I watched Immortals for the first time this weekend. I wanted to see it when I first saw commercials, but it wasn’t one of the movies that I had to see (like Prometheus) in theaters. So, I bided my time until it was more affordable. When I saw it was available onDemand, I figured why the hell not? I know little to nothing about Greek stuff unless it’s to do with the Spartans and the Persians battling it out at Thermopylae. Let’s face it, that really doesn’t cover much of anything except an awesome footnote in Greek history. And while I know that watching a movie from Hollywood to learn about history or myths of an ancient race is about as smart a move as stabbing yourself in the eye with a cedar chip, I still figured I could pick up something from it. And aside from dreaming about the movie and Theseus’s muscles (I am such a Henry Cavill fan – ugh), I actually did pick up something.
Now, my Greek mythology is pretty fucking rusty. The last time I did any reading on it, I was a child. My local library had a very limited selection when it came to mythologies, but I borrowed those books about once a month. I remember taking all of the Greek books, of which there was something like four or five, out and reading them. I think my favorite myth was the one where the Titan (Cronus?) would eat his children until Zeus came along and then, Zeus ended up following in his father’s footsteps when Athena came along. I liked the cyclical history lesson there that a lot of people don’t pay any fucking attention to. Aside from some vague memories about the very generalized areas that each Greek god tended over and the fact that the Olympians were born of the Titans and there was a war about that, I don’t really remember much of anything. So, in watching the movie, I started wondering about the Titans in a modern day Greek practice. Like, how do you reconcile all of that?
I honestly couldn’t think of a good response as to why you wouldn’t want to give a nod to the Titans. They were the first, right? If nothing else, they should be acknowledged for getting the whole creation process going, right? So I put the question to my Twitter followers. How did modern-day Greek recons or eclectics or Hellenismos or whatever they call themselves but have a Greek flavoring do about the Titans. The responses went either way. University Witch said that paying homage to the Titans probably wasn’t a good idea. Spinster Witch said that there were a few people who gave them a little respect now and again. And this got me wondering about all manner of things, but really, I didn’t know how to process the information. On the one hand, you have people who think that paying attention to the Titans isn’t a good idea and then on the other, you have people who do at least give them a little bit now and again. That’s interesting, but I wasn’t really sure where this information was taking me.
So, I of course, posted about this in The Island of Misfit Pagans. I really didn’t know where else to go for more information. I’m on a hunt here and I can’t stop with just bits and pieces. I want to have all the information I can to form an opinion. What I didn’t expect was for my thoughts to lead me back to ancient Egypt. That was kind of unexpected.
While a couple of people have commented on my post in the Island, I was starting to get that stupid, funny look on my face – the epiphany look for anyone not quite sure what the hell I’m talking about – in regards to the Titans. They were the first rulers of ancient Greece. They were the first gods over there, right? Right. And this made me think about Re. (Seriously, there’s a connection here.) I was thinking about him in relation to the Destruction of Mankind myth. I got the picture in my head where his bones are as silver, his hair is as lapis lazuli, and his skin is like gold. This is Re when he is old and infirm and humanity starts to talk about him behind his back because humans are devious little creatures. And this seems to be the beginning of the end of Zep Tepi, or what the ancient Egyptians referred to as “The First Time.” It was when the gods ruled the world and humans just did their bidding.
I wonder if the Titans and the ancient Egyptian gods were ruling at the same time?
And this got me thinking about gods, in general. What were the Celtic pantheons doing while Re was getting old and infirm? What were the Norse doing while the Titans were doing their thing over in Greece? How does any of this work from a Hindu point-of-view, if at all? What about all the other gods in the world? Did they all work together? Did they have yearly conferences to talk about what to do about the creation of humanity? Did they ignore one another and go things their own way? What the hell did the gods do “in the beginning” while humanity was still just trying to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other? So many thoughts. So many ideas. And in a Greek and Egyptian point-of-view, I’ve made some kind of leap of faith, a leap of ideas. I want to add the Celts and the Norse in there, too, so if anyone can talk to me about myths from their early days, lay ’em on me. In the mean time…
I don’t think any pantheon co-mingled with any of the other pantheons, especially in the beginning. I know from a Kemetic standpoint, the way of ma’at morphed with time and it is in this way that we can see the severe xenophobia of an entire nation of people. And I think that this particular fear of outsiders and foreigners wasn’t something that they picked up on their own. Later, they were downright happy with their tolerance of others and others’ belief systems. (And I’m not even talking about when the Greeks came on down or when the Romans did, either.) But, I think it stems from the gods’ unwillingness or inability to work with other pantheons that the humans under their care felt similarly. After the first time, the humans were at a loss with what to do – they were cast adrift and alone on a sea of uncertainty, fear, and worry. Though it took them thousands of years, they did, inevitably, become quite friendly with their neighboring nations and the people therein. And I think this is one of the reasons why the gods pulled away, moved on.
Sure, Re was too old to rule and was growing tired of how things were going, but I think that the gods were flawed. They knew they were flawed. And they pulled back, away, and let us grow on our own. Maybe that was one of the lessons they had to learn or maybe they were all just a good deal better at foresight than we are. In either case, they pulled back and away and they let us learn and they let us grow. How does this all connect with the Titans, though, right?
Well, I was thinking about that from the leaps that I’ve made regarding my own pantheon. And I thought about how there was a war between the Titans and the Olympians. From my hazy childhood recollection, the war seemed based entirely on Zeus being upset with the treatment of himself so he took it out on his father and the rest of the Titans who didn’t do a damn thing to stop it. I don’t get the feeling from that, though. I think that yes, Cronus, or whomever the Titan king-god was, was frightened by the sweeping changes Zeus would put into play but I think it wasn’t fear of his son that made him so intent on eating his children. I think it was fear of what his son would do that made him eat his children. It was a fear of change. It was a fear of a different way of life. It was a fear of growth. It was a fear of everything. And it reminds me, very much, of the rampant xenophobia from the early times of the ancient Egyptian way of life, sans gods. And while Zeus waged his battle, he probably wasn’t all that quite about the why. And maybe, just maybe, the story got over to Re and that’s when he realized that the gods couldn’t rule the humans so closely forever.
I don’t know.
I’m pretty curious about what the lives of the gods are without human interaction. So, I could just be talking out of my butt, but this feels like something. I just wish I could correlate it with other pantheons as well…