Thursday, June 12, 2014


I am moving on from Zeus, but before I do, I want to set down a couple of the things I have managed to glean from my attempt to focus on him and his power.

1: He is Supreme.

This is not to say all powerful, but that his power to affect the universe around us is the most potent because he is, as myth would put it, the king. He is the arbiter, the decider, the one who is, for lack of a better word, the city manager of this universe. Gods act, but it is through Zeus that those actions take form in our universe.

2: He is vast.

To say a God is a vast entity is, well, stupid, of course they are vast, but in Zeus there is a different vastness. It is something hard to explain, but because of his role as King, his power and form is such that under no circumstances could I ever claim to truly understand him. The vastness I speak of is a vastness of power, of presence, in time and space, in the air, the water, and in death. It is hard for a mind, trapped in mortality, to come to an understanding of him.

3: He is powerful.

By powerful, I mean that even in our modern, Abrahamic world, the power that is Zeus is still very much worshipped even by those who claim, and will claim vehemently, they do not. The old testament Jehovah is very much like Zeus, and the ancient YHWH/El shares so many attributes with Zeus that historians, mythographers, and anthropologists would all have to lie to not classify him as the “Sky God” of the ancient Hebrews.

4: He is father.

One of the roles readily identifiable with Zeus, clear in his epithets and myths, is that he is a father. Father of heroes, of Gods, of men and women. He is progenitor and lord of house, and his role as father extends not just to the mythic impregnation of virgins, but to his role as the father of nations. All over the world, Gods that can be identified with Zeus, sometimes almost directly, sometimes with tenuous connection, have proven themselves the founders of entire civilizations, and as such, he is also…

5: He is civilizer

In ancient times, people believed that it was not just customary, but a religious obligation to be kind to strangers. To be welcoming of guests and to render them aid when needed. In our Western world, where all we seem to care about is ourselves, this is an ancient custom that can use reviving. Among the Greeks, this was also a custom, and Zeus, like YHWH, is said to have set forth the destruction of humanity (I don’t take myths literally) in order to end their shameful treatment of each other.

The crime for which El/YHWH destroyed the world was not gay sex, it was that, like Zeus, he is Lord of Hosts and as such the unwillingness of a people to behave in a kind and welcoming way to each other offended him.

This is Zeus (The Sky Father) as civilizer, as encourager of civility and kindness. In my opinion, one of his most wonderful aspects.

6: He can be angered.

In the West we tend to think of Gods as either capricious or as these strange emotionless things that spend eternity staring at their navels, but the history of religion teaches us that Gods can be angered. We may not understand fully the reasons, and we may often not even be the reasons, as we human beings are so egotistical, but Gods act, and often their actions mean horrendous turmoil. If we accept that Zeus is the Sky itself, and I do not, then we accept that storms, tornados, lightning strikes, etc., are his actions. If we do not, then we accept that some part of him is the divine force that allows those things. Are they a sign of  his anger? I don’t think so, but I do think that the turn our civilizations take, the life and death of them, can be. It is unfortunate that we so often blame stupid things, like gay men kissing or abortions (looking at you, tea party nuts) or some other stupid sin when perhaps it is the way we are in general that angers him. Our destructive, polluting, careless use of this world, this gift, we have been granted.

7: He can love.

Zeus is seen in myth as rather fickle, horny, and even rapey, but let us set aside those myths for a second, as more often than not they speak of human dynasties seeking to connect themselves with the King of Olympus, but there are also moments when he is seen to show tenderness to Hera, and to a few others, and in some myths, he is also the father of divine love.

Zeus loves mankind, but we are not his only love, we cannot be. God loves life in all of its many manifestations, and it is incumbent upon us to respect that life and, since we are part of the cycle of life, to be so with respect and care. To be part of the food chain is natural, to be cruel about it is not, and we have to learn that and then teach that as part of our religion’s teachings.

8: He is warrior.

Zeus is King, and in ancient times Kings did not sit by and give orders in the safety of their castles. Kings strode into battle, sometimes at the very head of their armies. Zeus loves the warrior, the hero, the defender. He loves the man, or woman, who puts his sword arm where his mouth is. I am guessing he probably hates most politicians, but hey, I dunno.

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