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.

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