Athena's Web Weekly Column
Week of August 4th - August 10th, 2006
"The sun rose on the flawless brimming sea
Homer's Odyssey, Chap. III, 1-4
As I write this week's column, I am watching a brilliant sunrise from a hostel nestled in one of the many folds of Mt. Olympus, the legendary home of the mythical gods of Greece. Looking east over the coastal plain from this elevated summit, a golden path extends between Heaven and Earth, reflecting off the waters of the early morning Aegean Sea.
Mt. Olympus is the tallest mountain in Greece, logging in at 2917 meters, with its peaks often shrouded in cloud. It is located in the northeastern corner of the country, close to the shores of the Aegean, or more specifically, the Gulf of Thermaikos. Astrologers are quick to point out the connection between planets and ancient pantheon. While the seven visible planets may be linked to seven gods of this tradition (Phoebus Apollo or Helios is the Sun; Artemis, Diana or Hecate the Moon; Hermes as Mercury; Aphrodite as Venus; Ares as Mars; Zeus as Jupiter and Kronos as Saturn) astronomers are dubious about the associations.
As in contemporary astrology, the gods or goddesses work through people, taking on the guise of this or that person. Today, as Mercury pivots, going retrograde or direct, communicational energies are heightened and we may get a call from work or an email from a friend changing our plans. In the same manner, Mercury (Hermes) comes to give Odysseus some information which was apparently heaven sent. From Chapter 10 of the Odyssey:
"I turned and left him, left the shore and ship,
In this short passage several of the planetary attributes are being related, working through this choreographed encounter. Both Apollo and Hermes (the Sun and Mercury) are generally depicted in their youth; Mercury in its first bloom (like Bob Dylan, ruled by Mercury, in his early song writing days), and Apollo in his prime, as a virile young man. The hand is one of the parts of the body ruled by Mercury, as are the arms, lungs and nervous system. Finally as the messenger of the gods Mercury deals with communications, and here Odysseus is being given advice on what to do. This was the way in which heavenly influence was described in antiquity.