Sunday, January 2, 2011

Not sure about this one, but... I sat and thought about the Gods this weekend, I was drawn to some music, specifically, to a song from the 90s called "Love & Happiness" done by a musical/DJ group called River Ocean, which was essenatially just India and Louie Vega. The song, sung by Latina songstress India, who sings parts of the song in the Yoruba used in Santeria, calls to the Yoruba goddesses Yemaya and Ochun, who are also known by other names in different parts of the African diaspora.



I was curious to gain more insight into the meaning of the song, though the invocations there seem very straight forward. What I found was details about two sea goddesses that, in many ways, are very similar to several of our own goddesses, especially Hera and Aphrodite. Now, Aphrodite is, of course, a sea goddess of sorts, as she was born of the foam of the sea itself, but the associations of these two goddesses as seen by the Yoruba, Brazilian, and Carribean people with marriage, love, wealth, children, connect them to many of our own.


Now, you know me, I hope, and you know I am not about to start praying to Yemaya and Ochun, as I am not the syncretic type when it comes to the Gods. Practices I may adopt, but not Gods, as I prefer to maintain a proper context in that realm because I do believe that context is actually very important to how we grow as spiritual beings. Without that context, I feel people are just grasping at straws or following the flavor of the month.


But it did get me thinking about something, and that is the sacred marriages of our religion. The Hieros Gamoi we associate with Hera and Zeus, or Hades and Persephone. Why is it we don't seem to have a similar view of this kind of sacredness when it comes to the third great Hieros Gamos, that of Amphitrite and Poseidon?


Amphitrite is an old goddess. She was said to have been among the greatest of goddesses, attending the birth of Apollo, yet she seems to be so rarely associated, in cult, with her husband. Is it that the marriage was seen as a forced thing, even by ancients, who saw their great sea goddess being subjugated under the heal of the patriarchal Poseidon? Or, perhaps, the cults of Amphitrite were already in such decline at the time that the myths were written about the marriage of these two that there was little to offer by way of worship and ritual about it?


The marriages of Gods are not always sacred affairs, at least not on a pan-Hellenic level, of course. The marriage of Aphrodite and Hephaestos is hardly one that yells "sacred" in the overall context of the Hellenic system, yet there must have been places where that marriage was celebrated with great reverence. Were it not so, the myths about its doom would not have been so popular.


I feel that we underestimate the role of Amphitrite, perhaps because she is, like Gaia, a vast figure who is sometimes hard to contemplate. Or simply because Hellenic and Roman writers were so quick to diminish her role to that of a simple personification of the sea, but I think perhaps we need to start paying more attention. Perhaps it is time that we established a Hieros Gamos celebration for Amphitrite and Poseidon.


When would such a thing have been celebrated, and what would have been the nature of it? Those are the questions now that I have to think about, because I could, of course, come up with a random date, but I would like to take into account a few things first, like, would such a celebration have been connected to the beginning of the sailing season?


Of course, any advice would be welcome, as I am serious about this. Establishing a celebration to honor the hieros gamos between Amphitrite and Poseidon.


Anonymous said...

I live in an island, and every time I pass in front of the sea I say a 'Khairete Poseidon kai Amphritrite' to them. I agree with you we could establish a day to celebrate this couple, if not the sailing season maybe the season where the fishes are procreating or something like that. Some species of seafood are not sold in the bar at the beach when they are in such time, because it's prohibited to kill them. Probably the season here in Brazil is not the same there (and not the same in the whole country too), but we could find a common ground or just respect the area/region we live.

Héctor said...

Yes, most festivals of this type would have to recognize the local manifestations of the goddess of the sea, not just a static time.

Muito obrigado, Artemisia, gosto muito saber que você ainda esta lendo este blog. Penso que e a única pessoa lendo-lo.