, for it was the full moon, shone on her soft, roundish face and a God, who was not of this land of Lebanon, nor of the great city of Tyre, looked through her window, wishing that such a wonderful creature could be his. He had heard that the daughter of Agenor, the King of Phoenicia, could take even the God’s breath away and he was determined to see for himself. He tried to slip into her dreams, but Europa’s daemon would not allow it. He watched her for some time wondering why she cried out and tears ran down her wondrous face. She dreamed of a giant half-bull half-man; a monstrous, raging creature hidden in a labyrinth under a palace. The creature grasped young humans in his giant hands. They were Europa’s age; seven of them. The monster smashed one of their skulls and began to consume a body. Europa screamed and woke. Her sheets were wet with perspiration and the smell of terror. She threw her covers off wondering why she had this hideous nightmare. Her mother, Queen Telephassa came rushing in and stroked her forehead with soothing lavender water. “What did you eat before you went to sleep darling? What did you dream? “The teenage girl shook her head as tears ran down her face and related the dream. “Lie down darling and go back to sleep,” her mother said soothingly. She stroked Europa’s hair. The teenage girl was soon asleep again. Her mother sat watching her daughter til dawn broke, and then went to tell her husband.
The watching God smiling slyly as he watched the girl. He was used to getting what he wanted, taking what he wanted, being where he wanted to be. “No ridiculous earthly morals bind me, “ he thought.”
The next night, her mother slept in her bedroom to watch Europa carefully. This night Europa had another dream. In this dream two continents, which were in the forms of women were arguing over Europa. Asia maintained that since Europa had been born in Asia she belonged to it. The other continent, which was nameless, said that her birth was not important, that Zeus would give her to it.
It was early morning, and disturbed by the dream Europa did not go back to sleep. She summoned her companions, who were all daughters of nobility and of her age. It was a beautiful day and they went off gathering flowers by the sea. Zeus noticed this charming group, particularly Europa, who was the prettiest of the maidens. Later classical Greek poets say that Eros caused Zeus to fall in love with Europa.
Although her mother was very upset about Europa’s dream Europa soon forgot. She spent the day picking flowers in the meadow. As Europa gathered spring flowers with some friends to make garlands she became enthralled by a new and large, charismatic bull that meandered into the meadow with her father’s herd of cows. She was fascinated and possessed with desire to look at the bull and touch it, she moved closer. Zeus, the bull-god, knelt before her gently. Europa climbed onto his back. Completely transfixed she allowed him to take her slowly step-by-step across the meadow towards the sea. Her mother screamed to the servants to stop Europa, but Zeus’ power froze them in time.
When Zeus’s spell finally broke some time later Europa’s father summoned his sons and instructed them to search for their sister and not to return home until they had found their sister. Cadmus set out on the long quest, finally reaching Delphi to ask the oracle where he could find his sister. The oracle advised Cadmus to relinquish the quest for his sister, as his fate was to found the city of Thebes, not find his sister. In order to find the location of Thebes, he must follow a cow until it came to a place where it would lay down due to exhaustion. Cadmus found that Europa had been abducted by a god disguised as a bull. And echoing his sister Cadmus was also led by a cow to his destiny. Both siblings’ destiny is to found a great dynasty guided by the commanding and enterprising bovine instinct. Like the zodiacal sign of Taurus the bull symbolizes inherent resource and power and the ability to either cultivate land or build structures that create wealth.
Zeus, the bull-God strode towards the waves and across the sea to Crete. Europa clung tightly to the powerful bull, as she rode farther and farther away from her homeland. Zeus had made his conquest. When he had Europa safely back in Greece Zeus then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete. Zeus gave her a necklace made by Hephaestus and three additional gifts: Talos, a watchdog who never missed his mark; Laelaps a bronze giant who patrolled the shores of Crete and a javelin that never missed. Zeus later re-created the shape of the white bull in the stars, which is now known as the constellation Taurus. He took Europa as his lover, fathering three children by her; one was King Minos, the famed founder of the Cretan dynasty. After their deaths her three sons by Zeus: Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon, became the three judges of the Underworld. After all Hades was the brother of their father.
EUROPA’S SON MINOS. Europa’s son Minos claimed the throne of Crete with the blessing of the god Poseidon, his great grandfather who offered him a gift from the sea. Poseidon waved his arm and a sacred white bull majestically arose out of the ocean. I will return this wonderful bull to you in sacrifice, great Poseidon,” he vowed loudly. However, as the bull was so regal and so powerful, Minos’s need to own this beauteous creature. He decided not to sacrifice the majestic bull and he swapped a prized white bull from his own herd.
MINOS’S DECEPTION Incensed at Minos’s low dishonesty, the earth-shaker God Poseidon cursed the Minoan dynasty provoking Pasiphae, Minos’ wife, to be sexually obsessed with the beautiful god-like bull. Her sexual longing led to her becoming pregnant and she birthed a monstrous son, the Minotaur. Minos’ avarice and total lack of respect for the gods produced a monster that had to be hidden away beneath the surface of the labyrinthine underground vaults of the family palace. Buried shame and repression of their filthy secrets which lurked under the family palace surfaced through the next generations. This greed became sexual obsession and it surfaced through the destiny of Europa’s granddaughters daughters Ariadne and Phaedra.
Although Homer tells us that Ariadne is killed, Hesiod in his Theogony [947 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.)] tells us that “The golden-haired (khrysokomes) Dionysus made blonde-haired Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, his buxom wife: and [Zeus] the son of Kronos made her deathless and unageing for him.” Pseudo-Apollodorus in his Bibliotheca [E1. 9 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.)] tells us 600 years later that “Dionysus fell in love with Ariadne, and kidnapped her [from Naxos], taking her off to Lemnos where he had sex with her, and begat Thoas, Staphylos, Oinopion, and Peparethos.” Apollonius Rhodius in his Argonautica [3. 997 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.)] also tells us 100 years before, “Remember Ariadne, young Ariadne, daughter of Minos and Pasiphae, who was a daughter of Helios (the Sun). She did not scruple to befriend Theseus and save him in his hour of trial; and then, when Minos had relented, she left her home and sailed away with him. She was the darling of the gods and she has her emblem in the sky: all night a ring of stars called Ariadne’s Crown [constellation Corona] rolls on its way among the heavenly constellations.” Apollonius Rhodiusin his Argonautica[ 3. 1074 ff ] one hundred pages later, “[Medea asks Jason about her cousin Ariadne:] ‘Tell me too about that girl you mentioned [Ariadne], who won such fame for herself, the daughter of Pasiphae my father’s [Aeetes’] sister.’” Such a busy family.

The myth the Classical Greeks retold was a variant of a much earlier motif when the bull was consort of the earth goddess. Europa is the ancient goddess whose earthy instinct is powerful and resourceful. Europa is an icon of ancient feminine instincts that generate the power to create abundance. Throughout the myth of Europa the bull image reoccurs. It is a multi-dimensional symbol of earthy passions, desires, magnetism, wealth and potency whose shadow is greed and lust. The Great Bull of Heaven was an image of archaic power, fertility and enterprise. The appearance of the heavenly bull of Taurus heralded spring when the bountiful Earth became carpeted with wildflowers and the cycle of courtship began. The great bull is so very attractive and it reveals the generative power of the feminine. Many archaeologists, classicists and ancient historians have noted that the sacred bull (both Poseidon’s; Zeus’s Taurean form and the Minotaur) are symbols of the sacredness and ever generative strength or fertility of Mother Nature. This endless fertility and sustainability. The bull in mythology is a companion of the Goddess in matriarchal societies. In Ariadne’s myth the Minotaur was conceived by her mother’s mating with Poseidon’s sacred white bull. Historically the myth depicts a time when the power of the Goddess was waning as patriarchal forces began to dominate and shape culture and beliefs. Mythological creatures like the Minotaur were outside the conventional bounds of norm and reason, so highly valued by the newly emerging masculine paradigm.
Aphrodite symbolizes the beauty, sensuality and attractiveness of this archetype and is the persuasive erotic power that draws Europa, Pasiphae, Ariadne and Phaedra into her domain. Europa embodies the wealth and majesty of the bull, its earthy passions and its worldly triumphs. Europa, as the bull-goddess, reclaims the power to construct and direct the course of her own life. When she is dominant in a birth chart, conjuncting a Sun, Moon, Ascendant or angle it suggests the individual’s present course is to construct a solid foundation that will secure the growth of resources in their life, just as the Bull symbolises as fertile second house. In astrology Europa embodies the ability to ride the bull, harness its power and give birth to its resourceful creativity. Characteristically, she is the image of feminine power, leadership and soul path. Personifying earthy instincts Europa in your chart knows how to cultivate the earth and create abundance through her passionate, attractive and commanding nature.
Conventional Freudian psychology suggests that on our hero’s or heroine’s journey we must all meet the Minotaur lurking in the shadowy labyrinth someday. What is the Minotaur? First, the Minotaur represents our primal fear of the unconscious. The “un-conscious,” refers to that portion of subjective experience of which we are unaware or not conscious; it is that which is obscured, invisible to consciousness, at least, for the moment. In some ways, the Minotaur, as with all mythical monsters, as one image arising from the nothingness of not knowing. As the proverbial wisdom suggests, it is always preferable to deal with the devil one knows than one which is unknown. Freud held that death anxiety can be seen as the self’s will to continue, to survive, to persevere, to prosper and multiply in a world which makes this difficult. The classic images of death; the corpse, crucifix, sarcophagus, coffin, grave, ghost, tombstone, skull, skeleton, demon, dragon, the Devil, Grim Reaper, Kali, Medusa, and the Minotaur hold symbolic, spiritual, and psychological significance in addition to the obvious physical implications. The Minotaur also represents our basic nature: a complex mixture of animal, god, and human. Indeed, the Minotaur was spawned from the liaison of a woman and a bull, and symbolizes this coincidentia oppositorum (meeting of opposites) of feminine and masculine, creature and human, rational and irrational, spiritual and instinctual, deity and demon, good and evil. The Minotaur also embodies both fate (our biological nature) and destiny (our freedom) and the integral interrelationship between the two. To confront the Minotaur in the dark labyrinth is to confront ourselves: our fears of the unknown, our ferocious, beastly nature, our rage, aggression, sexuality, mortality, and the daimonic. This self-confrontation is successfully accomplished by proceeding carefully yet courageously along one’s own Ariadnean thread. The secret is that, metaphorically, we each have been given this thread to follow and lead us to our destiny, but only if we are brave enough to do so.
A more Jungian approach would say that psychologically, the historical and westernised devaluation of the feminine equals the denigration of the irrational and the imaginal, which are forces that belong, in modern language, to the unconscious. Like the Minotaur, neither human, nor animal nor god, the imaginal is locked away, waiting to be killed off by a heroic rational stance, personified in the myth by Theseus. In the tribal Indigenous world and Pagan world this would be entirely different. The imaginal and so called “irrational” are held high and valued.
Ariadne fell passionately in love with Theseus, just as her grandmother Europa passionately loved Zeus and her mother Pasiphae obsessively lusted after Poseidon’ white bull. There is a maternal family heritage of bull worship and lust. was lucky: without Ariadne’s help Theseus could not have slain the Minotaur. She who provided Theseus with a sword to kill and the thread to find his way back out of the labyrinth. Thus this (humanized) goddess willingly assists and abets the killing of her half-brother, an anima image of an instinctual aspect of herself.
Jung teaches us that every man has an Anima in his unconscious that carries the feminine characteristics. The woman, as well, has another archetype, the Animus, that caries her masculine traits. The Anima is an important archetype, because she is the guide to the unconscious. She is the guide that leads us through the labyrinth of the unconscious. The anima can be a precious ally or an enemy. As every archetype, it has a light and a dark side. A feared and loathed Anima can be a formidable enemy and for this mistake Theseus would pay a high price. Thus Ariadne symbolizes Theseus´ anima, and he hurts his Anima. So for Ariadne rather than Theseus it is a story of wholeness and eventual balance. For Theseus, after returning to Athens, he was made king and performed very well, being considered the father of Athens democracy, but his thinking capabilities aided him in his king´s functions, the lack of support from his anima caused him many wrong turns in life.
Daughter of the great dynasty of Knossos, in Crete, Ariadne’s destiny was overshadowed by the curse that dogged her family; a curse of hubris by her father Minos. In the guise of a great white bull, Zeus had kidnapped her grandmother Europa from Phoenicia and brought her to Crete. Her mother Pasiphae had also become enamoured by a great bull as a result of Poseidon’s curse on her father. Ariadne participated in the family fate: as Pasiphae’s daughter her lifeblood was ardent and as Europa’s granddaughter her destiny was to abandon her ancestral home.
Ariadne’s myth portrays the heart’s excruciating journey when association to the inner self is disconnected and sacrificed to the lover. Ariadne followed her lover’s path rather than her own internal labyrinthine journey, losing her genuine direction. Using the thread, the symbolic connection to her inner core, to serve the hero Ariadne lost the link with her own inner wisdom. Abandoned she was no longer able to express herself completely through a partner; therefore a more authentic sense of self could emerge. The painful process of meeting her naïve trust and blind faith in Theseus enabled her regeneration and redemption. In psychological terms a more divine sense of union is possible when projections onto the partner are consciously renounced. Dionysus embodies a woman’s masculine spirit enabling her to define herself in terms of her own needs and not through someone else. When Ariadne is prominent in the birth chart she reveals the course of the heart encouraging the individual to admit that the threads to their inner self are half-hearted and must be honoured in relationship. Ariadne celebrates a more intimate connection with the heart, whether that is through a personal relationship, a new creative enterprise or a new course of life.
Theseus and Ariadne elope after the murder of the Minotaur. But Theseus abandons Ariadne on the island of Naxos to meet his own fate. Homer tells us that Theseus “had no joy of her.” Ariadne was left behind, betrayed, abandoned, devastated and no doubt suffering adrenal stress. She had betrayed herself, her family and then was betrayed by the one she loved. Yet, the god Dionysus came to the rescue. Why? Dionysus honours love and passion. Dionysius is a fully fledged God, not just a hero. Dionysus, the god of madness and ecstasy, ruler of the irrational, always close to the feminine came takes Ariadne as a bride and they joined Zeus (the God who begins the cycle with Europa) and his family of gods on Mount Olympus. The story comes full circle.
In a story where two Asteroid Goddesses predominate as heroines we see the Goddess, rather than the patriarchal God predominate. The Moon and Venus come alive and in a way Neptune, because he is a feminine planet. The Goddess as an archetype is the guardian and protector of life’s mysteries and the ancient world of archetypal forces. As the symbol of the world soul she absorbs and directs us in the sacred rites of nature and awakens life though the phases of birth and death. Goddess culture prospered in the prehistoric period when mystic consciousness prevailed, supernatural forces were sanctified and the world of Nature was sacrosanct. As consciousness evolved through its phases the wise perception of the goddess was buried beneath the so called logical, left brained, judicious ideas of a new scientific knowledge that erased the mysteries from life and excluded the magical processes.
Europa, the Phoenician princess, sister to Cadmus and matriarch of the Minoan dynasty, mother to King Minos and grandmother of Ariadne represents the creative and earthy process that supports and guides worldly success. Europa is an earthy Goddess who is an archetype of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn and their rulers Venus, Mercury and Saturn. They all represent groundedness. Of all three signs Taurus is the sign most closely aligned with Europa’s passions and power. Planets in Taurus or the second house represent this mythic pattern, but Capricornian and 10th house planets may too because of the social standing that Zeus gave Europa. Europa conjunct South Node may indicate past lives or an early move in childhood to a new land. Sun conjunct Europa may indicate the founding of a new dynasty quite different to the person’s family background. Europa trine North Node indicates the founding of a family dynasty quite different than the original background family.
The Cretan goddess Ariadne was from the Minoan dynasty. She is the daughter of King Minos granddaughter of Helios and Zeus and half-sister to the Minotaur. As the wife of Dionysus, Ariadne embodies the sacred marriage having endured the trials of betrayal and abandonment. Ariadne’s story is an experience of the passions, the feelings, emotions and the depths of the water houses. She leaves the familial terrain of the 4th house to be abandoned by her lover in the labyrinth of the 8th house, but awakens to her divine connection in the 12th. Neptune aspects to Venus or Mars may highlight these themes. Ariadne’s process is revealed with transits to planets in the 8th house or Pluto transiting Venus or Mars. Interestingly Medea, Ariadne’s cousin is also a watery archetype. She is similar to the archetypes of Pluto and Scorpio, as she understands the process of metamorphosis. Ariadne conjunct South Node may indicate past habits or past lives of abandonment. Venus conjunct Neptune conjunct Ariadne in the life of Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria indicated abandonment and emotional cruelty by her husband. Ariadne square Ascendant in a woman may indicate being abandoned a number of times until reality rather than an expectation of passion is experienced. Ariadne conjunct Moon, especially a Moon in Libra may indicate that the person live life for themselves rather than a partner. Until this happens the person may be abandoned continually or abandon their family.
In astrology Ariadne represents abandonment as an archetypal process that strips away the mind’s illusions in order to hear the calling of the true self. Confronted by the painful reality of being left the individual is forced to relinquish their hopes and fantasies in order to awaken to the authentic path of the heart. Ariadne embodies the soul in relationship that must first experience the painful course of the labyrinth before a divine connection can be realized.
In astrology Europa embodies the ability to ride the bull, harness its power and give birth to its resourceful creativity. Innately she is the image of feminine power, guidance and direction. Embodying earthy instincts she knows how to cultivate the earth and create abundance through her passionate, attractive and commanding nature.

Apollonius Rhodius in his Argonautica [3. 997 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.)]
Griffo, Maria Grazia (2009.) The myth of the Minotaur. PowerPoint Presentation. http://www.dynamic
Hesiod, Theogony 947 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.):
Homer, Odyssey 11. 320 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.)
Netto, Roberto, L, (2013.)