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Reply To: Rocking New Year’s Eve,” with Professor Mark C.E. Peterson”

#74571

Mark,

Love the comparison of Zeus assigning his father Cronus a role to Prince Five Weapons (an incarnation of the being who would become the Buddha) doing something similar with the Sticky Haired Ogre. Clearly these mythological figures have read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals.

Great point as well about Cronus mistaking a stone for a newborn. I am often intrigued by the physics and logic of myths, which diverge from mundane reality much the same as was the logic of dream – but of course Zeus swallowed his children whole – otherwise, Zeus’ brothers and sisters may have been nothing but chewed and digested pulp when freed from Papa’s belly.

But failing to notice one is swallowing a hard stone instead of a soft babe does seem difficult to fathom, at least here in the workaday world. Nevertheless, “inattention to detail” does seem a trait common to gods – that’s the phrase Campbell uses to characterize Osiris’ faux pas when he didn’t notice he was having sex with Nepthys instead of his sister-wife, Isis – but that’s another story)

I am reminded of the Egyptian creation myths, where the sky goddess Nut and the earth god Geb conceive seven children, with Ra and Thoth (Sun and Moon) emerging first – but Ra, out of jealousy, does not allow his mother to give birth to their five siblings (Horus the Elder, Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys), who then reside in their mother’s womb for thousands of years until Thoth wins their release. There certainly seems some resonance between the delayed birth of the gods of the Olympic pantheon mirroring those of the Egyptian; in a sense, Cronus’ belly serves as a second womb – gestation in the Father, as well as the Mother.

Intriguing. I trust others in COHO will come play with us, tickling their own ideas and understandings out of your essay.