Tag Archives: Gods

Our Lady of Themyscira

There are people out there who worship superheroes.

I am not one of them.

But after having watched the new Wonder Woman movie, twice, one could almost…,

Oh, I’ve heard all the rationalizations, the misapplied references to Jungian archetypes, the quotes lifted reverently from Joseph Campbell’s books, the endless suggestions that the gods are merely manifestations of the collective consciousness, and that the superheroes, having achieved iconic status within western culture are every bit as valid a target of our mental energies as any of the “old gods”…,

I’m not buying it.

But if that’s your gig, the writers and marketers are certainly happy to sell it to you.

No, the superheroes are not actual gods, but when handled correctly they do have the power to inspire us, to lift us up from our own troubles, and to free us from the limitations which society and gravity would impose upon us, if only for a little while.

And, for a long time now, Wonder Woman has been my favorite.

Oh sure, I started out pretty firmly in the Superman camp.

I mean, what little boy doesn’t want to discover that he has amazing powers due to his secret alien parentage?

But we grow up a bit, we become angsty, our worldview darkens, and we glom onto the Batman, reveling in his trauma induced war against a bizarre criminal underworld.

Or, anyway, that’s what happened with me.

And I still buy his books, along with those of the Green Lantern and a smattering of other titles.

But it gets expensive pretty quickly.

If you’re one of the popular superheroes, a Superman or a Batman, you’ve probably got a dozen titles with your name or image on the cover, including monthlies, crossovers, and one shots.

Wonder Woman really only has the one title.

They say it has to do with marketing decisions, and the difficulty in writing a female lead who will be interesting and popular among young boys.  And sadly, that’s probably a big part of it.

But it’s not just the woman in the title.

The gods are in there too.

And I think that scares the crap out of them.

I love Wonder Woman because, even before they revamped her origin and made her a child of the gods, she was a gift from the gods.  Sculpted from clay by her mother the Amazon queen, she was given life by the Olympian gods, and sent to the world of men as an ambassador of peace.

I have always been perplexed that, in a medium where literally ANYTHING is possible, comic book writers almost never treat the gods as actual gods.  They are invariably aliens with magic seeming technology, livings in some dimension, removed from our own.  Or they are creatures of limited power, created by human thought and belief, languishing in a universe that no longer prostrates itself before them.

The gods are almost never written as actual gods.

Except in Wonder Woman.

For a long time, I thought this must have something to do with the publishing houses not wanting to rankle a largely Christian audience.  But I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard any of my Christian friends complaining about the presence of Hera or Apollo in a Wonder Woman comic.

Mostly they just seem put off by the fact that she doesn’t wear pants.

“She’s dressed like a whore,” one of them told me, a few years back.

Yeah, you try to think the best about a person, and then they make an idiot remark like that.

But for a while there, the artists gave us a Wonder Woman in pants.  And it looked terrible.

Oh how this new movie must be making their heads spin!

So I’ve been eagerly awaiting the new movie, and for the most part it has exceeded my expectations.  But the revelation, in the first few minutes of the movie, that Ares has murdered all of the other gods of Olympus…,

It seems as if the bravery of the comic did not translate so completely to the silver screen.

If the gods are dead, we don’t have to write for them, we don’t have to explain them, we don’t have to be worried that people will be offended by their presence.

Maybe Ares was right, and we don’t deserve them.

But it’s not about what we deserve.

It’s about what we believe.

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Filed under Comics, Culture, Heroes, Modern Life, Religion, The Gods

Sacred Space: Finger Bones

My hands ache.

I am acutely aware of the weight and shape of every bone in my hand.

I can feel the tendons stretching and relaxing as my fingertips dance over the keyboard to write these words.  The movements, subtle though there are, carry their own slight discomfort to the pain centers of my brain.

The tenderness is unfamiliar, and irritating, and strangely welcome.

It means that I’ve actually been working.

***

These posts, in my Sacred Space series, are supposed to chronicle my efforts at building a small private temple on my property.

The tree, which I mean to carve, stands untouched.  The ground where the fire pit will eventually go, the fountain and small reflecting pool, the spiral walkways…,

It’s all still a grassy patch of nothing in particular.

The plans are there, but the time, and the will to begin, remain elusive.

***

I took half of the month of May away from my job.

Beltane was celebrated with fire and feast and a flurry of creative exertion, as I broke ground on a new workshop in the backyard.

There was digging, and then backfilling, and leveling.  Lumber and nails were unloaded and then transformed into floor and walls, and eventually many-jointed trusses arched overhead like the bones of some terrible beast.

I took a break from my job to do work, to build a place where I hope to do even more work.

And that probably seems just a little insane, in a world where vacation time is ideally spent in some sort of leisure activity – or even better, inactivity.

But while the job I go to every day puts bread on the table, it lacks true satisfaction.  I spend most of my time creating nothing, adding nothing of substance to the sum of my time on this planet.  I find, instead, that true satisfaction comes about when channeling an idea through the body and forcing it to take shape in the material world.

***

So I haven’t built my temple yet, but my workshop is almost done.

And maybe that’s not so bad, because I think a workshop is a sacred space in its own right.

The stories that my ancestors have passed down, about the gods we worship, tell us that they were not only masters of warfare, and magic, and healing.  The greatest of the gods, the ones who were heroes among their own immortal folk, were the masters of every art and craft.

At the woodworking bench, at the forge, at the loom and the wheel, wielding hammer and saw, and torch and trowel…, through hand and heart the very energy of creation is focused in the places where we make the things that will last beyond our fleeting lives.

We reshape the world in our image.

How better to honor the gods of our fathers?

***

My hands ache – and that is as it should be.

A hammer is scarred by every nail it strikes.

That is the sacrifice we make to change the world.

Even the bones in our hands can be a sacred space!

Lace your fingers together.

Do you remember the rhyme?

“Here is the church…here is the steeple…,”

This is the eleventh post in this wandering series, following the thoughts, planning and eventual construction of a small temple space on my property.  If you wish to follow along, you may see other posts in this series by clicking here.

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Filed under About this Blog, Modern Life, Philosophy, Religion, Sacred Space, Spiritual Journey, The Gods

An Audience of None

book of the dead

Who will judge us, and by what measure?

We closed our eyes upon the living world and awoke to find ourselves standing in the presence of a powerful being, being both jackal and man.  We do not fear him, but rather the great set of scales besides which he stands.

In one hand he carries a single feather, plucked from the wings of the goddess of truth.

He places that feather upon the scales, and then reaches out toward us, into us, and though we are not harmed, we see that he carries our heart in his easy grip.

This two he places upon the scales.

A heart weighed down with a lifetime of regrets, and a feather infused with the weight of justice.

The scales tip, one way or the other, and we are judged.

 


 

The taste of the coin lingers as the small boat finally comes to ground.

We step eagerly over the shallow rail and onto solid earth, with only a brief glance backward to see that the cloaked ferrymen is rowing away again, into the gloom from whence we came.

There are three paths before us, and three kings, sons of the sky father, the keeper of oaths.

In life, their judgements were fair and true.

In death they will not fail us.

Our story is all told, we need only an ending befitting our tale.

Was our life one of goodness, or evil, or were our deeds unremarkable, our life wasted?

The story goes on, and we are judged.

 


 

Our ticket to eternal reward has been purchased in blood.

And now, after a long sleep, we shall rise and collect our due.

All around us they gather, the people we knew and loved and feared and hated.

But we have no eyes for them, nor they for us.

Our attention is arrested by the light which drew us from the grave, a light that touches every part of us, that burns away the shadows so that we are revealed completely to him.

Did we store our treasures in the old world, or in the new?

Eternity yawns before us, and we are judged.

 

Always we have been judged.

We crave it and we fear it like no other thing.

For as long as we have walked upon this earth, we have given ourselves to the gods for judgement.  The names change as we move from tribe to tribe, as do the specific details, but in the end we imagine ourselves laid bare in the eyes of those who will rule, finally, upon the content of our lives.

I have wondered, sometimes, if the gods and the ancestors volunteered for this duty, or if we somehow pressed them into service?

Just lately, I have wondered if their long obligation might be coming to an end.

We have found a new God of Judgement, it seems, better than those we have previously known, more responsive and immediate in both its praise and especially in its condemnation.  This new god does not wait until we are dead to pronounce judgement upon us.  It watches us with a billion eyes and when we are found wanting, the punishments of this new god are immediate and scathing.  No more waiting around for the privacy of the grave, no more scriptures or doctrines to follow and uphold.

Have you guessed it?

We did this.

We reached out and opened the eyes and ears of the world.  We gathered them all together in one place, where they could speak in one voice.  And before the echoes of our celebration had died away, this shambling titan began to reach out in complete and utter condemnation of everything within reach of its great and dissonant voice.

For once, we’ve given the atheists what they wanted.  We’ve swept aside the old gods and shown that we can do things far more efficiently by ourselves.  And what a job we’ve done!

But I think I was more comfortable when Anubis was weighing our hearts against the Feather of Ma’at, than I was a few weeks ago, watching a young woman torn apart on Twitter because she didn’t put her hand over her heart when the national anthem played.

I don’t care for this new god.  It is hungry and arbitrary in a way that makes the most capricious of the old gods seem tame by comparison.

It is not a god we can fight.  There are no temples to burn or idols to smash.

If we would not give ourselves fully to this new god, we must then seek to starve it, to deny it our attentions and concern.  We must live our lives freely, without casting arbitrary judgement on others and playing our brief parts for an audience of none.

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Filed under Death, Modern Life, Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, The Gods

Without Knowledge or Lustre or Name

On Monday last I went, with a friend, to see The Martian, that new Ridley Scott / Matt Damon drama that everyone has been raving about.  Based on the book by Andy Weir, the movie follows Astronaut Mark Watney’s struggle to survive alone on the surface of our sister planet, having been marooned there during an aborted expedition in our not too distant future.

If you have read the reviews, or if you’ve seen it for yourself, you don’t need me to tell you, it’s a great piece of cinema.

It did all the things I expected of it.  It made me feel the loneliness of our hero.  It allowed me to share in his triumphs and defeats.  And it left me wondering how long I would fare, given similar training and supplies, under those circumstances.

Growing potatoes in manure?  Don’t need to be a botanist to know that trick.

Hot-wiring the communications system on a buried mars rover?  Ummm…, probably not.

I’m not even sure how he did it, unless someone left the users manual lying around.

As is my pattern after watching a movie of this kind, I have found myself drifting back to particular moments in the film, looking for themes and connections I might have missed before, trying always to see things from perspectives outside that of the storytellers narrative.

Among those moments is the one that has Watney lying in his bunk, conversing with the wooden crucifix which he has been cutting up as fuel for his vapor-farming contraption.  It is the one overtly spiritual moment in the movie, and even then, it is hard to tell if Watney’s words are intended to be genuine or ironic.

And it was while pondering that brief scene that I began to wonder, and not for the first time…,

Will we bring our gods to Mars?

Or are there gods waiting for us there, already?

The first question fires my curiosity.  The second fills me with a sort of dread.

With the exception of the killer dust-storm, ‘The Martian’ does not exaggerate about the hostility of that world.  The atmosphere is unbreathable, and the lack of pressure causes our bodies to erupt after only momentary contact.  There is no magnetic field to protect us from solar radiation and the soil there will yield no crop.

While the recent announcement by NASA, that some sort of brine-water occasionally trickles across the surface is an encouraging development, it is still clear that the fourth planet from the sun is every bit as hostile to our presence as the third is nurturing.

Many of us with a polytheistic outlook, tend to view our relationships with gods and land spirits as cooperative in nature.  Our interests are similar and often complementary.  Both we and they exist as part of the environment which surrounds us, shaped by and shaping the natural world which moves and grows around us.

It is all well and good for those who believe in one universal god to cling to the idea that every speck in the heavens was put there for our benefit.  But those of us who deal with the divine on a more personal (and personable) basis have to deal with the reality that it’s not all about us.

So if there are gods on Mars, will they welcome our attention?

Or will they feel our first steps as an unwanted intrusion upon their cold and naked sphere?

And what of our own gods.

Will they follow our descendants into the sterile void so many of us long to explore, or will we finally have ventured beyond their reach?

No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Savior, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His holy service.

—Christopher Columbus

On this day, October 12th, in the year 1492, Christopher Columbus landed in the ‘New World’, bringing with him the Christian God.

He also brought the slave trade and a lust for the exploitation of natural resources…,

So that worked out well.

Some five-hundred years later, there is some debate still within the Pagan and Polytheist communities as to whether those other gods, the gods of our ancestors, of Europe and Asia and Africa, ever made the big jump across the Atlantic.

Most of us, I think, believe the answer to that question is “Yes”.

But from time to time I encounter someone who feels that we in the States have usurped their gods, dragging them from the hills and barrows they call home and transplanting them here within our own wishful thinking.

Why would the gods, many of whom were historically understood as creatures of ‘place’, choose to uproot themselves and wander into foreign lands already populated by gods and spirits and followers of their own?

Are the gods truly beings rooted to the natural features that we have named for them?  Or are they beings with a will of their own, who will go where they choose if and when the mood takes them?

Did they follow us into the new world?

Did we follow them?

And will they journey with us again, when we eventually fling ourselves into that ultimate void which surrounds our small blue and green sphere?

I hope so.

Because, however foreign the gods of the new world may have seemed to the European explorers of centuries past, they were still beings with an interest in the cycles of planting and growth, of death and renewal.  They were and are beings which make their home in and on a living breathing world.

I am not so certain about any spirits which may lurk in the dark spaces between the stars.

And sometimes, when I gaze into the heavens, I wonder what they will make of us.

I have seen the dark universe yawning,
Where the black planets roll without aim;
Where they roll in their horror unheeded,
Without knowledge or lustre or name.

— H.P. Lovecraft, Nemesis

Deaths Head Nebula

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Filed under Holidays, Movies, Nature, Philosophy, Religion, The Gods

Truth and Clouds

Lunar Eclipse 2015

There’s a red smudge in the sky to the east.

The Earth’s shadow is falling across the surface of the Moon.

Giant bodies are rolling around each other at stunning distances and speeds.

Together, as they dance, they do this occasional trick with the light, where the one becomes lost almost completely in the shadow of the other.

Almost lost, but not quite.

Because the thin sheen of atmosphere which clings to our globe bends the light, curving it around the edges of the globe and refracting it toward our distant dance partner.

We bend the light around us and the red tinge of a million sunsets and a million sunrises paint our normally pale sister with a ruby hue.

It is a beautiful thing to behold.  I’ve seen it before.

But not tonight, not yet.

The clouds have been rolling across the sky all evening, and the rising moon is little more than a red smudge, nearly lost in the haze.  The atmosphere is the thing that makes the miracle, and often enough, obscures it from our vision.

 

I have many friends and acquaintances who are devout followers of this or that monotheist denomination.  When, on occasion, I have wondered aloud about why, in the face of scientific fact, they cling to literalist interpretations of biblical canon, I have been told that their strength lies in their faith.  If any one part of the Bible is found to be false, they explain, then the whole of it is forfeit, and their faith is for nothing.

This, it seems to me, demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the meaning behind the word.  Any faith that cannot survive in the light of truth is a hollow imitation of belief.

 

The clouds have cleared a bit and the Moon is hanging higher in the sky, a dusky red lantern in the darkness.

I’ve brought my telescope out for the occasion, and it’s finally clear enough that I can put it to use.  The blood-moon of the naked eye is, upon closer inspection, a gradient of hues from orange to deepest maroon.

My cat, weaving her way around the legs of the tripod, sees none of these colors.  For her, the bright white ball has become a dim grey ball.

Do my eyes see the truth of it?  Do hers?

Or does the scientific instrument see things more clearly?

And why would we assume that it must be one or the other?

Especially when there are still so many clouds!

 

For most of the people alive on this globe right now, the gods which I believe in are mere fables, or metaphors, or at best they are Jungian Archetypes which exist as manifestations of the human psyche.

When you spend years of your life, as I have, studying the gods and the mythologies that surround them, you quickly come to accept the fact that most of the scholarship on the topic was written with these biases as their foundation.

It is an unavoidable and perfectly reasonable attitude.

It doesn’t bother me.  It inspires me!

And why shouldn’t it?

These, simple metaphors (if you will), have shaped human art and literature and science for the entire known history of our species.  For almost two-thousand years, they have continued to guide and influence our culture, despite militant, often violent, suppression by the various monotheist orthodoxies that have held power.

If the gods are fictional then that’s pretty damned impressive for a bunch of stories!

Now stop and imagine, for just a moment, that you felt the touch of something that huge and powerful, in your life.  If you count yourself as a believer, would you really need to cling to this idea that every scrap of mythology associated with your deity was true, despite all evidence to the contrary?

 

The clouds are gone.  And so is the eclipse.

I just watched through the big lens as the last of the Earths’ hazy shadow slipped off the rim of the lunar sphere.

Earlier tonight I was using the 20mm lens on my scope, which puts the entire globe on display, but for these final moments I switched over to the 10mm which draws the moon down with stunning detail – craters, mountains, valleys, and the shadows they cast.

The red color is all leeched away by now, of course, and dear Luna is clothed once again in her standard pearlescent garb.

Watching through the scope, I see the last sliver of our shadow…,

…going…

…going…

…and gone.

It is a strange thing to sit there and see the final moments of something that huge, watching it not on television or on some live feed from the internet, but through your own eyes aided only by a couple pieces of glass.  The stark truth of the thing does nothing to diminish the feeling of awe which is inspired by the immensity of the event.

 

I have been challenged, on more than one occasion, to produce some proof that my gods exist.

I can’t even prove that there was an eclipse tonight.

I saw bits and pieces of it.

I’ll wager you did too.

But there were an awful lot of clouds rolling through and most of it I couldn’t see that clearly.

The atmosphere, as I may have mentioned earlier, is the thing that makes the miracle, and often enough, obscures it from our vision.

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A Prayer for Baalshamin

There are madmen in the streets.

These men burn and loot the ancient temples, destroying the ancient symbols of belief.  The statues and engravings, the urns, the altars and even the great stone columns are toppled from their foundations.  History and tradition are rendered into broken fragments, reduced to dust.

There are madmen in the streets.

These men kidnap, and torture, and execute any who do not believe as they do.  The priests of the temple, the men of great learning, and those unfortunate women who do not dress with the proper modesty, of course they all must die, publicly, painfully, for such are the wages of sin.

There are madmen in the streets.

These men shout religious slogans while waving their weapons in the air, and still our leaders stand by, paying lip-service to their role as keepers of the peace.  With each new Emperor comes harsher decrees against the old ways, and the Christian mob is emboldened to even greater acts of violence against the innocent.

That was then — this is now.

And more than sixteen-hundred years after the stoning and burning of priests and women, after the toppling of temples and the destruction of art throughout the Roman Empire, after the surrender of governance to barbarity, and the abdication of civil law to religious authority…,

There are still madmen in the streets.

A few days ago this latest band of religious extremists blew up the Temple of Baalshamin in the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, and an important piece of history was lost forever.

Ruins in Palmyra

We have so little of our past left to us, intact.

Baalshamin appears to have been a sky-god among the Semitic peoples of Syria.  There is evidence that he was part of a trinity of Gods, with solar and lunar deities as his counterparts.  He also appears to have had some symbolism in common with the Greek god Zeus.

An ancient sculpture depicting Baalshamin (center) along with his Lunar and Solar counterparts.

An ancient sculpture depicting Baalshamin (center) along with his Lunar and Solar counterparts.

I do not know him.

He is a deity in a pantheon far removed from my own.

And yet, on this day, I offer him my prayer.

It is the same prayer I offer to all the gods and goddesses who have had their holy places desecrated at the hands of those who believe that there is only one right way in which to worship, and only one god worthy of that praise.

I ask them for their forgiveness, that we could not do more to protect the sanctity of their holy places.

I ask their guidance for the spirits of those who have fallen to the sword and the torch while seeking to preserve ancient knowledge.  Lead them safely to a place of honor in the lands of the dead.

I ask that they lend us the wisdom and courage to lead lives of tolerance and acceptance, even as we stand against anyone who would lead the world once again into an age of ignorance and religious persecution.

Baalshamin, on this day, and in your name, which in the language of your people meant ‘Lord of the Heavens’, I ask that you hear my prayer.

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Filed under Culture, Mythology, Religion, The Gods, Traditions

Pluto Rising

PlutoClosestYet

I came to know the gods through science.

Tell me, is that a strange thing to say?

Does it run contrary to your expectations?

Walk back with me a little ways, and I will try to explain…,

When I was a very young boy I was hungry to read and watch and learn anything science related.  I don’t know exactly where it came from, this desire of mine, but it manifested early and it stuck.

Probably, it started with the dinosaurs.  Isn’t every little boy drawn to the image to giant lizards smashing through the jungle?  Certainly, the box-office of a certain series of movies would appear to support that idea.

So, like a lot of kids that age, I absorbed everything I could about them.  I learned their various names and measurements in excruciating detail.  I could tell you the most up to date theories concerning the eras in which they lived, the shape of the land and the environmental changes which directed their movements and shaped their evolution…,

Did I say “evolution”?  Oh yeah, I was not very popular in Sunday School.

Big surprise there!

When I asked too many ‘disruptive’ questions, they started sending me to the church library.

“Look for your own answers,” one of my teachers told me, and that may have been the best advice I ever received in a church.  And so I read their books and compared what they told me to the books I was reading at home.

It was all about the books in those days, it’s easy to forget.  Internet, what’s that?!

So time passed and my interests shifted upward and outward, into the nighttime sky.

My parents had long subscribed to magazines like National Geographic and Popular Science, so I was already a ‘space enthusiast’ by the time Carl Sagan’s Cosmos aired in the last months of 1980.  By the end of the series I was absolutely hooked.  My best friend at school called me ‘space man’ because that’s all I could talk about.  I counted Newton, Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo among my heroes.

I was outside nightly, over the course of one summer, using a telescope, paper and pencil to chart the orbital positions of Jupiters moons.  I wondered, at the time, if anyone else was doing that with me.  I wonder if anyone has done it since?

There’s an app for that, I know, but what’s the fun in that?

Those moons, and Saturn’s rings, and the phases of the planet Venus.  Those are things that we can look up there and see for ourselves.  We don’t need computers or smart-phones or glossy illustrations in a book.  It just takes a couple pieces of glass and a clear sky.

So at night I watched, and during the day I read.

Our UniverseAnd one of the many books I devoured in my quest for space knowledge was called the ‘National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our Universe’.  Arranged like others of its kind, the book worked its way outward from the Sun, through the nine planets and into the realm of distant stars and nebulae, providing a basic overview of each body encountered along the way.

One notable difference, however, was that the opening chapter of the book provided an extremely vague overview of some early mythologies relating to the stars and planets.  Then, at the beginning of the chapter devoted to each planet, there was a small illustration of the Roman god for whom that planet was named, and a tiny blurb describing these gods.

I chewed through that book as I had all the others, memorizing all the statistics about the planets, moons, and stars presented there.  But unlike the books I’d read before it, and the many that came after.  I kept going back to it again and again

There was something about those little illustrations that kept pulling me back.  Those stories touched something in me that lie deeper than a simple thirst for knowledge.  There was a familiarity to them, and they seemed important.

Illustrations of three Gods (Jupiter, Venus, and Pluto) from the National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our Universe

Illustrations of three Gods (Jupiter, Venus, and Pluto) from the National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our Universe

In school (both Sunday School and the regular kind) I was told again and again that these gods had never existed, and that no one alive worshipped them any more, because the ‘one god’ had replaced them, and wasn’t that so much better.

But we still used the names!  We called out to them in the days of the week and the months of the year.  Seemingly everything spinning above our heads for a billion billion miles was named in their honor, and we told their stories again and again to explain why.

Even those who do not believe in the gods must admit, there’s a kind of immortality there.

And I’ve got to think there’s bad news there for the monotheists in the crowd.  Print all the books you want, folks, the entire sky is named in honor of the gods of old.  Words on a page fade over time, but those names have revolved above us for thousands of years now, and we’re still adding to the list.

Pluto, named after the Roman god of the Underworld, was discovered and named in 1930, and four of its five moons (Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx) were discovered and named in the last 10 years.  Classical mythology does not just live within the antiquities collection of some museum, it lives in the night sky for everyone to see.  It lives in a tiny planet that we’ve sent a multimillion dollar space probe to the outermost edges of our solar system to explore.

The God Pluto abducting his future wife Persephone, daughter of Demeter.

The God Pluto abducting his future wife Persephone, daughter of Demeter.

Brother of Jupiter and Neptune, dark Pluto is the invisible king of a frigid realm where go the dead to sleep.  He is husband to Persephone, who waits out the long winter season with him, clothed in darkness, before he opens his hand, and allows her return to this world through the flowering of spring.

See now a body moving through space, one so small that scientists argue it shouldn’t be called a planet at all.  It orbits at a distance of over 3 billion miles, in a realm of darkness where the the Sun is only slightly brighter than her neighboring stars.  It is invisible to us without the aid of our most powerful telescopes, and in the course of its long orbit, it moves among great tumbling blocks of ice and dust – the long forgotten corpses of worlds that might have been, long ago ejected from the warmer regions of space by the gravitational force of Jupiter, and of Neptune.

Pluto and its moon Charon, seen together in space from the New Horizons spacecraft.

Pluto and its moon Charon, seen together in space from the New Horizons spacecraft.

It is a world insignificant to the lives of men.  And yet, if the theories of many scientists are true, if the building blocks of life were delivered to our world on comets from that distant realm…, like the seeds of Persephone, the very first spring and every one thereafter, may have been born from Pluto’s hand.

This Tuesday, the New Horizons spacecraft will make its closest approach to that far away speck of light.  We will pull the veil back a little further on the mysteries of creation, as we are treated with our closest look yet at Pluto’s strange and ruddy surface.

I’ll be on the edge of my seat, waiting to see all the new images.

There was a child I remember, who wanted nothing more than to be an Astronomer when he grew up.  I often feel as if I have failed that child, in many respects.  But I’ve never forgotten that thirst for knowledge of faraway places.  And I’ve never stopped looking for those amazing places where mythology and science converge.

They are not so rare as you might believe.

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Filed under Mythology, Science, Spiritual Journey, The Gods