Before Hercules captured the Erymanthian boar, he sat at the table of Pholos and drank heady wine. At this time he was the soul of conviviality, seeking and finding pleasure. For Hercules, as for all who assume the labor that must be performed in Libra, the fumes of pleasure must be dissipated before the greater task of self-mastery, i.e., the capturing of the boar, can be undertaken.
It is to be noted that the quaffing of the wine by Hercules leads to a tragedy, the death of Pholos. This sudden interjection of catastrophe into the pleasure-seeking existence of the Libran, harsh though the experience may be, is a necessity for the growth of the soul. Without such tragedies, the potentialities of Libra remain dormant. The Libran sets out upon his journey in winter, a time of bleakness when the personality life has lost its allure.
Hercules does not use brute force in taking the boar captive. He sets a trap, waits and allows the beast to trap itself. When the boar flounders in the snowdrifts, Hercules seizes his opportunity. It is curiously Libran to avoid a direct encounter, and not to expend more force than is necessary. He seeks to achieve his ends gently, not coercively.
We are told that Hercules seizes the hind legs of the boar, and compels the beast to walk down the mountainside on its front legs, and that this spectacle excites the laughter of all who witness it. In this incident we observe the Libran's ability to find unusual solutions, and to perceive the value of the incongruous.
Matters of great consequence in the history of mankind are determined by unusual approaches to common problems. For example, a Tartar chieftain started a great fire behind his own troops, thus forcing them to press forward with such desperate vigor that no enemy could withstand them. Again, when Hannibal sent his elephants against Scipio, the latter ordered soldiers to blow trumpets into the cars of the animals; confused and frightened by the noise, the elephants stampeded, and killed many of Hannibal's men.
The perception of incongruities is one of the greatest weapons given to mankind in its perpetual fight against glamor. It is the source of the laughter that explodes pretence and destroys outmoded institutions.
This is the only labor that ends in a burst of laughter. Not only does Hercules perform the task assigned; he makes the ferocious boar an object of ridicule. By a slightly altered perspective, many of the terrifying experiences of life may be transformed by a beneficent sense of humor. Much of what people regard with grave and serious earnestness has decidedly ridiculous overtones.
The graphic description of Hercules driving the boar by its hind legs is a symbolic representation of the soul directing the ungainly body. This relationship in which each aspect achieves due importance is characteristic of the more highly organized Libran. Thus is the principle of balance observed.
The Libran goes about weighing and balancing all things. This attitude frequently makes him appear hesitant and indecisive. Knowing that there are innumerable gradations between black and white, he is seldom inclined to be an extremist. He knows that those who are regarded as pillars of society may be Pharisees, and the unostentatious and humble, the salt of the earth; that those who protest their excellence most vehemently may be the least meritorious; that the worldly wise may act like fools, and fools may stumble upon treasures; that the judgments of the world may be reversed by a higher court; that truth may walk the earth in many an unlikely guise.
The quest for truth, then, becomes changed into the development of discrimination. In a sense, truth does not exist for human beings, for all truths are but fractional parts of greater wholes. The search for these more inclusive concepts is of more importance than the insistence upon an isolated fragment of a narrow, separative segment.
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