As I mentioned earlier, I am doing some trance-work with deities to get myself unstuck on the Apotheosis Project. I have already spoken with Apollon, who made some extremely useful comments, and I am now turning to Hekate, especially because this last little bit must connect to a ritual which Ariadne has already given me, and I really just don’t understand the connection.
Hopefully, talking to Hekate will clarify a few things, and I can move forward with slightly less confusion.
I am including this conversation on my blog because I want to be clear on my process: creating new magic techniques is not something that can be done through intellect alone. Especially with the more difficult and advanced techniques, a great deal of revelation is required, also.
Deities have moods, and Hekate was super punchy during this session.
But first, a message from our sponsor: do not curse people.
Thenea: Hi Hekate. I wanted to get your thoughts on Apotheosis before I finished up my series. I’m feeling kind of stuck. Something about Zeus and Semele and the upper and lower faces of divinity, and how that relates to the anatomy of deities was rattling around in my head somewhere, but I can’t seem to get it to congeal.
Hekate: That’s fine, but I have something else that I want to talk about.
Hekate: Please stop asking me to curse people. This is beyond inappropriate. You know who you are. Just stop. I don’t care if it is an “accelerate karma” curse (for we all know what THAT is code for), or a “reveal their true nature” curse, or you “drawing Her attention” to the wrong-doing of a person — There are no “clean” curses. They are all intended to do harm, even if you have played lawyer inside your own head, and determined that it is not really harmful, or certainly justified. If the result will be some manner of suffering, and you know that, it is a curse.
Pardon me, mortal, for getting up on my soap box, but I have lived eons, and seen the repercussions on deities, deities, when the collective unconscious soul of humanity suspected them of being less-than-benelovent, even where that wasn’t at all true. I’m pretty certain that if you look under “demonized,” there is a picture of my face there, and perhaps right next to me, a picture of Pan. For all your starry-eyed prattle-prattle about “dark” gods, and how important evil deities apparently are, what humans call “evil” is just a synonym for “stupid” in a true deity’s lexicon.
Magic is diplomacy. Magical power is the result of good will. No one, not even me, is the all-powerful potentate of all reality. Magic is built through forging alliances and friendships with the powers of nature, and with the soul of humankind. Consequently, you cannot make enemies and practice effective magic. It is for this reason that fame and magic are not friends, for famous people always have enemies. I understand that you might “disagree,” in your infinite wisdom as a being who has lived less than a hundredth of my years, but do me a favor: leave me out of it. Have the decency to go and curse your enemies yourself, and then don’t be surprised when you slowly lose your ability to wield magic at all.
Hekate: Obviously that wasn’t directed at you, Thenea.
Thenea: I didn’t think it was. I mainly practice magic to get more money and so that I can more effectively sexytime non-physical entities.
Deities who become mortal
Hekate: So. Apotheosis and Semele. Firstly, I think it is important to recognize that there is a difference between Semele and other deities. Technically speaking, Semele has more of a claim to divinity than her son. Cadmos, Cilix, Phoenix and Europa were all deities rendered as human royalty (Europa being the same goddess elsewhere rendered as Paisphae). But let’s just assume for a moment that he’s fully mortal.
Ouranos had a large number of children, to be sure, but among them were Kronos and Aphrodite. Kronos and Rhea gave rise to Zeus. Aphrodite and Ares gave rise to Harmonia.
Harmonia should be considered a Goddess equal in stature to Demeter or Hera. Simply being nursed by either Demeter or Hera would be enough to cause a human with any (or no) divine ancestry to qualify for deity-hood. Harmonia gave birth to Semele.
Yet Semele was fully mortal, despite otherwise having as much claim to Ouranian sovereignty as Apollon or Athena, as a great-grandchild of Ouranos.
The most important thing, here, and why I bring this up, is that it shows that apotheosis has a flip side. Mortals become deities, but also, deities become mortal. Deity status can be lost. Immortality can be lost. That Semele was not a goddess in the first instance shows that by living as a mortal, Harmonia became one.
Tragedy for Olympos, that they lost their deity of harmony and cohesion. But Zeus knows best, I suppose, and figured he could do without her. I suppose it isn’t as though the worship of Hellenic deities has divided itself into separate communities based around the worship of individual deities, or as though the community ever lost its ability to follow the sacred calendar. And I suppose, even without Harmonia, we have reasonable cohesion, and Hellenic groups are not infinitely schisming and factionalizing into tiny groups that can’t get along with one another. Because Zeus has a handle on that, all on his own, completely without Harmonia. 🙂
Thenea: *blinks* That is some quality sarcasm, Lady.
Hekate: I flatter myself that it is finely crafted, artisanal sarcasm. It’s none of my business, though. It’s really not. I have my witches, and I am content.
Thenea: Do you suppose we might bennefit from invoking Harmonia?
Hekate: She is an immortal. By your leave, with your worship, she becomes a goddess once more, to any who would call her. I heartily recommend it.
The Mundane Persona of Deities
Thenea: One of the things that struck me about the Nonnus text was that Zeus has power over how he manifests.
Hekate: Of course. And the way he manifests on Earth is not how he is in Heaven, either.
Thenea: So… as I was writing about apotheosis, I noted that the part of us that deals with mortal life is often what is burned away during these apotheosis narratives. Yet Zeus seems to be creating an analogous persona, one specifically designed for interacting with human reality.
Hekate: I have always conceived of mythic reality as being that place where humans and deities meet. It is true that Zeus was, in some lesser way, interacting with human reality in his dealings with Semele, but was he really interacting with human reality, fully? Note that the mortals did not believe Semele about her experiences with Zeus. They doubted her marriage. Really, Zeus’s interaction with the mortal world, in this case, began and ended with Semele.
Semele reached up, Zeus reached down. The reaching was complete and perfect. Semele experienced Zeus as fully physical.
Whereas the mythic persona is the highest aspect of a human, it is the lowest aspect of a deity. The way that apotheosis happens, in my understanding, is that the mythic self is fully developed, and then inside of that mythic self, a higher self, a more sublime self, is incubated. Sometimes, the process is helped along by coming into contact with the higher reality which deities partake in — the one which humans generally do not. This is what is meant by the sharing of ambrosia, or nectar, or breast milk, or in some cases, the “marital drop.”
Thenea: For those tuning in late, she means “cum.”
Hekate: Yes. I mean cum. The life force of a deity, or the hidden vitality, gushing out. It’s not so different from the breast milk, symbolically speaking. It just winds up in a different orifice… Usually.
Hekate: 😀 That will teach you to get me started. I founded a fertility cult, mortal. If you don’t want that aspect of me, don’t ask for it.
Thenea: Ok, ok!
Being more direct
Thenea: The ritual Ariadne showed me had to do with reconciling the upper and lower aspects of a deity. Why is this a part of the immortalization process, when we approach it through ritual, rather than being drowned or immolated. I had assumed that she meant for a person to reconcile their mundane and mythic aspects, so as to create an incarnate ascended master sort of state.
Hekate: Truly, the idea of a deified human who is nonetheless still incarnate is not particularly Hellenic. That is *why* the story of Demophon ends in failure, because the Greek mythic reality resists… or resisted… that sort of thing. For good reason. The last thing we want is mortals wrongly claiming that they are Greek deities.
Rather, here is why it is useful: when most mortals deal with deities, they are dealing with them indirectly. Even those who have gnostic insight are dealing with deities indirectly. They get lost in the stories about the deity, often losing sight of the higher aspects, which is who a deity honestly and truly is.
The truth in a myth is where it overlaps with myths that contradict it. Two contradictory myths side by side point to a higher truth, showing each myth to be communicating the same truth in a different symbolic language.
You cannot deal with a deity directly. You cannot lay your hands directly on Zeus’s lightning bolts, as a mortal, and expect to live. Rather, a deity creates a manifestation for you to deal with. That manifestation is a compromise: something that they feel is reasonably accurate, but also something that won’t break you.
Ariadne suggested this ritual you are seeing to slowly and gradually bring the higher and lower faces of divinity into accord with one another. It is a way of gradually, rather than suddenly and violently, approaching the deity more accurately and more directly. This is the equivalent of being placed in the fire in stints, allowing what is “not self” or “not immortal” or “not deity” to burn away slowly, and also bringing you into a place of greater intimacy with the deity in question.
As the monotheists have been saying for years, the way to have a more authentic and pure relationship with a deity is to be more godlike. That state cannot be achieved by simply emulating the actions of the deity as seen in myth. Rather, you must raise yourself up, developing the parts of your nature best expressed to other humans in the language of mythology.
Thenea: Well, that is a lot to chew on.
Hekate: Do your exegesis of the Nonnus text. Then, you will probably need to take a second look at the apotheosis of Psyche. In the commonalities between Psyche and Semele, you will find something interesting.
Thenea: Thank you, Hekate, for your time, your wisdom, and the advice.
Hekate: It’s always fun. Let’s do this again, soon. 😉