Ancient mythology no longer serves the needs of our post-modern and scientific society. In fact, the modern human psyche and intellect can no longer recognize any relevant lessons from such fantastic stories. However, these seemingly nonsensical tales from the past were written by people who had a special understanding of humankind’s innermost (spiritual) realities and could create potent symbols to represent the various interior qualities of human behavior.
Take the Greek mythological tale of the Cyclops. The Cyclops was the offspring of Poseidon, a “god who ruled the seas” and a human female. The Cyclops was a giant creature with just one eye that would devour humans. Why would intercourse between a powerful Greek god of the watery world and a human female give birth to such a hideous monster?
The answer involves knowing how to interpret the special symbolic meanings incorporated in this famous story. Allow me to give you a simple explanation of how such a “silly” story offers profound lessons even for our contemporary world.
The main key to unlocking the message behind these ancient stories is that they take place not in the physical realm but in the inner arena of the human heart and mind. So, every object or event represents something deeper—some mental quality. Oceans, which are large bodies of water, symbolize knowledge contained (pooled together) in the human memory. Therefore, a god of such a world would represent the human inclination to give the human memory special importance. The unique supra-natural liaison of such a “god” with a mortal human female symbolizes an intimate relationship or partnership between the human memory and ephemeral earthly values (loves).
The reason why a one-eyed monster would be born out of such a relationship (neural nuptial) is that the human memory and worldly values, separated from higher reasoning and spiritual concerns allow the ego to grow to an immense size. The human ego, when oversized, has a false and incorrect view of its self-importance, and is therefore cleverly depicted by a one-eyed giant with a limited vision of reality.
The timeless relevancy of being devoured by such a gigantic ego means to be totally consumed by this limited vision of one’s spiritual possibilities. In other words, a gigantic ego will eat up the human soul and put an end to all spiritual growth.
Again, these highly imaginative stories were created to give readers unique insights into the various inner realities (good and bad) that people cultivate in life.
Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg reintroduced this symbolic and spiritual language (called correspondences) to the modern world. But this rarefied language will be slowly and painfully embraced by today’s society and academic institutions, because it will require an acknowledgement that humans of former times were much wiser than the those of us today, who have mistaken technology for human advancement. Human self-pride and self-centeredness has indeed reached gigantic proportions and its limited, self-flattering (one-eyed) vision is endangering the world.
Don’t be eaten by the Cyclops lurking within you!