article on Foibos Apollon

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article on Foibos Apollon

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Nov 05, 2005 9:08 pm


Foibos Apollon

This is a deity most people know through his association with the sun. He was best known as the Sun God of ancient Greece. Although the assimilation of Helios by Apollon was purely philosophical – according to what I have read – since the cult of Helios was to popular on Rhodos and possibly even elsewhere for the assimilation to be theological or political.
Apollon being the God of Light, Medicine, Science, Archery, Civilisation, Prophecy, Divination, Music and Arts, is perhaps just fully called a multifunctional deity.
To the modern pagan, Apollon is a lot of things: inspiration, purification and to some even love. In my opinion, love is to a abstract concept to label on Apollon. Apollon is much more than just love. That does not take away that love is one of his many aspects? In mythology we see that all his relationships with both women and men end terribly.
Apollon is a fascinating deity because the fact he is so many things. His influences do even stretch into the art world, where he is the counterpart of Dionysos. In art Apollonian means calm, soothing, peaceful and order, while Dionysos is just the opposite of Apollonian. This does not imply that Dionysos is chaotic as we have come to understand it as a world with a bad connotation to it. No, even in Dionysian paintings you will find order. You just have to look a little bit harder than with a Apollonian painting. These two influences can also be found in human personalities according to the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who has made the distinction. He said that Apollon and Dionysos wage a war for dominance, with the two sides vying with one another for dominance in various aspects of our personal lives including activities as simple as walking. The obvious solution to this is to strive for a certain balance between those two mighty forces, a struggle according to him made more difficult by the fact that these opposing elements also manifest themselves in institutions such as religion and education.
I mentioned earlier that in Dionysian art we see order, represented by Apollonian forces, but the same applies to Apollonian art where the source of it is Dionysian emotion. If we look at Jeroen Bosch otherwise known as Hieronymus Bosch’ painting “The Christ carrying the cross” we see that the characters depicted here as arranged in chaotic fashion. But this isn’t true. If we draw a X going from one end to another, we see that there is order in the chaos. Renaissance painters usually made Apollonian paintings, even though the source, the emotion from which it came from was Dionysian in origin. Perhaps even the notion of good vs. evil can be traced back to these forces. After all the forces of good are thought to be peaceful and calm, while the forces of evil are the opposite.
So Apollon is a God that brings balance to his worshippers, both modern and ancient. That is probably the reason why so many pagans devoted to him are also devoted to Dionysos. Dionysos makes a perfect circle. Dionysos is more than just chaos or order in chaos. Dionysos being the god of among other things intoxication, he can bring stability into the lives of those who follow him just as with the worshippers of Apollon. Apollon, on the other hand being the god of light, oracles, prophecies, mysticism has as most deities, a chthonic aspect that is usually ignored or overlooked by some. It’s this aspect that brings a darker element to it. Most books I have read so far with chapters on Apollon don’t really mention this aspect. The only book I have read that did do this was one by Peter Kingsley. I’m not entirely sure as I don’t have the book with me. He associates Apollon with dream incubation where a person has to sleep in the sanctuary in order to achieve a vision. People who worship Dionysos say that he is overwhelming, but the same thing can be said of Apollon. I know of several books that some authors have dedicated on him, even though I haven’t read them yet, they are on my wish list. I need to get my hands on them so that I can organise my thoughts and be better educated on him to write a decent article. Yes, I’m somewhat of a perfectionist.

Quintus Aurelius Orcus
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