Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hera and the connectedness of nature...

The blessed Gods are all connected. They act, react, and interact in such a way that they are all unified in a way that allows for the universe as a whole to exist properly. When Hesiod speaks of the creation of the world, he speaks of it in terms of a theogony.

He connects the origin of the Gods with the origin of nature, and later he relates the beginnings of mankind with a creative act by the Gods. In this sense, the universe is not created, but is, rather, the result of the Gods coming into being.

Among these Gods, Ge, Ouranos, Nyx, etc., come into being and as a result of that, the earth, the sky, and space itself were created to accommodate them.

To us, or I should really say me, this is a kind of indicator as to the nature of the Gods. That Ge is the Goddess of the Earth, that Ouranos was a God of the Sky, and Nyx was the Goddess of the Night. But that is a very human way to look at the Gods. That is an anthropomorphic way to view them, as if they take on careers of sorts, occupying offices the way a human being would.

But there is an underlying reality to the mythological views set forth by the ancient writers, and that is that the Gods do seem to take on very distinct interests in a variety of things. In my opinion, every God is capable of anything. Hera can cause a thunderstorm, impart wisdom, or manipulate fire. She is not a super-hero, she is a Goddess, but this Goddess seems to take a special interest in several things.

Civilization, city life, marriage, and the proper conduct of the married. She takes an interest in those things that bind humanity, both in a natural sense, and in the sense of propriety. Hera seems to dislike the breaking of vows, just as Zeus does, and she seems to hate the breaking of social rules and conventions that cause society to be overturned or harmed.

The connectedness of all natural things, however, is not necessarily something we automatically seem to connect with Hera, yet it does seem to be something she takes an interest in. If we look at marriage as the formation of a tribe, as mating, and as the formation of a unit meant to provide protection for the young, we see that marriage is a manifestation of a natural reality.

The marriage we think of as normal, though, may not be what she is truly interested in, but rather the maintaining of the order that allows for the unions that provide this sheltering and protection of the young. Thus, Hera is not interested in whether you have a monogamous marriage, or a polyamorous marriage, or a gay marriage, but rather in whether or not you are an honest member of that unit and maintain it in good faith so that it may, if needed, provide the use for which that unit is formed.

I honestly believe that Hera, as goddess of marriage, as goddess of unions, as goddess of the necessary connections between living beings, is interested in the fidelity of those unions, and by fidelity I don't mean monogamy, but honesty. If two people enter into a monogamous marriage or relationship, Hera is interested in both partners being monogamous because they have, in essence, made a vow to be monogamous. If they enter into a relationship that is not monogamous, she is interested in the honesty with which both, or the multiple partners, relate to each other to keep that relationship healthy.

In this sense, she also calls us out on our promises to friends, to family, to our society, because those too are vows that connect us one to the other. She is also, I think, connected to those connections between man and the natural world around him. Does he treat the natural world with respect, recognizing his place in it and seeking to treat it with proper reverence? And how is the social contract with nature to be kept, and how do we, as followers of the Gods who demand Xenia and Dike, properly convince the followers of a religion that reinforces the destruction of the world to stop and take a good look around?

I pray Hera grant me the wisdom to know how to do this...

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