Picking up the pieces

I was pleased, earlier this week, to see a small but emphatic shout of joy ring out from certain portions of this, our internet.  This, in response to a bit of unexpected good news, as word spread that the statue of Manannán Mac Lir, recently stolen from a mountain top in Northern Ireland, had been recovered.

The image of the Irish sea god, missing for some weeks, was found where the vandals had cast it down, at the base of a ravine only a few hundred yards from where it once stood.

Until now, I think most of us believed that the fiberglass statue had been torn apart and disposed of.  Instead, it appears to have been carried a short distance and then rolled down a hill.  So, I suppose we can ad laziness to the list of crimes for which these religiously motivated thugs are guilty, should we ever chance to discover them.

And, with the statue safely returned, I seriously doubt we’ll see any great effort put toward that investigation.

Did I say, “safely returned?”  Well no, not really.

Fallen Statue Found

Even as the first stories of the statue’s recovery began to circulate, there was mention of some damage to the head.  When the first photos were finally released it was clear that the entire back of Manannán’s head had been sheared away.  Whether this was a consequence of the fall or an active attempt to further disfigure the sculpture is unclear, but the result is the same.

A community is left to pick up the pieces, both literally and figuratively.  Will the local taxpayers have the means to both restore the statue, and secure it against further attacks?  And even if Manannán is returned to that high lookout on Binn Fhoibhne, I have no doubt he will always bear the scars of defilement.

In that, at least, he is in good company.

Tour any of the great museums and you will see them.  Cracked and broken, their once graceful arms missing, they are the gods and heroes of old, the glory of civilizations past, long ago cast down in a fit of religious fervor, and more recently resurrected as simple curiosities to entertain the masses.

Here is the head of the Goddess Aphrodite, torn from her statue, her eyes gouged out and a cross chiseled into her forehead.  Carved in the 1st Century C.E., it was found in the Roman Agora in Athens.

Here is the head of the Goddess Aphrodite, torn from her statue, her eyes gouged out and a cross chiseled into her forehead. Carved in the 1st Century C.E., it was found in the Roman Agora in Athens.

There is a warning phrase which we hear, from time to time, among certain segments of the Christian faithful.  “These are the End Times,” they shout for all to hear, usually in response to some aspect of our modern world which they find irksome to their sensibilities.

Be it secularism…,

…same-sex marriage,

…stem-cell research,

…global free-trade,

…and let us not forget the rise of alternative religions,

…you can be sure that someone, somewhere is convinced that society is about to collapse in on itself and a new age is about to begin.

And therein lies the irony, because these really are the end times.

The biblical ‘tribulations’ began long before the first words of that book were set to paper, when the various tribes of mankind began to migrate across the face of the land and entire societies fell in their wake.

The end isn’t neigh.

The end was yesterday and the day before that, and the world of marvels we have built for ourselves rests upon the gutted remains of the ages that came before us.  And while some are still trying to pick up the pieces, others are determined forget it all in favor of some approaching paradise.

But what so many of them fail to understand, is that the end is a process, not a stopping point.

The worlds we know is always in a state of death…,

…and birth,

…and rebirth.

The human response to this process appears to involve clinging to those portions of the past we hold dear while simultaneously trying to pull down that which we find hostile to our world view.  In so doing we become as much the engine of the end times as we are its victims.

I don’t imagine that will ever change, but I’d like to think it possible.

In my moments of greatest optimism, I imagine the world we know in collapse, falling away to be replaced by one in which we are free to worship any god, or none, without feeling the need to pull down that which is sacred to our neighbor.

It wouldn’t be the Biblical Paradise, the Celtic Otherworld, the green fields of Iðavöllr, or the Age of freaking Aquarius, but I think it would be a nice start.

1 Comment

Filed under Art, Culture, Interfaith, Ireland, Modern Life, Philosophy, Religion, The Gods

One response to “Picking up the pieces

  1. Revelation = reveal The “great reveal” is happening in every segment of our so called “civilized” world right now and a lot of what we are finding out about is pretty disturbing. People cling to what they know, their warm blanket , (for many that is religion) when the shite hits the fan. The shite is officially hitting the fan. Hence desperate acts like what happened with the statue. Hence the desperate acts of the old ruling class, mostly white males, trying to take control of everything because they know they really have control of nothing. It is illusion…delusion. Like a tyrannical parent they try to control what we eat, drink, how we clothe ourselves, where we go, how we go, if we do or do not have children (control of the womb means they can ensure more little conservatives will be created to be brain washed and keep them in power)….the tables are being overturned as if in slow motion but they are turning. Unless they all get transplanted into surrogates or put their heads in thinking jars….they are mortal. Unfortunately their brain washed, blind and often ignorant spawn and any other young and or desperate up and comers they manage to get their claws into with promises of wealth and power are already prepped and stand waiting in the wings to take up their mantles. I am hoping those who inherit such legacies will “get smart” to their forbears hideous legacy and forge a new world like people , you, me and so many others, want to see before WE die.

    Merriam Websters definition of Revelation (reference used by Christians to describe to describe the Apocalypse)

    noun rev·e·la·tion \ˌre-və-ˈlā-shən\
    : a usually secret or surprising fact that is made known
    : an act of making something known : an act of revealing something in usually a surprising way
    : something that surprises you

    Full Definition of REVELATION
    1a : an act of revealing or communicating divine truth
    b : something that is revealed by God to humans
    2a : an act of revealing to view or making known
    b : something that is revealed; especially : an enlightening or astonishing disclosure
    c : a pleasant often enlightening surprise
    3 capitalized : an apocalyptic writing addressed to early Christians of Asia Minor and included as a book in the New Testament —called also Apocalypse — see bible table
    Examples of REVELATION
    The book includes many shocking revelations about the mayor’s personal life.
    The revelation that she was a drug user was not a surprise to me.
    Revelations by the newspaper caused a scandal.
    Origin of REVELATION
    Middle English revelacioun, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin revelation-, revelatio, from Latin revelare to reveal
    First Known Use: 14th century
    Related to REVELATION
    Synonymsdisclosure, divulgence, exposure
    Other Religion (Eastern and Other) Terms
    Zen, antinomian, avatar, gnosticism, illuminati, ineffable, karma, koan, mantra
    Rhymes with REVELATION
    abdication, aberration, abjuration, abnegation, abrogation, acceptation, acclamation, accusation, activation, adaptation, adjuration, admi…
    it (including the quote, if possible).

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