Apollon’s MDT – Day 28: What are the worst misconceptions about Apollon?

Χαίρετε ἀναγμώστες!

Today I will continue from where I left off in the ninth blog post of this MDT, which was “Common Mistakes”.

As I described then, Apollon is one of the most reviled Gods in certain ahistorical forms of historical revisionism, in which it’s adherents cling to a false idea of a prehistoric Great [Monotheist] Goddess-worshipping matriarchy that lived in peace and harmony, but everything changed when the Indo-European horseback-riding patriarchs attacked. Patriarchs who overthrew the peaceful societies of the Bronze Age, took the women as slaves and wives and put them in an inferior position, took their sanctuaries of the Goddesses (suddenly plural!) and installed their own warlike, misogynistic, patriarchal Gods there. And Apollon is a prime example these people like to use.

I explained all this previously, so I won’t rehash it too much, but focus on a specific element if this narrative. The narrative that Apollon is a rapist. If anything, this is another way in which Apollon resembles His father. They’re both accused of being misogynistic rapists. There are several layers to this issue.

First and foremost, we have to look at the Hellenic worldview in regards to the sexes and relations between them in order to understand the myths. And in the Hellenic mindset, marital fidelity is not something expected of the husband, as it wasn’t crucial to him having legitimate heirs. Just the wife had to be faithful to ensure her children where her husband’s. Men, particularly men of higher classes, had the right to pursue any women of a lower social station than them. Full-on rape, however, was not condoned, however, no doubt we saw the same kinds of pressuring and manipulation as we see today demonstrated in the accounts of so many women in the #MeToo-movement. Slaves, in particular, didn’t really have a say at all in the matter, they had to obey their masters. Though this does not mean that all men would resort to such strategies, nor does it mean all women spurned the advances of a man making a move on them. It was likely as complicated as it is today.

Getting back to Apollon, being a God, he would hold a higher social station than any mortal could possibly have. And he’s not any God, he is basically a Prince and son of the reigning King of the Gods, further elevating His station. So He has the right to pursue any mortal women (or man!) He desires, in the Hellenic mindset.

Furthermore, examples of women He raped often aren’t what they seem. Daphne, for example, transformed into the laurel tree in order to escape Apollon’s pursuit. However, if it was truly to escape from Him, to spurn Him, then why did He take Her as His sacred symbol? Why would She make such a decision that could easily backfire and put Her into the hands of the one She sought to escape? Because in Her decision to be transformed into the laurel tree, She accepted Apollon’s advances, but on Her own terms. Apollon is a God of purification, and clear water is one of the most potent purificatory agents there is. As Daphne was a daughter of a River God, She prayed to Him to transform Her, and thus She took the form of the most potent solid purificatory agent there was: laurel. Basically, She transformed from a Nymph of purificatory liquid into a tree that was the physical, solid manifestation of that same purificatory potential. And so Apollon gladly takes the plant as one of His most sacred symbols.

Another layer of this mythical theme is that sometimes the Gods choose a human, and the human doesn’t really have any choice but to go along with it, regardless of what they may themselves have wanted in life. This is a pretty common theme among shamans and some groups of priests of various peoples across the globe. They usually don’t have a choice in the matter, their Gods and Spirits choose them and that is that. They can accept this and train to become shamans or end up suffering because they ignore their calling.

Certain mystical experiences of Gods in Mysteries can and will also hurt a lot. Initiation into Mysteries of Gods literally changes you and the Deity will change you to be more aligned with Them. It can be gruesome and painful as it entails a more direct experience and interaction with a Deity than mortals usually get. It is definitely not fluffy and sparkly and happiness all around. It fucking hurts. And again, humans don’t always get a choice in the matter, as this can be linked to the example of shamans above. These experiences, where a Deity chooses you and reveals mysteries to you in an involuntary way can thus be analogues for rape, where the victim is also robbed of their free choice and consent. It does not necessarily happen often and most people will likely never be faced with the situation, but it can happen. And Apollon, being a God of prophecy and many other things, is just as liable to choose a worshipper in this way than vice versa. If He chooses to reveal Himself in such a way to a mortal, even if They are unwilling, there is little to be done about it.

I think I’ll leave it at this.

Ἔρρωσο.

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