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Home / Astrology / Rebel / Prometheus

A little Shakespearean trivia:
"Women’s eyes are the source of true Promethean fire…."

Love’s Labors Lost

The first face of Aquarius is that of the Greek Titan god Prometheus.

Admit it! You've heard the guy's name somewhere before and that he somehow brought the gift of fire to humanity? The Greek gods Prometheus and Zeus were both the sons of Titan gods.

Prometheus was the son of Japetos, while Zeus was the son of Kronus. However, for various reasons, Zeus was the chief ruling god of Olympus. And furthermore, it's rather critical to know it would seem that Prometheus and Zeus were forever butting heads with one another.

Creation Story
There are several myths surrounding Prometheus, including one where he was the creator of humanity...
in this particular creation story, Zeus decided to give Prometheus (literally meaning foresight) and his brother, Epimetheus (literally meaning hindsight), the task of populating the earth.

Epimetheus immediately jumped in made all sorts of animals, and due to his sad lack of foresight, he foolhardily lavished all the totally awesome gifts on them. So the animals could all run really fast and had excellent endurance. They could see, smell, and hear really well.

Prometheus, then, created more men (these would be our ancestors). Prometheus created the forms of his men out of the elements of earth and water (the mud) - and then Athena, goddess of wisdom, bestowed “soul” to their lifeless forms by bringing butterflies (psyche) to them. But when Prometheus finished shaping man, he discovered that all the good gifts were already gone. Yep! Epimetheus had already used up all the good gifts when creating the animals. Prometheus figured this just wouldn't do, and so he went before Zeus and asked the chief god of Olympia if the mortals could have a small portion of Zeus' sacred fire.

Bringer of Fire
But Zeus said no, and that fire belonged to the gods alone. He (Zeus) seemed to think for some strange reason that mortals would become arrogant if they possessed this wonderful blessing of fire.

So now, Prometheus steals some fire from the hearth of Zeus and gives it to his mortals. As a result of having fire, man no longer shivered in the cold of the night, and the other animals (who feared the light of fire) no longer dared attack them. Prometheus provided humanity with the precious gift of fire, while knowing full well, that he would incur the full wrath of Zeus. And sure enough, Zeus decides to punish Prometheus for a few centuries.

Prometheus’ punishment is to be chained to a rock, where an eagle comes by everyday to eat on his liver. Each night the liver of Prometheus is renewed and put back to being whole.

Then the eagle comes again the next day to continue its meal. This went on for a long, long time.

Fortunately for Prometheus, he somehow acquired secret knowledge regarding the ultimate destiny of Zeus’ dominion and rule.

In one of the story lines - in return for this secret knowledge - Zeus allowed Hercules to shoot the eagle, rescue Prometheus, and then return him to Olympus (yeah, like that’s exactly where I’d wanna go after being mercilessly tortured for several centuries).

Prometheus literally means "foresight." And much to his credit, he taught humanity all the proper uses for fire, invented mathematics and introduced (to the world of mortals) such crafts as metalworking, architecture, and writing.

Related links: Since this page on the mythology of Prometheus appears to be rather popular, there's another variant of this myth as to how Prometheus was released from his torment that involves the wise centaur, Chiron. Also at this site: another story about mythological Prometheus is located here.

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