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Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
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Sun and Moon- Relationship Between Object and Deity
Article ID: 12209
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,133
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Author: Sage Runepaw
Posted: January 27th. 2008
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No matter how you look at it, having a Sun and Moon is an incredible thing. Even from a scientific viewpoint, the fact that our planet and our race and all that it evolved to the point where we can sit on our butts and live in relative luxury compared to other species is still no small feat to snort at.
The Sun (a star, but largely considered a planet) is at least 93 million miles away from us- and yet it's so darn strong it can still feed us via giving light to the things we need to eat. It can still warm us- and scorch us.
Conversely, the Moon is over 238, 700 miles away from -us- (center of the Earth to the center of the Moon) and it's still enough that its shadow- the opposite of light- balances out life here on Earth and lets us thrive. A world of light all the time would be barren. A world of shadow all the time would be barren.
There's no dispute there- both night and daytime is important to growing things as well as survival. Too much of the Moon and we'd likewise suffer. The balance is precarious- but it's there.
From a spiritual standpoint- I'm hardly a scientific person- it's mind-blowing even conceiving that such objects in the sky are so far away, or so bright, or so carefully balanced.
My worldview is more simplistic than the scientific view- the moon revolves around the earth and earth around the sun; I know that. I also know that the moon phase depends on the angle of the sun, that the moon absorbs sunlight and radiates it at night (which is funky in and of itself).
However, I look at the sky and sometimes those two things are just -not- where I expect them to be. My 'center' in my inner world is the Earth, not the Sun. I'm certainly not ON the Sun. I can't even say I'm in the center of the Universe- in this galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy, Earth is located on one of the outermost spirals, and at the center is a black hole (scary!).
The critical difference is I view the sun and moon entirely different. The Sun is rather obligatory- it keeps us alive but can also torch us, and the Moon counters that to help keep the balance, as mentioned above. However, they're not 'just' rocks floating many numbers of miles away- they're also the manifestation of deity energy to me, as are the rest of the planets- just as I feel Earth is the result of myriad kinds of astral energies manifesting to make something physical.
My line of thinking is a bit shamanic there- an overworld, an underworld, both of them astral, meeting in the middle to create manifestation.
Our role in society was influenced by the astrologists of the Greeks and Egyptians- the latter influenced the former, and the Greeks classified their deities in relation to the planetary alignments. All the beauty goddesses got lumped under Venusian 'beautiful passive woman' role, and the males received the 'warlike male dominance' patriarchal role.
This leads back to the Hermetic Principles' Law of Correspondence, which is one of many of said principles said to be channeled directly down by the Egyptian god, Thoth. Due to the law of correspondence, deities can be called on in regards to planetary and astrological alignment. The tarot is an entire divinatory system revolving around astrological energies, for example, including planetary.
So how does this tie in to my belief about the Sun and Moon?
The Greeks categorized their deities by spheres of influence, attributes, and planets. There's a definite reason why Venus became another name for Aphrodite, goddess of beauty- why warlike Ares was attributed to Mars. And "as above, so below"- society swung from matriarchal to patriarchal to reflect this warlike male deity and beauteous passive female. (It didn't help that many historians were incredibly misogynistic in that time period. But you'll also find many exceptions to anything you try to pin on humanity's history.)
As it came to be, the Egyptians had some gender reversals- notably their lunar deities being male. The pantheon has many gender reversals, but they have moon gods. And there are lunar goddesses in other pantheons.
This leads to my thinking: if the Earth is the result of astral energies colliding, then the planets- they're also quite substantial enough to be of note aside from the usual stars and other matter floating around out there- must be the physical manifestation of leftover energy from the various archetypes of deities.
You've got your death gods aligned to Pluto, your gods of the ocean and illusion to Neptune, your bounteous and beneficial agricultural deities to Earth, your authoritarian and powerful 'king' images among other things in Jupiter... the list goes on and on. And the more you look into it, the more you can see that this kind of categorizing wasn't just linked up with the Greek pantheon that most school kids learned about at some point or another in the US (I don't know about the rest of the world).
You see it in Hinduism with the Vedic Astrology, with "Norse myths that show belief in the sun, moon, and planets as the dwellings which "beneficent powers" have formed for their habitation"*.
Some of us today believe in astrology, some of us don't. All of us are familiar with that attractive, tidy column of birthday information and the too-vague blurbs that are either right on or way off in newspapers and magazines, but upon a more in-depth study of it and how it relates to the deities- there's definitely something trans cultural there, even when some cultures weren't able to communicate back and forth globally.
How much do YOU want to bet that there was no Internet for them to hop on and look at someone else's beliefs on the other end of the world?
So, you've got the Moon. What deities get lumped under lunar energy? Babylonian Sin, Ilazki of the Basque, Gontia and maybe Flidhais of the Celts (if you're Celtic-inclined in your practice, don't hurt me- I've been doing my research but I'm -hardly- well-versed in its mythology).
Greeks had Artemis; Romans their Diana, Japanese Tsukiyomi, Khonsu of the Egyptians, the Titaness Phoebe, even Hecate is associated with the moon. Many goddesses can be classified as Maiden, Mother, or Crone- and called upon during Esbats of appropriate moon phases, even if they're not specifically linked with the moon. We as witches put this association there as well.
So the orb in the sky, in short, is a physical reminder in my life of lunar deities. I am on Earth and thus the world is my 'center of the universe'- but its true 'center' is in me. The world is around and within me- it is ultimately what I make of it and how I react to other things in it.
I chronically call the Moon "Mother" or make note of the moon phase, or feel instinctively better if I'm surprised to look at a mid-day sky and see the Moon there, already halfway up even while the Sun's still out- reassured.
I greet the Moon before I come in from work on night shifts and tell Her about my day, and when I wake up I greet the Sun Father and the Earth Mother. That's another quirk- both having an Earth Mother and a Moon Mother- I can't as readily explain that one off, save that I called the Moon "Luna" growing up and saw it as a mother figure before I began to call the Earth "Gaia" and saw the Earth as a mother, too.
Most of all, the interesting thing about this essay is that it's all things I've subconsciously come to believe in. This is the first time I've ever actually compiled these beliefs and put them into words to research- or even realized just how interlinked it all is.
The Moon to me is much more than most people really think of it- if they even think of it at all. With Witches, the Moon figures more prominently in our lives- guiding our spell work, among other things- and so many of us do have at least some sort of belief about it.
Where do the Moon and Sun fit into your web of life?
http://members.aol.com/Sabrin1315/mythclas.htm (this one is particularly good!)
Location: Nashua, New Hampshire
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