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Heracles' labors and Beth-Luis-Nion

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Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 2
Location: Coosaw Island SC USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 8:36 pm    Post subject: Heracles' labors and Beth-Luis-Nion Reply with quote

While researching Heracles' labors, I turned back to The White Goddess, a book I was familiar with. There is no set-in-stone order for the labors. I turned to B-L-N for clues to the labors' order. Has anyone else done this? I would like to check my work. I matched the letters of B-L-N to the labors using the clues from the alphabet songs: Song of Amergin (I Am p.205), Romance of Taliesin (I Have Been p.211), and Song of Amergin (Leacon p.215); and by symbol reference. Any ideas as to the alignment?
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Joined: 04 Oct 2004
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Location: Coosaw Island SC USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 4:00 pm    Post subject: In response to no response Reply with quote

I noted the gaps of time between posts in other threads, so the lack of response to my previous inquiry is understandable. But in reading through other threads, and examining the website, I realized that most here are serious scholars and poets, and that my previous post might be ignored since I did not qualify myself. I belong to two other discussion lists, the Joseph Campbell list, and one at Zoetrope that includes students and alumni from my graduate school. I seldom post on the other two, I have been to busy researching and writing my graduate thesis. I studied mythology, english, and philosophy during undergraduate years. I am an older student, having completed twenty years service in the Marine Corps prior to beginning undergrad work. I finished undergrad work in two years, and began graduate studies the same month I graduated. I am an MFA candidate at Queens U. in Charlotte, NC. My genre is creative nonfiction. I have just had an essay published in Gargoyle #48 "Alphabet Story," and I've had another picked up by Gettysburg Review.

My question concerning Hercules' labors evolved from research I've done to complete my thesis. I've been comparing his outline of the labors in the two volume Greek Myths, with that in White Goddess. I've also refered to Edith Hamilton's work, to Weston's Ritual and Romance, and to online sources at Perseus. Hamilton suggests some sources consider Cerberus's return to Tartarus as Hercules' 13th labor. As for alignment of the labors with the Beth-Luis-Nion, here is what I've come up with:

From Graves' Greek Myths:
Liion, Hydra, Stag, Boar, Stables, Stympian Birds, Cretan Bull, Mares, Girdle, Cattle, Apples, Cerberus (add returning Cerberus to Tartarus to make 13 labors/months).

From Beth-Luis-Nion
B: Bull Strength Birch
Bull-calf or roe-fawn.
I am 7 battalions or an ox in strength.
I have been a fierce bull and a yellow buck.

L: Stables Extent Rowan
on the lotus cup.
I am a flood on a plain.
I have been a boat on the sea.

N: Lion Depth Ash
Newborn or New-dressed.
I am a wind the sea/deep waters.
I have fled vehemently on the foam of water.

F: Stag Purity Alder
I am a ray of the sun (I am a shining tear of the sun).
I have been a drop in the air.

S: Birds Cunning Willow
Lurch to & fro (Swaying).
I am a bird of prey on a cliff (I am a hawk on a cliff).
I have journeyed as an eagle.
(SS/Z: Buckthorn White Goddess as Spring Maid)

H: Cattle Navigation Hawthorn
I, the Guardian of Boundaries (Helpful).
I am a shrew navigator (I am fair among flowers).
God made me of blossom.

D: Hydra Division/Magic Oak
Cleave wood.
I am gods in the power of transformation (I am a god who sets the head afire with smoke)
I have been a stump in a shovel.

T: Girdle Vengence Holly
I, the Suffering One.
I am a giant with a sharp sword hewing down an army (I am a battle-waging spear).
I fled as a spear-head of woe to such as wish for woe.

C: Mares Swiftness Hazel
Am consumed by fire.
(CC/Q: apple, Vanish, White Goddes in as Summer Nymph)
I am a salmon in a river or pool (I am a salmon in a pool).
I have been a blue salmon.

M: Apples Artistry Vine
I distribute.
I am a skilled artist (I am a hill of poetry).
I have been a spotted snake on a hill.

G: Boar Valor Ivy
I rejoice.
I am a fierce boar (I am a ruthless boar).
I fled as a bristly boar seen in a ravine.

NG (P): Cerberus-taken Terror Reed
I, The Famous One
(II/Y: Establish, mistletoe, White Goddess in Winter Crone aspect, Dec 23 first/last day of year)
I am the roaring of the sea (I am a threatening noise of the sea).
I have been a wave breaking on the beach.

R: Cerberus-returned Might Elder
I flow away (I swing about again).
I am a wave of the sea-who but I knows the secrets of the unhewn dolmen?
On the boundless sea I was set adrift.

Realizing this post is getting very long, I hope anyone who reads it will add their thoughts on the above. It is quite interesting to take the lines of the poems and put them in the order Graves places Hercules' labors in Greek Myths. Then you get this:

Newborn, New-dressed,
Cleave wood,
I rejoice
on the lotus-cup,
lurch to and fro, swaying,
Bull-calf or Roe-fawn,
Consumed by fire, Vanish.
I, The Suffering One,
I, The Guardian of Boundaries,
I distribute.
I, The Famous One establish,
I flow away, I swing about again.

Why have I done this? I believe the labors, like the BLN alphabet, are symbolic of the journey each individual takes to break the wheel as Graves said in White Goddess. And, I think these labors and lines are clues to the vices that must be overcome/replaced by virtues. The WG and her consort are twins in a sense, but opposites, like Heracles and Iphicles. The labors represent the overcoming of instinct/desire to acheive balance. Oh well, enough. I hope this is enough to bear some fruit. I have specific questions concerning the order I've chosen, and I'm hoping you will share your thoughts.
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