The Capture of the Erymanthian Boar
(Libra, September 22nd - October 21st)
The great Presiding One, within the Council Chamber of the Lord, pondered the nature of the son of man who is likewise a son of God. He thought on what was needed to make him still more like unto his Father. "Another labor must be carried out. Balance he needs, and judgment sound, and preparation for a major test and future service to the race of men. For... see more this, let him prepare with care." And the Teacher, noting on his tablets the purpose of the coming test, went forth and spoke to Hercules. "Go forth, my son, and capture the wild boar; salvage a ravaged country, yet take the time to eat." And Hercules went forth.
And Hercules, who is a son of man and yet a son of God, passed through the seventh Gate. The power of the seventh sign passed through him. He knew not that he faced a dual test, the test of friendship rare and the test of courage unafraid. The Teacher had instructed him to seek a boar, and Apollo gave him a brand-new bow to use. Quoth Hercules: "I will not take it with me on the way, for fear I kill. At my last labor, upon the shores of the great sea, I slew and killed. This time I slaughter not. I leave the bow."
And so unarmed, save with his trusty club, he climbed the mountain steep, seeking the boar, and seeing sights, on every hand, of fear and terror. Higher and higher still he climbed. And then he met a friend. Upon the way, he met with Pholos, one of a group of centaurs, known unto the gods. They stopped and talked and for a time Hercules forgot the object of his search. And Pholos called to Hercules, inviting him to broach a cask of wine, which was not his, nor yet belonged to Pholos. Unto the group of centaurs, this great cask belonged, and from the gods, who dowered them with the cask, had come the word that never must the cask be broached, save when the centaurs met and all were present. It belonged unto the group.
But Hercules and Pholos opened it in the absence of their brothers, calling to Cherion, another centaur wise, to come and share their revels. This he did, and all the three together drank, and feasted and caroused and made much noise. This noise the other centaurs heard from distant points.
In wrath they came, and a fierce battle then took place and in spite of resolutions wise, again the son of man, who was a son of God, became the messenger of death and slew his friends, the centaurs twain with whom he earlier had drunk. And, whilst the other centaurs sorrowed with lamentations loud, Hercules escaped again into the mountains high, and again renewed his search.
Up to the limits of the snow he went, following the tracks of the fierce boar; up to the heights and bitter cold he followed it, and yet he saw it not. And night was drawing on, and one by one the stars came out, and still the boar outdistanced him. Hercules pondered on his task and sought within himself for subtle skill. He set a snare with skill, and wisely hid, and then he waited in a shadow dark for the coming of the boar. And hour by hour went by, and still he waited till the dawn drew near. Out from its lair the boar emerged, seeking for food, driven by ancient hunger. And in the shadows near the snare waited the son of man. Into the snare the boar fell and in due time Hercules released the savage beast, making it the prisoner of his skill. He wrestled with the boar and mastered it, and made it do the thing he said, and go the way that he desired.
Down from the snowy summit of the mountain high came Hercules, rejoicing on the way, driving before him, on the downward way, the fierce though tamed boar. By the hind legs twain, he drove the boar, and all upon the mountain laughed to see the sight. And all who met the son of man, who is the son of God, singing and dancing on the way, laughed too to see the progress of the two. All within the city laughed to see the selfsame sight, the staggering, weary boar and the laughing, singing man.
Thus Hercules performed his seventh labor and returned unto the Teacher of his life. And the great Presiding One within the Council Chamber of the Lord remarked: "The lesson of true balance hath been learnt. A lesson still remains. At the ninth Gate again, the centaur must be met and known and rightly understood."
And the Teacher said: "The seventh labor is complete, the seventh Gate passed. Ponder upon the lessons of the past; reflect upon the tests, my son. Twice have you slain that which you should love. Learn why." And Hercules stayed within the city gates and there prepared for that which later should befall, the test supreme.