Though I can’t say that the myth of Daedulus and his son Icarus is one that is immensley important to me, I decided to use it for my Pagan Blog Project post for this week because do think that the myth of Icarus is very important in how Hellenes saw the purpose of balance and moderation, and how important it was retain this perfect median between the heights of the heavens, and the lower levels of the earth. There is no inheritent forbidding towards ascending, but a cautionary warning that if one ascends to a zone for which one is not properly equipped then one is doomed to falling and destruction. It is a very similar theme we find in the story of Phaeton and the chariot of the sun. Though, instead of the sun scorching the heavens and burning the earth and sea, and thus being struck down for the devastation that he caused, we have Icarus to whom the devastation is entirely personal.
He is not smote down by any god, but he himself falls for his own foolishness, for his father warned him to not fly too close to the sea, for it make dampen the wings, and not to fly too near the sun because it will melt the wax. Instead Icarus was to fly at the level appropriate for those wings he possessed, and at a level which saw Daedulus safely from Sicily. Yet Icarus, who, like Phaeton, did not heed these warnings, flew too near the sun and lost his wings to plummet back to the earth with all due haste. He outstripped his own limits and suffered the consequences.
However, that Icarus was able to put on wings and raise from his earthly bounds in order to gain freedom, does suggest something important to me. That humans can rise to a higher spiritual level, but we do so with what tools we are equipped with in our own personal spiritual evolution and the journey of our souls. We cannot leap higher, and attempt to attain a level for which we don’t have the necessary development (or rather in the case of Icarus…the necessary technology lol). But it does suggest an upward progressiveness that we also see in the myth of Bellorophon and Pegasus who was, though he was permitted to go to greater heights than most men, was struck down for his presumption of joining the gods as other heroes have done, yet himself uninvited. After all the gods are necessary in providing the tools for one development to ascention. And so likewise, Icarus, by his own foolishness, also fell from the heights as his carefully crafted wings broke away.
He lost his wings and fell to the earth…or more accurately..he fell into the sea. Yet he was immortalized and his is perhaps one of the most known Greek Myths by children worldwide and historically has often been a favorite subject for artists as Icarus is represented in an image not unlike some kind of fallen angel. And it is just possible that perhaps the myth of Icarus has some play on the idea of Plato that the winged soul when it ascends too high for which it can manage (because of lack of control of the energies.. or horses of the soul chariot) it falls back down again after drawing close to the god as it may. In a sense we are all Icarus, continuously falling back to earth life after life as we search for that perfect height in which we can fly and be free.