Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Poseidon and eternal fluidity

It is difficult for us, or maybe I should say many of you, to understand what I mean by fluid eternity. We human beings, when we try to conceptualize eternity, tend to conceptualize something that is immovable, unchanging, forever the same, yet eternity does not, by its nature really imply a perpetual state, it implies timelessness, and more importantly, boundlessness with regard to time. In other words, the eternal is defined most especially by the fact that it has no beginning and no end.

Poseidon, the eternal God, has no beginning and has no end. He was never actually born, and he will never actually die. Many infer a monotheistic influence in me. The influence of Catholic or Protestant theology with which I was raised, yet we know for a fact that many philosophers, including that most famous of Hellenic philosophers, Plato, believed in the concept of eternal Gods.

Aristotle tended to categorize “Gods” as being of two or more types. The Celestial, and eternal, type who lived in a blessed state that was rather separate from our own world. These were transcendent beings. The other type that I remember is the immanent type which is capable, or willing, to manifest in the world. These Gods manifest as wind, in bodies, as spirit forms, and in myriad other forms.

As I have often thought of this, both of these “types” of Gods are actually present in each of the Gods, just as we see the celestial and chthonic in all the Gods. Each deity partakes of the four essential qualities of the divine being. They are immanent, transcendent, fluid, and moving. That they are eternal is a given, just as the fact that we are mortal is a given.

So, Poseidon.

Poseidon as a God is best known among us as the Sea God. Because of this he is known as an elder God, tempestuous, strong, and with a temper that shakes the earth itself. We attribute to him the qualities we see in the sea itself, but as the Lord of fluidity, he is something far more than this. He is the God whose power causes all things to change shape.

This may seem strange, but fluidity implies a constant state of flux. If the Gods are beings of constant motion, then they owe that ability to do this in our universe to Poseidon, who lends the universe that capacity to allow this kind of constant fluctuation. In fact, this ability of the universe to constantly change and remold itself is necessary. Without it, we would not be able to exist the way we do, if we were not capable of fluid movement, fluid change, and growth. That we grow from children to adults, changing, metamorphosing, is due to that very power of fluidity.

So, when the Gods manifest in our cosmos in a more condensed state, meaning in forms we can perceive clearly, they do so by taking advantage of that power of fluidity that Poseidon grants. In this case, Poseidon allows their eternal motion to be stilled, their vast forms to grow smaller, and their vast, and perhaps hurtful, voices to be heard by beings such as us. What effect, for example, might the presence of a God in all its power, all its glory, have on the earth as a planet?

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