Demeter work, learning about her lovers Part I Poseidon

January 8, 2009

Ahh the joys of having a chronic illness… it throws all your well laid plans for a loop! December was supposed to be the month that spent continuing my Demeter work by learning about Poseidon. I had Tonsilitis instead. This, mind you, was on top of the strep throat from November and the flue from October, you begin to see what I mean about well lain plans?

Thankfully, the gods of my life seem to be cutting me some slack. I “woke up” meaning I got enough energy and spoons and life back this month that I have been able to do the research I needed to do on Poseidon AND write up my notes! (This on top of working on a new doll – I am definitely feeling better). Since my notes are ten pages long, I think I will stick to a few excerpts for this blog post, and some really great links where you can get more information about the Lord of Water and Earthquakes if you are interested.

Homeric Hymn 22 – To Poseidon

“I begin to sing of Poseidon, the great god,
Mover of the earth and of the barren sea,
The sea-god who is lord of Helikon and broad Aigai.
O Earth-shaker, two-fold is your god-given prerogative,
To be tamer of horses and saver of ships.
Hail, Poseidon, black-maned holder of the earth!
Have a kindly heart, O blessed one, and come to the aid of sailors!”

Poseidon is the brother of Zeus and Hades. In some stories he is the older brother of Zeus, in others the younger. All three are the sons of the Titans’ Kronos and Rhea whom they over throw early in their lives. Once the younger gods and their siblings (Demeter and a few other nice ladies) have control of the world, the boys divide up the realms. Zeus gets all of the sky, Poseidon all of the Sea and Hades all of the underworld. Theoretically they are all equal portions but in all the stories Hades and Poseidon seem to feel that Zeus managed to get the better part of the deal some how.

Poseidon is generally depicted as a man of mature stature, usually with a full beard, holding a trident and interacting with waves in some way. He is often seen with a fish or dolphin in his hand(s). while the descriptions do not come out and say it, he was also quite the ladies man and managed to produce more offspring than even Zeus. There is a very nice description of Poseidon in the Iliad Book 13 lines 17-31.

Poseidon was a busy busy boy… He had a whooole lota lovers goddess and otherwise. For a great list of his lovers you can visit theoi.com at this link: http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/PoseidonLoves.html

He also had a whooooole lota children human, god and otherwise. Probably the best known of his children is Athena. For more on the kids see this link: http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/PoseidonFamily.html

There is some debate as to what Poseidon’s name means. Many references state that he is Lord of Earth or Husband of Earth. Walter Burkert disagrees. In “Greek Religion” he states that “the first component of the name is obviously the vocative potei-, Lord, but the second element da- remains hopelessly ambiguous; that it means earth and that Poseidon is therefore Husband of Earth is quite impossible to prove.” [136] However, Poseidon’s two main aspects of water and earth mover make his title of Lord of Earth fairly reasonable. He is first and foremost seen as a god of the oceans and therefore as a protector of fisherman. His less well known secondary aspect is that of ‘Earth Shaker’ He is known to bring earth quakes and hurl rocks into the sea [Burkert 137]. There is also a key story between Poseidon and Demeter in which they both changed into horse form and mated. Through their union the child/horse Areion was born, and later given to the hero Adrastus. Here again a case could be made for Poseiden being Lord of Earth or Consort of Earth because of his relationship with the De-Mater herself.

Poseidon was honored with sacrifices, festivals and games. His most common sacrifices were bulls, first fruits from the sea and less often horses. “The Isthmian Games were held at Korinthos in honour of Poseidon. It was one of the four great Athletic Festivals of Ancient Greece–the others being those of Zeus at Olympia and Nemea, and those of Apollon at Delphoi.” [theoi.com] In addition the month of Poseideon was dedicated to Poseidon and the eighth day, called Posdidea, was especially sacred to him.

Correspondences

Please Note – Unlike with some gods and pantheon’s Poseidon at least does not have a specific day of the week that he was worshiped, perhaps because fisherman went to sea when the oceans’ allowed, no matter what day of the week it was. Likewise, there is no specific number associated with him beyond the reference to the eight day of his fest month being particularly important. The Greeks did not assign colors or flowers and such in the way that we do now, there fore the data that follows is a list of recommendations only and is based on my experience working with Poseidon personally. As they say on the Net, “your mileage may vary”.

Number: 8

Day of the week: N/A, try Wednesday or Saturday

Month: December

Element(s): water and earth

Colors: all the shades of watery blue from phototrophic (the bright stuff at the top) to benthic (the dark stuff at the bottom), storm colors, with a dash of rocky earth – browns and grays more than life based green

Symbols: three pronged trident, fish, dolphins in particular, Tuna fish and tuna fishing, horses

Offerings: fresh fish, tuna, beef, wine, incense / smoke of some kind but NOT tobacco

Bibliography

Print
Athanassakis, Apostolos Translator The Homeric Hymns. Baltimore, NY: Johns Hopkins University Press 1976, 2004

Burkert, Walter Greek Religion. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1985

Parke, H. W. Festivals of the Athenians. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977

Robertson, Noel. “Poseidon’s Festival at the Winter Solstice.” The Classical Quarterly (New Series), 34.1 (1984). pp. 1-16.

Web
Ancient History.about.com
Gill, N.S., “Greek Winter Solstice Celebrations, Solstice Celebrations Honoring Poseidon”
http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/sexualit1/a/GreekSolstice.htm

The Iliad of Homer on line at Internet Sacred Text Archive as of January 6, 2009
http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/homer/ili/index.htm

Theoi Greek Mythology, Poseidon main page as of January 6, 2009
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Poseidon.html

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2 Responses to “Demeter work, learning about her lovers Part I Poseidon”

  1. Poseiden is very busy around here with almost daily earthquakes and the sea all around us! It’s so nice to see you back and I look forward to seeing your new doll. I wish you a healthy 2009. {{Aloha}}

  2. Oh I can imagine! very busy indeed. Well I hope he treats you well and doesn’t shake things up too much or mess with that lovely new garden of yours!

    Aloha and blessings

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