Saturday, November 13, 2010

In sickness...

I have been sick this week. Well, actually, I have been sick since I moved to Ohio 12 years ago. Moving here has brought on a plethora of allergies and health issues that I never knew I had. I don't know what it is about this area that causes this, but I am assured by the people here that it is not uncommon for people to move here to suffer from a variety of issues, especially sinus and respiratory ones.


I suppose it would be a bit fallacious of me to pin the cause on the level of pollution here, or the way this area, known as the Miami River Valley, sits at some kind of weird crossroads of weather that brings so much stuff from both the North and the South to bear, but I think maybe the way the people in this area seem to care so little about things like the ecology might have something to do with it.


Sticking with my current mentor on this path along the star, Hephaestus, I remember a story told of our God of Smiths, a story in which the God makes himself part of the land, and by doing so, brings industry to it.


As the story goes, Hephaestus is an ugly God. This is, of course, a rare thing. The Gods of Olympus are of the most utterly beautiful of forms, but the God was hurled to the Earth in anger in a battle between his parents, and his landing upon the Earth rendered him broken and ugly to most eyes.


Thusly, Hephaestus was also a lonely God, and in his desire to love and be loved, he sought to make Athena, the great virgin goddess of Athens, his wife. To you and me this would, perhaps, entail a courtship and a very special question, but in a time long ago, when women were often simply taken, this meant something a kin to rape.


He spied Athena, lovely virgin goddess, and attempted to take her. But this is not just any goddess, this is Athena, goddess of war, favored daughter of Zeus, she who protects and defends with both strategy and action, and so it was she fought him off, and in his attempt, this frottage, Hephaestus spills his seed upon her leg. In disgust, she wipes away the offending seed with a piece of woven wool cloth, perhaps woven by her own hand, and tosses it to the ground.


There the divine seed takes root upon the eternally fertile Earth, and from it is born the snake footed Erichthonios. Athena takes the child as her own, and raises him. It is said she places him in a box, and in the land of Athens he is raised and protected and eventually becomes the first King of Athens.


Now, why this came to my mind this week as I pondered my own illness is, perhaps, a clue to how I think. Hephaestus is a god of Smiths, of industry, and Athena is, in many ways, a personification of the spirit of the people of Attika. She is Athens, he is industry, and through the connection they share to Erichthonios I see Hephaestos, and industry, as coming to Athens.


But along with industry comes the byproduct of industry, pollution, and from pollution comes much illness, and in this area, the not so clean air has lead me to be far sicker than I ever was in my previous home in Connecticut. So the idea of industry came to mind and how, as a nation, we have allowed it to ruin so much of our birthright. The very land that maintains us, nourishes us, keeps us safe and alive.


At which point do we wake up and say enough, and how do we do so while allowing the manifestation of the force that is Hephaestus in our lives, the desire to build, create, and profit from our labor?


I won't claim to have the answers to this, but I do need to take a better look at my own spending habits, and by doing so put my money where my mouth is. Buying things I know are good for me and my environment, not buying those things I know are harmful, and trying my best to avoid buying from businesses that are abusive or destructive.


Now, where do I find that information?



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