Monday, June 16, 2008


The Gods are an overpowering presence.

Hera is an overpowering presence. A presence that inspires and frightens. Mythically, she is often like a "Mary" figure, but she is not, to me, such a figure at all. Perhaps only in the wide spread love of her is she like Mary. She was highly mistreated in myth, but the Greek people loved her. They had a sense of her that was very different from the texts that describe her, and this can be a problem in a religious sense because as separated from her worship as we are in the modern world, we have to rely on those myths to get a sense of her. That failing, we must rely on academic works which leave us with someone else's interpretation of her.

One of only a few stories from ancient times, and a Hellenistic one at that, is the Argonautika by Apollonius Rhodius. In it, Hera takes on a very different aspect from the vile shrew she is often shown to be in myth. She is helpful, and the Argonauts, especially Jason, seem to have a strong bond with her. The story itself is far more ancient than the source that tells it. of course, as Jason and his voyage are referenced in several places other than the Argonautika, but it is in this play that we see the role that the Queen of the Gods played in this expedition.

The Goddess Queen of Heaven is a creature that is both near and far, helpful and an impediment, and this is actually true of all the Gods, but with Hera and the character the mythos gives us of her, these become ever more pronounced. Like an Earthly queen, the Queen of Heaven demands a certain level of subordination to her will and power, but unlike a mortal Queen, it is not a matter of pride or entitlement, but of divine grace.

What do I mean by this?

The Gods are divine beings. To say they are superior to us is like say a man is superior to a virus. Sure, on one level it is true, but the virus exists on its own, in its own little world, at a level of existence that is, for it, like our universe is to us. That as a type of life the virus has managed to survive millions of years is testament to its inherent strength as a life form. The gods exist on a totally different level of existence from us, they are of the ultimate level, that 11th dimension, that divine world that encompasses all others within it. If the Gods notice us and take it upon themselves to act on our behalf, or to counter us, it is through their grace. A word that often has misleading interpretations in our modern world.

The grace of the Gods is manifest in all that we see around us. The Gods shower gifts upon the world all the time, and like a virus, we don't really take much notice of them. By Hera's grace, mankind knows the holiness of union with another human being. Of that bond of trust and love that allows two people to create a family and defend it against all ill will. It is not that procreation would be impossible without her, life does that as a matter of course, but her influence allows man to act in accordance with a higher level of emotion and spirit with regard to our young, to our lovers, and to our progenitors.

In realizing this, I am overpowered by her.

I admit, that at this time in my life I have given up on finding that bond. I have loved and lost in my life, but the truth is that I know that it is not something that will ever happen for me. In a sense, I am rejecting part of Hera's domain outright, but in another, I am acknowledging its importance and refuse to be one of these people who takes it far too lightly and rushes in to love and marriage simply because I feel a desperate need to be "married."

I am overpowered by her.

No comments: