“In the beginning there were three parents: Sun, Moon, and Earth. Each produced an offspring, round and otherwise like itself. From sun was produced the man; from earth, the woman; from moon, the androgyne. Each of these three was a double, one head with two faces looking out in opposite directions, four arms and legs, and two sets of genitalia. They moved about on the earth with a great deal more freedom and power than humans do now, for they rolled-ran hand over hand and foot over foot at double speed.”
- Aristophanes at Plato’s Symposium.
Aristophanes goes on to tell how these first pre-human creatures eventually grew tired of making offerings to the gods and decided to scale Mt. Olympus to dethrone them. They lose and rather than destroy them, Zeus decides to punish them by splitting them in half. The proto-humans were strong and quick and by splitting them in two Zeus cut their strength in half. Now, rather than planning to overthrow the gods, humans spend their lives looking for their other half. Children of the sun sought other men, Children of the earth sought other women, and Children of the moon sought the opposite sex.
There is more to this wonderful story but for our purposes this is all we need because my post today is about creation, or more clearly, our origin myths. You see the orignal man and woman were hermaphrodites and they were children of the moon. That is the significant part for us. The moon as the creator is rooted in the mythology of the first of the first planting societies. These societies grew into the first civilizations originating along equatorial lines where the soil and seasons were more forgiving. The hunter-gatherer societies tended to be further away from the equator, towards the poles, where the soil and the climate were not as forgiving but there was lots of big game. Now in the hunter-gatherer society, the masculine tended to shape the mythology. The gods were represented as animals such as bears or tigers and such. The revered disc in the sky was the sun probably because daylight meant relative safety and the ability to hunt.
But it was different for the civilizations based on agriculture. There it was the moon that mattered. Charting the moon gave them the ability to chart the seasons, telling them when to plant, when to harvest, etc. There mythology wasn’t tied to the hunt but to the harvest, each mythology being tied to the civilizations primary means of survival. Here the dominant gender in mythology was the female. While the male with his spear standing in for his phallus representing hunter-gatherer societies it was the woman and the mystery of birth that represented agrarian society. Just as the woman was torn apart in child birth so to the grain must be torn apart in order to both have food and the seed needed for the next season. Joseph Campbell provides an excellent study of this in volume 1 of The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology.
Now, the West being Judeo-Christian centric has a mythology, a religion, whose roots lay in the agrarian mythology. The Muslims, Christians, and Jews all can trace their religious origins back to the mythology of the first agrarian civilizations in the Near East. So can the Romans and the Greeks. You see the myths created by either group were projections of their psyche, what Jung would later identify as the collective unconscious, trying to understand the construction of the world around them. They were a way to make order out of chaos. Nature, the manifestation of the gods, was indifferent to human happiness or suffering; nature is moving on towards her own ends so humans created rituals around their myths in order to sway the gods to look favorably upon them.
(Mad props to my buddy Eddie for posting the Socrates quote on Facebook. Thanks my man!)
regards. My pace was where it should be. My cardiovascular fitness is rounding out. I was pain free. My legs were tired but the had life in them. I’m learning how to run while keeping something left in the tank. It’s difficult for someone who’s used to running every run all out but, because of the injury, I’ve had to learn the hard lesson that less pace means more miles. I got a later start than I intended having slept longer than I thought but I was out the door at 11am, Gatorade bottle in hand, determined to get go 12 miles in 2 hours. There was a soft morning rain falling when I started and the air was cool. The kind of weather in which I love to run.
Now, it could be put forth that running, or the need to run, is a remnant from our primitive past. The original hunters killed their prey by running them to exhaustion. Animals, by rule, are faster than us in short bursts but humans could run for distance. If they managed to stay close enough to their prey they could eventually catch up to the exhausted creature and kill it by stabbing with a hand spear of some type. There are times when I run for a long time where I wonder if I’m unconsciously carrying on something that happened on the African Savanna millions of years ago. Only now for me, I am trying to hunt down and kill my ego.
I felt great the entire run. I stashed a large Gatorade by the guardrail at the entrance to my development and ran a figure eight type route so I’d be able to retrieve it at the halfway mark. I took a long drink at the 1hr 5min mark of my run and carried the bottle with me the rest of the way. It was great to feel so good and also interested to note that I had not eaten anything solid up to then. I’d had coffee and juice (I juiced apples, mangoes, blueberries, and carrots before I went out). The rain stopped about 20 minutes in and it only rained again for a few minutes close to an hour into the run.
I ended up running 14-plus miles in just over two hours and I still had something in the tank. Afterward I had a glass of vanilla almond milk (great protein) before my ice bath followed by a soak. I don’t know that my ancestors did that. But I don’t know I’d have the balls to chase an animal that has just a good a chance of eating me as I do of eating it.
The religion of the Hebrews grew out of the agrarian mythology of the Near East into the Middle East. The Hebrews were part of the Semitic peoples whose origins can be traced back to Southeast Asia along with the Assyrians, Canaanites, Babylonians, Arabs, and Phoenicians. the word semite comes from the book of Genesis. The semitic peoples were those said to be from the house of Shem, one of Noah’s three sons. The Hebrews belied that their friends also were descendants of Shem and their enemies descendant from Shem’s nephew Canaan. Now linguistically speaking the Hebrews and the Canaanites came from the same parental language. They just fought a lot so when the Hebrews wrote their history they decided the Canaanites, though related came from the bad side of the gene pool.
The Hebrews were the first people in their region to adopt a religion based on monotheism. Instead of multiple gods with varying powers, generally represented in nature, the Hebrews said there was only one god ruling over things. And they decided their god would be male. This posed a bit of a conundrum. If now there was only to be one goad and that god was masculine what do you do with the feminine god representation in agrarian mythology? Well for the people of this time the answer was to knock them down a peg. All the other gods save Yahweh were false golds, male or female and the god-powers of the feminine were transferred over to Eve, said to be the mother of us all. Eve, though our mother was not the first woman in the Bible.
Adam’s first wife was Lilith. And Yahweh created her from the same soil as Adam, indicating she was his equal. Adam didn’t much care for having an equal, he wanted someone more subservient and Lilith refused to comply. Eventually, Lilith left Adam and the Garden of Eden behind and married the archangel Samael. You may know Samael by other names, he is also called the Angel of Death by the Jews and he appears to the Christians as Satan in the New Testament. It is likely that the story of Lilith is a way of showing how the feminine god was displaced by a new single masculine one. Next we have Eve who was made not from the same stuff as Adam but made from him. Thus without Adam, Eve could not exist.
This is a complete turnaround from the religious beliefs of those people in that area at that time. Up to then, women were believed to hold the mystery of life and death. They kind of held the supernatural upper-hand because ultimately the female body was more closely identified with the progression of life. Now with Eve, that power was stripped away from her. And of course the Bible goes on to say that it was Eve who committed the first sin and it was Eve who then led Adam into sin. God punished them both. He punished Eve by making childbirth a painful ordeal and by flat out stating her husband, was the boss over her. Adam he punished with Adam by cursing the ground, forcing him to have to work for his supper the rest of his life. Thus in Genesis was the feminine not only demoted from god status but the very thing that made her godlike to begin with, childbirth, was now going to be painful, an act of punishment for hubris. In these passages we see how the mythology of one culture is subsumed by another. The Hebrews couldn’t do away with the feminine. It wasn’t practical. Women were still essential for childbirth and the Hebrews were still a society based on agriculture. So what did they do? They did what every culture does. They invented new ways to explain the big questions doing away with the parts of the old that they could do away with and transforming the parts that couldn’t be disposed of into something that met their own philosophical approach.
I ran 10 out of the last 14 days, five times per week. I feel good being able to get back into a routine. I’ll try for 5 days again this week and maybe think to push it up to 6 days the following week. Last year with training for four marathons I got used to running six days a week and found that I liked it. This is good news because the Marine Corps Marathon is a little over 20 weeks away which means I’ll start Hal Higdon’s Advanced 1 marathon training program in 2 weeks. The weather is also warming up, despite the temperatures the last few days, which means I may be switching my weekday runs from over lunch to the evening. I enjoy running in the evenings over summer. There’s plenty of daylight and I don’t spend the first part of the afternoon a sweaty mess. I’m one of those runners who can really sweat so even after I cool down and take a shower I can still soak through my clothes on the walk back to the office. But I will miss the walk up to the gym with the boys. It’s the funniest time of the day.
I’ve also been amping up the workouts again, getting in four each of the last two weeks. I usually do bi & tri one day, back and biceps the next, then core and shoulders. When I’m in a rhythm I keep cycling through. I’ve also been feeling well enough to turn my attention toward my diet. I’ve been regularly juicing again and eating a lot lighter and healthier. It’s no coincidence this is all happening because I can run again. I was beginning to look like easy prey myself and if by chance a hungry lion got loose in Bellefonte it would’ve been easy for it to catch and make a meal out of me
I put this on twitter and it got a lot of response so I’ll repeat it here:
Saying we have a running addition is the same as saying fish have a water addiction.
It is interesting to look at how the duality of our mythology has played out over time. In our recent history here in the states the idea of women be subservient to man culturally probably peaked during the industrial revolution and began to unravel with WWII and Rosie the Riveter and came undone with the feminist revolution during the 1960s.We’ve been struggling to define ourselves as men and women since.
- A one-legged crow picking at a chicken bone on a frat house lawn.
- The biggest butt cleavage ever on the guy putting the black top down in the Faith United parking lot.
- Rain, rain, and rain.
- The annual kid’s fair in town.
- My friend Tico sitting on a bench with his girl.
- Lots of little kids in soccer and baseball uniforms.
- A parade of flags and flowers in front of the gravestones for Memorial Day.
- The two spaniel’s who hadn’t chased me all winter are back.
- A jazzy chair parked by the steps of the Omar Bar.
- Two nice volunteer firefighters at the Undine station who not only let me use the water fountain but also gave me a bottle of water to take on my way. Thanks ladies!