Teiresias is in greek mythology (Greek Τειρεσίας, Latin Tiresias 'signs, signs') the son of the shepherd Eueres and the nymph Chariklo, from the family of the spartian Udaios. Various authors like Hesiod, Sophocles, Euripides, Pindar and Ovid mention him. He lived for seven generations and began advising Cadmus, a son of the phoenician King Agenor of Tire. From an esoteric point of view he symbolizes the upwardly-aspiring soul that goes through several cycles.
According to the library of Apollodorus 3.6.7, Teiresias was a priest of Zeus. For his blindness several explanations have been handed down.
A. According to Hesiod Teiresias was first a priest of Zeus. On Kyllini ('big basin') mountain he came across a pair of breeding serpents and killed the female snake and was turned into a woman. (This passage can also be found in Gaius Julius Hyginus.) Teiresias then became a priestess of Hera, married and had children, including the daughter Manto ('seer, prophet'). After seven years Teiresias again met a pair of copulating snakes, this time killing the male and becoming a man again.
Due to the two-sided life experience both as a man and as a woman, he was asked by Zeus and Hera to clarify which sex feels more lustful in sexual love. Zeus chose the women, Hera the men.
When Teiresias assisted Zeus in this regard and stated that as a woman he felt nine times more pleasure than he felt as a man, the angry Hera blinded Teiresias, because he had revealed to men the secret of the women. Since Zeus could not undo this, he gave Teiresias as compensation the gift of the seer of the future of signs in fire or smoke and also a seven-fold lifespan.
From an allegorical point of view, Tiresias kills the snake-forces of self-preservation at step 7.2. Then he turns into the woman, who has children and is shown on the tarotcard 8. At step 9.2 he kills the snake-forces of species-preservation so becomes after 7 cycles the man with the staff, whom the tarot card 9 shows.
B. According to another lore, Teiresias saw Athena bathing. This punished him with blindness. His mother Chariklo asks her friend Athena to undo this, but it was impossible. But since Chariklo was important to her, Athena cleaned instead Teiresias ears so that he could understand the birds and gave him a staff to lean on. This explanation of Pherecydes is followed by Kallimachos in his hymn 'The Bath of Pallas' (Hymns 5,77-136).
Tiresias thereby became an Augur and possessed the property of retaining his wisdom and memory even after his death in the underworld.
C. According to Hyginus Mythographus Fabulae 67f. He had exposed to men the secrets of the immortal gods, and had been blinded for it.
A similar blind man shows the Michelspacher Cabala.
As a seer Teiresias was considered infallible. His prophecies are always correct aphorisms, which he only reluctantly reveals.
In the drama 'Seven against Thebes' by Aeschylus, Megareus kills himslef because of Teiresias prediction that the voluntary death of a Theban would save Thebes.
Amphitryon decided to consult the seer Tiresias, who revealed to him that Zeus had lain in front of him with Alkmene.
Teiresias also appears later in the stories about Oedipus. In 'King Oedipus' of Sophocles, Oedipus urges Teiresias to help him in his investigations of the murderer of Laios. Teiresias denies the direct answer and instead states that the culprit is someone whom Oedipus does not wish to find. When Oedipus himself is discovered as the culprit, has blinded himself and now wanders around, Teiresias reappears, this time in 'Antigone' by Sophocles. King Kreon refuses to bury Polynices. His niece Antigone defies the order and is captured. Creon orders her to be buried alive. The gods express their dislike of Creon's decision by Tiresias, who tells Creon that the city is sick by his fault.
According to library of Apollodor 3.7.3 Teiresias died during the train of the Epigones against Thebes, when he drank water from the source Tilphussa as a prisoner.
According to another version, Tiresias died by an arrow from Apollon at the poisoned fountain Tilphussa. His shadow descended to the asphodel meadows, the first plain of Hades. In Hades he also led the dead.
After his death, he was visited in the underworld by Ulysses, to whom he gave valuable information on the further course of his journey to Ithaca and how to get past Scylla and Charybdis, but especially with regard to the herds of Helios on Thrinakia, to which Odysseus men did not follow and then werwe killed by the thunderbolts of Zeus.