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.

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