“On Mount Cyllene in the Peloponnese, as Tiresias came upon a pair of copulating snakes, he hit the pair with his stick. Hera was displeased, and she punished Tiresias by transforming him into a woman. As a woman, Tiresias became a priestess of Hera, married and had children, including Manto, who also possessed the gift of prophecy. After seven years as a woman, Tiresias again found mating snakes; depending on the myth, either she made sure to leave the snakes alone this time, or, according to Hyginus, trampled on them. As a result, Tiresias was released from his sentence and permitted to regain his masculinity. This ancient story is recorded in lost lines of Hesiod.”
Throughout the ages poets, writers, and philosophers have had their unique interpretations of Tireseas. here is mine:
Striking the Cadaceus third eye (the lunar and solar currents) with illumination, Tiresias transcends sexuality, integrates opposites and resolves all duality. Spiritually androgynous, he is more man than men, and more fully woman than women. The lower gods curse him with blindness in their jealousy, yet he still sees. He is only blind to their shadowplay in the burning vision of divine light.
With the awakening of the kundalini to the Cadaceus, the sexual desire retires without effort to suppress it. A celibate psychologically incarnates both man and woman in their essential, pure forms. The physical eyes, forgetting earthly forms, may go blind if one remains in the inner light too long or too often. Perhaps one may never return. Past and future are understood as time is dissolved in eternity. Here one grasps true Form even in blindness.
And of course there were the tales of the misadventures of Tireseas. Desirous of his graceful femininity or jealous of his manliness, they misjudged him from their lower minds and created stories about him being a sexual deviant. Those stories were propagated by the people tied up inside of Plato’s cave, enjoying the shadowplay with their popular myths and distortions, the ancient Greek version of Facebook.
When I was in my early twenties I had dreams that I was a woman in my past life. It made me feel very pure. I wasn’t sure if it was literal or a symbolic truth. I was a psychology student very familiar with Jung’s ideas of the “anima,” the feminine, unconscious part of the male psyche. Conversely, the “animus” was termed the masculine part of the feminine psyche. Psychological wholeness consists in integrating these complementary aspects of the psyche into one’s spiritual being. Contemplating this idea never created any confusions nor distortions. On the contrary, I began to feel that transcending one’s exclusive sexual identification was the key to transcending “maya,” the great illusion. On the inside it is quite sane and healthy for a man to discover his unconscious feminine qualities as they make one more whole and complete. One remains a man, of course, and with the natural desires of a man. However, the impulsive qualities of masculinity begin to wane. One loses almost all sexual desire. I write “almost” because the sexual desire always remains as a potential as long as one has a human body. The continued activity of the kundalini via tantric meditation sublimates sensual desire into spiritual desire. Even if an advanced yogi were married and in the presence of a woman, then the desire would naturally arise. If one remains alone then abstinence really is not a problem but a natural state of being. While living with monks I noticed how men who had not passed through a mature experience of sexuality but who tried to repress their needs became neurotic and some even developed homosexual tendencies. In such cases it is better to not try to attempt absolute celibacy because these expressions are contrary to the purpose of chastity, distort one’s natural desires, and eventually create scandal and hypocrisy.
I asked my teacher Chidghananda about my dreams. I wanted to know if these were symbolic dreams or if perhaps I really was a woman in my past life. He said that I was a woman. He said, “excuse me, but you were indeeed a lady,” just in case some masculine part of me may be offended by this information. I wasn’t in any way offended, he realized this and said: “I just wanted to make sure.” He told me stories about this person and even how she died. I only had seen fragments of this life in a dream but he was filling in so many details that I had never seen. When he realized his knowledge exceeded my own, he stopped and said “okay, that is enough for now.” He really helped me to understand something very deep. Once the sexual desires were all transmuted into meditation, my mind had tremendous energy. He began to teach me about spiritual healing and I recalled Tireseas, the blind sage with healing powers who was mysteriously both male and female. He told me to always sleep alone and to never share a room with other people nor let people touch my bed. Most of my work would be done while sleeping and my mind would be very sensitive to the vibrations of other people while I was undergoing this healing training. However, I began to lose the desire to sleep until I was only sleeping half an hour every night. I was not tired, and I meditated instead of slept.