Sacred Ambulation

What represent the innumerable mythological figures marked by monosandalism, lameness and other types of afflictions and vulnerabilities to the lower limbs? Several clues indicate an indeterminate state of existence, in the balance between life and death, in the context of an initiatory ritual of rebirth.

Some examples taken from the greek mythology:

Jason (monosandalism).
Perseus (monosandalism, according to a version of the myth in which Hermes gives him only one sandal).
Theseus (he retrieves the sandals and the sword of his father Aegeus by lifting the boulder [i.e. the burial mound] under which they had been hidden [that is to say buried]).
Hephaestus (lameness: soon after being born, his mother throws him into the sea from the top of Olympus, and he remains for nine years [time frame that indicates the symbolic gestation which will be followed by the initiatory rebirth] inside a cave [i.e. the burial mound] surrounded by water [i.e. the amniotic fluid]).
Zeus (in a myth his tendons of the feet are severed by Typhon).
Achilles (vulnerable only to the heel).

Theseus lifts the boulder:

Achilles hit at the heel by the deadly arrow:

They are all figures symbolically devoid of the femur (strictly associated with movement and thus with life) of the divine ancestor that will reincarnate in them, the bone that every child, during an ancestral initiatory ritual, had to retrieve from the hall deeper into the burial mound, the throne hall where was located the skeleton of the predecessor.

The Trinacria – symbol equivalent to the swastica – includes the head of Medusa and three bent legs to indicate the concept of movement, synonymous of life:
Risultati immagini per trinacria vespri

To note the fact that in Crete and Delos was held, at night in archaic times, a “dance of cranes” to which participated young boys and girls (the name given to the dance referred to the habit of cranes to stand on one leg): the dance had to imitate the path of the labyrinth from which Theseus came out after killing the Minotaur.


Lastly, why not remember the famous lameness of the Devil, the result of the intentional distortion applied by the Christians to the divine figures of the child and of the reborn ancestor…


Symbols of Fire

Hephaestus is the Greek god related to fire and to all the uses we can do of it, including arts and crafts in which the burning flame has an essential role. Hephaestus is described as an excellent blacksmith, who realized even the armour, the weapons and the shield of Achilles! It is evident that he is connected with the terrestrial fire, rather than with the heavenly fire (the Sun).

The episode when Hephaestus is thrown from the top of Olympus by Zeus (his father, since it is from the Sky that the lightning [an attribute of Zeus] comes, causing, through its contact with trees, the birth of fire) represents the potential inherent in the lightning to bring in itself fire.

The Greeks represented Hephaestus with a blue headgear to symbolize the Sky, the place from which the fire god comes (via the lightning) and where resides the most pure and primordial form of fire, the Sun.

Ptah and Hephaestus:

Anyway, the terrestrial fire – arrived on Earth via the lightning or kindled by man – is less intense than that of the Sun and needs to be rekindled and sustained, or it will fade. That’s why one of the epithets of Hephaestus is “the lame” (after the fall we talked about earlier, he broke his leg), since he can’t walk by himself and needs a wooden support, just like the fire on Earth can’t continue to live without the wood that feeds it.



Prometheus on the other hand is a more complex figure, but anyway related to fire. He stole some fire from Olympus to donate it to men, so that these weren’t anymore dependant on Zeus (via the lightning) in their need to benefit of fire, and could instead obtain it whenever they wanted.

However, I want to focus on the enchainment and torture of Prometheus: in this case he represents the Sun itself and the myth explains the process of self-combustion through which the Sun feeds of itself and destroying itself stays alive and continues to shine eternally, a sort of unceasing death and rebirth. That’s what happens and our ancestors maybe didn’t knew this process of self-combustion of the Sun, but they noticed that the terrestrial fire needed to be rekindled and sustained while the one in the Sky not, it was self-sufficient and perennial.

Note: a symbolism linked to the same process can be found in the figure of the Phoenix (known as Bennu among the Egyptians), the eternal bird able to be reborn from its own ashes.

Prometheus is tortured by an eagle, a heavenly symbol as well as a solar symbol, so we have more solutions in relation to how we interpret the torture: if we look at the eagle as a solar symbol we have the Sun that devours and sacrifices itself perennially, coming back to life every day and therefore continuing to shine; if we look at the eagle as a heavenly symbol then we have the Sky nourished by the liver of Prometheus, because the Sky to keep on shining must feed on the vigor (that was believed to reside in the liver – the part of the body devoured everyday by the eagle -, where vitamin D, the “vitamin of the sun”, resides and accumulates) of the Sun, on the force of its rays.

Prometheus’ torture:

Only at night Prometheus is exempt from his punishment, as indeed the Sun from its eternal self-sacrifice: at sunset it sinks in the west, in the depths of the underground – the subterranean regions, the realm of death -, to then reappear again in the east the next morning, resurrected. The same journey was accomplished by the spirits of the dead, to then come back again among the living…