Icarus and Plato’s Chariot of the Soul

First of all forgive this post, since I have been on unpaid maternity leave I am consequently typing this from my phone.

Plato in his Phaedrus speaks of the nature of the soul, that as a winged chariot it seeks to be close to the god it adores. This attraction of the soul drives it upward to the deity like a moth circling perilously close to a flame. The gods themselves are as a divine fire which the nearness to them causes the wings to be consumed and the soul to fall.

In a previous post I have spoken of the myth of Phaeton in comparison to this to show the necessity of the harmonic balance, but in terms of the personal soul this is best demonstrated by the myth of Icarus and the god as similar to the burning sun, whereas the sea represents the far lower levels that souls of men commonly occupy…boat-like in their travel akin to Dionysos in his youth representing as a soul on earth seated in the ship as a spiritual vessel. The boat is not unworthy and is the common vessel even as a flightless chariot but it is the winged chariot that allows passage to higher levels.

The winged chariot thus representing the ideal of escape from common mortal ends (demonstrated as threat of imprisonment and execution)to another destination. Daedulus, who is considerably wise and evolved advises his son, the youth or younger soul, in what manner to traverse on their wings. Daedulus thus transverses without incident. Icarus, however becomes so enamored that he comes too close to the sun which consumes his wings by melting the fragile substance, thereby he plummets to the earth to his death, or rather for the soul to a new mortal incarnation.

When we are reminded that we are not gods by the Delphic wise-men, it is a reminder that we ought not to attain such nearness outside of what the gods initiate and what nature allows in our spiritual evolution (as per Daedulus). That by these means we live righteously and develop spiritually.


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