Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rivers... Continued

When talking about Poseidon as a God of Rivers, we can only use the idea of Poseidon, not so much the ancient sources as a guide. The reasons, as I have already said, is that the people will use their local representations and their personal ideas about what that god is or is not when describing the river deity.

So, for example, the main river that goes through the town I live in is called the Great Miami River, which is a tributary to the Ohio River, which is a well known and rather major river in this part of the U.S. This river, the Ohio, is also a tributary to the Mississippi River, perhaps the most well known river in all of the U.S. This River, the Mississippi, of course, empties into the Gulf of Mexico, which is part of the greater Atlantic Ocean which, of course, is part of the great World Ocean, since the oceans of the world are a single contiguous mass of water, the divisions of which are man made.

When one thinks of a river in this way, one is struck by the unity of it. Waters that fall from the heavens, some absorbed into the Earth, are released into streams which flow into small rivers which flow into large rivers, etc. Is the divine divinity of fluidity then not also thus diversified?

These are aspects. And aspects can be of more than one deity, just as rivers can have more than one name, as the Amazon River is not called Amazon by the natives who have not assimilated into the Spanish and Portuguese cultures which inhabit the lands that surround it. Poseidon too must be called by peoples all over the world by those names with which they are familiar.

This river, the Great Miami, then, is a local aspect of the god, a local epiphany of the great Lord of the Seas, God of the Waters.

This aspect of the Water God has many aspects of its own. Rivers are life sustaining features of the land we live on. Without them, life as we know it would either not exist, or be so different as to not be recognizable. In this aspect, then, the river is a giver of life. As a means of transport, rivers have been indispensable in the history of man kind, and as such, this aspect of the god is also a bringer of civilization. In the same aspect, he is also a god of commerce and, further, assisted in the spread of man kind from his humble beginnings in Africa to the entire world, in which the god's oceanic aspects was also instrumental.

But rivers are also treacherous things. Many a life is lost every day world wide, drowned in the waters of strong and powerful rivers which are so often underestimated by humans who too often grow complacent with their presence. In this aspect, the Water God as River God is also a taker of life, and in this way a balance is struck.

The River God, who I see as an aspect of the Ocean God who is an aspect of the great God of Fluidity, is instrumental in the life of man, and as such, man has always venerated him in some way or another. Throughout history rivers, lakes, and springs have all been venerated as Gods, spirits, eve, in post Christian times, as sacred sanctuaries to Saints and Angels.

The veneration of the waters that give life, help us spread out into the world, and allowed for commerce to flourish in ancient times is, then, not only understandable, but a necessary aspect of human interaction with the divine world and how that world interfaces with our own in the epiphanies of the Gods.

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