“So these two left their plotting and went their separate ways;
Thetis leapt from shining Olympus into the deep sea,
And Zeus went to his house. All the gods stood up together-
From their seats in the presence of their father, and no one dar’d-
To stay seated as he approach’d, but they all stood facing him.”
This is perhaps the archetypal work of the Aryan Spirit’s golden youth. Through the lens of heroism in strife, our early understandings of the workings of Fate and the methods of Victory are passed down to those who would carry that Olympian torch forward even today – into tomorrow! As befits a cultural treasure whose transmission we could very well call divine, the Iliad is a work that speaks truly on several different levels. There are the gods, symbols of those immortal realities which affect all under Necessity’s crystal vault. There are the mortal characters as beyond-themselves, as symbols of their own connexion to the gods and their archetypal principles. And there are the mortal characters as themselves, as the burgeoning, sometimes-awakening personalities making their way through Struggle to a better understanding or at least a better living-upwards as growing, evolving connexions to and at times even new-made fellows of the Aryan Gods.
The Iliad can be read as a straightforward war story, inspiring with the heroism of a far nobler age. It can be read as an historical document, an invaluable look at the ancient days when Mycenæans devastated Wilusa. It can be read for increasing one’s familiarity with one of the ancient Aryan Tribes, knowing our potential in order to first win back that standard and then to expand that potential. Finally, the Iliad can be read as a spiritual transmission rich in symbolism and subtle wisdom, teaching the Aryan doctrine of Transcendence Through Strife in a manner (rather than, say, the Bhagavad-gita’s direct discourse) of the vast puzzle of often confused, often mistaken mortal actors who try, fail, and occasionally succeed through many stratagems. It is our hope at RWP, determined as we are to inspire the Leaders of a future Aryan Renaissance, that no few of our readers will examine the Iliad with all of these goals and understandings – and perhaps even expand this γνῶσις beyond our own.
“Sing, goddess, the anger of Achilles, Peleus’ son,
The accursèd anger which brought the Achæans countless-
Agonies and hurl’d many mighty shades of heroes into Hades,
Causing them to become the prey of dogs and-
All kinds of birds; and the plan of Zeus was fulfill’d.”
From the very beginning of this account, the poët invokes the Divine Inspiration: so great are the affairs of Cosmic Destiny on the one hand and Superhuman Effort on the other, that the very recording – the very re-living – of this Folk-myth is considered important to the point of sacredness, and it is under the ægis of the Sacred that the mythic conflict is symbolically re-presented in the central conflict; not even between Achæa and Ilium but internally between the blazing but baleful brilliance of “glorious Achilles” and the regimented, fixated and tyrannical, but dedicated order of “Atreus’ son, lord of men”.
Indeed, each heroic representative of an imbalanced leadership only throws the other into sharper contrast, and this is almost immediately shown in the solar clarity of Phœbus Apollo’s devotee Chryses. Just as Achilles and Agamemnon each embody mortal excess in exaltation of the individual over the Folk, so Chryses re-presents the ideal order symbolized by the forms of Olympus. When Agamemnon provokes the god’s wrath by disrespecting his representative, the smaller incident serves in the tale’s bigger picture to illustrate his much more wide-reaching inability to see things properly from the divine perspective beyond his own ego – it is a failure to rightly apportion things, one of the ideal leader’s most essential duties! When Apollo is depicted as raining arrows of plague upon the Argive camp, this is only an explicit manifestation of the implicit illness afflicting the host with a near-sighted leader.
However, the Aryan solar instinct for Truth remains within, just as from within the Argive host the seer of Apollo, Calchas, steps forward – already requesting protection as the violent ego will surely rage against the wisdom higher than itself. This wisdom needs the assurance, the carte blanche of conscientious fidelity that the warrior spirit will stand by it no matter the resistance – even from the enthroned ego itself. All through this point, Achilles yet remains his conscientious and noble self – for his part, Agamemnon concedes with some distaste to the relinquishing of his prize for the good of the Folk, with the assurance that he will seek a recompense. The attitude here is one of entitlement, of being owed a prize by the Folk here instead of the traditional leader’s rôle of generously bestowing in conquest’s wake.
When Achilles answers from the perspective of right and nobility Agamemnon only responds with posturing for presentation of power, ready and willing to improperly dishonour Achilles – or any other Achæan – to the point where Achilles chooses to withdraw from the fighting rather than support such a ruler with his blood and (prophecy assures him) his death. Notably, out of the entire vast array of Danaän warriors of whom some must have felt the same – only divinely-descended Achilles actually speaks out against Agamemnon’s excesses. If Agamemnon re-presents the ruling conscious ego, Achilles re-presents the Warrior Spirit which in our highest ideal should be one and the same as the thusly-ennobled ego. Here? In harmful divide, estranged and both drifting into further excess harmful to the body, the Folk. Hungry for the Warrior Spirit’s prize without earning it, the ego only drives the situation into direr straits for the war effort as a whole.
The danger of such a conflict between forces that should work in harmony can only remind of the mythic encounter leading up to the entire long war. When Paris – of Troy – makes his judgment in the contest of beauty between the three goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodité, he is really affirming the predominance of either the Regal, Martial, or Generative civilizational function. When Paris in his potential as value-creating man makes his choice and is not, as VALUE-AFFIRMING MAN, warrior enough to win a way for it, he sets in rivalry and opposition what should be in harmony, from the ideal plane of Olympus down to the fortunes and affairs of mortal men. The destruction of Troy, the city harbouring the half-hearted offender, is what is required in order to set the functions to rights and restore the proper hierarchy that is Creativity under Leadership, under Sovereignty. Already in the Achæan camp the Regal and Martial principles strive through the still-imperfect conduits of Agamemnon and Achilles to present once again a united front, in the effort to defeat Troy and free the misplaced Generative principle, and it is fitting that the disciplined warrior goddess Athena is chosen to bear Hera’s admonition to Achilles. But even though only Achilles, of very recent divine blood himself, could see and hear the subtle goddess, wisdom was never unknown and unavailable to the others gathered. Just as the Iliad does to us, the wisdom of aged Nestor stood out amongst Homer’s heroes as the voice of a more heroic age, and this personification of venerable virtue likewise seeks to restore the balance, here between Agamemnon and Achilles acting out on the literal level what was symbolic of the Necessity from the divine level. While it is tempting to relegate the continued hostility within the camp to the literal egos of the two literal individuals, a wise reader will also recall those mystery-heavy words of the poët immediately after invoking the Divine Inspiration:
“Which of the gods was it who set them to quarrel and fight?
The son of Zeus and Leto, for he was bitter against the king, and-
Rous’d an evil plague through the camp, and the people went on dying,
Because the son of Atreus had dishonour’d his priest Chryses.”
Apollo, the Delphic seer-god of solar clarity and piercing insight, who like Aphrodité took the side of Ilium in the contest – in order to bring the tuning of the resolution? This god’s rôle in seeking balance and checking the unrestrained ego will be revisited further as we explore more deeply into the poëm.
Still a greater power of Lordship prevails over the events of the Iliad, and this is shown in the hand of Zeus. It is to Zeus, as binding power over the world-order, that the wronged Achilles conveys his protest of Agamemnon’s injustice. Through his mother Thetis, the living truth of Achilles’ divine ancestry, Zeus is besought in redress to the imbalance of his mortal representative Agamemnon, and the harsh ordeal is set in motion which alone could lead to the chance of Wisdom and reintegration for both parties.
As the goddess Athena re-presents the Pure Intellect as mediatrix between Spirit and Matter, so her favoured Odysseus, ever shrewd and cunning, aided the Argives’ course whilst working his wiles. With injustice done, only Justice might properly redress – and it was the offended party who, satisfied in honour, presided over the new wholeness to be extended over that particular error. So much for the overweening ego’s attempt at offending the lucid Delphic principle: but what of the remaining enmity between still-awakening self-identity and divinely-sprung soul-heritage; between Agamemnon and Achilles?
Re-presented on high by Zeus-Pater and Thetis, which deities’ essences illustrate the mortals’ origins they may through Struggle refine, the real forces at work behind Agamemnon and Achilles are brought further into the light. We see in Zeus the real divine authority that it us Agamemnon’s rôle to emulate if he can. It is a grievous duty, as Iphigeneia might attest well, and Agamemnon’s throne of command may remind us all of the position held by our own (ideally-)awakening sense of Self – as well may his hindering pride and egoic blindness! Yet Achilles, for all his divine blood and thus Truthful Instinct, cannot or will not any surer bridge the gap. The Instinct of his blood’s nobility, invaluable as it is, remains elusive Instinct only – and is not made conscious. Not without a fight, at any rate. And so the greatest Struggle is prepared. For his part, Zeus the Power-Reigning and not Agamemnon the Zeus-in-training knows all too well what is required of working his will rightly. It is not words, sureties, perceptions, that he gives as anything other than instruments of rule: the real sign of a will that WILL triumph – is the silent but profound nodding of his head with words thenceforth withheld save for those under their power.
On immortal Olympus, Sovereignty in the goddess Hera’s feminine form tests and questions Zeus who upholds his own Mastery over Sovereignty herself, and with workmanlike Hephæstus as Practicality’s mouthpiece the gods maintain their fellowship at feast, whilst mortals below make earthly trial of higher movements.