What if Daedalus hadn’t told Icarus to be careful to not fly too close to the sun? What if he hadn’t planted a seed of fear in his son’s mind? Maybe his wings wouldn’t have melted and he’d have kept soaring as high as he dreamed to fly for as long as he liked.
How many of us hold back in our lives because of fears that others have passed on to us. Fears that were intended to keep us safe, but are ultimately unfounded and unnecessary and only act to clip our wings.
My “Icarus Soaring” collection was conceived of and crafted during the weeks and days leading up to the Summer Solstice. It celebrates the solstice by encouraging you to question your beliefs and the answers you think you already have. This collection asks you to find your personal truth so that you can live your life on your terms and not be ruled by collective fears and ancestral patterns that are ready to be released.
The myth of Icarus and Daedalus is one that you may or may not know the details of, but most people are aware of its basic message. If you aren’t familiar, and even if you are, here’s a refresher:
In Greek mythology, Daedalus was a master craftsman and inventor. At King Minos’s request, he designed the infamous maze known as the Labyrinth on the island of Crete in order to contain the Minotaur. As happens in many Greek myths, what started out as a good relationship eventually falls apart and King Minos ends up locking Daedalus and his son Icarus in the Labyrinth. Daedalus realizing that the only way to escape is by air, designs and builds sets of wings for both himself and Icarus. He makes them out of feathers, wax and twine and warns Icarus that he needs to fly evenly between the sea and the sky. If he flies too low the mists from the sea will dampen the wings and make it impossible to fly. If he flies too high the heat from the sun will melt the wax and they’ll fall apart. The two men take off and begin their flight, Daedalus encouraging Icarus, but continually warning him to be careful. In Icarus’s excitement that he is flying, he forgets his father’s warnings and flies higher and higher. The wax on his wings begins to melt, they fall apart and he plunges to his death in the sea below.
Throughout history, this story has served as a stark warning to be careful to stay in the middle and avoid extremes. It has been one of the many cultural messages, born of a desire for safety for ourselves and those we love, that has clipped our collective and individual wings and is ready to be looked at, questioned and possibly let go.
Most of us have lived as if staying in the middle and not being too daring or bold will somehow guarantee our safety. At the same time, we’ve either admired and glorified or feared and demonized those who‘ve dared to think and live outside of our collectively constructed box. But guess what??? Safety doesn’t come from holding back and ignoring your dreams. It doesn’t come from following someone else’s reality no matter how well intentioned they were in passing that reality on to you. A deep sense of safety and security can ONLY be found within. Trust me on this one! I spent way longer than I care to admit using anything and everything outside of myself to find this peace.
There really is a voice of intuition that is speaking directly to you and guiding you along your individual path and it’s yours alone. You can’t take someone else’s beliefs and live by them blindly. Safety and security does not come from toeing the line that was drawn by someone else. You actually get to find your own line if you want. By finding and listening to our inner voice, we learn in our own way and our own time to align with our Source, the Divine, God, whatever you want to call it. The focusing of this uncontainable and unfathomable thing that is Life and Creation itself into a finite, masculine entity known collectively and culturally as “God” is yet another topic that I have dug deeply into as I’ve grown and will share with you all at some point, but for now, just know that there is something so much bigger than we could ever even remotely fathom going on.
Back to the story of Daedalus and Icarus…What greater representation of thinking big can there be than crafting wings for yourself and your child to conquer the seemingly impossible task of flight. I think of flight in this story as both the innate desire that we all have to “reach the divine”, and this search being directed outside of ourselves rather than within. In order to form a relationship with this power greater than ourselves we have to think beyond our previously held constraints and question the beliefs that have been passed down to us at the most fundamental levels.
To Daedalus, crafting the wings and taking flight was meant to simply escape the Labyrinth…a prison that Daedalus himself had constructed for a different purpose, but which ultimately enslaved both him and his son. He sought to save them, but only by changing the situation and not the patterns that underpinned it. Icarus wanted to soar above his father’s perceived limitations and live his own way. Icarus dared to soar higher and dream bigger, but Daedalus urged his son to stay in the middle, and THIS is what actually led to his fall.
You see, the last piece of this story that is very important, but easy to overlook is that what Daedalus warned Icarus of was actually an impossibility. Flying higher and apparently closer to the sun was not going to make it more likely that the wax would melt. This well-intentioned warning of a father to a son is one of the most well known, but unacknowledged examples of how we perpetuate our misperceptions from one generation to the next. Icarus dreamed of something else, but the seed of fear that was planted within him took root and was what ultimately led to his fall. Not his flying higher.
We dream of our creations, whatever they may be, becoming free and living on their own out in the world. At the same time, we often pass things on to others that unintentionally clip their wings. Or, on the flip side, we don’t take responsibility for our own mindset by questioning our beliefs and the answers we think we have. Reframing this famous myth and thinking about it in this way is a step in another direction that can give the Icarus within all of us the chance to rewrite our beliefs so we can finally soar.