Monday, October 27, 2008

The Trident: Sea God: The Medium of Life

The aspect of the god Poseidon as a medium for life, or its creation, is not one that we see in ancient times. At lest not explicitly. In ancient myth Poseidon is a father of a multitude of children, just like Zeus is, which implies an aspect of "creator" to those of us who pay attention to myth as a medium for the passing on of divine wisdom. As a creator, Poseidon's role is much more clear to us than it was to the ancients.

The sea, we know today, was the home to primordial life on Earth. All of the elements of the Earth itself, including the waters of the oceans and gasses of the atmosphere, mix and mingle to create elements conducive to life. All that is needed is a spark, and that is provided handily by the Sky God.

Our mythos, however, tells us that the primordial sea was called Pontus, son of Ge, and that another son of Ge, Ouranos, was the first explicit Sky God, though I suppose one could claim that Erebus (the darkness of the primal unformed world) could be seen as the first and most primal Sky God.

Here, then, the aspect of the Sea God, who we call Poseidon, as a medium for the creation of life must most accurately be called Pontus (or if we follow the idea of naming Gods by name and aspect, Poseidon Pontus.) I, however, tend to always refer to the Gods by their Olympian Names. (Olympian here refers to the Olympian Age)

Thus, Poseidon is the name I use.

In our modern world, however, we can relate the sea as symbol to something very near to ourselves, and that is the water of the womb. Human beings are birthed from a womb full of fluid that one can imagine is similar in many ways to what that primordial sea must have been like. Imagine, if you will, the ocean itself as the womb, the amniotic fluid that nurtures and protects life as it is being formed from the very elements of the universe. A universe very much like our own right now, but an Earth so vastly different that we can hardly imagine it.

Imagine, a God, the God who sees and protects that which is forming in the primal sea and allows it to flourish, grow, and evolve into something grand, and here you have him, Poseidon, the medium for the creation of life.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Trident: Poseidon, Lord of the Sea

The second prong of the trident, for this discussion, represents the Sea. This is the aspect of the God which at first glance the most obvious. Poseidon is, after all, the Great Sea God, the Sea Father, the Great god of the Sea Storms, and in some myths, father of the life of the sea itself.

To us, in the modern technological world, the Sea hardly seems to hold any wonder. We know what it is, we have a decent idea of its vastness, and we understand with much more clarity than did our ancient forefathers what it is that causes the great storms of the sea. But even with such knowledge taking away the magic of the sea, it is still somewhat awe inspiring to stand beside it as it undulates, flows, and rests there like an immense power untapped save at the most basic levels.

The Sea is immensely fertile, though the ancients did call it barren and fruitless, and as a result, we must come to terms with the sea as life sustaining force. It feeds us, though its waters cannot sustain us without being purified. It is as if it were itself the womb that once nurtured us. The womb to which we cannot return, no matter how hard life gets.

If we think of the Earth as a singular entity, as a single organism, then the Sea may well be that womb. That part of her that births life. But the Sea is ruled by the Sea God, something that seems, at first, to contradict this analogy. But when we look at some of the myths, the Earth Goddesses are said to mate with Sea Gods to produce progeny, sometimes that progeny is wondrous, as we see in the birth of Pegasus from that Earth being Medusa, with whom Poseidon had an affair, and others were wild and monstrous creatures which were a kin to the wild storms of the Sea and the power of the Sea itself.

If we look closely at what the Sea is, however, we see that its primal element, water, is not in and of itself a life giver, but rather a medium for the mixing of the many elements of the Earth, all of which dissolve in the primordial sea. Add to that the spark of electricity, the elemental representation of Zeus, the Sky Father, and you have organic matter, the first step to life.

Earth, Sky, and Sea come together, one as the maker of elements, one as the medium, and one as the spark that causes metamorphosis. As the medium, Poseidon is true to himself. The Sea stands between the Greek mainland and the Ionian coast, yet as such it becomes the medium by which the Greeks would travel and transport their culture onto that land in the darkness of prehistory. It is a medium for communication and exchange between the many cultures of this region, and it becomes a barrier offering a measure of protection.

So it is we start our discussion, which implies I’m not the only one talking I guess, but hell, discussion sounds good, on the nature of the God as the medium and barrier to civilization.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Trident: Poseidon as Earth God, continued...

So, as the God that flows in transitory states, God of the shore, where earth and water meet and where one is absorbed by the other, where one dissolves into the other, Poseidon, who holds up the Earth, is also the God of transitions. The transition, as Earth God, is different, in my opinion, from the same transition as Sea God. If life emerged from the seas, then life made the transition from Sea to Earth along that boundary where the Sea hugs the Earth to its mighty bosom. The Earth, as embodied by both the Earth Goddesss (In this case the primordial Ge) and the Sea God (The primordial Pontus) and the mighty Sky God (the primordial Ouranos) together give birth to what we call life.

But all of these, the Earth Goddess, the Sea God, and the Sky God have strong Chthonic aspects. Aspects that transcend the boundaries between life and death. Between the inert and the self motivated. As an Earth God, Poseidon is the power that allows life to flow, to metamorphose and be born from the inert matter of the cosmos. As Earth God, Poseidon is giver and sustainer of life, and the fact that life itself cannot survive without water, his signature element, points to this.

So, the first prong of the Trident, as a form used to symbolize three aspects of the God, points to life. Not as a simple abstraction or a symbol, but as a living force. A force that Poseidon is part of at the very core.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Trident: Poseidon as Earth God, continued...

But just what is an Earth God?

There are many strains of religious belief that categorize themselves as "Pagan." Among these there seem to be some commonalities in categorization of divinity. Terms like Sky God, Sea God, Earth God, etc. are common because these apparently represent something particular. The Sky Father, whether you call him Zeus or Alom (Mayan) is considered such because he is a God of the heights, the stormy skies, the king of heaven. But if you think about the Earth God, you get images like Dionysos, the dying God, and Hermes, the guide of souls, or Hades, the king of the dead because the Earth is the Chthonic realm, and it represents mortality and the cycle of life.

But as I have already said, Poseidon, to me at least, your opinion may differ, is the God of Fluidity. He is the God of fluid states between one and the other, between life and death, between solid and gaseous, between the physical and the metaphysical. Here we come to an interesting transition between the God as a manifest aspect of our universe, meaning the Sea, and the transcendent deity who flows through the universe, granting the ability of metamorphosis to all things.

Think about that for a second.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Trident: Poseidon as Earth God

Poseidon is known as the Earth Shaker. In this aspect, the God is said to be responsible for the shaking of the Earth in earthquakes, which are fairly common in Greece. When water sprang from the Earth, especially salt water springs as might be found near the sea in the rocky landscape of Greece, it was said to be his doing. One myth tells that s part of his battle for the city of Athens, Poseidon produced a salt water spring.

One would think such a thing to be rather useless, since springs are most useful as sources of drinking water, but as a miracle, a salt water spring must be seen to represent much to the Athenians, who went on to build the greatest navy in Greece without which the Greek mainland would have fallen to the Persians.

One thing we can take away from this aspect of the God is that he is capable of great anger, and of expressing that anger through physical manipulation of the world. But I have to wonder what many of you out there take away from that statement. Do you think the God will shake the Earth ad perhaps destroy entire cities if you anger him? If you do, I will assume you are rather a self centered person. But if you believe the God may show such displeasure at the actions of our race as a whole, perhaps there I will agree with you.

The problem, of course, is deciphering what is a natural earthquake and what is the anger of Poseidon. When is an Earthquake due to natural shifting of the tectonic system, and when is it more than that? Are all Earthquakes to be taken as signs of some kind? And if so, do we risk starting to sound like Christians who say God punished New Orleans with Katrina?

It's hard to take anyone seriously when they say, seriously, that the Gods are wiping out a city or a people out of some spite over some moral trespass, but I sometimes wonder if there isn't such a thing as a God taking out his rage on the actions of our species on a population.

Some of this comes as a result of recently watching The Happening. A serviceable movie with an interesting twist to the whole disaster movie theme, but which in the end proved to be far too anti-climactic for me to want to see it again. (shame, as I really loved Shyamalan's first three movies The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs) But the movie poses an interesting question, what if at some point our threat to other forms of life on our world becomes so strong that that life is left with no evolutionary recourse but to adapt a way to destroy that threat, meaning us. What if we, as a species, become such a threat to the balance of the world that the Gods are forced to act to eliminate that threat, or at least, destroy our civilization and throw us back into a state to start over and maybe learn from our mistakes.

I wonder which Gods are most likely to take such action, and Poseidon comes up on the list of Gods who may just do that, with Demeter and Dionysos being the others.

The God as Earth Shaker must be an angry God, but he may also be a God of mercy, warning us rather than destroying us.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Trident

Poseidon's Trident, it is one of the many symbols of the God, and not an ambiguous one. Everywhere that trident is seen as his symbol. A fishing apparatus, a weapon, a symbol of power akin to a scepter, the three pronged trident represents far more than just these things, and as human beings, we must seek to understand what the trident represents on a religious level, those of us who include many Gods in our religion often have to come to terms with the symbols and metaphors with which the Gods communicate their will to mankind.

The pomegranate of Persephone, the dove of Aphrodite, the helm of Hades, Athena's owl, Helios' chariot. All of these represent different things, not just from each other, but different things in different contexts as well.

To the end of trying to explain what it means to me, I will assign three distinct representations to the Trident, one for each prong. Earth, for Poseidon is shaker of the Earth. Sea, because Poseidon is God of the sea, and in many ways, is the sea itself. And last but certainly not least, creator, for like Zeus, Poseidon is a creator God, bringing into the world much of what it is made of.

I will try to explore these in the next few posts.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The pumpkin in the patch, continued

This time of year triggers memories. This is always welcome for me. It carries with it a feeling of well being that other times of the year do not. Poseidon's gift to me, that fluid memory that has so often been a detriment to me, forces me to try to hold on to some of the most innocent of memories. Like trick or treating in Puerto Rico and Connecticut as a child. The joy of picking out a costume, though we could only ever afford the cheapest ones, and dressing up and letting loose in that special way that only children really do.

I hold on to these because like Poseidon, I am a bit too prim for my own good. A bit too unwilling to let loose and dance the night away, and in these memories, i find the joy that I lack in my adulthood. As I search through what Poseidon means to me, the sea and all that implies becomes less important and the very fluid nature of the God brings its power to bear on me. He tells me that although he appreciates the way I comport myself, I must also be flexible and go with the flow, or break under the torrent of the flood.

Somewhere along the line, I broke, and for many years, the Gods and I have walked together along a path to put me back together again, and here at last, I am reaching a point in my life where I have all the pieces that were me ready at hand and I have to decide, do I put humpty dumpty back into the shape of an egg, or is he better off as a bouquet of flowers? Fluid, you see, we are all fluid, and I can either try to freeze myself into a familiar and comfortable shape, or risk flowing into new and dangerous forms with every passing day.

having some issues with this new blog

having some issues with this new blog, as it is a synching blog system, and until I get all my post re-posted here (blogger has a 50 post per day limit) I will have to take a breather.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The pumpkin in the patch

This time of year is always very special for me, and in trying to understand Poseidon, I am also coming to terms with something in my own life that bothers me, but which I have dealt with for such a long time that I often take it for granted. I suffer from a severe fluidity in my memory, and I choose to use the term fluidity because I am relating it to Poseidon here, but in essence, I have dealt with a rather severe problem with my memory for many, many years, and that is a problem with relating proper nouns to their objects. This stems from an incident in my late teens early twenties, which is not really important.

This issue causes a problem in remembering my own life, not that I don't remember the things that happen to me, but the names of the people who were important in it. The names become fluid, a Carlos or a Tony can easily become a Mark or an Antonio, and in the end, the fluidity of those nouns in relation to who they should be connected causes many problems for me.

Understanding this, I make it a point to speak people's names when conversing with them, and referring to them by name rather than pronouns, when I remember those names, and often when I make prayers to the Gods, and I try to name them all, I forget the actual names. This bothers me, because such a lapse in memory seems disrespectful to me.

But there is actually a good that often comes from this fluidity in my memory.

I was raised to see people differently. Blacks were a certain ways, Cubans another, Whites another still, and in the end, it was leading to a person who would see people in stereotypes. But the fluidity of my memory meant that I couldn't really tell the difference between Carlos and Antoin, David or Stanislav. After all, if the names could be so interchangeable, why not the other traits, the stereotypes? And if that is the case, then doesn't that make them all essentially the same? All essentially equal in the eyes of whatever God did this to me?

We can learn from our mistakes, our issues, our losses, and even our infirmities, and Poseidon is a tutelary deity. Legend has him as a teacher of men. Teaching us to take from the sea where the land is not capable of supporting us, and perhaps taking from our faults where our blessings are not capable of informing us.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Letter to Poseidon

Dear Poseidon;

I have come to you to ask you a few questions, and to tell you that I love you. Sure, that phrase really does pop out of our mouths just a little too easily these days, but it is still a perfectly genuine feeling on my part.

When I am near you, I both fear you and want to be near you. It is like making love to a truly masculine, nay, ultra-masculine man, who is so in touch with his own animal nature that he brings you with him into the power of his being, into the depths of his soul. You have always been a fountain of strength to mankind, and a powerful ally, but also a vicious enemy when enraged. So, if I may ask, why are you so angry?

Do we human beings really tick you off so much? Do you disapprove of us, and if so, why? Would you tell us what it is we are doing beyond the obvious to anger you so?

But, and this is my most important question, do you love us? Is the anger you feel toward us like the anger of a father who sees his children heading down a dark path? Is it like the rage of a father who, having been the center of his children’s life, now finds himself only a peripheral figure? Or is it something deeper and more unknowable than that?

I wish there were some easy way to ask you these things, or to be more clear, some easy way to know our answer, but I will just meditate on your presence some more and hope that you will give me some more insight into you. If for no other reason than I love you, and want to know you better.

Yours, now and forever.