Today I was discussing with a colleague of mine and I asked him what the function of evil was according to him. We quickly realized that this depends on where you come from. For example a devout Christian would most likely shy away from all sorts of evil. He has the 10 commandments and the 7 virtues and when he sins he will go to hell instead of the aspired heaven. The role of evil is clear: stay away! But for the Freemason the role of evil different. A Freemason lives by the credo ‘know thyself’. He tries to become aware of his vices and tries to transform them into virtues. Different than for the Christian, evil for the Freemason is a mirror of things in himself which he still needs to develop. Many spiritual development paths have a similar approach: find and integrate your dark side with the light.
An interesting analogy is Hercules’ work when he fights the Hydra. The Hydra is a nine headed monster, which, when you cut of one head, it grows three heads back. Hercules finally defeats the monster by raising it up to the sun. All heads, except one, dry out and perish. The last head is buried in the ground. In this analogy the Hydra stands for the impure passions within us which we normally try to suppress. But the way to deal with these impure urges is to integrate them into our consciousness. Then we can make choices and deal with them. This work of Hercules is assigned to the constellation Scorpio: it is interesting that this topic comes up at this time of the year.
William Blake in his Proverbs of Hell puts it rightly: ‘He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence’. And it is true. Not only for big topics such as evil. But also for more mundane items. When you have a problem, you can best address it as soon as possible otherwise it grows well out of proportion. Try to not pay a traffic bill in the Netherlands: within a couple of months it will be quadrupled!
But how to use evil as a tool and not to become identified by it? Here the example of Persues slaying Medusa might be inspiring. Medusa is a Gorgon with snakes as hair. Everyone who will look at her will be turned into stone. Luckily, Persues received a polished shield from the goddess Athene. Using this shield to approach the sleeping Medusa, he was able to cut her head of.
The trick is to know thyself and not to become identified with your lower self. When you can investigate your vice instead of becoming your vice, then you can slay the Medusa inside of you.