On June 25, 2017, John Beckett wrote a blog post entitled A Speculative Look at the Cycles of Magic and the Otherworld and it got me to thinking about some of my own experiences in the past year or so. I’m not going to go into detail about his post, because people SHOULD read it for themselves.
However, some of the things he said also reminded me of the stories of how the Hellenic Theoi (and indeed Gods around the world) would sometimes disguise themselves as mortals for various reasons. Sometimes, it would be because of desire for that mortal, but other times those reasons would be what people in this day and age would consider to be “deeper” ones.
In the story of Demeter’s search for Persephone, Demeter disguises herself as a mortal during a period when she believes she will not be reunited with her daughter and because of what happens causes the Eleusinian Mysteries to be established. In the story of Baucus and Philomena (as recorded by the Roman writers), Zeus and Hermes journey through an area to test mortal hospitality. The rich do not show the disguised Theoi hospitality, but a poor, aged couple with no children do. Ultimately, in this story the inhospitable are punished and the old couple are rewarded.
These are stories that are not “salacious” in any way, and serve to point out some of the things that I want to discuss.
For me, although in the past two millennia they seem to have taken a hiatus, the Theoi seem to have started walking among us once more. This time though, the faces they are taking may not seem as “obvious”. How can I know if it is Hermes or Anansi who is embodying the form of an African-American homeless person asking me for a soda? How can I know that Dike is not using the actions of ADAPT (an organization advocating for disabled rights) to point out that impending legislation is unjust? When speaking with someone on the bus helps me put things into perspective, can I know for certain that Athena or Apollon is NOT guiding those words?
Honestly, with the increasing numbers of these “synchronicities”, there really is no way that they can reasonably be ignored by devotional polytheists. And, I think that it is time that the polytheistic traditions stood up and collectively said “There is another way!” when dealing with the mechanistic views of many monotheists and atheists. There IS another, spiritual, dimension; it is as rich and varied as our own, not just a duality of “good vs. evil” and it is time that we, as a culture, came home to it.