From the Oak: Let’s hear it for the God!
Many are those that focus on female divinities, leaving male divinities in the shadows if they get mentioned at all. This is a shame. Here I will share my thoughts, stories and prayers on male divinities.
Sun Myths and Science
Of all the myths, it is the myths of the sun that give me the most trouble. The typical sun myth is that the divinity of the sun rides around the earth in some type of conveyance and then takes a different one or a different form to return to the original starting point. This myth stems from the original belief that the sun travels around the earth. It is the ancient’s explanation for the days and nights. Yet we of the modern era know this is incorrect.
The romantic part of me prefers the poetic tale that the Greeks tell of Eos flying or riding before the Sun as his herald, while Hemara draws back the curtains of Nyx and Erebos, so that the light of Helios is visible. Helios is then followed by the Hesperides who again draw the curtains of Erebos so that Nyx can have her sway. Then Helios rides in a golden ship (presumably with his chariot and winged horses) on Okeanos back to his starting point. I like the complicated movement of it all. The visual that it gives me is entrancing and entertaining. I also like the tale of the seasons caused by Demeter’s mourning over her daughter’s forced annual stay in the underworld. My logical brain is more forgiving of Demeter and Persephone’s myths.
The myths of Helios, however, give me fits. The earth actually pirouettes continually around the sun, sometimes leaning toward and sometimes away. It is the turning on the axis that sets the days and nights. We know that when one side is having day the other side of the earth is having night. We also know that it is the tilt that sets our seasons.
Since we know that the sun’s myths are inaccurate for the sciences of here and now, how do you deal with it? Do you ignore it? Do you keep logic separate from mythological? If you are a polytheist, how do you account for the many different sun gods from all the different cultures? We only have one sun. I have a hard time picturing a chariot relay so that each god takes a turn. So how do you work out this modern corundum? Or is it only me that has trouble reconciling this duality of viewpoints?