Posts Tagged ‘Khronos’

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Porphyry – On Images – fragment 8

November 25, 2009

‘The whole power productive of water they called Oceanus, and named its symbolic figure Tethys. But of the whole, the drinking-water produced is called Achelous; and the sea-water Poseidon; while again that which makes the sea, inasmuch as it is productive, is Amphitrite. Of the sweet waters the particular powers are called Nymphs, and those of the sea-waters Nereids.

Again, the power of fire they called Hephaestus, and have made his image in the form of a man, but put on it a blue cap as a symbol of the revolution of the heavens, because the archetypal and purest form of fire is there. But the fire brought down from heaven to earth is less intense, and wants the strengthening and support which is found in matter: wherefore he is lame, as needing matter to support him.

Also they supposed a power of this kind to belong to the sun and called it Apollo, from the pulsation of his beams. There are also nine Muses singing to his lyre, which are the sublunar sphere, and seven spheres of the planets, and one of the fixed stars. And they crowned him with laurel, partly because the plant is full of fire, and therefore hated by daemons; and partly because it crackles in burning, to represent the god’s prophetic art.

But inasmuch as the sun wards off the evils of the earth, they called him Heracles (from his clashing against the air) in passing from east to west. And they invented fables of his performing twelve labours, as the symbol of the division of the signs of the zodiac in heaven; and they arrayed him with a club and a lion’s skin, the one as an indication of his uneven motion, and the other representative of his strength in “Leo” the sign of the zodiac.

Of the sun’s healing power Asclepius is the symbol, and to him they have given the staff as a sign of the support and rest of the sick, and the serpent is wound round it, as significant of his preservation of body and soul: for the animal is most full of spirit, and shuffles off the weakness of the body. It seems also to have a great faculty for healing: for it found the remedy for giving clear sight, and is said in a legend to know a certain plant which restores life.

But the fiery power of his revolving and circling motion, whereby he ripens the crops, is called Dionysus, not in the same sense as the power which produces the juicy fruits, but either from the sun’s rotation, or from his completing his orbit in the heaven. And whereas he revolves round the cosmical seasons and is the maker of “times and tides,” the sun is on this account called Horus.

Of his power over agriculture, whereon depend the gifts of wealth, the symbol is Pluto. He has, however, equally the power of destroying, on which account they make Sarapis share the temple of Pluto: and the purple tunic they make the symbol of the light that has sunk beneath the earth, and the sceptre broken at the top that of his power below, and the posture of the hand the symbol of his departure into the unseen world.

Cerberus is represented with three heads, because the positions of the sun above the earth are three-rising, midday, and setting.

The moon, conceived according to her brightness, they called Artemis, as it were, “cutting the air.” And Artemis, though herself a virgin, presides over childbirth, because the power of the new moon is helpful to parturition.

What Apollo is to the sun, that Athena is to the moon: for the moon is a symbol of wisdom, and so a kind of Athena.

But, again, the moon is Hecate, the symbol of her varying phases and of her power dependent on the phases. Wherefore her power appears in three forms, having as symbol of the new moon the figure in the white robe and golden sandals, and torches lighted: the basket, which she bears when she has mounted high, is the symbol of the cultivation of the crops, which she makes to grow up according to the increase of her light: and again the symbol of the full moon is the goddess of the brazen sandals.

Or even from the branch of olive one might infer her fiery nature, and from the poppy her productiveness, and the multitude of the souls who find an abode in her as in a city, for the poppy is an emblem of a city. She bears a bow, like Artemis, because of the sharpness of the pangs of labour.

And, again, the Fates are referred to her powers, Clotho to the generative, and Lachesis to the nutritive, and Atropos to the inexorable will of the deity.

Also, the power productive of corn-crops, which is Demeter, they associate with her, as producing power in her. The moon is also a supporter of Kore. They set Dionysus also beside her, both on account of their growth of horns, and because of the region of clouds lying beneath the lower world.

The power of Kronos they perceived to be sluggish and slow and cold, and therefore attributed to him the power of time: and they figure him standing, and grey-headed, to indicate that time is growing old.

The Curetes, attending on Chronos, are symbols of the seasons, because time journeys on through seasons.

Of the Hours, some are the Olympian, belonging to the sun, which also open the gates in the air: and others are earthly, belonging to Demeter, and hold a basket, one symbolic of the flowers of spring, and the other of the wheat-ears of summer.

The power of Ares they perceived to be fiery, and represented it as causing war and bloodshed, and capable both of harm and benefit.

The star of Aphrodite they observed as tending to fecundity, being the cause of desire and offspring, and represented it as a woman because of generation, and as beautiful, because it is also the evening star-

“Hesper, the fairest star that shines in heaven.” [Homer, Iliad 22:318]

And Eros they set by her because of desire. She veils her breasts and other parts, because their power is the source of generation and nourishment. She comes from the sea, a watery element, and warm, and in constant movement, and foaming because of its commotion, whereby they intimate the seminal power.

Hermes is the representative of reason and speech, which both accomplish and interpret all things. The phallic Hermes represents vigour, but also indicates the generative law that pervades all things.

Further, reason is composite: in the sun it is called Hermes; in the moon Hecate; and that which is in the All Hermopan, for the generative and creative reason extends over all things. Hermanubis also is composite, and as it were half Greek, being found among the Egyptians also. Since speech is also connected with the power of love, Eros represents this power: wherefore Eros is represented as the son of Hermes, but as an infant, because of his sudden impulses of desire.

They made Pan the symbol of the universe, and gave him his horns as symbols of sun and moon, and the fawn skin as emblem of the stars in heaven, or of the variety of the universe.’

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Serpentine

October 4, 2009

You are the slow crawl
Of eternity;
Incorporeal,
Serpentine lover.

Lord of the wheel of
Time, necessity;
The Zodiakos
Yield to You alone.

Creator of need,
Of pulsing hunger;
Of far-reaching Phanes,
The father of all.

The passing of time,
The fate of all men,
Is both a blessing
And a curse from You.

You are the King of
A generation
Of kings: but You are
Supreme, above all.

I offer to You,
Lord of the kosmos,
My eternal soul;
It is Yours alone.

Supreme Aion, Lord
Of the Moirai and
Those who govern them,
I ask You one thing:

Please, my King, do not
Be moved to anger
Against me; let me
Stir not Your fury.

I submit to You.
My body, my mind,
My soul; I give all
Unto You, Time Lord.

I hope only that
You are pleased with my
Offering; for I
Would serve You always.

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Fiction: Aphrodite: Winter

September 28, 2009

She isn’t there in the winter. They – men leaning on staffs and breathing heat into the air – discuss it among themselves. She isn’t there, and they ask why. They invent stories amongst themselves, tales of her with Persephone, threading the pale flowers of the Underworld through her fellow’s hair – but no, no. That is not true, because then she would be somewhere, not here but still there, and she is not.

The truth doesn’t make sense to her. Winter, the chill nipping along throats and shoulders, destroys her. It tears her apart with curved nails and makes her scream – pleasure pain pleasure pain; she’s not sure, it’s hard to distinguish the two when she rules such a vast domain. But winter: still it destroys her, still it kisses her until her eyes stream with tears and she forgets herself.

If she forgets herself, she doesn’t exist. That much is true and that is honest, and yet if the men knew, they would ask: then how does she return? Where does she go?

She laughs at them when she hears their words in the summer, and slaps them with pulsing waves of desire, need. She speaks, without the need for oracles or sacrifice to appease her, for she laughs often and without restraint: “I am everywhere.”

That is the truth. She exists not at all, and yet she does, really: she exists in the occasional kiss, mostly chaste now, just a brush of lips over a brow, or else in the tentative touch of icy fingers.

She has to wonder, though: where does she go? She’s not certain – not to the Underworld, though, and that is all she knows. Not even to the Kharites, with their red-red, ever-smiling mouths – even they succumb to silence in the all but endless winters. To her, they are endless: and yet they are incredibly finite, for she never remembers anything of them.

Once, she asked Zeus where it is that she goes, and he laughed at her, as though she were nothing more than the humans that she herself mocked. “You? You are not of winter, and so you do not live there.”

His answer terrified her, and it still does now. She hides: she wraps herself in Ares’ warmth; she is hot beneath her skin, and flames blaze in her summer-girl veins. She thinks, thinks, thinks, and she dreams, but she can’t find an answer better—or equal—to that Zeus gave, and she doesn’t like that. She doesn’t like to think herself an outcast, but, in the winter, that is what she is.

Nothing grows through the snow that settles over the earth, or even in the chill that creeps in the autumn days and makes her mind hazy and her pleasures harder to find. Not love, or plants, or fruits: not even hate can blossom here. Yes, yes, even Eris fades in the winter – a cooling of the words at first, the sharpness edged with something softer, and then even she goes.

Aphrodite does not stay, cannot stay, when winter sets in. She has tried before – fighting back with teeth and nails, snarling and screaming – but it never works. Ice blazes against her, pulsing like a fire that she can’t control, and it pulls her under. She drowns in the ice like a child, struggling to press her face up through the jagged hole to breathe: and it does not work.

She blames not Demeter, nor Persephone—and from the tales whispered among women with loose-hanging breasts and thin, cruel mouths, she knows this to be strange—but Athene. She is Aphrodite’s undoing: thus the chill winter months must be of her. She curses Athene and flies at her, screams, attacks: and cold, hard Athene simply ignores her.

That, though, is the way of things.

It is only when she looks, finally, to herself that she realises what she knew all along. She looks past the image that the humans set upon her, trying to define who she—she!—is, and she understands. Winter takes her from the scope of humanity and places her back among the kosmos, as Ananke once again: for it is inevitable that the kosmos need her influence, too, in order to remain as they are. In the winter, she realises, she wraps herself with Khronos, and melts, fluid and snakelike, into him. He remains with her when she returns: she understands that. He keeps her heart beating—hers, hers; the only heart of all the gods that truly beats—as she dances with mortals and exchanges kisses with her lovers.

Winter does not seem so harsh, now. She thinks of him in the spring, summer and autumn, and that makes her disappearance easier. She shares kisses with Persephone at the solstice and then waits: but she does not wait long. Winter sears through her, tearing her apart – she feels no agony, not really, but only the bliss of knowledge.

The pulse of ichor, of life, in her veins is kept there by her yearly embrace with Khronos. She melts into him, and he into her, and she becomes new once more. She is refreshed; she shines among the Olympian gods and puts even the Titanes to shame. Her heart beats and her eyes flutter, ichor pulses and need claws at her belly, and she understands that this is her own blessing. She smiles to the sky in the dead silence of a summer night, and looks on with bright eyes to the coming winter months.

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Aphrodite-Ananke and Creation

September 27, 2009

When you hear the name ‘Aphrodite,’ it is highly likely that you immediately understand who it is one is speaking of – after all, Aphrodite (and the Roman goddess that she was identified with, Venus) is a popular figure even outside of Hellenic Polytheistic circles. However, unless you have delved quite deeply into the Greek mythologies, it is unlikely that you will know who ‘Ananke’ is. She is not a mainstream goddess; she is not Olympian nor an attendant of such, but rather she is one of the gods—the Protogenos or primeval gods—who are principally responsible for the creation of the cosmos and everything within it.

Simply put, Ananke is the god of compulsion, necessity and inevitability. She was born the sister-mate of the Protogenos Khronos, king of time—who is deeply identified with Aion, the Protogenos lord of eternity—and from their embrace Phanes first begun. Phanes, the primeval god of creation and generation, equated with Hesiod’s Elder Eros and the more well-known (and oft-called ‘younger’) Eros, god of love and the son of Aphrodite.

In my personal view of How The Kosmos Came To Be—based on a mix of classical sources—in the beginning, and for unknowable eons, all that existed was Khaos; the deep mists of the void. Khaos existed, and nothing else: she did not breathe, she did not think, she did not live. And yet stirring in her misty womb—perhaps over hundreds of thousands of years; perhaps for even longer—were the Protogenos gods Ananke and Khronos-Aion. Nature, of course, abhors a vacuum; and so it was the eternal pull of inevitability that pulsed together in the barely-there body of Khaos until, finally, the moment arose and Ananke and Khronos-Aion were born, tangled together.

From Khronos-Aion and Ananke’s violent, and yet utterly sexless, embrace, Phanes’ egg was produced; it grew in Ananke’s womb until the time came for it to emerge. And yet there was, truly, no way for the egg to emerge: there was yet no Phanes, no Protogenos pull to reproduce – and so they could not, did not, reproduce. It was only when Phanes hatched from his egg, deep in Ananke’s body, that they became truly, sexually formed: and at that moment, Ananke was torn apart by the immense pressure of generation, life, sex – the immense pressure that was Phanes. Thus, now, Ananke’s divinity rested with Khronos’ still, but she was utterly formless—more so, even, than Khaos.

Phanes’ arrival—his necessary arrival—into the kosmos kicked everything into action. The other Protogenos offspring that had been stirring within Khaos were instantly born – Erebos, Nyx, Tartaros and Gaia; darkness, night, the stormy pit beneath the earth and the earth itself, respectively. Phanes pulsed, everywhere: the Protogenos gods crashed together and life exploded in the far-reaching darkness of the kosmos.

Gaia, with only Phanes’ massively sexual influence and no tangible partner, produced children such as Ouranos, the heavens, whom shortly thereafter became the father, with Gaia, of the twelve Titanes. The Titanes were led by Kronos, god of destructive time, and the bi-gendered god Agdistis, who would later be castrated and become the goddess Rhea-Kybele. However, not all was as perfectly peaceful as it may sound: and the first war between the gods was not long in arriving.

After the Titanes’ births, Ouranos and Gaia continued to come together—he descended nightly to lie with her—and they produced more children, the Hekatonkheires (six hundred-handed and fifty-headed gigantes). The Hekatonkheires were so awful and terrifying to look upon that, after the birth of the first, Ouranos took it upon himself to force each back into Gaia’s womb. This caused her immense pain, and she eventually went to her Titane sons to ask them for their help. Only Kronos agreed to help.

Kronos, as is rather well known, ambushed Ouranos as he descended to lie with Gaia, and castrated him. The severed genitals of the god landed in the sea, mixing with Thalassa’s Protogenos sea-womb – and Aphrodite began to take shape. Over the course of the hundreds of years during which Aphrodite was formed, Agdistis became Rhea-Kybele, Rhea and Kronos’ Olympian children were born, Kronos swallowed all of the Olympians but Zeus, and Zeus, when old and powerful enough, waged war with the Titanes and won the reign of the kosmos.

As such, this time was not yet right for Aphrodite: the Moirai spun the threads of violence, hate and pain, and there was then no opening for a god such as Aphrodite who encompassed both spectrums of emotions and bodily states; the good (such as love, piety and friendship) and the awful (war, torture and death). And as she was growing—slowly and steadily, in the womb of deep Thalassa—the divine essence of Ananke remained torn apart. That essence resonated with Aphrodite’s own: for both are gods of compulsion, of necessity, of want and need and inevitability, and both longed for completion – Aphrodite for the wars to cease and to be born, lovely and whole, and Ananke to return to her mate Khronos-Aion, who continued to turn the heavens without her.

It was inevitable, in and of itself, that Ananke’s loose divinity would be attracted to Aphrodite’s. They drew steadily closer—Ananke filtered through Thalassa’s womb and delighted in the contact with a fellow yearning divine—until, in a burst of what truly could only be described as fate, their essences merged together. Ananke ceased to exist; Aphrodite alone never truly existed. They became one: Aphrodite-Ananke, the Protogenos, Titane and even Olympian goddess of the necessity of procreation, the compulsion of love, and the inevitability of beauty in a world created by such gods as these.

The war between the Olympians and the Titanes ended shortly after, and the time came for Aphrodite-Ananke to, slowly, be born. At this time, Phanes’ influence was still everywhere, pushing at anything and everything to create, create, create; and it was here that ‘Aphrodite’ and ‘Eros’ first met, as she was being born and he was there to urge her on (and yet he was her own child: for he was the son of Ananke and Khronos, and her essence was now so wound with Ananke’s that it would have been impossible—truly, truly impossible—to separate them; they had totally become one).

From the very first, Aphrodite-Ananke and Phanes connected. As the resonance between Aphrodite and Ananke had occurred, it occurred now between Phanes and Aphrodite-Ananke – but the end result was much different. Instead of their essences merging, Phanes wrapped himself around the child-goddess and all but suffocated her in his embrace. From this, a seed of divinity flickered in Aphrodite-Ananke’s womb—a connection—and Phanes poured his entire divinity into Aphrodite-Ananke in a tidal wave that shook the childhood from her essence and brought about, simultaneously, the rapid development of the child, or rather the children, within her womb.

She gave birth to Phanes immediately: he was now born again as Phanes-Eros, Phanes-Himeros and Phanes-Pothos – the gods of love, desire and passion. By the time that she finally reached the shore of Cyprus, Zeus immediately met her and ordered that she join the Olympian gods, perhaps recognising the Protogenos stir in her eyes and smiles, and she, in turn, asked Nerites to join her. He refused, and refused again the wings she would offer him, and the first instance of her wrath against a wrongdoer of love occurred; she turned him into a shellfish, and gave the wings to her Erotes, instead.

And, thus, Aphrodite-Ananke became known as simply Aphrodite, and her sons not as Phanes-Eros, Phanes-Himeros and Phanes-Pothos, but simply Eros, Himeros and Pothos. It is these words that even I most commonly use, due to ease, but the deity I refer to each time is the same: ‘Aphrodite’ is the mixture of the essences of Aphrodite and Ananke; ‘Eros’ is Phanes reborn as Eros; ‘Himeros’ is, likewise, Phanes-Himeros; and, finally, ‘Pothos’ is Phanes-Pothos.

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Thoughts on Eros

August 11, 2009

Eros: one of the oldest gods, and one of the youngest. He brings love and hate with his arrows of gold and lead, shot straight into the hearts of the unwary. He is, like Aphrodite, quick to judge and quick to forgive; and he is, like Khaos, endless and infinite. He is at once the winged babe, the dancing boy and the sleek youth of love. He carries lovers’ gifts in his arms and fondly ruffles the hair of those he passes. He is Aphrodite’s more human face, and yet he is far older than her, born from Khaos’ creeping mists.

He is the bitter-sweet love of life, of love, of the world and of one’s soul. He draws his arrows and loosens them on the hearts of those who do not respect him – and those who do respect him. No one, god or mortal, is safe from his touch. Only his respect of Choice forces him to stay his hand when he would otherwise strike at the virgin goddesses with his all-consuming arrows.

He leads the winged loves, the Erotes, in their fluttering flight in Aphrodite’s footsteps. He treads child-delicately and youth-heavily, and he throws himself into love with the reckless abandon of Love itself. He sneers at those who would refuse his passions, and spreads his wings to cover those who follow where he walks. He lives in the company of the gods, but often prefers the touches of humans. He is sharp and cold and hot and soft, wild and civilised, dangerous and peaceful. He is the quick-fingered child-keeper of the heavens, the earth, the sky and the seas.

He is the reaction, the fizzling catalyst who inspires love and hate – equally, and at the command of his laughing sometimes-mother, Aphrodite. He is the playmate of Ganymedes, cupbearer of the gods, and the husband of Psyche, the love of oneself, the soul. He is the father of pleasure and the son of beauty, of night, of nothing and everything. He brushes his hands, feather-light, over the cheeks and lips of his flushed, open, beautiful wife and inspires lovers everywhere to follow his example. He is masculinity and he is feminity, he is the eternal child who gives cheeky smiles and wears his heart on his sleeve.

He throws himself into everything—love, tantrums, joy, pain—and expects the same of his Erotes. He dances with nymphs and muses and plays at the feet of the Moirae. He holds himself to a moral code at once distant and similar to our own, and he refuses to rest his red-hot lips on the brow of those who do not do him justice. He is sin and virtue, platonic and sexual love, he is passion and need and thrumming, pulsing love.

He wraps his arms around his wife and daughter, and all he asks of those who would follow him is that they do not hurt the ones they love. He kisses his little-girl daughter on the forehead and his butterfly-wife on the lips, and he smiles up to his smiling, golden mother. He plays in night and day, dusk and dawn, and his influence is always circling, a hazy red smoke that curls around the skin of lovers and lets them bask in his glow. He blesses with his delicate fingers and draws his teeth over intertwined bodies, and he laughs and basks in his own glow.

He is Eros: the child, the lover. Love.