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War in Heaven and on Earth, page 1

A mighty strife had waxen great within the members of the sphere.                                                                                                — Empedocles

John Gray coined the phrase “Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus” in his 1992 best seller by the same name. The story line goes something like this:

Once upon a time Martians and Venusians met, fell in love, and had happy relationships together because they respected and accepted their differences. Then they came to Earth and amnesia set in: they forgot they were from different planets.

I’ve been enjoying revisiting Velikovsky’s trilogy on world cataclysmic upheavals and planetary collisions which he heavily  documents in Worlds In Collision, Earth In Upheaval and Ages In Chaos. In my last post, I wrote about comet Venus’s near collision with Earth and the havoc she wrought during the period of the Exodus of the Jewish Nation from Egypt and its forty-years of wandering in the desert under Moses’ leadership. In this post I will share a poetic blow-by-blow account of collisions in the heavens between Mars and Venus which took place about 750 years later, interestingly enough, concurrently with the Trojan Wars in the eighth century before the present era (700 BC). Men were waging wars on Earth while planet gods were warring in the heavens – or so were they characterized by the poet Homer in his story of the Iliad.

I am reminded of the phrase “The war between the sexes” that’s been around for some time now. Interestingly enough, the Trojan War was fought over a woman, Helen of Sparta, who eloped with Trojan prince Paris. Her jilted husband Menelaus got his brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, to lead an expedition to retrieve her. The story has the makings of a Greek opera. Nothing much has changed in twenty-seven hundred years in male-female behavior warring over power and control. In our day we are witnessing the “rise of the feminine” on the world stage; this after centuries of suppression by the male of our species — Mars Vs Venus.

Mars, the “god of war”

Mars was named and greatly feared as the “god of war” when it allegedly got knocked out of its orbit by once-comet-now-planet Venus and dove toward Earth in a fiery display of macho masculine warlike behavior.  Not that Venus’s behavior over a hundred years was anything close to ladylike.  She was a bitch of a threat to Earth and its inhabitants causing great cataclysmic upheavals and global destruction by fire, brimstone, vermin and floods. It took an actual collision with Mars to finally put Venus into a more stable orbit around our sun as a new member of the solar system.

Velikovsky tells the story with graphic details in Worlds In Collision. Venus and Mars had other names. Venus was called Athena by the Greeks and Mars was called Ares by the Trojans.

In this epic the story is told of the battles which the Greeks, besieging Troy, waged against the people of Priam, king of Troy. Deities took a prominent part in these battles and skirmishes. Two of them–Athene and Ares–were by far the most active. Athene was the protectress of the Greeks; Ares was on the side of the Trojans. They were the chief antagonists throughout the epopee.

At first Athene removed Ares from the battlefield:

And flashing-eyed Athene took furious Ares by the hand and spake to him, saying: “Ares, Ares, thou bane of mortals, thou blood-stained stormer of walls, shall we not now leave the Trojans and Achaeans to fight?” … [She] led furious Ares forth from the battle.”

But they met together again in the field; “furious Ares” was “abiding on the left of the battle.”

Aphrodite, the goddess of the moon, wished to participate in the war also, but Zeus, presiding in heavenly Olympus, told her:

“Not unto thee, my child, are given works of war; nay, follow thou after the lovely works of marriage, and all these things shall be the business of swift Ares and Athene.”

Thus the god of the planet Jupiter admonished the goddess of the moon to leave the combat that it might be fought out by the god of the planet Mars and the goddess of the planet Venus. Phoebus Apollo, the god of the sun, spoke to the god of the planet Mars:

Then unto furious Ares spake Phoebus Apollo: “Ares, Ares, thou bane of mortals, thou blood-stained stormer of walls, wilt thou not now enter into the battle?” …

And baneful Ares entered amid the Trojans’ ranks …. He called: . . . “How long will ye still suffer your host to be slain by the Achaeans?”

The battlefield was darkened by Ares:

And about the battle furious Ares drew a veil of night to aid the Trojans . . . he saw that Pallas Athene was departed, for she it was that bare aid to the Danaans.

Hera, the goddess of the earth, “stepped upon the flaming car” and “self-bidden groaned upon their hinges the gates of heaven which the Hours had in their keeping, to whom are entrusted great heaven and Olympus.” She spoke to Zeus:

“Zeus, hast thou no indignation with Ares for these violent deeds, that he hath destroyed so great and so goodly a host of the Achaeans recklessly? … Wilt thou in any wise be wroth with me if I smite Ares?”

And Zeus replied:

“Nay, come now, rouse against him Athene … who has ever been wont above others to bring sore pain upon him.” So came the hour of the battle.

Then Pallas Athene grasped the lash and the reins, and against Ares first she speedily drave …. Athene put on the cap of Hades, to the end that mighty Ares should not see her.

Ares, “the bane of mortals,” was attacked by Pallas Athene, who sped the spear [lightning bold] “mightily against his nethermost belly.” 

“Then brazen Ares bellowed loud as nine thousand warriors or ten thousand cry in battle, when they join in the strife of the War­god.”

Even as a black darkness appeareth from the clouds when after heat a blustering wind ariseth, even in such wise . . . did brazen Ares appear, as he fared amid the clouds unto broad heaven.

In heaven he appealed to Zeus with bitter words of complaint against Athene:

Remember that Venus was born out of Jupiter, who is given the god name Zeus by Homer.

“With thee are we all at strife, for thou art father to that mad and baneful maid, whose mind is ever set on deeds of lawlessness. For all the other gods that are in Olympus are obedient unto thee … but to her thou payest no heed . . . for that this pestilent maiden is thine own child.”

And Zeus answered: “Most hateful to me art thou of all gods that hold Olympus, for ever is strife dear to thee and wars and fightings.”

The first round was lost by Ares. “Hera and Athene . . . made Ares, the bane of mortals, to cease from his manslaying.”

In this vein the poem proceeds, its allegorical features being only too readily overlooked. In the fifth book of the Iliad Ares is called by name more than thirty times, and throughout the poem he never disappears from the scene, whether in the sky or on the battleground. The twentieth and twenty-first books describe the climax of the battle of the gods at the walls of Troy.

[Athene] would utter her loud cry. And over against her spouted Ares, dread as a dark whirlwind, calling with shrill tones to the Trojans.

Thus did the blessed gods urge on the two hosts to clash in battle, and amid them made grievous strife to burst forth. Then terribly thundered the father of gods and men from on high; and from beneath did Poseidon cause the vast earth to quake, and the steep crests of the mountains. All the roots of many-fountained Ida were shaken, and all her peaks, and the city of the Trojans, and the ships of the Achaeans. And seized with fear in the world below was Aidoneus, lord of the shades . . . lest above him the earth be cloven by Poseidon, the Shaker of Earth, and his abode be made plain to view for mortals and immortals . . . so great was the din that arose when the gods clashed in strife.

In this battle of gods above and beneath, Trojans and Achaeans clashed together and the whole universe roared and shivered. The battle was fought in gloom; Hera spread a thick mist. The river “Crushed with surging flood, and roused all his streams tumultuously.” Even the ocean was inspired with “fear of the lightning of great Zeus and his dread thunder, when so it crasheth from heaven.” Then rushed into the battle a “wondrous blazing fire. First on the plain was the fire kindled, and burned the dead … and all the plain was parched.” Then to the river turned the gleaming flame. “Tormented were the eels and the fish in the eddies, and in the fair streams they plunged this way and that. . . . The fair streams seethed and boiled.” Nor had the river “any mind to flow onward, but was stayed,” unable to protect Troy.

Upon the gods “fell strife heavy and grievous.” “Together then they clashed with a mighty din, and the wide earth rang, and round about great heaven pealed as with a trumpet. . . . Zeus–the heart within him laughed aloud in joy as he beheld the gods joining in strife.”

Ares . . . began the fray, and first leapt upon Athene, brazen spear in hand, and spake a word of reviling: “Wherefore now again, thou dog-fly, art thou making gods to clash with gods in strife … ? Rememberest thou not what time . . . thyself in sight of all didst grasp the spear  and let drive straight at me, and didst rend my fair flesh?” [These “spears” are bolts of electrical discharge between the planets]

This second encounter between Ares and Athene was also lost by Ares.

He [Ares] smote upon her tasselled aegis …. Thereon blood-stained Ares smote with his long spear. But she gave ground, and seized with her stout hand a stone that lay upon the plain, black and jagged and great. . . . Therewith she smote furious Ares on the neck, and loosed his limbs. . . .

Pallas Athene broke into a laugh. . . . “Fool, not even yet hast thou learned how much mightier than thou I avow me to be, that thou matchest thy strength with mine.”

Aphrodite came to wounded Ares, “took [him] by the hand, and sought to lead [him] away.” But “Athene sped in pursuit …. She smote Aphrodite on the breast with her stout hand . . . and her heart melted.”

These excerpts from the Iliad show that some cosmic drama was projected upon the fields of Troy. The commentators were aware that originally Ares was not merely the god of war, and that this quality is a deduced and secondary one. The Greek Ares is the Latin planet Mars; it is so stated in classic literature a multitude of times. In the so-called Homeric poems, too, it is said that Ares is a planet. The Homeric hymn to Ares reads:

Most mighty Ares . . . chieftain of valor, revolvrng thy fiery circle in ether among the seven wandering stars [planets], where thy flaming steeds ever uplift thee above the third chariot.”

But what might it mean, that the planet Mars destroys cities, or that the planet Mars is ascending the sky in a darkened cloud, or that it engages Athene (the planet Venus) in battle? Ares must have represented some element in nature, guessed the commentators. Ares must have been the personification of the raging storm, or the god of the sky, or the god of light, or a sun-god, and so on.” These explanations are futile. Ares-Mars is what his name says–the planet Mars.

I find in Lucian a statement which corroborates my interpretation of the cosmic drama in the Iliad. This author of the second century of the present era writes in his work On Astrology this most significant and most neglected commentary on the Homeric epics:

“All that he [Homer] hath said of Venus and of Mars his passion, is also manifestly composed from no other source than this science [astrology]. Indeed, it is the conjuncture of Venus and Mars that creates the poetry of Homer.”

To be continued in my next post. 

 

 

 

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