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The Lament of Icarus

Jacob Peter Gowy's "The Flight of Icarus"
Jacob Peter Gowy’s “The Flight of Icarus”

In Greek Mythology, Icarus was the son of Daedalus, a master craftsman who was imprisoned on the Isle of Crete by King Minos. Daedalus fashioned wings for them to escape, but, according to the poet Ovid, he issued the following warning to his son:

“Let me warn you, Icarus, to take the middle way, in case the moisture weighs down your wings, if you fly too low, or if you go too high, the sun scorches them. Travel between the extremes.”

Out of youthful impetuousness, Icarus defies his father, flies too close to the sun which melts his wings of wax, causing him to plunge to his death in the sea below. Youthful exuberance and energy must be balanced and tempered.

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Childhood & Adolescence

It is incumbent upon the elders of a community to nurture its youth.
It is incumbent upon the elders of a community to nurture its youth.

Coming from the infinite of the Divine Feminine, or the Implicate Order, children have no concept of the forms, parameters or limits of this physical world.

It is incumbent upon the elders of society to steward youth from unlimited narcissism to a balanced and measured life. They must help contain the powerful feelings, emotions and energy of youth until they are ready to handle them.

This necessity beautifully illustrates the complete, golden ring that makes up our lives, from infancy to the last days of old age. We begin with a consciousness that is perfectly aligned with nature (hence, the innocence and naivete of childhood, moving to the recklessness and passion of adolescence), we move into the conflicted nature of adulthood, often characterized by Hamlet (should I take action? should I avoid it? who am I?), and, ideally, we move into a conscious realignment of our ego lives with our souls.

At every stage of this process, youth serves the aged, the elderly serve the young – we have incredible opportunities at every stage of life and consciousness to be generative, compassionate and loving!